Prot Paladins vs Magic Damage = /cancelaura

#1 - April 11, 2018, 7:46 p.m.
Blizzard Post
A known change going into BFA is that SOTR will increase your armor as a % of your Strength stat. This orients SOTR to be strong against physical damage while losing any value vs. Magic attacks. This change is fine. I'm ok with this change.

A lesser known change is how armor interacts with Block. Currently on alpha, the amount of damage you block reduces as you get more armor. For example, on my 117 Paladin in Alpha quest gear, I have 33% baseline block DR. When I hit SOTR, it drops to 14% DR.

Now if you consider Holy Shield, a Protection Paladin talent, I gain the ability to roll a block on magic attacks. This has been a tool since WOD for Paladins to counter consistent magic bosses like Krosus. With the changes to SOTR, Holy Shield will be the only way to reduce magic damage for Protection Paladins in BFA.

However, when you put both changes together, pressing SOTR reduces the amount of magic damage I could reduce via Holy Shield. In a fight like Krosus, it would be better to spec Seraphim and sit on SOTR charges (or use macros to cancel the aura) than spend them and take more damage.

This is problematic and counter-intuitive. Pressing an active mitigation button shouldn't cause me to take more damage than I would have if I didn't press that button. No other tank has to deal with an interaction like this. It will lead to /cancelaura macros where am I pressing SOTR for damage then canceling it right away to maximize the damage reduction from Holy Shield. Imagine having to do Krosus but having to /cancelaura SOTR constantly as to not take more damage than we should be and maximizing damage/threat.

There will be points during Mythic bosses where, I'll be thinking, "Here comes the magic hit, let me click off my SOTR so I can increase my damage reduction vs Magic." Tanking shouldn't work that way.

/cancelaura macros for Active Mitigation Buffs against spell damage is not good gameplay and changes should made to avoid this situation.
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Game Designer
#4 - April 11, 2018, 9:35 p.m.
Blizzard Post
Holy Shield doesn't actually work like this on the alpha. Not that you're wrong for asking--it's pretty confusing since it hasn't been updated thoroughly for the new block system. At the moment, it still does what it does on live and reduces a magic attack by 40%.

It might be more consistent in 8.0 if it blocked an amount based on the block value of your shield. But in any case, the magic portion of the talent shouldn't be affected by your armor in any way.
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Game Designer
#9 - April 12, 2018, 2:48 a.m.
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A few things about tank mitigation that came up in this discussion:

Magic mitigation, outside of major cooldowns like Shield Wall, is generally much lower this expansion. This is intended: the distinction between physical and magical damage is less "these are two parallel things that sometimes require different buttons" and more "this damage is different because it pierces many of your defenses." While tanks can still have some variance in the anti-magic tools, those tools are fewer than in the past and cap out at smaller amounts of mitigation.

Related to this, active mitigation is also making use of armor as a mechanic more often. There are a few reasons for this:
--It makes primary stat more important on tanks. So far in alpha, every tank except Brewmaster has an active or passive effect that turns primary stat into armor. This brings more consistency to the value of ilvl upgrades and other effects that increase primary stat. (TBD exactly how to handle this on Brewmaster)
--It allows us to make use of the fact that more difficult enemies (for example, endgame content later in the expansion) can demand more armor to reach a par level of mitigation (for theorycraft types--the "armor constant" can increase). This again allows for gear progression while keeping armor-related effects balanced at different tiers of content.

Block works similarly to armor. Its effectiveness now increases as you equip higher-ilvl shields with higher block value. Its effectiveness (as a %) decreases as you fight enemies that are meant for stronger gear. In particular, this makes a shield a more significant upgrade than it used to be, for the specs that use them.

In both of the above cases (armor and block), the plan is for the % mitigation they provide to remain roughly constant over the expansion, when in par gear for the content you are doing. Your % will be higher anytime your gear is ahead of the curve, and lower if your gear is behind.