Ask The Devs #9 - Tanking (Questions)

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are there any plans to add additional tanking classes? such as:

Demonology Warlocks: their demon form gives them armor, damage reduction, they have both immolation aura, and hellfire for AoE threat (if the felguard provided threat then the warlock would also have felstorm for aoe threat), their multiple DoT's and all they would need is a change to one of their armors(demon skin) or add one providing % damage reduction to NPC's(so they wouldnt be unkillable in pvp)

Beast mastery hunters:... I basically tank on my BM hunter as it is if you spec the pet right... so why not make it easier to let pets tank? they would have all the possible threat they should need from pet talents and the hunter constantly misdirecting to them.

and finally

Enhancement Shaman: All that would be required is either making rockbiter weapon also provide dodge/parry, or increase the amount of damage reduction provided by them(or stoneskin totem). When the shaman interupts it already gets resistances to that spelltype, and they have a 'shield block' sort of ability already (shamanistic rage = 30% reduction to damage for 15 seconds on a 1 minute CD). so why not finalize them as a tanking class?(more parry and dodge to make up for lack of block)
Why does it feel like if there is a frost DK or fury warrior in the group that as a tank w/ ilvl 356 I cant hold threat against them. I basically have to taunt on every cooldown in order to keep aggro on the target. I dont have a problem with any other classes, but these two in particular have extremely high TPS for being a DPS class.

Maybe some way for these classes to drop threat or pass threat onto the tank?
I hate to steal a loved podcast's thunder, but I notice most, if not all of these questions are directed at individual tanks and abilities. Mine is much broader, and could give insight as to how other roles are balanced as well.

Question: How do you, Blizzard, determine whether tanks are balanced? What metrics do you use? Do you find balance using values such as average time to live in an encounter, average encounter success rate, or what are the deeper underlying factors used when trying to balance classes against content?

Edit: And not just against content, but comparably equivalent (within a small margin of difference) with each of the other tanking classes?
Consecration, a signature paladin ability, has become all but useless in tanking. It provides weak AoE threat in a world where AoE is much less prominent, and has an ENORMOUS mana cost without talents, and yet our talents are better spent in single target threat (The threat that, at the end of the day, really counts). Is there a way that consecration could be phased back in?
Have you thought about a tutorial for characters that select 'tank' from the tree right at level 10? Perhaps when you pick that first talent in the dedicated tree, tanking quests are unlocked. There are many low level tanks that are called noobs and yelled at because they don't know how to tank, but there's currently no method to teach them.
Simple question: Any chance of allowing "feasts" to give us mastery instead of dodge, and potentially add a mastery flask so we don't have to cook our own food and use massive amounts of elixirs to max out our survival?
Speaking from the viewpoint of somebody who (also) plays a protection warrior would it be feasible to implement an ability or talent that could be used as a "smart taunt"?

Perhaps a cool down ability that could be used when the warrior is tanking a pack of mobs that would automatically taunt the most distant mob that is in combat? It would be nice to have something like that so we don't have to scramble around, drag packs of mobs around or try and target that runner who is attacking the healer or dps.

The priest "POM" ability is sort of my inspiration for this - could we get some kind of "fire and forget" single target taunt?


Removing the extra damage taken when popping Enrage was an improvement, but the comparison between warrior charge (generates rage) and druid charge (costs rage) is still very frustrating when switching between tanks. Are there any plans to address this inequality? Personally, I would prefer that the two charges were more in line even if the cost is more similarity between the classes.
My question is regarding raid cooldowns, and their spread between tanks. Currently Protection Paladins are the only class with an ability designed for raid-wide use.

Rallying Cry is an option for Protection Warriors, however given that it's tied to our Last Stand it loses it's viability in any real progression encounter. Unlike with Rallying Cry, there's no risk/reward with Divine Guardian, and that puts Protection Paladins ahead of the other tanks in certain encounters with high burst damage.

Do you have plans to add in some other factor(risk) regarding Divine Guardian use, or giving Death Knights and Bears similar tools in future content patches?
Coming from a ranged DPS/healer main, I find the tank role to be very fun in 5 mans and extremely boring in raids. In a 5 man, you need to know and plan for trash pulls and boss abilities, but in a raid this is taken care of by the raid leader and tanking just gets boiled down to having gear and pushing any old button you feel like (thanks, vengeance).

As a healer or a DPS in a raid, I've got to master mechanics, change targets, move out of fire, move into the good stuff, master my rotation, and watch my resource. As a tank...well, I have to stand in front of the boss and hope the rest of the raid can do all that other fun stuff.

For example - Maloriak. Sure one tank gets to do some pretty fancy stuff add tanking, but all the boss tank has to do is stand there and not die. The boss even moves himself! Sometimes the tank has to do some fancy moves (Al'Akir p1 dodging tornadoes) but usually the tank is just an obligatory part of the raid so the rest of the group can do the real encounter.

Heroic modes are a bit more challenging but there's such a large ramp up between normal and heroic modes for tanks and it can be very frustrating for the raid as a whole (tanks failing at tanking tends to cause them to die very very quickly, which causes the raid to wipe very very quickly).

