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  1. #1
    The Lightbringer Amulree's Avatar
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    Active mitigation is a flop.

    [Thanks to Albert the Fish, who kindly posted this on the official forums. Here's the link. ]

    While this post is very warrior-centric, I share these same concerns with other tank classes; most notably paladins, but also druids. The way the DK and monk masteries work could make this a far smaller problem for them, but I’m honestly not sure.

    Like many warriors whose opinion I cherish, I was really excited when the concept of “active mitigation” was announced. I’d long agreed with folks like Veneretio when he spoke about tanks being judged on the damage they take, rather than the damage they do. With threat buffed to pointlessness (something I still disagree with), the idea that big changes were coming was the only comfort when I could suddenly charge in, press Rend, Thunderclap and Shockwave, and then do something else for the duration of a pull.

    Active mitigation was the way ahead.

    Unfortunately, as is often the case, I’m now looking at a promising expansion in Mists of Pandaria, but wholly disappointing gameplay from my warrior. I didn’t reckon with the power of bad design and the impact it could have on such a good idea. Essentially, as far as warriors are concerned, “active mitigation” is turning into a nasty belly-flop where we’re potentially going to end up MORE passive than we are now.

    How?

    Long term warriors will know that, actually, we’ve been pretty active in the past. Even Cataclysm saw us having to maintain Thunderclap and Demoralizing Shout, while Shield Slam gave us a dispel and things like Pummel, Spell Reflect, Concussion Blow, Shockwave and Disarm helped to mitigate damage very nicely. Our mitigation cooldown was Shield Block (eventually helping with magical damage), while we also had Shield Wall, Last Stand and Enraged Regeneration for emergencies. Finally, toss all that into a preheated oven with gearing, speccing and playing correctly.

    Not too shabby, really.

    Blizzard, however, believed that there was a problem. Tanks were essentially leaving too much of their survival up to passive bonuses from gear and the fickle gods of RNG. What they were doing in combat wasn’t actually making much difference to their survival and combat itself didn’t feel “visceral” enough. In addition to that, traditional threat stats simply weren’t enticing enough because they didn’t do anything for a tanks survival. Taunts and interrupts could no longer miss, and Vengeance took care of threat all by itself; the net result was tanks routinely reforging away from all of their threat stats and asking Blizzard why on earth they bothered putting them onto tanking plate at all.

    Now, despite painting a merry picture of an active Protection warrior earlier, I largely agree with Blizzard’s standpoint. I’d love to see a world where tanks take part in making themselves harder to kill with in-combat decisions, while also being rewarded for using the right buttons at the right time and still having the necessary tools to do their jobs.

    Enter severe disappointment when I finally tried this in the beta.

    The warrior implementation, at time of writing, is abject.

    It’s not that easy to figure out where to start with this.

    First of all, there were several options on the table according to Ghostcrawler’s blog, Threat Level Midnight; there were even a couple of wacky options put out by the players. The problem is that the designers have gone for the least compelling option available (in my humble opinion, of course), but simultaneously ditched the others lock, stock and barrel. The top and bottom of this is that Protection warrior “active mitigation” has been whittled down to Shield Block (or Shield Barrier, if there’s magic flying around). Worse than that, we’ve lost things like the Shield Slam dispel and Demoralizing Shout – its effect was put onto Thunderclap.

    To compound the problem, Shield Block now effectively works the way it did during Wrath of the Lich King, blocking everything for a period of six seconds at a ludicrous cost of 60 rage. And while that sounds reasonable enough considering there’s no actual cooldown on it, it simply means we’re no more active than we were before – in fact, we’re less active thanks to the loss of Demoralizing Shout. Another point worth mentioning is that we still don’t know exactly how this will work with the new combat table system for block. For now, I’d assume that the first roll will be made against the avoidance table and then the second will be made against the block table at 100% coverage before the third roll for a critical block.

    In other words, the value of our mastery (covered in another post) is taking a hammering and so is our active mitigation because avoidance will still be rolled first. It’s perfectly conceivable, especially in good gear, that Shield Block will do absolutely nothing for a cost of 60 rage because you avoid all attacks while it’s up. If Shield Block is rolled first, then using it is probably WORSE than not using it because avoiding an attack is still 70/40% better than blocking it.

