What if: every class in World of Warcraft had an additional spec?

Back in the earliest days of World of Warcraft, every class in the game had three specializations, and had to choose one of them.  Some specializations had the same role but different flavours to it (e.g. hunters are pure damage dealers, but with very different playstyles based on whether they choose the beast mastery, marksmanship or survival specs), and others had different roles entirely (e.g. paladins have protection for tanking, holy for healing, and retribution for dishing out damage).  Of course, some had been badly broken (shamans before the Burning Crusade expansion being a really good example), but over time, things have been balanced quite well (and even more so when we were able to choose a secondary spec as well in Wrath of the Lich King).  However, with the newest Mists of Pandaria expansion, Blizzard realised that with druids, combining melee damage dealing and tanking into one specialization was far too difficult to balance properly, so they split it out, making druids the only class in the game with a fourth spec.

So, we’re currently having a hypothetical discussion on Maintankadin: if all classes currently in the game had a fourth spec, what would that spec be?  (The key word is “hypothetical”, because druids were a bit of a fringe case, and it’s unlikely that Blizzard would do this — in fact, I vaguely recall that they explicitly mentioned that this would probably never happen — but hey, it’s great to let minds wander from time to time!)

(Disclaimer: although some of these ideas are my own, not all of them are.  Credit to the various posters over at Maintankadin where credit is due.)

Death Knights

What they have:  Blood is the tanking spec.  Frost and Unholy are damage dealing (in game, we call them “DPS” specs, for “damage per second”) with different attributes:  Frost players can either equip two one-handed weapons and dual-wield them for fast melee strikes or a two-handed weapon for slower, harder-hitting strikes, whereas unholy resolves around putting diseases on the target and letting the damage-over-time effects do the dirty work.

What they could get:  Pretty much the unanimous suggestion so far is to split Unholy.  Unholy also has a “pet” component, where the Death Knight can summon an undead minion to do his master’s bidding, so split this out, flesh it out, and then have a “necromatic spellcaster” spec that would stay at range and decay their enemies with unholy power.  (This fits into death knight lore, as the death knight units back in WarCraft 2 would do this.)  And hey, it would also mean that there would be another use for intellect plate gear besides holy paladins.


Well, as already mentioned, druids already have four specs: Restoration for healing, Balance for ranged DPS, Feral for melee DPS and Guardian for tanking.  And that’s all that I’m going to say about druids.


What they have: the Hunter is a pure ranged damage-dealing class.  Beast Mastery puts the emphasis on the hunter’s pet, Marksmanship puts the emphasis on the hunter’s weapons, and Survival puts the emphasis on the hunter’s survival skills (well, doh).

What they could get:  There’s two main schools of thought here.  The one that I belong to advocates giving the hunter a melee spec.  In fact, back in ye olde days, Survival was intended to be a melee spec — this didn’t turn out very well, but if Blizzard put some thought and effort into it, hey, it could work.  The other school of thought would be to give them a healing spec, the inspiration coming from Aragon’s healing powers in The Lord Of The Rings — though, personally, I struggle to match this up with existing in-game hunter lore.


What they have: Arcane, Fire and Frost.  According to one of my friends who plays a mage, pretty much all mage abilities revolve around (1) blasting your target before it can get to within melee range of you, and (2) getting the hell out of dodge if you failed at doing that.  The three specs just do this in different ways.

What they could get: We came up with a very unique healing specialisation (since mages are effectively wizards, it would make sense that they could have some healing capability).  They wouldn’t be able to call on nature like a druid, on holy powers like a priest and that sort of thing, but since they’re magical in nature, we came up with the idea of a mage healer that would heal by magically altering time itself.  Anyone who’s experienced the hourglass mechanic on Muruzond in the End Time dungeon has an idea of what I’m getting at.

We even fleshed this out further and came up with some example abilities for this:

  • Freeze Time: Places an area-of-effect bubble within 20 yards of the caster.  All buffs on friendly units will have their time to expire frozen, but will still continue to operate (heals over time would keep on ticking).  Very useful raid cooldown.
  • Time Capture: Saves the current status of a player that allows the mage to “reset” a player’s buffs/health/mana later in the fight (sort of like a combination of the aforementioned hourglass mechanic and the paladin’s Lay On Hands ability).
  • Reverse Time: A channelled heal that “reverses” all damage received in the last X seconds (say a tank takes hits for 50K, 100K, 80K over 5 seconds, Reverse Time would heal for 80K, 100K, 50K over 5 seconds, which could be sped up with haste).

