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This whole 3.1 mess

March 24, 2009
The Bear Talks

The Bear Talks

I’m going to start this by saying that this blog was originally intended as a place to talk about roleplaying, yes, but also tanking and offtanking. I haven’t actually talked a lot about tanking recently, but that’s mostly because it’s hard to tank and offtank big important stuff when your guild has drama and implodes itself while you’re not even 80 yet. I haven’t done any Northrend dungeons yet except to get my Winter Veil hat, and I know I can run heroics until my eyes bleed but I’m still wearing badge gear from level 70 and I’ve been distracted by my alts. It happens.

That being said, 3.1 has been covered in great, excruciating, detail by the powers that be at WoW Insider, as well as by a bunch of personal blogs that I’m too lazy to round up and link to. I’m sure you’ve all read them yourselves anyway. What I’m going to cover will be brief:

  • My own take on the most important change for bears.
  • Something about shaman.
  • And a word about the new add-on rules.

The Bear Shield

  • Savage Defense – this is a new passive ability. When a druid in Dire Bear form deals a melee critical strike, the druid gains a damage shield equal to 25% of their attack power. The next hit completely removes the shield regardless of how much damage was done.
  • Survival of the Fittest – has had its bonus armor reduced to compensate for the above increase in damage mitigation.

So… what they’re doing here is taking and making all of the tanks more like each other. Gone are the days when warriors were the archetypal, balanced tank, paladins are the best AoE tanks but have trouble single-target, and bears have great single-target threat and somewhat less spiky damage because they eat the damage on their armor and stamina. No, now we have two bins. One for death knights and paladins who make the ground burn, and one for bears and warriors who don’t. Please, this isn’t very technical, just an observation.

I don’t really like it, honestly. Aside from my own, personal, issues with death knights which we will not be getting into here… Bears were unique because we could eat the blows. Like candy.  Now they’ve nerfed our armor for a third time (Third? fifth? I don’t remember anymore.) and given us a “shield” because we’ve never had one before.

Personally, I think this damage shield isn’t really approaching what actually equipping a shield does for you. I don’t have a block value, just a little bubble that may or may not stick around for how much damage it can actually save you from. I can’t enchant it, and I can’t take it off and equip something different if I need more rage. It only works when I’m actively whacking on something, is based on a random chance proc, and what happens to all your wasted “shields” when you crit on more than target at a time?

Now I’m not going to walk around claiming the end of the world and send Blizzard hate mail and tell everyone I’m quitting the game because we all no that the people who threaten that stuff never actually do it. No, I’m just going to tell you that it makes me sad to see what used to make all of us unique go away because of this new design direction.

Shaman? Why are you going to talk about shaman?

Because I spent my week of Spring break not down in sunny Florida, but under the driving sun of the Tanaris desert getting my little shaman alt to 50. I like her because she’s snarky, acts like an old lady, and looks good in blue. I also like breaking every shaman convention in the modern world. Seriously. She uses an enhancement spec to heal and likes to tank on the side. And it’s not even a proper enhancement spec! Just look at the silly thing, I avoided everything in the 30-point and 35-point rows completely! So…

  • Spirit Weapons – now reduces all threat, not just melee threat.

This makes me sad. Why would you combine a talent that lats you “tank” (parry) with that which reduces your threat? If shaman weren’t meant to tank (not in raids, but in group quests and maybe even standard instances, I’m not that silly) than why does Frost Shock cause high threat? Why do they use shields? Hmmm?! Seriously, I’ve pulled threat, and held threat, against Etsu’s level 65 mage with my shaman at 48. Yeah, I’m so playing this class wrong. Oh well.

  • Totem streamlining: The Mana Spring and Healing Stream Totems have been combined. The Disease Cleansing and Poison Cleansing Totems have been combined.

This is awesome. I play Grethka on Earthen Ring, and I approve this message. Anything that reduces the number of situational buttons I have to keep track of earns my approval, as does…

  • Chain Lightning – now jumps to 4 targets but does less damage. We wanted to make the distinction between Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning more clear.

Because I love my chain lightning, and I giggle like a little boy lighting his first cherry bomb every time I see my big-blue-glowy-spell-effect hit more than one thing. I’m just that easy to please.

About the Addons

It really doesn’t surprise me that Blizzard finally said no to major profit piggybacking on their game. Honestly, I hadn’t really figured out that there was enough money to be made from donation that you can support yourself or a full staff, but knowing this I see where Blizz is coming from. On the one hand, addon developers spend massive amounts of their time and effort and should be appreciated for it. From Blizzards point of view though… this has got to seem kind of like a Creative Commons infringement, people making money off of your creative property.

I hate legal stuff. Honestly, I hate money altogether because it makes people do awful things for the sake of an inanimate heap of paper and metal. Really, the stuff has sparked more drama and violence than every guild, group, chat channel, forum, and ninja looter since beta… by a factor of ten. And a whole lot more.

In any case though, I also think it’s silly for Blizzard to be taking all of these addons and just incorporating them into the game. If you’ve never used an item rack type addon, why would you want to spend your computer’s available memory running it, even if it can be turned off? Ah, well. Blizzard will do what Blizzard will do, and we’ll just keep on keepin’ on.

One more thing…

Over the course of writing this, WowHead has, in the words of someone else, who got them from someone else… had Mythic take a shit all over it. Just like WoWWiki. Blizzard needs to throw some sponsorship over to their loyal community sites, because this is just wrong.

-Mita

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