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3.3.2 prot warrior changes announced


Blizzard has released the patch notes for the next minor content patch, v3.3.2, over on the Korean WoW site, and wow.com picked them up.  For those of us of the Prot warrior persuasion, here’s the changes we’ve been waiting to hear about:

Warrior

Protection

  • Concussion Blow: Damage decreased by 50%. Threat level remains unchanged.
  • Devastate: Damage increased by 20%.
  • Shield Slam: Damage modifier from block value decreased, and scales worse at low block value levels. Players in high-end gear shouldn’t notice the change. In addition, threat generated by Shield Slam has been increased by 30%.
  • Warbringer: This talent no longer allows Charge and Intercept to break roots or snares. Intervene remains unaffected. In other words, you can still Charge and Intercept in any stance and while in combat.

Basically, there’s nothing here that we didn’t expect.  The Warbringer change is a straight-up PvP nerf, which will have limited effect to those of us who hang out mostly on the PvE side…although let’s just say I’m not looking forward to dealing with Faction Champions without my snare breaks.  The Concussion Blow nerf was one I hadn’t heard about, and I assume that’s a PvP nerf as well, because honestly, I don’t think we were exactly blowing the top off the charts on Festergut with our l33t 30-second-cooldown Concussion Blow deeps.  Actually, while Concussion Blow can hit for a few thousand damage, I can’t see why it’s getting nerfed at all considering the 30-second cooldown.

The Shield Slam change…now that’s interesting.  “Damage modifier from block value decreased, and scales worse at low block value levels.”  But weren’t Prot PvPers stacking huge amounts of +block value?  Or, were they stacking huge amounts of +armor penetration instead?  In any case, I’ll be tracking how this affects things not just on Linedan, with his full rack of T9/T10-level epics and 2600 SBV in his block set…I’ll also be looking at how it effects Latisha, my 71 Alliance-side Prot warrior, with her level 70ish quest greens and King’s Bulwark.  If Blizzard’s found a way to fix the problem with Prot PvP burst damage (and you have no freaking idea how weird it is for me to type that) and not significantly lower Shield Slam damage in PvE, I’ll be mightily impressed.  In fact, if they didn’t lower Shield Slam damage by 30% at the high end–which would be a massive damage nerf–they’ve just increased its net threat, which may mean our snap threat, which was already excellent, is even better.  We’ll have to see once it goes into place and people can run some tests.

Finally, Devastate continues to get buffed.  Everything I’ve written on Prot warrior priority systems last year looks like it may be out the window now, because +20% more damage on Devastate will move it way up the list.  It may not be the “do it if everything’s on cooldown” move anymore.  It already hits quite hard once fully stacked at 5, so +20% may move it above Revenge in terms of sheer damage output.  Goody, yet more keys to frantically spam every GCD!

(EDIT:  I’m also wondering if yet another Devastate buff will drag the Puncture talent off the scrapheap.  Very few of the “conventional” 51- or 53-point Protection builds take Puncture right now, preferring the more general boost from Focused Rage instead.)

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7 responses

  1. Verdus

    It boggles my non-warrior mind why they didn’t just remove the damage penalty from defensive stance. The other two stances both feature a significant bonus with no corresponding penalty, other than restricting ability usage. If prot warrior damage is too low, that seems like a pretty solid knob to turn. I suppose they think that would only exacerbate the burst damage “problem”?

    January 26, 2010 at 13:34

    • I’m not sure. I don’t know if Prot PvPers actually fight in Defensive Stance or not–I do, but then again, I’m pretty much the worst part-time PvPer ever. I agree with you, but Blizzard’s been firm that they aren’t going to completely remove the damage output penalty from the stance, it’s going to stay at 5%. They did reduce it from 10% in WotLK.

      The problem with just increasing Devastate damage by 20% isn’t so much that it’s a bad solution, it’s actually a reasonable quick fix that will close some of the Prot warrior PvE DPS gap to the other tanks while causing fewer problems in PvP. Devastate doesn’t hit for five digits like Shield Slam can; Lin can crit one for about 3k or maaaaybe 3500 with five stacks of Sunder and a nice set of buffs, plus Enrage. The downside is that it’s BORING. It looks back to the old TBC tanking method of “Shield Block, Revenge, Devastate, Devastate, repeat ad nauseam” when there was no Shockwave and Revenge didn’t hit like a truck. Why not remove the penalty from D-stance and buff Thunder Clap by either reducing the cooldown, increasing the damage, or giving it a small DoT component? Matt Sacco on wow.com raised some good points about that prior to this info coming out.

      January 26, 2010 at 14:46

      • Pudder

        Prot PvPers Fight in all three stances, to get the max dmg in the beginning, they pop Recklessness, for the crit burst. Vs Melees they can also swap to battle stance and pop retaliation and OP for that matter, and defensive stance for SW, Shield block(mostly for the 100% increased block value, and revenge :D

        But What I think Prot warriors really need is better Aoe Effect, tanking 10+ mobs is a pain with the target swapping 10000000 times in a minute and. Once i actually got cramps in my hand after a raid. QQ.

        January 30, 2010 at 13:19

  2. Juzaba

    If base Devastate is now better, or even close to better, then talented Revenge, why not just go -2 Imp. revenge, +2 Puncture, and eek out a little more rage for rage-starved situations? The 50% stun is really only exciting in heroics, and it’s not like it makes or breaks the spec.

    January 26, 2010 at 14:33

    • That’s a good point, and I thought about it after I added that last paragraph. Lin’s 15/3/53 build has 1/2 Imp Revenge, and I’m seriously considering tweaking that point over into Puncture once 3.3.2 goes live. I can’t see how Devastate spam isn’t better than Revenge now; yes, Revenge can hit for some fairly impressive numbers, but Devastate gets the +15% crit chance off 3/3 Sword and Board, and now if it’s doing 120% of weapon damage? Hell yeah I’ll take 1 less rage per swing.

      It also has me wondering something else…for fights like Festergut where I’m not tanking for a period of 80-90 seconds, should I go roll on a big slow one-hander with a high top end and macro a swap between my tanking weapon and that? Do I gain more damage by doing that, with the potential rage issues but the harder Devastates, plus losing one GCD + 1 second for the swap? Or am I better off sticking with a fast tanking weapon (a Titanguard currently) which smooths out my rage gain? I may try it–grab a 178+ dps one-hander out of the various raids I run and see if that’s useful.

      I’ve never been able to completely break the Devastate-spam habits I picked up in TBC, to be honest. Maybe that’ll actually pay off now.

      January 26, 2010 at 14:55

      • Juzaba

        I think nabbing an enhance shammy-style weapon with 2.6 speed would probably pay off here. Spam Devastate, only Shield Slam when you have a S&B proc, and don’t heroic strike. I think rage gen would probably be okay.

        January 26, 2010 at 15:20

  3. Well, Devastate is currently still less damage than Revenge, but glyphed it’s much more threat. I run with 2/5 Shield Spec, 3/3 Focused Rage and 2/3 Puncture in my new raid build, and I use Revenge only if I’m down to less than 10 rage, which is almost never on a boss fight. I took Revenge out of the rotation and spec two days ago, tested the first 5 bosses in ICC10 with 4/5 Shield spec, 3/3 Focused rage, and was still finding myself starved. I put them in puncture for Rotface and totally fell in love. Saving 2 more rage on about 6 out of 10 GCDs on average for the threat is great, and revenge would have been out anyway so going from 2 to 10 rage on that GCD is more than made up for. Can’t wait for the patch to see how high I can push the TPS numbers then.

    January 28, 2010 at 12:31

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