On this page, we present the viable talent and glyph choices forProtection Warriors in World of Warcraft MoP 5.4. We detail what each of the talents andglyphs do and in which situations they should be taken.
The other pages of our Protection Warrior guide can be accessedfrom the table of contents on the right.
There is no longer such a thing as a default build. Most of the talents arenow viable. They can easily be changed, thanks to Dust of Disappearance(and Tomes of the Clear Mind from level 86 to 90).You will frequently find yourself changing talents and glyphs betweenencounters, in order to adapt your play style to different mechanics.Therefore, it is important to understand what each of your talents does andhow they affect your play style.
2. Tier 1 Talents
Tier 1 talents offer you a choice between 3 improvements to yourCharge.
Double Time removes Charge‘s cooldown, instead making itoperate on a charge system. You can have a maximum of two charges. Each chargehas a 20 second recharge time. Note that, in this system, Charge only generatesrage every 12 seconds, so you cannot use two Charges in a row to get a burstof rage.
Warbringer causes Charge to root the target for 4seconds, and to reduce the target’s movement speed by 50% for 8 seconds.
We believe that Double Time should be your default choice for thevast majority of situations, since it increases your mobility greatly wheneverthere is more than one active target (allowing you to charge to one targetand then immediately to another one, covering a great distance). It also makesit easier to pick up multiple targets, and it also grants you an extra stun,which can be beneficial.
Tier 2 talents offer a choice between 3 self-healing talents.
Enraged Regeneration instantly heals you for 10% of your maximumhealth, and also heals you for another 10% of your maximum health over thenext 5 seconds. If used while enraged, the healing is doubled. It has a1-minute cooldown.
Second Wind causes you to heal yourself passively for 3% of yourmaximum health every second, while you are below 35% health.
Impending Victory is an improved version of Victory Rush,which it replaces. Impending Victory has a 30-second cooldown and costs 10rage. It heals you for 20% of your maximum health, and does a bit of damageto the target. After killing an enemy that yields experience or honor,Impeding Victory acts just like Victory Rush, its cooldown being reset.
We feel that the best choice is Enraged Regeneration. Not only doesthis talent offer the healing exactly when you need it, but it can alsobe used while stunned, and its power can be increased by coupling it withBerserker Rage. This talent basically becomes an additional defensivecooldown, whereas the other options are just small benefits.
Second Wind is a decent option, providing its benefit passively, butwe do not believe it competes with Enraged Regeneration.
Impending Victory costs a global cooldown that could be used on muchmore valuable abilities, and it costs rage, which is a much needed resourcefor your Shield Barrier/Shield Block uptimes. We do not advisetaking Impending Victory.
4. Tier 3 Talents
Tier 3 talents offer a choice between 3 crowd-control talents.
Staggering Shout causes all snared enemies within 20 yards tobecome rooted for 5 seconds. It has a 40-second cooldown.
Piercing Howl snares all enemies within 15 yards, slowing them by50% for 15 seconds. It has no cooldown.
Disrupting Shout interrupts all spellcasting within 10 yards, andlocks out interrupted players for 4 seconds. It has a 40-second cooldown.
Choosing one talent over another here will be based on the kiting methodwhich you may have to employ in the encounter, or on the need to have an AoEinterrupt. That said, we feel that Disrupting Shout will almost alwaysprove to be the most useful option.
5. Tier 4 Talents
Tier 4 offers a choice between 3 important, damage-dealing abilities.
Bladestorm deals damage to all enemies within 8 yards for 6seconds. While Bladestorm is active, you cannot perform any actions except forusing your shouts. You are, however, immune to disarms, and movement-impairingand loss of control effects, and you continue to dodge, parry and block attacks.It has a 1-minute cooldown.
Shockwave deals damage to and stuns all enemies in a 10-yard conein front of you for 4 seconds. It has a 40-second cooldown, but if it hits 3or more targets, the cooldown is reduced to 20 seconds.
Dragon Roar deals damage to all enemies within 8 yards, knockingthem back and knocking them down for 0.50 seconds. It ignores armor and it isalways a critical strike. It has a 1-minute cooldown. Unlike most other AoEattacks, the damage of Dragon Roar drops sharply as more targets are hit by it,so for single target situations, it is desirable to only hit your main targetwith it.
Only Shockwave provides you with any kind of survivability increase(assuming that you are facing stunnable adds), so if this is the case, andyou are interested in gaining a small amount of survivability, this is a goodchoice.
In terms of DPS contribution, Dragon Roar is ideal against a singletarget.
Bladestorm is ideal for moments when you want to avoid being thevictim of movement-impairing effects or effects that cause loss of control ofyour character, but its damage is quite a bit lower than the other two.
6. Tier 5 Talents
Tier 5 talents offer a choice between 3 abilities that help you protectraid members.
Mass Spell Reflection reflects the next spell cast on you and on allparty and raid members within 20 yards for 5 seconds. It has a 1-minutecooldown and, unlike its single-target counter-part (Spell Reflection),it does not require that you have a shield equipped.
Safeguard is an improvement over Intervene, which itreplaces. It allows you to intercept the next melee or ranged attack (notspells) made against the targeted raid member (the attack is done to youinstead), and it reduces the damage they take by 20% for 6 seconds. In theprocess of doing so, you charge the targeted raid member, also removing anymovement-impairing effects that may have been on you. Safeguard has a 30-secondcooldown.
Vigilance reduces the damage taken by the target by 30% for 12seconds. While Vigilance is active, your Taunthas no cooldown, andTaunt’s cooldown is reset when Vigilance is cast. Vigilance has a 2-minutecooldown.
While the choice here depends somewhat on what the encounter mechanicsare, Vigilance is the best choice in most situations. The talent isexceptional because not only does it essentially provide an extra defensivecooldown to the other tank (or another raid member), but the fact that iteffectively removes the cooldown of Taunt makes it great for picking upmultiple targets. Given the fact that using Taunt on a target of which youalready have aggro causes you to generatean additional 200% threat against that target for 3 seconds, this can even beused to boost your threat generation (although you will need to be mindful ofthe diminishing returns of Taunt).