Of course, this is so unique and radical that it’s impossibly likely that we’ll see this in the game — the effort to design and balance this would be immense.  But it’s still fun to think about.


What they have: Brewmaster for avoidance-based tanking, Mistweaver for healing (with a bit of melee thrown in), Windwalker for melee DPS.

What they could get: a caster DPS spec.  Quite possibly with a healing component, but more focus around doing damage (damage done would heal you, but it would be supplementary healing and wouldn’t replace someone else dedicated to healing).  Pretty much the inverse of Mistweaver.


What they have: Protection for tanking (this is what I play as!), Holy for healing, Retribution for melee DPS (this is what I try — and fail — at playing as when I’m not tanking!).

What they could have: A caster based DPS spec.  Back in the pre-Cataclysm era where players could mix and match from different specializations, some adventurous players actually tried this (bringing about the “shockadin” concept) — of course, it was a “jack of both trades, master of none” character build and never officially supported, but apparently was loads of fun.  And of course, it adds another use for intellect plate to the game.  This is another idea that’s pretty much unanimous.


What they have: two healing specs, Holy and Discipline.  Both have totally different styles: Holy is more “traditional” healing, while Discipline focuses on damage absorbtion.  The third spec, Shadow, is a damage-over-time spec.

What they could have: a second DPS spec, but more around “smite DPS” than damage over time.  It’s kind of already in the game with Atonement, but making it into a full-blown spec on its own would give the damage-dealing priest a choice in how to deal damage.


What they have: Assassination, Combat and Subtlety.  All themed around being extremely sneaky with regards to killing their target before their target knows that they’re dead.

What they could have: since rogues are sneaky, slippery and sly little buggers, give them a ranged “Sniper” spec (they could “borrow” weapons from hunters in sneaky, slippery and sly ways — and by that, I mean they’d give the hunters some loot competition).  I pity the poor Blizzard employee who has to balance this for player vs. player though.


What they have: Elemental for caster DPS, Enhancement for melee DPS, Restoration for healing.

What they could have: since shamans can equip shields (along with paladins and warriors), they could conceivably have a tank spec.  As in the case of the “shockadin” I mentioned earlier, this was something that adventurous players tried back in the day, and it would be great to see this officially supported.  Once again, we have almost unanimous agreement on this.


What they have do: destroy their opponents with use of the Dark Arts.  That’s pretty much all I know about warlocks.

What they could have: since warlocks can summon demons and have a connection with the demonic side of things, here’s an idea — have a tank spec where the warlock can transform into a demon himself.

However, there’s one problem with this, and it comes from a lore perspective.  There are characters that can temporarily metamorphosize into a demon, but those are Demon Hunters, not warlocks (Illidan being the most famous example).  And quite honestly, I think that we’ll be having a massive showdown with the Burning Legion in a future expansion (after all, Sargeras is still out there somewhere, and Wrathion seems to know that some massive event along these lines is on its way), and when that expansion hits, Demon Hunters would become a separate playable class.

It’s still nice to think about though, particularly that I haven’t seen any better ideas and can’t think up any myself.  Mind you, what I know about warlocks is dangerous, so maybe it’s a good thing that I don’t think too hard about this one.


What they have: Protection for tanking, Arms and Fury for the “RAWR, I HULK SMASH PUNY GOD OPPONENT WITH WEAPONS!” brigade.

What they could have: There’s two ideas there.  One would be to give them a second tank spec (much like priests have two healing specs) — only, while Protection focuses on damage avoidance, this second tank spec would be based on mitigating damage by regeneration effects and sheer bloody-mindedness.  We’ve seen these concepts in Dungeons and Dragons over the years: the barbarian dumping armour and relying on sheer hit points, the frenzied berserker that just won’t die as long as he’s raging… something like that.

Alternatively, Fury has two distinct playstyles within the specialisation: Titan’s Grip for dual-wielding two handers, and “single-minded fury”, for, you know, being that frenzied berserker in a damage-dealing role.  It can (and has) been argued that warriors already do have four specs, but they’ve been too pre-occupied with aforementioned hulk smashing to have realised it just yet…

Debunking DirectX 10 on Windows XP

On my news feed this morning was an article on AMD claiming that there will not be a version 12 of DirectX.  Great news as far as I’m concerned, as it may incentivise game developers to develop against OpenGL instead of DirectX, which in turn could lessen the stranglehold that Microsoft has when it comes to a PC gamer’s operating system of choice.

