Thanks once again to the wonderful talents at MMO Champion, I woke up to all of this today.

The critical quote;

For Icecrown Citadel, we are implementing a spell that will affect every enemy creature in the raid. The spell, called Chill of the Throne, will allow creatures to ignore 20% of the dodge chance of their melee targets. So if a raid’s main tank had 30% dodge normally, in Icecrown Citadel they will effectively have 10%.

I will share all of the information MMO Champion shared as posted by Ghostcrawler further below so you can see all the details and reasoning. I just wanted to kick the big announcement out first so you can prime your mind. If you’re all caught up on this already, just mosey on down the post for some discussion!

For Icecrown Citadel, we are implementing a spell that will affect every enemy creature in the raid. The spell, called Chill of the Throne, will allow creatures to ignore 20% of the dodge chance of their melee targets. So if a raid’s main tank had 30% dodge normally, in Icecrown Citadel they will effectively have 10%.

Why are we doing this?

The high levels of tank avoidance players have obtained is making the incoming damage a tank DOES take more “spiky” than is healthy for raiding. Ideally, tanks would be receiving a relatively constant stream of damage over time. This allows healers to better plan their healing strategy, broaden their spell options, and simply give more time to react. Tanks could use their cooldowns more reactively. Instead, the current situation is that if we make a hard hitting melee boss and a tank doesn’t avoid two successive swings then the tank could very well be dead in that 1-2 second window. The use of reactive defensive abilities instead becomes a methodically planned affair, healers have to spam their largest heals just in case the huge damage spike happens.

We’ve been trying to do a fair amount to mitigate the effect of high tank avoidance on the encounter side of things during this expansion with faster melee swings, additional melee strikes, dual wielding, narrowing the normal variance of melee swing damage, and various other tricks. There’s a limit to what we can do, however. So to give us a bit of breathing room we’ve implemented Chill of the Throne. Going forward past Icecrown Citadel, we have plans to keep tank avoidance from growing so high again.

We’ll have this on the PTR soon so players can see the effects inside Icecrown Raid.

Our original estimations for tank avoidance would have worked fine had we not decided to add extra tiers of gear to reward heroic boss kills halfway through the expansion.

The Cataclysm design will keep tank avoidance at more manageable levels. The loss of defense skill counts for a lot right there. We are also considering giving bosses expertise or other ways of baking in Icewell Radiance — basically the concept that bosses scale with gear rather than just hitting harder and taking more hits.

Player comment: It would still be fine if the itemization team had designed the gear accordingly. In a full 258 setup for warrior tanks, precisely two pieces have anything but a 3 way split of pure avoidance stats on them. There’s 3 different avoidance stats on 3 different diminishing returns, and pumping them all up like that can really make avoidance numbers go way out of whack. Meanwhile, we lose out on things like Expertise, and the preciously rare Hit Rating which is available on *1* piece of 258 tanking gear and end up having to swap gear around to cover those deficiencies.
You are making the common mistake in thinking that our goal for itemization is to give you the best possible gear that we can. Itemizing your character is supposed to be a choice. There will be better pieces and worse pieces. There will be pieces that combine stats your really want with stats you don’t really need. Wearing the best gear for their character (which is not the same as wearing the best gear) is one way players have to demonstrate mastery of the game.

This is also why I always preach to take BiS lists with a grain of salt. Merely reaching for the item declared to be BiS by a spreadsheet or system you might not even understand could lead you to making bad gear choices, often of the variety of passing over the good upgrade because it’s not the best possible upgrade.

Player comment: Also, if you’re going to give mobs expertise, can you please make a spell or some kind of method to determine the level of expertise without us having to do parses?
Yes. We would probably just let you see the numbers directly. I consider it a design flaw that players have to experiment to determine thinks like hit and expertise caps. We’re all for experimentation and theorycrafting, but we don’t think it’s fair to require some players to go out and do a lot of work to generate specific numbers that all players feel like they need to know.

Player comment: Putting so much avoidance on gear isn’t a bad idea because other stats are better. It was a bad idea because it causes tank scaling to fail and makes Radiance necessary.
That logic doesn’t really work. It’s like saying instead of nerfing armor pen, we should have just put less and less on higher level gear.

