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malthrin

The Way of the Shield: Protection in Cataclysm

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The new holy shield definitely seems powerful, but I'm worried that its effects might be too pronounced for its uptime. With a 40 second duration (with 3 HP) and 1 minute cooldown, we'll be pressing it pretty much every time it lights up. If the mastery bonus ends up staying as block value, then we could end up seeing it average out to a 10% reduction easily, and quite possibly see it go higher. The problem is that the short cooldown and relatively low power level (compared to DP / AD) mean that you won't often be saving it, but that it's still potent enough to cause a noticeably discrepancy in damage taken depending on whether it's on or off. 2/3rds uptime is good when we're talking in averages, but it represents a significant amount of downtime from a healer's perspective. I think that they could definitely stand to curtail the uptime a bit.

It's more than 10% DR actually. Operating under the following assumptions:

- 40% Avoidance (current avoidance rates without Defense's dodge/parry/miss)

- 20% base block chance (blue post was vague but implied a "fair" amount of base block)

- Old Mastery bonus of +17% block DR at 51 in prot translates over somehow (likely to be the function of the "mastery skill" you learn at 75)

So 40% of the time you are not hit, and block for 47% 20% of the time i.e. 1/3 of all hits are blocked and so an average 15.7% DR from blocking. With Holy Shield however there is a 50% chance to block i.e. 5/6 of all hits are blocked. This means an average of 39.2% DR when Holy Shield is up, which is 2/3 of the time (the usual 15.7% DR the other 1/3 of the time) for an average of 31.36% physical DR if Holy Shield is used on CD with 3 Holy Power Combo Points.

In summary blocking in Cata appears to be quite powerful and Holy Shield more than doubles that while it's active - and with such a high uptime brings the overall average block value up by a large amount as well.

With regards to your actual concern about healing and taking "spiky" damage, I don't really think it'll be an issue with the new large health pools and new healing model. Plus, if the boss doesn't require saving your CDs for some specific ability or phase then you could use other abilities in the Holy Shield downtime. Something like Holy Shield, Divine Protection, Holy Shield, Guardian of the Ancient Kings, Holy Shield, Divine Protection, Holy Shield. That's 3 minutes 40 seconds before a true full gap in 'coverage' (although there are small gaps throughout since DP is only 12 seconds out of the 20, but that should be more than enough).

Although the tank numbers are fun to think about there's still far too much missing for us to really hypothesize anything anyway, all the various self healing mechanics and talents are going to become vastly more powerful and depend on our knowledge of player HP and average boss damage to make valid comparisons. Hell we even need to know AP values to account for the Bear "paw block".

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Just posted by GC: http://www.worldofraids.com/wow-blue-tracker/us-forums/26227683121-thoughts-on-the-current-prot-pally-tree.html

Ardent Defender - Activate to reduce damage taken by 20% for 10 sec. While active, attacks which would otherwise kill you cause you to be healed for 15% of your maximum health. 3 minute cooldown. Off the GCD.

Subject to further balance tweaking of course.

Much better than the current beta build, and in my opinion, better than live. Mini bubble wall off the GCD, plus ALL attacks in 10s that would kill you instead heal you for 15% of your maximum HP. Basically gives your healers 10s of extra breathing room to get you back up without worrying about being gibbed.

As for our rotation changing, I'm glad to see 969 go away. The rotation is quite boring, and I find my warrior much more fun to tank with because of the procs I need to watch for if I want maximum DPS and threat. The changes in the pally prot tree looks like we'll be less "faceroll", watching for Grand Crusader procs and all.

Our trees still looks like it has some tweaking incoming, as GC stated that our infinite Divine Plea will be going away and replaced by a JotW effect for speccing Prot (Prot Paladins in Beta Build 12539 - World of Raids). Guarded by the Light looks weird anyways...reducing Divine Plea to no CD and no mana cost?

