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Thread: Fortifications Warrior Reference Guide

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    Fortifications Warrior Reference Guide

    Fortifications -- Warrior Reference Guide

    Fortifications -- Warrior Reference Guide
    This is the Third Edition of the Warrior Reference Guide that has been posted to the WoW-US Warrior forums over the last two years. This is an advanced reference for endgame tanks and anyone who wishes to delve into tanking theory.

    If you are looking for a leveling or newbie guide, please check out Of Steel.

    2.3 updates and recent clarifications are highlighted in this color.

    Table of Contents

    Answers to Oft-Asked Questions
    Ratings & Conversions
    Defense & Armor
    Avoidance & Shield Block
    -Chance to be Missed
    -Shield Block
    Threat Mechanics & Values
    -Threat from Stances, Talents, Buffs, and Classes
    -Damage as Threat
    -Critical Strikes & Effective Abilities
    Talent & Skill Information
    How Shield Slam Works
    Keybinds & Keyboard Setup
    Defensive Talent Builds
    -Damage Reduction
    -Highest Efficiency
    -Stupid-high Shield Slams
    The Things I Didn't Write

    Answers to Oft-Asked Questions

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    1. Shield Slam is the highest-threat Warrior ability on the Global Cooldown. Revenge follows behind, and can cost as little as 2 rage. Sunder Armor and Devastate follow immediately behind this. Here are the best ability rotations for a 41-point Protection Warrior:

    Initial Threat: Devastate, Devastate, Devastate, Shield Slam, Revenge, Devastate, Devastate
    Normal Cycle: Shield Slam, Revenge, Devastate, Devastate

    Read & Respond:

    2. Shield Block removes Crushing Blows from the combat table. Defense does not remove Crushing Blows. Also, you do not need 25% Shield Block to eliminate Crushing Blows; you merely need your Dodge, Parry, Miss, and Shield Block to add up to ~25% to reach that minimum.

    3. 490 Defense is the Defense "goal" to remove critical strikes from the combat table. Creatures cannot critically strike players with special abilities. Past 490, Defense still gives increases to Block, Dodge, Parry, and Chance to be Missed. Please note that creatures and players with greater than 5% Crit may still critically strike you.

    4. Shield Mastery affects Shield Slam. So does One-Handed Specialization. (0.7)

    5. Dodge and Parry are not the same. Parry causes a counter-attack to occur. Creatures can Parry. (0.4)

    6. Spell Reflect will reflect or negate most single-target spells. It will reflect the single target aspect of some spell volleys, such as Shadowbolt Volley. It will not reflect most pure AOE skills, such as Frost Nova.

    7. Weapon Speed Normalization affects the Attack Power portion of your damage. It does not affect the normal damage range of your weapon; they are independent. A slower weapon will hit harder with instant attacks based on weapon damage than a faster weapon. Daggers are Normalized at a much faster speed than any other One-Handed Weapon, and are inefficient for use with Devastate.

    8. Proc-Per-Minute enchants such as Mongoose and Executioner benefit greatly from slower weapons and will proc more often on average when using instant attacks. Per-Hit abilities and enchants, such as Heroic Strike or +Weapon Damage, benefit greatly from faster weapons.

    9. 365 Resistance is the maximum effective Resistance.

    10. On bosses, Improved Demoralizing Shout is not effective past 2 talent points. This is a significant change related to Attack Power values in Burning Crusade. However, in situations where Curse of Recklessness is applied to the creature, the full 5 points will be effective and will negate the additional Attack Power.

    Ratings & Conversions at Level 70

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    Defense Rating _______   2.4 to 1
    Dodge ________________  18.9 to 1
    Parry ________________  22.4 to 1
    Block ________________   7.9 to 1
    Resilience ___________  39.4 to 1
      Expertise ____________   3.9 to 1
    Hit __________________  15.8 to 1
    Critical Strike ______  23.6 to 1
    Haste ________________  10.5 to 1

    Defense & Armor

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    1 Defense Skill at Level 70
    Dodge __________________   0.04%
    Parry __________________   0.04%
    Block __________________   0.04%
    Chance to be Missed ____   0.04%
    Chance to be Crit ______  -0.04%
    Defense does not calculate added Defensive bonuses against same-level mobs until it reaches the baseline of your character. The baseline Defense can be found by multiplying 5 * Character Level; in the case of a level 70 Warrior, this is 350 Defense.