If we had avoided avoidance on tank gear, then every piece of tank gear would have hit and expertise (and maybe crit, haste and armor pen). Stamina and armor are static amounts, and if they were not, then those pieces immediately become the only pieces players would pay attention to.

Player comment: If you want ICC damage to be steadier, why don’t you just walk over to the item team and say “Hey, we’d like less avoidance, can you cut out half of the avoidance from the ICC gear and replace it with stamina?” Or if you’re worried people will get too much stamina, make it Frost Resistance and put in so much Frost damage you couldn’t hope to survive long with TotGC gear alone.

We just don’t think that works. If you put very unattractive stats on gear then players just go back the previous tier of gear and complain that we don’t know how to itemize. If you put bonus stamina on the tier 10 gear, then that means the next tier of gear better have bonus stamina as well. If it has avoidance instead of that bonus stamina, tanks just shrug and go back to the tier 10 gear.

This is not a tank only problem. Casters won’t upgrade to gear that doesn’t have more spell power on it, because spell power tends to trump everything else for purposes of their dps or healing.

We put a little bonus armor on non-armor items (necks, rings, trinkets and the occasional cloak). We don’t put bonus armor on gloves and chests because that gear would be too good.

It’s an item level problem. If we added another raid tier to Lich King, we couldn’t just keep avoiding avoidance and avoid it for every tier going forward. We just need a system where you avoid a Naxx boss 30% of the time and an Icecrown boss 30% of the time, the same way the Icecrown bosses have e.g. 30% larger health bars and thus take 30% more damage to kill. Otherwise the stats don’t scale and bad thing happen (in this case the boss having to land so much damage to account for the fact that it misses so often).

Reasons behind the change
I’ll address this one more time and then leave it because I think players are more interested in trying to turn this into a huge tanking nerf than understand what’s going on.

We would not have this problem if Icecrown gear had been item level 245 or so, as we originally intended. We added a few extra tiers of gear to support heroic modes. We felt like we had to do that to have different difficulty levels and make raiding more accessible overall. We felt like we had to reward the harder modes with the better gear or nobody would have been very interested.

The proportions of relative stats on your gear are not the problem. They are proportional, give or take a little, at every tier except for stats like hit that cap out. The problem is not the class and item teams being out of sync. In fact, they are the same team.

Diminishing returns
The 20% nerf is applied after diminishing returns. That is why I am saying it won’t affect the relative value of dodge and parry. The Icewell Radiance won’t get you closer to diminishing returns by itself.

The whole point of this change is so bosses can hit less hard but more often, for the same damage over time but with fewer deadly spikes. That should feel better to everyone overall. The reason I am reluctant to say that is because some players are going to go into Icecrown, find it hard, and then expect us to buff their class.

It won’t be Brutallus hard, at least most of the bosses and at least on normal mode. We’re not going to be particularly sympathetic to players who find heroic mode too hard.

Stamina less important?
It arguably makes stam less important (though it will always be important for tanks). Many players are probably telling you right now that only stamina and armor are important because if you ever fail to avoid two boss hits in a row that you’re going to die. Under that environment, avoidance loses a lot of value.

If bosses hit for less in IC (which they will, since they will hit more often) then the value of avoidance for purposes of survival increases.

I still expect many tanks will die in two hits until they get geared up a little. But they will, and then the ability to survive two hits in a row won’t be as big an issue.

Effective Health
I am going to attempt to explain the disconnect the community and the developers have over effective health.

When I first learned to tank, long before I came to Blizzard, I learned that effective health is a measurement of your stamina in relationship to your armor. This is a pretty easy number to generate. It’s reasonable to include say shield block and other simple forms of mitigation into the calculation.

However, you cannot directly translate effective health into best tank. Avoidance matters. If it didn’t, we would have no reason to nerf it in Icecrown. Good tanks don’t depend too much on avoidance, but great tanks understand its value.

Furthermore, your estimations of effective health become less and less accurate the more variables you try to factor in. Most saliently, you can’t easily account for cooldowns. You can’t compare a short duration that reduces damage by 80% to a long duration that reduces damage by 10%. Mathematically they might generate the same effective health number, but in reality they work pretty differently and each has their own benefits in certain situations, which vary depending on boss mechanics. (I’d generally take the first one though.)

