#1 - Dec. 2, 2010, 8 p.m.
One thing we should have mentioned is that the level 80 experience with Vengeance is probably pretty different than what you’ll experience at 85 (in only a few days!). The reason is because the dps classes have very large combat ratings right now for things like crit and haste that they won’t have once they start leveling. (This is particularly true for melee that had their armor pen converted into other stats.) Even at 85 -- even in the final tiers of 85 -- those combat ratings shouldn’t be as high as they are today. We corrected the rating conversions and also removed talents and other sources of crit and haste that let those stats get, for want of a better word, gratuitous. Our combat mechanics just don’t work right when characters get to 60%+ crit chance. While dps specs will still have much higher crit and haste than tanks, the delta will go down at higher level, which should make tank threat feel even less dependent on Vengeance. Remember that Vengeance is a rolling average, so it shouldn’t be very sensitive to avoidance streaks in the first place, especially beyond the first few seconds.
Remember, to fix the problem of gear scaling, tank threat has to improve with gear. You can’t just bake the threat into Defensive Stance, Blood Presence, Righteous Fury or Bear Form because those threat multipliers will only scale with tank dps. Sadly, tank dps doesn’t improve as much as that of other characters because tank gear is loaded with things like dodge and parry and missing a lot of haste and crit. We discussed other ways to solve the problem. One was just to remove tank gear (which sort of works for Feral druids) and expect warriors, paladins and DKs to wear dps plate. We ultimately didn’t think that would be fun for tanks, and we know there are Feral druids today who wish we still made legitimate bear armor. We could have just put both dps stats and survivability stats on tank gear, but that would make that armor overpowered and probably attractive to dps specs. Another option was just to let tank dps scale with survivability stats all the time. That seems unfair to the dps classes though if the tank gets to do competitive damage and have all that survivability. Why choose a dps spec at all then? Ultimately, we didn’t want tanks to always hit like a truck. We wanted it to happen when they were being hit hard by someone. A mechanic that scaled with gear but was dependent on taking lots of damage seemed like the right solution, which is ultimately what Vengeance is.
We see some concerns from players about avoiding making Vengeance fall off. Vengeance currently loses 10% of its value every second when you are not being attacked, and 5% a second if you are being attacked (even if you avoid or absorb the damage). Obviously if you take damage then Vengeance won’t fall off at all. We went with 10 seconds because we thought that was a reasonable number that would discourage tanks from feeling like they were forced to engage in bizarre and not fun behavior. Imagine if Vengeance lasted for 30 or 60 seconds or more, then you might try to drag along a weak add to periodically hit you and keep the buff going. Alternately, maybe you’d get a slew of Prot specs in your raid all trying to keep Vengeance up all the time in order to do higher dps than they would have with a legit dps spec. Contrived perhaps, but those were the concerns -- you guys can be devious at finding clever uses of mechanics. :) That said, it’s easy to tweak if the fall off is too fast. Now it is true that avoids early in a fight will keep Vengeance from stacking up as quickly, but you shouldn’t need Vengeance in the first few seconds of a fight. We gave all tanks powerful attacks to generate burst threat, and Tricks of the Trade and Misdirect are also still great for establishing initial aggro – they just don’t make threat trivial to maintain through the entire fight as they did in Lich King. The mage also doesn’t need to pop Time Warp and Pyroblast on the first global cooldown of a boss fight.