Friday, January 29, 2010

Prot on Prot Hate

Today my buddy Rhidach was talking about the abuse being thrown Paladins way both in game on the Forums. It’s even infiltrated once great sites like Tankspot. It has made meaningful discussion nearly impossible on the Official Forum, not that it was an easy task even before this. Anything from Paladins is immediately troll fodder.
I don't know what it is about these two classes; we're like a couple of brothers. There never seems to be as much emotion when a Warrior talks about a Druid, or a Deathknight, as when he is discussing the Paladin. Maybe it's because we share gear, I don't know. The people behind those Warriors and Paladins, especially those players who choose to go deep Prot, are more alike than they realize. The only dynamic I've seen close to this is Warlocks and Mages. Those guys fight like cats and dogs as well.
My personal favorite is the Warrior who has a Level 80 Paladin, DK and/or Druid as well and claims he’s unbiased in regards to class because he plays all three. I have an 80 Druid and Warrior. I play all three. Having a Level 80 Warrior helps me understand some of their issues better, but in no way does it make me class neutral.
Warrior Tanks have issues. They have underused utility, and their DPS is lower than other tanks when tanking. They also have some 'quality of life' issues like Heroic Strike and the way Rage works. But on the core issues of Tank Survivability and Threat Generation, Warriors still have parity with all other tanks.
The DPS while tanking issue didn’t exist prior to 3.3. I can’t recall a Tanking guide every talking about the need to do as much DPS as possible. In fact, I remember one guide for Fury Warriors going Tank that specifically told them to ignore their DPS. What mattered was threat, and that was correct.
What has really highlighted the DPS issue is Festergut, who is a DPS race and has been something of a roadblock for some guilds. At a certain level, the difference between guilds comes down more to quality of the players of their DPS players. Guilds with better DPS players will clear more content faster. Some guilds, which are just on the edge of having the DPS to down Festergut, are frustrated and their Warrior Tanks are worried that they might be holding them back. Some went so far as to make a case that the DPS difference was the difference between a wipe and a kill. It's never a good feeling to think that because you want to play your favorite class in your desired role, that you might be holding back the efforts of 9 or 24 other people.
However, the Devs didn't buy it. Yes, Tank DPS was relevant, they said, but it wasn' t the difference between a kill and wipe. The Devs felt that raid could get more Raid DPS by the improvement of their DPS Class, rather than more DPS from the Tank. When their concerns fell on seemingly deaf ears, many Warriors got very upset. Their anger was directed mainly at Paladins.
Warriors have raised the concern they will be benched due to their low DPS. Yet, the Developers have not seen this mass migration away from Warriors happening. Even when Warriors hammered on Paladins and Druids supposed huge advantage in EH, Guilds didn’t change. Why would they change now, when they haven’t changed in the past?
Warriors make the valid argument that it is balance issue when the raid has to work harder because they have a Warrior tank versus a Paladin or Druid. Paladins have faced what Warriors are going through before. We required external cooldowns for things like Sarth3D, Vezzax, and Firefighter where Warriors did not. Back then Warriors told us it wasn’t a big issue because you don't solo the raid boss. It was the powers of the entire raid that are brought to bear against the Boss. That’s what matters. Now suddenly, that argument doesn’t hold water anymore. It’s funny how that has changed.
By Tankspot’s own data, it’s Druids who have the lead on DPS in every fight analyzed. Druids also have more EH than Paladins, yet it is the Paladin who the Warriors attack again and again. (DKs are difficult to parse because their specs can be both Tank and DPS.) Is it really just because we share gear, or is there more to it?
How quickly they forget their past dominance. They were the go to Tank for 4 years. Encounter design was used to prop them up and make sure they stayed in the premier position. They were even exempted for the Hybrid tax. Of course, past dominance must feel like something of a hollow victory for them.
Now, they just can’t stand the idea of Paladins being on top for even 4 weeks. And let’s not forget Warriors are receiving a buff to their main attack next patch to help their DPS. I don’t know Warriors well enough to comment on how much this will help.I hope it helps their DPS issue, while not unbalancing single target TPS.
I'm not against Warriors getting buffs they need, especially to an area I don't consider core to the Tanks job. It is also completely irrelevant to the Devs what I think. They aren't asking me for my opinion on Tank balance issues, and they don't need my permission to buff or nerf a class as they see fit.
I just get the impression that some of these guys won't be happy until we're back in the tBC model of Warriors being the best tank, and by a good margin. If that is what they ultimately want, I think they are going to continue to be frustrated.
Now I’m going to conclude this piece with a controversial conspiracy theory. Like most conspiracy theories there's not a shred of truth to it, but it's interesting to think about nonetheless.
The rational among you may wish to stop reading at this point.
First off a little history lesson:
About halfway through Wrath, the Dev Team told us that during Burning Crusade they were making sure Warriors were the best tank. From Ghostcrawler himself we have we made no attempt to balance the tank classes” and “When there were situations that other classes started to outstrip warriors, we took steps to make sure the warriors still came out on top”
Of course, this isn’t what the Dev Team was communicating during Burning Crusade as Paladins fought for acceptance as Tanks. What they told the community during that time was "we don't want to (or want the players to) find some rigid hierarchy by which classes are measured in their tanking potential to the third decimal point"

