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The nerfing will not be televised

I think I’ve left this world behind and fallen through some bizarre space-time portal into a mirror universe.  Seriously.  Superman’s a bad guy, pizza is good for you, and hey, there’s Mr. Spock in a goatee and carrying some neural torturer device thing.

How else can I possibly explain seeing this little nugget pop up from the esteemed Ghostcrawler:

— Protection warriors have too much utility and damage for PvP. (We don’t want to hurt their tanking in PvE of course.)

…wut?  I mean, wut? Protection.  Warriors.  Too.  Much.  Damage.  DOES NOT COMPUTE.

As near as I can tell, this was brought on by the fact that somebody actually got killed in an arena match by a Prot warrior–probably a mage.  This is apparently a violation of some sort of arena rule that Prot warriors are not ever actually allowed to kill anything, or be anything more than “annoying.”

Now, frankly?  Arenas can go die in a toxic waste spill for all I care.  My only arena experience was helping a couple of friends intentionally wreck their 3v3 rating to see how low they could go.  (799, btw.  Do you know how freaking hard it is to actually lose a match in the 900 bracket, even if you’re trying?)  As a PvE player, arenas have done nothing for me except to screw up various and sundry of my toons in various and sundry ways, as they get nerfed to compensate for the hardcore e-sporters screaming “zomg unbalanced!”

And now, this.  Protection warriors–protection warriors, people–are doing too much damage in PvP and have to get nerfed.  So just how does Blizzard think they’re going to nerf us incredibly overpowered Prot warriors, as we go slaughtering everything in sight in PvP (cough cough)?  Well, here’s some info from Bornakk about it:

In the next content patch the current plan is to change Warbringer a bit so that it no longer allows Charge and Intercept to break roots or snares but Intervene would remain unaffected.

We’ll see if any further changes come down the pipeline.

Not a massive nerf for PvE.  I like having Charge and Intercept bust me out of snares, but I could live without it.  As long as we can still use all our abilities without having to switch stances…meh, it’s a nerf, but not a huge one.

We are also considering some changes to Shield Slam to where it won’t affect players in normal tanking gear but it will affect the scaling of block value for those who are stacking it. This isn’t guaranteed as we still want to make sure it doesn’t have a real negative effect on PvE, but in turn we may have the threat caused by Shield Slam just straight increased. We’ll see how this goes as we test it internally.


There seems to be some confusion on what changes we are currently looking at that will affect Shield Slam.

What we are changing is block’s scaling on Shield Slam and not block value itself. Shield Slam’s scaling is being altered so this includes Shield Block Value, but it also includes all of the Strength on the PvE dps gear.

For players wearing normal PvE tanking gear, they should not see much of a difference, but we are increasing the threat of Shield Slam to make sure. Anybody stacking a lot of damage gear will probably notice a difference in their Shield Slams though.

Spock:  “Captain, sensors identify a damage nerf incoming, bearing two two six mark eight five, speed Warp Six.”

The problem with the PvP side of Warbringer is that when you consider prot warrior versus mage (just as an example), there was nothing a mage could do to a well versed warrior. The warrior carries a lot of stuns, silences, and then any attempt to root him is broken by multiple abilities. So then the warrior’s teammate (like a hunter) is just doing tons of damage while the target has no defenses.

Um…wait.  Wasn’t there a word for what used to happen when a warrior chased after a mage and couldn’t catch up because of roots or snares and the mage could just /point, /laugh, and /nuke?  Oh yeah, kiting. Apparently it is preferable for a mage to be able to kite a warrior than a warrior to be able to bitchslap the mage.  I guess the mages have a better political action committee than we do.

Here are some more specifics on the (possible) Shield Slam changed. Remember, nothing is finalized at this point.

The diminishing returns on shield slam damage now starts to kick in when shield block value is more than 1960 (at level 80). It maxes at behaving as if your shield block value is 2072 when your block value is actually 3160 (again, at level 80). Remember this includes the scaling from both shield block value on gear AND shield block value from Strength.

Oh, but “it won’t affect us in PvE.”  Uh…yes it fucking will.

Linedan’s tank gear–not stacked for shield block value at all–has almost 2000 SBV when he’s raid buffed.  His threat set, which stacks strength and SBV to maximize damage, has closer to 3000.  In his threat set, he’s already gotten nerfed damage-wise once.  And now he’s about to take another one.

All of this might not send me into the realm of a full rage bar IRL except for one undeniable, cold, hard fact:  warriors are already the lowest-damage class out of the four tanking classes. Look at your raid’s or guild’s tanks on Recount sometime.  Compare what the death nuggets and paladins and even druids can do compared to a warrior.  Boy, I’d sure love to be able to crank out 3500 dps while tanking a raid boss.  I do, typically, somewhere in the low 2000s…less if it’s a fight where I have to switch off with another tank (Saurfang) and spend significant time not being hit, even less if I’m offtanking and have to run around and gather adds without the benefit of Consecrate or Death & Decay or Death Grip.

