Patch 6.0.2 is upon us, and with it comes a host of changes to the game and our class. This post is your quick and easy guide to making the transition from raiding in 5.4.8 to raiding in the brave new world of 6.0.2.
Unlike usual, I’ll try and keep things short and to the point.
Major Game Mechanics Changes
These are all changes to core systems in the game that affect us as tanks, so you should know about them.
- Hit and Expertise are gone – You’ll now automatically hit appropriate-level targets all the time. Technically speaking, there’s still a 3% chance to be parried when attacking from the front, but as a tank, you have a passive that gives you a free 3% expertise (Sanctuary for paladins) that eliminate that chance.
- Everything was squished – You’ll note that stats are much lower than before, and the amount of rating on gear has been reduced substantially, but so have the conversion coefficients. So for example, it used to take 425 haste rating for 1% haste, but now it only takes 20 haste rating!
- Tank mitigation was squished – To try and rein in tank survivability and self-sustainability, tank mitigation was nerfed pretty much across the board. You’ll find that many spells, especially ones that provided flat percentage effects, now provide less mitigation than they used to. We’ll talk more about details further down the page. However….
- Health was squished… less? – You won’t have 1 million hit points anymore, but you will still have substantially more health compared to what you’d expect post-squish. That’s because rather than getting 14 hit points per point of stamina, you now get 60. This is all part of the revamped tanking/healing model they’re trying in WoD.
- Snapshotting is gone – For the most part, damage-over-time and heal-over-time spells do not snapshot stats (like attack power, crit, etc.) anymore. There are a few exceptions, but none (at least that I know of) that we care about. The damage and healing of abilities like Eternal Flame, Sacred Shield, etc. will now dynamically update with your current stats on every tick.
- Pandemic for everyone! – If you’ve played a warlock, you may recall a passive effect called “Pandemic” that allowed you to refresh DoTs to up to 150% of their base duration. That same mechanic (though reduced to 130%) has been applied to all HoTs and DoTs in WoD. This means that, for example, if you refresh Sacred Shield with 15 seconds remaining, the new duration will be 39 seconds, not 30 seconds. Likewise it means that refreshing it with up to 9 seconds remaining won’t “waste” any of the remaining duration.
And there’s one change so big that it deserves its own section….
Vengeance – GONE
Vengeance is finally gone. No more standing in the fire to boost your DPS!
It’s been replaced by a mechanic called Resolve. The tooltip for Resolve is misleading – much earlier in beta, there was a static component based on your Stamina, but that’s long since been removed. Now it just increases your self-healing and self-absorb effects based on the damage you take. Mathematically it’s fairly complex – I covered the original version in this blog post, but that’s now out of date – but for now all you need to know is that:
- It doesn’t turn on until you’ve taken a certain amount of damage in the last 10 seconds,
- It continuously re-calculates its value based on the damaging events that happened in the last 10 seconds,
- It has built-in diminishing returns that limit its effectiveness to a 240% boost to your baseline (zero-Resolve) healing.
The plot below shows the diminishing returns curve as a function of “DamageMod,” which is related to your damage intake. Again, I don’t want to get into the mathy details today, so for now all you need to worry about is that it increases your self-healing more as you take more damage, with fairly smooth diminishing returns.
There are a few reasons that Resolve is pretty awesome when compared to Vengeance. First, since it’s decoupled from damage entirely, there’s no longer an incentive to stand in fire, or worse, jump through inane hoops to solo-tank bosses for huge DPS gains (Heroic 25M Garrosh, I’m looking at you…). The diminishing returns also ensures that it’s never worth taking increased damage – for example, if you take 2x as much damage, you won’t generate twice as much healing, so it’s a net survivability loss.And thanks to the changes to snapshotting, our self-healing abilities will dynamically update with Resolve. That means we can get rid of a ton of weakauras we’ve historically used, both for tracking our current amount of Resolve and for tracking what level of Resolve, haste, and so on we were at when we last cast Eternal Flame or Sacred Shield. I am really looking forward to hitting “delete” on a bunch of those auras!
There are a bunch of changes that affect Prot Paladins specifically that I want to talk about in more detail.