We purposely made the cooldowns difficult to compare from class to class. You shouldn’t then be surprised when we take your effective health calculations based on direct comparisons of said cooldowns with a grain of salt.

It’s fine to compare health, armor, avoidance or cooldowns. I would not recommend putting too much faith in one ubernumber that you generate by combining all of them.

Icecrown isn’t Naxxramas
I am pretty sure on day one of 3.3 going live this forum will be filled with tanks who died and respond with “I thought bosses weren’t going to hit hard.”

It’s Icecrown. It’s not going to be Naxx.

Avoidance relative value
If you conclusion is that anything that improves your avoidance is now bad as a result of this change, you should think through it a little more. If you didn’t like avoidance before, nothing changes. If you liked avoidance before, nothing changes. You just have less of it now. The relative value should not change, unless you get to the point where bosses no longer two-shot tanks so much, in which case the relative value of avoidance increases. (Source)

The first thing I want to draw your attention to, is the true shape of the discussion. This is not about nerfs or buffs. This is not about discussing how much or to what extent to change things. This is about combat design philosophy and mechanics.

The base issue is the way tanks in general endure damage in an end game raid encounter.

With the combat design system in place, and the gear itemization designs implemented to date, there are two methods of dealing with incoming damage; enduring but mitigating (lessening) the damage from a blow, or avoiding all damage from a blow entirely.

What we are being told is that mitigation is the design that Blizzard prefers to build around for scaling, because it’s easier to streamline.

Avoidance will still have it’s place, but if the current design to challenge tanks and healers tries to include Dodge as is in the equation for damage sustained over time, then if the random number generator decides to clump Dodges and hits taken rather than spread them out, you take more damage in a short time than planned, Healers get stressed more than intended, and tanks die from a situation that was out of their direct control to manage.

That’s the key. They want the encounters to be challenging, but they don’t want success or failure to depend so much on random, uncontrollable events.

We are being told that they will make things more challenging in the short term by reducing one avoidance stat, Dodge, by 20% for the purposes of this one raid alone, but leave us our full power levels for other content.

This is a novel idea. Ghostcrawler addresses changing stat balancing on items, and how if they changed stats allocation on one Tier people would just fall back on the previous Tier as a reason, but that argument neglects to mention one way they HAVE handled the avoidance issue in the past; a global formula change that affected avoidance at all levels of gear.

In the past Blizzard has changed the base formula used to determine how much Agility or other stats contribute to each classes’ Dodge, and they have also changed the base multiplier used in the Dodge calculation formula per class. 

Doing so would affect all Dodge, all across the board. I think they hesitate to do this because then all current Wrath content would be unbalanced except for Icecrown. Good reason? Yeah, I think so too. It’s still something they may decide to do when Cataclysm comes along, if Defense alone is not enough.

This is not about nerfing stats that are too good, this is about trying to find a way to balance end game raid challenges with a preference for mitigation, when trying to handle avoidance is causing balance issues. 

Now, one of the things I’d like to point out as we continue, is a comment Ghostcrawler made about how, in Cataclysm, part of this will be resolved with the removal of Defense skill.

When the removal of Defense was first mentioned at Blizzcon, I think that I, as well as other people, had thought they meant that the mechanic of Defense and how it works was being removed, but that something else was going to take it’s place. Something such as the Druid Survival of the Fittest talent, for example. This would be a direct case of foreshadowing removal of an avoidance mechanic in favor of a mitigation Talent.

I did not actually take the Blizzcon announcement as meaning that Defense skill is being removed with nothing taking it’s place. That’s kinda how Ghsotcrawler’s comment made it sound.

Obviously, if that’s really what they are thinking, then itemization priorities for other tanks will be hit a lot harder than Feral Druids. Just something else to think about.

What I’d like to point out here, is that the intent of this Chill of the Throne change is to cause tanks in general to take a lot more hits, and to have to rely more on mitigation to handle it.

They’re saying, “Yes, we WANT you to get hit a lot, we want Healers to be healing constantly, and we don’t want a tank to be one shot or two shot if we have encounter design that takes healers out of the equation for one split second at the wrong time.”

I’m sure we’re going to see a ton of commentary on this.

What I really wanted to address is how this affects Feral Druids.

I’ve seen a lot of sudden panic that this is a terrible nerf of Druid tanks, that this will hit Druids harder than other tanks based on our love of Dodge.

