You cannot Avoid the nerfs of the future!

Linking from MMO Champion’s Bluetracker comes this post from Ghostcrawler about the upcoming changes to Avoidance;

The main goal of the change was to make parry not so much less attractive than dodge as an avoidance stat. Since tank avoidance is so high already, we wanted to do that by nerfing dodge a little, not by buffing parry.

This hurts druids slightly more than other tanks, but the emphasis is on “slightly.” This is not the big druid nerf that some forum posters have predicted. We will continue to evaluate tank survivability and threat generation based on PTR tests with “Patchwerk” to decide if druids need to be nerfed or DKs buffed or look at Prot warrior dps or anything else.

This is also not the big avoidance “come to Naaru” that some posters predicted. Overall, we think avoidance is too high and the game would work better with lower tank avoidance, but suddenly dropping everyone’s avoidance by 20 or 30% would be a very big change with many ramifications for healing and gear among other things. It would also feel like a big nerf to the many players who didn’t understand why it would be better for the game in the long term. But I still expect it is coming at some point.

Well, that’s a nice thing to wake up to this morning, I must say.

I’m always curious when I see a statement like this, about who Ghostcrawler is concerned with when big changes are proposed.

Do they only consider how an already fully geared and experienced raiding tank will be affected, or is any consideration given to how someone just getting started and only having starter Heroic and Crafted gear will do with the changes?

Normally, I’d be feeling pretty bad for someone excited at the idea of starting out tanking for the very first time suddenly faced with a big nerf bat, and getting frustrated at themselves for not doing as well as they think they should compared to the other bear tanks they’ve known in the past.

I say normally.

In this case, when the Avoidance changes go live in the new patch, the gear levels we’ve known won’t apply, because the gear available from Heroics for those ‘starting’ bear tanks will be ridiculously more powerful (with the new emblems). It’ll take longer playing Heroics to get the best gear you can, if that’s your goal before entering Naxx, but if you do take that time to do Heroics and get emblems, your tanking gear will bloody well be better than mine without ever setting foot in a ten man. So I think in this one rare instance, a new tank will have a pretty good starting position, regardless of Avoidance… so long as they can survive the first few runs into Nexus or Utgard Keep, and I think the nerf will be gentle enough that the job of tank with existing gear will still be quite viable. 🙂

So why mention it at all?

Well, first, it’s always disheartening for me, just a teeny bit, when I see that once again druids are messed with, without any overt reason. Again, someone tell me, I missed the memo… when was the last time end game raids preferred to bring druid main tanks over others due to our being OP? Did we really do so well that the rest of the tanks felt threatened? I missed that memo, but by gosh I’d love to hear the stories, it would make me smile and smile and smile…

And second… I figured having your hearts all stop for just a second at the idea that GC is actively considering a 20% to 30% reduction in current Avoidance levels would be a FINE way to start the morning.




29 thoughts on “You cannot Avoid the nerfs of the future!

  1. I’ve seen this coming for awhile now. I’m usually the MT in our guild on most all bosses and we just downed General on 25 man last night for the first time after about 5 hours straight. And no he didn’t drop the idol…….. According to Rawr my total avoidance right now is at 91%. That is way above any other tank in our guild and we have warriors, pallys and dks. With the same gear I think the bear will take more damage than any other tank out there right now from what I’ve seen and yes will not be surprised when they drop the big Nerf Bat on us soon. All I know is enjoy it while it lasts 🙂


  2. I think you are over reacting. 3.2 is going to be a fantastic patch for Druid Tanks.

    Of all the Tank Classes, Druids are the least affected by this Avoidance change. The entire amount of Dodge you are losing is coming ‘from the top’ so to speak. That is, the Dodge you are losing is under the harshest effect of Diminishing Returns. You will not see a noticeable change in your ability to tank.

    If you really analyze the Tank world after the 3.2 changes, the conclusion you reach is in fact, Druids are going to be the best tank. They will continue to have their extremely large health pools, solid threat, excellent avoidance, and adequate cooldowns. The kind of guilds that switch Tanks based on patch to patch or encounter to encounter performance switched from Warriors to DKs in 3.1. You will see that in 3.2, they will switch their DKs to Druids.

