Build 12644. Some changes make sense, some seem like steps towards a different direction, like their reaching for something in the distance but don’t quite have it yet. Beta, and all. Ultimately just another step towards in the inevitable–though the question is: step forward, or step back?
1. Avenger’s Shield is getting all proc-y
So Avenger’s Shield has a base cooldown of 30 seconds. The talent Shield of the Templar reduces that down to 20 seconds. On top of that, Grand Crusader has been redesigned to give us a 20% chance to proc a reset on AS’s cooldown. This is great, but what’s the deal exactly?
Is AS supposed to be some sort of ghetto interrupt, on the global cooldown and suffering from the usual half-second delay in the application of the silence? I hope that’s not even half the intention of this change because that’s a depressing thought if they thing this makes a remotely plausible replacement for Rebuke.
My other thought is, how is Avenger’s Shield hitting on the beta? Is a powerhouse hit that would be worth using whenever the cooldown is up, or would it take a back seat to something doing a little more damage, like perhaps the new Hammer of the Righteous iteration? If Avenger’s Shield somehow becomes our heaviest hitting attack–a mighty big if–then that Grand Crusader proc will be something fun to watch for and immediately react to. Otherwise, it’ll just be a moment where we’ll have to stop and reassess our priorities midfight–”HotR is next, then Judgement… but AS just procced, so AS then judgement”–or something similarly annoying.
I really wish I was in the beta and could run some logs and work this out.
2. Holy Shield gets a little better
Up now to 20 seconds, which is good because we’re not as much in “one CS miss and you’re boned” mode anymore. However, two CS misses!
Personally, I think duration needs to get a little higher so that we can use Holy Power for something more than maintaining Holy Shield. Blizz wants the new resource system to be more interesting than stacking it to three and gaining a buff that other classes (I speak of our eternal enemies, the Warriors) get for free. I’ll return to this gripe shortly. In any case (or, as Anafielle would say, “irregardless”) Holy Shield is getting better but it’s not quite there yet. Need just a little more breathing room to make up for CS misses in early raid tiers and to give us a little more choice with Holy Power.
3. They want us to use Word of Glory, but I’m not buying it
Speaking of choice with Holy Power, the newest iteration of Guarded by the Light gives us a reason to use Word of Glory, giving us a protective shield worth however much we overheal ourselves with the ability. Doing on average 1367 per stack of Holy Power, and boosted by 20% by GbtL, it’s theoretically possible we’d get a shield worth 1640 per HP. At a max stack of 3 Holy Power, that’s a shield worth 4920 damage. Theoretically.
While that sounds interesting, I have two concerns: (1) who realistically is going to have more than one Holy Power to spend on a Word of Glory per Holy Shield cycle? And (2) how ridiculously hard is it going to be to time Word of Glory to maximize overhealing and thus getting as much shield as possible? I’d say close to impossible. Maybe at the start of the pull as a Holy Power dump, but I think I’d much rather have more block than a piddly 5k shield. A piddly 5k shield that doesn’t scale, and will still be 5k at the last raid tier.
Needs more work, send it back.
4. New Hammer of the Righteous, ShoR probably dead
The bell tolls for ShoR. Hammer of the Righteous now hits for 300% weapon damage on a single target, 150% damage on a second target, and 75% on a third. It’s not a single and multi-attack all in one. Good change–less clutter, makes HotR (presumably) our biggest gun.
5. Hallowed Ground not mandatory anymore
With the removal of the +damage component of this talent, it’s purely optional at this point. Also like if the Glyph of Consecration was made into a talent and given steroids. There’ll be no direct tps improvement for taking it, other than perhaps an indirect benefit by freeing up GCDs that would otherwise be spent maintaining Consecrate. I can’t see myself taking this talent in a hypothetical boss-only talent spec unless it really smooths out the rotation for us.
And, speaking of Consecration, a pertinent GC quote:
Currently we are looking really hard at AE damage abilities by all tanks. We tried Thunder Clap with no cooldown and didn’t like it. We also tried Thunder Clap with a Consecrate-like talent, but I’m not sure we like that either. At the moment we are thinking of nerfing any of the really passive AEs, including Swipe, Death and Decay, Damage Shield and Consecrate. All of those abilities (well, maybe not Damage Shield) would still be usable, but they would be more situational.
The bottom line is that we think all tanks need to be able to trivially handle the massive adds or straggling adds situations easily, or none of them should be able to.
Personally, I think it’d probably be easiest for the devs to move to a model where you can AOE tank, but until you severely overgear the instance, it’d be a fool’s errand to attempt to do so. It’s going to be impossible close Pandora’s Box at this point. Just let AOE tanking exist, balance it across the classes, and then make it deadly to do so right off the bat. People don’t want to CC in heroics when at the last raid tier, as much as they say they do.
6. Holy Demo Shout is go
I keep confusing Thunderclap and Demo Shout, which would be unfortunate, but this is warriors we’re talking about here. Anyway, Vindication is no longer an auto-debuff (which I cheer) and now an effect of Holy Wrath (which makes Wrath of the Lightbringer mandatory). I’m ok with this change. Less auto is good.
7. What the heck is our rotation becoming?
Someone observed we’re going from the easiest rotation in the game to the most difficult. In some respects, I think they’re right. Gone is the elegant simplicity of 969, and here comes a choppy priority system. We’re looking at a toolbox of HotR, Judgement, Crusader Strike, Holy Wrath, Holy Shield, Consecrate, Avenger’s Shield, and maybe Word of Glory. You’d want to Hammer before Judging, in case Sacred Duty procs, and you want to always get at least the three Crusader Strikes in every 20 seconds (though this basically being used every time off cooldown, since Holy Power is the foundation of our rotation), and you want to shield toss when proc’d (maybe), and you need to Holy Wrath every thirty seconds, and Consecrate at least every 15.
I deliberately made that paragraph as wall of text as I could stand, if only to underline how bizarre the rotation feels. And yet, the best part is: next build there’ll be something fundamentally different in there.