I'm not sure how you could call one class being on top anything but a 'rigid hierarchy', but I digress.
I remember that post well because it gave hope and encouragement to a lot of struggling Paladin tanks, and it gave Blizzard another 3 to 6 months of subscriptions from those Paladin tanks as they waited to be 'fixed', a fix that wouldn’t truly come until the next Expansion, Wrath.
Now what does that have to do with the current issues with Warriors?
One of the design points of Wrath was 4 viable tank classes. How can you tell if that’s been achieved? Certainly design goals met would be a big part of the annual review for your design team. Perhaps some middle manager set a goal for tank representation across the classes. Whether or not the Dev Team hit the benchmark would impact their annual review. Somewhere along the way Blizzard started to ‘check their work’ by looking at representation of Tank classes for Raids and hard modes. What they found was that overwhelmingly people were still using Warriors. Ghostcrawler himself stated the number of Paladins Tanks testing ICC on the PTR was 'imperceptibly low'.
How in the world do you get the community to diversify its choice of Tanks?You have to prove to the community they are really strong tanks. You have to put them on top.
Of course, you can’t tell the community that’s what you are doing. You have to continue paying lip service to balance much as they did in Burning Crusade.
Am I crazy? Off my rocker? That’s entirely possible. No, check that, it's probable!
But I tell you what. If somewhere halfway through Cataclysm, once it’s doesn’t matter anymore, they ‘come clean’ like they did about Burning Crusade in Wrath, remember this post!


Rhidach said...

Very well put, Honors!

Tegoelf said...

God, I wish that conspiracy theory didn't make so much sense... though that would give me hope that the stuff Ghost has said recently about tank balance and paladins getting nerffed is more of the same =)

Crashandburn said...

I find the Festergut argument a bit hard to swallow having killed him in 10-man with two warrior tank.

Yes as prot in heroics I can probably do better on the damage meters than a similarly geared warrior but if you really feel Paladin is better, go roll one and play it instead.

What's my main Again? said...

When you compare warriors to say druids and dk's there is enough in a difference between the two that you can't make an argument on which is better. But when you compare paladins and warriors they really are like brothers and so the difference is glaring.

Paladins have higher base armor, damge reduction, stamina, single target threat, aoe threat, ranged threat, stronger damage reduction cd, and higher passive survivability. Warriors have better interrupts and higher mobility and slightly better against damage magic (if the ability is reflect-able)

I, like you tank with both a warrior and paladin at lvl 80. I see how much easier tanking is on my paladin and how much more survival my paladin has... and my normal tanking partner is a paladin. I am sitting in his shadow for nearly all of ICC unable to keep up on trash mobs and can only out threat him if I have aggro on the boss and am taking steady damage.

His brother has a warrior tank and was asking for tips to tank HoR in our tank channel. I started going through this huge lists of things he needed to do to keep threat and keep his rage up... and then the pally chimes in "and then drop consecration and cast holy wrath... oh wait"

I'm not about to bash people who play pallies by any means. I'm also not calling for nerfs but it would be nice to be able to atleast keep up with pallies in SOME area. As it is I get to tank Jarraxus because I can interrupt... and rotface... because I can't possibly kite the slimes.

Also our 25 man uses a bear tank MT, pally OT, and warriors for third tank when need be. It has been this way since Ulduar.