    Finally, I find it a little odd that a Druid would complain of the trails and travails of the starting tank. Druids for the paltry cost of a couple of talent points, get to skip the biggest challenge of any new tank, hitting the Crit cap of 535/540 Defense. You get it for free. In addition, your health point pools will dwarf what a starting Warrior or Paladin could dream of. Again, as starting Tanks, Druids are in a great place.


  3. but the emphasis is on “slightly.”
    Whenever GC says this, be prepared for a huge class breaking change. 6 months ago GC said BM hunters would be fine.


  4. Hee, I already read about it on, so you didnt stop my heart, or even cause it to skip. 🙂 Not that Kayeri is becoming a bear anyway. But you will be waking a few people up thoroughly, I’m sure. 🙂 Since I’m not working now and its Tuesday, I’ve been poking around for something to do while waiting for the Munchkin’s favorite morning shows to conclude before our store run today. 🙂 Already went through the news websites, mmoinsider and, and now its time for the blog spin. 😉 ::chuckle::


  5. BBB, I think we posted on this subject at about the same time this morning.


    This change is not a huge druid nerf, what BBB is complaining about is how we keep getting nerfed… over and over again.

    Also, druids can get large health polls this is true but we sacrifice ALOT of threat to do so. If we want threat at the same levels as the other tanks we are within 1-2K of HP which is nothing to write home about.

    Sure, getting uncrit with talents was nice but we didn’t ask to share loot tables with rogues to get it which is why that came about I am sure.


  6. Sorry for double post, but I prefer our druid tank to any of the others. Even in heroics with less geared tanks druids have always seemed easier to heal, that is just my anecdotal opinion.


  7. I just get sick and tired of Tanks and Healers being the ones that pressure is put upon every time GC and Blizzard wants to make the game more “interesting” and challenging.

    People who like to tank and can tank well are already a rare commodity same with healers. Yes lets make the game more work for them.


  8. You are a better man than I am. I wasn’t reaching for caffeine; I was reaching for some bourbon.

    My concern is I have no idea exactly what they expect of tanks anymore. I know that as a druid you were cheated with crushing blows, but at least all the tanks knew what was expected of them.

    Paladins and warriors were expected to reach the magic uncrushable of 102.4 and druids were supposed to load as much stamina, armor and dodge and pray they could eat a crush when it happened. The best design? Hell no, but at least you could gauge whether a tank was doing his homework for gear.

    Now it seems they are discouraging it encouraging you to just grab the next piece that’s an iLvl upgrade.

    As a paladin, I do think druids are left out in the cold. GC and crew keep making posts saying block is seen a worthless stat and a block overhaul is incoming, blah blah blah, but then we get this that says avoidance is too high? Sure buff block for shield bearers as a mitigation talent, but if they do, they are going to have to give druids and dks back their dodge or they will fall behind.


  9. @Honor

    “This change is not a huge druid nerf, what BBB is complaining about is how we keep getting nerfed… over and over again.”

    I assure you every class in the game feels like they keep getting nerfed over and over. It’s a perception thing.


  10. “Also, druids can get large health polls this is true but we sacrifice ALOT of threat to do so. If we want threat at the same levels as the other tanks we are within 1-2K of HP which is nothing to write home about”

    This just doesn’t square up with my experience in game. Druids are hitting 50k+ HP while Paladins/Warriors are doing good to hit 40k. That’s huge. I’ve never seen an issue with Druids holidng threat.


  11. Well as GC always says the classes that are OP tend to say “hey chill with the changes bro… things are cool, cant we just relax a bit”, while the classes that are UP get incensed waiting so long for the next change.

    Personally I expected a nerf to something, but I suspect they didnt want to nerf druids more than others; I believe him when he says they wanted parry to be more attractive and that was the motive for the change.

    Funnily enough, druids are incredible strong tanks right now. I have 7k more stamina, 4k more armor, a bit less avoidance, similar threat and over twice the tanking dps of the next best plate tank in my guild. The thing is, there’s just not many druids around, so you dont feel a massive culture shift of druids taking over in ulduar. Dks are even stronger, but they have huge nerfs on the way. Druids (so far) are getting away very lightly in 3.2.