I’d like to remind you that this is actually a lot easier for us to deal with than you might think.

Remember, looking forward, we already do not rely on Defense skill for the bulk of our tanking survival. If there is a Defense change in Cataclysm, we are already prepared for it mentally.

As far as a Druid reliance on Dodge.

Our gear, based as it is on Rogue DPS leather, as much simpler tanking stat foundations than other classes.

We have armor value that we pursue for mitigation. We have Survival of the Fittest Talent, as well as other Talents for mitigation.

We do have a ton of Agility alongside our Stamina, and we do not have Parry, Block, or a requirement to have Defense Rating for being uncrittable.

Edited for clarity: What this means for us is that, by regemming and changing enchants from Agility and Dodge Rating to prioritize Stamina then we can increase our buffer that gives healers time to bring us back up, and by pursuing trinkets, rings and weapons that have armor value on them, we can work towards increasing our mitigation. I’m sure everyone is already working towards having the highest armor value on leather gear as it is.

So we CAN quickly modify our style to prioritize increased health and mitigation over Dodge. 

Also don’t forget that compared to other classes, our Dodge is huge. Even if we do reprioritize a bit, we’ll still have a big Dodge after 20% is cut off the top.

Yes, moving from loving Dodge to loving mitigation SUCKS, based on historical yoyo bouncing. We WERE the mitigation masters. It’s what we pursued from our leather gear, based on armor value multipliers for years. Just the knowledge that they nerfed the shit out of our armor multipliers and mitigation, just to announce that we really should focus on mitigation, is annoying as hell.

Yes, we know. You changed our focus for us to be the best we could. You know, that mastering the gear aspect? So we mastered it too well, you nerfed it in response, that’s kind of flattering, really. But to come back now and say that everything is messed up because we moved away from mitigation. Grrr.

Still, you deal with the hand you’re dealt. 

Flexibility. It’s our strength.

Let’s read what’s said, remember the lessons ot the past, anticipate how they may again change their minds when they approach future raid design, but always remember that we are the class of flexibility.

Semper Gumby!

22 Responses to “Chill of the Throne thoughts”
  1. Navyr says:

    I admit im scared i wont be tanking ICC on my druid ever, i mean lowering the dodge of a pally or warrior is fine, but a druid needs the dodge….

    ” Edited for clarity: What this means for us is that, by regemming and changing enchants from Agility and Dodge Rating to prioritize Stamina then we can increase our buffer that gives healers time to bring us back up, and by pursuing trinkets, rings and weapons that have armor value on them, we can work towards increasing our mitigation. I’m sure everyone is already working towards vaing the highest armor value on leather gear as it is. ”

    Didn’t they already try to nerf how much armor we got from items once before?

  2. Sarcon says:

    To be honest I think this is an interesting way of dealing with this problem but I cant help but think that all tanks are going to have 2 sets of gear your exclusive ICC gear that favors mitigation over avoidance and a set of gear for all other raids or heroics. I also cant help but think that alot of tanks will just not go to ICC or there will be quite a bit of QQ about removing Chill of the Throne. I’ve just recently switched from feral dps to tanking but I’ll be up to the challenge once I get a little more well geared.

  3. Penuruloki says:

    I think you’re spot on with how you understood the removal of defense with a replacement by something like SotF. That only applies to becoming crit immune though. Hitting 540 defense on a plate tank also brings about 15% avoidance with it (~5% each miss, dodge, parry). Coupled with the rumblings that they might remove the avoidance talents from the trees (another 5% dodge and 5% parry for Warriors and Paladins) and the shield tanks drop by 25% avoidance total, or about as much as Blizzard feels they need to lose now.

    Expect a comparable, permanent avoidance “adjustment” to all tanks. The nerfs, they are a coming.

  4. bigbearbutt says:

    Sarcon, I just don’t know. Two gear sets isn’t as far fetched as it might sound.

    See, the thing that worries me about this is it brings back the old debate about armor mitigation… versus physical damage only. If we’re going to reprioritize to take on armor, then we’re once again working to offset physical damage. If they build in lots of pure magic fights, then Feral Druids, even with SotF, are going to be hurting. Pure speculation, but it just feels like we’ve been all over this ground before.

