Let’s talk about some of the possible ramifications of this armor stuff, shall we?
Just some idle, waiting for Wrath speculation.
We are changing the way bear armor works so that bonus armor on items does not receive the bear armor multiplier. Specifically this means that trinkets, rings, necks and cloaks with bonus armor will not be multiplied by the bear bonus. The normal armor on leather will still be multiplied by this bonus. We are also going to remove bonus armor from Feral staves. You’ll get your bonus armor from the leather you acquire.Examples:
1) A ring that grants 100 bonus armor will now grant a bear 100 armor (not ~470 armor).
2) Leather legs with 253 armor will still grant a bear ~1190 armor (not 253 armor).
3) A feral staff will now grant 0 armor.
We are making this change because armor is such a good stat for bears that it makes taking pieces with bonus armor a non-decision and we don’t want acquiring these pieces, which tend to not be common, to be so much of a barrier to a druid who wants to tank a raid.
This change will NOT be in effect when Lich King ships. We are letting you know this now so that you don’t go through heroic efforts to acquire items like the Badge of Tenacity, or Defender’s Code. Defender’s Code, with 850 armor, will still be a good trinket. But it won’t be an insanely good trinket for a bear.
We will adjust the bear armor modifiers so that your net mitigation does NOT go down with these changes. Let me repeat: this is not a nerf to Feral armor. It is a change to the amount of armor you get from gear with bonus armor.
I’d like to call your attention to that last line.
We will adjust the bear armor modifiers so that your net mitigation does NOT go down with these changes.
Let’s start by thinking about what is implied there… and then realistically think about what will have to happen.
As of right now, the armor modifier for mitigation is built into the core Dire Bear form ability.
Regardless of your spec, whether Balance or Resto or Feral or cross-specced, if you shift into Dire Bear form, you get 370% increased armor contribution from items applied to physical damage mitigation.
This used to be 400%, and provided the core of our damage mitigation. With Patch 3.0.2, we received the dual changes of Bear armor mod reduced to 370%, and Protector of the Pack adding 12% damage mitigation.
All other things being equal, this was a net improvement, because armor only provides damage mitigation to physical attacks. Protector of the Pack applies to all damage types.
If you are specced 8 points into the Feral talent tree, you can get 3/3 Thick Hide, which increases your armor contribution from items futher by 10%. Noted? Okay, let’s ignore that going forward.
All of this is just to nail down the point that, previous to the patch, you got the vast majority of your damage reduction just from wearing high base armor and shifting to Dire Bear.
After the patch, part of our mitigation was moved much deeper into the Feral tree, armor on leather itself (except for PvP gear) was reduced, and Dire Bear armor reduction was also reduced, so just as an example, Resto Druids in PvP became significantly squishier in Bear.
But what would happen if, as has been implied by GC, the armor we lose from Rings, Trinkets, Necklaces and Cloaks were made up by once more increasing the Dire Bear form armor multiplier?
If that were to happen, then every Druid regardless of spec would gain the increased armor modifier benefit of Dire Bear form as soon as they shift.
Now, you may say to me, “So what? Say we had 5k armor from all our gear multiplied to 23.5k, and now we get 2500 armor boosted to 23.5k. What’s the difference?” (It’s just an example, ok, please don’t quibble about the math).
The difference is, Resto-specced Druids are not now generally wearing the high armor value Rings, Trinkets, Necklaces and Cloaks that the change would be intended to compensate for.
So in PvP, Resto druids would be able to shift into Dire Bear and get much higher damage mitigation than they are seeing right now, without losing the effects on Items they would prefer.
Does anyone really think that, in an effort to improve itemization for Feral Bear tanks, they are going to make changes that are going to severely improve Resto Druid PvP survivability in Arenas?
Yeah, me neither.
So I’m curious to see how this really gets implemented.
I would not be surprised to see Thick Hide buffed a great deal, but moved much deeper into the Feral tree.
Or even the creation of a new talent, deeper into the tree, that would serve the same function.
Or even a special version of the Dire Bear form, like Grumpy Bear or Arctic Terror Bear deep in the Feral tree that has an increased armor modifier that other specs won’t get. Who the heck knows?
I just have a real hard time seeing Dire Bear form’s armor multiplied to the extent that it would have to be, to compensate for losing those spots, while staying open to all Druids regardless of spec.
Let’s use some real math here.