Safeguard is also quite good, but beware of the fact that it causesyou to intercept the next attack made against the target (you take the damagefrom the attack), which may not always be desirable.
Mass Spell Reflection is useful in the event that there are importantspells that can be reflected. Since most boss abilities can not be reflected(and those that can be generally do not pose problems), this talent will not beused very much.
7. Tier 6 Talents
Tier 6 talents provide you with a choice between 3 powerful,gameplay-altering abilities.
Avatar is a DPS cooldown that increases your damage done by 20% for24 seconds. It also removes roots and snares when activated. It hasa 3-minute cooldown.
Bloodbath is a DPS cooldown that causes all your special attacksto place a bleed on the target, equal to 30% of the damage of the respectivespecial attack. The ability lasts for 12 seconds, and the bleed lasts for 6seconds. Each new special ability cast while Bloodbath is active will refreshthe bleed duration, and update its damage. Bloodbath has a 1-minutecooldown.
Storm Bolt is a 4-second single-target stun, that also deals amoderate amount of damage to the target. If the target cannot be stunned(as is the case with raid bosses), the damage it deals is much increased. Ithas a 30-second cooldown.
None of these three talents improve your survivability. The only exceptionto this is Storm Bolt, which can be a survivability increase if you areable to stun the mob that is attacking you (although bosses are not stunnable,and in a raid, there should be plenty of stuns available anyway).
In terms of DPS and threat output, all three talents are nearlyidentical, but we find Bloodbath to be best. It is also worth notingthat Avatar can be beneficial in situations where movement-impairingeffects are involved. Choose based on your preference.
8. Major Glyphs
As a Protection Warrior, Major Glyphs offer you various damage (and threat)improvements, but they do very little for your survivability.
The following glyphs improve your damage and threat.
Several other glyphs can, in some situations, increase your DPS andthreat.
Glyph of Death From Above reduces the cooldown of your Heroic Leapby 15 seconds. If you have a chance to make use of HeroicLeap more often than its standard cooldown allows for, then this glyphis a solid option. That said, this glyph should pretty much always betaken.
Glyph of Unending Rage increases your rage pool by 20, giving you amaximum rage amount of 120. This glyph will probably be beneficial in everypossible scenario, making it much easier for you to manage your rage.Additionally, it allows you to pool up rage (even if only slightly), which youcan then use in a time of need.
Glyph of Shield Wall causes Shield Wall to reduce an additional20% damage taken, at the expense of increasing its cooldown by 2 minutes. Whilethis glyph is not something you would normally use, it can be very beneficialin some situations.
Minor Glyphs do not provide you with any worthwhile benefits. Many of themoffer cosmetic improvements that you will probably want to check out. Twoglyphs, however, are worth mentioning.
Glyph of Bloody Healing increases the amount of healing you receivefrom bandages by 20%, while you have Deep Wounds (passively applied aspart of your normal rotation) up on at least one target. Since bandages areseldom used, its benefit will probably be very minor.
Glyph of Intimidating Shout changes your Intimidating Shoutto no longer cause the enemies to run around in fear. Instead, they will simplystand still for the duration of the fear. This is very useful when you wishto avoid the feared mobs aggroing other packs.
Welcome to our Protection Warrior tank guide for World of Warcraft MoP 5.4. Here, you will learn everything you need to know about playing a Protection Warrior in a raid environment, although most of the content also applies to normal and heroic dungeons.
Protection Warriors have excellent mobility during encounters, and shinein fights where there are a great many adds.
Note that this guide focuses on aspects which are specific to ProtectionWarriors, and general tanking strategies are beyond its scope. If you wish toknow more about the tanking role and what you can do to improve, we recommendthat you read our tanking guide.
To make it easy to navigate the guide, we have split it into multiple pages:
Builds, Talents, and Glyphs: learn how to choose your talents and glyphs;
Rotation, Cooldowns, and Abilities: master your rotation and your cooldowns;
Buffs, Debuffs, and Useful Abilities: discover your arsenal of useful abilities;
Statistics Priority and Reforging: read up on the respective values of your statistics;
Gems, Enchants, and Professions: choose the best gems, enchantments, etc.;
Macros and Addons: step up your game with useful macros and addons;
Gearing Up and Best in Slot: find the best gear you can wear.
The scope of this guide is to cover every aspect of tanking, explaining everything that you need to understand and do in order to be a great tank. This guide will apply to you, whether you are new to the role, or a seasoned veteran.
This article will not go into technical details about talent specs, proper gemming or anything else that is tedious, and specific to a class or spec. You are able to find all the specific information pertaining to tanking classes and specs in our existing tanking class guides. This is not to say that we will never ever make a mention regarding a specific class or ability, but do not expect to gain any class-specific knowledge from this guide.
You will no doubt have heard many stories about how tanks have it hard and about how tanking is the most stressful and difficult role to perform in the game. There is some merit to these claims, but they do also make tanking seem a bit daunting to the new player. We hope that our guide will remedy this.
Anyone can be a tank, and a great tank at that, provided that they know what to do and how to do it. While this statement holds true for all roles in World of Warcraft, tanks are certainly no exception.
3. Profile of a Great Tank
In order to properly explain all the things which you need to do to be a great tank, we first have to give you an idea of what the ideal tank is like. Below is a list of invaluable attributes.
A great tank always has top aggro on all targets that they are assigned to tank, and not on any other targets.
A great tank has excellent reaction time in picking up new mobs, before these mobs attack other raid members.
A great tank has excellent reaction time on taunting back targets that they lose aggro of (which happens to everyone at one time or another).
A great tank is intimately familiar with all the fight mechanics, and because of this, knows when and where to move, and when and how to use their defensive (and sometimes offensive) cooldowns.
