Friday, January 15, 2010

The Plight of the Prot Warrior

Prot specs...specifically those of the warrior and paladin classes...are pretty OP in pvp. I just came out of a wsg about ten minutes ago in which there were three prots on my team, and the horde team had at least one. That's quite an upshot from hardly ever seeing a prot in a bg just a few months ago. I said, "why so many prots?" to which the simple explanation was, "prot is good." I replied, "just like DKs were good?"

Let's not even beat around the bush: prot is faceroll. Stuns, silences, mobility, good damage, and godly survivability all rolled into one spec. It's like Blizz had a lapse in better judgment, threw out the whole "glass cannon" idea, and made an "iron cannon." What I'm talking about is...if you do good damage there has to be a price. My own class has good damage and control, but we have poor survivability. Prot has the former, but not the latter. DKs had the same issue at wrath launch with their stellar damage and powerful defensive cooldowns: this combination does not breed pvp balance.

Some say that there haven't really been any significant changes to prot so how can it be OP? Maybe all the prots suddenly learned to pvp? I don't think so. I'm no warrior, but Alloraan (best prot in the world) is, and these are his thoughts on the rise of prot:

"Prot was "balanced" in s5, all my stuns were on DR. Then in s6, they made charge on it's own DR because it was interfering with intercept. Shit went downhill then, plus the doubling of block value. If I had to pick a timeframe for when prot became REALLY strong, it's s6, and I probably could've taken #1 then, if Jhazy hadn't gotten his account banned. In S7, prot is overpowered because of armor pen, my damage shouldn't be so high, but it is what it is because I can make your armor very low. 2T10 shoves me over the line from overpowered to godly and I honestly think it has to go, for some sake of balance."

After extensive silence on the issue GC finally acknowledged prot might be a tad imbalanced. In a post called "Upcoming 3.3 balance adjustments" he said: 

"Protection warriors have too much utility and damage for PvP. (We don't want to hurt their tanking in PvE of course.)"

In later posts it is revealed that the blues intend to nerf both the Warbringer talent and Shield Slam, the latter in a way that won't affect pve, in the upcoming "minor patch". Here's Bornakk's posts on these two abilities:

"In the next content patch the current plan is to change Warbringer a bit so that it no longer allows Charge and Intercept to break roots or snares but Intervene would remain unaffected."

Shield Slam:  
"The diminishing returns on shield slam damage now starts to kick in when shield block value is more than 1960 (at level 80). It maxes at behaving as if your shield block value is 2072 when your block value is actually 3160 (again, at level 80). Remember this includes the scaling from both shield block value on gear AND shield block value from Strength."

Wait, what? So...frost mages might now have a chance against prots (and who cares if frost has trouble with one melee spec, they can dominate all the others), and Shield Slam's damage was nerfed a bit. Kind of skirting around the real issue, aren't they?

Remember what Alloraan said? He's not stacking block value to get those insane Shield Slams...he's stacking armor pen! There was a post on by Matthew Rossi (their warrior columnist) that said these nerfs are like "taking a club away from a guy who is shooting people." I couldn't agree more with that assessment. Blizz is ignoring the real problem that lies with armor pen.

Considering these nerfs are so weak, many people on the forums are calling for a nerf to prot warrior damage across the board, and increasing their threat multipliers to compensate. This has caused an uproar from prot warriors, citing that their damage is already the lowest of all tank specs.

A prot said, "if two tanks are equals in every way but one does 3,000 DPS and the other does 1,800, who would you pick?" First off...this situation is far too could two tanks be almost identical in health, avoidance, etc. and have such a grave disparity in their DPS? wouldn't care about their DPS...tanks are there to tank. Unless you're doing a 10 man speed kill and really pushing the boundaries (3d zerg), tank damage is totally irrelevant. You just want a tank that knows what he/she is doing, and has the health and avoidance to not die.

Bornakk actually puts in some input on this issue:

"We understand that warrior damage is on the low end but regarding the raid progression, it's a hard case to say that your wipe on Festergut (as an example) was caused by the difference between tank damage when the dps from focused classes like rogue, warlock, etc. can probably improve to beat the enrage timer."

All that aside, I do not think that a straight nerf to damage is the real solution. Tanks should be nowhere near DPS, but they should at least be equal with each other. Quite frankly, I don't really know what the real solution would be.'s Rossi thinks this could be a possible fix: 

"Prot warriors in PvP stack armor pen. The way to reduce their DPS in PvP (not PvE, where they don't wear the stuff) is to make Shield Slam ignore armor.

Buh, you say? Make the big damage swing ignore armor and that'll help? Yes, because it can then be tuned to hit for less than it does now and it won't gimp tanking warrior threat or damage, but it will greatly reduced PvP Prot DPS because their big shield slam crits will no longer be for as much because they won't be penetrating armor. You can stack all the ArP you like, Shield Slam won't go up if it already ignores armor. So lower Shield Slam's damage now, make it ignore armor, you've removed damage from prot PvP without touching prot PvE."

Sounds good to me.

So there it is...the epic saga of protection warriors (so far). There's a lot of prot QQ on the forums right now, something I haven't really seen before. Prots wanted to be pvp viable, or, more accurately, a few prots want to be pvp viable, and the rest just want to be left alone. Unfortunately Blizz isn't going to let that happen. Their vision is to make all 30 specs pvp viable...even those that don't exactly fit into a pvp (read: arena) environment.

I think now prots know why the other classes QQ so much. For most of their existence they've been able to trundle along largely unaffected by the ugly world of pvp, but now they've made it past the threshold and there's no going back. All I can say is...toughen up! The other classes have had these kind of nerfs thrown at them since pvp's inception, and now it's your turn. Besides, I really don't think the two mild nerfs you're receiving are going to cause your guild to bench you for the remainder of ICC.

Now if they could just nerf prot pallies...

1 comment:

  1. .....what have they done to my World of Warcraft? ......I shall return...soon..then shall all be right.