Thursday, 22 April 2010


No, not this video (Youtube link, SFW up to 2:38 - afterwards it depends on your workplace).

Occasionally I want to write about how amazing Intervene really is – and then I usually forget about it again. Now, because this is my blog and my boss didn’t tell me to have it ready by Tuesday, I can do this – probably forever.

But then I noticed that this is how I felt about Intervene in instances as well. For me, Intervene was a tool that I did not learn to use properly until very recently. The problem stems from the time warriors learn intervene and the current talent trees – and the sometimes rather awkward way of using it.

Let’s start with my list of complaints before I suggest a use or three. Warriors learn Intervene at level 70. That indicates that it was meant to be a powerful tool in The Burning Crusade. The final new ability, the misdirect equivalent (which defined a special move before tricks of the trade), the big bang for protection. Just … hardly anyone used it.

It got even worse with WotLK offering the (amazing) Warbringer. Protection warriors now can charge and intercept in any stance, which alleviated the need for a special spell giving us mobility in defensive stance. This fit in with the general trend to make stance-switching unnecessary for tanking. Berserker Rage is now usable in all stance – so fear-dancing is not needed either. As such, this is clearly an intended change.

Personally, I use a macro like this one:

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

This works nicely. Click on a target, press the button and you will attempt to Charge there, generating rage in the process. If charge is on cooldown, your macro will use Intercept instead. If you click on a friendly target, it’ll use Intervene and if your current target has switched to an overeager ranged dps/healer and is trundeling towards them, you don’t even need to switch.

How often do I actually use it for the Intervene? Well… hardly ever. The spell is clearly underused by me. Mainly because, well, I never properly had to learn it. At level 70 leveling warriors (with a protection spec) have warbringer these days. It’s that amazing. A third movement effect within 15 seconds is nothing I have ever used much.

However (yes yes… I’m trying to come to a point here), there is another two effects of Intervene.

Intervene: You run at high speed towards a party member, intercepting the next melee or ranged attack against them as well as reducing their total threat by 10%.

This is not worded very well, but the effect is this: It allows you to soak up the next hit on your target. Clarified is this by the buff your target gains: The next melee or ranged attack made against you will be made against the intervening warrior instead (10 seconds remaining).

Even better, the attack (within 10 seconds) is redirected, not the hit, so your defence, dodge, parry and block all apply in full.

And I have to admit that I still don’t use it. If someone manages to draw fire in current raid content an Intervene is rarely going to save them. One hit is either something the healers can take care of, or that kills the poor recipient outright. With taunt now having a range that is actually greater than that of my Intervene, has a shorter cooldown and possibly is affected by Vigilance, using Intervene still seems like the worse option.

That is …

Until I got to see the Sindragosa fight. Now for those who have not seen the fight before: Dragon, has a tail and great cleavage and breathes fire (except the fire is cold and frost damage and called Frostbreath as well, but pfft) and is surrounded by an aura of cold. So cold, in fact, that it really stings if you forgot to wear your earmuffs (and who’d equip earmuffs as long as there are epic helmets about?).

Once in a while she’ll do the new “blue dragonbrood special” (like Cyanigosa and Drakos the Interrogator) and pull everyone towards her, then blow up the surrounding area. People run away and don’t die (if the raid works, that is).

Now and then she also flies up high in the air and does a short phase of something else (so mainly not maim the tank and instead “Pull a Malygos” and drop both zones of safety (relatively speaking, that one) and fiery fire of death on the ground.

I’m about to end the rambling already, stop complaining!

So anyway… the use for Intervene. Once the air phase starts, the tank will want to reach his friends quickly and safely. The tank will also still be slowed from Frostbreath, so anything to speed up movement will be a bonus. And the kicker? That last line from the Intervene ability:

as well as reducing their total threat by 10%.

Totally amazing. With the slowdown to ability use now and then this is important over the whole length of the fight. At the beginning it allows to control the highest dps threat each time when moving to the designated Ice Tomb spots. Near the end of the fight, it will reduce dps threat by massive amounts (10% of total, not a fixed value, after all), ensuring a safe lead. And ... you don't even get killed by frostbombs when your intervene target stands in the wrong place, because it only applies to melee and ranged attacks, not magic.

It’s still not an ability I’d use in other fights as my first choice. There are, however, fights where Intervene is an incredibly powerful tool to control the fight.


Take that, druids, deathknights and steenkin’ paladins! You may have AoE threat, but you don’t have this!

1 comment:

  1. I think that's all part of Blizzard's attempt to make Warriors feel loved and more useful. I love my Protadin, but one, single 30-second (or it is longer? It seems like a long time.) spell interrupt means I don't do well against Casters. At 70 I solo'd most of the Vanilla Instances, but Strath and Scholo with their Casters and Fear still gave me a lot of grief. It was one of the hardest Instances I solo'd. But Warriors? You guys get spell reflects, and stun-interrupts up the wazoo. And I'm actually happy for you, because every Tanking class should make viable Tanks, and not just demand Protadins or Bears for their AoE-tankability.