    For Defense to effectively remove Critical Strikes from the combat table on higher-level creatures, you need to reach the 5% reduction according to the baseline of that creature. Creatures have a 5% chance to Critical Strike, so you would need to reach the Defense required for a level 73 player to reduce Critical Strikes by 5%. Since 125 Defense is equal to 5% Critical Strike reduction, you would add to the level 73 baseline of 365 -- your goal, then, is 490 Defense. Most "Skull" Elites are effectively level 73 creatures.

    Crushing Blows (150% Damage normal attacks) are calculated with Defense in relation to the level of mob you are fighting. Crushing Blows can only occur from creatures 3 levels higher than you or greater; the chance to receive a Crushing Blow cannot be reduced below 15%. Defense beyond your baseline does not affect Crushing Blows.

    Please note: a very detailed explanation of the relationship between Armor and Stamina can be found in "Effective Health" towards the bottom of this page. It is the first in the articles section.

    Mitigation (70) =   -----------------
                         Armor + 10557.5
    Mitigation (73) =   -----------------
                          Armor + 11960
    Mitigation represents the actual Damage Reduction you receive from Armor. The 70 and 73 represent the levels of your opponent.

    Examples of Damage Reduction against level 70 creatures:
      AC                 Mitigation
    5,000 _______________  32.14%
    10,000 ______________  48.64%
    12,000 ______________  53.20%
    13,000 ______________  55.18%
    14,000 ______________  57.01%
    15,000 ______________  58.69%
    16,000 ______________  60.25%
    17,000 ______________  61.69%
    20,000 ______________  65.45%
    25,000 ______________  70.31%
    Note that there are significant Diminishing Returns on Mitigation; as you gain each new point of Armor, each point provides a smaller net benefit in terms of mitigation.

    However, in the words of Satrina, "Mitigation is subject to diminishing returns, but Armor is not." What this means is, Armor provides a linear increase to lifespan, if not mitigation.

    To better understand this, use the following examples Satrina used:

    1) I have 3000 armour and 5000 hitpoints. Against a level 60 opponent that deals 200 damage per second I will live for 38.64 seconds Now I will add 1000 armour, giving me 4000 armour. Against a level 60 opponent that deals 200 damage per second I will live for 43.18 seconds Adding 1000 armour increased my time to live by 4.54 seconds.

    2) I have 6000 armour and 5000 hitpoints. Against a level 60 opponent that deals 200 damage per second I will live for 52.27 seconds Now I will add 1000 armour, giving me 7000 armour. Against a level 60 opponent that deals 200 damage per second I will live for 56.82 seconds Adding 1000 armour increased my time to live by 4.55 seconds.

    3) I have 10000 armour and 5000 hitpoints. Against a level 60 opponent that deals 200 damage per second I will live for 70.45 seconds Now I will add 1000 armour, giving me 11000 armour. Against a level 60 opponent that deals 200 damage per second I will live for 75.00 seconds Adding 1000 armour increased my time to live by 4.55 seconds.
    More detailed information can be found here:

    Avoidance & Shield Block

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    Avoidance can occur in nearly all situations, including while mounted or while using a Ranged weapon. Avoidance is one of the most helpful attributes of a tank and accounts for a significant reduction in necessary healing.

    0.4.1 Dodge
    Dodge represents 100% avoidance of a frontal attack. Players can Dodge most Physical attacks, including many Cleaves and Whirlwinds. Most Elemental-based Melee attacks can be Dodged. A player cannot Dodge a Critical Strike or Crushing Blow under normal circumstances.

    Creatures are capable of Dodging attacks from any direction.

    Dodge is the most effective itemization in terms of reducing Crushing Blows. This is because Dodge can stack relatively high with Itemization points. When using the Shield Block ability, an attack that would not otherwise be a Crushing Blow can be Dodged, allowing the charges of Shield Block to stay active on creatures that would may have attacked too quickly and used the Shield Block charges before the cooldown was available again.

    Defense is more effective than Dodge when attempting to become passively uncrushable, which requires the non-Avoidance stat Block.

    0.4.2 Parry
    Parry represents 100% avoidance of a frontal attack. Players can Parry most Physical attacks. Most Elemental-based Melee attacks can be Parried. A player cannot Parry a Critical Strike or Crushing Blow under normal circumstances.

