The Value of a good Talent Specialization

Forgive the laziness regarding my first December offering, but I figure there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel; the following transcript is taken from a conversation I’ve been having on the WoW-Europe tanking forums, and relates to the benefits you get from selecting your talents carefully and actually reading the tooltips whilst understanding the context.

The first point is to do with the value of Deep Wounds when Protection warriors won’t be running with a high critical strike rating.

“Well… You actually get a lot more critical strikes than that from your main abilities. Incite gives more critical strike rating to Heroic Strike, Cleave and Thunderclap. If you were running the T8 set bonus, you got 5% more rating for your Devastate; and, of course, Critical Block also provided you with critical strikes that procced Deep Wounds from blocks (another reason for picking up Shield Specialization, but sadly ditched for 3.2.2), but you still get the extra 15% added to Shield Slam. Finally, Sword and Board gives you 15% critical strike rating on your Devastate, bringing it in line with all your other major abilities.

In short, the passive critical strike rating on your character sheet doesn’t factor in the additional percentages you get added from specific talents. Put simply, all of your main abilities (Shield Slam, Heroic Strike, Cleave, Devastate and Thunderclap) run at a base critical strike chance of 20%. Then, assuming a Feral Combat druid or Fury warrior, you’ve got 25% and that’s not including other common buffs such as Blessing of Kings or Gift of the Wild.

So… One in four blows will critically strike, and warriors are (typically) running two attacks every GCD due to our on-next-attack abilities Heroic Strike and Cleave.

Put simply, Deep Wounds is practically always up as passive DPS/TPS, and not taking it will see a significant drop in both.”

The next point was regarding points picked up in Improved Revenge.

“I still like using Revenge in low rage situations, and putting two points in it keeps its damage above that of Devastate. So, when threat isn’t an issue, Revenge is better than Devastate.

Personal taste, though; I wouldn’t say 2/2 Improved Revenge is a must.”

Next up, the value of block rating.

“The reason warriors and paladins are preferred to death knights and druids on Anub’arak heroic adds is because they don’t take a full hit; they either avoid it, or block it, meaning that block is never a bad stat to have. And to be fair, it also increases the procs on Revenge (which I like), so it’s an increase in DPS if you’re running 2/2 Improved Revenge.”

Finally, a point on Focused Rage.

“I don’t think Focused Rage is a necessity any more, if it ever was. As hinted, I use Revenge for the low rage situations, and I even glyph it for the following free Heroic Strike. Bearing in mind Heroic Strike is the main reason for rage starvation, and you’re also picking up Improved Heroic Strike, I’m not sure Focused Rage is vital.”

After all of this, the poster was very courteous for the time I’d taken and thanked me for doing so. As is often my wont, I had a couple of quick things to add regarding posting for advice/assistance on forums:

“I think it’s a common problem that people come to these forums and ask for assistance (any class/spec), pick up some potentially bum advice, and act on it without really knowing the “why”. Please don’t think this is a personal criticism, because it’s not; these forums are exactly the place to come to pick up ideas. It’s just that, very often, “advice” can be something of a Chinese whisper that gets to you via a 765458726th source.

And we all know what happens when you copy a copy of a copy of a cassette.

I’m not claiming that every idea I ever came up with was my own – it wasn’t. However, spending a bit of time going over your talents and abilities will often bring up some very strange surprises. They often have secondary effects that are not properly considered, or even primary effects that are not considered in context.

Armored to the Teeth: “It’s a DPS talent only”. No, it’s attack power for a stat you will, naturally, end up with a lot of, especially as a tank. It’s a wonderful passive threat stat, and I almost choke every time I see a tank without it. It’s also the reason armour is the better EH choice for a warrior.

Shield Specialization: “Block is naff”. An additional 3% (most tanks take 2/5) chance to pick up five rage, however, isn’t; nor the additional chance to avoid taking a full blow or simply getting Revenge up 3% more. Contextually, this is points well spent though, admittedly, not a necessity.

