Archive for the ‘Class Development’ Category

Warriors still weaker than paladins – why?

20/11/2009

3.3 is (relatively) just around the corner, so the world’s tanks are about to hit Icecrown Citadel and storm the halls of the malevolent Lich King to dish out calculated, retributive justice to the betrayer of a crown, a nation and an entire race.

Okay, that was dramatic.

But we have a right to look forward to the final content patch of this expansion with excitement. New content. New gear. New systems. New opportunites to immerse ourselves in some of the greatest Azerothian lore. New talents, abilities or specs to play with. Except, no.

Where the hell are the warrior changes for 3.3?

In a world where warriors are currently the games weakest tank, and generally have been for the entire expansion, I was really hoping that the class would see some attention to level them out for Icecrown. Instead, all we see is a lowering in level for an ability (Victory Rush) that is rarely ever used, if at all.

Naturally, I’m not the only one bringing this up and Ghostcrawler himself has spent a large amount of time dealing with it on the boards, particulary on this thread. The argument, basically, is that the numbers don’t add up to buffing warriors, despite the facts, so no changes are incoming.

This is bad development. The developers can clearly see where warriors fall behind, yet don’t want to do anything to address it because most tanks are still warriors. An absolute myriad of reasons have been provided for this fact, yet that’s just too bad; warriors are still tanking content just fine, so the fact that they’re technically worse just doesn’t matter. On Kilrogg, the two top raiding guilds are Barbarians (25 man) and Saoirse (10 man), with both of these guilds now running with paladins as their main tanks when, prior to Wrath of the Lich King, they didn’t. Now, I’m not saying that every guild in the world is doing that; clearly, they’re not. They’ve had tried and trusted warriors for a long, long time and are not going to go with the current Flavour of the Month. But is it just coincidence that the top performers on my server now use paladins?

Probably not. And not including my contribution to this thread on the WoW-Europe forums, I’m going to point out exactly why there is currently so much resentment toward paladins at time of writing. I’m sticking with paladins, purely because they’re the closest to warriors in terms of gearing and performance and currently the game’s most numerous tank (though not, necessarily, in the higher-end raid guilds).

All we really need to look at are the talent specializations. For the purposes of this comparison, I’ll stick with the relevant protection trees and the options.

Paladins receive 15% more strength (Divine Strength).
Paladins receive 16% more healing (Divinity and Improved Devotion Aura).
Paladins receive 602 more armour (Improved Devotion Aura, not including higher base armour because of Devotion Aura itself).
Paladins receive 1% less damage reduction, but 20% additional reduction when below 35% health (Improved Righteous Fury, Shield of the Templar and Ardent Defender).
Paladins receive 6% more critical strike rating (Combat Expertise).
Paladins receive the same melee damage increase for two less talent points (One-Handed Weapon Specialization).
Paladins receive 8% more stamina (Sacred Duty and Combat Expertise).
Paladins receive 25% more block rating, with a 10% chance of a further 30% (Holy Shield and Redoubt).

Now, not considering that certain things offset this list (such as Shield Block or the higher base health of a warrior), it’s pretty obvious to anyone who looks at the talent trees that paladins are in a far better position than warriors are when tanking. In addition to this, the parses don’t lie; warriors take more damage, deal less damage and generate less threat on both single and multiple pulls. We can also look at the cooldown options of the classes and, again, see warriors considerably worse off than paladins in both cases. The comparison between Shield Wall and Divine Protection is particularly galling; despite spending two talent points (that effect nothing else) and a major glyph, warriors somehow end up with an inferior cooldown. And, please, don’t start me on raid buffs.

If you’re a warrior tank, you’re quite entitled to be wondering “wtf?”

Now, I can understand Ghostcrawler’s point to a certain extent; buffing the most popular tank seems like a self-defeating notion. But it’s alarmingly clear that class performance isn’t the main deciding factor in choosing guild tanks (as if it ever would be), so their current policy is doing absolutely nothing, other than penalizing warriors for being the most numerous choice and, as a result, penalizing their guilds.

It’s crazy.

Of course, that brings up the question as to why warriors remain the most popular if they’re the weakest. This could be for any number of reasons, or perhaps none of them. Perhaps they’re the most fun. Perhaps the “defender’s lore” resonates. Perhaps it’s the fact all races (bar one) can roll warrior. Perhaps it’s because only one race can roll druid, and one race can roll paladin. Perhaps it’s the fact that both paladins and druids have more raid spec options. Perhaps it’s the vanilla legacy. Perhaps guilds simply trust their old tanks who are warriors. All of these reasons are perfectly possible, and all of them valid. They’re reasonable.

What’s not reasonable is keeping a class demonstrably weaker than another because it’s more popular.

Yet, that is exactly what’s going on.

Fix it, developers. Whether you like it or not, it is your job to balance the game properly.

[N.B: To the death knights out there, I feel your pain. However, I’m not in a position to reliably comment on your class due to a general lack of knowledge about it. Suffice it to say, I would agree with any death knight who believes they’re falling behind; it certainly seems as though you are.]

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