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Ulduar and the Paladin Tank

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Ulduar and the Paladin Tank

Postby honorshammer » Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:34 am

/prays for no typos

When discussing changes to tanks, the Developers - through Ghostcrawler - has repeatedly said that they did not want to penalize groups that choose one tanking class over another as their main tank. Sometimes this was communicated with a specific tanking class in his comment such as ‘We don’t want to penalize groups that chose a Druid for their main tank.’ That may not be a direct quote, but a paraphrase of what’s been said going all the way back to Wrath Beta.

Now we have the first new significant Raid content released for Wrath, and as Paladin Tanks look at the information available from testing on the PTR, we can identify two cases where the design has heavily penalized guilds that chose Paladin main tanks.

Specifically let’s examine at Auriaya’s Horrifying Screech, and General Vezax’s Aura of Despair. Both of these abilities affect the ability of a Paladin to successfully tank these bosses. Some may feel that these abilities go so far as to make the Paladin tank a non-starter for these bosses. Many 10 man groups will not have an option outside of their Paladin tanks which will make these bosses much more difficult than intended for those guilds.

Consider that for Auriaya’s Horrifying Screech, Paladins are the only tanking classes as lacking a true Fear break. Our only options are Fear Ward, Tremor Totem (outside source, requires certain raid compositions, etc) and Divine Shield (long cooldown, locks out Divine Protection aka Shield Wall for 2 minutes).

It is possible the new Aura Mastery talent may be an answer to this, but depending on the final design, it may or may not be too high in the Holy tree for a Tanking Paladin to reasonably get to it. In order to keep our tanking talents out of the reach of Holy or Ret, our Tree is very top heavy and requires a heavy investment. In addition, depending on the final cooldown of Horrifying Screech and Aura Mastery, it may or may not be usable. Note how short the cool down is on other tanks Fear breaks, for example, Zerker rage.

In addition, on the PTR Horrifying Screech was interruptible. Paladins are the only tanking class whose interrupt is on the Global Cooldown. This makes it highly unreliable for this type of encounter. Let’s consider removing it from the Global Cooldown.

I don't claim to be an expert on every tanking class, but unless the AoEfear is changed to a horror or removed, wouldn't it make a warrior the only tank that could prevent the raid from wiping if you missed an interrupt?

Next let’s look at Aura of Despair. This will completely shut down a Paladin tank’s threat generation. Given that the encounter has a tight enrage timer, good threat generation from the tank will be of the utmost importance.

Because Spiritual Attunement was buggy during the testing of the encounter it was difficult to provide meaningful testing on the PTR.

Paladin Tanks can understand and accept that Blizzard can not make all tanks equal for all encounters. That is self evident.

We must ask the Developers, why it is only Paladins who appear disproportionately disadvantaged on any fight in Ulduar? We find no instance where any other tank class is disadvantaged to this degree, and similarly find no fight on which a Paladin is advantaged.

The conclusion one must draw, based on the information available at this time, is that the Developers have made two fights in Ulduar that heavily and unduly penalize guilds that chose a Paladin Main Tank. This is contrary to what the Developers have communicated that they want to see.

Let’s take another look at the design of either these encounters and/or the Paladin tank.

Perhaps Blizzard could allow Spiritual Attunement to work in the General Vezax encounter. Perhaps Blizzard could provide Paladins with a true Fear break for Horrifying Screech, and take Hammer of Justice off the Global Cooldown. These steps would help to mitigate these issues.

Thank you for taking the time to read this thread.

FOR KHAZ MODAN!!

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Postby Fridmarr » Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:43 am

Oops! This isn't the forum I thought it was. I just made the edit for you instead :)
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Postby Jasari » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:07 pm

Horrifying Screech is a horror effect according to the tool tip, making all tanks equally susceptible to it. http://ptr.wowhead.com/?spell=64386

Aura of Despair says SA is at least "partially effective" I'd attribute the buggy, not fully implemented nature of SA on the PTR currently as to why it doesn't work right now. http://ptr.wowhead.com/?spell=62692

So according to the tool tips I'd say Paladins aren't disadvantaged in the least.
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Postby Senador » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:10 pm

If only Protection Paladins have SA, as they do in 3.1, then the aura should have no effect no it.

It doesn't limit rage or runic generation, why should it hamper Protection Paladin's regen effect?
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Postby Playdoh » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:37 pm

Senador wrote:If only Protection Paladins have SA, as they do in 3.1, then the aura should have no effect no it.

It doesn't limit rage or runic generation, why should it hamper Protection Paladin's regen effect?


SA is bugged, so we can't test the encounters properly period. SA being bugged causes us to go oom, not the encounter itself.
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Postby KysenMurrin » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:38 pm

The latest version of Aura of Despair has a melee attack-speed slow attached, so that melee classes will be disadvantaged as well as casters. This will affect Warrior, Druid, and DK threat generation on the fight, though I'm not sure to what extent for each. Hopefully Blizzard will try to make sure things are balanced. Our main concern would then be longevity, but hopefully the SA tuning will balance that.
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Postby Panzerdin » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:52 pm

Protection Paladins are more screwed without mana than everyone else is screwed with a lessened melee attack, so it's not much in our favour.
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Postby Jasari » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:55 pm

Panzerdin wrote:Protection Paladins are more screwed without mana than everyone else is screwed with a lessened melee attack, so it's not much in our favour.