    Avoidance is too high generally I think. Once you’re in the 50-60% range so early in a content cycle, you’ll be up to the 70-80% range by the end. At that level of avoidance, its no longer about luck; you know you’re not going to get hit, and you can count on it, the same way you count on amor. Its guaranteed and it broke the tanking game so badly in sunwell that blizzard needed a raid wide hack.


  12. Hell, I didn’t even realize I was upset or complaining. I thought I was being humorous. I read the thing and was amused.

    I was musing aloud about my thoughts when I read something like that… and thought it was funny how you can feel concerned over something, even a little, a little sympathy for the new and some idle wondering over target audiences, when it’s really not going to be an issue. And of course I thought it was fun to provide a little heart stoppage for you before your first cup of coffee by contemplating how, things remaining how they are right now, tanks would feel if everyone got 20% to 30% less avoidance.

    Consider this to be me wondering at how I phail at clearly expressing myself.


  13. @Honor

    Gearing up plate wearers isn’t any harder than it is for a druid. Sure druid can avoid the defense maze, but the pieces they need to boost their needed stats are seemingly few and far between. So much of the leather is compromised because it is rogue and kitty leather that it’s missing the stamina that all tanks covet.

    I dinged 80, and was ready for heroics as a paladin with 23k health and a couple percentage points from being block capped, and there were clear upgrades for me in both the craftable and heroics that I was geared for. Though we have the defense to worry about, plate wearers aren’t forced to run one instance everyday until their hands are bleeding because they are after one specific drop.

    Mixing and matching gear feels much easier for a plate wearer than it does a druid.


  14. You know, re-reading my post, I can see how, if you are already predisposed to be pissy about Druids in general, and desire a reason to get up in someone’s face, you could easily take what i said as being a seriously meant QQ about upcoming nerfs.

    Yep, I’m so much of a smartass that even when I’m talking tongue in cheek, it came across a little differently than expected. My bad. (Cassie hates when I say that. That’s cool, I’m down with it, homie.)

    Look, let’s try and translate what I said without the overt sarcasm.

    When nerfs are proposed, for whatever reason, I always spend a little time thinking not only of the end game maxed gear raiders that will complain the loudest, for good reason since they are the ones struggling with the very hardest content and need every single scrap of help they can in progression. No, I also spend some time thinking of how whatever it is will affect players who are NOT at the bleeding edge, those that are both in the middle (like moi), and those that are eager to get into it, and are just starting out, bright eyed and bushy tailed.

    In this case, I don’t see any issue for new tanks. Not just because it’s not going to be a big drastic change, but also because, apples to apples, the gear level newer tanks will have available to start with (after some heroics) will be incredibly more powerful than what the rest of us started with. Umm, for those that missed it, I think that for starting tanks, that’s a good thing.

    Now, the idea that Druid tanks were due for a nerf did come as a surprise to me, since I have quite a bit of info and contacts in the community, and while I do get told taht druids are solid tanks, I have never really been shown any evidence that a bear tank was preferred over, and taken instead of, another kind of tank in order to successfully do progression. In my opinion, the only time that concerns should validly be raised over OPness within a raid position like tanking, is when some classes are intentionally not taken, and another is specifically sought out over others, in order to attempt raid content.

    As an example, I have never, ever seen the comment in Trade chat, “Looking for one more tank for Ulduar 10, must be bear druid, pst”. Just, no. That is only one, small, example, and not the foundation of what I’m talking about. If you quote that comment and then attack it, Hammer, you fail.

    Maybe druid tanks are overpowered. As I said, doesn’t worry me any more than the idea a tanking class is underpowered. In my guild, we literally DO NOT CARE what class you are. If you want to tank, and feel you can handle it, go for it. In Karazhan, there were times that bear tanks WERE extremely overpowered compared to others, and my gear was refined to the point that I knew that if we were stuck on a boss, “Give me a minute, and I’ll deball you by bringing my bear tank and doing this fight easy.” I honestly don’t feel we are at that point right now. I can certainly be wrong.