A great tank understands the various positional requirements of (especially melee) DPS players, and does a good job at minimising their movement and downtime.
A great tank has the qualities of a leader, and is not shy to step up and take control of the group.
In addition to this, as tanks are the drivers of the party or raid group, a tank who is able to set a fast pace will make the dungeon or raid go extremely smoothly and quickly.
4. General Concerns
In this section we will cover a number of things which will improve all aspects of your tanking ability, but are not related specifically to game mechanics.
4.1. Add-ons and User Interface Settings
While Blizzard’s standard user interface is fully functional, and will allow you to successfully perform any encounter, it is far from optimal. There are several add-ons and features which will make life easier for both you and the rest of your raid.
4.1.1. Threat Meter
Omen Threat Meter is, by far, the best threat add-on out there. It will show you how much threat you have, as well as how much threat other people on the boss’ threat table have. In addition to this, it also displays other useful information, such as how long is left until the effects of threat modifying abilities (Misdirection, Fade) end.
4.1.2. Name Plates
There are several useful nameplate add-ons, the most popular of which is probably Threat Plates.
Name plates are essentially bars which appear over various enemies (and friendly units, if you so desire) in your proximity. They not only allow you to select enemies with ease (by clicking on the name plates) but they can also provide other useful information.
Threat Plates allows you, at a glance, to see which targets you have aggro of, and which you do not, as well as which targets you are likely to lose aggro of soon (where someone is catching up to you in threat).
This is achieved by providing different colors and/or sizes to the name plates of nearby targets. For example, targets of which you have aggro are green and smaller in size, while targets which you do not have aggro of are red and larger in size (making them easier to notice and click).
Name plate add-ons are mostly useful for add tanking, but regardless of this, they should be in every tank’s arsenal.
4.1.3. Raid Announcements
It is essential, as a tank, that you communicate with your healers, if not with all of your raid. Doing so via voice-chat is a viable option, but it will often cause needless clutter. Moreover, due to the various sounds in the encounter, you may not always be clearly heard.
Fortunately, you can simply use one of several add-ons which allow you to announce, in raid chat (or party, or a specific channel, at your choice), when you have used an important ability.
We recommend Raeli’s Spell Announcer, a highly customisable add-on. We suggest that, at the very least, defensive cooldowns be announced to the raid.
While keybinding is a near-mandatory practice for all classes and specs, if you are seeking to be competitive, it is even more so for tanks. As a tank, split second decisions can make or break your raid’s chances to succeed. Furthermore, as a tank, you often have to move and rotate your camera, while at the same time using various abilities. You simply cannot do this efficiently if you must use your mouse to click them.
As a result, we recommend making ample use of keybinds for your tank. Even if you prefer to click your action bars, a few abilities must be bound. These are: your main threat-generating abilities, your taunt(s), your survival cooldowns and your interrupt.
4.3. Gear Optimisation
Needless to say, you should research your class and specialisation, in order to find what the best statistics are for you, and adapt your character accordingly.
4.3.1. Adaptability of Stats
One of the ways in which you can make the transition from being a good tank to being a great tank is to know that tanking is all about adapting your gear (and talents) to the encounter.
As such, you should always collect and carry with you as many alternative gear pieces as possible.
This will allow you to change your gear on a fight-by-fight basis. If an encounter has heavy magic damage on the tank, you can use a magic damage reducing trinket, for example, or get more Stamina. If the encounter requires you to pump out a great amount of threat, you can switch in pieces with Hit and Expertise Rating (assuming you are not yet at the caps for these statistics).
If you are looking to reduce the physical damage you are taking as much as possible, you will probably prefer Mastery Rating.
The list goes on, but it is important to remember that a great tank’s gear and talent set-up is always dynamic.
4.4. Knowledge of the Encounter
As a tank, you have to be intimately familiar with all of the encounter’s mechanics, to a much greater degree than a DPS player or even a healer must.
Only when you are familiar with the encounter will you know what the best time is to use defensive or offensive cooldowns, what position is ideal for tanking the boss, or where it is best to move in order to most easily pick up new adds.
Additionally, as a tank, you have the unique opportunity to get a good general overview of the encounter, and how your raid is performing it. By having a good understanding of it, you can easily offer advice and suggestions for improving.
While not applicable to raid bosses, being familiar with the various trash groups (in both raids and dungeons) is also essential for a tank. Knowing exactly what the trash mobs do, how damaging they are and what kind of crowd-control is (possibly) needed allows you to better gauge whether or not you and your healer(s) are prepared to take them on.
Being familiar with encounter mechanics (adds, specifically) and trash mechanics allows you to “mark targets”, something which we cover briefly in the next section.
4.4.1. Marking Targets
The game allows players who are party or raid leaders, or assistants in raid groups, to place specific markings, of their choosing, above the heads of friendly or hostile targets.
This is typically done by right clicking the unit frame of the target and selecting a mark, but it can also be done by use of keybinding (they are listed in the Key Binding settings menu in the default Blizzard interface). There are also add-ons which serve this purpose, but we do not consider them to be needed.
Marks above targets can be seen by all of your party or raid members, and serve as a means to coordinate your efforts. The meaning of the marks is set by general consensus, or specific assignments prior to the encounter.
As a tank, you should bind at least 3-4 marks to accessible keys, and make frequent use of marking targets, in order to indicate which mobs you wish to be killed first, and which you wish to be crowd-controlled.
Keep in mind that, during raid encounters, marking is generally the prerogative of your raid leader, and unless specifically directed to, you should not interfere.
This section will cover everything you need to know, as a tank, about gaining, maintaining and regaining aggro. First, however, we need to look at some introductory concepts.
5.1. How does Threat and Aggro Work?
Generating threat and maintaining aggro are the defining characteristics of a tank. Understanding these concepts is crucial to your performance.