    Perhaps it’s time to challenge assumptions, and make armor mitigation work against both physical and magic damage, and remove some of the other avoidance mechanics.

    If the point is to balance around mitigation, than provide a means to truly mitigate evenly, rather than mitigate some of this one way, some of this the other way, etc.

  5. Trevor says:

    Navyr: They nerfed +armor from non-armor items, but they didn’t remove it. What I mean is this: in BC if I was a feral Druid and got the “Ring of WTFARMOROMG” that increased my armor by 100, I actually got +370 armor because the dire-bear bonus applied to it (maybe it was more, I think they nerfed the % too, but i didn’t play a druid in BC). Now if I get the same ring I -only- get the +100 armor. This makes sense if you think about it. Bear is supposed to make us equal in survivability with plate wearers. If an iLevel’s plate pieces have 370 armor on them and the leather pieces have 100 armor on them, then we (in bear form) have the same armor from the same iLevel piece as a plate wearer. If we ALSO get multipliers to non-armor pieces and other tanks don’t then we quickly get way more armor than they have. So in my mythical world where all numbers are easily multiplied and divided, a plate wearing tank in all iLevel 200 gear has 37000 armor. My Druid has 10000 armor in the same iLevel gear and it becomes 37000 armor in bear. We’re nicely equalized. We both get the “Ring of OMGEVENMOREARMORWOW” which has +200 armor as a stat. Now the plate wearer has 37200 armor and I have 37740 armor. Couple more pieces like that and suddenly I have way more armor than the plate wearer. Add to that my agility armor bonus (which is already much higher than most tanks, because agility is actually good for me and leather is itemized for it) getting multiplied, and suddenly I have WAY WAY more armor than other tanks.

    Point being that +armor items are still good for Druid tanks, they’re just not AS good as they used to be. Now they only help us as much as they help any other tank class. We also get more HP per stam than any other tank class. So if dodge becomes non-viable (which it hasn’t, it’s just been weakened in ICC), we can always stack stam to get outrageously high health. Sure we’ll take more damage, but our huge health pools can absorb it.

    All in all, while the change does seem kind of vicious toward Druids I don’t think it’s going to make that much difference. I have close to 45% dodge right now, take 20% off and and I still have 25%. Maybe a bit more since the hit is coming before diminishing returns. My crit is unaffected, so I still have my fancy crit/shield block make pretend thing, and my dodge is still nearly what other tanks combined dodge/parry are since they’re taking a huge hit to their dodge too. This thing may hit feral druids *slightly* harder than other tanks, but not much.

  6. Sparky says:

    I agree with the point

    My main is a resto shaman, my alt is a feral tank. And yes, the avoidance levels do make healing annoying. It does annoy me that tanks go from “fine fine fine AAAAAARGH DEAD!” it does annoy me that, if we’re unlucky and 3 attacks aren’t avoided then we’re screwed and it annoys me that there’s NOTHING we can do to stop, prevent or prepare for that. It also annoys me that avoidance is so much better than mitigation at the moment (don’t get me wrong, mititgation is still good) and ferals are still very much mitigation tanks

    I do think they should have organised the gear better – and I hope they will for cataclysm (where they can just reduce numbers to percent conversion to avoid people not upgrading) but I also think that they can’t fix it now. If they strip avoidance off tier 10 then everyone will just keep tier 9.

    Frankly, I’ve always felt like avoidance should be a BONUS to tanks not the mainline. Because the minute high avoidance levels are expected, the bosses have to be designed with the assumption that 40, 60, 70 or however much percent of their attacks will NOT HIT. And the only way to do that is to make them hit hellaciously hard (or make them do a ridiculous amount of raid damage so that tank healing isn’t the main focus)- which means 2 unlucky hits and your tank is smeared horribly across the floor. And that’s wrong and unfair and not an ideal system.

    Make avoidance a bonus. Make it nice that maybe 30-40% of hits miss – yes, shiny. But don’t make it so that so many hits are avoided that the odd hit that does land is able to 2 shot the tank

    So I agree with this. It’s kludgy but SOMETHING had to be done and I hope like hell they learn their lesson for Cataclysm so they don’t have to use these dodgy patches and fixes. It’s clumsy but it’s the best I can thinkl they can do short of redesigning ALL gear we’ve already got (or making a HUGE reduction on points to percentage conversion across the board)

    Buuuut I do kinda feel that reducing dodge purely is still a bit of a feral hit – not a “waaaah no point in playing feral QQ” hit but certainly it will hurt us more than it will warriors, paladins and dks.