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You realize reckoning will definitely be worth it now. PoJ was only worth it when it reduced disarm--the speed increase will just have to be stam/minor speed to boots enchant.

The extra speed you get from PoJ over a boot enchant is absolutely the reason to take it. You spec 2 points on Live into the Disarm reduction for...the Warrior in Faction Champions?

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Mex, I came up with the same cookie cutter build, but my last three points certainly went into Divinity. The tank health/healing goal in Cataclysm is to be not topped off easily. If it plays out like the devs have pitched, this would be a true nearly 6% increased effective healing. The main argument against it in current play is spam overhealing, but that should no longer be a concern if the design works out.

Yeah, Divinity is certainly an outlier. I'd hesitate to call it necessary at this earlier stage, but it's definitely in its own category away from every other talent which amounts to a threat / DPS increase. I would imagine that it would feature fairly heavily in progression builds.

You realize reckoning will definitely be worth it now. PoJ was only worth it when it reduced disarm--the speed increase will just have to be stam/minor speed to boots enchant. 0/35/5 build seems like the more logical choice, the critical strike on CS is a minor increase of threat.

#

# Reckoning now gives you a 10/20/30% chance after blocking an attack for your next 4 weapon swings within 8 sec to generate an additional attack.

I'm sorry, I don't understand why reckoning is "definitely worth it". It's a threat increase, or minor survivability increase if for some reason you're using Seal of the Pure. PoJ still provides 15% movespeed, and is still a critical tanking talent because of that. Discussion can be found earlier in the thread in the 3.3 thread if you're interested.

It's more than 10% DR actually. Operating under the following assumptions

...

With regards to your actual concern about healing and taking "spiky" damage, I don't really think it'll be an issue with the new large health pools and new healing model.

Well, I tried to avoid making too many assumptions. Certainly numbers like 40% avoidance, right at the start of the expac, would strike me as being ridiculously high. I'm also not sure what sorts of numbers we'll see from Mastery regarding block value. I wouldn't be surprised to see well-rounded gear only increase the amount blocked from 30% to 35% or so. More extreme numbers simply exacerbate the problem, though.

Regarding the second part of your post that I quoted, I honestly think that people are probably reading too much into promises of a new healing model. Incoming damage will still be spikey, overhealing will still occur and still be necessary, and while these things might be eased off somewhat, we're still going to be copping a lot of healing spam very quickly during hard fights. Intense periods typically tend to be quite short, and if that's the case then we're likely to see holy shield end up being a psuedo-cooldown. In that case, balancing things so that Paladins aren't too powerful during the burst, and too spongey during the rest of the fight may be problematic. I think a 10 second + 3-4 seconds per HP holy shield seems more reasonable, but we'll have to wait and see how encounters shape up to know for sure.

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I'm sorry, I don't understand why reckoning is "definitely worth it". It's a threat increase, or minor survivability increase if for some reason you're using Seal of the Pure. PoJ still provides 15% movespeed, and is still a critical tanking talent because of that. Discussion can be found earlier in the thread if you're interested.

You can't really say how critical 7% run speed will be as a tank without seeing the encounters. On live PoJ is a no brainer because there's nothing else good to spend the points on, but the competing talents in cataclysm are pretty good. If blizzard actually delivers on the limited healer mana environment, 2 points in divinity could very well be more practical.

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You can't really say how critical 7% run speed will be as a tank without seeing the encounters.

No, but you can make an educated guess based on the core paradigms of encounter and instance design over the past six years. On live, PoJ is mandatory, and unless every boss in Cata is Patchwerk then that trend is likely to continue. Movespeed has been critical to tanking success since BWL, and it would take a really radical paradigm shift to change that.

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While movement speed is very nice let's drop the hyperbole, it's far from "mandatory" when one considers that the other 3 tank classes get by with Tuskarr's Vitality.

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I'm sorry, you're going to have to explain that reasoning to me. The other tank classes get by without Ardent Defender, too, but we don't drop that. What other tanks do / do not have access to has nothing to do with maximising our own performance.

