I want to take some time and lay out for you, gentle readers, how I feel the State of Warrior Tanking is at this present time in-game and some of the solutions I have in mind. I had a super huge post typed out but I decided it would probably be nicer to all of you if I broke it down into sections, this it the first part entitled “Buffs and Debuffs”.
Before you start reading, I want to make it clear that I’m not really pissed off or emotional about the state of Warrior tanking, it’s just that I feel there are some things that need to change if the idea of tank homogenization that Blizzard has in their minds is going to work. This is especially important to me because my guild’s three raiding tanks are all Warriors; we have no Paladins, no Druids and only one casual Death Knight tank.
Buffs and Debuffs
Problem: We are the only tanking class that doesn’t bring some kind of buff that isn’t covered by another class.
- Sunder Armor: Sunder Armor used to be the realm of Warriors only but that’s changed since rogues can now put it up in the form of Expose Armor. If you really wanted to, a Hunter could bring a Worm to a fight and use it’s Acid Spit ability.
- Commanding Shout or Battle Shout: You only need two different warriors to keep both Battle Shout and Commanding Shout active. Odds are good that your Fury Warriors are also rocking 5/5 in Command Presence, making their Shouts better than yours anyway. If you have a Retribution Paladin with Improved Might, then Battle Shout isn’t going to be used in the first place.
- Demoralizing Shout: A decent debuff, particularly useful on melee bosses but, again, this can be put up by any other Warrior or even a Druid with Demoralizing Roar.
- Vigilance: The only real “buff” we have that no one else does, it’s really nice in instances where instant taunts are necessary, but it seems as if it’s going to be providing Blizzard with a design problem. I will discuss this in more detail later in the “Threat vs Damage” post coming up in the next few days.
- Thunder Clap: This ability’s claim to fame is it’s 20% attack speed reduction on the targets that are affected by the debuff, which is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand the debuff allows us to slow the attacks speeds of a huge amount of targets all at once, making it one of the most healer-friendly spells to use during AOE tanking. On the other hand, it’s this debuff that Ghostcrawler stated during WotLK Beta was going to keep Thunder Clap’s AOE threat and damage under that of Consecration. On boss fights, Paladin tanks can automatically apply the 20% attack speed debuff by putting points into Judgements of the Just and doing their normal rotation.
Compare this to other tank classes who bring some pretty wicked buffs:
- Blessing of Sanctuary: Considered by many to be the tanking buff, Blessing of Sanctuary will pretty much guarantee that your tanks will never run out of rage or runic power. This buff has no equal among other classes meaning no other class can bring this powerful ability to your raid other than a Protection Paladin. If you’re lucky a Holy Paladin might spec into it when making some crazy spec for 3D Sartharion like Polgera did.
- Blessing of Kings: In 3.1 Kings will be baseline for all Paladins but at the moment this still stands. Unless you have a Retribution or Holy Paladin who is nice enough to pick up these talents then you might miss out on this fantastic buff if you don’t have a Protection Paladin along.
- Leader of the Pack: 5% increased critical strike change to all melee and ranged targets in range of the buff. If the druid gets Improved Leader of the Pack they also heal when anyone under the affect of Leader of the Pack deal a critical strike.
- Blood Aura (Blood DKs): 4% of the damage dealt by players affected by this buff is transferred straight back to those players as heals. Assuming a DPSer does 1,000,000 damage over the course of a fight, this Aura is passively healing them for 40,000. That isn’t a game-changing amount of healing but it’s certainly better then nothing.
- Unholy Aura (Unholy DKs): Raid-wide 15% movement speed increase. Buffs like these are getting more and more needed as the fights in the game keep moving toward heightened levels of movement.
- Frost Aura (Frost DKs): A passive 80 (1 per level) resistance to all schools of magic if you’re near the Frost DK, that’s pretty nice on fights like Sapphiron and we don’t know if Blizzard is going to be throwing in more resistance fights in the future.
- Improved Icy Talons (Frost DKs): This buff provides the same kind of returns as Improved Windfury Totem and it doesn’t even have to be put down again and again like the totem, it just auto-refreshes when Icy Talons is used.
- Hysteria: A buff that is a huge 20% damage increase for physical damage dealers, provided they get enough heals not to die.
- Make Shouts into auras. This was mentioned in TankSpot and it’s something I really agree with: make “shouts” into auras similar to the aura for Draenei, but base it off of stance. For instance, while in Battle (or ‘Zerker!) Stance the warrior projects a Battle Aura, giving the same buff as the shout without having to cast it every two-minutes, for Protection Warriors give them Commanding Aura and have it apply the health bonus to all surrounding raid members.