    What I honestly envision happening with Protection (should this go live) is players simply putting Shield Block into every ability via a macro so that it goes off when ready, or taking the macros out and sitting on their rage for Shield Barrier in fights when there’s magic flying around. In the best case scenario there won’t be any macros, but Shield Block will still be routinely used on cooldown unless an encounter calls for magical mitigation.

    Yuck.

    The other problem with this is that Shield Block is so poor, at such a high cost, as to keep warrior threat stats in the gutter. Rage is generated via white swings and Shield Slam, meaning that either missing will have an impact on how quickly you can get Shield Block up. The problem is that the acceptable target of 8% hit and 26 expertise will come at far too high a cost in avoidance stats for it to be even remotely attractive. Personally, I’d rather run the risk of getting Shield Block up a bit later than reforge away piles of avoidance to ensure I don’t miss.

    Oh, and 26 expertise isn’t enough to stop your Shield Slam being parried.

    TL, DR?

    Mastery is too weak thanks to the secondary combat roll for block, while Shield Block is nowhere near strong enough to consider ditching avoidance on your gear to increase its uptime. Now I can’t really comment on the other tanks because I’ve not tested them, but this is essentially going to cause warriors to reforge their mastery, hit and expertise into either parry or dodge depending on what’s already on the gear or diminishing returns. This has three particularly nasty side effects:

    1) Warriors will end up as “avoidance” tanks, and it’s well established that avoidance tanks lead to spiky damage – spiky damage is what kills tanks because healers hate it.

    2) The lack of hit and expertise will likely cause warriors to perform below expectations in raw damage output, once again keeping them the poorest choice for both threat and damage.

    3) Mastery and threat stats now work against each other. High Shield Block uptime reduces the need for passive block, while high mastery reduces the need for Shield Block to be up.

    I know I have a tendency to overstate things, and I’m often too critical when I really shouldn’t be; but frankly, this is shaping up to be pretty horrible as things stand. We’re no more active than we were before, our active mitigation is potentially useless at huge cost, and threat stats are no more attractive than they are now. Toss that all in with the fact healers are likely to despise the spiky damage we’re bringing (with the least options regarding mitigation cooldowns), and the complete lack of compelling talent-choice utility we offer, and warriors are going to be spending yet another expansion as the poor mans everything.

    If ever there was a time for Ghostcrawler and his warrior team to read a post of mine, this is it. Either rethink the entire implementation for warriors, or at least provide a solid explanation as to why my fears are unfounded and “MoP will fix it”.

    Right now, this is very, very, VERY worrying.
    Last edited by Amulree; 2012-04-16 at 10:47 PM.

  2. #2
    High Overlord
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    Same for Paladins, except we don't have critical block. I did notice on beta, with a premade since I can't seem to get my main paladin over (still pending), that I could get 75% damage reduction from a block. Most of the time it was at 50% damage reduction, but I could hit 75% very easily if I was lucky with my Holy power generation. Funny though, Holy power generation is silly now. It's so easy to get 5 holy power.

    Do you find that haste now affects your cooldowns? I'm noticing that my Crusader Strike CD lowers with haste. Dunno if its a bug or not.

  3. #3
    The Lightbringer Amulree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommi View Post
    Same for Paladins, except we don't have critical block. I did notice on beta, with a premade since I can't seem to get my main paladin over (still pending), that I could get 75% damage reduction from a block. Most of the time it was at 50% damage reduction, but I could hit 75% very easily if I was lucky with my Holy power generation. Funny though, Holy power generation is silly now. It's so easy to get 5 holy power.

    Do you find that haste now affects your cooldowns? I'm noticing that my Crusader Strike CD lowers with haste. Dunno if its a bug or not.
    In some ways, I think paladins are better in this deal because there shouldn’t be any chance of block-capping anymore (thus causing your mastery valuation to tumble the second you hit 102.4%). That said, you’re still struggling to get past the same problems I described for warriors.

