Monday, July 20, 2009

Legitimate Warrior Concerns

After the excitement of Friday nights run, I really wanted to do some tanking on my Warrior. I was trying to put together a Heroic group when guild chat popped up with the idea of an Alt Naxx10 run.

I jumped at the chance to be one of the tanks. The other tank was going to be the alt of one of our Shadow Priests, playing none other than a Protection Paladin.

His Paladin out geared my Warrior. Just to give you an idea of the delta in our gear, he had about 4k more health than I did. He had only 535 Defense, so I actually got some Boss Tanking opportunities because I had 543 and our Alt Healers (also under geared) were concerned about him getting crit.

This was the most significant amount of Raid Tanking I had done on my Warrior.

As much as I hate to admit it, some of their concerns are legit. Now allow me to explain that statement a bit.

I keep up with Tankspot and I read the concerns of Protection Warriors. Their major concerns seem to be Heroic Strike Spam, Threat issues compared to other tanks, and DPS while Tanking. There is also this notion that playing a Warrior is ‘harder’ or ‘more work’. The idea is that the Warrior should be compensated by being a better tank because they have to work harder and it’s a tougher job.

Hogwash I thought.

Honestly, I didn’t want it to be true. If it was true, then Warriors could legitimately ask for buffs that would bring them back to top of the Tanking world. Lead Developer Ghostcrawler in his latest analysis of the tanking hierarchy, had stated that Warriors were about where they want all tanks. Druids were close. Paladins were behind (of course!), and DKs were ahead and needed an ‘adjustment’, which is just a nice euphemism for NERF!

I’d love it, if just for once; it was the Paladin that were ahead for a whole Patch cycle.

Naw, scratch that. Getting nerfed stinks. I’d rather be balanced and only need small tweaks. I remember the Buff-Nerf-Buff-Nerf ride Feral Druids took in early Burning Crusade and I can see the one Death Knights are on now. No thanks.

Now granted, I was under geared compared the Protection Paladin I was tanking with, but I couldn’t keep up with his threat. It wasn’t an issue for most of the night because we were usually tanking different things. But anytime we were on the same target, it was no contest.

I didn’t care if I was under geared. I really wanted to push my pixilated limits and see what this Warrior could do. Gear matters, but I still started wracking my brain to figure out how I could produce more threat.

Heroic Strike
That’s when I truly learned about Heroic Strike. Up to that point, I had been bad, and I mean epically bad, about using Heroic Strike. It was annoying, I didn’t need it, and so I didn’t use it. Now it was potential threat just waiting to be used. Now I needed it.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that Heroic Strike is the most annoying, aggravating thing in this game. The best way I can describe it to people who haven’t played a Warrior, is to imagine that you didn’t have ‘Auto Attack’. Every time you attack the mob, you have to click on him and your swing speed with a fast weapon and bit of raid haste from buffs is about 1 second. Every second for several minutes, you have to click on the mob. (That’s an exaggeration, I only had to click my Heroic Strike button (middle mouse!), but hopefully you get the idea.)

Harder To Tank
The threat issue also highlighted why Warriors say it’s tougher to tank with their class compared to others. It felt like a major decision each global cool down. Is Demo Shout still up, how about Thunderclap? What’s the timer on my Commanding Shout? Did Sword and Board just proc? Do I need the survivability from refreshing Demo Shout/Thunderclap, or do I need threat now through Shield Slam/Devastate?

Still a Good Night

Now I don’t want to make it sound like it was all doom and gloom. It was actually quite a good run.
One of the most fun moments was on Noth the Plaguebringer. I was assigned to the Adds while the Protection Paladin took the boss. Two Adds spawn in the 10 man. I would Charge one, drop a Shield Slam on him, then Intercept the second and Devastate. When I pulled that off, it felt really good, and it was a ton of fun.

We cleared three wings, and even got an achievement for a 3 minute Patchwerk kill (“Make Quick Werk of Him”). The other raiders said it was the smoothest Alt Naxx they had ever done.

I didn’t get any loot I needed to drop. It was a Caster night, if you know what I mean. But I had enough Badges at the end to get a Chained Military Gorget.

