Posts Tagged ‘tanking’


Beta Cataclysm: New Paladin Talent Trees (Finally)

August 14, 2010

Finally the day has come…

The day that Ghostcrawler promised us months and months ago.  We finally not only have new Paladin talent trees that look closer to finalized versions of all 3 trees, but we have trees that actually work.  Now please remember that these are active as of the date of this post and will probably change in someway before Cataclysm is released.  That being said, lets take a look at the new protection talent tree and see what we have in store for us.

While the tree does not look hugely different than what was in the last build, there are sweeping changes to just about every talent in Protection, and a few more in Ret that directly effect us as Tanks. Read the rest of this entry ?


Glyphing to Become Viable?

February 25, 2009

Today marks the advent of the 3.1 major content patch going live on the Public Test Realms for the first time.  With this patch we see massive changes to most classes and specs to improve or nerf their viability as tanks, healers and dps.  While there are bigger changes to many other classes, the big changes for Warriors have thus far only been given to us by new glyphs.

Glyph of Heroic Strike Increases the critical strike chance of Heroic Strike by 5%.
The soul change to our glyph repetoire.  This glyph used to be a bread and butter for the 10 rage it gave when Heroic Strike critically hit.  We now have something that will not only help Fury and Arms warriors, but it represents a signficant increase in threat production.

Glyph of Barbaric Insults  — Your Mocking Blow ability generates 100% additional threat.
This used to change Mocking Blow into another taunt ability.  Why they are changing a less than stellar glyph from a semi useful glyph into one that makes it so much less useful I do not rightly know.

Glyph of ShockwaveReduces the cooldown on Shockwave by 3 sec.
The impact of this new treat is yet to really been number crunched.  Yet, I would not be going out on a short limb if I said this is really just not worth it.  Changing Shockwave from 20 seconds to 17 second cooldown should not signficantly impact a tps rotation that is dominated by two six second cooldowns.

Glyph of VigilanceYour Vigilance ability transfers an additional 5% of your target’s threat to you.
This is a complete waste of a glyph.  Well correction, with current threat parameters we really have little use for changing Vigiliance from a 10% to a 15% reduction in a single person’s threat.  This glyph may find a use if the threat ceiling falls signifcantly with Ulduar’s opening.

Glyph of Enraged RegenerationYour Enraged Regeneration ability heals for an additional 10% of your health over its duration.
A purely PvP orientated glyph if I ever saw one.  There is really no real use for this glyph in a tank’s glyph set.  There are much better choices of glyphs out there.

Glyph of Spell Reflection  — Reduces the cooldown on Spell Reflection by 1 sec.
This glyph is just plain too much of a drop in the ocean to be worth anything.  Reducing a lot of cooldowns by 1 second may be worth more.  However, reducing this with a glyph slot is far from worth the cost of any other glyph.

Glyph of Shield WallReduces the cooldown on Shield Wall by 3 min, but Shield Wall now only reduces damage taken by 40%.
The be all end all of the new glyphs.  Combined with Improved Disciplines we now have a signficantly less powerful damage reduction tool on a cooldown equal to that of a Death Knight’s Icebound Fortitude


The Impact:

With the addition of Glyph of Shield Wall we now have the option to have an extremely short cooldown ability with strong mitigation benefits.  Why should we be concerned over this?

Simply put, we all got together and whined and complained about Warriors getting the rear end of the stick when it came to Effective Health and overall burst mitigation.  What we got was a forced clone of a Death Knight ability.  It may look really nice, and it may actually prove to be a boon to Protection Warriors, but we need to think about what this really means to us.  This glyph becomes as mandatory to protection warriors as Meditation is to priests of any spec.

This is a glyph that we will be balanced around.  Do we really want to be balanced around having a specific glyph?  Are other classes being balanced around them?  To some extent, but it is still an option for an Elemental Shaman to pick up Lightning Bolt or Flametongue Weapon.

This fundamentally changes our skill toolbox.  While the new version of Shield Wall will be of great use, we are sacrificing our “Oh #$#!” button for something that will be a basic part of our survivalbility.  Ask yourself, how much do you think the average Death Knight tank uses Icebound Fortitude?  That’s right, the answer is pretty much every cooldown.  Can they survive without it? Yes, but they also have multiple other cooldowns to work with.  If we become balanced around using this every cooldown, where will Warriors be?