    Parry represents an offensive avoidance and costs considerably more in terms of itemization. When a player Parries, their next normal melee swing becomes a counter-attack sped up by as much as 50%.

    When a creature Parries it also gains attack speed. Raid bosses normally have greater than 12% Parry. For this reason, it is beneficial to keep all non-tanking players directly behind a creature. In addition, Expertise reduces the chance of Parry and the following counter-attack.

    Parry is most beneficial when using slower weapon.

    0.4.3 Chance to be Missed
    Being Missed represents 100% avoidance of an omni-directional attack. Being missed can occur by any Physical attack and most Elemental-based Melee attacks. Reducing a creature or player's Chance to Hit will increase their Chance to Miss.

    Chance to be Missed only comes from Defense. This attribute is shown when you highlight your Defense attribute in your Character Pane. Also, creatures have a base 5% Chance to Miss and that can be added to your Chance to be Missed from Defense.

    0.4.4 Shield Block
    Shield Block represents a reduction in damage from a frontal attack. Shield Blocks are effective against all Physical attacks, including Ranged. Shield Blocks are usually ineffective against Elemental-based Melee attacks.

    The use of the Shield Block ability can boost Avoidance and Shield Block well above 100% on the combat table. When this occurs, Shield Block takes priority over Crushing Blows and Critical Strikes. As a result, an attack blocked with the Shield Block ability can never be a Crushing Blow.

    Players can Block a Critical Strike from special abilities. This means that special attacks from Players can be Blocked. Creatures are incapable of landing a Critical Strike with a special ability, however, and Defense effectively removes Critical Strikes from environmental content.

    For technical reference, Shield Block is not a form of Avoidance but a form of Mitigation.

    Threat Mechanics & Values

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    0.5.1 Threat
    Threat should not be looked at as an arcane, mysterious entity that can not be understood or put into real terms. It is based on real and understandable concepts and numbers.

    Let's say that 1 Damage is equivalent to 1 Threat. For the purposes of this game, this is the best way to quantify threat, as 1 Damage will produce the equivalent of 1 Threat before any modifiers come into play. The Warrior who is tanking will always want to make sure their threat is at a higher level than the Threat of their party or raid members. Following this, the Warrior can make use of specific abilities which maximize his or her Threat potential. This is done by the intelligent use of abilities, gear, threat-producing talents, and basic positioning in relation to party members.

    While 1 Damage is equivalent to 1 Threat, it takes 2 points of Healing to amount to 1 Threat. Also, Threat is only produced by effective healing -- overhealing produces no Threat.

    Threat does not decay in combat. It can be reduced through the use of several mechanics such as Knockback. However, under normal circumstances Threat will never decay.

    Pulling and Holding Aggro (100/110/130 Rule)
    Tank (Baseline) _____________________  100%
    Melee Range Aggro Gain ______________  110%
    Ranged Aggro Gain ___________________  130%
    The above chart represents the balance of when a player will pull aggro from the tank. To get aggro, a player in melee range must exceed the total threat of the current player with aggro by 10%. If the player is at a range, they would have to produce 30% more threat to fully gain aggro.

    This has some important implications. First, it gives you breathing room to miss a few attacks and not instantly lose aggro -- that seems to be the purpose of the 10% rule. Second, it means that ranged classes take a heavy risk by moving into melee range with a large amount of threat built up -- the mob will instantly change targets to a ranged target who moves into melee. Third, this means that tank switching can be difficult in some cases.

    0.5.2 Taunt
    This is where Taunt comes in. The Warrior Taunt immediately places you at 100% aggro of whoever the highest-Threat player is on the target list for that creature. It also bypasses the 10% rule and does not require you build immediate threat. When tanking, it may be helpful to remember that you can let any player you want build Threat for you on a mob -- all you have to do is Taunt the mob to get everything they worked for and make the mob yours. This is also a good argument for Improved Taunt.

    One important note about Threat gained from Taunt is that you will only gain the Threat of the current target of your creature. For instance, a ranged class such as a Mage may have 120% of your accumulated Threat, but due to the 100/110/130 rule has not pulled aggro. You would not receive the Threat bonus from that Mage for using your Taunt prior to him actually being targeted by the creature. If a creature is applying a Secondary or Random-Secondary ability where he temporarily changes targets to someone else -- disregarding his normal Threat table -- you will not gain the Threat of the player he is targeting.