    And haste doesn’t affect warrior cooldowns. It can’t, really, due to them being free of cost – the cooldown itself is the limiter. I can’t say if it’s a bug or not, but my gut reaction is that it must be.

  4. #4
    maybe post on the official forums if you think it's a problem for real?
    sorta what they are there for.
    “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

    Quote Originally Posted by BatteredRose View Post
    They're greedy soulless monsters for not handing me everything for my 15 moneys a month!

  5. #5
    While I like the idea of active mitigation, I think actually getting it into WoW in a way that makes sense is going to be tricky.

  6. #6
    Protection paladin crusader strike is unaffected by haste and always has 3 second cooldown.. Retribution paladin crusader strike IS affected by haste but has a longer base cooldown.. if yer prot crusader strike is affected by haste, ye got yerself an one-of-a-kind-bug and should consider yerself happy, enjoy it while it lasts then
    I'm not as think as you drunk I am.

  7. #7
    Mechagnome ThatInternet's Avatar
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    active mitigation makes alot of sense for paladins, druids and deathknights who have a magical element to them. Paladin strikes can be imbued with light, druids can use nature to transform their skin or armor themselves with thorns, etc. And deathknights absorb the very lifeforce of their opponents to heal and create shield, by cutting them and making them bleed.

    warriors are a different idealization all together. For warriors to have active mitigation, from a lore-ish standpoint, they would have to use tools, making them more tinkerers/engineers and the more I think about ways for them to mitigate damage while fighting, the more I think of a rogue tanking class. They would have to be more conniving. I'm not saying they should not be tanks, I'm saying simple cooldowns, like a block, dodge or parry move which gives you a 5-7 second buff to one of those types of mitigation on a shared 15 second cD might be the extent of believability when it comes in ingame mechanics. It would make it interesting to figure out which of the three will be useful

    monks make no sense in my book for tanking. Healing is a bit of a mystical stretch but I'll allow it in regards to chiropractors, accupuncture, herbal remedies, and pressure point manipulation for pain reduction.

    In the end, warriors tanks are pretty much, I have a shield, sometimes i hide behind it, sometimes i dodge you completely, and occasionally i'll bat away you attack with my sword.
    dictated but not read.

  8. #8
    The Lightbringer Amulree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albert the fish View Post
    maybe post on the official forums if you think it's a problem for real?
    sorta what they are there for.
    I’m serving a permanent forum ban, unfortunately; that makes your suggestion worthwhile, but impossible.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine View Post
    I’m serving a permanent forum ban, unfortunately; that makes your suggestion worthwhile, but impossible.
    i'll copy and paste it for you later today, statistics is about to begin so you'll have to wait though.
    “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

    Quote Originally Posted by BatteredRose View Post
    They're greedy soulless monsters for not handing me everything for my 15 moneys a month!

  10. #10
    Mechagnome
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    Whilst I agree that there are kinks to be worked out still (it is Beta after all), here are my thoughts on parts of your post

    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine View Post
    <snip>
    Another point worth mentioning is that we still don’t know exactly how this will work with the new combat table system for block. For now, I’d assume that the first roll will be made against the avoidance table and then the second will be made against the block table at 100% coverage before the third roll for a critical block.

    In other words, the value of our mastery (covered in another post) is taking a hammering and so is our active mitigation because avoidance will still be rolled first. It’s perfectly conceivable, especially in good gear, that Shield Block will do absolutely nothing for a cost of 60 rage because you avoid all attacks while it’s up. If Shield Block is rolled first, then using it is probably WORSE than not using it because avoiding an attack is still 70/40% better than blocking it.

    What I honestly envision happening with Protection (should this go live) is players simply putting Shield Block into every ability via a macro so that it goes off when ready, or taking the macros out and sitting on their rage for Shield Barrier in fights when there’s magic flying around. In the best case scenario there won’t be any macros, but Shield Block will still be routinely used on cooldown unless an encounter calls for magical mitigation.