Bacon said...

Interesting that all this is coming out - AGAIN. A similar issue occured in tBC with Druid tanks. Their EH and armor was insanely high (no to mention their dodge) in the earlier days of tBC and Kara. This brought out a down pour of warrior tears and for a while it was a Druid/Warrior only debate.

Eventually Druids were "fixed". Now that this is happening, I doubt many feral druids are going to interject themselves into this debate that's going on with warriors and paladins.

But before I end, I will admit that in running alot of random heroics I have had ~75% tankadins, 15% warriors and 10% DKs. I have yet to heal 1 druid tank in a heroic since 3.3. Prot Paladins are finally viewed as a very viable tank. Druids? Maybe not so much anymore.

Honors Code said...


"higher base armor, damge reduction, stamina, single target threat, aoe threat, ranged threat, stronger damage reduction cd, and higher passive survivability."

That's a pretty big list and I haven't seen any theorycraft that shows Paladins are way ahead in all those areas. I means we wear essentially the same gear, how could we be miles ahead unless you are counting Devo which can be provided by Holy.

I'd love to see some conclusive data to back all that up. Feel free to email me if you feel like it would make too long a comment.

Honors Code said...


We use a Druid in the ICC10 runs that I do on the Hunter. We actually use a Druid/Warrior mix on those runs and we've had no issues thus far. The biggest problem we have in that group is lower DPS because we are all alts.

apokteino said...

Druids are probably the most viable tanking class atm. I remember some post a while from GC stating that but then saying since so few people played them and since their "superiority" wasn't glaring, they weren't going to make any adjustments.

HP said...

Paladins in general have seen bashing ever since they got revamped for WotLK. It's not really fair as finally, we're not retlol and we're competitive as holy and prot. However, the old vanguard refuses to let it be and wishes for the old status quo back. There is a difference between balance issues and class bias!

Way to point this out! Double standards FTL!!!

Bacon said...

Maybe my wording was incorrect in saying that druids may not be a viable tank. They are. But they're definitely not the flavor of the month.

But what do I know, I'm just a healer.

What's my main Again? said...

Taken from the prot warrior forum on elitest jerks

It's tough to compare two classes if you aren't 100% sure they are as skilled or geared as the other so I'll just skip to the objective stuff. Last I checked Rawr (which admittedly has been a while), a Paladin with the same gear I am currently wearing on armory would have 1.2-1.5k more health and ~3% more avoidance. Moreover the Paladin defensive stances reduce physical damage by 11.5% and magical damage by nearly 17% whereas Warriors still got their old 10% for physical damage and 15.5% for magical damage. Finally, Paladins have guaranteed blocking for non-ICC-radiance content vs Warriors bigger but more RNG blocks. If you really wanted to, you could start comparing the massive EH boost Ardent Defender gives as well but meh, don't feel like doing that all over again.

Is the Url the post was a response to a warrior who was wondering why a pally with almost identical gear had higher stats and survivability. The armor I mentioned was indeed from devo but a warrior can't always rely on that buff whereas a pally always has it.

The higher stamina % gain that pallies have is because warriors have a higher base HP then pallies but the modifier has long since made up for that in modern raid gear.

Those are just the defensive stats and I'm sure everyone knows that warriors are lacking the dps/aoe threat department.

Ardent Defender said...

We all generate rage, so no wonder some the hate ever now and then.

As for the conspiracy theory..... I can find it believable based on all the blue notes i read and Blizz saying one thing and doing another.

I was in a Heroic today with a druid tank, It was rare to even see one at that. He barely had 32HP buffed and with Kings on him. We were in Gundrak and from start to finish he tanked it like a 100 yrd dash and the run was over in about 12 mins lol. Needless to say I found the druid quite impressive, but its rare to even see one.

Honors Code said...


Well the buffs are where it starts getting difficult. Counting the Paladin with Devo and the Warrior without shows a pretty clear intent on the behalf of the Warrior who put that together to show the Paladin in the best light with every buff possible, and the Warrior as vanilla as possible.

How you handle buffs will be key to the comparison especially when the Paladin had its origins as a buff class.

What's my main Again? said...