    Taunt, as well as Mocking Blow and Challenging Shout, also force your target to attack you through a debuff placed on the creature. This debuff can be helpful when the creature may be in danger of immediately moving to or harming another party or raid member. For instance, some mobs will randomly Intercept nearby players, wiping or diminishing their Threat list. A well-timed Taunt or Mocking Blow can cause a creature that may otherwise not return to you to immediately do so. Challenging Shout can be useful as a six-second buffer for an AOE class to safely damaging several nearby targets at once; it can also be useful in temporarily capturing the attention of one or more creatures that may otherwise kill a nearby player.

    Aside from the debuff, Mocking Blow and Challenging Shout are dissimilar to Taunt and will not give you a Threat gain in relation to another player. Mocking Blow and Challenging Shout are six second targeting debuffs; Taunt is three.

    Taunt is affected by Physical Hit and no longer falls under the standard rules of Spell Resistance. For the purposes of this game, if there are any critical Taunt fights such as the Four Horsemen of Naxxramas, getting 5% Physical Hit will minimize the chance of resists.

    0.5.3 Threat from Stances, Talents, Buffs, and Classes
    The following chart shows multipliers to Threat values that affect the amount of Threat players produce.
    Ability Multipliers                   Percent  Multiplier
    Defensive Stance / Bear Form ________  130%      (1.3)  Multiplicative
    Defiance / Feral Instinct ___________  115%     (1.15)  Multiplicative
        Fury Stance (Imp Berserker) _________   71%     (0.71)  Multiplicative
    Battle Stance _______________________   80%      (0.8)  Multiplicative
    Rogue / Cat Form Druid ______________   71%     (0.71)  Multiplicative
    Blessing of Salvation _______________   70%      (0.7)  Multiplicative
    Tranquil Air Totem __________________   80%      (0.8)  Multiplicative
    Druid (Subtlety) ____________________   80%      (0.8)  Multiplicative
    Priest (Silent Resolve) _____________   80%      (0.8)  Multiplicative
    Mage (Frost Channelling) ____________   90%      (0.9)  Multiplicative
    Mage (Burning Soul) _________________   90%      (0.9)  Multiplicative
    Mage (Arcane Subtlety) ______________   60%      (0.6)  Multiplicative
    Warlock (Destructive Reach) _________   90%      (0.9)  Multiplicative
    Warlock (Imp. Drain Soul) ___________   90%      (0.9)  Multiplicative
    Innate Threat
    Many Warrior abilities are built around the concept of Innate, or hidden, Threat values. What this means is that abilities which neither deal Damage or Healing produces Threat on the targeted creature when used. Innate Threat never replaces Threat produced from damage; in many cases, such as with Shield Slam, Devastate, Heroic Strike and Revenge, the Damage portion of the ability produces Threat in addition to the innate value.

    The following chart gives detailed Innate Threat values for abilities at Level 70:
    Shield Slam _________________________   307
    Revenge _____________________________   200
    Devastate ___________________________
     176 (Special, Read Below)
    Sunder Armor ________________________   301
    Heroic Strike _______________________   196
    Cleave ______________________________   130 (Split)
    Mocking Blow ________________________   290
    Demoralizing Shout __________________    56 (Split)
    Battleshout _________________________    69 (Split)
    Commanding Shout ____________________    68 (Split)
    Disarm_______________________________   104
    Hamstring ___________________________   181
    Whirlwind ____________________  100% Damage (Unaffected by Stance Multiplier)
    Execute ______________________  100% Damage (Unaffected by Stance Multiplier)
    Thunderclap __________________  175% Damage
    Spell Reflect ________________  100% Damage
    Piercing Howl and Concussion Blow do not generate Threat.
    Sunder Armor continues to generate the same threat even after five applications.

    When Threat is split as indicated above, that means it is either divided by the number of mobs affected or by the number of creatures aware of your presence. This is determined by whether the ability directly affects the creature or not. For instance, the Threat from Demoralizing Shout shout would only be split by the creatures it directly hits; however, the Threat from Commanding Shout would be split among all creatures engaged with your character.