Resilience and the Defense Cap

December 17, 2008

With the beginning of the Arena and PvP seasons today, I thought I would discuss a little about Resilience and the Defense Cap.

What We Know:

The defense cap for level 83 raid bosses is 540 Defense Skill or 5.6% critical hit reduction.  This is not so easily obtained these days.  With the removal of warrior and paladin talents for pure defense talents this becomes quite a bit more difficult than it was in The Burning Crusade.  There have been countless articles on, and various tank blogs that give you step by step instructions and gear guides on hitting the cap.  But what if you simply can not afford those epic Titansteel pieces?  What if drops just are not going your way?  Well the solution is here.


Arena gear is now upon us.  To be sure, it is no where ideal for PvP.  They have made great strides in making the gear to be less attractive than it was in TBC.  However, resilience can cover up some early wholes in your gear quite adequately.

Lesser Flask of Toughness:
The easiest of all the resilience methods to become crit immune.  At 80 this flask gives you .6% worth of crit immunity.  Roughly equal to 15 Defense Skill.

There are 3 Resilience enchants currently available.  Two of which are from TBC and are for such small amounts that using them over a defense enchant would actually be worse.  The Enchant Chest – Exceptional Resilience is the best you can do currently in Wrath and it is only for 20.  A significant amount over the 15 from the TBC enchant, but both have an extremely steep price.  Giving .24% crit reduction it is more than the .18% reduction the 22 defense rating to chest enchant gives however.  Yet at this point, its a wash and the Defense enchant is much cheaper.

Kharmaa’s Grace:
Another 20 Resilience rating option.  It is not cheap though, and it doesn not cost money.  For 20 Stone Keeper’s Shards, or about the price of a single heroic run’s worth of shards you willg et .24% crit reduction via  a gem.  The +16 defense gems on the other hand will give you much less.  You will lose the avoidance given by the defense however.

Conclusions & Theories:

The Lesser Flask of Toughness gives us a different way to look at early gemming and gearing.  We all need to be uncrittable.  However, it may flat out be better for our early progression to be gemming for stamina and using this flask instead of being forced into gemming for Defense.  If you are a good raid tank, you are more than likely going to be using a Flask of Stoneblood to gain your 650 health.   Early on you want as much Effective Health as you can get.  Now how you get this health is the key.  If you do this with a flask, you are gainign 650 health.  However, if you decide to use 3 +24 stamina gems instead of those 3 +defense gems you are using, you will gain much more while raid buffed.

Sure you are losing a small chunk of avoidance, but while you are getting your feet wet, this is a better option for your raid as a whole.  As you gain more and more defense from gear, you will be better off, and so will the raid.  Yet ensuring you are uncrittable with as much health you can get is the key to early survivability in say the Spider Wing of Naxxramas, than that extra 1% avoidance.


Reputations – Which to raise first.

November 30, 2008

There are a vast number of reputations in Wrath of the Lich King.  As a tank, the choices of which reputations to focus on early are as important as which heroics you need to focus on, or which badge gear to work on first.  There are 5 dungeon reputation grinds, plus several ancillary grinds which offer something for a tank.  Hopefully this will assist you in your choices.

Choosing a Reputation:

The 5 dungeon grinding reputations are where we need to begin.  Each has something decent for you to purchase at varying levels of reputation.  There is a definitive order in which I myself proceeded and I would suggest anyone wishing to gain access to the best of the faction gear as quickly as possible follow suit.

A few things to remember.

  • You do not have to reach exalted with one before you switch to the next.
  • Upgrades via other means may change your reputation path.
  • Gaining reputation is easy with the new championing system.

The order in which I would suggest you move forward is simple…

#1 The Wyrmrest Accord –

Cloak of Peaceful Resolutions @ Honored

Not the very best blue cloak in the game for tanking, that honor goes to Cloak of the Enemy from Heroic Nexus.  However, this one is awfully close to it and its cheap and easy to get.  As a matter of fact, you should probably be honored or extremely close to it as you ding to 80 thanks to all of the wonderful Dragonblight/Shrine quests you did in your early 70’s.