    Yuck.
    <snip>
    I can't remember the Blue Post atm, but it's been directly stated that the current iteration of the Combat Table (ie. on the Beta) has it working as a two roll system where avoidance comes first, and block comes second. I've highlighted the relevant portion of your post that seems like utter BS to me. Not even with DS gear does avoidance stack up so well that a warrior tank is avoiding things left-right-and-center. Avoidance is, and with the current ratings values & DR, will always be a gamble for Warriors (albeit a gamble you definitely want to go for). You avoiding all attacks while SB is up will be rare. The few times it does happen will be a happy coincidence that you will NOT begrudge because it felt awesome for you and your healers (fight+skill dependent).

    The second part of the above quoted section is another I disagree on. SB is a fucking heavy resource hog. Macroin' it in like a Baws will just yield to sloppy play overall (fine for normal modes and 5mans tho). You'd be sacrificing a LOT of Heroic Strikes and the ilk by blindly doing that. For heroic modes with tight enrages (especially during progression) and for things like challenge mode dungeons this is a deal breaker for good tanks and good guilds. A tank that can maximize his/her DPS AND Survivability is far superior to one that can only manage one of the two. This will separate the good Tanks, from the great Tanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine View Post
    <snip>
    The other problem with this is that Shield Block is so poor, at such a high cost, as to keep warrior threat stats in the gutter. Rage is generated via white swings and Shield Slam, meaning that either missing will have an impact on how quickly you can get Shield Block up. The problem is that the acceptable target of 8% hit and 26 expertise will come at far too high a cost in avoidance stats for it to be even remotely attractive. Personally, I’d rather run the risk of getting Shield Block up a bit later than reforge away piles of avoidance to ensure I don’t miss.

    Oh, and 26 expertise isn’t enough to stop your Shield Slam being parried.
    <snip>
    I must admit, I am definitely worried about this aspect. Warriors seem to genuinely bereft of easy opportunities with which to cap Expertise and Hit. I might be missing some part of the gearing aspect for MoP, but I don't see this being addressed atm. Then again, perhaps Exp/Hit will be gained at the expense of Mastery, not Avoidance. But I'm still unclear about this.

  11. #11
    The Insane Slowpoke is a Gamer's Avatar
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    Post this to the beta forums and have them FIX IT instead of remove it.


    I'd much rather see tanks use their skills instead of just *****ing for "stop DPS"
    You don't create "justice" by destroying. That includes buildings, cars, or the careers of the people you want "justice" for.


  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerrica View Post
    Protection paladin crusader strike is unaffected by haste and always has 3 second cooldown.. Retribution paladin crusader strike IS affected by haste but has a longer base cooldown.. if yer prot crusader strike is affected by haste, ye got yerself an one-of-a-kind-bug and should consider yerself happy, enjoy it while it lasts then
    Currently, on Beta, protection paladins receive the ability that has haste lower your CS cooldown, and it has a 4.5 second CD now. Presumably this is so heroism has some benefit on paladins, and so that haste isn't complete crap as a threat stat for them.

  13. #13
    Mechagnome Shadzta's Avatar
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    That was a very good read actually you raised some amazing points, I know comprehend the idea of shield block being guaranteed 6 sec blockage conflicting with either rolling avoidance first or rolling block first and how that conflicts with stats etc...that now has me worried about touching my warrior come MoP. =S
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  14. #14
    Elemental Lord
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    I'm cuurently playing my Paladin on Beta, and doing the rounds as Ret. Haven't decided if I'll bring warrior over, but I'll likely start testing tanking soon.

    At the minute, I am not convinced Blizzards active mitigation system is really that satisfactory. Which is one reason I want to try it.

    Right now, the focus of the Paladin system appears to be..

    Build up HP.
    Then spend them on a self heal (WoG), a short term block (SotR)

    Now, due to HP, SotR has a 6s CD. It also has a 6s duration. Assuming no misses, that makes SotR a short term....very short term....necessary buff which must be spammed nonstop, without thought every chance you can get. The occasional random proc from Grand Crusader and Boundless Conviction will allow some opportunity to make use of WoG but will, in some cases, simply be there to help deal with missed strikes. It leaves WoG as a surival CD, but one really only accesible with HA or when you have built up extra HP from Boundless Conviction.

    The nature of the system also ensures that the effect is either going to be minimal. You simply MUST be able to survive without it due to its nature. That makes the system less about managing your own survival and more about managing your healers mana.