It’s clear to me now that the Developers have a daunting task ahead of them. How do you address the very legitimate Warriors issues, but still maintain a good tank balance so Warriors aren’t far and away better than every other tank class?


Argon said...

A lot of the warrior issues seem like "quality of life" issues that shouldn't be that hard to fix without making warriors superpowerful. Why can't Heroic Strike be a toggle? Why do Shouts only last 3 minutes and require rage?

Whats my Main Again? said...

I ran Naxx for the first time over the weekend on my warrior and I have to echo your concerns. My main issue though was more in trash and aoe threat. I'm running a deepwounds build which should be a higher threat but I still had issues...

Maybe it was because I was solo tanking all of the trash but it was certainly a challenge.

I think though... thats what I like about the warrior. On my paladin, mobs are glued on to me. On my warrior I have to work hard to keep threat and use taunt A LOT more then I ever do on my paladin.

Single target wasn't so bad but I think it is a bad mechanic that you have to spam heroic strike in order to maintain threat and heroic strike at the same time lowers your rage generation which you need for your other abilities.

Anyway just my 2 cents.

Jacob said...

I can share some simple warrior tips that have been useful to me:

For single target threat, I put Shield Slam, Revenge, and Devastate on buttons that are next to each other. Sad as it sounds, I tank by drumming my fingers. Quickly drum: 2-3-4. (1.5 second pause.) Again: 2-3-4. (1.5 second pause.) 2-3-4. This ensures that if Shield Slam (#2) is up, I hit it. If #2 isn't ready but Revenge (#3) is up, I hit Revenge. If #2 and #3 aren't ready, I Devastate (#4).

For AOE threat, make sure that you use Thunder Clap every time it's up, Shockwave every time it's up, and make sure you use Cleave as much as possible. Cleave hits harder than most people think, and does a lot to help AOE threat. People sometimes forget Shockwave because of its long cooldown, but Shockwave makes up for its long cooldown by hitting three times as hard as Thunderclap. Forget to Shockwave, and you lose as much threat as if you had forgotten to TClap.

And yes, I agree - Charge is so much fun!

Kurtosis said...

I've been tanking since MC days and I have always thought that being able to rage dump (i.e., heroic strike spam) is a mark of a good warrior tank. Even looking at recount and studying the melee contribution to overall damage shows the player's ability to do the required HS spam (i.e., any melee contribution above 12% shows you arent doing enough spamming and/or rage management (if you are overgeared in heroics)).

I tried a Prot Pally in PTR and realized how snobbish that concept was. It is tough enough for a warrior tank to follow a priority system compared to a straight 9-6-9, why worsen that burden with a mandatory HS spam?

I like playing a warrior more than a pally. Given enough rage, I am quite capable of standing toe-to-toe with any tank class in single target tanking. But why does it have to feel like work when I'm trying to have fun? And moreso, why do I even try to do AOE tanking when the DK will grab everything in an AOE pull save for the 1 or 2 that I can hold given my build and glyphs?

I am now gearing my prot pally since I really want to play and have fun. I have enough work as it is.

Anonymous said...

The first thing is I have been reading your blog since Lich king came out, great reading material by the way.

I played a Tauren Warrior in the closed beta to about 25-ish. I then played a Tauren Warrior in the open beta till about 43-ish. I then spent a better part of a year playing a Tauren Warrior (before Dire Maul was even finished). I eventully switched to a Human Priest.

I have been playing a Paladin (protection) and have to say tanking is soo much easier on him then on my warrior. I think I might agree with Argon, but I really think it is that a Prot Paladin so much smoother because of the old rotation still.

Rob said...

nice perspective. I think the biggest problem with warriors is that they're incredibly fun to play. What other tank has 3 separate abilities that cross the screen at top speed, or if not tanking, can dual wield 2h weapons? Unfortunately this makes Warrior pop stay high even when the class is potentially underpowered. Well that and there are several thousand warriors that have invested several thousand gold on their main, and don't want to reroll.

Honors Code said...

I go through the same thing on my Warrior and he's just an alt. I know the issues, they bother me, but he's just so fun to play I put up with them.