Monday, September 27, 2010

The State of Maul: Past, Present and Future

I have been really busy lately with the start of university and so I haven’t been able to devote much time to writing anything but I have whipped this up and I am posting it now just for the interim.

So the week before I left for vacation I was reading some of the forums and comments on some websites and it seems to me that people are afraid to not be using maul constantly because they think that they need it in order to comparable threat. While I am used to hitting maul continuously to hold threat, I am not by any means attached to the ability and I will certainly be happy about not having to spam my 1 key in order to pull decent threat.

I have seen people worried about themselves losing threat from not having that ability to use constantly. I am inclined to say that these people are not really thinking about it. Through all of Wrath Blizzard has been attempting to make all the tanking classes similar in ability. This means that they are trying to make it so that threat difference is marginal, survival difference is marginal and that every tank is able to do anything that he/she needs to.

With them making all healers able to tank and raid heal well enough is further proof, in my opinion, that this same idea for tanks is only going to become more of a reality and not backtrack. I really think that we will not have any effort holding threat when we are competent. I do however hope that they make threat something that is earned and not given to you. With maul being redone so that you don’t spam it anymore that threat will be something that all players can do but good players can master.

Now with all that said, I had originally intended this to be a post about maul and so I will get back on track with that idea. Currently maul is that button you always push. If you have only enough rage for a maul or a mangle...hit maul. The boss is not hitting you and you have no a white hit so you can hit maul. In pretty much any circumstance hitting maul is the correct choice because the threat is just that high. Currently the only reason you might forgo hitting maul is that you have carpal tunnel from hitting maul so much.

Now I would like to tell you about a time when maul did not fulfill this role. There was a time when maul had an actual purpose. When people across the internet actually wrote more than a sentence about how to use maul. This was the time of pre-wrath. Disclaimer now though...I never actually raided in BC and I was still levelling my first character (a warlock that only made it to level 19) during vanilla. That being said, even though I never raided, I did do a fair amount of tanking. At least from my perspective, the barrier to entry for a feral tank who wanted to raid was quite high. You had to know what you were doing and you had to be able to do it well.

But what does this have to with maul? Practically nothing. But in that time maul was that ability that you hit when your circumstance was right, not every moment of every day you spent tanking. This was because maul had a purpose. Tanks were not balanced around always having maul queued, they were actually balanced around using maul to bleed off rage because at least when I started learning, being rage capped meant that you were doing it wrong. This is how I feel that maul will be used in Cata.

With rage being normalized I hope that there will be enough rage to do your rotation under normal circumstances and maybe a little extra rage than you need so that occasionally you can use maul to keep yourself from getting rage capped. I hope that being rage capped means that you are making mistakes and losing threat similar to how a rogue or cat loses dps when they allow themselves to cap energy. Obviously there will not be much difference between the person that hits rage cap and the person who doesn’t, but if you always find that you are rage capped you should probably be hitting maul more in order to bleed off that rage. Gone are the days when your rage bar is always full regardless of what you are doing...

Or so I hope.

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