However, reading the opinions of Slashdot readers, one reader brought up the claim that Microsoft was tying down versions of DirectX to versions of Windows in an attempt to boost operating system sales — in particular, the fact that DirectX 10 does not run on Windows XP or earlier.  This was debunked so brilliantly by rsmith-mac that I’m quoting it in its entirety:

Dammit. It’s been 6 years now and I’m getting tired of this stupid falsehood. Direct3D 10 wasn’t limited to Vista for superficial business reasons. There are some extremely important technical factors that required overhauling parts of Windows alongside D3D10.

The graphics stack below the API was almost entirely overhauled, as per the Windows Display Driver Model [wikipedia.org]. Context switching, multithreading, virtual memory, splitting up the driver into user-mode and kernel-mode components, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. People forget just how broken Direct3D 9 was (and is); it was created at a time when the term “GPU” didn’t exist yet and a video card was little more than a texturing unit and a raster op pipeline, and then brutally extended over the years to incorporate functionality like T&L and shaders. The whole thing predicated on a driver model that basically treated the video card as nothing more than a special class of peripheral, whereas with WDDM the GPU was finally promoted to a special class of processor within Windows.

Direct3D 10 in turn takes advantage of these low-level changes, particularly the changes to memory management. As a result, you can’t have D3D10 without WDDM and the modern graphics stack it brings.

So the only way to bring D3D10 to XP would have been to create a cutthroat version of it that had little in common with Vista’s version, or to backport the entire Vista graphics stack to XP, At which point you would have Vista whether you liked it or not, since you just brought over one of the biggest changes in the OS, and all of the bugs, growing pains, and incompatibility that brings.

So, next time someone brings this argument up again, you know where to link them.  🙂

(Yes, there are “DirectX 10 for Windows XP” installers floating around the interwebs, but all these do is map DirectX 10 functions to DirectX 9 API calls — and they don’t do a very good job at it either.)

When is that extra 0.9% important?

The question in the post title was asked on Quora recently (in the form of “when is the difference between 99% accuracy and 99.9% accuracy important”), and while it mainly attracted some stock-standard responses, such as service level agreements, Alex Suchman told us when it’s really important: when it can stop a zombie apocalypse.

It’s 2020, and every movie buff and video gamer’s worst fear has become reality. A zombie outbreak, originating in the depths of the Amazon but quickly spreading to the rest of the world (thanks a lot, globalization) threatens the continued existence of the human race. The epidemic has become so widespread that population experts estimate one in every five hundred humans has been zombified.

The zombie infection (dubbed “Mad Human Disease” by the media) spreads through the air, meaning that anyone could succumb to it at any moment. The good news is that there’s a three day asymptomatic incubation period before the host becomes a zombie. A special task force made of the best doctors from around the world has developed a drug that cures Mad Human, but it must be administered in the 72-hour window. Giving the cure to a healthy human causes a number of harmful side effects and can even result in death. No test currently exists to determine whether a person has the infection. Without this, the cure is useless.

As a scientist hoping to do good for the world, you decide to tackle this problem. After two weeks of non-stop lab work, you stumble upon a promising discovery that might become the test the world needs.

Scenario One: The End of Mankind

Clinical trials indicate that your test is 99% accurate (for both true positives and true negatives). Remembering your college statistics course, you run the numbers and determine that someone testing positively will have Mad Human only 16.6% of the time [1]. Curse you, Thomas Bayes! You can’t justify subjecting 5 people to the negative effects of the cure in order to save one zombie, so your discovery is completely useless.

With its spread left unchecked, Mad Human claims more and more victims. The zombies have started taking entire cities, and the infection finally reaches Britain, the world’s last uncontaminated region. Small tribal groups survive by leaving civilization altogether, but it becomes clear that thousands of years of progress are coming undone. After the rest of your family succumbs to Mad Human, you try living in isolation in the hope that you can avoid the epidemic. But by this point, nowhere is safe, and a few months later you join the ranks of the undead. In 2023, the last human (who was mysteriously immune to Mad Human) dies of starvation.

Scenario Two: The Savior

Clinical trials indicate that your test is 99.9% accurate. Remembering Bayes’ Theorem from your college statistics course, you run the numbers and determine that someone testing positively will have Mad Human 66.7% of the time [2]. This isn’t ideal, but it’s workable and can help slow the zombies’ spread.