Breastplate of the Solemn Council @ Revered
Sabatons of Draconic Vigor @ Revered

The two biggest blue upgrades you will get.  There simply is not much better out there via heroics or quests for these two slots.  The chestpiece will last you until you can manage to get into Naxx or collect the 80 Emblems for the much better tier 7 chest piece.  While the boots may last you much longer.  There simply are not any heroic or emblem upgrades for the boot slot, so your first opportunity to upgrade them will be from Naxxramas.

Once you hit Revered here, there is no reason to keep grinding at this time.  Swith to the next

#2 The Argent Crusade –

Special Issue Legplates @ Honored

The best blue plate tanking legs in the game.  There is a pair or two elsewhere, but the Special Issue Legplatess are far and above any of the other blues available.

Arcanum of the Stalwart Protector @ Revered

The head enchant faction is the crusade.  It can not be overlooked.  It is quite a bit different from the old Outland head enchant.  It is pure stamina and defense.  There is no dodge here.  Making it a true upgrade for any tank on even their old Illidan Faceplate if you are still wearing it.

kt#3 The Kirin Tor –

Fireproven Gauntlets @ Exalted

Everyone sees purple and goes “ooooooh, I gotta have that”.  Well the Kirin Tor is “our” purple faction.  These gloves are awesome.  However, there are also epic gloves out of heroics that will do you as well or better in terms of tanking.  Not to mention tier 7 gloves being a measily 60 emblems.

If you happen to get the gloves from Gundrak or pick up your Tier 7 gloves via badges or Obsidian Sanctum, there is little reason to grind this rep as a tank.  The next two factions are unneeded as well.  So now is the time, to head back to Wyrmrest for access to the Red Drake mount or back to Argent Crusade to try and get the Argent Champion title. 

#4 Knights of the Ebon Blade –

Toxin-Temptered Sabatons @ Honored

To put it simply, there just is not enough here to warrant you to even consider raising your Ebon Blade rep  The level 78 boots are merely “ok”.  They have Shield Block Value on them which is a great stat to have while grinding and leveling, but they pale in comparison to the Sabatons available at 80 from Wyrmrest.

#5 Alliance Vanguard –

Shield of the Lion-hearted @ Revered

If you have revered at level 78 with the Vanguard you are more than likely a human.  Even if you are, if you pick this up you will be the laughing stock of your server.  This piece of equipment is probably the worst itemized most pathetic shield in the game for its level.  I seriously do not know what Blizzard was thinking when they made this thing.  If you are desperate for a shield, save up for the crafted Titansteel Shield Wall, save your badges, or head into heroic Culling of Stratholme.  Do not bother with this piece of junk.

Daily Quest Factions:

The non dungeon factions have varying uses for us as tanks.  All of which are designed with the daily quest grind methodology first implemented with the Netherwing in The Burning Crusade and later perfected with the Shattered Sun Offensive.  Not many of them are really important to us, but one is absolutely neccessary.

The Sons of Hodir –

Arcanum of the Frosty Soul @ Honored
Lesser Inscription of the Pinnacle @ Honored
Greater Inscription of the Pinnacle @ Exalted

The most important of the “daily” factions.  This is where we get the shoulder enchants we got so used to in TBC.  Although the Lesser Inscription is merely a copy of the old Exalted Aldor Greater Inscription of Warding, it is a heck of a lot easier to get than the old Aldor version thanks to the increasing cost and rarity of TBC faction items.

However, if you are a Scryer and have a stockpile of tokens, I would truly suggest your pick up the old Greater Inscription of the Knight.  As it is far and away a better enchant for early WotLK raiding as it will get you that much closer to 540 defense without having to sacrifice elsewhere.

The Kalu’ak –

Ivory-Reinforced Chestguard @ Honored
Design: Defender’s Shadow Crystal @ Honored

Definately a good starter chest if you have not managed to get the Wyrmrest rep.  This chest piece is significantly lower in level than most other “easy” to obtain chests however.  It is not a reason to pursue this reputation, but it is a valid reward for having spent the time doing their 4 quest hubs while leveling up.

The gem recipe is also a perk of this faction.  While Parry is not the preferred secondary stat to pursue, it is a valid one none the less.