In the great ability pruning of ’14, many a skill was lost by many a class. As Protection Paladins, we lost access to Avenging Wrath, Devotion Aura, and…. that’s about it. So much for freeing up key bindings. Technically we freed up another key bind in Blinding Light, which was moved to the second talent tier.
Sanctified Wrath has been totally redesigned since we no longer have Avenging Wrath. Now it causes Holy Wrath to generate a charge of Holy Power and makes it hit like a truck by doubling its damage. No, seriously, like a truck:
If you decide to take the Final Wrath glyph, you can add another 50% to that. In other words, if it does 10k damage with no talents, it does 20k with Sanctified Wrath talented and 30k if Final Wrath is glyphed. Fun stuff.
One downside of all of this massive damage is that Holy Wrath has a longer cooldown in Warlords, up from 9 seconds to 15 seconds. This is somewhat unfortunate from the perspective of picking up groups of adds, in that it will be less available than before. But it will hit significantly harder, so it’ll do a better job of picking them up when it is available. It’s just a shame that it still splits damage amongst all targets hit.
Level 45 talents have all seen some significant changes. Eternal Flame got hit pretty hard with the nerfbat. The base heal is unchanged (still identical to Word of Glory), but the heal-over-time portion was nerfed several ways, the biggest one being that it no longer benefits from Bastion of Glory. This is bad from a “massively overpowered self-healing throughput” point of view, but good from a balance perspective because… well… it was massively overpowered. This should put allow it to stay on more even footing with the other options in this tier.
I should also add that it got a quality-of-life improvement, though. Rather than having the heal-over-time portion heal for less when you cast with less than three holy power, it now just has a shorter duration. So if you need to emergency-WoG yourself with only one or two Holy Power, you’re not gimping yourself with the HoT – you’re just not getting the full 30 seconds out of it.
Sacred Shield, on the other hand, got hit with the… buffbat? Unlike in MoP, Sacred Shield ticks can now individually crit, and now that multistrike is a thing they can do that as well. So if your Sacred Shield normally ticks for 100, a lucky tick that crits and makes both multistrike rolls will tick for 320.
Selfless Healer got nerfed, in that it no longer benefits from Bastion of Glory. On the other hand, in all the re-tuning it ended up in a not-so-awful place. So it might actually be a viable contender in 6.x. More on that later.
As I mentioned earlier, many of our mitigation abilities got nerfed. It isn’t worth going into detail on all of them, but there are a few you should be aware of:
- Shield of the Righteous‘ base mitigation was nerfed to 20% (from 25%), and each point of mastery now only provides an additional 0.75% mitigation (down from 1%).
- Bastion of Glory only provides 6% per stack (down from 10%), and each point of mastery only adds 0.75% (down from 1%).
- Divine Protection and Guardian of Ancient Kings now only last 8 seconds (down from 10).
Finally, there are some new passive skills you should know about. The first is Bladed Armor, which is a hidden passive that causes bonus armor on gear to also grant attack power. This makes bonus armor a potent offensive stat in addition to its already-respectable defensive benefits.
The second is Riposte, which causes critical strike rating from gear to also grant an equal amount of parry rating. This gives crit rating a defensive benefit, so that it isn’t useless to us.
The third is Shining Protector, which gives multistrike a more significant defensive benefit. Any time we receive a heal, Shining Protector has a chance to proc an extra heal for 30% of that amount. It works on our own self-healing as well as external healing.
And finally, the new passive Sacred Duty increases the amount of haste rating you get from gear by 5%.
After the patch, all of your gear will be “squished” in the sense that it will have much less rating on it. In addition, hit, expertise, dodge, and parry will be converted to crit, mastery, or haste. For example, here’s the dodge/parry chest from T15 before and after the squish:
The one exception is that dodge and parry on “non-armor” pieces like rings, amulets, and trinkets, which can turn into bonus armor. Since bonus armor will be a fairly prized stat, this will make some items that were ignored pre-6.0, like Juggernaut’s Focusing Crystal, suddenly very desirable.
