Battle for Azeroth Beta (Build & Notes) (1 Viewer)


WhitexLegs

Clan Member
Jul 11, 2017
15
Upstate New York
Clan Rank
Sergeant Major of the Army
Sergeant Major

Of the Army
Hello everyone, WhitexLegs here. It's about that time again for WoW to begin Alpha and Beta testing for their latest expansion.

The folks at wowhead.com recently posted the latest news from Blizzard regarding changes and features to experience in the Alpha, Beta & potentially the full release of Battle for Azeroth. The following link lists some of the changes and features to be expected. *Note* These changes are subject to change so don't freak out. Or freak out, I won't judge.

Battle for Azeroth Build 25976 - Class Changes and Vulpera Race - Wowhead News

As a main tank, I'll cover the principle tank changes and concerns showing up in BFA.

TANKS: Blizzard has expressed the desire to address tank balance in Battle for Azeroth due to the issues presented in Legion concerning tanking representation. The main problems concerning tanks, according to Blizzard, are two fold.

1. Tank representation has been immensely one sided over the course of Legion.

Guardian Druids in particular have been unanimously considered to be the best tanks all throughout Legion until the latest tier, Antorus the Burning Throne, where Brewmaster Monks and Blood Death Knights have risen to equal stature. In the case of the big fuzzy bears, their ability to take immense damage combined with Stampeding Roar being able to greatly facilitate raid wide re-positioning made having them a must have for certain encounters. On the other end, Protection Paladins have been toward the bottom of the ladder for the entire expansion due mainly to problems in class design requiring Shield of the Righteous to be up even for melee swings.

2. On going problem of tanks becoming too powerful.

Blizzard has been struggling with tank power since Mists of Pandaria and even worse so in Warlords of Draenor. Efforts such as Vengeance and Resolve to address this issue only made worse the situation in the eyes of Blizzard. TLDR: Tanks have either had too high DPS to the point where they were outputting more damage than dedicated DPS players (Vengeance), or the self sustainability of tanks was too high such that most tanks, especially those with self healing capabilities, did not require healing for a majority of the encounter (Resolve).

To address this issue,

a) All tanks are receiving massive damage reductions across a majority of their abilities and self sustainability for many tanks is also receiving a large reduction. Tanks will be on the bottom of the damage meters and less influential on the healing totals.
b) Many tanks are having magic mitigation reduced (leading us to assume most hard hitting abilities will be magic based requiring major CD's (Shield Wall, Survival Instincts etc.)
c) Finally, in order to balance tanks appropriately, many tank abilities of %damage reduction, (Bone Shield, Shield of the Righteous, Demon Spikes), are going to be changed to increase armor instead. (Armor reduces physical damage taken by flat amount for every attack. Effects such as parry and dodge that prevent damage completely will be less focused as these chance based occurrences aren't possible to balance correctly.

Thus the following are the jobs a tank will fulfill for a raid/dungeon

1. Tanks maintain control of the encounter through positioning, aggro and associated mechanics
2. Tanks are capable of sustaining large singular hits that a DPS player could not in addition to (now reduced) Active Mitigation to decrease sustained damage

Tanks will require a healer and will not be carrying any damage outputs as the short and sweet version. :wtf:

WHAT THIS COULD MEAN: (ALL SPECULATION. If I gain access to a BETA key I will test these and update the thread)

Sadly, it looks like tanking will be less enjoyable in Battle for Azeroth than it has been previously. Because tank DPS is being drastically reduced, a tank's damage contribution toward defeating encounters is also greatly reduced. This means incentive in maximizing one's damage output as a tank is becoming a null point. Self-sustainability being hit will contribute the same effect but for healing. A tank's ability to maximize his survivability to help healers is being removed making this a damaging prospect to future tanks and could have a negative effect on the tanking scene.

The key points of this are reducing the incentive and the ability of a tank to make a difference in the encounter... this is even more crippling than tank imbalance. As a main tank my initial reactions are..

Well, what sets a good tank apart from a bad tank now?
I can't speed the fights up cause I don't do any damage, in fact, dungeon runs will be even slower because I will have to do much smaller pulls since I can't keep myself alive or burn the mobs down as quickly. And now, I'm going to be completely tethered to a healer which means I won't be able rely on my mechanical skill or ability as a tank to compensate for poor healers/group members. My entire job is now to position enemies and use my defensive CD's in an extremely scripted manner.Tanking in PvP? Heh, what a joke.

I have a nasty prediction, one that I seriously hope is never realized, that many great tanks will be pushed away from this role and even worse, tanking will attract a crowd of lower mechanically skilled players who, instead of trying to improve themselves as players are looking for a place to hide. A bad tank makes a bad experience and this could be crippling for the role and the game as a whole.

These are my initial thoughts and speculations on the changes to tanks. If I get a BETA key I will test this out for myself. In the meantime I will be searching high and low for information on this topic and will post future builds as I come across them.

Sorry everyone for the negative turn of this post but I foresee dark times ahead for tanks. If you have comments, speculations or questions regarding BFA feel free to discuss them here or if you come across official information proving my concerns unfounded, please post it here so I can be a happy tonk again!

Have a nice day everyone

Whitexlegs

(If this should be moved to the BFA thread let me know. Have it saved)
 

Lavitz

Clan Member
Feb 17, 2016
369
Arizona
Clan Rank
Sergeant Major of the Army
Sergeant Major

Of the Army
This makes me sad. I don't tank much as it is, but give me less incentive to do so in the next expac... this really bothers me! I hope they reconsider some of these changes.
 