Threat is a means of measuring the level of animosity a mob has towards a specific player. Each mob has a threat table, and every person who performs hostile actions towards that mob is put on that table.
There are two important actions which generate threat: dealing damage and healing. Other actions, such as casting a buff or debuff also generate threat, but in very small amounts which are not worth discussing.
Normally, threat is generated at 1:1 ratio with damage done to the mob, and a 1:2 ratio with healing done. However, in order to facilitate tanking, tanks generate threat at a 5:1 ratio with damage done.
In order to be considered a tank for this purpose, you must be in the appropriate tanking state:
Furthermore, threat does not decay (decrease) over time or otherwise, unless a specific ability is used which has this effect (such as Hand of Salvation), or if the encounter mechanics specifically affect threat.
Threat is reset if the player dies, or otherwise leaves combat with the mob. Lastly, threat cannot have a negative value.
There are many types of threat modifiers, especially encounter-based abilities which reduce the threat output of certain players (forcing tank switching, generally). There are also friendly abilities, such as Tricks of the Trade and Misdirection, which offer a temporary threat transfer.
Having aggro is a state in which players find themselves when they have the highest amount of threat against a particular mob, and that mob attacks them because of it. Needless to say, in principle, this is the aim of every tank.
It is important to keep in mind that there will be times when you will want to avoid having aggro of mobs, even as a tank. This is the case in fights which require multiple tanks, each with their own assignments. It is also the case when the fight mechanics debuff you with something that makes you extremely vulnerable to the boss or other mobs.
It is worthwhile to know that you do not gain aggro of a mob simply by overtaking the current top-threat target. For example, if the person who currently has aggro of the boss has 1,000,000 threat, simply reaching 1,000,001 threat will not cause the boss to attack you. There is a threshold which must be met: 110% of the threat of the current aggro target, if you are in melee range of the boss, and 130% if you are away from the boss.
When either of those thresholds is exceeded, the boss will switch targets to the new top-threat player, and the old tank will have to exceed this person by 110%/130% again to regain aggro.
While knowing how to master threat-generation and how to maintain aggro is important, you must first know very well what you are supposed to be tanking.
5.2. Ability Rotation
Tanks, generally speaking, do not have a rotation in the same way that DPS classes do. Their playstyle is much more similar to that of healers, in the sense that some abilities are useful sometimes, and others are useful at other times.
Tanks generally have three categories of abilities:
important threat-generating abilities;
defensive abilities, which help survival;
other, miscellaneous abilities: buffs, debuffs, stuns/slows, taunts, mobility abilities, and so on.
Important threat-generating abilities are the bread and butter of every tank’s threat. They should be used whenever they are off-cooldown.
In addition to these, naturally, any damage-dealing abilities will generate a good amount of threat (due to the 500% threat multiplier), and should be used as fillers.
Defensive abilities are of two kinds:
active survival abilities, which have very short cooldowns and should be used as much as possible;
defensive cooldowns, which have longer cooldowns, and should be used at key points in the encounter.
Miscellaneous abilities serve a multitude of functions, and you should intermingle them with your other abilities as the encounter demands and as you see fit. Examples include buffs, debuffs, stuns, interrupts and movement abilities.
As a tank, you will have to maintain the Weakened Blows debuff (unless it is being provided reliably by another tank). This is a priority, so you should make sure that the debuff is always present.
As a tank, generally, it is your responsibility to start the encounters, or, in other words, to pull. This means that you get the opportunity to attack the boss before anyone else. This should, in theory, offer you the opportunity to gain initial aggro.
While you may find that running into the boss and pressing some of your abilities (especially when supported by Misdirection or Tricks of the Trade) at random will achieve this goal, it is far from ideal.
As a competent tank, you should at the very least know which of your abilities generate high amounts of threat. Once you know this, you should always have a plan for the pull, as well as for picking up adds which join the fight later on. While this is class specific, and up to you to perfect, there are several guidelines to follow.
Always begin with the ability which generates the highest amount of threat.
Be prepared to use another, high-threat ability immediately after it (especially if the first attack is dodged, parried or is a missed attack).
Be prepared to use your taunt ability the moment you notice that you have lost aggro of the boss (but NOT before).
Delay your debuffs and other survival cooldowns until you have stabilised your threat (obviously, if the fight mechanics require you to use a survival cooldown right away, then you should do so).
The idea is that, at any time, your attacks can be dodged, parried or they can miss altogether. Because of this, at the pull, your threat generation can be very volatile. This stops being an issue as the fight goes on, but it makes the pull the most crucial moment of the encounter, threat-wise.
Therefore, you should plan accordingly and have your most powerful abilities available. These should be coupled with offensive cooldowns which your class possesses, to maximise the amount of damage that you do, and thus your threat.
Depending on the environment where you are tanking (guild raid, pug group, 5-man dungeon, etc.), you may find yourself having to literally fight against DPS players in reaching the boss first.
This may be due to the desire (or sometimes, the necessity) to maximise damage done to the boss, or it may be due to impatience and lack of consideration. In any case, you should always take the initiative and be aggressive in engaging the encounter.
5.3.1. Picking up Adds
In addition to the normal way in which you will find yourself gaining aggro (pulling the boss), you will often encounter situations where new enemies, generally adds, enter the fight while it is in progress.
The same applies here as for the pull: you should have a mental plan on how you’re going to pick these adds up. The ability priority will change from the one you used at the pull, most likely, especially in the case of multiple adds, when you will want to use your AoE abilities. Furthermore, you will find yourself using taunt proactively rather than reactively.
Good knowledge of the encounter is crucial, because it is important to know when and where the adds will appear, especially if you want to use ground-based threat abilities.
You also have to pay special attention to healer aggro, when picking up adds. Indeed, it is quite likely that, as healers are constantly casting spells, they will take aggro of the newly spawned adds before you even have a chance to react. You must prepare for this situation, be in a good position, and not hesitate to taunt the adds to you.
