Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
WoW patch day

Today is patch day in Europe, while in the US the patch 2.0.10 has already been applied yesterday. The big news is obviously the substantial reduction in feral druid bear tanking powers. Priests, got some adjustments as well, a reduction of the efficiency of the shadow priests vampiric embrace, a cooldown added to prayer of mending to prevent insta-heal spamming, but some improvements to fade, circle of healing, and power word: shield, to balance the nerfs out. But with everybody discussing the nerfs, people are totally forgetting that the same patch also improves some other classes. Both shamans and warriors get some very nice ameliorations to their abilities. But of course a nerfed druid shouts louder than a buffed warrior, that is in the nature of patches.

I never played my shaman past level 44, so I'm only going to discuss the warrior changes here. They are (from the patch notes):
- The rage normalization equation has been adjusted to grant more rage.
The typical warrior should see an increase of 15% to 20% in their
rage generation.
- All warriors had their critical strike chance adjusted upward
slightly (about 1%).
- "Thunder Clap" is now useable in Defensive Stance. In addition, the
tooltip has been adjusted to indicate it causes additional threat.
- The cooldown on "Victory Rush" has been removed, and it can now be
used up to 20 seconds after killing an enemy.
- "Unbridled Wrath" has been modified so that rather than a fixed
chance to grant rage, it has an increased chance when using slower
- Increased the health bonus from "Commanding Shout" by 50%.
- "Improved Battle Shout" talent renamed to "Commanding Presence" and
now increases the health bonus from "Commanding Shout" in addition
to increasing the melee attack power from "Battle Shout".
The major change is more rage and a better chance to crit, which is obviously great for all warriors, regardless of talent build. Don't be confused by the percentage numbers, the 15% to 20% improvement in rage is on a relative scale, so my warrior will be getting up to 20% more rage per minute in combat. The crit chance improvement is on an absolute scale. So if I had 10% crit chance before, I'll have 11% afterwards, which is effectively a 10% improvement, not just an imperceptible 1% one.

The changes to Thunder Clap are brilliant. It gives a tank another ability to use his rage on, is AoE, and the additional threat is great for tanking too.

I also like the change to Victory Rush. The problem was that previously you had only 15 seconds after killing one target before having to use Victory Rush on the next target, which sometimes was just not enough to run over to the next mob. Now its 20 seconds, which should be sufficient. But more importantly I can now use Victory Rush better in a combat against several less strong enemies, as long as they still give experience. Previously the cooldown for Victory Rush was 15 seconds, as long as the timer before which I had to use it. So if I killed a mob with the Victory Rush ability, I couldn't use Victory Rush on the next mob, because of the cooldown. I still only get one use of Victory Rush per kill, but now there is a bigger chance that I'll actually be able to use it.

I can't say much about the changes to Commanding Shout, its a level 68 ability, and my warrior is still level 64. As you can only have one shout active per warrior, either Battle Shout or Commanding Shout, apparently most warriors previously stuck to the Battle Shout, increasing the melee damage output of the group, and thereby the aggro on the warrior. Only groups with 2 warriors would get both shouts. But previously the Commanding Shout only gave 730 health. Now its nearly 1000 points without talents, and even more with the talent, for the whole group. That makes it worth considering it, if the group setup isn't heavy on melee damage.

Of course none of these changes will fundamentally change the warrior class. In fact one could argue that letting the air out of druid bear tanks might end up having a bigger influence on the warrior class than these improvements. But improvements they definitely are, with no strings attached. So while for my priest I bemoan the loss of alternative tanks for his 5-man groups, for my warrior I'm quite happy about the improved abilities.
and they nerf Thunderfury... the bastards
I can't wait to see how creamed we all get once warriors get bad ass end game gear. All I can say is enjoy it while it lasts warriors, either you guys aren't going to be over powered end game, or you will be really over powered thanks to gear, and you will get nerfed again. I have a 45 warrior I quit playing just because it was a pain the butt always upgrading gear to be effective. I had to have pretty much up to my level blue gear to be effective, especially in pvp.

My mage? He wore gear from late 20's-early 30's all the way until 60.
I tested out the changes last night on my warrior (who is only 65) and they are quite impressive and very noticible. Our threat gen is substantially better and a prot warrior solo grinding is a big more effective with the increased rage gen and the crit increase.
Druids got hotfixed on the US realms.

Bear damage is still, and deservedly, nerfed. I play a 70 feral druid and it wasn't right that I could tank and out DPS other DPS classes at the same time.

Bear threat got buffed - Lacerate now has initial threat on all mobs, including bleed immune ones. Bear Mangle threat was buffed 50% to act as a snap-aggro tool.

Bear tanks are still viable, just not overpowered as previously.
The Druid nerfs suck for having extra tanks available (though I hear they're still okay in most situations during 5-mans), but I understand why they did it. The Druid was becoming the best possible tank in small groups, and that's simply not intended. They're meant to be a Jack of All Trades, Master of None. Kudos for the Warriors buffage.
Read the above post, Bildo, Druids can still tank. Thank god. Damage down, threat up, most reasonable* people are happy.

*Reasonable: People who agree with me.
As a feral druid, I main-tanked Steamvaults and off-tanked Karazhan last night after the patch. I noticed my DPS down a bit, but had no problems overall.
Regarding Thunderfury, Blizzard took the #1 tanking weapon in the game and turned it into the #1 Fury-Warrior/Rogue weapon in the game.
i use battleshout a lot, but commanding shout is a nice life-saver, when the others are on cooldown ;)
I have noticed the proc rate of my Burning War Axe has gone *way* up. It has proced more today than it has in my previous 3 weeks using it. Coincidence? maybe, but It sure does feel like it was adjusted.
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