    And, oh yes we can always change our stuff around to adapt easily. My answer to taht though is “AGAIN?!” because it is a little tiresome especially, as you said, they’re returning us to mitigation which we always were (which, btw, I always PREFERRED as well. It gave us a niche)

  7. Sparky says:

    On changing mitigation – if they’re going to pull out the +5% dodge etc talents it’ll be nicely easy to add IN a “x% of your armour counts for magic reduction”. We’ve all already got a flat damage reduction anyway (protector of the pack, defensive stance, righteous fury,frost presence etc etc etc) so maybe they want to work on these and link them to a stat or armour or something

    But I do think:
    They need to sort out avoidance. It’s too high and forces them to make the bosses hit like trucks

    If they make mitigation more of a focus it MUST apply (to a degree) to magic damage and/or magic damage has to be proportionately reduced

    Removing defence is a great idea across the board AND block. At the moment a warrior has to deal with block, parry, dodge, expertise, hit and then look at strength for threat. It’s too many stats to have to fiddle with. Sure, it’s great for people like me who can merrily spend several hours with a calculator and 2 days in front of a target dummy but do blizz really want that to be a necessity?

    They need to be careful to preserve the unique character of the 4 tanks – so far I’m actually impressed at how Blizz has made every tank capable of fighting every fight in every role AND made each tank unique. I want them to preserve that

  8. Adgamorix says:

    I’m fairly certain that my parry+dodge is equal to our feral druid’s dodge – maybe a little off, but not much. So he loses 20%, I lose 20% – we’re both still around the same % of total mitigation from parry+dodge. He has more armor and health – I have block. The sky isn’t falling – it’s just a pine cone.
    .-= Adgamorix´s last blog ..Healing Questionairre =-.

  9. Neil says:

    People seem to be confusing a flat reduction of dodge chance with a devaluation of dodge. They are not the same.

    If they said “your dodge chance will be reduced by 50% in ICC” then I would rightly say that they are making avoidance nearly worthless. But this isn’t the case. 1% dodge on your gear is still 1% chance to dodge an ICC boss’ attack, still 1% less overall damage taken in the long run from melee swings. The blues have said there’s no reason to change the way you gear or tank already.

    This doesn’t hurt ferals any more than it hurts other tanks. We’ll get hit 20% more often. So will Warriors, Paladins, and DK’s. That 20% of extra hits that we’re taking now, it’s not like they can be blocked or parried. Read up on the hit table (wowwiki has a good article) to learn more, but the simple fact is that every tank is going to get HIT 20% more often, and to be honest Druids are still the best tanks for taking punches to the face.

  10. Minmon says:

    They aren’t adding in Chill of the Throne because they’re devaluing avoidance. On the contrary, what’s probably going to end up happening is an overall increase in the value of avoidance (freaky, I know :D).

    Right now, top end tanks have upwards of 60% avoidance, so if a boss doesn’t hit very hard it becomes trivial to heal a tank. If a boss hits for, say, 10k a hit per second, and a tank has 60% avoidance, if they had over 40k health it would take on average over 10 seconds of no healing before the tank bites it. That means it becomes trivial to heal a tank taking that much damage. So, to make healing such high avoidance challenging, they have to make the burst potential of the bosses ridiculously high (enough to be 2-shot). If a tank CAN be 2-shot, tanks have to gear with the worst case scenario in mind, and healers have to heal with that same worse case scenario in mind, because even if a tank has 90% avoidance, he WILL eventually get 2-shot. Funny enough, that means focusing on always on stuff to stay alive, which is health and armor. This also means that healers HAVE to continously spam healing, because if a tank can be killed in the space of a little over a GCD, you have to heal with the assumption that tanks actually have NO avoidance, because taking the time to consider whether the tank needs a heal or not is time you can’t afford to waste.

    With this flat 20% nerf to avoidance, this means that bosses will hit comparatively less, which means healers can actually NOT spam heals like no tomorrow if you get a good string of dodges.

