Rage tank improvements in Mists of Pandaria; problems with early judgments about redesigns

Some thoughts about rage tanks and how making decisions based on early beta info can, at times, lead to undue worry and poorly-made choices…

Droignon is happy to hear that Shield Slam, his favorite ability, hits like a truck in the MoP beta.

Protection warriors (Guardian druids are also mentioned)

Matthew Rossi, warrior guru at WoW Insider, posted an update on the states of Protection and Fury warriors in beta last night.  It gave me some hope for my warrior*, who is one of three toons that I have who can play a tank spec (I don’t have a DK…).

*My warrior, Droignon, is the only toon I’ve ever brought 100% to max level solely with a Protection spec, and I plan on continuing that trend with him in MoP.  So while he’s an alt that I’ve never really raided with before, I’ve enjoyed playing protection immensely, and hope to do so in MoP.  I may even use him as a real tank.  So the warrior part of this post is pertinent, I assure you!

Early returns on MoP rage tanks have been that their damage was terrible, that they’ve been overly-gutted of rage-generating abilities – passive and active – and have been much more boring to play in beta than they are live.  After I posted a while ago about possibly running as a straight PvP/PvE Balance druid for the first time ever in MoP, I played (for a while) with the idea of making Anacrusa a Guardian.  However, a little bit of research left me feeling less than confident in the state of Guardians in MoP, and Prot warriors were looking similar.  Not coincidentally, both specs use rage as a resource.

Rossi’s article from May 12th, however, gave me hope for both classes, despite the fact that he did not write about druids in his post.  While he has serious concerns about Fury warriors on beta, he seems to be pretty satisfied with the updated state of beta Prot warriors.  It looks like Prot damage is getting better, rage generation will be less of a problem than originally anticipated, defensive abilities – both old and new – seem to be working well, and the spec seems both interesting to play and very functional.

This is good news – a sigh of relief, actually.  And it gives me hope that changes to Guardian / Feral druids in beta will also make that class more exciting to play.

I’m not in beta, so I’m not testing anything myself.  I’ll have to do that when the pre-expansion patch drops.  Therefore, I have to rely on the expertise of others in these types of cases, and that leads me to my next point.

Making premature judgments (a cautionary reminder – mainly for my benefit – for players of all classes)

Next week, the beta will celebrate its two-month birthday.  Well, perhaps there won’t actually be any celebration; however, the date is notable because we’re likely approaching the halfway point of the beta itself, and while nothing is really finalized, we’re starting to get better pictures of how our classes will play.  It’s exciting to see spec redesigns turn a corner and start to really come into their own – particularly when they started off looking awful – and it looks like the Protection warrior could be doing just that.  I’m hoping that I’m proven wrong with druids, too – perhaps when 5.0.1 drops, we’ll find that Feral and Guardian specs are not just viable, but are also exciting and fun specs to play.  Here’s to keeping fingers crossed…

This is a problem, though, in this day and age.  I’m not referring to beta testing and player feedback – that stuff is priceless, and I think the games we play are much better, in general, for it.  However, from a personal standpoint, I find myself latching onto certain “design priorities/goals” that the development team articulates or demonstrates (or both) in early beta.  If it seems like a shitty idea to me, particularly with a spec like Feral druids (i.e. the developers’ constant desire, both spoken and test-built, to tone down special attacks in favor of white – or sustained – damage, which has been going on for years now), the history combined with that idea can make me inclined to abandon the spec, however premature that may prove to be.  It’s a trap I’ve fallen into multiple times, although I think that it’s not entirely without merit that I do so.  However, early betas are probably coloring my impressions of certain classes more than I should be letting them.

It’s something to think about.

– – –

Thanks for reading this post by Mushan at Mushan, Etc.  Comments are welcome!

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