An Apology to Stop, and a Reply on Death Knights

A week ago, Stop replied to my short Death Knight post. Unfortunately, his reply got caught by Akismet, making it the first false positive I got.
To add insult to injury, I’ve been focusing a lot on my sandbox and remained slack in my administration of my live blog, of all things, so his comment has been stuck in the spam moderation queue through all this time.

While Stop and me have a long history of intra-blog arguing, he certainly never deserved to end up in a spam filter. Sorry for this embarrassing oversight. To make up, here’s his comment in full and my reply:

So do you think DK’s will be like druids and be able to put out the dps with a tanking spec? Do you think Blizzard will modify both Prot Warriors and Paladins to add more utility, either through dps or healing, within the Prot tree for when they aren’t healing? Do you think a raid will have room for a DK if all they can do is tank a gimmick encounter?

If I had to guess, I’d say DK’s will be the new druids.

Also, I want to get rid of Rogues from my melee group pending no group buffs in Wrath. Thoughts?

From the first reports, it sure sounds like the DK will hold aggro by producing a healthy amount of damage (with all the caveats about Wrath being in alpha). What I’m curious is how much DPS the class will be capable of when in DPS mode in terms of integrating them into a group / raid setting when not tanking.

Just going of on a tangent here, but for a moment I thought to myself “what if it turns out that the max DPS in some situation can only be achieved in the tanking setup?”. That reminded me of FFXI where one of the most efficient leveling party strats was using two ninja / warriors trading aggro. How did that work? Basically, the ninja job (class in WoW) aquired an ability to create shadows of himself. These would act as shield charges, each successful hit removing a shadow instead of dealing damage to the ninja. In the earlier levels, a ninja would get 3 shadows (4 later on), and you could actually do low to mid-level party setups with little to no healing capacities in your group with two competent ninjas constantly trading aggro as soon as their shadows were down, while dishing out respectable DPS themselves.
In WoW, aggro trading is currently used mainly to swap tanks after they receive too many stacking debuffs, or because a boss regularly goes switches to the second highest threat target. An FFXI ninja-like setup where two tanks were to trade aggro for the purpose of shortening battles through high DPS sounds definitely interesting. There’s a big but here, however, in the sense that it would make a multi-class tanking corps an issue. But enough empty speculation, back to DKs.

There’s been plenty of virtual ink spilled on hybrids in WoW. If I were to state that one of the main issues with tank scarcity and burnout resides in the fact that a prot warrior or paladin in particular have it even worse than healers for soloing nowadays (except the ruins of Karabor for tankadins, I know, but compare the phase I SSO dailies between a tankadin / prot warrior and any other class for what happens outside Karabor for a second opinion), I wouldn’t exactly be able to stir up a raging controversy. I still hold that with four roles (tank, healer, melee DPS and ranged DPS) available and a relative ease to switch to at least one other role at the cost of a mere gear swap instead of a talent respec, druids are the most accomplished hybrids in the game at present, and should be the minimum standards to which other hybrids should be raised, and I include warriors as tanking / DPS hybrids in this (this doesn’t mean that druids couldn’t be improved, but merely that other hybrids have a lot of room for improvement).

If rearranging runes is somewhere between a shape shift and a talent reset as currently described, the DK will indeed be provided, from the get-go, with a better role fluidity than the other tanks. Considering the expected vast amount of DKs we should find at least to level 70 during the first three months after Wraths’ release, this is actually going to be more or less a necessity in order to keep the class group viable.

At the same time, I’m definitely curious to see what Blizzard has in store for prot warriors and tankadins in particular, the other hybrids in general. Failing to address the lack of flexibility (and lack of solo viability) will probably quite inevitably lead to the more pessimistic scenarios where you will find plenty of DKs competing for raid slots (DK becomes the new hunter rather than the new druid), and not enough bears / warriors and paladins to look after all the fights where they would be the immensely superior choice tank.

Regarding rogues in your melee groups, sorry Stop, but that’s not my place to comment on. As you know, my TBC raiding experience is extremely limited as is, and I’m definitely not competent to discuss the finer points of min / maxing for bleeding edge raiding.

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