    Devastate Threat Per Current Sunder Armor Application
    0: 119
    1: 134
    2: 148
    3: 162
    4: 176

    All of the above will also add 301 Sunder Armor Threat. After the fifth application, it will continue to provide 176 Threat but will no longer apply Sunder Armor. Damage will always be calculated as Threat in addition to the above, and will increase with each application of Sunder Armor.

    Read Satrina's testing here:

    0.5.4 Damage as Threat
    All damage is Threat; not all Threat is damage. Any increase in damage will be a direct increase in Threat. Threat from damage scales in specific ways.

    The most obvious scaling can be seen in Shield Slam, which becomes stronger as a Warrior collects standard tanking gear with Shield Block Value.

    Devastate and Normal attacks both scale from Attack Power. Though improvements in this area are generally less perceptible, they make up a significant portion of your overall threat. Devastate and Normal attacks also benefit from party and raid buffs.

    Heroic Strike and Devastate scale based on Weapon Speed. However, getting faster weapons for Heroic Strike is much better in terms of net gain; Devastate is Normalized, meaning your Attack Power bonus is based on a 2.4 Speed weapon, whereas Heroic Strike is not affected by Normalization, and the fastest weapons will produce the best possible results.

    0.5.5 Critical Strikes & Effective Abilities
    Critical Strikes have no unique impact on Threat. The extra Threat generated from a Critical Strike is strictly from the damage produced; Innate Threat is not affected.

    The Threat on abilities such as Hamstring Shield Bash are not affected by whether the effect is successful or not unless the target is fully immune to the ability. For instance, Hamstring will deal 181 Threat regardless of whether the target is slowed. Even if the target is immune to slowing, the ability will still gain the 181 Threat bonus since Hamstring also causes damage -- the ability is at least functionally operational so the Threat is awarded.

    Talent & Skill Information

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    The following includes information, math and correlations between talents.

    0.6.1 Skills
    Spell Reflect will reflect or negate most single-target spells. It will reflect the single target aspect of some spell volleys, such as Shadowbolt Volley. It will not reflect most pure AOE skills, such as Frost Nova.

    Commanding Shout and Battle Shout cannot be stacked by a single Warrior. Having two Warriors in a group will maximize that group's efficiency in a raid setting.

    0.6.2 Arms
    Improved Heroic Strike represents a 20% increase in Rage efficiency. This stacks with Focused Rage for a 40% increase in Rage efficiency.

    Iron Will is additive to the Orc Racial and will allow 40% Stun Resist.

    Improved Thunderclap represents a 20% decrease in Attack Speed. This equates to a 20% reduction in normal attack damage, but does not affect special abilities.

    Improved Intercept greatly increases the chance that you will Intercept in the wrong direction, confusing your enemies. (Don't take this one too seriously)

    0.6.3 Fury
    Booming Voice does not increase threat values for the affected Shouts.

    Cruelty does not represent a 5% increase in overall Threat. However, it can net a larger bonus than 5% damage for Warriors who spec into Impale or Flurry.

    Improved Demoralizing Shout is not effective past 2 talent points for Burning Crusade bosses. However, if Curse of Recklessness is present on the target, 5/5 Improved Demoralizing Shout is necessary to negate the additional Attack Power.

    Dual-Wield Specialization does not increase Shield Slam damage.

    Weapon Mastery represents a 50% reduction in duration when disarmed. It also increases Chance to Hit by eliminating 2% Dodge from the Combat Table.

    Improved Berserker Rage instantly creates as much rage as Anger Management over the course of 30 seconds.

    0.6.4 Protection
    Improved Bloodrage will generate enough rage on pulling to land a Shield Slam immediately.

    Tactical Mastery will allow you to Intercept and Pummel when changing stances. Since Intercept stun works on most creatures, this is only effective on interruptible raid mobs.

    Anticipation represents a 0.8% increase Block, Dodge, Parry, Chance to be Missed and a 0.8% reduction in Critical Hits. This is a cumulative 4%.

    Toughness will allow you to live 10% longer while tanking. Percentage increases in Armor have a curved relation to Damage Reduction; they have a linear relation to life expectancy.

    Improved Shield Block allows your Shield Block ability to last through the duration of the cooldown. It also is critical in reducing the number of Crushing Blows while raid tanking.

    Improved Sunder Armor represents a 20% increase in Rage efficiency for both Sunder Armor and Devastate. This stacks with Focused Rage for a 40% increase in Rage efficiency for these abilities.