The Oracles –

Glimmershell Shoulder Protectors @ Revered

Not really a horrible piece, but its not what we are looking for.  Simply put the shoulders you get from your very first normal instance in Northrend will be a better piece than these.  If only for the defense rating they have.

Mysterious Egg @ Exalted
Oracle Talisman of Abultion @ Exalted

Not exactly tanking items, but I list them as decent rewards anyway.  The egg itself has an extremely rare chance of turning into a Green Proto-Drake mount.  Which is in and of itself a very good reason to work on this rep.  The Talisman itself is a decent grind/farm trinket as it will provide you with a couple of points of crit as well as a rage proc as you kill.  While this is not completely neccessary in the days of Warbringer and Improved Charge, it is definitely welcome.

Frenzyheart Tribe –

Giant-Sized Gauntlets @ Revered

These are decent pieces of equipment, but like the shoulders from The Oracles, the sheer lack of defense rating on them make them unusable at 80.

There are really no other reasons to choose Frenzyheart over the Oracles.  Currently, there is no known mount that comes from their “jar”.  While you can obtain a cosmetic pet, and even a BoP item that turns you into a Wolvar for 5 minutes.  While fun, its just not the same as a chance at a mount.


Big Eight-O!

November 24, 2008

Well I hit 80 a couple of days ago.  The first thing we managed to do is a couple of quick heroics.  I had every intention of hitting up Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle, but alas it was not to be.

I did manage to get into a pretty good pick up group for Culling of Stratholme.  Was a pretty good run until my only guildmate in the run had a cable outage.  We managed to blackmail a guild mage to join us for the end of the instance and voila!.


Its a wonderful shield and one of the very best looking in the game at the moment.

I will be doing a few Heroic Guides over the next week or so, as I learn all of the instances.


Leveling as Protection?!? (Warrior) – Part 2

November 18, 2008

glyphThis is the second part of a multi-part post on Leveling as Protection.  The first post can be found here.

Glyphs and Gear:

We are not tanking for 10 levels.  We are leveling.  All our gear and glyph choices must take this into account.  We want to get to 80 with the least trouble and time as possible and to that effect we will be making some choices we never would make if our goal was to tank.

Glyphing for Efficiency:

We all had a good month of 3.0.2 to play around with Glyphs.  The vast majority of us picked up glyphs such as Glyph of Sunder Armor, Glyph of Heroic Strike or Glyph of Revenge in order to tank whatever Heroics, Karazahn or any of the 25 man raid instances.  Things are different now.  We are leveling, we do not care about things that will help us tank and keep threat more easily.  We all have, as a paladin friend of mine says, “the threat of Jesus”, we do not need to worry about it right now.  We want things that make us more efficient.  We are looking for damage, mobility and an overall increase in our killing speed.

Major Glyphs:

Glyph of Rapid Charge: You are going to be using charge.  It will be the most used button you have next to your Shield Slam and Devastate buttons.  Being mobile allows us to pull large groups and get to our next kill(s) quickly.  Mobility is king in leveling, and this is our mobility as warriors.

Glyph of Revenge: Many people may say that Glyph of Heroic Strike is a keeper here.  It is a good glyph do not get me wrong.  But once again your crit rate is going down.  Even with Incite, you are going to have diminishing returns with this glyph as you level up.  While Glyph of Revenge will be just as good as it was at 70 as it is at 80.  A free Heroic Strike every 6 seconds while leveling is a lot better than 10 rage if you happen to critically hit.

Minor Glyphs:

Glyph of Charge: Adding 5 yards to Charge gives us a range of 30 yards.  This is the way you will pull while leveling.  None of the other Minor Glyphs can even compare to the usefulness of increasing our Mobility even more.

Glyph of Thunder Clap: The 2 yard increase may seem minor but that is exactly what it is meant to be.  A small increase in our range.  However, this is a 2 yard increase in the overall radius of Thunder Clap, which is actually quite a huge difference in practice.

Glyph of Bloodrage: The third minor glyph is a bit of a choice.  The first two are just plain the best and nothing can touch them.  Choose Bloodrage for one simple reason.  Bloodrage costing ~350 health is immense.  We can easily make that health up via trinkets, or a quick bandage at times.  Using Bloodrage at its normal ~780 health is prohibitive while leveling.  Halving that cost makes it extremely usable on a regular basis.

