Prot paladins have gone all of Mists of Pandaria without any really bad nerfs, but we should have all known that was an untenable situation. Let’s be honest: Ghostcrawler feeds on the misery of WoW players, and he’d been saving us for a good day. Back in 5.0, Theck waved his magic wand and produced numbers that showed us that haste was the way to go. However, Ghostcrawler (that dastardly bastard) caught on to what we were doing and shook his head disapprovingly. He did not approve of us tanks using DPS stats. With 5.2, Blizzard made the change to Grand Crusader such that it procced less on auto attacks and also made it proc every so often when dodging an attack. This made haste slightly less desirable, but in the end all it did was make avoidance less awful at mitigating spike damage. That being said, the extra DPS boost from the haste gear set, as well as the ability to shift our ShotR around to better fit the fight meant we still wanted haste.
Now we sit on the cusp of 5.3 and we’re looking at a ShotR nerf, which is not sitting well with me. A part of me sees this as a response to the Prot paladins still gearing haste, but it seems to me like trying to fix a problem by bludgeoning it with a hammer until it goes away. While it’s true that nerfing the shield will also nerf haste gearing, it also means that it will nerf active mitigation for paladins as a whole, which was the whole point of tanking in MoP! But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about why I like haste for paladins.
One of the biggest problems that I have heard with having your tank prioritize haste over traditional tanking stats is competing with DPS for loot. It’s strange to be fighting with your Unholy/Frost DK or Ret Pally over gear, but at the same time it’s a difficult argument to make. It’s not unimaginable to have a Frost DK and a Ret Pally in a raid competing with each other for loot. If that’s the case, what’s wrong with competing with the tank for that same piece of gear? Frankly, tanks will have to compete with each other for parry/dodge gear, so how does this matter?
Another issue I’ve heard with Prot Paladins gearing for haste is the assertion that “tanks shouldn’t be dealing that much damage.” Well, I ask why not? All through Heart of Fear and ToES there were fairly tight enrage timers, and one of the best ways to deal with that is to increase your DPS. My DK tanking partner, before I began gearing for haste, would very often compete with other DPS classes for highest damage done on the boss. Now that I’ve geared haste as well, I’ve found that I can often contribute more DPS in this manner than wearing my “DPS” spec and DPSing. This is due in large part to Vengeance. I tank with a handy-dandy little meter at the bottom of my screen that lets me know how much extra attack power I’m getting out of Vengeance, and almost every boss fight has me above 150% attack power, often closer to 300%. So is having your tank do a good chunk of DPS a bad thing? If this is really a problem, then what about the Blood DKs? Raidbots has Blood DKs considerably outperforming Prot Paladins at the 10-man Normal level and yet I see no changes on the horizon for Blood DKs.
So why is this change ruffling my feathers so much? Well for one thing, it’s happening in the middle of a raid tier. If it turns out that all of that haste gear we’ve been acquiring over the past few weeks turns out to be worse for us than avoidance gear, it will be happening to us at the point where many of us more casual raiders are hitting the most difficult content (well, besides Horridon, of course). We’ll be left suddenly trying desperately to regear while trying to make sure our guilds don’t falter in the progress we’ve made, all the while those that have been skeptical of our haste paradigm will no doubt be laughing at us. “Told you guys gearing haste was dumb,” they’ll say, cursing our self-esteem, causing us to miss our ShotR blocks and face-planting, wiping the raid…
The second, and in my mind far more important, reason why I’m so irritated is because forcing paladins to stop gearing haste removes one of the coolest thing about tanking as a paladin. I loved the idea of stacking haste as our mitigation stat because it was different. I loved it because it wasn’t traditional. It made the class so much more fun because it felt so dynamic, so fluid. I didn’t feel like my job was to just stand in front of the boss and hit a defensive cooldown when my life dipped below 50%. It didn’t feel like judgment and and crusader strike were just there to hold threat. Gearing haste is fun! Having a 1 second GCD is fun! Taking some big hits and being able to use ShotR knowing that you’ll have another one ready before the big dino-horn to the chest is fun! I was amazed that Paladins would be able to stack haste because suddenly the world of tanking seemed to have opened up in front of me. I started imagining a future with tank classes taking crit strike because that would proc a nice shield to help smooth damage! Or maybe a tank class that values Agility and haste, increasing the uptime of a defensive cooldown that increases your dodge… rating…
The point I’m trying to make is that there shouldn’t be anything wrong with Protection Paladins stacking haste! Stacking haste has made the tanking world more interesting, leading to engaging discussions that I’ve had about the viability of the build, and it gave us the glimmer of hope that maybe the rest of us non-DKs would some day have a fun and exciting form of active mitigation! Stacking haste has been extremely fun, and getting new gear with good haste stats have given me a certain sense of thrill that I didn’t get picking up dodge/parry gear. And let’s be honest, we’re all playing this game becuase it’s fun (and totally not some form of Stockholm Syndrome. I love Blizzard and WoW and will never leave…). So Ghostcrawler, LET US HAVE OUR FUN!