So as for myself, I found myself an alright raiding guild, with whom I've been progressing fairly well. At least right now, I'm more or less your average joe raider. We're finishing up Heroic, and getting into Mythic. Despite my own confidence in Brewmasters, the general public opinion has affected me, ever so slightly, and when I went into the raid, I was very cognizant of my own health and tankiness. I talked with the healers, to make sure that both myself and our other tank were fine.
Turns out, we were.
My co-tank is a prot warrior. Despite myself taking a notable amount of damage more than him (probahbly 15-30% at most, maybe more), we were both fine in the eyes of our healers. We were both surviving fairly well. And despite that, I've noticed that I've generally died less often to certain points of burst.
Your first thought from reading that might be that things were extremely imbalanced... which isn't necessarily wrong, at least as far as player metrics are concerned. Warriors, with the admittedly limited data we had from last week's round of logs, were miles ahead of other tanks in performance. I want to say according to Warcraft Logs, they were about 40-50% ahead of Brewmasters, specifically (varying of course depending on the bracket you look at, but this was for the higher percentiles). But you have to remember, we were surviving. Both of us. We weren't dying due to healer mana issues. In fact, the biggest factor to wipes was simply that the team I'm on is fairly new, and we're still in the process of getting used to each other. Out of all of our wipes from the last week and a half, none of them were because I was a burden on the team because of my class. My internet, which strangely lagged a good bit last night, has had more of an effect on my performance as a tank than me being a Brewmaster.
Let me reiterate. A single night's worth of latency has caused more issue than my spec of choice.
I've read a lot of things over the last week in regards to Brewmaster balance... and honestly I can't help but think that a lot of it is over-exaggerating the issues that we have. And I say that we do have issues because the data I've seen does show that we're undertuned compared to other tank specs. But here's the thing: I don't necessarily have all the data. Nobody does but Blizzard, really. Player metrics are potentially an incomplete data set. And furthermore, being undertuned doesn't necessarily mean we're unviable. If I wasn't viable, I wouldn't have gotten a raid spot. Nor would I have been told that my damage intake and tankiness were fine. Nor would my lag be more of a problem than my spec. And my situation isn't unique. There are many Brewmasters who I socialize with who are in fact doing just fine. Those whom are at my level of progression and higher. I also realize that this isn't the entirety of the community's feedback and opinion. There's also a lot of you who do know that we are overall fine, but ask for some tweaks, minor buffs, and quality of life changes. I have no issue with that. I agree with some of it, even.
Plus, I really don't think we're at the end of tank tuning for the tier. This latest hotfix only really looked at two specs. One was warriors, who were notably nerfed largely because of how far ahead they were, and the other was Demon Hunters, who had by Blizzard's admission some whacky mastery scaling issues. This really strikes me as a hotfix that was less about definitive tank tuning as much as getting everyone into a very roughly equivalent place, for more specific changes to come. Warriors were a big outlier, and were brought more in-line. Demon Hunters had some scaling issues, they were fixed. I don't think we're done just yet.
We are not in such a bad place as a lot of the people you could find on certain websites would claim. We're able to tank just fine in MOST situations. Could we use buffs? In my opinion, sure. But I don't think we need something insanely radical. I think that we don't have a lot of people playing the spec, in no small part because of its reputation, but I think that those of us who have figured out the spec are doing very nicely. It's a spec that takes time to get used to. I don't believe a radical buff is necessary, nor would I want it.
Balance isn't this black and white picture that I see some people painting it as. Undertuned doesn't mean unviable. Nor does viability inherently mean perfectly tuned. There is always shades of gray in everything. Balance is an idea of rough equivalence. Sometimes its not as tight, but balance is liquid. If you feel undertuned, express that. Feedback will be heard, and will be counted. Try not to be frustrated by it, because sometimes I think we forget that it isn't sometimes that big of a problem. We're not all racing for the world first. We have the luxury of wiggle room. Admittedly, some more than others, but we have it all the same. And it's always important to remember that your skill with a class still matters. This game might at times seem like just a bunch of mathematical formulas, but there is the human element as well and it should always be considered.
I think its important to remember that. I hope that if you take one thing away from this post, it's the confidence to play what you want and to excel at it. Be that Brewmaster or another spec. See you next time.