Death Knight Normalization Does not Balance Make – Part 5

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

The Meat of the Issue
Upcoming Patch 3.1.0 changes!

The entire reason I’m writing this tremendous multi-part saga is to address the new shield wall glyph for warriors. For those of you out there that have yet to see the changes to the shield wall glyph, I will recap:

  • Reduces the Cooldown on your shield wall by 3 minutes
  • Reduces the damage reduced by shield wall to 40%

The base cooldown of shield wall is 5 minutes. With the glyph, it’s down to 2. Warriors tanking with ANY sense of worth will have the talent: Improved Disciplines. This puts the cooldown at one minute.

Wait… a 1 minute cooldown with 40% damage reduction. Where have I heard of that skill?

Oh my god… Warriors are getting Icebound Fortitude.

Blizzard has balanced the Warrior class tanking role by changing shield wall — a defining protection warrior skill/talent — into a Death Knight skill.

This is bad; see Part 4.

Up next in Part 6: I’m a Warrior… No, Really, I am.


15 Responses to Death Knight Normalization Does not Balance Make – Part 5

  1. I see what your saying here, don’t agree with your conclusion. Stylisation needs to be different, I think it is.

    DK’s will always tank/dps differently from warriors (or any of the other tanking classes), both need to mitigate damage, healers/groups will demand this. You’ll see why I think it is at the end of this comment.

    I can see why blizzard are making their dungeon archetypes more generic. Dungeons require specific roles, especially in the entry-level instances.

    Indeed Blizzard are making their content easier/more accessible and this is a good thing. Hard mode is also a good thing if you want a challenge. Whether more work is required on Hard mode is another issue!

    WoW’s Raiding content was originally tuned for 40 man groups, this allowed you to bring specialists along to the raid. Classes benefited from a specialisation, and a reason to be included in the 40man Raid, this was also their moment to shine.

    Reducing group sizes to 10/25 means the differences in the classes also need to be reduced, there is still a little room for specialisation, but groups still need to fill the three archetypes, their jobs are the same, how they do this is the stylisation.

    Therefore the progress path, normal/heroic instances leaves even less room for specialisation. For 5 man you also need a Tank/Healer/DPS, rarely will you take more than one tank or one healer in a 5 man group.

    If your current dungeon archetype is has a class that is proving to be weaker to fill one of these archetypes than other classes, you will struggle to get a group. Even if the weakness is a prejudice/misconception. This is where class balancing is also a requirement, and I think the current Blizzard team seem to be listening more to their customers, and acting of better testing.

    Anything Blizzard do to make your chosen ‘style’ of tanking more effective is a good thing. Even if this looks like it is copying a successful mechanic from one class to another. Doing this means Blizzard need to be careful that they retain the stylisation difference, and it seems to me what Blizzard are doing in this case. DK’s can use Icebound Fortitude anytime and warriors must be wearing their shield to use shield wall. Similar mechanism, but different stylisation!

  2. […] Blizzard has chosen to, in essence, give warriors a death knight ability. See Part 5. […]

  3. Justin says:

    What I mean by style is HOW the damage is mitigated, not on the constraints placed on when you can mitigate away said damage. The argument that stylization is being diminished and classes homogenized simply because of the reduced amount of raid occupants is extrodanirally weak due to the advent of the dual-spec system. This is not only Blizzard’s way of addressing the specialist issue, but also a continuation of catering their game to the less devoted player base.

    A difference in stylization would be giving the shield wall glyph something like this:

    “Reduces the cooldown of your shield wall ability by 1 minute. In addition, damage that would reduce your health below 20% heals you for 50% of the damage caused.”

    This effectively changes the way shield wall works from being a standard “healer-break” button into a true “Oh shit,” button.

    The whole premise behind DKs tanking is that they’re supposed to but out 2-3X the damage of a protection warrior tank at the cost of damage mitigation. The misuse of Icebound Fortitude has caused the way that DKs tank to be mostly “Oh shit… cooldown” centric. By this I mean that Death Knight tanks are using their cooldowns RE-ACTIVELY rather than PRO-ACTIVELY. You should never engage a raid boss without having Unbreakable Armor up because of the strength gain it gives you (which is indespensible for prime ‘first’ agro generation).

    Plus, you said this yourself:
    “DK’s will always tank/dps differently from warriors”

    I don’t see how giving us identical cooldowns makes Death Knights any “different” from warriors. I stand by my point made in a follow-up post:

    “If Warriors get Icebound Fortitude, I want a stun.”

  4. […] Part 5 – How Warriors are being redefined by Death Knights […]

  5. […] Part 5 – How Warriors are being redefined by Death Knights […]

  6. […] Part 5 – How Warriors are being redefined by Death Knights […]

  7. […] Death Knight Normalization Does not Balance Make – Part 5 « I’m Tanking What?! Says: March 3, 2009 at 8:47 am […]

  8. […] Part 5 – How Warriors are being redefined by Death Knights […]

  9. […] Part 5 – How Warriors are being redefined by Death Knights […]

  10. […] Part 5 – How Warriors are being redefined by Death Knights […]

  11. epic says:

    wasn’t this change unintended?….mmo-champion

  12. […] Part 5 – How Warriors are being redefined by Death Knights […]

  13. […] Part 5 – How Warriors are being redefined by Death Knights […]

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