No I do agree with you when it comes to buffs. After all the same can be said with commanding shout. However that still doesn't account for talents that scale better with gear. Or the fact that paladins through glyphs get a ton of expertise, 3% damage reduction, and a glyph that can be used for something shiny. Where as a warrior has to glyph for last stand and shield wall just to have viable cd's. It drives me nuts that the glyph of shield wall comes with such a steep penalty but due to the nature of almost every fight is required. I mean you look at fights like festergut and you can clearly see that the fight was designed around chaining 1 and 2 min cd's to survive the increase in damage.

Anyway I don't want to rant too much. I'm certainly not hating on paladins by any means, just objectively looking at the strengths and weakness of both classes.

Honors Code said...

The Prot Warrior Glyph situation is definitely not one of the developers finer moments. Actually balancing through Glyphs tends to be problematic whenever they try it.

Fourcade said...

In regard to Devo Aura and Blessing of Sanc: Prot warriors get them too if a paladin is coming along. Almost every encounter requires two tanks nowadays so whats the problem with having a different set of buffs coming along? Sanc is the most powerful tanking buff in the game, they should happy that the class who brings it is raid viable enough to come along.

Our shields: Divine Shield is ridiculously OP for tanking, and it probably warrants removing our shield wall. On Festergut our other warrior tank died early and we managed to down him because I could remove his stacks and start fresh. Divine Shield in itself maybe isn't imbalance, but combined with Sacred Shield and Divine Protection it's a bit out of control.

Ardent Defender: Remove it. It pains me to say that but a "get out of jail free" card that procs when you need it most and doesn't share the 2 minute global CD on our shields is out of control.

All in all, stop the QQ Warriors and let us enjoy our fun in the sun.

Honors Code said...


Your suggestion would destroy Paladin tanks. I'm not sure we'd even be viable.

We need a second cooldown to have parity. If you AD, you'll have to give Paladins a second cooldown. I know the auto-save is a contenious issue, but AD itself is basically the same as Last Stand. It's also completely useless for something like Plasma Blast on Mimiron where Last Stand is much more helpful.

You can't use Divine Shield while tanking as it causes an aggro drop. It can be used to clear some debuffs, but those applications are fairly rare. Using it locks us out of Divine Protection. It in no way warrants removing Divine Protection (our shield wall).

Sacred Shield procs once per application for a Prot spec Paladin. That's once every 30s. It only procs more often if a Holy Paladin uses it.

What's my main Again? said...

I wouldn't say that Blessing of sanc is the best tanking buff in the game considering the fact that blessing of kings and a disc priest together do the same thing. Really heroism is the only buff that isn't shared by some other class. (excluding things like vigilance)

Honors Code said...

Vigilance is a strange buff. I actually think it might be behind some of the issues Warrior tanks have faced since its implementation.

Anonymous said...

Warriors seem to get a lot more choice on the damage/survivability axis when tanking.

A friend has been experienting with high-damage heroic tanking, and the short answer is that he's losing about 20% vs. my protadin on AoE trash, etc - and maybe 40% single-target.

We both have high-damage sets, but he has a talent spec and glyphs for it - I just threw a point in Command into my main tanking spec.

The difference isn't as big as most people make out - but you do have to play on top of your game as a warrior to close the gap.

Honors Code said...

Do you really think that lolheroics are the proper setting to determine balance? I would think progression Boss tanking would be a much better yardstick.

What's my main Again? said...

In addition to what honors said the fact that I have to spec and glyph to get within 20% of the threat output of a pally who doesn't have to tweak their spec at all is a big issue. Especially since doing so really gimps a warrior's survival. I've offered to go dual spec prot to make some aoe fights like ldw easier but the guild says my arms off spec offers the better choice.

I'm glad they are upping our single target damage but I don't think that goes far enough. I really would like to see them fix the glyph situation for warriors as well as cleave and heroic strike in low rage problems.

And as a side note I have a set of gear that I use to tank heroics using 2 dps trinkets a bunch of block gear and some dps pieces thrown in. I have to do this to keep up with the over zealous dps that you fine in heroics these days.

Blue said...

As someone who has tanked with a warrior/druid/paladin, I felt like weighing in here. First I am a relatively new "tanker," having tanked VERY sparingly in BC with a paladin and really got into it in wrath with my warrior now actively raid tanking with my druid. I have healed all three from vanilla to wrath as well as dps'd with all three through all wow content.