    Shield Mastery increases Shield Block Value, which increases Shield Slam damage.

    One-Handed Specialization increases Shield Slam damage by 10%.

    Shield Slam can dispel magic shields on some classes. If the shield is dispelled, the Shield Slam deals full damage to the target, as if the shield had been inactive when the player was struck.

    Focused Rage has a major impact on most abilities. With Focused Rage and Improved Heroic and Improved Sunder, Revenge will cost 2 Rage, Heroic Strike, Sunder Armor and Devastate will cost 9 Rage.

    How Shield Slam Works

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    0.7 Shield Slam -- How it Scales
    Shield Slam provides the largest scaling available to the Protection Warrior. It is affected by all increases in damage, including One-Handed Specialization, Enrage, Deathwish, and Impale.

    The basic equation is:
    (BD + (SBV *1.3)) * 1.1

    Where BD is Base Damage and SBV is Shield Block Value.
    1.3 Represents Shield Mastery 30% Damage Increase
    1.1 Represents One-Handed Specialization 10% Damage Increase

    The following represents math to maximize Shield Slam damage to it's potential with talents:

    (BD + (SBV * 1.3)) * 1.1 * 1.2 * 2.2 = Impale/Deathwish Critical Strike Value
    (BD + (SBV * 1.3)) * 1.1 * 1.25 * 2 = Enrage Critical Strike Value
    (BD + (SBV *1.3)) * 1.1 * 2.2 = Impale Critical Strike Value
    (BD + (SBV *1.3)) * 1.1 * 2 = Normal Critical Strike

    1.2 Represents Deathwish 20% Damage Increase
    1.25 Represents Enrage 25% Damage Increase
    2 Represents Normal Critical Strike Multiplier
    2.2 Represents Critical Strike Multiplier modified by Impale

    For example, an average Rank 6 Shield Slam will deal 430 Base Damage. Let's assume 750 Shield Block Value. Here's what some numbers would look like:

    1405 * 1.1 * 1.2 * 2.2 = 3709 Shield Slam Crit (Impale/Deathwish)
    1405 * 1.1 * 2.2 = 3400 Shield Slam Crit (Impale)
    1405 * 1.1 * 2 = 3091 Normal Shield Slam Crit

    Keybinds & Keyboard Setup

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    The following section is a reference and explanation for different and more efficient ways of controlling your character.

    1.1 Keybinds
    Keybinds are any action your character is capable of that is bound to to a specific button on your keyboard, mouse, or other input device. The most basic controls such as movement are Keybinds -- arrow keys, for instance.

    1.1.1 Why Are Keybinds Important To The Warrior?
    The Warrior is an instinctive creature. What she lacks in 33 Intellect, she makes up for by hitting the right target ridiculously hard, or with particular animosity. She is ready to command and control many situations, be it holding a line or destroying the same.

    At least, this is how the Warrior class is designed. Whether you are able to control one of the most twitchy classes in World of Warcraft and maximize your potential is dependent on how quickly you can react. Believe me when I say that reaction time comes with practice.

    It also comes with your physical ability to control your character through your keyboard and mouse. Here is an example of a complex pull in Heroic Shattered Halls and how I personally handle it:
    Pack A has a Legionnaire, which will deal moderate
    damage and call in three additional low-damage
    Brawlers through the duration of the fight; it has
    a Savage, which will deal heavy direct damage to
    it's target; there are two Reavers, which will
    deal moderate damage as well as do an occasional
    Knockback and Cleave; there are also two casters,
    an Acolyte and a Darkcaster, which do not need to
    be tanked and can be killed first.
    When pulling, I use my ranged weapon on the
    Legionnaire. He will move a pace ahead of the rest
    of the pack; as soon as the Savage comes into 
    range, I will shoot him as well, then immediately
    turn around and run around a corner to force all
    of the mobs to converge on me via Line of Sight.
    One of the finer points of controlling many situations involving movement or Line of Sight involves being able to turn on a dime -- if you simply use your right or left arrow keys while clicking a shoot button, you will be unable to assure your own safety in this kind of pull. Snap-turning requires a mouse exclusively, so you want a Ranged attack to be able to be queued up with a Keybinding, especially if it is very fast such as many Throwing Weapons.