- Change Vigilance. I would personally suggest removing the 10% threat siphon from Vigilance and instead making Vigilance an alternative to Blessing of Sanctuary which could be buffed onto the entire raid, or make it an aura that surrounds the Protection Warrior while he’s in Defensive Stance that grants the same bonus as Blessing of Sanctuary, perhaps rename Vigilance to Improved Commanding Aura. This would eliminate the problems with Vigiliance that I will outline later in the “Threat vs Damage” section of this topic while also fixing the inherent problem with Protection Warriors not bringing any buffs that aren’t either covered by other classes or are, in s0me cases, subpar to the ones that other tanking classes bring.
Popularity: 85% [?]
It seems like about a couple of months now, but Kadomi over at Tank Like A Girl gave me a shout out for a little game called “Sixth of Sixth”. The premise is simple: go into your World of Warcraft folder, find your sixth screenshot folder and post the sixth screenshot in that folder.
I don’t have any screenshot folders so I just grabbed the sixth screenshot and boy howdy is it awesome:
Baby Spice + Mechano-Hog = Win. I love it.
Popularity: 61% [?]
In this Suggested Reading post is Veneretio’s post over at TankingTips.com entitled “How good is Defense?“. This is a very good article showing that with diminishing returns from parry, dodge and miss, the good ol’ defense stat is better then ever for guarenteeing you are maximizing your avoidance (dodge, parry and miss) and mitigation (block chance) then it ever was before.
Great post, Vene!
Popularity: 32% [?]
You’ve just hit 80! Congratulations! But I can see you asking yourself, “now what?” Well, read along. I’m going to assume in this guide that you leveled as Fury or Arms and haven’t picked up a single piece of tanking gear along the way and you are a loner with no friends who can craft anything for you.
Drops from heroics and badge items will be included in another post later this week.
Step One – Reputation
The very first thing you’re going to want to do is make sure you’ve done all of the quests in Dragonblight that have to do with the Wyrmrest Accord, this will save you massive amounts of time getting to Revered and picking up their amazing tanking pieces. I completely missed the long question chain that starts with A Strange Device and it cost me; don’t be like me. This quest chain also leads to the ability to do the Wyrmrest Accord daily which you should run every day until that magical limit has been reached.
- Honored – Cloak of Peaceful Resolutions
- Revered – Breastplate of the Solemn Council
- Revered – Sabatons of Draconic Vigor
Make sure to pick up your tabard and wear it in level 80 dungeons! Once you hit Revered, switch it out with the Argent Crusade Tabard and start working your way to Revered with them for the helm enchant.
Step Two – Crafted BoE Items
If you know a blacksmith, are a blacksmith, or have some gold laying around to spend on the Auction House, then I highly recommend getting these pieces to bump you up to the defense cap. These items should last you quite a while until you replace them with pieces from Naxx and heroics.
- Tempered Saronite Belt – 6x Cobalt Bars, 5x Saronite Bars
- Tempered Saronite Bracers - 13x Saronite Bars
- Tempered Saronite Gauntlets – 14x Saronite Bars
- Saronite Bulwark – 14x Saronite Bars
Total materials: 46 Saronite Bars, 6 Cobalt Bars.
Popularity: 41% [?]
There has been a lot of false information spread around the bowels of the internet lately about what the actual stat caps are for a tanking warrior at level 80. I’ve read up on TankSpot, Elitist Jerks and Something Awful (I highly recommend all of these links, by the way) to bring you the end-all-be-all of what you should be looking for as a tank in terms of your stats.
Defense for raiding: 540
Defense for heroics: 535
Hit (level 83 boss): 295 raiting
Expertise (remove dodges): 25
Expertise (remove parries): 57
If you would rather look at raiting required then these are the numbers you need:
Defense: 689 defense rating
Expertise (dodge): 205 expertise rating
Expertise (parry): ~500 expertise rating
Hit: 295 hit rating
Here’s stat conversion at level 80:
1% hit = ~32.8 hit rating
1% dodge/parry reduction = ~32.8 expertise rating
1 expertise = 8.1975 expertise rating
1 defense = 4.9 defense rating
Popularity: 20% [?]
When I first hit 70, I ran heroic Mechanaar only twice before the Sun Eater dropped for me. Other tanks in my guild had run it until Exalted without even seeing it drop, let alone getting it. Well apparently the World of Warcraft gods are cruel and unforgiving because I have run heroic Utgarde Pinnicle every day since dinging 80 and the Red Sword of Courage has yet to show it’s face to me.