Gems were also squished – you’ll find that your 320 haste gems from 5.4.8 are now only 20 haste. On the other hand, that’s actually a buff due to rating conversion changes. Pre-patch, each of those gems gave you 0.75% haste, while post-patch they each give you 1.00%.
In addition, all of your hit and expertise gems will have turned into crit and haste gems, respectively. Wowhead has a great summary of both the new gem combinations and the other gear changes coming with this patch.
Between the more favorable rating conversions and a large chunk of hit and expertise on your gear turning into haste, you may find yourself significantly over the 50% haste cap when you log in on Tuesday.
Unsurprisingly, the shuffling of stats, massive re-tuning of abilities, and tank mitigation nerfs all had noticeable effects on our stat priority. Whereas before, haste was our most-desired stat, it’s now only about average. On the other hand, mastery has really become strong, which in part led to the SotR and Bastion of Glory nerfs mentioned earlier.
Here’s an example of what your stat weights might look like if you’re wearing Mythic T16 gear:
I’ve tweaked the gear in this case so that we’re far enough below the haste cap of 50% that we aren’t artificially lowering its value. As you can see, mastery and bonus armor dominate, with stats like versatility, haste, and crit all trailing. Our new secondary stat priorities for survivability are,
Mastery > Bonus Armor > Haste (to 50%) > Crit > Multistrike
There are some caveats to mention here, of course. First of all, multistrike is probably a little stronger than the sim represents, because we’re simming without an external healer here. That said, I don’t know that it’s that much more valuable. It’s certainly a strong throughput stat when you’re being healed, but generally when you’re being healed you aren’t dying either. In the situations where you do die, which are usually situations where you have a shortage of incoming healing, multistrike’s value isn’t likely to be much higher than this sim predicts.
It will remain to see exactly how deaths happen in 6.0 before we can really estimate it more accurately – if trickle-down deaths over 10+ seconds are the norm, then multistrike will probably be a fairly strong stat that we may want to stack over haste and crit. If spike deaths in 5- to 6-second windows are still the target (as opposed to the 2-second windows we see now), then it’s not likely to be our go-to stat.
Second, we’re simming this against a T17 Mythic boss scaled down to level 90. So stamina’s value here is a little larger than it normally would be. Again, for Siege content you can probably skimp on stamina in favor of mastery for more mitigation, but until we really get a chance to play with 6.0 Siege it’ll be hard to say exactly how much stamina feels comfortable.
In case you’re wondering, the DPS stat priorities are a little different:
In this case, strength reigns supreme, followed closely by bonus armor. Put in order, our DPS priorities would be:
Strength > Bonus Armor > Multistrike / Crit > Versatility > Mastery > Haste
For buffs or effects that give attack power, you can just recall that 1 bonus armor gives 1 attack power, so AP is exactly the same as bonus armor for offense.
I ran some quick sims of the same T16M gear set with different gemming patterns to see how they differed. You can see all of the specifics here, but in summary, I took the gear set and re-gemmed it for haste, crit, and mastery just to see what would happen. Here are the DPS and TMI results:
As you can see, the mastery build does hold a significant TMI advantage, while the crit build gives the most DPS. Haste doesn’t really excel in either department anymore, sadly. The entire report can be found here if you want to dig through it in more detail.
Obviously at level 90, we don’t need to worry about the new level 100 talents. So our talent questions center around the usual three tiers: level 45, level 75, and level 90.
Level 90 is the easiest. Execution Sentence is still top DPS, but neither Light’s Hammer nor Holy Prism are that far behind. Holy Prism is still a great choice for add pick-up and such, while Light’s Hammer is still a very versatile AoE pick-up tool. Both of their raid-healing capabilities are somewhat diminished by the removal of Vengeance – Resolve won’t boost their healing on other raid members.
For the other two tiers, here are some sim results:
At level 45, we actually have a fair choice. Even though it’s not on the plots, Selfless Healer has been surprising me in some of my L100 sims, mostly in that it’s not that far behind. But it’s still far enough that we probably won’t take it. That said, if you really like that play style, you aren’t gimping yourself as much by taking it after 6.0.