“But your job isn’t to do damage, it’s to hold threat!”  Yes, I know.  That’s a frequent argument that DPS throws at tanks.  It’s a correct one…to a point.  But answer me this, Gentle Reader…if you’ve got two capable tanks, and you’re staring a DPS race like Festergut in the face, who would you rather have?  The death nugget who can push 4k DPS on the fight, or the warrior who does 2k?  What if you’re the offtank, what do you do during the part of the fight when it’s not your job to hold threat?  Have your damage lowered even more?  Would you rather have “bonus threat” instead of damage?  I wouldn’t.  Screw “bonus threat.”  I want to generate my threat the way that Blizzard said that threat would be generated in Wrath of the Lich Kingthrough damage. Instead, I get lowered damage and “bonus threat.”

So here we are, the lowest-damage tanking class by a mile…and Blizzard is talking about lowering our Shield Slam damage even more because of fucking arenas. Well yay.  Excuse me if I’m not sitting in the stands at the next MLG event.

Guess it was our turn in the gunsights sooner or later.

11 responses

  1. Counting down to Cranky Tank rage in 3…2…1…

    …wait, nevermind, he’s become numb to warrior nerfs by now.

    January 12, 2010 at 12:28

  2. The Warbringer changes will probably make it to live – which I could care less about – but I doubt the Shield Slam changes will with the numbers proposed. If I’m starting to get diminishing returns with just the base stats from gear I’m wearing without even having a piece of +SBV gear on – that’s just dumb.

    Not that there is any gear with SBV on it in ICC that they would need to worry about it getting more potent than it already is.

    January 12, 2010 at 12:50

  3. Juzaba

    To be fair, some sort of nerf is pretty much required. Prot warriors are currently very powerful in pvp settings. They have the best natural defenses and survivability. They have a golf bag full of stuns and silences. They have superb mobility. And they do very good damage compared to other PvP specs (nothing bursty, but pretty consistent). Allowing Shield Slam to continue to work the way it currently does would continue to add burst damage to the PvP Prot Warrior’s toolkit, which is stepping over the line.’s Bloodsport put up a decent article about the nerf. Although the article doesn’t go into how the PvP nerf will translate to PvE. Clearly this is more fodder for the PvE/PvP debate. In my eyes, it’d just be easier to rewrite Shield Slam to do less damage the more resilience your character has.

    January 12, 2010 at 13:18

    • I would be quite happy with resilience downscaling the damage on Shield Slam. That seems like a reasonable fix to prot warrior PvP burst damage issues. And while I wouldn’t like a nerf to Warbringer (especially on, say, Faction Champions), I could live with it. What I don’t like is the possibility of them kludging the “magic numbers” on their sliding-scale diminishing returns on Shield Slam and causing it to reduce my already role-lowest PvE damage while tanking.

      And as for that article on…don’t get me started. I’ve already been nerdraging pretty hard about it on Twitter. The author not only suggests the Warbringer and Shield Slam nerfs, but removing the silence from Gag Order and turning Heroic Throw into an interrupt. This despite the fact that Heroic Throw is our primary caster-pulling tool. His suggestion? “Just run up to the mob and tank it.” WHAT? Try that in some areas and see how many adds you pull. The difference is, I understand the problem of Prot in arenas and am willing to see nerfs to it as long as they do not trash areas in PvE in which we are already the bottom of the ladder. He just wants the PvP nerfs and damn whatever they do to PvE.

      January 12, 2010 at 13:32

  4. RJK

    my thoughts exactly…ahhhhhhh hello fury..

    January 12, 2010 at 13:48

  5. Blah

    You are biased. You should look at Xav’s test tanking going into Ulduar PTR. Four very equivalently geared tanks from one of the very best guilds in existence did repeated patchwerk tank tests. In terms of DPS, Warriors were number 3, behind druids and paladins, but ahead of death knights.

    If “while I am not tanking” damage is a concern, pick up a hard hitting 1 handed weapon, enchant it with mongoose. Equip that weapon and ranged weapon when you are not tanking. It is trivial to macro the weapon swap such that you can be ready to tank on demand.

    These weapons would also serve you extremely well in high-threat low damage situations, such as General Vezax.

    January 12, 2010 at 18:27

    • First of all: hi, “blah,” or should I say, Kansin. LOL WordPress logging IPs.

      Anyway…then how do you explain me standing beside your DK with the two of us tanking mobs in Naxxramas, Ulduar, ToC, and now ICC, and you consistently coming out well ahead of me? You do not have a massive gear advantage on me–you did at one point, but not so much now. Checking the log from Thursday night in ICC, where we were both tanking:

      Lady Deathwhisper: Haicu 3102 dps, Linedan 1861 dps, probably due to tanking adds.
      Saurfang try 1: Haicu 2438 dps, Linedan 2281 dps.
      Saurfang try 2: Haicu 2678 dps, Linedan 2045 dps.

      Now I did appear to beat you on the Marrowgar fights, in fairness, by one or two hundred dps. I’m not quite sure how or why.