Improved Spell Reflection: “Spell reflect doesn’t work on most bosses”. Actually, it’s 4% additional chance to dodge spell damage completely – it has a place in any full survival spec.

Gag Order: “You can’t silence most bosses”. That’s true; but anyone not interested in picking up 10% damage from every Shield Slam they ever hit is doing their character a dis-service.

Vigilance: “I don’t need help with threat”. The threat management is only one part of this talent, so take a look at the Taunt refresh. If used imaginatively, you’ve just become an off tank with constant Taunt uptime.

All told, the warrior Protection tree has got a heck of a lot in it that people don’t bother looking at or reading when they copy the “top raid tanking” spec. The best advice I can give ANY warrior asking about their spec (which I get asked about a lot) is to read their talents and make their own decisions based on what they’re doing. As a result of this, here is what I consider the “cookie cutter” and it actually leaves you an incredible 12 points to spend where you like, depending on what you’re tanking and what you prefer (preferring Devastate to Revenge):

http://www.wowhead.com/?talent#LVZhZVItMx0didczsGo:cTdMom

And that was it.

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4 Responses to “The Value of a good Talent Specialization”

  1. Dreador Says:

    I've posted a few times but I don't know if you can ID me yet. Dreador – US – Shattered Hand for the armory.That said, this is a good post. I agree with a good majority of it, save for the comments on Focused Rage. Now I disbanded my guild in June, and reactivated it in mid October to come back as a casual PuGger. When I heard about the change to Shield Specialization prior to that, I was jumping for joy. Then I looked at the specs of a few top end tanks I know and wondered why they didn't max it out when I did, in lieu of 3 points or 2 in Focused Rage.The reason is Focused Rage is still better. Yep, I said it. 3% more chance to block and 100% chance on block/dodge/parry to get 5 rage is still relying on the chance to mitigate, where Focused Rage is a constant reduction in rage expenditure.When I dropped 3 points in FR for 3 points in SS, I was almost constantly rage-starved. The only time this was not the case was when I was tanking 4-6+ mobs at once and was constantly avoiding or taking hits. Single target bosses? My TPS/DPS went into the pathetic levels, but now that I have FR again and reduced SS to 2 talent points like before, I'm back up into insane levels, and am pulling off better geared tanks once again (I like to make them force a mob to go taunt-immune when I have not hit the button once). That's my twopence. Discussion?

  2. Dreador Says:

    Clarification: When I say I disbanded and reactivated my guild, I also meant my WoW account. I was not raiding or collecting gear between June and October.

  3. Zellviren Says:

    Hi, Dread. :)I've been getting all of your comments but my terminal at work doesn't work Java properly; there are things I can do and things I can't.It's frustrating, but better than working I suppose.In any event, I take on board what you say about Focused Rage and, I must admit, I figured it was the one that would cause an eyebrow to raise. I often think numerous talents are dependent upon what content you're tanking, but Focused Rage is one of those that is necessary nowhere and helpful everywhere.As I've hinted, I make up for rage use in other places such as Improved Heroic Strike or with my Glyph of Revenge, but you certainly wouldn't catch me calling out anyone who shipped three points in Shield Specialization for three in Focused Rage. My question, however, would always come back to:"Are you there to take damage or deal damage?"But it's a large topic and, quite probably, the topic of my next blog.

  4. Dreador Says:

    For sure, it does depend on what you're tanking. I'd say if I were purely focused on heroics, I'd hands-down go for the 3 extra points in Shield Spec. This is because when I run heroics I chain pull 2-3 groups of mobs at a time and the rage would be infinite. I think however, beyond heroics Focused Rage is necessary everywhere.I'd also question the usages of Revenge and Heroic Strike glyphs. They changed Heroic Strike, from what I'm aware (I don't use it) to instead grant the ability extra crit instead of rage gain. If you're a raid tank, I don't see where you'd find this helpful over Shield Wall, Blocking, Devastate, or in some cases, Taunt glyphs. To each his own though. If it is not broken, no need to fix it. Cheers.

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