My Druid is still using the following items;
- Exalted Violet Eye ring (392 armor)
- Ring of the Stalwart Protector (392 armor)
- Slikk’s Cloak of Placation (346 armor)
- Badge of Tenacity (308 armor)
- Earthwarden (500 armor)
I’m getting a total of 1938 armor from those pieces. We’ll ignore Thick Hide right now, and just look at the 370% armor modifier.
So that 1938 armor from Items is currently worth 1938* 3.7+1938=9108 armor in Dire Bear form.
After the proposed change, those items would be worth a flat 1438 armor, with Earthwarden being worth zero. A net loss of 7670 armor.
So, the Dire Bear armor modifier would have to somehow take my leather gear and boost it up to add 7670 armor to break even. Hmm…
I’m wearing, as leather gear;
- Malorne Head (308)
- Malorne Gloves (237 armor)
- Tameless Breeches (388 armor)
- Vestments of Hibernation (404 armor)
- Belt of Natural Power (227 armor)
- Footwraps of Wild Encroachment (278 armor)
- Band of the Swift Paw (177 armor)
- Merciless Gladiator’s Dragonhide Spaulders (377 armor)
So from leather I’m getting 2396 armor, which comes out to 2396*3.7+2396= 11261 armor.
So before changes, I’ve got 9108 armor from Items, and 11261 from Leather, for a total of 20369.
After the proposed change, at 370% armor modifier, I’d go from 20369 to 12699 armor.
So what Ghostcrawler is proposing is to increase the Dire Bear armor modifier so that the 11261 armor from Leather would make up for the 7670 armor I lost from items. Right?
So we need 2396 base armor*new armor modifier+2396+1438 base Item value to = 20369.
Well, it turns out that an armor modifier of 690% would result in a grand total of 20366 armor.
(Edit: There was a small mistake in my math that I have corrected. The first pass I forgot to remove the 500 armor value from Earthwarden as an existing post-fix armor value. I’m glad I re-read that. Sorry.)
Again, just using my own gear, it would have to go from 370% to 690% for me to break even.
Think about that. How likely is that? And I’m still using all the armor items that supposedly they want me to get away from. If we were to remove the 1438 item armor, we’re talking an armor modifier of 700%.
No, I think I’m going to go out on a limb and state that I do not believe that Dire Bear form is going to get a flat armor modifier boost applying to all specs that brings it from 370% to 690%.
Feel free to disagree. Hell, maybe we’ll get all get a 700% or 800% buff. It’s a crazy world, after all, and it’s just a game. I wouldn’t complain at all, that’s for sure. It would make my survivability as a tank a lot easier, so sure. Go for it!
But I still doubt it, simply from a cross-spec PvP aspect.
It’s also interesting to speculate on what standard they will be using when it comes to what they think we would have equipped at 80 to raid as tanks.
After all, we haven’t seen level 80 equipped Bear tanks yet outside of Beta. The game is supposed to be balanced around level 80 raiding, and Bears are supposed to be comparable to other tanks.
So they are going to have to determine where our armor is supposed to be at those levels of play as Bear tanks to compare to other tank classes, and then determine how close to that value we could get with 370% armor modifier with only the existing leather armor that is properly adjusted for Rogues.
And then they will have to increase our armor modifier or play with our talents in some way to make up for the shortfall, without making us weaker than otehr tanks, or stronger.
Look, I know that sooner or later this will all get worked out, but let’s be honest. This is going to be a huge amount of work, and it’s not going to happen overnight.
And you know the game of yo-yo Blizzard is playing with Retribution Paladins right now?
Yeah, we’ve got our turn coming. Bet on it.
What I’m hoping is, we’re either going to see it happen early enough that everyone will be able to plan for 80 with the changed stat values in mind… or it will happen late enough that we’ll be able to tank effectively through 5 mans and quests until everyone hits 80 and starts raiding and gets comfortable, and only THEN will they change up on us, before we get much past Naxxramas and we will be able to adjust our expectations with everything we need already in place before we pass on too many drops.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The Developers go through Hell trying to balance things out fairly, don’t they.
In this case, all of this and the inevitable QQ is going to come from a Developer desire to make it easier for us to get a drop we can roll on, without endlessly passing in the hopes of seeing that one item with Armor… that the Warrior will ninja, damn him.
Not that I’m still bitter over that Iron Band of the Unbreakable that bastard Fury Warrior rolled on in Old Hillsbrad because he ‘might want to tank someday’.
No, not at all.