Except that it looks like we DO in fact get mana back since SA is specifically mentioned in the tool tip. I wouldn't take the fact that SA doesn't work for half the people on the PTR regardless of who they're fighting as an indication that it won't work on this fight.
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Postby Senador » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:58 pm

The tool tip also says it is at least partially effective; though likely this was originally created before they nixed SA for all specs of Paladins. The tool tip should be changed that SA is not affected by it, and in the end, it shouldn't be.

However, this goes back to a point I made in the other thread on this, they shouldn't be testing this encounter with 25% of the viable tanks are non functioning due to large class changes that are not fully implemented...
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Postby Jasari » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:03 pm

If they delayed testing on a boss every time a particular class/spec was bugged on the PTR they'd never get anything done. They're still able to test almost every aspect of the encounter without a paladin tank. Assuming SA works on the boss, a Paladin is going to function roughly the same as a Warrior.
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Postby easttuth » Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:06 am

While I do agree with the OP, in that a single class or group of classes should never be penalized to such a degree that it is literally impossible for them to perform their role on a given encounter, I refuse to believe that the concept of "balance" would drive Blizzard to make a 10 or 25 man instance that would give each of the tanking specs nearly equal footing on every encounter. "Being penalized" for bringing a Prot Paladin and one other tank? No. Being penalized for bringing two, three, or four Prot Paladins instead of a varied tanking crew? Most likely. "Being penalized" for forcing a tank into a situation that doesn't make the best use of his unique capabilities? Hell yes.

Just like a raid would be penalized in some manner for bringing entirely Warlocks for DPS or entirely Druids for healing. It wouldn't be impossible to succeed; just quite tricky in certain aspects. If you've put all of your eggs in one basket and don't have another tank capable of taking advantage of a particular encounter's mechanics, don't blame Blizzard. The concept of a "Main Tank" is old, and being deprecated more and more by raid instance design.

That said, it should never intentionally be as bad as Shear (as this bug appears to be). That mechanic effectively excluded druids from tanking Illidan. That's the type of situation I believe Blizzard won't let happen again.
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Postby Kelaan » Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:54 am

See, I think even that level of penalization is a poor design choice. Guilds should be able to do it (albeit with some non-crippling difficulties) whether their tanking team is balanced, or 4x DKs, Paladins, Warriors, or Druids.

I know that our 25-man tanking team consists of a warrior and 3 paladins, and a druid who doesn't get to tank as much as he hoped and thus is now going cat DPS. Yes, it's suboptimal, and we won't get server-firsts with that, but we should still be able to overcome the difficulties of things like Sarth+3D or various Ulduar bosses even still, without having to outfit one of our DKs as a geared tank.

Fortunately, dual specs help address this a bit more easily, but the gear distribution is still an issue. For a 10-man team, who might not HAVE any classes that can tank other than some paladins (or any other composition), it's too punishing (IMO) to have encounters which sorely punish only that class, or really make it "untankable" by any of the classes.

I fervently hope that SA and tanking mana regen will be unaffected by that aura.
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Re:

Postby skolor » Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:53 am

Kelaan wrote:For a 10-man team, who might not HAVE any classes that can tank other than some paladins (or any other composition)


Seriously? You're trying to argue "What if we only have 1 class that can tank in a sample of 10 people"? If you take a random sampling of 10 people, assuming all classes have equal makeup, then in 98% of all cases you will have two different tanking classes. When you factor in that most guilds usually run with ~20% extra people for fill-ins and the like, you're covering just about 99% of all situations.

No. Don't even try that. Its like arguing that no boss or trash can use a curse, because only a couple of classes can dispell it (even fewer than can tank). As long as its only one tank type that is being disadvantaged, you're covering 98.7% of all situations just by pulling 12 random people out of Dalaran (and gearing them). They shouldn't be tuning fights for the 1% of groups that will be at a serious disadvantage because they chose to recruit with a huge skew a certain way, any more than they should be tuning fights to require a certain class (which is considerably more likely given a random sampling of people).
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Re: Re:

Postby Belloc » Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:32 pm

skolor wrote:
Kelaan wrote:For a 10-man team, who might not HAVE any classes that can tank other than some paladins (or any other composition)


Seriously? You're trying to argue "What if we only have 1 class that can tank in a sample of 10 people"? If you take a random sampling of 10 people, assuming all classes have equal makeup, then in 98% of all cases you will have two different tanking classes. When you factor in that most guilds usually run with ~20% extra people for fill-ins and the like, you're covering just about 99% of all situations.

No. Don't even try that. Its like arguing that no boss or trash can use a curse, because only a couple of classes can dispell it (even fewer than can tank). As long as its only one tank type that is being disadvantaged, you're covering 98.7% of all situations just by pulling 12 random people out of Dalaran (and gearing them). They shouldn't be tuning fights for the 1% of groups that will be at a serious disadvantage because they chose to recruit with a huge skew a certain way, any more than they should be tuning fights to require a certain class (which is considerably more likely given a random sampling of people).


My 10-man group has two paladin tanks. Our 25-mans usually have two paladins and a warrior tank. It's more common than you think, and Blizzard does, generally, account for it in 10-mans. This is exactly the way it should be. If you think otherwise, then I think you're being elitist.
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Re: Ulduar and the Paladin Tank

Postby Panzerdin » Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:53 pm

No, 1% is not "fairly common." It's 1% of all groups. You shouldn't design encounters around that, in the same way that you shouldn't design encounters based on the assumption that you have 2 paladins healing it.
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