Tier 13 set bonuses and tank normalization

The Tier 13 set bonuses were announced this weekend, and they are interesting for druid tanks:

  • Feral, 2P — Pulverize now also grants your Mangle (Bear) critical strikes a 100% chance to trigger Savage Defense (While Berserk is active, Savage Defense absorbs are 100% larger is the old version), and your Blood in the Water talent now causes Ferocious Bite to refresh the duration of your Rip on targets with 60% or less health.
  • Feral, 4P — Frenzied Regeneration also affects all raid and party members, and your Stampede talent now grants two charges after using Feral Charge (Cat).

Looking at the 2-piece bonus, both types work well in our favor.

The old version of this bonus was clearly overpowered, but the new one is interesting. It ties druid tanks more tightly into the rotation and dropping Pulverize will now have a large impact on damage taken. While it has always been best to keep pulverize up (at 3 stacks), with the bonus it will be pretty much mandatory to have Pulverize active (1 stack will do though). Looking at some of my logs for Firelands, I use Mangle roughly every 5 seconds, including using Berserk. 50% of my Mangle hits are criticals, and if Pulverize is up all the time, this will grant a pretty significant increase in Savage Defence shields. Often I let Pulverize lapse when Berserk is active since all the extra Mangles hit so hard, but I’ll be re-evaluating that choice once the set bonus is available.
For off-tanks who have the Blood in the Water talent this set bonus is pretty awesome too. It may mean that Blood in the Water becomes more attractive than King of the Jungle for tanks that are talented for damage output and spend a lot of time in cat form. I don’t think this is a common talent to pick up though.

The four-piece bonus is pretty awesome for tanks, applying a tanking cooldown to the rest of the raid. The glyph should make a big difference to this one as well:


Tank normalization and trying out the Death Knight active mitigation with set bonuses

These set bonuses are clearly trying out a more active mitigation model for tanks. There has been discussions on the official WoW forums about this, but the class changes are not planned for 4.3.

Instead, all of the tanking classes now have a set bonus or class ability that grants a damage shield.

  • Savage Defense for Druids
  • Death Strike for Death Knights
  • Paladin 2-piece bonus: Judgement grants a physical absorption shield equal to 30% of the damage done.
  • Warrior 2-piece bonus: Revenge now also grants a physical absorption shield equal to 20% of the damage done by Revenge.

I’m curious to see how this ends up affecting the damage taken by warriors and paladins. I looked at some World of Logs parses and;

  • Judgement hits for around 16k, and crits for about 30k. So Paladins will be getting a shield in the vicinity of 4800-9000 points every 8 seconds.
  • Revenge hits for about 13-30k damage as well, but is proc based. The parse that I looked at had the warrior using Revenge roughly every 8 seconds, which will turn into a shield of 2600-6000 points.

These will clearly scale up a fair bit once everyone gears up to tier 13, but that’s a pretty large increase in damage reduction. For a five minute fight, that translates into 180k-337k damage absorbed for Paladins and 98k-225k for Warriors at tier 12.

It will be interesting to see how the balancing of this goes, and the impact that this trial of the mitigation model has on future patches.

Raid Wall

With the new 4-piece bonuses all tanking classes have a raid wall like the Paladin. They are all a little different:

  • Feral Druid
    • Frenzied Regeneration is a 15% maximum health increase and increases healing taken by 30% for 20 seconds (glyphed) with a 3 minute cool-down.
    • Feral, 4P — Frenzied Regeneration also affects all raid and party members
  • Blood Death Knight
    • Vampiric blood is a 15% health increase, with a 25% increase of healing done for 10 seconds. It has a 1 minute cool-down. Gyphed there is no health increase, but a 40% increased healing taken.
    • Blood, 4P — Your Vampiric Blood ability also affects all party and raid members for 50% of the effect it has on you.
  • Protection Paladin
    • Divine Guardian gives a 20% damage reduction for 6 seconds with a 3 minute cool-down.
    • Protection, 4P — Reduces the cooldown of Divine Guardian by 60 sec and increases the radius of its effect by 70 yards.
  • Protection Warrior
    • Shield Wall is a 40% damage reduction for 12 seconds on a 5 minute cool-down (talented to a 2 minute cool-down), and glyphed to increase damage reduction by 20% and add 2 minutes to the cool-down.
    • Protection, 4P — Your Shield Wall ability now grants 50% of its effect to all party and raid members.

Interestingly the Paladin has the shortest duration once everyone has a 4-piece bonus. Blood Death Knights look particularly attractive for high AoE damage fights, with a 1 minute cooldown on a rather large increase to raid heals.

All of this points to some pretty heavy raid damage in the final fights of the new raid, and especially in heroic modes once there is more of an expectation for people to have a full set of tier gear.

In my guild there hasn’t been a large priority set on tanks being geared first, but the impact of these set bonuses on overall raid survival may start to change that.

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