      As for your suggestion about damage while not tanking, it’s viable…to a point. There’s still the matter of 1H + shield rage generation, which sucks, has sucked, and will always (probably) suck for balance purposes. Limited rage limits the amount of things I can do. You always have your six runes; if you hit your rotations when you should, as I know you do, then you’ll be able to use many if not most of your hard-hitting special abilities, and considering that runic power generation factors directly off using those abilities, you should have the RP to do the rest of them. If I’m not getting hit, my rage generation is badly affected. And all the Mongoose procs in the world aren’t going to help if I’ve got no rage to spend on Heroic Strikes or Shield Slams. The rage mechanic will always cause us problems when we’re trying to DPS as Prot while not taking damage.

      One other thought–why should warriors be the only tanking class that has to give up threat-via-damage for “bonus threat?” DKs, paladins, and druids all generate the bulk of their threat via straight damage, with a few bonus threat abilities here and there. Why should warriors be treated differently? That’s a question I may ask Ghostcrawler and see if it can be answered.

      January 12, 2010 at 19:17

      • Blah

        Yep. My browser auto fills in Blah for every wordpress blog, as many of them I really don’t want my email address being used. Remember where I work, if I wanted to hide I could. Its not hard.

        You, as the primarily warrior player, are biased towards warriors. This blog is primarily about warriors, no? Nerfs suck. Nerfs to your favorite class suck more. I bet you didn’t notice that DK got threat and survivability nerfs in 3.3. This comes after gigantic survivability and threat nerfs in every major patch of wrath.

        The largest portion of DK threat, far and above all else, comes from Rune strike. Upwards of 35-45% of my threat, depending on the fight, comes from rune strike. The dodge nerf in ICC crushed dk threat, while boosting threat for the other classes. Warriors get rage by being hit. Paladins get mana by being healed (which requires being hit). Druids get rage by being hit. DKs require not being hit to generate most of our threat. The rune strike threat buff only fixed it slightly. Logs from top players in top guilds have shown that DK threat in equivalent gear is below all three other tank classes by a decent amount in ICC.

        Regarding me doing higher DPS on Saurfang? I swap to my DPS weapon as soon as you taunt. When it comes close to being time to having to taunt, I swap back. For fights where damage is light, I often swap to DPS trinkets or weapons for increased damage and threat. Any amount of extra damage I can bring, the better chance we have at beating the fight. I did not suggest it as an option to blow smoke. I do it right now. I always have.

        With regards to Ulduar, Naxx, and TOC? You are still wearing the Naxx 25 shied & weapon off the first boss in Ulduar. You are 3 (or 5, depending on how you count) tiers behind in primary tools you use to generate threat. My tanking weapons have always been current. Of course, this is always going to be the case. I have far more options for “tanking weapons”, and therefor are much more likely to have access to current tier weapons. In Naxx, I had Death’s Bite (KT 10 man, equivalent to naxx 25 man gear) before I started tanking for the anvil. In Ulduar, I had World Carver. In TOC, I had a 245 weapon. In ICC, I have a 251 weapon. Your luck with drops of your threat generation tools has sucked. We’ve not seen a shield or tanking weapon for you for many months. If I was still wearing Death’s Bite, I would not be able to put out anywhere near the level of threat or damage that I do.

        So yes, I do out gear you. For the vast majority of classes and specs, the weapon is the nearly always the biggest upgrade. Tanks are not excluded in this. Naxx verses ICC is a gigantic leap. As such, comparing you to me isn’t a fair comparison. Hence my suggestion to look at one of the highest rated guild, who put together numbers on static fights specifically designed to test tanks. With equivalent gear, with all excellent players, warriors were not on the bottom.

        As I mentioned above, DK threat primarily revolves around Rune Strike. Early in wrath, this was primarily a damage based attack with a small threat multiplier. The damage has been nerfed many times, with the threat being increased repeatedly to cover for gaps in DK threat. This too has been a threat-via-damage reduction in exchange for bonus threat. And it has been done repeatedly for PVP balance, not for PVE balance.

        January 13, 2010 at 04:11

  6. Boslar

    W T F ?


    Actually I hate the snare nerf more than the other stuff, mainly cos thats one of the absolute gems in the prot tree, being able to almost always get to you mob is friggin’ golden, especially for offtanks. By all means nerf prot into the friggin ground in arenas, I don’t give a fucking crap. But this “PvP is broken so lets break PvE too” is fucking retarded.
    How hard would it be to just fucking make abilities that are too powerful for PvP work differently if targeting a player?

    I hate being nerfed in my tanking because arenas are unbalanced, I don’t do arenas on my tank and I never fucking will, now keep your grubby hands off my shieldslam and my warbringer.

    January 12, 2010 at 19:43

  7. Not to mention, as I understand it, PVP protties aren’t stacking block value, but Armor Penetration.

    Just how many PVE tanks do you know who are stacking Armor Penetration?

    If Slam + ArP is the problem then just nerf right there.

    The Warbringer nerf is harder–either the warrior can close with the mage and win, or the mage can kite the warrior and win. Mages have at least 2 get aways that I know of (frost nova and blink) and warriors will be down to 0. Two is too many, one not enough. 0 and we are meat.

    January 13, 2010 at 16:16

  8. Pingback: Nerf News (or, in case you missed it) « Tanking for Dummies

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