Patch 4.3.2 went live yesterday and with it came a disturbance in the force – as if millions of vengeance stacking juggernauts were suddenly silenced. PVPers were either delighted or despondent over this change:
“Vengeance is no longer triggered by receiving damage from other players.”
There is no doubt in my mind that a nerf to vengeance was needed. Any geared (4K+ resilience) tank with a healer in PVP is already hard to kill, that through vengeance they could also do damage comparable to a dps was unbalanced.
The most imbalanced were blood death knights because they didn’t even need an external source of healing – the basic death knight tanking model relies on self heals through doing damage which becomes wickedly potent in PVP, especially once they get a high stack of vengeance.
I’ve been doing PVP on my prot warrior and while I could get some crazy high numbers on the scoreboard for damage, it usually didn’t translate into kills. This is because a large part of protection warrior damage in battlegrounds comes from spreading Rend around via Blood and Thunder and perhaps cleave and shockwave. These abilities by themselves do not kill very often – they just put “background” damage out that needs to be healed up. This kind of damage looks good on the boards but doesn’t help you win games – an enemy at 30% health does the same damage as one at 100% health.
A prot warrior’s real strength in PVP is the control we bring. We have a plethora of stuns, gap closers, interrupts, aoe fear and disarm that turn us into force multipliers. What I mean by that is that on his own, a prot warrior can’t do much to kill a single target however if its a prot warrior and a dps versus two dps, all the control the prot warrior has effectively turns into the prot warrior holding the enemy down while his buddy beats them up. It also makes us great for things like holding down a node in Arathi Basin or Battle for Gilneas – it takes a lot of effort to kill a prot warrior and if your team is responsive, there is ample time to get reinforcements while a prot warrior holds the fort.
Last night I ventured into a battleground on my prot warrior again, expecting the worst but I ended up having a lot of fun. All the control I was used to exercising was still there, I could still charge all over the battlefield, I could fear, shockwave, disarm, spell reflect and intervene. My damage as prot had never been huge so while I could certainly feel the lack of vengeance, not having it didn’t ruin my fun.
For me, even after the nerf to vengeance, Prot Warrior PVP in battlegrounds is still viable and fun.