Sapphire the Protection Warrior v3.02

The world has changed again and I woke up with a pain of respeccing, even though I thankfully hadn't paid for the headache. Not only do I have to choose all my talents again but many are changed and some are new. It is not too much of a chore as I only really know how to be a protection warrior, so I really only need to pay attention to the protection tree. Starting with the simple talents I pick what I think is useful until the next level becomes available, and continue down until I have both got to the bottom of the tree and learnt all the talents that I desire. Being newly in to my 62nd level lets me achieve both aims, with an extra talent point to spend.

So much is new it is almost like being a different class. One of the biggest changes comes in the form of the Warbringer talent. This lets me use the Charge ability in all stances and also whilst in combat, whereas without the talent it is only available in if you are out of combat and in Battle Stance. There are many reasons why I am enjoying this talent. For a start, Charge now acts as a secondary Intervene ability, letting me intercept a mob that is targeting someone other than myself. This is great, as I don't yet have the experience to learn Intervene, and it also generates rage instead of using it.

Being able to use Charge in any stance means I don't need to switch stances, and potentially lose some rage, if I want to charge a mob. Being able to use Charge in combat also lets me use a ranged pull on a group of mobs, either because of patrols or risk of body-pulling additional nearby mobs, and still charge in to them after the pull, as they are running towards me. This is really neat! It also means that when I accidentally pull a mob, or get an add, I can still charge towards them and generate rage. It is like I cannot be ambushed any more. Not only that, but Warbringer also makes Charge shake off any movement impairing effects. If a mob rudely snares me and backs off to attack from range I no longer have to accept the punishment until the snare wears off, now I just charge back in to melee, gratefully accepting the rage generated and the mob being stunned.

The Damage Shield talent means I no longer need shield spikes, as I now inflict damage whenever I take damage from or block a melee attack, which is quite often. The damage also scales with the block value of my shield, which will increase with level. I am free to enchant my shield however I fancy.

I still get Devastate, which is a wonderful replacement for Sunder Armour that does exactly the same effect as well as inflicting damage. On top of that, a new talent gives a chance for my Devastate and Revenge abilities to renew the cooldown on Shield Slam and proc its use without a rage cost for a few seconds. With all three abilities causing high amounts of threat, and all heavily used in my tanking rotation, this is a huge boost. Shield Slam not only causes high threat but also adds some decent DPS and can debuff the target mob. With Revenge causing some decent damage and, with a talent, giving a chance of stunning the mob for a few seconds I have three high-threat, decent DPS abilities that work stunningly well together.

As a tank in Battle Stance, running solo in the world, I feel encouraged to use my high damage abilities, which I consider to be Devastate and Shield Slam. Even though they cause high amounts of threat I still think they work out to be my best source of DPS. With the chance of proccing the Shield Slam for free I now shy away from using anything but Devastate to take advantage of the rageless Shield Slam whenever it occurs, which is regularly. This leaves me with huge amounts of rage, particularly as I am charging all over the place and generating even more rage. But it also is a little boring, using only two abilities out of the many that I used to take advantage of. I then have a bold idea. With Charge available in all stances and Revenge also proccing the Shield Slam ability I could simply remain in Defensive Stance.

I might be doing less damage and causing more threat, but I am also taking advantage of other talents that work in Defensive Stance only and am increasing my options during combat, if only with Shield Block and Revenge. Even with the decreased damage from being in the stance the Improved Defensive Stance talent enrages me with each blocked, parried or dodged strike against me, increasing my damage for twelve seconds. This is great! I quite enjoyed the advantage of Shield Block and Revenge in PvE for sticky situations, and now I am definitely useful in Defensive Stance whatever I am doing. I can't think what I am missing being a permanent tank.

A mob running away in fear reminds me that I am missing Hamstring, but there are two solutions. I can aim to get Howling Pierce again, a neat ability that dazes and thus slows all mobs close to me, although it is a reactive ability. Or I could back off a little and charge the fleeing mob. Although the latter approach will put Charge back on a cooldown I have a glyph that reduces that cooldown by 20%, which is nifty. I also retain Concussion Blow, which stuns a mob for several seconds.

There is so much that has changed that it is quite a lot to get used to. I am performing the same task with many of the same abilities, but the synergies are different and there are more effective methods to seek out and find. I feel more powerful with my enemies dropping more quickly before me, my level of rage remaining high enough to power my abilities most of the time. Just as I get Victory Rush and enjoy being able to dash from mob to mob wreaking havoc I get all these new changes and feel more comfortable than ever in Defensive Stance. I am surprised to report that I don't miss Victory Rush, an ability that Tiger would never have gone without.

If all this were not enough adventuring in Outlands has now been made as rapid as that in Azeroth. The amount of experience needed to gain a level has been much reduced. It seems like I only just reach 62nd level when a few quests and a run through the Blood Furnace welcome me to 63rd level. Just as I rode through Hellfire Peninsula on my way to Zangarmarsh I now leave the marsh for Terokkar Forest. My Outlands map is barely half-filled as I race from zone to zone, which is disappointing only in that there is so much to see and accomplish, but it also promotes a strong sense of progression and promises a journey to Northrend before too long.

Change will always take a little while to get used to, but the changes seem to have had a remarkably positive effect so far. Maybe the challenges ahead will require my extra power, and if that is the case those will be mighty challenges indeed, but for now I will greatly enjoy being the devastating warrior tank.

I wonder how Knifey is getting on.

One Response to “Sapphire the Protection Warrior v3.02”

  1. Killed in a smiling accident. » Blog Archive » Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience. Says:

    [...] Ok, Elf did all the slaughtering; I mainly just refreshed Earth Shield on his character once in a while and spent the rest of the time gawping at my surroundings. Protection spec. warriors are quite, quite maddeningly powerful these days, it seems. [...]