Blood an’ Thunder
I am currently working on a Talent by talent review of the Protection tree, but it has come to my attention that one talent in particular is causing a lot of grief. The general consensus has been reached that at this time the Talent Blood & Thunder is simply not worth taking for a Prot Warrior. There are multiple combined factors that sort of mess into this view. Most of the blogs I have looked at have come to this decision after testing it out. My personal experience agrees with them, but lets break it down point by point.
Rend‘s damage is not substantial enough. That is, in Defensive Stance with a one hand weapon and minimal Attack Power bonuses, a Protection Warrior is going to be doing far less damage per Rend tick than an Arms Warrior would, and the ability is (as it should be) Balanced for Arms. There are two bonuses in Protection that would boost Rend, Thunderstruck (which is a synergistic Talent which gives a 20% damage boost to Rend when maxed out), the other being the Attack Power bonus from Vengeance, which takes a good deal of time to build on a trash pull; leading to my next point.
Cooldowns need to be used effectively and efficiently early in a pull, Charge, Rend, Thunderclap, then start building threat is too long. This seems to be the most easily identified part of the problem. Blood & Thunder forces a change to the “rotation” of a Prot Warrior that is ineffective at holding a single target. A dps attacking the “skull” or main target (or any target, especially if a kill order is not marked) will be able to get off 2 or even 3 (based on Haste) attacks in this time and will probably rip aggro. DPS patience is extremely low and very few will wait 5 to 7 seconds to begin bringing the pain, even if it is in their best interest. Which is just another of the compounding issues.
Speaking of other players, other Tanks still seem to hold snap AoE threat better. My personal experience is from ICC trash with two Paladin Tanks holding trash threat so easily I could hardly get a target to myself. I think this might be more of the time needed to pull off Blood & Thunder just not being effective, but I do just feel worth less on most trash pulls.
Having identified some of the problems, what are possible solutions?
If Rend isn’t hitting hard enough, the obvious solution would be buff Rend. However, Rend is, as I said earlier, balanced around Arms using it, not Prot (Tip: Blood & Thunder is actually useful as a secondary Talent in an Arms PvE build). So buffing the skill directly would not be a likely scenario. Adding a damage boost to Blood & Thunder along the lines of, “When Rend is applied via Blood & Thunder, its damage is increased by 10%/20%” is a reasonable balance and makes the talent more appealing to Arms as well. Lastly, increasing the Rend Damage boost in Thunderstruck could work as well, and wouldn’t in anyway affect Arms’ use of the skill.
If the problem more lies in the time needed, maybe there needs to be an alternate way to apply Rend. A wiser Tank than me suggested glyphing Heroic Throw to apply Rend instead of Sunder Armor. Heroic Throw does open most pulls before the Charge and this may be effective (obviously testing would have to be done). My thought was to add or change one of the Glyphs dealing with Charge itself to apply Rend. Currently we have a Glyph to reduce Charge’s cooldown and one to increase its distance (both of which have more PvP utility than PvE), adding a Glyph that causes Charge to apply Rend to the target would remove one of the cooldown uses and speed up the entire process without altering our toolbox too dramatically.
The final choice is to tell DPS to wait for the Sunders, but the odds of that happening seem low. Any ideas or concerns I missed?