    Personally, right now I’m gemming and gearing for straight up stamina because heroic bosses hit so damn hard. Come patch, depending on how hard the bosses actually hit and whether I’m comfortable with my health pool or not, I may start gearing for agility again to save my healers mana.

  11. bigbearbutt says:

    Adgamorix and Neil, yes, that is the point to remember. Every melee class is getting it this way. It’s not just Feral Druids. And our top health isn’t weaker than other classes, and our armor level isn’t either. I offered suggestions on how to change focus if you feel that on pure mitigation and health you are weak, because some of us have focused a lot on Dodge. Hey, having 55% Dodge is fun!

    The point remains, we don’t HAVE to reprioritize if we’ve been staying balanced on our Health and Dodge all along.

    And I’ve got a lot of other thoughts, but that’s for another post.

  12. Kaethir says:

    BBB, I agree with your last comment – those of us that stayed balanced won’t be affected by this any more than any other tank, or at least not by much.

    The real downside to Druid tanking, in my humble little opinion, is that this will further encourage the (false) belief that the bear with the highest HP is always the best. The case will still be that a bear with higher agility and a little less stamina is in a better spot that the bear that has stacked Solid Majestic Zircon in every single socket regardless of socket bonuses, but the fact that we’ll all be getting hit a little more often means people will look for the bear with the higher HP.

  13. Steevee says:

    This post from GC actually made me smile a little…

    Whenever I read about major game play changes being proposed or implemented by the peeps at Blizz, I immediately try to take a step back and see what their ultimate goal in doing so is.

    Steevee is my main and most loved toon. I just love playing my Bear/Boom combo. Oodles of fun to be had! However, I do have other toons that I play frequently and also enjoy, not just my main tank toon.

    What I generally see when changes like this are coming is that Blizz is doing their damndest to keep this game balanced and enjoyable to all. Yes, it hurts when one of my favorite toons gets a nerf (even though this won’t really be a nerf), but it also provides me with a new challenge in my game play and style on said toon. For example, I can usually no longer depend on my set casting rotations and I have to figure out new and better ways to play my toon that best fit with the new game changes. New game play for $0 additional cost to me. Pretty cool in my humble opinion.

    Does that mean that I love getting nerf’d? No. I feel the pain just like everybody else, but I choose to see it as a new challenge to be tackled (invisible achievements?).

    I remember when I first started playing the game. I was introduced to WoW by a friend at work. I was looking for something entertaining to do over my lunch break. Enter WoW. Then came that first Tuesday lunch break when I tried to log into WoW only to find that I couldn’t log in due to updates/patches/whatever…

    I walked over to my buddy’s cube and got the low down on why Tuesdays suck in the WoW universe. I couldn’t believe what he was telling me. The game I bought was not the same game I would be playing 6 months from now? There is actually a game out there that isn’t static, but developers make an effort to continually improve it? It was at that point that I realized that WoW may be the greatest, most complete game I had ever played. So began my love affair.

    All that is to say this, that Blizz doesn’t hate us. In fact they are doing everything in their power to keep the game fun so that they can keep on charging our credit cards. If their game changes end up sucking, they will make another change to fix it. It’s happened before and will happen again. Choose to enjoy it and come along for the ride!

  14. Thunderpaw says:

    I find this to be a very discouraging and dismaying topic.

    Blizzard said way back at the beginning of WotLK, that they wouldn’t want to have a “Sunwell Radiance” effect again. It was too much of a gimmick, too much of a band-aid. Yet, once again, it’s back.

    This indicates to me that Blizzard lacks the very basic ability to foresee the results of their own actions. Given they know exactly how their engine works (spaghetti code notwithstanding), and the proposed item(s), I can’t really see how they can fail to have a very solid indication of what avoidance levels can be every step of the way.

  15. Alerre says:

    @Thunderpaw: the part BBB quoted about “Our original estimations for tank avoidance would have worked fine had we not decided to add extra tiers of gear to reward heroic boss kills halfway through the expansion.” explain this, I think. They did have it worked out, but then changed the plan to meet some other goal, which broke their original assumptions. So, the consequence of changing the plan in the middle of Wrath is… another gimmick. Yay.