Is there any plans to adjust the challenge, learning curve, and the engagement level of the tanking role in raids?
Of the 4 tanks, warriors have the least amount of self healing, via either an actual attack/spells (WoG/Death Strike) or via a proc (LOTP). Warriors do have the option for self heals in the form of procs or abilities, but it was found to be lacking in the throughput/usefulness departments (only in execute phase, its a proc on top of several other procs we have to watch for, and only heals for 5% unless we devote a glyph to it)

Is this intended, or would the Dev's consider going back and looking at talents like Impending Victory and changing some of the requirements for it (i.e. instead of it procing only in execute range, all the time and it not being nerfed to 5%, but maybe 25 or 50% of normal heal) or changing the amount healed via Blood Craze through a deep prot talent that would cause it to heal for more or more reliably?

Given that the other three tank classes (paladin, DK, and Warrior) have a ranged interrupt on a long cooldown and a melee interrupt on a shorter cooldown, is there any plan to provide druid tanks with a second interrupt? In spite of the semi-ranged nature of skull bash, a second interrupt seems key. One suggestion I've seen is a "Deafening Roar". While it seems like it might be overpowered, it would be unique at least. Another suggestion that I've read was to extend the range of skull bash and shorten the cooldown below 10 seconds. Even 8 seconds would eliminate an entire GCD worth of panic.
Death Knights are currently the only tank class that have to trade their survivability to reapply their attack/cast speed and damage Debuffs. This is because in order to apply a debuff, we must use a rune that would otherwise go toward a Death Strike. Since Death Strike is our "block" mechanic, we actually stop "blocking" while we apply these debuffs. Outbreak helps with this, but most Death Knight tanks are opting not to apply the debuffs at all while Outbreak is on cool down.

The question:

What do you guys think about Death Knight tanks trading survivability (because of rune costs) to apply debuffs, unlike any of the other tank classes?
As a paladin tank, I find myself wanting more ways to protect my raid from AoE damage, such as Holy Radiance on cooldown and Divine Guardian every time there's a raid wide AoE attack. However, HR does too little healing for my companions at too high a mana cost and cooldown time, and DG's range is far too short (even shorter than my aura!)

Would you consider buffing either of these abilities for prot's use as raid cover cooldowns?
With regards to Cata (and also WotLK), every encounter has required no more than two tanks. Will there ever be any raids in the future require (or favor) at least three tanks? I feel this could also potentially alleviate the tank shortage.
When the initial Holy Shield change appeared on the PTR, a blue poster informed us that the change was a part of an overall plan to change Paladin mastery to ensure that they would not be able reach full combat table coverage in Firelands. The change has since been reverted, although it still appears in the Patch Notes.

I was wondering if any further clarification could be offered as to how you plan on adjusting Paladin (and, in heroic Firelands gear, Warrior) masteries to avoid capping; or, if you do not plan on doing so, how you can keep the tanks balanced with the resulting enormous gap in effective health.
Tanks are currently the only group that does not actively control how well they do things in a fight in a measurable way. For example: you can see how much damage a DPS outputs and compare against others in that group and through other tools against the world - and how much damage a DPS does is very much tied to their skill. A healer is able to show how much healing and overhealing they do, and while this is a flawed way of measuring healer skill there is definitely a component to a healer's skill and their throughput.

But for a tank, how much damage they take and when they take it is largely dictated by the content and their gear - but has little correlation between them and skill. The primary activity that tanks have with a boss is not reducing damage taken, it's threat output. Tanks are also responsible for keeping up a few debuffs and using cooldowns (often on a very scheduled way), but the hit table is far more responsible for their damage intake than any actions they could perform during the fight (provided they don't /sit or something).

Have you thought about changing a tank's mechanics so that they are more actively responsible for their damage intake? This seems like what you were working towards with DKs having a lot of active cooldowns, but I'm curious if there is more in the works.
For Blood-specialized Death Knights, Runic Empowerment is rather awkward when trying to time Death Strikes for maximum Blood Shield values. Considering we have to have blood runes on cooldown for Blade Barrier, blood runes are usually the ones being refreshed by RE. Thus, it is fairly terrible for tanking, since with vengeance, threat is rarely an issue after the first 30 seconds of the fight. My question is as such:

Is there any plans to change how Runic Empowerment works for Blood?

I only ask since it adds another layer of randomness to Blood; for the most part, players want more consistent tanks. With Paladins getting close to Block Cap, there is approaching a "Golden God" status of consistency of incoming damage. I feel as though DK's are going to keep falling behind in terms of consistency.
Rallying Cry was introduced into the game in the last patch, and many warrior tanks have been put in a difficult situation with their raid teams in CD usage: do they use last stand and save themselves, or save rallying cry for the raid needs it later in the fight?
Is the warrior tank selfish and use the CD only on themselves, or do they help the raid later on?

To my knowledge, no other raid CD locks the caster out of their personal CD's (Forbearance is the closest thing to what I am referring to, but it is not caused by normal tanking CD's or raid CD's - Divine Protection, Divine Guardian, and Guardian of Ancient Kings being the normal tanking/raid CD's)

I'm all for warriors bringing raid utility beyond our shouts, but rallying cry ends up only benefiting the raids with DPS warriors, and screws over the prot warriors.
Is this intended?
Is this situation supposed to be "interesting" because warriors have to make a choice?
Could the abilities be redesigned in a way that they can not be stacked, but can be used much more quickly - CD reduction via talents?

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