Generally, practice over successive attempts will allow you to gain invaluable experience as to which way is best to pick up the adds in a particular fight.
5.3.2. Using Offensive Cooldowns
All tanking classes have some kind of offensive cooldown. Sometimes, these reduce the cooldown or resource cost of some abilities, while other times they simply increase damage done.
It is a natural reaction to think that, as a tank, you will focus on using defensive cooldowns. However, in order to be truly successful in managing threat, especially in crucial moments of the encounter (such as the pull), it is important to use your offensive cooldowns as well.
As a rule, you should always pull with one such cooldown available, and aim to chain another onto it immediately after it expires.
5.4. Maintaining Aggro
In addition to their increased threat generation, tanks also have a passive ability, called Vengeance. Vengeance grants you attack power equal to 2% of the damage you have sustained, for 20 seconds. The amount of attack power continues to stack, granting you immense amounts of attack power, provided that you continue to take damage.
There are times when maintaining aggro can be difficult, such as when you are severely undergeared compared to DPS players, when you have to switch off the target in order to pick up a different one, or when encounter design grants increased damage done to DPS players, but not to tanks.
In any case, the absolute best way to ensure that you never lose aggro over a longer period of time is to know your ability priority. It is essential to understand which abilities must be used on cooldown, and what other threat-generating abilities to fill gaps with. Proper knowledge of your abilities will, in most cases, guarantee that you do not lose aggro.
5.4.1. “Tab Targeting”
Tab targeting is a technique which involves using the TAB key (the default key for automatic targeting) to quickly switch between multiple targets. It is very useful when you are tanking multiple targets (adds, for example) and all of your usual AoE abilities are on cooldown or are proving insufficient.
Essentially, you want to cycle through all of the targets by using the TAB key (you can do it manually, as well, though it is less efficient) and apply single target threat-generating abilities on each individual add. For best results, check Omen to see if there are any targets on which you have a large threat lead, and do not bother attacking those.
5.5. Regaining Aggro (Taunting and Tank-Switching)
There are two situations when you will need to regain aggro of a mob: when you have lost aggro, unintentionally, to DPS players or another tank, and when you are engaged in a tank-switching rotation. While taunting a stray mob on which you have lost aggro is rather simple, a few notes are in order regarding tank switching. First, however, you must understand exactly how to best use your taunt.
5.5.1. How to Taunt
While using taunt may seem straightforward enough, and many times it is, there are a few subtle points which you must understand.
First of all, you need to understand how taunt works and how it affects your threat.
Taunting a mob has two effects:
It forces the mob to attack the player who taunted it, for 3 seconds.
It grants the player who taunted it an amount of threat equal to that of the player who had aggro of the mob at the time of the taunt.
Regarding the first point, the duration that the mob attacks the taunting player for is subject to diminishing returns, so subsequent taunts, within a 15 second window, will reduce the amount of time, until the spell eventually has no effect. Note that all taunts share the same diminishing returns, so a Warrior’s taunt will cause the Paladin off-tank’s taunts to have diminished effects, for example.
Regarding the second point, taunt only affects your threat level when you are not at the top of the threat table. If you are at the top of the threat table (but do not have aggro), then taunt will only force the mob to attack you for 3 seconds. If you have aggro and are at the top of the aggro table, then taunt does nothing except for making sure that the target will stick to you for the duration of taunt.
Taunt’s cooldown is relatively low, and it is a key part of any tank’s toolkit, so do not be afraid to use it. While you may get the idea that having to taunt off people is “shameful”, as a reflection of your ability to maintain aggro, this could not be farther from the truth. A good tank is one who makes free and efficient use of taunt.
Secondly, you must understand the following: if you are about to taunt a mob on which you do not have aggro, then do not bother using any threat abilities before taunting, as any extra threat you gain before taunting is essentially useless (since taunt puts you on top of the threat table anyway). Rather, save your most powerful ability or abilities for the moments immediately after you have taunted. This will ensure that, in addition to getting pushed to the top of the threat table, you will gain a considerable lead over everyone else.
Likewise, there is little point in taunting a mob which you do not have aggro of, if you cannot reach it to attack it and thus boost your threat. Therefore, you should try to always position yourself close to mobs which you have lost aggro of, and taunt them only when you are prepared to attack – otherwise they are very likely to simply run back to their previous target after the 3 second effect of taunt wears off. You can use ranged abilities to help you out in these situations, but as tanking ranged abilities are rather weak (and on long cooldowns), this is not reliable.
Finally, because of the diminishing returns of taunt, and because, when you already have aggro, it provides no benefits whatsoever, it should not be used as part of your “rotation”. Rather, taunt should be saved for when it is actually needed.
5.5.2. How to Tank-Switch
There are a great many encounters in the game which require two (or more) tanks to taunt the boss off of each other at specific intervals of time, usually due to some debuffs applied to the tanks.
While the practice itself is not overly complicated, we would like to make three mentions.
Understand exactly why you are taunting the boss, why it is being taunted off you, and what the correct timing for it is. Boss mods usually alert you as to the timing, but you must make sure that you can monitor your fellow tanks’ debuffs.
Time one or more powerful threat-generating abilities to land immediately after your taunt lands, to ensure that you do not lose aggro after taunting.
When you have been taunted off of, stop using powerful threat-generating abilities for a sensible amount of time (a few seconds), in order to help the other tank stabilise his aggro. Depending on various circumstances, you may even need to stop auto-attacking.
Additionally, it is very important to observe the correct position and facing of the boss before you taunt it. This is especially true in the case of dragon bosses, who have both tail and breath attacks. The best thing to do is to to position yourself exactly in the same place as the tank who currently has aggro, before you taunt, so that the boss does not move at all.
Lastly, it’s important that you position yourself behind the boss when you are not tanking it. This ensures that none of your attacks are parried, and also that you do not receive damage from breath or cleaving type attacks that the boss may perform. Keep in mind, however, that some encounters specifically require both tanks to be in front of the boss.