Gearing for Damage and Mitigation:

I write this from a point of view of someone who walked into Wrath with a minor about of raid DPS gear.  I managed to collect “off-spec” drops off most bosses.  It does not matter the level of your gear.  It matters what you are focusing on.

We want to concentrate on a few things to make ourselves kill and move on as quickly as possible.  The biggest thing we are doing while leveling now is collecting a good number of mobs (3-10+ depending on gear level) and using our new and improved AoE damage capabilities to kill many at once.  To do this we put our sights on certain statistics on our gear.

  1. Shield Block Value:
    • We want to keep our SBV as high as possible.  Remember this is a double stat for us.  Our ability to take damage and give damage is directly connected.  The more SBV you have, the bigger damage you are giving out with Shield Slam and Damage Shield.  Plus, with pushing your value as high as you can, you can push most mob melee damage into hit for block.
  2. Strength:
    • While we may want raw AP, strength gives us more SBV as well.
  3. Attack Power:
    • Our direct damage abilities such as Heroic Strike, Revenge, Concussion Blow, and Devastate all scale with our Attack Power.
  4. Critical Strike Rating/Agility:
    • Some people may consider Agility greater than Critical Strike Rating, but it has a much higher cost in terms of item budget.  We want to crit, we want to crit all the time.  Unfortunately, our crit will plummet to nearly half of what we start out at 70 with.  There are a limited number of quest rewards with crit rating on them.  Make sure you are keeping them as you go along to keep your crit rate up.
  5. Armor Penetration Rating:
    • Not as useful for us as protection as it is for our fury and arms brethren, but it does help us.  It scales quite well and the more we sunder the better off we are.  The one problem is that we are not sundering everything and while AoE grinding so the scaling is lower and not all of our damage is helped by APR.
  6. Stamina:
    • Stamina only helps us in terms of our survivability.  Do not go out of your way to get more stamina gear.  While upgrading your gear through quest rewards you will often find that there are many rewards with zero stamina and some with HUGE amounts of it.  Try and keep yourself at around 12-13k health unbuffed and you should be golden.

Dealing with quest rewards:

Do we take the tanking gear or the damage gear?  Well luckily most of the options are either or.  Which means we will have amble time and options to facilitate our gear choices.  It is only the random quest that will give us the options between a damage neck and a tanking pants.  Remember that we will be tanking again at 80 and that choices need to benefit us then.

Choosing between tank and damage options can be difficult though.  There are early tank-centric quest rewards that will last you deep into leveling.  For the most part, anything under level 76 is going to be easily replaced at 80.  The biggest thing you need to come to grasp with is that you can and will be able to tank virtually all of the leveling instances with your Burning Crusade tanking gear.  Your Tier 4+ and badge gear will be more than adequate for you and your party to survive.

Take damage gear when its an upgrade.


Common sense in setting ourselves up for efficiency will be the best thing you can do for yourself.  Area of Effect grinding and questing will serve you well in making best use of your time.  Gearing and Glyphing for this specifically will allow you to move as quickly as possible when leveling solo or in a small group of friends.  Concentrating on mobility, shield block value and strength will be the easiest means of doing this.

I hope the small pseudo-guide will help you level.  I will be posting on the trials and pitfalls of each zone specifically over the next week. So stay tuned.


Leveling As Protection?!? (Warrior) – Part 1

November 17, 2008

speccingIs everyone leveling as protection?  To be honest, since the expansion went live on Thursday, I have yet to see many dps warriors roaming around the frozen (and not so frozen) wastes of Northrend.  It seems that many warriors have got protection to level.

A lot of tank sites out there are dealing out their ideas on how to level.  How to spec, where to go, what to do when you get there.  I would be remiss if I was to not weigh in on the subject.  Especially since my person choices in speccing differ greatly from some of the other prominent tanking writers out there.

Speccing To Level: 

Some of the things we do not pick up will be counter-intuitive for a seasoned tank however.  My leveling spec is one that I had to really think about. At 70 there are a few things you can do and many people have said many things.  I looked at everything carefully from a stand point of pure efficiency in killing and moving on.  I came up with my level 70 leveling spec.


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