    Finally, I welcome stories about bear tank success, not because I doubt it happens… but because I delight in hearing stories of other players kicking ass, taking names and having fun with their bears.



  15. Things like “best tank” are quite subject to opinion, since tanks (and healers) are far less easily measured than dps, and even comparing dps between different classes and specs can be a nightmare. However, my experience has been that druids are right now in the top 2 for tanks with death knights. We both have substantially more armor and health than warriors and paladins, and their block does not make up the difference. Then you consider the 3.2 changes are gutting death knight tanks (they are getting nerfs to armor, health, and cooldowns) we’ll be pretty much alone at the top of the Effective Health pile.

    As for this nerf’s effect on brand new tanks, I don’t think they’ll be too hurt by this. Remember that the nerf is 15%, so less well-geared players will have less avoidance to lose. Especially when you consider that new tanks probably have more of a stamina focus in order to reach solid health pools before even thinking about avoidance, I don’t think this change will affect them too much.


  16. I realise this is fairly hard to see as players, but overall avoidance is way to high. Nerfing everyone’s avoidance by 20-30% *would* be a huge benefit to the game, but it cannot be done in a vaccumn(Why can I never spell that?) It’s not just “Nerf avoidance by 20% and do nothing else”, instead, you’d be looking at nerfing avoidance by that much AND lowering boss smashydamage by that much as well.

    Why? What’s the point?

    With high avoidance, to make encounters challenging for healers bosses need to hit VERY hard. To raise difficulty (say, in hard modes) these hits need to come faster and harder. From a design standpoint, you’d consider 50% avoidance to be equal to 50% mitigation in the grand scheme of things, however it is based entirely on RNG whereas mitigation is constant. Thus, you very quickly hit a point where bosses are hitting so hard that if you fail too many consecutive avoidance rolls, you simply die.

    Now, consider with everyone having less avoidance (equally, so all tanks remain evenly balanced). Now, you get hit more often, but bosses don’t need to be hitting for the majority of your health bar. Instead of just spamming their biggest heal; healers are more concerned with overall throughput. Coinciding with the avoidance change, you’ll likely find healers heal spells just healing for less as well – this will make efficiency and throughput even more important.

    I expect these changes will happen with the next expansion, where they can work it into a level cap raise. That way, there’s no huge nerf for people to see; instead as your work your way up to 90 your avoidance drops with a new the rating change and newer gear adds little. Likewise, the new ranks of healing spells probably won’t heal for a lot more, but tank health will rise significantly.

    It’s all to make it easier for the designers to create more difficult encounters without them becoming instagib fights, and to make healing more fun and interesting rather than frenetic.


  17. Woo hoo! Storytime! And totally from a perspective of someone who doesn’t raid (more by time constraint and noobidity than choice) and from watching bear tanks pre-80. So take it with a grain of salt. It’s a fun story.

    There was this one time I went into Sethekk Halls as a level 68ish resto druid with, oh what was it? A warlock, a paladin and a priest. Sounds like a joke, right . . . kinda’. Oh and a feral druid. That’s the whole point. Anyway, it did kinda’ start as a joke. The priest, who had assembled the PuG, was missing gear. Not as in, had bad gear in some slots . . . I’m talking, as in, actually did not have any shoulder gear, any rings, no wand, no trinkets. Actually blank slots. I guess she’d been in and out of the game and was just returning from an “out”.

    Anyway, we were both dual specced and she decided to let me heal. Which turned out to be good because the Paladin wanted to tank. And he sucked. I mean, not in the sense that he didn’t know what he was doing, couldn’t pull or hold aggro. He did those things fine. But at about the same level as me he had barely more health more than I did. As a resto druid. Decked out in mostly int/spirit/spell power gear. Not that I’m all cool, “look at how much health I have!” I mean, like, I had about 5500 health and he only had about 1000 more than that.

    There is no way an undergeared healer could have covered that. His health yo-yo’d dramatically. Part of it was that not only did he not have enough, but his avoidance and mitigation must have been crap and part of it was me going spellcaster to help take out the mind controllers that plague the first half of the instance. The thing is, I had the mana and spell power to do that . . . my HoTs were still big enough to keep him alive where I don’t think the priest could have.