Instinctively, it feels as though your survival, as a tank, is all in the hands of your healers, but this could not be farther from the truth. Yes, with incompetent healers, you will die, and there is little you can do to save yourself. However, even excellent healers will fail to keep you alive if you do not make proper use of the tools at your disposal.
This section will be rather brief, but there are a few important mentions we feel need to be made.
6.1. Active Survival
Each tanking class has various active survival and mitigation tools at their disposal. These take the form of abilities with low or no cooldown, which offer great benefits but are also rather expensive. You must learn to make constant (and proper) use of these abilities in your rotation, otherwise you will be practically unhealable.
Going into depth about these abilities is beyond the scope of this guide, so we recommend that you read our class-specific tanking guides.
Every tanking class has at least a few defensive/survival cooldowns. You need to be familiar with what they are, how they work and, very importantly, you must have them keybound to accessible keys. Furthermore, you should keep in mind that you have other survival tools at your disposal outside of the major cooldowns, such as trinket on-use effects or minor cooldowns.
6.2.1. General Guidelines
Prevention is better than remedy. Unless there is a specific event in the encounter which you need to save cooldowns for, use them freely, as many times as possible during the fight.
Damage reduction cooldowns should always be used proactively. Do not bother using them when you notice you are on 5% health, since it will already be too late by then. Use them when you anticipate a period of high damage, or when your healers are going to be unable to heal you.
Health increasing cooldowns can be used both proactively and reactively, though if given the choice, you should try to save them for moments when your health is suddenly very low.
As much as possible, do not stack cooldowns. As a rule, if you need to use all of your cooldowns at once to survive a fight mechanic, chances are you are not intended to survive it in the first place.
Having a good understanding of the encounter mechanics and of your raid’s strategy will help tremendously in allowing you to time your cooldowns to perfection. Practice makes perfect.
Additionally, good communication with your healers is invaluable. Everything may appear to be fine, but a healer disconnecting, or being targeted by a boss ability which requires them to move are important events that justify the use of a cooldown.
6.3. Positioning and Movement
In addition to not standing in any harmful ground effects, which is something that every raider should be aware of, there is another absolutely key piece of advice for every tank out there: never ever have your back to a mob which is attacking you.
There is a simple reason for this: when your back is turned to an attacking mob, you will not be able to dodge, parry or block any of its attacks. This translates to, essentially, a burst of damage onto you, as a lot of attacks are generally dodged, parried or blocked. This will not only increase the amount of healing that is needed to keep you alive, but it may make it impossible to keep you alive altogether.
What does this mean, though, in terms of movement? What if you have to move the boss from one place to another, and you have to do so quickly? Well, rest assured, you do not have to slowly backpedal your way there. What you should do instead is strafe sideways. If your side is turned to the attacking mob, you continue to parry, dodge and block attacks, and what’s more, you maintain your normal run speed.
This is slightly tricky to master right away, but you can always find a low level mob (so it doesn’t kill you), aggro it and run away from it. This will allow you to practice the exact angle you need to be facing. Just check to see if you are registering any dodges or parries, as this will be an indication that you are facing the correct way.
Finally, you should always make sure that you do not leave line of sight of your healers, as this is a sure way to get yourself killed. While it is less of a problem in raids (as most rooms do not have obstacles), it can happen easily in dungeons.
In case the target you are tanking needs to be moved a short distance backwards (that is to say, in the direction that you are facing), you can employ a technique known as pushing. To do this, simple step forward until you enter the target’s hitbox. This will cause them to adjust to your position, and in most cases this means that they will step back a very short distance, and face you again.
The alternative to this is to drag the target to the desired location, but in the process of doing so, you need to move a lot more, and the target is very likely to turn around for extended periods of time, making it much less desirable than pushing.
We would like to note that some mobs, due to the size of their hitbox, are not very receptive to this technique.
7. Maximising Your Raid’s and Your Own DPS
Holding aggro and not dying are essential aspects of being a great tank, but to move to the next level, you have to understand how each and every one of your actions impact the rest of your raid.
There are many encounters which require you, as the tank, to position or move the boss. Doing so is, generally, a requirement to completing the encounter successfully, but simply knowing when and where the boss needs to be moved is not all there is to it.
In order not to hamper your raid’s DPS, you must understand that melee DPS players must be within melee range of the boss to perform their attacks. This means that, whenever you move the boss, you should make sure that you move him as little as possible, while still achieving your goal. The less you move the boss, the less melee DPS players will have to move to follow it, and the more DPS they will be able to do.
Additionally, you need to understand that melee DPS players need to attack mobs from behind in order for their DPS to be competitive. This has two implications.
You must keep the boss facing the same way, as much as possible, so that DPS players do not suddenly find that they have to reposition themselves.
You must make sure that there are no fire patches or other void zones behind the boss, making it impossible for melee DPS to stand there.
Indeed, while it takes a good tank to know when to move the boss from place to place, it takes an excellent tank to move him in the way which is most efficient for your DPS players.
Finally, keep in mind that, even after you are generating enough threat to maintain aggro, and you are surviving the encounter, you can still improve your own performance. Any extra DPS that you do as a tank will be added to your raid’s DPS and will, even if in just a small part, help you kill the boss faster.
8. Leadership and Attitude
As the tank, whether you desire it or not, you are in a unique position of control over your group. Healers and DPS players may be the assigned leaders, or they may wish to take charge, but at the end of the day, they are unable to do anything without you.
This state of affairs makes it so that, often, it is preferred that a tank simply be the leader, as this simplifies matters greatly. Furthermore, because tanking attracts leaders, it then becomes an expected quality of all tanks to lead their groups.
So, exactly what qualities should a tank have, in terms of leadership? They should be confident, they should not be shy to speak up, they should know perfectly well what they want their group to do (which, incidentally, should also be the correct thing to do, hence why knowing the encounter mechanics is important), and they should have the vigour to do it.
