Balancing around encounters

Well, it’s been a holiday period – sorry for the gap between my last entry and this one, but it may please you to know that I’ve had a great Yule period and that I hope everyone else did, too. Happy new year, one and all!

In any event, I want to move on and speak briefly about the notion of class “balance” and how it pertains to encounters. After all, the developers “absolutely balance around encounters” when it comes to all of the classes in the game, and not just tanks. But to set the scene, it’s worth mentioning what balancing by encounter actually means.

It means that the developers are comfortable with class imbalance on paper, using encounters to redress this imbalance by playing to the strengths of certain specs on a given fight. The phrase usually uttered by the developers is “we don’t balance by target dummies”; and this is further illustrated when Ghostcrawler correctly points out the flaws in the “my static DPS is too low – buff, please” argument.

I suppose the question for warriors is whether or not the developers have gotten it right. And, in the main, I’d say that they have.

Yes, certain things from a tanking point of view are frustrating. Having worse effective health, mitigation and damage reduction percentages than a paladin is hard to justify, for example, and seems like an oversight – especially considering how simple said class is to play. But, there is only one Patchwerk and you can soon find that interrupts, stuns, fast gap closing, disarming, spell-reflecting and practical immunity to crowd control can take so much more pressure off a raid when they really need some help. So far, the encounters in Icecrown Citadel (including the trash) have seen warriors open their entire box of tricks throughout and highlight the other tanking classes for what they really are.

Imitations. Copies. Replicas.

Imperfect versions of the original.

This isn’t a warrior call-to-arms and I’d be loathe to write such a thing. But it’s been a long expansion that, for the most part, has played to the strengths of the damage sponge with regard to boss tanks. This has been disheartening for most of Wrath of the Lich King and, as you’ll know, I’ve lost the faith more than once. But now, at the business end, we’re starting to see raids asking things of their paladins or bears and getting resigned head shaking. And now, at the summit of content, the Protection warrior is standing up and saying:

“Wait… I can do that.”

Protection warriors; still the original, and best.

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