    The system, being proactive, seems to ensure there is none of the skill or judgment involved in Death Strike. Since there is no guarantee over which hit will be blocked, and limited ways in which such a move can be telegraphed to allow a tank to react to it, there appears to be little, if any, advantage to not spamming the ability.

    So....right now....the active mitigation system simply seems to be:

    1: Cast Sacred Shield once every 30s, or FoL once every 12s. Doable as SotR is off-GCD so you can maintain it.
    2: Build 3 HP.
    3: Cast SotR to maintain your physical mitigation. Its recently been buffed to make this worthwhile.
    4: On the rare occasions you can cast WoG...do so. However, doing so outside of HA will see SotR drop off for a few seconds unless Boundless Conviction is built up enough to allow the use of an occasional 2 pointer.

    Otherwise...

    A Protadins mastery is still boring. Incredibly boring. HP generation, self healing, orb generation, damage return a la Holy Shield of old - plenty of ways to spice it up.
    I don't like the idea of having to use an AoE attack in a single target rotation.
    Paladins seem to have no AoE taunt akin to War Banner and no Raid CD akin to Rallying Cry.
    The rotation appears to be pretty similar to Catas, with some tools removed. It promises the same overly static feel.
    Protadins appear to have lost their mini Shield Wall - Divine Protection. Or rather, had it adjusted.
    A limited toolkit and finishing options - a problem shared with other specs.
    There are definitely places where mechanics clash - twin SotRs due to Divine Purpose aren't desireable. Avoidance impacting negatively on Mastery is another.
    The new dual roll system adds a lot of complexity for no gain.
    Will Hit/Expertise become too important due to the need to hit the boss? Especially since you'll need to cap for frontal assaults? Have to see how the new system works out like that. Is it 7.5% from bothrear and front?
    Is Vengeance simply an excuse to keep tank damage really low?

    As things stand, I can see many of these issues shared, to some degree with warriors.

    Overall, I don't think returning to the "spammable short duration buff" was what Blizzard really had in mind when it proposed Active Mitigation. It just seems such a poorly devised mechanic. Blizzard presented a lot of options, but seems to have simply gone for the simple, easy to bring, boring system.


    But, as I said...I haven't started testing the tanking yet. I may be wrong.

    EJL
    Last edited by Talen; 2012-04-16 at 03:32 PM.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by dokhidamo View Post
    Post this to the beta forums and have them FIX IT instead of remove it.


    I'd much rather see tanks use their skills instead of just *****ing for "stop DPS"
    really dok? i know you've been on an avatar kick lately, but pastel rainbow farting? pastel?!
    “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

    Quote Originally Posted by BatteredRose View Post
    They're greedy soulless monsters for not handing me everything for my 15 moneys a month!

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine View Post
    Right now, this is very, very, VERY worrying.
    I don't tank, but from what I'm hearing, all tank classes in beta are not in a good state with gameplay. However, it's still early in the beta cycle, and these are major changes to the tank paradigm, so surely it will be fine tuned over the course of the beta. If you are in beta, then make a ticket and explain why it doesn't feel right.

  17. #17
    The talent that lets haste affect Crusader Strike is working for prot and ret atm on PTR, that's why haste is affecting you. It's in your spellbook as a passive.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Dalithe View Post
    The talent that lets haste affect Crusader Strike is working for prot and ret atm on PTR, that's why haste is affecting you. It's in your spellbook as a passive.
    it's actualy there for all 3 specs even holy.
    it's not going to do much though since haste isn't a stat prot is going to have much of outside heroism.
    also finally in the beta both WoG and Shor are OFF the global so you don't lose a global in casting them
    we have to have 3(out of 5) holypower to cast a Shor for the buff.
    it makes the first block guarenteed and block 75% and the next ones 55% for 6 secs.
    however with pooling power and div purpose procs ( if you take it) you can chain the gaurenteed 75% blocks for a decent period of time as it's not consumed until you actualy block and being of global you can be storing up that power between blocks.
    Quote Originally Posted by Obelodalix View Post
    What the fuck did you just say.