    The group fell apart pretty quick. The priest was only doing about 200-300 dps (no gear right?). Maybe it looked like I was a bad healer because I wasn’t in tree form and I was throwing starfires & moonblasts between regrowths. Regardless of whether anyone could tell if it was me being a bad healer or the tank being unprepared to do his job, though, he came within a sliver of life of dying several times. So the warlock DC’d. A few encounters later, like having just cleared the entryway and the first room, the pally noticed and soon thereafter also DC’d. No wipes, not even any deaths . . . but two drops.

    “Oh hell no,” said the feral, “this instance will not kick our ass.” Switched into bear form and before we could give any input at all, he’d pulled the next group.

    In bear form he had well over 9K health (nearly 1.5 times the pally’s!) and must have had just an amazing amount of dodge and armor. His health bar hardly fluctuated at all. Very, very easy to heal with just occassional HoTs tossed on.

    So I suggested maybe I could do better than 300dps if I switched to my Boomkin spec and trusted that it didn’t matter what the priest’s gear looked like, she could heal this guy. And sure enough, it worked. It didn’t matter how powerful the heals were, as long as he got some. We three manned it through the first boss. Not only did the bear stay alive, but he pumped out about 400dps and had no problem holding aggro against my 650+. I mean, I hardly had to watch aggro at all beyone letting him swipe the group first. Then it was just burn down the kill order. There were a few times adds come into the fight and started to beeline for the priest (you know how healing is . . .) but never got more than half way there before the bear had taunted them onto himself.

    So there’s an experience from the healing perspective looking at a bear v paladin tank. The bear was awesome. Kinda’ cocky. Like decide he and the two dps we picked up could start against Ikiss while both healers were AFK, cocky . . . but he was awesome at tanking.

    Of course, a lot of that had to do with the player behind the class, I’m sure. In my usual group I heal a warrior who had over 10K health at the time, and roughly 40% avoidance. He’s pretty easy to heal too. The point is, are Bears teh OP? I don’t know. But in my experience they’re pretty dang good. I just dual specced my cat into a bear build and I’m real happy with it. I’m soloing encounters that had me whooped as a kitty. I mean, the bad guys take a lot longer to kill, but I actually get there. Bears have a lot of tools to help with surviveability . . . from high health to good armor, to very nice dodge talents, damage absorption that procs off an absurdly high crit chance, to Frenzied Regeneration. Maybe it’s because I’m not even level 70 yet on my Bear, but I get most of my dodge from agility and talents anyway. I’m not going to cry, as a Bear, over a dodge rating nerf.

    As a DK on the other hand . . . my DK just recently hit 80, tanked a few heroics, realized I wanted more avoidance and swapped all my parry gems for dodge. That’s a few 100 gold I might cry over.


  18. You know the real reason for the nerf, though? New feral skins. They are going to be so freakin’ awesome that even the NPCs . . . even the biggest, baddest raid bosses in the game, are going to miss a beat. “That is one awesome lookin’ bear.” or “Dude, I wish I had chops like that!” or simply “Reeeowwwwr!!!!”

    We need some nerfin’ to compensate. We just do.


  19. On my server, the most scorned tank is a Paladin. Every guild has at least one bear, one warrior, and one DK at least, and maybe, maybe a paladin.

    According to my boyfriend, who used to tank as a paladin before going back to holy, they’re wrecking paladin tank threat this patch with the diminishing returns on shield block (or something; I do not play a prot paladin), so every tank has been hit in fun ways. Except I hear they are buffing warrior tanks. Once again, not sure.

    I just stand in the back and heal.


