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Flavour and Consistency in Tanking 2: Warriors

July 1, 2010

Earlier, I said I thought there were four major areas where tanks had to be equal:
1) single target survivability
2) aoe survivability
3) single target threat
4) aoe threat
5) utility

In this post, I propose to consider how each class looks at these. I’m going to give a score out of 10 for each. This is purely subjective and until I get a Warrior tanking at level 80 subject to considerable bias. Any tanks who want to disagree are warmly invited to do so.

Warriors

These are the original tanks and as such the baseline that all others are compared to. There are arguments on both sides as to whether this is a benefit or a threat to their status as tanks. In general, however it means that they have a toolbox that is almost incomparable. As far as I can tell, when creating another tank, the developers have first decided which bit of the Warrior toolset they want to give and then how. Overall though, I am not aware of a core tool (see post 2) that Warriors do not have and they have several other tools such as disarm and spell reflect that no others can match.

In terms of flavour, much as I personally find it tedious, the warrior is an easy concept to understand; they wrap themselves in huge amounts of metal, hide behind even more metal and hit people with a large lump of metal and an even larger sheet of (wait for it) metal. Everyone understands the rationale and even I can see the heroism in facing the most powerful beings in the world with only courage, skill and a vast amount of weaponry. Mind you, I still think it stupid. Just go and learn some proper defensive magic !

The abilities and talents are well named to maintain this flavour. The graphics tends to be a bit boring for me (and let’s face it, should be since all you should get is them hitting the mob in different ways with sword and shield) although they have one of the best graphics in the game in thunderclap. The lack of pretty spell graphics is partially made up for by the fact that warriors get some of the best armour graphics on the other hand.

1) single target survivability: 7/10
– This has been a bit up and down over Wrath. Sarth+3d when it was new was slightly scandalous. Currently, I am not aware of any bosses that a warrior cannot surivive.

– Warriors have strong survival cooldowns, especially when glyphed.
2) aoe survivability: 9/10
– Warriors have block which is currently a brilliant aoe mitigation ability. The way their block works tends to mean it is slightly weaker at aoe than paladins but it is still vastly better than DKs or bears get.

– mind you, this is probably the least important area considering current healer mana pools.
3) single target threat: 6/10
– Generally, warrior single target threat seems good it has definite flaws (heroic strike spam).
– Rage starvation is an ugly thing. Linking damage taken to rage seems stupid to me because it makes losing aggro a vicious cycle.

– Vigilance is a lovely ability. I know many warriors dislike it but frankly I have never understood this and covet it immensely. The ability to actually control someone else’s threat is a very useful thing. Personally, I think all abilities like misdirect should be reversed and given to tanks. We like the threat game, hunters and rogues like the dps game.

4) aoe threat: 4/10
– Probably a warrior’s weakest area. Thunderclap is wonderful but on a cooldown and the other abilities are limited to numbers they hit. Mind you, at least rage starvation is less of an issue (until someone pulls aggro anyway).

– Vindication on a mage’s blizzard anyone?
5) utility: 9/10
– Warrior’s have superb utility. Mostly because they were the first people at the christmas tree when tanks were getting presents.

– In terms of abilities they all give and use, attack power or health buffs, attack power and speed reductions, major armour reduction.

– Good warriors also have abilities such as movement reduction (hamstring), spell reflection (which gives survivability and threat in one), unequalled ability to move around the battlefield (between intervention and charge).

Overall, Warriors are in some ways the Jack-of-All-Trades when it comes to tanking. To my mind, this is shown most by the fact that warriors have to glyph their cooldowns so heavily. Most of the other tanks have a couple of choices (as a DK, I use a sub-optimal glyph because I feel short of aoe threat and never get worried about threat capping in single-target situations) but warriors seem to have a serious decision to make between threat and survivability.

Warrior average score is 7.

A score I would categorise as a solid baseline for the rest. Which interestingly is probably what I would have picked in general. Warriors have very little wrong and can do everything well if not absolutely brilliantly.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 1, 2010 12:41

    I suspect you mean Vigilance rather than Vindication (IIRC the latter is a paladin toy).

    Shockwave is a fantastic AoE threat generator with no target limit, but it is a cone AoE attack and therefore occasionally awkward to use.

    Lastly, Warbringer also allows the use of Intercept, giving warriors two offensive and one defensive charge. Their obscene mobility is the primary reason I enjoy them so much.

    Despite my quibbles (quib! quib!), I agree with your assessment of the mechanics of warrior tanking. Threat can be tricky sometimes, but they have a superb set of utilities. I also like the (slightly) controlled chaos of their tanking ‘rotation’, with SnB procs and a wide variety of cooldowns.

    It interests me that some people don’t like the lore of the class on the grounds of “l2magic, noob”. Despite my enduring love for all things caster-shaped, I just don’t see it like that. Much like rogues, warriors come wrapped in semi-mystic flavour in my opinion. I tend to view warriors via the rose-tinted goggles of the, err, Warmain class (I think?) from Arcana Evolved (née Unearthed), to provide some gently aged geekcontext. They don’t need to cast spells to partake of this magical background. And there’s a degree of pleasure to be had just from the change of perspective, really.

    Not that this changes anything. I didn’t really expect to enjoy warrior very much but, well, I do. If only the guild were not groaning ‘neath the weight of so many already.

    • Arcturis permalink*
      July 1, 2010 13:15

      Good spot! Changed in text and thank you.

      I’d be more happy with the mysticism thing if warriors used mana. As it is, the totally different mechanic throws me.

      In other contexts, it works well. I’ve been reading Earthdawn recently and like how they do it. And I’ve always adored the traditional d&d bladesinger.

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