Tanks have a lot of responsibility, as a tanking mistake is going to lead to a wipe a lot more often than a DPS or healer one would. For this reason, tanks are most likely to receive criticism. But, because, as we said, tanking is all about confidence, you cannot let it get to you! If you did indeed make a mistake, then learn from it and apologise, but do not let it impede your drive.
This concludes the tanking guide. If you have followed us all the way to the end, you now know exactly what a great tank is, and what you need to do to achieve that.
You must understand, however, that tanking, more than any other role in the game, is all about repeated practice. Only when you have done something many times will you be so confident as to do it effortlessly and quickly. So, if you are wondering how you can start, then remember that you cannot practice tanking on a training dummy. There are a few steps you can follow.
Set up your user interface, add-ons and keybinds, and do a few high level quests to familiarise yourself with your new settings.
Look up the tactics for the bosses (and trash pulls, if possible) of a specific heroic dungeon, and just go and do it! You can do it with friends or guild members, for added support, but the anonymity granted by the Dungeon Finder may suit you better.
Be polite and considerate with your fellow party members, but do not let them get to you, regardless of what they may say.
If any of this seems daunting, fear not, and remember that the best quality of a great tank is confidence! Remember that we have all lost aggro, accidentally pulled in DPS gear, or fallen off of platforms.
04 Aug. 2013: Fixed an incorrect mention that Death Knights apply the Weakened Blows debuff through Blood Boil (it is actually Blood Plague).
In this article, we detail the common mechanics that melee classes share.
Melee classes share common mechanics, which we deemed appropriate to present in this single cheat sheet.
There are two sort of melee attacks:
normal attacks (sometimes referred to as white attacks) which are regular melee auto-attacks;
special attacks (sometimes reffered to as yellow attacks) which correspond to an ability you cast.
We will first present in detail how normal attacks work. Then we will explain how special attacks differ from them.
2. Normal Attacks
When your character performs a melee attack, this attack will be one of the following:
2.1. Missed Attacks
By default, you have a 7.5% chance to miss if you are wielding a single weapon and a 26.5% chance to miss if you wielding two weapons. In order not to miss, you need to increase your Hit Rating through gear, enchants, gems, and reforging.
Reducing your chance to miss with melee attacks until it reaches 0% (a process referred to as reaching the melee hit cap) is usually desirable. However, for some classes, Hit Rating can become less valuable than other stats once you have passed a certain point. For example, Enhancement Shamans only stack Hit Rating until they reduce their chance to miss with spells by 15% (the spell hit cap) which corresponds to a chance to miss with melee attacks reduced by 15% as well. Stacking more Hit Rating to fill the last 11.5% percents and reach 26.5% (the melee hit cap for dual wielders) is not very optimal for that class as normal melee attacks only do a fraction of their overall damage.
2.2. Parried Attacks
When facing an enemy, your attacks will have a chance to be parried, in which case they will deal no damage. By default, your attacks made facing a raid boss will have a 15% chance to be parried. Attacks made from behind your enemy cannot be parried. This is one of the reasons why DPS players should always position themselves behind a raid boss. This way, they need not to worry about their attacks being parried. Only tanks should ever feel concerned about reducing their chance to see their attacks parried.
2.3. Dodged Attacks
Dodged attacks deal no damage. Players can only dodge frontal attacks while NPC enemies can dodge attacks from the front and from behind. Your chance to see your attacks dodges depends on the level of your target. As a level 85 player attacking a raid boss, this chance is, by default, equal to 6.5% and can be reduced by increasing your Expertise Rating (gear, reforging or gems). Whether you need to nullify that chance (i.e., reach the Expertise cap) or attain a particular, optimal, Expertise value depends on your class and specialisation. Below, you will find the list of racial traits, proficiencies, and talents that increase Expertise.
Axe Specialization is an Orc racial trait, which provides +3 Expertise with Fist Weapons and Axes (both One-Handed and Two-Handed).
Mace Specialization is a racial trait common to Dwarves and Humans, which provides +3 Expertise with Maces (both One-Handed and Two-Handed).
Sword Specialization is a Human racial trait, which provides +3 Expertise with Swords (both One-Handed and Two-Handed).
2.4. Glancing Blow
Glancing Blow is a term usually used to designate an attack which lands on the targeted enemy but that deals less damage than expected. The frequency at which Glancing Blows occur and the damage they deal depend on the level of the targeted enemy. For example, on a raid boss, about 24% of your attacks will be Glancing Blows, which will deal damage equal to 75% of that of a normal attack. On an enemy which has the same level as your character, tests on Training Dummies show that about 6% of the attacks done are Glancing Blows, and they do in average 97.5% of the damage a normal attack would do.
There is absolutely nothing you can do to decrease the percentage of your attacks that are Glancing Blows.
2.5. Blocked Attacks
Very little documentation is available on attacks blocked by NPC enemies. The tests we performed on Raider’s Training Dummies (raid boss level) showed that about 5% of our attacks were blocked, in which case they only dealt 70% of the damage of a normal attack.
Attacks from behind cannot be blocked. Therefore, as a melee DPS, you should not be concerned about getting your attacks blocked because you should be standing behind the boss anyway. Tanks should not be concerned about these blocked attacks either as there is nothing they can do to prevent them from happening.
Your chance to deal critical hits can be improved by increasing your Critical Strike Rating, and taking specific talents. Note that when fighting enemies whose level is above yours, your effective critical strike chance with melee attacks will always be lower than what the tooltip on your character sheet says. People refer to this phenomenon as Crit Depression. For instance, against a raid boss, your critical strike chance with melee attacks will always be 4.8% less than what you read on the tooltip.
3. How Does the Game Decide the Type of an Attack?
Intuitively, we would think that the game performs a check for all the possible attack types, in a certain order, and whenever a check succeeds, the associated type of attack is performed. For example, the game would check whether the attack is a miss (this has a certain chance to be true) and if that check fails, then the game would check whether the attack is parried, etc., until a check succeeds or they all fail, in which case the attack is a normal hit.