A priest, a hunter and a DPS warrior in my guild have for Pete’s sake, but I haven’t even seen it drop. In the meantime I’ve had the Abomination Shoulderblades drop from Gluth in Naxx-10 (which according to WoWHead have a drop rate of 0.7% from Gluth since he drops everything else in the zone). My frustration has peaked to the point where the others who have it wear it around me before pulls and I’m going crazy.
Not to mention the Hammer of Quiet Mourning is one of the ugliest models and skins in the game.
Anyone else running into frustrating drop rates?
UPDATE (12/5/08): Woohoo it finally dropped for me!
Popularity: 17% [?]
I have noticed a trend recently, and this is obviously the pre-expansion slump, where no one is logging in for anything. Raiding has ground to a halt, no one is doing dailies (which has been especially nice since I was grinding out Skyguard reputation until just yesterday) and in nearly every other way the game seems almost completely dead.
With that in mind, I figured I would revisit a topic from about a month ago about what I wanted to get done before the expansion. Here’s an update:
- (DONE) Tighten up our Zul’Aman speed run group and get a War Bear. This was already done when I first made the post, but it was something I really, really, really wanted to accomplish. After I got my bear, we succeeded in getting another three for other members of our group, which I felt really good about. These guys have been busting their asses for months trying to get things tightened up enough and voila, we did it.
- (DONE) Kill Illidan. Kill him dead. Illidan has been vanquished by Starfish Lovesong and it was amazing seeing him die. Unforutneatly we have no kill shot because his body despawned right as we were about to finish up, but Polgera got her healing T6 chestpiece which she was stoked about. Good job to all of you Starfish!
- (DONE) Drop Mining and pick up Blacksmithing, then level it to 375. I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t really get it all of the way to 375, just 360. I stopped leveling when I learned that it would be possible to level all profressions from 350+ using Wrath mats, not to mention I didn’t want to shell out the gold for 70 Primal Waters, 60 Primal Fires and 500-ish Fel Iron Bars. Even with the pre-expansion auction house crash, I wasn’t interested in investing that much gold into 15 points.
- Expand the ‘blog. I’m not exactly sure if I’ve accomplish this or not, I’ll leave it up to you guys to decide.
Overall, I think I’ve been doing really well. Have you accomplished everything you wanted to get done?
Popularity: 8% [?]
Last night after everyone got their UI problems out of the way, we grabbed 10 guild mates and ran Karazhan to check out the new abilities of our classes in a low-stress enviornment.
We did a complete clear in one hour and ten minutes. That’s right: one hour and ten minutes. This includes a wipe on Curator because I’m dumb and pulled all of the trash and him on accident. This includes me pulling and holding the entire audience on our way to Opera because I thought it would be funny. This includes pulling an entire table group, a Skeletal Waiter, all of the Moroes adds and Moroes himself and then tanking them on my own while we AOE’d them down.
According to WWS, here were the times on our boss fights:
- Attumen: 55 seconds. Single-tanked.
- Moroes: 1 minute, 15 seconds. Single-tanked all adds and a bunch of trash mobs we pulled on accident.
- Maiden: 36 seconds.
- Opera (R&J): 42 seconds. AOE’d them down while standing on top of each other.
- Nightbane: 3 minutes, 57 seconds. This would have been a lot shorter if he didn’t take off every 25%. He never got a chance to fear.
- Curator: 1 minute, 21 seconds. Never got to use Evocation.
- Illhoof: 52 seconds.
- Aran: 1 minute, 7 seconds.
- Netherspite: 52 seconds. Never went into Nether-form.
- Prince: 1 minute, 14 seconds. Only one Infernal landed.
I can hear you out there asking what the point of this post is other than tooting my own horn but the point is…
Get in there and do some stuff you haven’t done before. There is no better time for PUGs than now.
It’s experiance that will last you well into the expansion. Plus, it’s just damn fun.
Popularity: 10% [?]
I’ve been doing a lot of research and I think that with all of the changes to the class as a whole my brain has imploded. After my fifth of sixth iteration of a tanking spec, I have decided that this is the build I’m going to be using for main tanking at level 80.
Titan’s Grip with Last Stand and Shield Mastery. Awwww yeah.
Popularity: 8% [?]
Alright gentle readers, Polgera and I are off to BlizzCon. Got a 16 hour drive to get to Anihiem but it should be worth it. Some of my guild mates are bringing laptops so I should be able to make sporadic posts throughout the event.
Popularity: 6% [?]