  20. WOW!!! A 20% to 30% reduction in Avoidance with a deduction in Dodge and a small increase to parry should scare anyone. I have a DK that’s DPS unholy…. And I would like to tank with her….. I believe that idea just went out the window. Plus, remember this is the team that gave TG warriors a 10% damage reduction. That end up being closer to 35% because no one on the team saw the lost of rage that would come from it…. Sorry about that /cry….. I’ve played that warrior only once since that last patch /cry more…… It hurts too much…… If there was a professional sport that made as many changes as Blizz does to WOW that sport would be crying for fans and not have a TV contract….. OOPS sorry the NHL….. My bad……


  21. Sorry if this is tangental, but I now have a DK at 80 (like everyone else I guess), and tanking is so freaking hard compared to druid. Druid have our 4or so buttons; enrage, maul, swipe(swipe, swipe, etc), growl…uh the one that stacks 5 times (mangle?)…frez regen..few other oh shits. DKs… i mean jesus they have 20-30 buttons, at least half of which are designed for tanking. I thought DK tanking would be easy, it isn’t, at least not in my gear (the full BS tank set), and getting defense capped was a pain in the ass. I love my druids ability to go from feral dps to tank to healing in an eyeblink, and i’m just a much better bear tank than DK. Seems like more skilled players could go more with DKs than bears, due to the more options. But bears can do it all and with style.

    Anyway back on topic, i see the next patch as pretty good for bears all things considered, but I’m not at 80 yet on the druid.


  22. I tried the PTR, dodge went down 2% in the same gear, so I don’t see this as a huge nerf, the armor & stamina loss in 3.1 was a much bigger deal, since I actually started feeling the hatefuls at patchy again.

    “Again, someone tell me, I missed the memo… when was the last time end game raids preferred to bring druid main tanks over others due to our being OP?”
    Seems like at least for Kologarn druids are one of the preferred MT, and there are other boss fights where a bear can make a difference. I think the biggest issue we (as in bear tanks) have is perception. A lot of players that used to play the original WoW still think bear tanks don’t cut it. Players that actually know what they are talking about learned to appreciate the bear as MT.

    “Did we really do so well that the rest of the tanks felt threatened?”
    It’s the warriors (no pun intended, if a warrior reads this), I recognized mainly the warrior class bitching about nerfs, and how they should be the preferred tanks in the game, and others are OP. Utter BS, if you ask me. I roll with a warrior MT, if he plays not one of his other toons, and we both can hold our own. We are similar geared, and I really don’t see a difference in the large.


  23. Its interesting, I always hate nerfs to heals and tanks (hai I am a pally healer…) and would never recommend anyone get nerfed. I also think that the strategy of constantly making fights more challenging by making healing and tanking harder is fundamentally flawed.

    While I have tanked Ulduar (mostly 10s) on my pally, my perspective on tanks generally comes from healing. Seems to me that healing bears is generally easier than healing pallies or warriors once you get past the heroics / naxx 10s level (mostly because armor and avoidance scale well and block doesn’t).

    I also understand that bear tanks are one of the tanks of choice for hard modes (DKs are the other). When a Naxx geared bear tank has as much health and nearly as much mitigation as a full tier 8.5 geared pally + more cooldowns its easy to see why the really geared bears get picked in preference.

    Now DKs are being nerfed because they simply have too many cooldowns available too often. Pallies and, to a lesser extent, Warriors are getting buffs but I think bears are still going to be in good shape. I hope so, I love bear tanks.


  24. I think this whole thing does me a favor. Now I know to stack STAM over AGI. IT makes my life a lot more simple. Druid itemezation is already complicated, adn the tension between the chance effect of AGI and the static pump of STAM was getting a bit esoteric for me.


  25. What I don’t like, as a dual spec feral, is the adding more confusion into the mix of how to gem & enchant upgrades when darn near every upgrade would help both sets. Right now it’s clear, I can use them for both sets adequately if I gem agility. If Stamina become that much more important, maybe not the end of the world or anything but I’d have to ‘downgrade’ one of my sets for gemming. That said, it’s already becoming an issue now that I am trying to stack armor pen for DPS anyway.


  26. With the nerfs that are incoming, I’m a bit less then enthused. I enjoy being an agility-based bear rather then a giant mana sink. I’m scared this could push us back towards that end of things.

    Then again, Conq badges outta heroics, so eh…

    Anyway, I’m off to build my 630 (or whatever) resil set for hard mode Thorim.


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