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The encounters are clearly not designed around the assumption of +15% runspeed given that most tank classes move at +8%. While other tanks do not have Argent Defender they do have various mechanics meant to (ideally) provide an equal amount of survivability.

Maximizing performance has to do with opportunity cost. Is that 7% extra run speed better than 2% crit from live Conviction? Absolutely, and so everyone takes it. Is it better than +6% damage from beta Conviction or 4% healing recieved from Divinity (assuming stated Blizzard healing design goals become a reality)? Maybe not.

We'll see how threat, survivability and the movement requirements of fights work out. Kiting mechanics would obviously place a greater value on PoJ than just moving out of voidzones, etc.

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Here's some new info on Holy Shield. Also adding to the OP:

MMO-Champion BlueTracker | Thoughts on the current Prot Pally tree

As to Holy Shield, it is going through rapid iteration. Our current implementation has it providing 5% block per stack of Holy Power, up to a max of 15%. So you can use Holy Power for threat, healing or mitigation depending on current circumstances. You should be able to keep the 15% block up all the time with a very small amount of effort.

Warriors get 15% block baseline, so this means the paladin has to work harder for it. Seeing as how the paladin doesn't have to maintain Demo Shout or Thunderclap's debuff, this doesn't seem too great a burden.

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Here's some new info on Holy Shield. Also adding to the OP:

MMO-Champion BlueTracker | Thoughts on the current Prot Pally tree

In the same post:

Righteous Fury now affects all threat.

About time, especially with Crusader Strike becoming baseline.

EDIT:

More tidbits

30s Vindication and Holy Wrath always applies Vindication? Yes please! Also, where did I miss the note that HW affects everything now?

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The encounters are clearly not designed around the assumption of +15% runspeed given that most tank classes move at +8%. While other tanks do not have Argent Defender they do have various mechanics meant to (ideally) provide an equal amount of survivability.

Maximizing performance has to do with opportunity cost. Is that 7% extra run speed better than 2% crit from live Conviction? Absolutely, and so everyone takes it. Is it better than +6% damage from beta Conviction or 4% healing recieved from Divinity (assuming stated Blizzard healing design goals become a reality)? Maybe not.

We'll see how threat, survivability and the movement requirements of fights work out. Kiting mechanics would obviously place a greater value on PoJ than just moving out of voidzones, etc.

Tanks being able to engage a target faster will always weigh heavily in encounters (except Patchwork/BQL). Tanked targets mean they won't smack someone, and waste healer mana unnecessarily on raiders tanking. Mobility is something all tanks have to deal with. Warriors have Intercept/Intervene. Druids have feral charge. Death Knights pull things to them. And paladins spec PoJ and just move faster in general.

It is a core ability, and 4-6% extra healing is not, except in very rare (LK heroic) fights.

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It is a core ability, and 4-6% extra healing is not, except in very rare (LK heroic) fights.

If you go by the way it works in live. Yes. A lot of the (spammed preemptive) heals going on the tank are overheal, so adding 4-6% extra healing done just adds to overheal and is rarely effective healing done.

But the intent for tanking in Cata is that tanks will not be at 100% health for the majority of a fight. The plan is that tanks will be floating between 50-90% health for the majority of time. In this sort of scenario, the 4-6% becomes effective healing most of the time and that's a fairly significant ease on your healer's mana usage.

We'll have to see how things work in cata to be sure, but I wouldn't discard it just yet.

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Here's some new info on Holy Shield. Also adding to the OP:

MMO-Champion BlueTracker | Thoughts on the current Prot Pally tree

I have my doubts their current implementation is going to achieve their design goals.

While the fact that Inquisition and Holy Shield are mutually exclusive buffs does allow you to choose between extra mitigation or extra threat in theory, as long as Holy Shield is to be required to get comparable mitigation as other tanks, we can assume that on progression content the choice between mitigation and threat will effectively not exist. With the new mana models, progression content is made to be challenging through the potential of running your healers out of mana, which can be alleviated through mitigation as that'll reduce the amount of mana your healers need to spend. A well balanced fight, in other words, will just barely allow your healers to last through it when you have the same kind of mitigation as the kind of tank that the fight is balanced around does.

This means that the choice between threat and mitigation only starts to appear once you get to the point where you are well geared enough to trivialize the content, which seems contrary to their design goals. This problem really arises in any situation where you have to use a buff such as this to get comparable results to the average tank things are balanced around.

Their desired effect would be better achieved if the Prot Paladin baseline for both threat and mitigation were both a little bit below the average, with Inquisition and Holy Shield being balanced such that these buffs take you slightly above the average. As the two buffs are mutually exclusive, you then naturally end up with a playstyle where you use Inquisition when you need to increase your threat lead, and you use Holy Shield when you have a sufficient threat lead. Doing so also encourages trying to push a bit of extra mitigation or threat/damage as well.

Of course that also has it's own balance issues as on a fight that isn't perfectly tuned, we always end up with either better mitigation than others if the threat/damage isn't needed, or with better threat/damage than others if the mitigation isn't needed. It's possible that the effect they want to go for simply isn't feasible.

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Divine Protection now reduces all damage taken by 20% for 10 sec. (Down from 50% for 12 sec) Cooldown lowered from 5 min to 1 min. Spells restrictions (Divine Shield/Divine Protection/Hand of Protection/Avenging Wrath) removed.

MMO-Champion - Cataclysm Beta - Build 12604

I'm somewhat confused by this. It's a huge nerf to our biggest internal CD, and I hadn't heard any hint of this happening. Between Holy Shield and Ardent Defender, we already have two minor CDs (Ardent Defender obviously toes the line as a "minor CD," since it can save your life). Why do we need another small damage reduction ability? Do we now have to rely solely on external CDs such as Pain Suppression for large damage moments? If we have to rely on Ardent Defender proc'ing to work as our major CD, then we will never be able to proactively reduce burst damage by a large percentage ourselves. We'll only be able to retroactively "pop" back to life after the Ardent Defender proc saves us.

I'm neither comfortable about that, nor happy about it, since it makes our CDs basically a way to even out damage over time, rather than react to spike damage from boss abilities (Plasma Blast, Gormok's Impales, Soul Reaper, etc.). Warriors still have Shield Wall, and Death Knights still have Icebound Fortitude. Both of those last 12s, instead of 10s, and IBF has on a 2min CD. Death Knights also still have Will of the Necropolis.

Maybe they're adding a talent similar to Sanguine Fortitude (increases the base damage reduction of IBF by 15/30%, up to 50%), but that's not consistent with them lowering the CD on Divine Protection to 1 minute.

e: removed reference to Divine Guardian as a minor CD

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Belicia, Divine Guardian in Cataclysm does not affect the Paladin, so we cannot count that as one of our short cooldowns. I'm trying to find the blue link here, but the gist of it was that Blizzard did not want us sandbagging with DG as an extra boss cooldown, and completely ignoring it's intended purpose of cutting down AOE damage taken by the raid. So they simply made it a non-issue.

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Don't forget we have Guardian of Ancient Kings on a 5min CD. I believe they intend for that to be our major CD.

So we have Divine Protection and Ardent Defender as a minor CD, Guardian of Ancient Kings as a major CD, and Holy Shield as a short mitigation spell like Shield Block.

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;1709598']Don't forget we have Guardian of Ancient Kings on a 5min CD. I believe they intend for that to be our major CD.

So we have Divine Protection and Ardent Defender as a minor CD, Guardian of Ancient Kings as a major CD, and Holy Shield as a short mitigation spell like Shield Block.

There is a talent for Guardian that says 10/20/30 minutes off the cooldown. I believe they meant 1/2/3 minutes, and Guardian reduces damage by 50%.

For comparison, DK cooldowns are Vamp Blood (LoH?), Bone Shield (Divine Prot), WotN (AD), IBF (Guardian), and Rune Weapon (Holy Shield), so Paladins have the same number (if you count Lay on Hands).

The new Divine Protection is nice for the other two Paladin specs, in that they have a cooldown to use that doesn't lock them out of Bubble or Wings.

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The DK "LoH" is eating your ghoul, not Vamp Blood. Curiously Vamp Blood's 35% healing received for 10 seconds on a 1 minute CD is now actually equal to Divinity (not taking glyphs into account since they repeatedly told us not to).

I really wouldn't call Argent Defender a minor cooldown though, the mitigation may only be 20% but it's other effect, as currently worded, means that you literally cannot die for 10 seconds. That completely trivializes something like Mimiron Plasma Burst.

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I really wouldn't call Argent Defender a minor cooldown though, the mitigation may only be 20% but it's other effect, as currently worded, means that you literally cannot die for 10 seconds. That completely trivializes something like Mimiron Plasma Burst.

Is that how AD is working on beta's current build? If so it definitely is not a minor cd. I would not imagine that going live, there is more than likely a debuff to prevent it from triggering more then once in the duration of the cd.

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I've seen it described as such by others (who are presumably in the beta) and that's what the text literally says but I cannot confirm it myself, unfortunately.

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There's no way that Blizzard is going to give a tank 10 (?) seconds of absolute immunity from death. It will almost certainly be changed to suit the current functionality, ie 'dying' will remove the buff, or at the least add a CD that prevents it from triggering again for however long.

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There's some potential issues with the fact that Vengeance and Touched by the Light's spell power conversion do not interact with each other.

Due to the fact that our abilities are typically balanced around the mix of attack and spell power increasing our strength currently provides, it means that if we add a large amount of extra attack power without adding extra spell power it could cause our ability priorities to change. Specifically our abilities that do not scale with spell power would gain in importance as Vengeance provides more attack power, as abilities that do not scale with spell power gain damage faster from attack power than the abilities that scale with both attack and spell power do.

While I suppose that does add a bit of extra complexity to our ability using decisions, it also lacks transparency to those not completely familiar with the underlying mechanics of how our abilities scale. They could easily remove the potential for this behavior by simply making Touched by the Light's conversion Attack Power based, much like the similar spec bonuses Retribution Paladins and Enhancement Shamans get.

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There's some potential issues with the fact that Vengeance and Touched by the Light's spell power conversion do not interact with each other.

Due to the fact that our abilities are typically balanced around the mix of attack and spell power increasing our strength currently provides, it means that if we add a large amount of extra attack power without adding extra spell power it could cause our ability priorities to change. Specifically our abilities that do not scale with spell power would gain in importance as Vengeance provides more attack power, as abilities that do not scale with spell power gain damage faster from attack power than the abilities that scale with both attack and spell power do.

While I suppose that does add a bit of extra complexity to our ability using decisions, it also lacks transparency to those not completely familiar with the underlying mechanics of how our abilities scale. They could easily remove the potential for this behavior by simply making Touched by the Light's conversion Attack Power based, much like the similar spec bonuses Retribution Paladins and Enhancement Shamans get.

Or simply make Vengeance give up to a maximum of half the AP value in Strength. eg, instead of 5000 ap, give 2500 Strength. 90% of the +stats talents are gone, and all tanking classes like Strength.

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Does Strength still affect block value somehow? Strength converts to parry rating for DKs so that would be 1.25% of your health as parry rating. For even a 100,000 HP tank that's 1250 parry rating. Some tanks also have +%Strength talents while others do not (and the only source of +%AP is a raid buff),

It would probably be simpler to just change Touched by the Light rather than Vengeance. Also they already took a step in this direction, changing HotR to work off weapon damage not weapon DPS (i.e. from not scaling with Vengeance to scaling with Vengeance).

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