  19. #19
    The Lightbringer Amulree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albert the fish View Post
    i'll copy and paste it for you later today, statistics is about to begin so you'll have to wait though.
    I’d appreciate that, Albert – would you mind posting me a link on this thread when you get a chance so that I can put it as a header on the OP?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trifande View Post
    I can't remember the Blue Post atm, but it's been directly stated that the current iteration of the Combat Table (ie. on the Beta) has it working as a two roll system where avoidance comes first, and block comes second. I've highlighted the relevant portion of your post that seems like utter BS to me. Not even with DS gear does avoidance stack up so well that a warrior tank is avoiding things left-right-and-center.
    You need to read the part you’ve posted as an entire sentence, because I think you’ve lost the context somewhat. I said that it was perfectly conceivable that an avoidance streak could see Shield Block wasted, not that it was going to be common. It’s not BS, it’s an observation that can severely devalue both mastery as a stat, and Shield Block as a mitigation cooldown.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trifande View Post
    The second part of the above quoted section is another I disagree on. SB is a fucking heavy resource hog. Macroin' it in like a Baws will just yield to sloppy play overall (fine for normal modes and 5mans tho). You'd be sacrificing a LOT of Heroic Strikes and the ilk by blindly doing that. For heroic modes with tight enrages (especially during progression) and for things like challenge mode dungeons this is a deal breaker for good tanks and good guilds. A tank that can maximize his/her DPS AND Survivability is far superior to one that can only manage one of the two. This will separate the good Tanks, from the great Tanks.
    I agree, macros are not the way to go for optimal play – yet, with the rate at which rage is currently generated for Shield Block, you don’t overlap at any stage and there are gaps where it’s not up. Under purely physical circumstances, there is literally no downside to having Shield Block activated by a macro.

    None.

    Now, I can accept the premise that top guilds will want maximal mitigation and damage, but the VAST majority of players won’t be at that stage. Secondly, the evidence for your premise suggests the opposite; during 4.0, Protection paladins were given the option of more damage or Word of Glory and they always chose Word of Glory.

    Always. Hence it received a cooldown, forcing paladins to use SotR.

    Progression tanks will never, in my opinion, put more damage in front of more mitigation when threat is meaningless. They’re not worrying about enrages, they’re worrying about surviving as efficiently as possible.

    The only time a Protection warrior will use Heroic Strike will be when Ultimatum procs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trifande View Post
    I must admit, I am definitely worried about this aspect. Warriors seem to genuinely bereft of easy opportunities with which to cap Expertise and Hit. I might be missing some part of the gearing aspect for MoP, but I don't see this being addressed atm. Then again, perhaps Exp/Hit will be gained at the expense of Mastery, not Avoidance. But I'm still unclear about this.
    Mastery and hit/expertise work against one another. If you cap out hit and expertise, mastery plummets in value because Shield Block will be up more (shield tanks didn’t stack mastery for more value/Critical Block, they did it for CTC). If you go for the more passive block provided by stacking mastery, hit and expertise lose value because Shield Block is less important.

    Either way, it’s bad design.

    I'll get back to you when I return home from work, EJL - just leaving the office now.

  20. #20
    Mechagnome
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    im not a raid tank, so this may well be incorrect but it seems to me that as long as threat is passive, 'active mitigation' will never really exist.

    if a tank doesnt need to do anything about threat, then he only needs to focus on his survivability. and tbh, if that just means mashing your 'active mitigation' buttons then its still passive. the only thing to do is make threat an issue again. perhaps even reversing the way vengeance works so that threat is simple to grab at the start of an encounter and then as you take damage gets harder so that after ~30 seconds your dealing ~75% of the threat you were at the start (numbers just examples ofc).

    in my opinion, it doesnt matter if its threat that means you need to press buttons or survivability. as long as one of them is passive, they both might as well be since there will never be a choice to make.

    edit: my only tank experience is as a DK and a druid and only in 5mans, but DK is currently as close to active mitigation as we currently have, but since death strike is part of a DK standard rotation its still pretty passive other than the timing which isnt really needed in a 5man.
    Last edited by Viggers; 2012-04-16 at 03:26 PM.

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