Let’s talk Bears, shall we?
Of course we shall. 🙂
So, referring purely to the Blue post here without any clarifications or updates, let’s look at how what’s been announced may affect us.
Ever since the announcements were made at Blizzcon about major changes to the stat system, I’ve been eager to hear how this will affect us.
The most interesting change they touched on during the Blizzcon, to me, was their intent to roll out the Bear style of being uncrittable to all other tanks. That has now been confirmed.
Defense will go away, and all tanking classes will have a particular mode that makes them uncrittable; “Tanking classes should expect to become uncrittable versus creatures just by shifting into Defensive Stance, Frost Presence, Bear Form, or by using Righteous Fury.”
How does that affect Bears?
First, we can claim to have lead the way to eventual enlightenment for the tanking masses.
We can also claim to be the bringers of joy to friends and sorrow to our enemies, but that doesn’t mean anyone will believe us.
Hopefully, what this really means is that we will cease having ignorant fools tell us we aren’t capable of tanking such-and-so in a random because “You’re not Defense capped”.
Worst case scenario, we’ll continue to be able to mock fools who say this, and other tanks will finally find out what hearing that feels like as their Defense stat goes away. After all, how do you respond to such blatant ignorance? To such a telling statement that proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the person uttering this idiocy is completely unschooled in the mechanics of your class, and yet still feels it is somehow their place to not only judge you, but to tell you “You’re doin’ it wrong” and then boot you from group.
Not that I’ve ever seen that in the game myself. Oh, nooooooooo. Not I. Nevah.
Recap; what are our important stats?
Armor, Stamina, Agility, Critical Strike Rating, Hit Rating and Expertise, with a healthy dose of Defense and Haste for flavor.
What will change?
We already addressed Defense going bye-bye. For our Necklaces, Rings and Trinkets we’ll need to watch to see what stats Defense gets converted into. This one item, out of everything in the post, is the one that worries me.
Example? Shard of Pirouetting Happiness. Decent item, no Agility, but the mix of Stamina, Defense Rating and Dodge Rating make it quite tasty. It is representative of how shared tanking items, rings and necklaces, are being itemized to date.
That Defense Rating will soon go away. What will replace it? A universal stat like Stamina or Dodge Rating? Both would be useful to all tanks. It would make sense.
If it’s Parry or Block, we have a net loss. And if it’s Block, so do Death Knights.
The direct quote from the post was “No more Defense on gear. Existing Defense becomes Dodge, Parry, or Block Rating.”
From what I can see, there is no mention whatsoever of giving Bears a Parry or Block. We can expect to continue to tank with our big furry faces. If it turns into Dodge Rating on items all tanks use and share, and Block and Parry for plate items, then excellent, except for the poor Death Knights.
Okay, I know, dead horse, I’ll let it go. I think I’ve made my point. But I hear that train a comin’, it’s coming round the bend, and I ain’t seen the sunrise, since I don’t know when…
Edit: I’ll leave what I originally said about Parry in quotes below, but please look at the comments to see how folks saw I represented mob Parry mechanics wrong, and the comments they made about it.
With Parry, there is a change to this that might affect us in a positive way.
From what I read in their phraseology, they are saying that Parrying an enemy blow will not speed up the next attack.
I interpret that to mean the enemy swing timer will not be reset upon a successful Parry, which results in faster enemy attacks.
What this would mean to me is, on enemies where you sometimes have two tanks side by side to spread Cleave style damage and divide it, if that other tank Parries, it should not mean increased attack speed on you. More steady, predictable incoming damage, fewer chain spikes. I’m just speculating, but it sounds good and is consistent with what their stated intent is.
As far as Stamina is concerned, they’re also saying that non-tanks and non-plate wearers will be getting more Stamina in comparison to existing tanks. Our flock, whom we grimly shephard through the valley of ass whuppin’s, shall be less squishy in general. Yay!
On the flip side, Bears in particular will once again be seeing a reduction in our Stamina multiplier in Dire Bear form, to compensate for the increase and keep us more in balance with the Plate wearers.
Personally, I’d like to be higher in Health or Dodge than the other tank classes, enough to once again notice. Just to emphasize the difference between tanks, and to compensate a little more for the lack of Block and Parry.
Not a big deal, I just miss that one thing a Bear could claim as their niche, physical damage bosses.
Armor is mentioned, and I hate to say it, but I expect we will see a multiplier reduction again.
We use Leather that gets affected by a multiplier. So far, they’ve reduced the multiplier several times to rein us in. Our gear has also been adjusted downward, and bonus armor on leather was reduced or removed entirely. If they move Leather up in armor value for Rogues, expect to see the multiplier go down again for us. If the plate wearers get their armor reduced to bring them down closer to the others… again, expect to see our multiplier reduced to keep us in line.
It doesn’t sound like any of the other stats are actually going to change in how we use them, but of course the spread on gear is going to play a big part on how things turn out.
