Cleave/Glyph of Cleaving
I read a lot on attack rotation and glyphs. I see Cleave come up a lot, and I have to say, I really think it's the poorest part of any good warrior tank rotation. Hear me out, and please let me know what you think.
As a warrior tank, when I hit 80 I had a huge problem getting and holding aggro, particularly with mobs. I learned that this is not unusual, and did plenty of research on how best to hold aggro. Shield Slam and Devastate were big aggro producers, and Shockwave and Thunder Clap were good at aggro (especially TC) and of course, worked well on a mob. Devastate has the other advantage of increasing the group's dps, as reducing the target's armor increases damage done to it. With Sword and Board, Devastate can reset SS (the highest producing aggro attack) and that makes using Devastate and glyphing for it mandatory.
The vast majority of instances are mobs - maybe 4-8 mobs per boss on average. Therefore TC and Shockwave are beautiful. Not just do they keep you alive longer (TC slows attack speed and Shockwave stuns, even in dungeons) but they hit all the targets near you. Glyphing for Shockwave reduces the cooldown enough to maybe use it twice for a particularly difficult mob or use it more often on a boss with spawns. Maybe the weakest of my glyphs, though.
Vigilance is, I think, mandatory for all tanks. It's only 1 talent point and gives you (depending on who you put it on) a lot of extra threat. I usually put it on a mage, but like to put it on the healer for the boss or if the healer happens to be new and doesn't realize that the tank doesn't need heals immediately after confronting the mob. By glyphing for it, I get even more threat and as far as I'm concerned threat is the most important part of a tank's goals. Of course, stamina and armor and def rating need to be capped and maxed. But I would rather do a little less damage and a little more threat - let the dps do the damage, I just need to keep the mob on me.
So that brings me to Cleave. When I first started tanking at lvl 80, I had a super slow weapon. This made Cleave abysmally slow, as my weapon's speed was 2.60. I've since gotten Rimefang's Claw and dropped speed down to 1.7. So Cleave is faster, but when I try it on a mob, I actually lose aggro. My weapon is enchanted with +25HR/+25Crit, so I do okay dps and threat with my attacks. I just don't think I create near as much threat with cleave as I do with Devastate/SS (and an occasional Revenge) and as I stated earlier, threat is my main goal.
First issue with this is the usage of the word "mob". In gaming, a mob is not a group of creatures, which it appears you're referring to it as. This will confuse your readers. In gaming, MOB is short for "movable object", and would only refer to one creature individually.
"A pack of 8 mobs" = a pack of 8 monsters
"Boss mob" = a ?? level monster
Getting into your questions:
Cleave is a supplementary skill. It, like Heroic Strike are off the GCD, so you can use it in conjunction with your other abilities. There's no reason, if you have the rage for it, not to use it along with TC, SW, SS and devastate. If you run heroics primarily, go ahead and glyph it if you want. If you're a raid tank, don't. There's no reason not to use it if it does not interfere with your higher-threat single target and aoe abilities.
What Dreador said, you can use it WITH other abilities, I think when you start doing this your threat problems will disappear and you can drop that glyph of vigi
Best advice I've ever been given (and subsequently, given out, many times over) is to bind HS to mouse wheel down, and clean to mouse wheel up (or vice versa if you prefer).
This one action alone has probably done more to delay the onset of arthritis and / or RSI for me =)
Glyph of Cleave/Devstate/Sunder is what I do for AoE tanking. Charge, Tclap, Shockwave, Spam Cleave/Dev macro, hit SS when it procs and only then. The biggest trick to keeping threat as a warrior tank in heroics isn't about your rotation but about the speed you're pulling at which will give you a ramp up time compared to the DPS where you'll be pounding on the mobs before they get there. If I pull slow and having people in my guild that do ridiculous amounts of DPS I cannot keep threat off of them, even when Viging someone etc etc. If I set a fast pace they're scrambling to get to the next pack and I have anywhere from 3-5 seconds to build threat before they start railing in to mobs.
Short Version: Tell your DPS to wait 3 seconds before nuking the f*ck out of packs.
Originally Posted by markv
Or just pull faster like the person above you said - if you are doing it properly, the dps doesn't really have a chance to open up until you have solid aggro anyway. Its a win-win situation that doesn't require the dps to sit around wishing they had a better tank and the zone gets cleared faster too.
Originally Posted by WarTotem
I think you are underestimating what cleave does for hitting multiple mobs. If you were to tank with very strong aoe dps, such as a hunter warlock or mage, you would notice that mobs would break loose. Thunder clap doesn't create enough threat and shockwave (if you glyph for it or not) has too long of a cooldown. Therefore cleave rocks cause it is the only other ability that can hit 2-3 mobs. For multiple adds I use a rotation that includes cleave but I don't spam it. The best way to take advantage of our warrior abilities is to carry around glyphs with you and change them out when needed. Aoe tanking glyph for cleave, sunder armor, devastate. When you get to a boss glyph for last stand and shield wall. Need a taunt not to miss in a fight, glyph for taunt....
If you are waiting for your Cleave to go off before you Devastate or Shield Slam then yeah Cleave will be a huge ball of fail. Fortunately Cleave (like Heroic Strike) is a "Next Swing Attack" which means it modifies your normal weapon swing while leaving you open to using instant attacks like Shield Slam or Devastate.