Pharmaceutical companies around the world dedicate all of their resources to producing your test and the accompanying cure. This buys world leaders precious time to develop a way to fight back against the zombies. Four months after the release of your test, the U.S. military announces the development of a new chemical weapon that decomposes zombies without harming living beings. They fill Earth’s atmosphere with the special gas for a tense 24-hour period remembered as The Extermination. The operation is successful, and the human race has been saved!

Following the War of the Dead, you gain recognition as one of the greatest scientific heroes in history. You go on to win a double Nobel Prize in Medicine and Peace. Morgan Freeman narrates a documentary about your heroics called 99.9, which sweeps the Academy Awards. Your TED Talk becomes the most-watched video ever (yeah, even more than Gangnam Style). You transition into a role as a thought leader, and every great innovator of the next century cites you as an influence.

Life is good.

That is when the difference 99% and 99.9% matters.

[1] A 99% accurate test doesn’t mean that someone who tests positive has a 99% chance of actually being positive. Because the event of having the infection is so relatively rare (only 1 in 500) and the event of not having the disease is so common (499 in 500), even though the test is rarely wrong, it turns out to be more likely that a positive test comes from a healthy person than a sick one. To compute this we use Bayes’ Theorem, which states that

P(A|B) = \frac{P(B|A)P(A)}{P(B)}

We let A be the event that the person is sick and B be the event that the person tests positive, so we have

P(sick|+ test) = \frac{P(+ test|sick)P(sick)}{P(+ test)}
In this situation,

P(+ test|sick) = .99


P(sick) = .002 (that’s 1 in 500)

To compute P(+ test) we have to condition on whether the person is sick or not. So

P(+ test)

= P(+ |sick)P(sick) + P(+|not)P(not)

= (.99)(.002) + (.01)(.998) = 0.01196

Plug everything in and we get

P(infected|+ test) = \frac{.99*.002}{0.01196} = 0.16555

[2] This time,

P(+ test|sick) = .999


P(+ test)

 = (.999)(.002) + (.001)(.998)

 = 0.002996


P(sick|+ test) = \frac{.999*.002}{0.002996} = 0.66689

In Soviet Russia, asteroid plays YOU!

The nerd community had a bit of news earlier today: a meteor streaking across the skies of Russia.  Since everyone in Russia seems to have a dashcam (apparently it’s a car insurance requirement over there due to police/judicial corruption), we even got footage of it:

While the meteor didn’t cause any damage itself, the sonic blasts were significantly more destructive; current reports seem to indicate around 400 injured, mainly from broken/falling glass.  Not surprising: the sonic wave arrived ~30 seconds after the meteor passed over, and a lot of people would have been at various windows having a look at what had just happened (and in their defence, if I saw a massive flare like that, with a beautiful contrail in its wake, I’d be out there as well trying to get photos for this blog!).  It’s similar to tsunamis: most fatalities happen to people who chase the receding sea, unaware that the reason for the receding waters is that they’re about to un-recede in a rather spectacular and destructive way.

(You may want to turn your speakers/headclamps down for the sonic blast videos, unless you either enjoy extremely loud bangs or you’d like a crash course in Russian swear words…)

Of course, being Russia and therefore having Russian temperatues, blown-out windows are a serious problem in winter, so hopefully the emergency services there are more jacked up than ours.

The big question here is: is this related to the asteroid 2012 DA14?  For those of you living under a rock, it’s an asteroid with an estimated diameter of 50 meters, an estimated mass of 190,000 metric tons — and it will be passing approximately 27,000 kilometres from Earth’s surface in a few hours (19:25 UTC, 21:25 South African time).  Over on Bad Astronomy, Phil Plait seems to think that it’s totally unrelated:

For one thing, this occurred about 16 hours before DA14 passes. At 8 kilometers per second that’s nearly half a million kilometers away from DA14. That puts it on a totally different orbit.  For another, from the lighting, time of day, and videos showing the rising Sun, it looks like this was moving mostly east-to-west. I may be off, but that’s how it looks. DA14 is approaching Earth from the south, so any fragment of that rock would also appear to move south-to-north.

However, some folks over on Slashdot aren’t so sure:

Not necessarily. Imagine a basketball in front of you. That is the Earth. Now draw an imaginary line from your nose to the left side of the basketball. Your line is going east to west. Now draw another line to the right of the basketball. Your line is now going west to east. Same point of origin. Same basic direction of movement. Different perceived trajectory for those living on the basketball.

Information on the meteor is still rather sketchy, although we may get a better picture in the next few days — it appears that the meteor broke up in the atmosphere and may have rained down some chunks on the ground.  If true, and if and when those chunks are found, we may learn more.