  16. Insertname says:

    @ thunderpaw – I have seen similar comments on various forums and I do not really understand that. The reason for the change has been clearly explained by GC: they had to increase gear levels well beyond their original plans in order to implement hard modes. That’s not really a lack of forethought or understanding of game mechanics, it’s a mid-way shift in the design of raiding. Blizz was looking for a way to both expand raiding participation to a higher audience and give the original hardcore raiders a significant challenge. The experiment with HC modes started with a portion of Ulduar and apparently Blizz considers it successful enough that it has become the new raiding model. That has only recently happened with ToC. I think you can argue that the original raiding design was flawed and Blizz should have realized it or that you don’t care for the current one, but I don’t think that really is related to Blizz’s ability to foresee the effects of gear scaling.

    With regards to the future of bear tanking and icewall radiance, if anything this may make bears the better tank because we still retain an advantage in stamina scaling, and depending on encounter design we may get to a stage where other tanks have slightly higher avoidance, but bears have much higher health pool. If it crosses the point where bears can take one more unhealed hit than other tanks, then bears become the “safest” tank and we’ll possibly see a bear health nerf. Of course that will depend not just on bear effective health but also on encounter design (healer’s mana, healer’s movement, type of boss damage etc.).

  17. thunderpaw says:

    I fully understand they did some switcheroo stuff in the middle of things. But they didn’t have to add an entire new layer of equipment and thus distort the growth pattern they wanted. But they did it anyhow. So they could apparently have known the results of their decisions, and went ahead with it anyhow, forcing them into a last minute scramble to cover their er, design asses.

    Because, if “You are making the common mistake in thinking that our goal for itemization is to give you the best possible gear that we can.” is true, they didn’t need to create a new layer of items. Just different itemization because “There will be better pieces and worse pieces”.

    This doesn’t fill me any sense of relief. :)

    Meanwhile, this bare continues to muddle onwards. “REMEMBER, DURIDS IS BEST! WHEN U IS HAF SUM FUN, ALL DURIDS IS HAF SUM FUN WIT U!! ALSO, DURIDS IS ALWAYS FRENDS, SO PLAY NISE, OK?”

  18. Mike says:

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens. As a warrior tank, I take dodge as it comes, but have prioritized Stamina personally to be able to eat more of those damage spikes without going down like a $5 whore. That may be because I only recently started tanking again, the last time that I played my warrior at endgame being in vanilla wow, but I usually value health and mitigation over avoidance. I wish they’d come up with this change for 3.2, tanking ToC for my guild has been a pain because even as it is the RNG can drop me in 2 seconds. So I personally like the swing towards mitigation.

  19. Pete says:

    A bear tank going from 60% dodge to 40% dodge, will take 50% more damage.

    50%.

  20. Boobah says:

    You wanna try that again Pete? Leaving out the 4.4% Miss chance you get for your 400 Defense against a raid boss, the penalty means your bear with 60% avoidance will get hit 50% more often. So far so good, except that designing an encounter to hit more often does not mean that the boss does more damage.

    Since the boss is designed with the dodge penalty in mind, it hits for 33% less damage-per-swing. If you could (barely) survive a two-shot before, you can survive a three shot now; your healers go from having ~4 seconds to react (those four seconds include latency and reaction time on top of cast time) to the first hit before you’re gibbed to ~6 seconds. The lowered boss damage-per-hit also means that blocks (and pseudo-blocks) mitigate a larger proportion of boss damage, further boosting survivability. Spending more time not topped off also means that HoTs are going to deliver more effective healing, further allowing the big heals to be used more reactively.

  21. Linedan says:

    I’m looking forward to this as a warrior tank (even though I’m a dodge-heavy plate tank). Fights like Gormok in ToGC where I take 54k damage in about .4 second are not much fun, for me or for the healers. Like Mike, I’m loading as much stamina as I can…but you can’t out-stamina an all-or-nothing, dodge-or-die fight like Gormok.
    .-= Linedan´s last blog ..The Raid for the Cure =-.

  22. Nighcol says:

    I don’t really get why you talk about this leading to changing priority to stamina. Ghostcrawler himself said in the text you quoted that Chill of the Throne will actually make avoidance more valuable so not gemming etc. for it does not seem like a very solid conclusion.
    .-= Nighcol´s last blog ..Sopeutuvasta vaikeustasosta peleissä =-.

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