WhitexLegs

Clan Member
Jul 11, 2017
15
Upstate New York
Clan Rank
Sergeant Major of the Army
Sergeant Major

Of the Army
This makes me sad. I don't tank much as it is, but give me less incentive to do so in the next expac... this really bothers me! I hope they reconsider some of these changes.
Week 1 Update: Over the past week I have scoured the interwebs for information regarding changes to tanks in Battle for Azeroth. I've taken note of the opinions and comments made of high level tanks and community members and am sharing a short version of them here.

General Consensus of Classes Overall: Battle for Azeroth has brought with it a situation never experienced by WoW players before as a change between expansions; The loss of Artifact Weapons. It's important to remember this as many artifact abilities and traits had major if not game changing impacts on a mechanical level for many, but not all classes. With these abilities and traits being lost, and at this time no replacements reported for most classes, many testers have a negative disposition toward BFA class changes as classes feel like they are missing critical aspects of their game play. I'll provide an example of just how impactful the artifact weapons are by looking at only two points for the Guardian Druid.

Guardian Druid
Rage of the Sleeper + Embrace the Nightmare: Reduces damage taken by 25% and deals (225% Attack Damage) to attackers + Increases leech by 25%, increases damage by 25% and prevents loss of control of character.
- Straight away this is a massively impactful Defensive CD as well as preventing all Stun, Fear, Knockbacks (Kil'Jeaden). Bypassing mechanics that cause instant death is a powerful tool in any situation. Guardian druids lose this ability in BFA and currently have nothing to replace it.

Pawsitive Outlook: Thrash has a 15% chance to trigger an additional Thrash
- This is an unappreciated trait as people don't notice the interaction it has with other core functions. Thrash is at its simplest an AoE ability that applies a DoT effect, but...
a) Thrash generates 5 Rage per use. Proc'ing this trait generates additional rage within the same Global Cooldown and this can proc off the proc. (1 use generates 15 rage instead of 5)
- Rage is used for Ironfur to increase armor (reduce physical damage) and Frenzied Regeneration (self heal based on damage taken recently)
b) Thrash stacks up to 3 times (5 with legendary) so this trait can stack up the damage quicker providing a higher damage output. These stacks of thrash also have an interaction with three talents.
- Blood Frenzy: Thrase generates 2 rage everytime it deals damage. (On fights where Thrash will hit multiple targets, this is a dramatic increase in rage generation)
- Pulverize: Damaging ability that consumes 2 stacks of Thrash and reduces damage taken by 9% for 20 seconds. (Can be maintained for constant 10% damage reduction)
- Rend and Tear: Thrash increases damage dealt and reduces damage taken by 2% per stack of thrash. (Passive of above for up to 6% constant damage reduction (10% with lego))
c) Thrash will often be the highest damage contribution for a Guardian Druid. The most optimal relic setup for Guardians are all relics that increase the damage dealt by Thrash. Thrash is a critical ability.

Guardians currently, lose both of these traits and all accompanying effects with the loss of their artifact weapons.

Situations like this have contributed toward most of the negative emotions that may be expressed toward Battle for Azeroth. However, missing from the Alpha are Azerite Armor and the Heart of Azeroth (a neck item every player receives that will progress with them throughout the expansion). Azerite Armor has been shown to possess a similar trait system as the artifact weapons of live which could quell any problems that are currently faced by alpha testers. The effects of the Heart of Azeroth can be changed at a moments notice so this is also something to watch out for.

So don't worry about how the classes are looking individually right this moment as alpha and beta stages of development are meant to address these very issues. BFA is set to release in September giving us 7 months of potential changes that can take place.


Now, after that incredibly long spiel, on to the tanks!

Please read this next statement all the way through. Please, just read it

Everything I said above seems to be true, HOWEVER, it is nowhere near as big of an issue as it seems. Yes, Tank damage and self sustainability are getting a hit and this sucks. But, in doing so, this has created a potentially, very exciting situation. I initially felt that I wouldn't be able demonstrate my skill as a tank in maximizing DPS, keeping myself alive and chain pulling as fast as and smoothly as possible in BFA. Initially I felt this as a loss but this could in fact be a positive for tanks.
During my time as a tank in Legion I have noticed that, outside of higher Mythic+ and some raid encounters, I feel almost immortal with my ability to keep myself alive. This has reached the point where keeping myself alive, a core aspect of tanking, has become a task I don't actively think about outside of these instances leaving me to focus on maximizing my DPS as there simply isn't anything else for me to concentrate on. Even in more extreme situations I don't feel a rush, adrenaline, excitement etc. where if I make a mistake, I'm going to die.

In BFA though, I've noticed this is not the case. Tanks are not immortal anymore. Pulling too much will kill you and those moments when something goes wrong (an extra pack is pulled, you botch a defensive cooldown, healer is crowd controlled, etc.) can more easily lead to your death as compared to Legion. That sense of excitement is what adds a degree of intensity to tanking and makes it much more enjoyable. It was for this reason that I switched from my Guardian Druid to my Protection Warrior as the Warrior, being less forgiving than the Druid, made each decision that much more critical.

Overall I think tanking won't be bad next expansion based on what I have seen so far.

In terms of a tanking hierarchy, it is way too early in the alpha to be determined. However, two classes appear to be in need of changes. These two tanks are the Blood Death Knight and Guardian Druid. Both of these lost critical gameplay components upon losing their artifact weapons. Once more information such as Azerite Armor, the Heart of Azeroth, etc. is released, these will be the two candidates to pay close attention to.


If you're interested in alpha content for tanking specifically, Sco, Towelliee & Slootbag, all main tanks, are regularly streaming Battle for Azeroth Alpha and are good sources for information and questions on anything tanking. These three are also covering other specs and classes along with Bellular and Preach who provide very informative streams and videos on Twitch and YouTube if you want to check them out.

As I acquire more information I will post here, most likely on a weekly basis.

Take care all,

Whitexlegs
 

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