For now, I’m going to have to end off with this image by EUMETSAT, showing the vapour trail:

Meteor vapour trail, 15th Feb 2013

UPDATE: 6000.co.za reminded me that something similar happened in Gauteng back in 2009.

Perpetual motion

Anyone who claims perpetual motion to be impossible has obviously never encountered an argument on the internet

Considering that perpetual motion is defined as “motion that continues indefinitely without any external source of energy; impossible in practice because of friction”, I think we’ve finally found something that meets the definition without being restricted in any way by the improbability.

Download all the things!

One of my friends over on my crappy little forum recently received the following support ticket (and, quite understandably, facepalmed):

Can you please download internet on my system?

Rather than partake in some sympathetic facepalming of my own, I thought I’d come up with a quite literal answer, in xkcd’s “What If?” style.*

The first question we have to answer is: what is the size of the Internet?  Any answer will be an estimate at best (and wild speculation at worst), because the cold, hard truth is that no-one knows.  That’s because of the distributed nature of the Internet (as well as the underlying TCP/IP protocol suite that the Internet is built on) — with quite possibly millions of servers connected over the world, it’s hard to measure for sure.  The other problem: what would count towards the size requirement?  Certainly content served over HTTP/HTTPS would count, but FTP? SMTP? NNTP? Peer to peer filesharing?  And would any content accessible indirectly (such as data stored in a backend database) count?

The only thing that we have to go on is an estimate that Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, made back in 2005; at the time, he put the estimate at around five million terabytes (while I’ll round up to 5 exabytes).  At the time, Google only indexed 200 terabytes of data, so Schmidt’s estimate probably took e-mail, newsgroups, etc. into consideration.  Due to our world becoming more connected in the interceding 8 years, that figure has likely shot up, particularly with sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, The Pirate Bay et al coming into the equation.  I’m going to throw a rough guestimate together and put the figure at 15 EB today, based on my gut feeling alone.  (Yes, I know it’s not terribly scientific, and I’ve probably shot way too low here, but let’s face it — what else gives?)

Currently, down here on the southern tip of Africa, our fastest broadband connection is 10 Mbps ADSL.  In reality, our ISPs would throttle the connection into oblivion if one were to continually hammer their networks trying to download the Internet like that (contention ratios causing quality of service for everyone else to be affected and all of that), but let’s assume that, for the purposes of this exercise, we can sweet-talk them into giving us guaranteed 10 Mbps throughput.  15 EB of data works out to a staggering 138,350,580,552,821,637,120 bits of data, and given that we can download 10,000,000 of those bits every second (in reality, it will be lower than this due to network overhead, but let’s leave this out of the equation), it would take almost 440,000 years to download the Internet over that connection.

But actually, with that length of time, you’d never be able to download the Internet.  Considering that the Internet went into widespread public use in the early 1990s (not considering the decades before when the Internet was pretty much a research plaything), the Internet is growing at a faster rate than one can download it using a 10 Mbps connection.  Plus, given the timeframe involved, the constant status update requests on the support ticket would drive all involved to suicide, even if (actually, particularly if) we discover a way of making human immortality a possibility in the interim.  Clearly, we need something a lot faster.

Enter the WACS cable system.  It’s a submarine cable that links us up to Europe via the west coast of Africa, cost US$650 million to construct, and has a design capacity of 5.12 Tbps.  If we could secure the entire bandwidth of this cable to download the Internet, we could do it in a little over 10 months.  While we may still have the aforementioned suicide problem, this is far more like it.

But of course, what point would we have downloading the Internet if we can’t store the data we just downloaded?

Currently, the highest capacity hard drives have a capacity of 4 TB (here’s an enterprise-level example from Western Digital).  We’d need a minimum of 3,932,160 such drives to store the Internet (in the real world, we’d need more for redundancy, but once again, let’s not worry about that here).  Our enterprise-level drives use 11.5 watts of power each, so we’d need ~45 MW of power to simply power the hard drives alone; we’d need plenty more (and I’m thinking around 10 to 15 times more!) to power the hardware to connect all of this up, the building where this giant supercomputer will be housed, and the cooling equipment to keep everything running at an acceptable temperature.  We’d need to build a small power plant to keep everything running.

So yes, you can download the Internet.  You just need a major submarine communications cable, tens of millions of hard drives, and a small power plant to provide enough electricity to run it all.  If you get started now, you can give someone the present of One Internet** when next Christmas rolls around.  The question of dealing with bandwidth and electricity bills is one that I will leave to the reader.

