I’ve been putting a lot of thought into the sorts of changes that I’d like to see happen to Guardians in Warlords of Draenor. Most of this was admittedly triggered by Theck’s Post on his blog. While I will never be as witty as Theck – which admittedly would be pretty much impossible – but I can be sort of blunt and endearing in my own way. Of course a thread got started on this topic before I had a chance to get my real thoughts out there, but what the hey. It’s my site (not really) and I’ll do what I want.
Basically this is going to be a thought vomit post. I have no real structure planned, more just covering topics as they appear in my brain. In any case, let’s get started!
Mastery and Damage Smoothing
Damage smoothing is one of those odd properties that’s never really been a problem in 10H, but has consistently been a problem in 25H until Siege of Orgrimmar. Guardians have always been the tank that scales the least as content increases, since we have no percentage based damage reduction beyond armor. We have really strong base mitigation, but preform poorly against encounters that either ignore it, or have some sort of mechanic that drastically increases incoming damage throughout the encounter. Solving this problem is approached from several directions:
- Consolidation to 1 raid size (Mythic 20man).
- New Mastery.
- Adjustments to Tooth and Claw.
The first change is obviously already happening. I’ve mentioned before on this blog that we’re getting a new Mastery in Warlords. But what could this Mastery look like? First we should look at some of the requirements for a tank Mastery specifically:
- Plays into active mitigation abilities.
- Scales with content.
- Physical damage reduction only.
- Functions as a “damage smoothing” mechanic.
- Guaranteed damage reduction.
The current +armor Mastery meets 4 of those requirements, but fails the “active mitigation” test. So how would we fix it? Having it affect Savage Defense and/or Frenzied Regen doesn’t meet all of those requirements so it would have to be something new. Well what about Tooth and Claw? What if some incarnation of it became our Mastery? Consider the following:
- Tooth and Claw no longer triggers from outgoing melee attacks.
- Tooth and Claw now procs when you take non-AoE physical damage.
- When active, Tooth and Claw reduces the Rage cost of Maul to 0, and resets the CD on Maul. Lasts 15 seconds and expires when Maul is next used.
- When Tooth and Claw is applied to a target it reduces single-target physical damage dealt by the target by Y% for X (probably 3) seconds, increased by Mastery.
Something like this solves multiple problems with one – admittedly large – stone. Obviously there are a number of possible permutations for a new Mastery, but this is just something that’s been bouncing around in my head for a while.
For what it’s worth Mastery will also have to increase our damage output in the new “Tanks are 75% of a DPS” paradigm. Easy way to do that? Make it increase bleed damage just like Feral. Done.
There are a few items that fall under this umbrella. The first thing I want to discuss is how the overwhelming majority – more than 75% – of our RPS comes passively from autoattacks. That isn’t fun to me. Something like the Warrior model where you press buttons to generate Rage makes more sense. Pressing Mangle is exciting because you know when you’re going to get Rage. Unless you have an autoattack timer you’re really just buttclenching until more Rage shows up. So if we were to remove Rage generation from autoattacks, where would it go?
We also have these other pretty iconic Guardian bleeds – Lacerate and Thrash. Lacerate stacks to 3, for no real reason anymore other than damage. What if there was a more important benefit? What if it increased Rage generation somehow? What if bleed ticks generated Rage? While also being sort of passive, it also requires action on the part of the player rather than just making sure you have a target, that it’s in front of you, and within range.
This means that Thrash would likely need to go back to its original 6 second duration for Guardians, which is fine really. You already use it that often in AoE anyway, and it would make the single target rotation more interesting. An alternative is to bring back Pulverize in some form, although that may be drifting too far into the realm of “maintenancey buff” that players generally don’t like.
The second item that’s primarily Rage generation related is the purpose of Enrage. It just doesn’t feel important beyond the first raid tier of an expansion. Sure you use it sometimes but a fixed value Rage ability isn’t very fun. What if it instead increased Rage generation for a period of time? Basically I’m talking about changing it into the 4t15 set bonus, maybe even a direct replacement. It would make sense to take it off the GCD at that point – I mean heck it should be off the GCD already anyway.
Probably the change that I want the most is a normalization of the GCD to 1 second for all tanks. A 1.5s GCD as a tank is an eternity, and I’m always jealous of Protection Paladins and Brewmaster Monks and their short GCD. Having played Feral and a high-haste caster in the past, it just feels much more fluid to me. This would have a secondary effect of making Rage generation more granular, which would be great improvement to the very “blocky” implementation we have now especially at really high Crit levels.
Of course if we go down to a 1 second GCD, it goes without saying that the cooldowns on Lacerate, Maul, and Swipe would need to be removed.
Vengeance and Cat Form
This is kind of a braindead change, but since Vengenace will no longer grant Attack Power, there’s no reason to have it be cleared when you shift into Cat Form. This makes Displacer Beast substantially more attractive as a Guardian, not to mention things like Dash and HotW Cat DPS.
Dear god. Please, please, please, please, please fix Force of Nature. It’s a simple 2-step change:
- Make them scale off of weapon damage and attack power.
- Make them re-taunt their current target when they lose aggro instead of YOUR DAMN CURRENT TARGET. This has caused me no end in frustration.
Boom. Done. Force of Nature fixed.
What do you think? Anything in particular you want to see changed? Definitely check out the thread linked above for more detailed discussion.