Unfortunately, the actual mechanics are more complicated than that. The game builds a sort of probability table based on your chance to land each type of attack. The easiest way to explain how that works is to use an example. Imagine that you have the following chances (the numbers are not meant to be realistic, we chose them for the sake of the explanation):
20% to miss an attack;
10% to see an attack parried;
5% to see an attack dodged;
30% to land a Glancing Blow;
10% to see an attack blocked;
20% to land a critical hit.
Here, the game would roll a die between 0 and 100 and the outcome would be decided as follows:
If the roll gives a value between 0 and 19.99, then the attack is missed.
If the roll gives a value between 20 and 29.99, then the attack is parried.
If the roll gives a value between 30 and 34.99, then the attack is dodged.
If the roll gives a value between 35 and 64.99, then the attack is a Glancing Blow.
If the roll gives a value between 65 and 74.99, then the attack is blocked.
If the roll gives a value between 75 and 94.99, then the attack is a critical hit.
In any other case, so from 95 to 100 (well 99.99 if we want our example to be mathematically sound), the attack is a a normal attack.
By now, you must probably be wondering what would have happened if one of the chances had had such a value that the total of all chances was greater than 100% (for example, if the critical strike chance with melee attacks had been 30% instead of 20%). In that case, the game use a precedence order which is the order we have used to far to present the different types of attacks:
chance to miss attacks has the highest precedence;
chance to get attacks parried has the second highest precedence;
chance to get attacks dodged has the third highest precedence;
chance to land a Glancing Blow has the fourth highest precedence;
chance to get attacks blocked has the fifth highest precedence;
chance to land critical hits has the sixth highest precedence;
landing a normal hit is the default action.
If the probability table is filled (i.e., reaching 100%) before going through all the types of attacks, the subsequent attack types are ignored. For example, if you have a 50% chance to miss and a 50% chance to see your melee attacks parried, then your attacks will always be either missed or parried: they will never be dodged, Glancing Blows, blocked, critical hits, or normal hits.
Similarly, if you have a 40% chance to miss, a 40% chance to see your attacks parried and a 40% chance to see your attacks dodged, only 20% of your attacks will be dodged, because the chance to miss and the chance to see attacks parried have a higher precedence than your chance to see your attacks dodged.
Considering all that was said, you can now see why people sometimes refer to a melee critical strike chance cap. This happens when the combined chances of all the attack types (including the critical strike chance) is greater than 100%. As you should be standing behind the boss and have reached the Expertise cap (or almost), it means that we are talking about your Glancing Blow chance and your critical strike chance adding up to something greater than 100%. Since your Glancing Blow chance is constant at 24% against raid bosses and you need to take Crit Depression into account, you will need about 80% critical strike chance with melee attacks to reach the cap. That number is so high that you can simply forget about it for now, we only mentioned it here for the sake of completeness.
4. Special Attacks
Special attacks, also referred to as yellow attacks, are abilites you cast which deal melee damage, such as:
This page is a gearing up guide for Protection Warriors. It is updated for World of Warcraft MoP 5.4. It first presents the best in slot items before listing, slot by slot, all the items, with a level higher than 346, that you can acquire in the game.
We also explain how you will be competing for loot with other classes.
The other pages of our Protection Warrior guide can be accessedfrom the table of contents on the right.
1. Best in Slot Advice
With the advent of Thunderforged and Warforged weapons, BiS lists are muchless valuable a resource than before, because we would be advising a list of itemsthat not even the best players would have a chance to complete. Instead, we nowgive you advice for choosing your trinkets, your set bonuses, and whatever elseis important for your class.
As a Protection Warrior, most performance enhancing upgrades “per slot” will be your Shield and Trinkets.The shield itself offers the biggest source of armor on your gear and will present a pretty significantupgrade even if its stats are not the ones you prioratise.
For your shield, choose Shield of Mockery if you are gearing for Avoidance or Bulwark of the Fallen General if you are gearing for Critical Strike. Even if the statson your shield do not suit your gearing strategy, upgrading the shield based on item levelwill always be a good choice.
For your trinkets, we offer you the following advice.
Curse of Hubris is your general second choice. It will give you additional critical strike on use, which will increase your damage and your rage regeneration for the duration of the effect.
As an alternative, Rook’s Unlucky Talisman is a great choice in situations where you will encounter various sources of AoE damage.
Trinkets are your biggest source of stamina, but should you consider having enough health and wish to focus more towards damage output, Thok’s Tail Tip will give you a percentage-based increase to Critical Strike, damage and Mastery. Keep in mind, though, that equipping this trinket for its Mastery bonus alone is not worth it (compared to what the other trinkets offer).
Apart from certain trinkets, your Main-Hand weapon, will be the biggestincrease to your DPS. You should make your choice based on the weapons that dropfor you and their item level. Most strength-based one-handed weapons will do the job.
Your Tier 15 set bonuses were not very good, so you should drop them as soonas you get gear with better item level.
The Tier 16 2-piece bonusis decent in theory, although you will notice that the effective healing received from it is not significant.
The Tier 16 4-piece bonuswill give you extra rage once Demoralizing Shout expires, however its potential is unfortunately random —n certain situations it will overcap your rage, while in others it will leave you dry.
Should you focus in gearing towards Best in Slot, you will eventually drop your set bonuses so thatyou can equip Warforged alternatives in respective slots.
If you are gearing for Critical Strike, then the best off-set piece is the Legs item.
If you are gearing for Avoidance, then you can choose your off-set piece from amongst:Chest, Hands, or Shoulders.
2. Gearing Up
When gearing up, we advise you to always prioritise pieces of Tier sets over non-set pieces of higher item level.
In each table, the items are ranked by item level and then alphabetically.