Active mitigation for druids and square wonder bread

Over on wowinsider, Allison wrote a great post on how bears are looking in the beta.

Blizzard was very happy with the tanking model for death knights and is now bringing active mitigation to the other tanks too. I do not have beta access yet so my thoughts on this are based on what Blizzard itself has announced and what people with beta access have been saying. Disregard for the moment how threat is difficult for all tanks – Blizzard has said that tank damage is too low and they’re fixing it. That should remove the threat problem. What I want to talk about here is how the classes will flow and what the rotation/priority system will look like.

Here is how it has been shaking out for the tanking classes we have today:

1 – Death Knights – they’re seeing the smallest changes on beta compared to live because they already have the new model. Blood DKs have gotten big nerfs to some signature abilities but that is what you get when you are able to go in and take out heroic Ragnaros with 10 DKs. 🙂 Nonetheless, DKs have two resources – runes and runic power and they can choose to use mitigation/heal abilities or damaging abilities. If their runes are on cooldown, they can use runic power. If they’re out of runic power, some runes should be off CD allowing them to use some other abilities. TLDR – they have lots of tools running off two different resources which results in a lot of choice.

2 – Paladins – The active mitigation model is looking very nice for Paladins. They have a choice of using a heal / mitigation or damage ability and there is a good mix of holy power generators and consumers. They’re looking like they’ll be fun to play in MoP and they are looking like they’ll have a fairly complete toolkit. Paladins too have mana and holy power as dual resources. If they don’t have any holy power, they can use mana based abilities. Again, a two resource model that results in depth and choice. Fun things to have in any game.

3 – Warriors – The active mitigation model consists of banking 60 rage to use shield block / barrier. Shield Block provides physical mitigation and shield barrier provides mitigation against magic damage. The filler is likely going to be devastate. I am expecting shield slam and revenge to be primary rage generators. My concerns are that Shield Block and Shield Barrier last for 6 seconds only and cost 60 rage. This is too expensive and too short a duration. It would be much better to increase this buff duration to 12 – 15 seconds. Good tanks would still work to keep active mitigation up and bad tanks would not. 6 seconds is just too short and feels punishing. It’s also going to cause a lot of tanking fatigue having to baby sit the short term buff.

4 – Guardian druids – Similar to warriors, the implementation of active mitigation means banking rage to 60 and using it on Savage Defense, every six seconds. This does not sound like engaging gameplay. Baby sitting a short term buff is annoying, not fun. We’ve also lost pulverize and have a cooldown on every other ability. So in a nutshell we’ll be hitting Savage Defense as soon as we get to 60 rage (or lose 40% damage mitigation!) and the rest of the time hit whatever comes off cooldown. This is terrible. We seem to have lost what little depth we gained to bear tanking in Cata. We also don’t have demo roar – that debuff is applied by thrash.

In a nutshell, DKs look like they’re fun and will reward skilled play, so do Paladins. Warriors are going to feel frustrating to play because of the short duration of active mitigation and the HUGE repercussions of letting it fall off even briefly. Druids are even worse off than warriors – not only has our small toolbox shrunk further, we’ll also be babysitting a short term buff but unlike warriors, we don’t even have a choice of two short term buffs.

This design needs to change. Please give your feedback on the forums.

In parting, the Savage Defense every six seconds design when compared to DKs and Paladins feels like Square Bread compared to McDonalds. The following video illustrates why:

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