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Flavour and Consistency in Tanking 7: Conclusions

July 19, 2010

Wrath created four viable tank classes. In my back of the envelope, appallingly subjective analysis we have the following scores:

Warriors: 7/10
1) single target survivability: 7/10
2) aoe survivability: 9/10
3) single target threat: 6/10
4) aoe threat: 4/10
5) utility: 9/10

Paladins: 8.4/10
1) single target survivability: 9/10
2) aoe survivability: 9/10
3) single target threat: 6/10
4) aoe threat: 8/10
5) utility: 10/10

Bears: 7.6/10
1) single target survivability: 7/10
2) aoe survivability: 5/10
3) single target threat: 9/10
4) aoe threat: 9/10
5) utility: 8/10

Death Knights 7/10
1) single target survivability: 8/10
2) aoe survivability: 6/10
3) single target threat: 9/10
4) aoe threat: 5/10
5) utility: 7/10

The averages are:

1) Paladins (8.4)
2) Bears (7.6)
3) Death Knights and Warriors (7)

The first thing to note is that these are quite far close. A spread of 1.4 is not bad at all even for something as subjective as this and getting two tanks with exactly the same is impressive from my point of view. If we rounded to one figure we’d have two scores of 8 and two of 7.

Again, this is subjective but it also feels right to me. Between tanking myself and tanking alongside others I do have some idea of where the classes are. I feel squishy and slightly under-threat against a paladin except on a large aoe pull. I feel as if a bear can do most of what I can but more easily. I think in terms of threat and survivability I stack up pretty well against a warrior although I envy them their vast array of tools.

A couple of other thoughts:

– I was surprised by how well bears do considering how few of them one sees around. Then I thought of the ease with which I can run Heroic Halls of Reflection on my bear (who is vastly undergeared compared to my other tanks) and gave up. It is easier than for my paladin albeit only just. The corollary is that it is also boring because the most efficient thing to do is threat spam with maul macroed while targeting skull. One button tanking may be powerful but it is not much fun compared to other tank’s less powerful but more decision based rotations.

– The other reason for bears to be less popular I suspect is their relative squishiness. There is less ability to get out of holes on your own than the other classes give and I think this may put many tanks off. I may depend on my healer but I don’t have to like doing so and I will minimise it all I can.

– I was surprised by how powerful Paladins are and this is perhaps reasonable. I am not entirely sure I was right to give them a single-target survivability score so much higher than warriors. But to be honest, that is Ardent Defender.

So all in all, four good tanks. One more powerful than others and I suspect likely to be slightly nerfed in comparison (much as I would prefer the others to be buffed). One more powerful but we know this to be deliberate because Blizzard wants more bears out there. The fact that this won’t happen until they make them more interesting is besides the point unfortunately. And two others that are interesting and probably pretty well balanced. Some work needed on each but all in all good solid trees.

Next up, what this means for Cataclysm.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 19, 2010 18:42

    See, quietly second best!

    Bear dependency on healers is an interesting point. They’ve got some semi-decent self healing via ILotP and good ol’ Frenzied Regen, and in some (rare, non-raid) situations Savage Defence beats even block for damage prevention. They really don’t have an answer to Shield Wall or its ilk in terms of “Oh crap the healer d/c’d”, though. 4T10 Enrage plus barkskin maybe, but then the other tanking set bonuses are at least as good.

    I doubt the relative scarcity of bear tanks will change overmuch, and I kind of liked being one of the few around. Hopefully Blizzard can make it less snooze-inducing!

    Fun look at the tanks as they exist today, and I look forward to your Cataclysmic analysis.

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