Now get going, dammit!

* Randall, if you’ve somehow stumbled upon this and you think you could do a better job than myself, go for it!

** Though, depending on who the recipient is, you may or may not want to include 4chan’s /b/ board.

UPDATE #1: I was asked to up it to 50 EB, which on retrospection may be a more realistic size for the Intranet than the 15 EB I put forward earlier.  That would take almost 3 years to download on WACS and would require 13,107,200 hard drives with a significantly increased power requirement.  The Koeberg Nuclear Power Station (not too far away from the WACS landing site at Yzerfontein) has two reactors, each capable of producing 900 MW, so if we take Koeberg off the national grid (which will cause the rest of the country to experience rolling blackouts, but hey, it’s in the name of progress!) and use the entire nuke plant’s capacity to power our supercomputer and related infrastructure, that should just about do it.

How to Kill Raid Bosses and Get Stuff Changed

Making the news today in the World of Warcraft is a level 80 protection paladin going into Mogu’shan Vaults (a level 90 raid!) and single-handedly defeating encounters that require (at least) 10 players that are (also, at least!) 10 levels above him.  Apparently, he managed to take care of Stone Guard, Feng the Accursed and Elegon before Blizzard caught wind of it.  The video below shows his Elegon kill:

Of course, since I play a protection paladin myself, this interested me quite a bit (in terms of “wait… WHAT?!?!”).

Key to this involves a bug with our Shield of the Righteous ability (our primary damage reduction ability), and how it interacts with Vengeance (a passive ability that increases our attack power based on unmitigated damage received).  We’ve known about this for a while over on Maintankadin (and I’m guessing that Blizzard knew about it as well, but just never fixed it) — you can click on the link for all the details, but to summarise: due to a quirk of the Vengeance calculation and server/client latency, timing Shield of the Righteous with a melee swing from the boss could result in the Vengeance calculation grossly overestimating  how much unmitigated damage we received, resulting in a massive spike of Vengeance, and hence attack power, and hence damage we do.  Not only that, but many of our self-heals and absorbs also scale with attack power (Sacred Shield, I’m looking at you here — also Light’s Hammer and Execution Sentence, but since we only get those abilities at level 90, they’re not really applicable here), and one can see how our level 80 guy was not only able to deal enough damage, but also keep himself alive.

But that’s only part of the story.  Matt Walsh over on WoW Insider has filled us on the rest: there is some bind-on-equip rare gear found in the levelling zones of Mists of Pandaria (intended for players levelling from 85 to 90) that can, strangely enough, be equipped by a level 80 player.  (Here’s an example.)  By equipping those, our level 80 paladin managed to gain amounts of secondary stats (dodge/parry/mastery/haste/etc.) that were not originally intended for a level 80 player (when gear item levels were in the high 200s, not the low 400s in the case of the gear he had equipped).  More importantly, because he was level 80, he was cleverly avoiding the combat rating drop-offs that occur at levels 81 and 86 (those levels coincide with players encountering Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria content for the first time respectively).  This resulted in absolutely crazy character stats: Matt mentions that our level 80 paladin had 95% haste and 88% mastery, which one simply wouldn’t see on a level 90 character.

All of this came together to ensure our level 80 paladin could survive the raid bosses.  The haste and attack power from Vengeance meant that Seal of Insight was regularly overhealing him, and Sacred Shield was fully absorbing his attacks (not only that, but the insane haste percentage meant that it was constantly refreshing as well).  Plus, all of that mastery meant a damage reduction boost with Shield of the Righteous.

In a nutshell, all of this was simply our player using Blizzard’s design choices, and creating unintended consequences out of them.

Blizzard’s reaction to all of this has been to hotfix Vengeance so that it caps at a player’s maximum health (until a more elegant solution can be found); Vengeance previously had no maximum limit.  While I recognise that this is a temporary fix, I don’t believe it to be ideal: different tanking classes (protection paladins, protection warriors, blood death knights, guardian druids and brewmaster monks) are not created equally with regards to maximum health.  It remains to be seen how this will affect encounters that have the strategy relying on the tank having higher than usual Vengeance (10-player Wind Lord Mel’jarak coming to mind straight away); I’ll have to see what difference this makes in tonight’s raid.  (Although I may not notice much difference, since my personal gearing strategy seeks to maximise my health pool while still keeping an acceptable amount of secondary stats.)

I’ll end by throwing in this image, because it’s strangely relevant: