Thursday, 28 January 2010

ICC Interesting Times

Another raid night in ICC (well technically we did the weekly raid before then – but who counts those 30 seconds with the little bug. Hmm wait.. that sounds like something my wife would say …) finished.

I’m not sure how I feel about it – the first four bosses are really quite good by now. We know what we are doing, we even can experiment a little (shockwaveing the two spawning blood beasts is a really good idea) and blasting a boat with a cannon never looses its appeal. Neither do jetpacks.

And of course, going from the first part to the second usually takes us through the steam. The steam is hot – and as we learn when boiling our kettle, hot boiling steam is bad for us. Much like children bumbling about the kitchen there is usually _someone_ taking damage. In fairness – children tend not to die quite as horribly.

On the other hand, children also rarely get great ideas like “If I used my wellies, maybe I could get away with it”. Without further ado… the screenshot that will cost me more of my sex-life:

However, the abominations are still not going smoothly. Or – in yesterdays case – even down. We got a ton better at Rotface, got the spawn of little slimes under control and got better at merging them. We still occasionally manage to spawn two big adds around the 30% health mark and usually hilarity and death ensures shortly after. I think on our best attempt we had him at 14%. Considering our efforts so far consist of five attempts that‘s not too horrible.

We decided to liven up the mood a little and beat up Festergut instead. Something we had completed last week. In the end – it didn’t work, sadly. The quick version was that we made a horrible mistake on Spore positioning in the first try, I taunted the bloody thing on the second attempt with 9 stacks when switching to defensive instead of berserker stance after applying shattering throw (TL;DR: I pressed the wrong button and wiped the raid) and our shaman lost power on the third go – we replaced him with a fury warrior but were lacking a tiny bit of dps in the end. He wiped the raid at 48.000 remaining health by running into the enrage timer.

And here I’m beginning to get a bit worried. You see … in all the fights in ICC our off-tank usually is the aggro-hog. As a druid he sort of holds the skeletal rabble in check, while I trundle about and occasionally try and interrupt a caster. If I reach the fight first (yay! For charge) I can usually keep one or two “trash” mobs on myself. On bosses it’s not quite as bad – my threat generation is suitable, it’s just that my damage is rather low.

Really low.

You see … I do have a deathknight and a paladin and a druid and a warrior tank. And while I love my warrior to bits (due to his manly dwarven physique and his fabulous hairstyle) and enjoy playing him most, the damage of all the others is higher.

And yes… I compare them when tanking, not dps-deathknighting-1000000adds-on-onyxia.

And I don’t seem to be the only one. Warrior dps while tanking is low. Really low. There is this rather wonderful spreadsheet that compares the top 25 damage parses sorted by tank-types. There is also an average DPS value and a deviation against average sorted by classes. Warriors (in my exaggerated average) do somewhere between 15 and 35% less damage than other tank classes. On equal fights.

Sadly I lack the recount screenshot of the 48.000 health-missing Festergut attempt. I have the nagging suspicion that 50k damage is less than 10% of my total damage on that fight.

So basically… I feel like a slime for letting my raid down by not doing enough damage.

And yet … er… Blizzard does not seem to agree. In fact they (factoring in pvp – which drives me mental as usual) have come to this conclusion:

-- Warlock damage in PvE is a little low.

-- Protection warriors have too much utility and damage for PvP. (We don't want to hurt their tanking in PvE of course.)
-- We are considering adjusting (not replacing) the Elemental 4 piece Tier 10 set bonus.
-- We'll continue to refine and look at the Icecrown weapon procs.
-- Other stuff (yes, we've heard your concerns), but these are the big things we are focusing on at this time.

Say wud? So there are going to be nerfs affecting pvp which won’t impact my pve playability at all. M-hmm. I see.

Now this is an oldish post and the information has wandered around blogs everywhere with either much head-slapping or snorting or general disbelief. I tried not to moan when I first read it (which was, to be fair, before I saw the tanking spreadsheet – I always just assumed I was crap at dps). The new patch notes for patch 3.3.2 give a bit more details – and are not all discouraging:
• Concussion Blow: Damage decreased by 50%. Threat level remains unchanged.
• Devastate: Damage increased by 20%.
• Shield Slam: Damage modifier from block value decreased, and scales worse at low block value levels. Players in high-end gear shouldn't notice the change. In addition, threat generated by Shield Slam has been increased by 30%.
• Warbringer: This talent no longer allows Charge and Intercept to break roots or snares. Intervene remains unaffected. In other words, you can still Charge and Intercept in any stance and while in combat.

What does that mean? Well... concussion blow was one of the low-threat, high dps moves in my standard tanking rotation. Once threat was established, this was used every time it was off cooldown on fights like patchwork. Less dps in total on long fights.

Devastate just increases – and this makes the tier 8 and tier 9 2-set boni more interesting again. Shame we have outgrown that monstrous mix of armour by now. However... there is more damage hidden in this and we’ll have to see how it goes.

Shield Slam is worded completely confusing. Thank you, but I have no idea what they actually said. I think it means “Your shield slam will deal less damage in all situations – unless you are geared in top end items picked specifically for block value. Threat goes up (thank you) for better single target tanking.

Now not to complain or anything (well yes, actually) – but I wasn’t bloody complaining about single target threat. I was talking about AoE threat and damage. Hmpf.

Warbringer is a bloody nuisance as well. For mobility around the combat area I use the warbringer macro stolen from tankingtips:

/castsequence [harm] reset=15 Charge, Intercept; [help] Intervene

This is really useful actually when fighting the trash packs in ICC. When the frosty mages use their frosty nova I can just charge/intercept into the next caster, stun for a spell interrupt and continue building threat. With the changes I need to actually select a player to be able to intervene out of the same situation.

There is an upgraded version of the above macro:

/castsequence reset=15 Charge, Intercept
/cast [help] Intervene; [target=targettarget, help] Intervene;

This should work even with an enemy selected – if the enemy has a different player as a target and if both the player and the mob are within legal intervene ranges.

And all of that just because some mage was apparently stunned to death by a protection warrior instead of the usual rogue.

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