Monday, October 13, 2008

Protection in PvP

One of my firsts posts talked about how Blizzard wanted to expand the use of all the talent trees of all the classes. Make Frost Mages and Affliction Locks viable in PvP. Bring back daggers as useful weapons for Rogues. Stuff like that.

And in my mind, this was never going to reach the Protection trees. Why would Blizz ever want Prot Warriors/Paladins PvPing? But hey, I guess they do. Ghostcrawler's words:

"It would be awesome if some day Arms was the 2H tree, Fury was the DW tree, and Prot was the sword and board tree." (source)

In the same post, GC talks about how Prot PvP is an opportunity to use your shield as a weapon:

"One of the designers mentioned the movie Gladiator the other day. Watch how Maximus uses his shield -- he isn't cowering behind it -- he's bashing people in the face with it. Shields should be a viable form of combat, not the option to avoid combat."

We know based off reports from beta Warriors that Prot definetly has gotten a damage boost in Wrath, and we all have seen first-hand the absurdity of Prot Paladins AoE grinding their Hemet Nessingwary quests and SSO dailies.

So, Prot in PvP. There's a potential problem in having the tanking classes doing the PvP, and it's a problem that Blizzard is definetly aware of and is taking care of to make the Prot trees more viable in Arenas and such. Now, if in Burning Crusade, you were to drag a Prot Warrior into your 5s games, he would serve you no purpose. When the other team knows you're just this guy with a shield that soaks up damage but poses no real threat, suddenly you're the last one to die, because nobody cares.

While Protection players may be doing more damage, they're never going to let them do as much damage as a proper DPS class; we all know that. So how does one go about making a talent spec like this work in PvP?

Simple: make Prot Warriors/Paladins super annoying. Give them tools that protect their allies. Give enemy players a reason to kill them other than the fact that they're doing wicked burst damage or they're a Resto Druid. And we know that the devs are thinking about this. From the same post GC made on Prot Warriors:

"Prot has a long way to go before it's more PvP viable, but maybe, just maybe there could be a tree where control and survivability were an alternative to just bigger damage. It may not happen this expansion, but it's a step in that direction."

In Wrath, the Prot tree for Warriors saw a lot of new talents that give it a PvP side. I don't know a lot about Warriors, but I can pretty clearly pick out talents that look like they're strictly for PvP rather than PvE. Let's go through some of those right now:

Improved Spell Reflection: this is an interesting one, because to me it implies that if in a group, you may have to give up using SR on yourself, which can be a good or a bad thing. Depends on the situation. It sounds great though; imagine SRing a Shatter Frostbolt headed for a teammate. That could add an interesting dynamic for casters who like to do the wicked burst crits and such, when they know that their target has a Prot Warrior buddy nearby.

Concussion Blow: this ability has always been in the game, but to me it looks like it never would have had use in raids anyway. And now it has a damage component to make it better. *coughDeepFreezecough*

Gag Order: Heroic Throw is the Warrior's Level 80 ability; a free weapon throw based on AP on a one-minute cooldown. So provided the cooldown is up (and it's not too long), that's a free spell interrupt when stuck at range, or any time you want.

Vigilance: I've decided this gets its own post, because I have many much thoughts about it.

Safeguard: sounds good in both a PvP and PvE context.

Warbringer: I've dueled Warriors with this on the PTR, and its insane. It's exactly what Warriors have always needed; a way out of roots. Fury is getting a similar skill in the form of Heroic Fury, which breaks roots and allows you to immedietly Intercept.

Shockwave: Shockwave is an AoE tanking solution for Warriors in Wrath, but to me it sounds like a wicked PvP stun as well.


Like I said before, I don't know a lot about Warriors; I know how a lot of their skills work but I don't have firsthand experience with the class. Well, I do up to level 11 or so. Maybe 12. I'm not really into melee classes, although I do have the Enhancement Shaman at 45.

That being said, I think Protection Warriors could be wicked in Arenas. Oh, and Protection Paladins? Man, who knows. Let's take a gander at their tree for a sec.

Divine Guardian: that's pretty cool, considering it comes at no cost to the Paladin.

Hmmm.... what else....


Improved Hammer of Justice? Touched by the Light?! Dude, I don't know. I once dueled my brother, who is a really good Tankadin, on my Boomkin, and I kicked his butt. Obviously it wasn't really a fair fight, since he's tank spec and all. I don't actually see much here compared to the Warrior side of things. Call me unfit to write a blog about classes I haven't played.

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