Second disclaimer, the druid is hands down my favorite toon to tank with. It has the perfect balance for me with regards to active cooldown management, gear style, and play style choices.

Warrior tanks do have valid arguments, maybe not to the extent some are saying, but warriors do require alot more effort and overall skill to be highly successful. I really don't want to get into theorycrafting but overall skillcap is much higher with warriors than paladins.

Witch/Boston does a great job with his, probably because he is the best player I know. I see few detrimental warrior issues when I co-tank with him on his warrior. This leads me to believe alot of this is toon management.

I know this is a prot paladin blog and by nature it will favor paladin activity, but threat and dps from Prot Pallys is just so far above warriors, especially in the aoe environment and 5 mans. This probably is true of druids and their AOE too, they seem to be competitive with paladins in that department.

With cooldowns, the AD proc is just so powerful to me. Especially as a somewhat novice tank, I would have died to have a "BLOW YOUR XXX-WALL NOW"/ "Bomb me with your big heals" proc. I think it should somehow be an active cooldown. No clue how to do it, but I think that it would help balance the cooldown gripe. Holy Shield, while also extremely easy to manage, in my opinion, should stay. It is iconic.

I just felt like throwing some of my thoughts out there. Good post by the way!

Honors Code said...

I'll second your thoughts on Wich/Boston. He's the best player I know, too.

I would have to agree that it's harder to play a Warrior well than a Paladin (again I haven't tanked on my Druid). But I don't believe the skillgap is a valid reason for Warrior's to be the top tank as they were in tBC design.

Personally, I'd love the answer to 'what is the top tank' to be something along the lines of 'they are really too close to tell'. I hope the Devs can achieve that in Cataclysm. I'm sure Warriors would love it sooner, but we are probably too late in Wrath's cycle for the large systemic changes it would need.

Fourcade said...

Maybe I'm buying into the Prot Pallies are OP arguments are a bit too much. So let me backtrack and clarify a couple things:

Divine Shield: The macro for quickly applying and removing Divine Shield and the mechanic where it doesn't clear you threat table make it fully viable in raid encounters. In about a GCD I can bubble, unbubble and taunt back the boss. Maybe an unlucky dps will bite the dust, but you'd rather lose of those then your last remaining tank.

Divine Protection: I think at some level my request to remove Divine Protection was more of a plea to do whatever it takes to get rid of forbearance. It kind of puts you in a bind when all your player controlled cooldowns are on a 2 minute timer (esp w/ the LoH change) because of what I assume to be PvP imbalance. I'm almost scared to use Divine Protection now because I dont feel its powerful enough to risk going 2 minutes without being able use my other two emergency buttons. I pull oodles of threat nowadays, so an Avenging Wrath + Hand of Salvation (glyphed) can accomplish nearly the same thing as Divine Protection without incurring forbearance.

Sanc not being the best tanking buff in the game: Since no buffs are really unique anymore the fact that it takes two classes to replicate that same buff puts it pretty high on the totem pole.

Ardent Defender: If it was removed I'd like to see it brought back in some capacity. Tanking already feels pretty automated and passive abilities like AD certainly doesn't make things any more challenging for the player. At the same time I dont think it's a good idea to homogenize tanks so much that AD becomes a direct clone of Last Stand. If the current incarnation of AD is the most unique way of giving us another cooldown then I'll gladly keep it, but an active CD not on forbearance would be a lot more fun.

Honors Code said...

Divine Protection should be your go to cooldown when things get crazy. I'd love to see how you did Mimiron Phase 1 without it.

Divine Protection is a 50% damage reduction. Hand of Salv Glyph is only 20% and that assumes popping AW is enough to cover the threat loss.

I'm not sure what else you are 'saving' forbearance for. You shouldn't be using Divine Shield except in very rare cases where things are already going downhill and you need to clear a debuff. In a 10 man, even 1 DPS biting it may mean you won't make the enrage timer.

BoSanct can be brought by a Priest or Paladin. It doesn't need two classes to replicate.

As far as AD, we need a second cooldown. If they determine that AD is unbalancing, they will need to replace it with another cooldown. It's really just a creative way to give Paladins a Last Stand.

Blue said...

Well in my previous comments I was not really focused on the "top tank" debate. I was kind of thinking more along the reasons why there is such an outcry about paladin tanking vs. others, especially warriors.