Patch 3.3.3: Revenge of the Revenge
Yesterday, after the servers came back up and people got to start playing with patch 3.3.3, I felt a great disturbance in the Force. No, really. It felt as if millions of Prot warriors simultaneously hit their Revenge button…and suddenly went all Rotface and screamed “WHEEEEEEEEE!”
There was some serious giddiness around the Prot warrior side of the WoW blogosphere yesterday, and no doubt it’ll continue to today. This is mostly because of the massive double buff that our Revenge ability received in 3.3.3. Revenge had its damage improved by 50% anyway…and then the Improved Revenge talent was modified to remove the random stun chance, but now buffs Revenge’s damage by a further 30/60% and allows the ability to hit an adjacent target for 50/100% damage. As I said yesterday, this makes patch 3.3.3 “Revenge of the Revenge.”
I think I can best sum up my opinion of what they did by recycling a tweet I did yesterday afternoon:
“Revenge used to hit like a truck. Now it hits like a truck towing a truck. Full of explosives. Driven by angry bears.”
Seriously. In terms of raw, single-event damage, talented Revenge has leapt to the top of the charts. Between these changes and the 3.3.2 damage reductions on Shield Slam, from the numbers I’m seeing in various spots around the Intertubes, Revenge is now top dog, dawg. For some gear combinations, the change is so drastic that there’s actually talk of moving Revenge ahead of Shield Slam (including Sword and Board procs) in the Prot warrior priority system. Veneretio espouses this in his post on the buffed Revenge. He states test numbers of ~3800 damage on Revenge versus ~2000 damage on Shield Slam. That’s huge.
I decided to try some informal testing of my own. So I took Linedan out and played around with the big level 82 elite undead giants (Pustulent Horrors) that patrol the top of the Ironwall Dam in Icecrown. They’re not hard to solo at his T9/T10 gear level, drop decent money, and have 68,000 health so the fights last long enough to get an idea of how things work.
I was surprised to find that my Shield Slams were averaging about 2800-2900 per normal hit. My Revenges were averaging slightly over that, at around 3000. That surprised me enough, but when I went back and thought about it, I came up with three things that put Revenge in an even better light:
- Linedan has 4315 unbuffed attack power–that’s a bit low for his gear level. He’s short on bonus armor (which translates to AP through Armored to the Teeth). Revenge scales off AP; Shield Slam scales off shield block value.
- He’s wearing two-piece T10, which provides a set bonus that boosts Shield Slam damage by 20%.
He only had one point in Improved Revenge, not two. That means he was only getting a +30% damage boost to Revenge, not the full +60%. (I have since rectified that problem by moving a point from Shield Specialization into Improved Revenge.)
And despite all that, it still scraped out higher than Shield Slam. So it’s a no-brainer, right? Revenge moves up in the rotation, Shield Slam goes and sits in the corner for a while. Right?
Well, allow me to put on my best Jeremy Clarkson voice and say…not so fast.
Here’s the reasons why Shield Slam may still be better than Revenge for threat, even if it isn’t for damage:
- Remember that Shield Slam, after patch 3.3.2, had its damage reduced but had bonus threat added. Per folks on Tankspot, Shield Slam gets an extra 770 threat added to the damage, and then that sum is multiplied by 1.3. Revenge doesn’t get the same bonus threat, it just gets the normal boost from being in Defensive Stance, as does Shield Slam, so that cancels out.
- Shield Slam’s cooldown is 6 seconds compared to Revenge’s 5, but remember that Shield Slam can also come off cooldown at any time thanks to Sword and Board procs. I have no numbers to back this up, but it wouldn’t surprise me if, factoring in SnB procs, Shield Slam’s “effective” cooldown is less than 5 seconds, meaning that’s how often you get to use it in a fight.
- Shield Slam gets +15% crit chance thanks to Critical Block. In fact, Revenge is one of the few big warrior heavy hitters that don’t get a +15% critical boost from either Incite, Critical Block, or Sword and Board–Heroic Strike, Shield Slam, Devastate, Thunder Clap, and Cleave all do. Revenge doesn’t. When you’re a tank like Lin with a base crit chance under 8%, and maybe 16.5% raid-buffed, that extra 15% is massive.
Some of the boffins over at Tankspot have been taking a few pokes at grinding out numbers, and so far, the preliminary results seem to indicate…it’s close. Very close. Close enough that there is no one hard-and-fast answer for whether you should prioritize Shield Slam over Revenge. It’ll largely depend on gear (higher AP favors Revenge, higher shield block value favors Shield Slam), and whether you’re pushing for raw damage or threat. Personally, I’m probably going to stick with Shield Slam before Revenge on Linedan due to his two-piece T10 set bonus (he’s routinely critting SS for over 10k in raids now), and the fact that I’m old and set in my ways.
One other point of interest. These changes have revised interest in one of the weirder warrior specs that popped up initially about a year ago…the 37/2/32 (or thereabouts) Unrelenting Assault Arms/Prot hybrid. Veneretio had an article on it last year. The spec is designed around the Arms Unrelenting Assault talent–which reduces the cooldown of Overpower and Revenge by four seconds–so you can see why 3.3.3 has brought it out of stasis. The ability to hit this immensely powerful buffed Revenge every single time you dodge, block, or parry, with no cooldown to speak of, is pretty tempting, and makes the spec capable of simultaneously boss-tanking and putting out high DPS. There’s a significant cost to pay, though. It’s horrible on trash, doesn’t work if you aren’t tanking, gives up a lot of the best Prot warrior toys (Devastate, Sword and Board, Critical Block, Shockwave), and requires a lot of avoidance to keep Revenge constantly lit up. It doesn’t sound like a viable everyday tank spec, but for certain fights, it may be worth playing with.
There’s a bit of irony to this whole thing, at least for me as an old-school warrior who played a bit of Prot during the days of vanilla WoW. Revenge used to be nothing but a threat ability. The damage it did was beyond negligible. It lit up, you hit it, you basically tickled the mob but it pissed it off that much more. Well, five years on, we’ve gone from tickling with a feather to hitting with a cruise missile. And I, for one, welcome our new vengeful overlords.