Between Sacred Shield and Eternal Flame, the race is tighter. You really aren’t in too bad shape with either choice, but even with the strength of the T16 4-piece bonus, Sacred Shield comes out ahead. It does, however, come with a small DPS cost thanks to the GCDs required to refresh it.
The HoT component of Eternal Flame only does about 1/3 as much healing as Sacred Shield provides in absorption, which is why Eternal Flame can’t really keep up here. Once we lose the T16 bonus that’s propping up Eternal Flame, it’ll fall even further behind. Without a significant buff, I don’t see EF competing with Sacred Shield at level 100.
Finally, for our L75 talents, we again have a pretty fair choice. Divine Purpose is dominating the TMI charts, but also gives the lowest DPS. Sanctified Wrath gives the highest DPS, but at a TMI cost. Holy Avenger performs respectably in both categories, though it trails the other two in TMI. Really though, they’re all fine, and it will generally come down to personal preference or which one suits the fight better.
To be honest, I’m pretty impressed – never before have we seen both the L45 and L75 talents so well balanced with one another. My initial sims suggest that this will remain the case at 100, which is pretty neat. It’s gotten pretty boring having only one “correct” answer in a tier, and I’m glad to see that we’re moving away from that.
I’ve been doing a lot of work fine-tuning the rotation that I’ve used in these sims, especially for level 100. At level 90 it’s significantly easier, and doesn’t take much modification from what you’re already used to.
At level 90, the base rotation priority is as follows:
- Crusader Strike
- Holy Wrath – if Sanctified Wrath is chosen
- Avenger’s Shield
- Level 90 Talent (any of them)
- Hammer of Wrath
- Holy Wrath
As you can see, not too much has changed. Holy Wrath is much higher in priority with Sanctified Wrath chosen thanks to the Holy Power generation. As we level to 90, the second Holy Wrath entry will actually drop behind Consecration once the Improved Consecration perk is obtained.
As far as Sacred Shield goes, refresh it in any empty GCD. If it’s about to expire, slot it in above anything that doesn’t generate Holy Power (so use it instead of Avenger’s Shield only if you don’t have a Grand Crusader proc).
For AoE, make some simple modifications:
- Replace Crusader Strike with Hammer of the Righteous,
- Bump Consecration up to be equal with L90 talents (technically ahead of Execution Sentence, but behind Light’s Hammer or Holy Prism), and
- Move Avenger’s Shield to the very top of the list if you have a Grand Crusader proc and you will hit more than one target (i.e. Focused Shield is not glyphed).
None of those should be all that surprising, and they’re basically exactly what you do now in AoE circumstances.
I’ve updated my WeakAuras on the beta, though I haven’t added level 100 talents yet. I’ll have a more complete post discussing what changed up in the next week or so. The links below will give you the import strings you need to get up and running though:
The Priority and Cooldowns groups are similar to before, but I’ve re-arranged them for the new spell priorities and removed spells we don’t have anymore (Avenging Wrath, Devotion Aura, etc.). The “Priority-SW” group is an overlay that switches the priority when you talent into Sanctified Wrath. Finally, the Resolve/Haste indicators are just simple text indicators that show your current haste percent and Resolve amounts.
Note that all of the Vengeance Bars, SS and EF indicators, and so on are all gone – they’re all irrelevant now, so it was nice to clean house and get rid of loads of excess auras. Those were also some of the more computationally-intensive auras, so the rest of the suite should run a little faster as a result.
One warning: on beta, the cooldown spirals weren’t working, and I couldn’t figure out why. I assume it’s a simple bug in WeakAuras that will be fixed eventually.
Ask A Theck!
That covers all of the important topics that I could remember, but it’s entirely possible I forgot to mention something. I’ve been working in “beta-mode” for so long now that the line between “current” and “beta” has started to blur. So if there’s anything you want me to clarify further, or any questions you have for me, feel free to ask them in the comments. I’ll try to answer everything that gets asked throughout the day.
Also don’t forget that you can run your own character through SimC to see how your personal stat weights work out. I’ll have a post up Friday giving you an overview of all of the new features we’ve added to SimC in the last few months.
The Icy Veins guide, which I help edit, has also been updated for 6.0.