Especially this new stat, Mastery.
“Mastery – This is a new stat that will allow players to become better at whatever makes their chosen talent tree cool or unique. It’s directly tied to talents, so what you gain from improving this stat is entirely dependent upon your class and the talent specialization you choose. We’ll talk more about specific Mastery benefits in the future.”
Can anyone tell me what the hell Mastery is going to make better about tanking? If I choose a tanking spec, and have Mastery points, does that mean my Armor multiplier works better? My Stamina goes up? I get shiftier, maybe?
Seriously now. How about this… if I’m a tank, I have hard, firm numbers on my Health, Dodge, Block, etc. I can directly control every one of those with stat proportions that are intended for tanks in the first place.
But I can’t directly increase Threat generated by my attacks without increasing my overall damage output.
How about, for tanks, making Mastery increase Threat Generation by a percentage, to all abilities? To scale it up without being tied so directly to DPS output?
That’s my hope. I can’t wait to see what they decide.
For Hit Rating and Expertise, the post said they will be much harder to “cap out”. Bear tanks have never had to focus 100% on capping HR or Exp, but if it truly does get reduced a lot, then I foresee a time when raiding Bears will want to re-examine using a Glyph of Growl to increase the likelihood that Taunt will hit exactly when you MUST have it work.
They’re removing Weapon Skills from the game entirely. This won’t affect Bears in any way whatsoever, since Druids in form are always treated as having max weapon skill allowable for their level. As a player of a Paladin that hit 80 and then spent two hours grinding as soon as he got a new weapon using Argent Tournament tokens, before he could bloody well tank with it… and then did it again when he got yet another different style weapon from his first TOC run…THANK GOD.
Now, let’s quote that little section towards the end, their breakdown;
If you are a melee DPS class, druid tank, or hunter, expect to see:
* A lot more Stamina. Bear-form Stamina scaling will be lowered as a result.
* Strength if you wear plate. Agility if you wear mail or leather.
* Existing Attack Power becomes Agility and Stamina. Armor Penetration becomes Haste or Crit.
First, we already covered Stamina. We’ll be getting tweaked to stay where we are.
Strength if you wear Plate, Agility if you wear leather. Does this mean that Bear form will no longer get any AP/DPS benefit from the Strength stat?
Add that to the one that follows; Existing Attack Power is getting turned into Agility and Stamina.
Attack Power, which right now increases our DPS output only, will now give us both increased Crit, increased Dodge, and more Health.
That actually reinforces my belief that Mastery will be a Threat buff, and also makes me wonder if they are intending on making the Strength/Defense items I’ve been whining about useful for Plate wearers only, and having Bears go to the DPS Agi/Stam items only. Right now, Strength is not wasted, it increases our DPS and therefore our threat. When you factor that into the way Stamina on those items is significantly higher than on the DPS items, our choice has been unhappy, but clear.
Maybe that will change in the future. I’m still worried, because the Stamina really is that low on those other items.We’ll see. Long days yet to come, and I’m sure many will voice their concerns over a balanced distribution of stats for Bears as well as Cat/Rogues.
Last but not least – Reforging.
This is pretty crazy. I have one question that must be answered before we can make any real determination; when you reforge an item, is it permanent?
Adding what they said here with what they said in Blizzcon, the idea of Reforging is not to swap “core” stats one with the other, Like Agility and Stamina for Bears, but instead to let you adjust the “support” stats like Hit Rating, Haste, Expertise, Critical Strike Rating, etc.
There is a clear intention here to make a distinction between core stats and support stats. Once we know for sure what those are, and whether changes made to gear will be permanent, we will be able to make better Wild Ass Guesses.
Still, it’s clear this is about making sure you get the full benefit of what you loot. Have too much of one thing? You can swap it for, if not the FULL point value of something else, at least something useful, which is a damn sight better than nothing. I know that I’m over hit cap right now, but way under the expertise cap. I’d sure love to be able to make that swap… so long as I wouldn’t be permanently losing that, currently, superfluous hit rating. What if I get an upgrade later that puts me under the hit cap? What then?
I can’t wait to see Reforging, I expect it to be like Socketing different gems, and that’s going to be very useful.
Edit: as mentioned in the comments, Blue replies to their thread reference new items, Scrolls of Reforging, that will have a direct application such as Critical Strike => Hit Rating. Thinking aloud, I wonder if this might work similarly to Armor Kits, only useable on some item slots, and when applied, showing as similar to (but not conflicting with) Enchants. If so, then applying a new Scroll of Reforging would simply restore the original stats by wiping away the previous Scroll, and then apply the new Scroll to the baseline. Leaves the door open to limiting the Scrolls to only work on armor items (no weapons, shields, neck, ring or trinkets) if that’s what they choose. Again, time will tell.
All in all, we are getting off pretty darn light. I bet the other tanks are full of anxiety right now, and can you blame them?
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming… What do we do, we swim, swim…