    I have built no Threat on either of the Reavers
    and have built very little Threat on the Savage
    and Legionnaire. I will be hit very hard, very
    quickly and if my Healers don't react, I will
    die -- this means I need established Threat before
    I receive too much healing. I Shield Slam the
    first Reaver, change targets, Heroic Strike,
    change targets, Revenge, change targets, Heroic
    Strike, change targets, Taunt, switch to Battle
    Stance, Thunderclap, switch to Defensive Stance, ...
    Follow the above list carefully. Shield Slam, Revenge, and Thunderclap are on the Global Cooldown of 1.5 seconds; Heroic Strike is connected to your Weapon Speed and does not affect any other ability cooldown; Taunt is on an independent cooldown; stance changing is on an 1-second independent cooldown.

    It is possible to complete the entire first just under 5 seconds, but it necessitates the use of Keybindings to give yourself enough flexibility to control your character and your targets with the Mouse (or through Tab-targetting). Since every situation is different, you can't simply line up the buttons you are going to use and be ready to mouse-click them in the right order -- especially since Heroic Strike needs to be queued up between and while other abilities are being used.

    In all but the most mundane work, establishing effective Keybindings will make you able to react and respond more effectively than trying to frantically click buttons. Fortunately, the learning process is very quick.

    1.1.2 Movement Keybindings -- Common Examples
    Q   W   E
    A   S   D   F
    This represents your Standard movement setup, where Q and E represent strafing side to side, and WASD are similar to your Arrow Keys. This is a default of the game. The "F" key in this scenario is most often bound to a very important ability that is not in constant use but needs easy access -- in my case, I use "F" for Execute and "Shift+F" for The Decapitator item use.

    Non-Standard Ergonomic
    W   E   R   T
    S   D   F   G
    This is a very solid movement setup for a Microsoft ergonomic keyboard. It works effectively for many players on normal keyboards as well. W and R represent strafing, whereas ESDF represent standard movement. With this setup, the easiest-access keys are T and G, so we use those for special abilities. Q and A work effectively for uncommon use abilities, though if you use the 1-6 keys for basic abilities these are not as accessible as T and G.

    If you are using a 5-button laser mouse or any similar mouse, it is common to rebind the strafe keys to the far left and right mouse buttons. This allows for more key availability.

    1.1.3 Easy Access to Independent Cooldowns and Core Abilities
    This is one of the more important concepts in setting up effective Keybindings for your Warrior. You have several core abilities which you will use in nearly all situations. For tanking, the six most commonly used abilities are Taunt, Shield Block, Shield Slam, Sunder Armor, Revenge, and Heroic Strike.

    Notice that Taunt, Shield Block, and Heroic Strike are completely independent of each other, as well as being independent of the Big 3 (Shield Slam, Sunder, Revenge).

    Though some players have some very complex setups, I will illustrate how to apply these the default method -- your Number keys. I use 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, for easy access above my movement keys.

    Here is an example of Defensive Stance for me while tanking:
    1 - Taunt
    2 - Shield Block
    3 - Shield Slam
    4 - Sunder Armor
    5 - Revenge
    6 - Heroic Strike
    Finger positioning is critical. My Taunt and Shield Block are controlled by my ring finger; my Shield Slam, Sunder, and Revenge (all on the same Global Cooldown) are controlled by my middle finger, and my spammable Heroic Strike is controlled by my index finger.

    Note that the Shield Slam, my most important ability, is directly above my Forward movement key. This is where my hand naturally rests.

    1.1.4 Universal and Similar Keybinds Across Stances
    This is very specific to moves which involve stance dancing and, in many cases, macros. Often, you want similar abilities to be in the exact same place across all of your stances, to maximize speed and minimize mistakes.

    Here are some examples of my own hotbars:
    1 - Taunt  (Defensive Stance)
    1 - Mocking Blow* (Battle Stance)
    3 - Shield Slam (Battle/Defensive/Berserker Stance)
    *This is specifically so if I see my Taunt is resisted, I can immediately switch stances to Battle Stance and use Mocking Blow immediately. Having easy access to this means I am 100% sure I can effectively get the Mocking Blow off immediately, without accidentally spamming the wrong key in the wrong stance.

    1 - Shield Bash (Battle/Defensive Stance)
    1 - Pummel (Berserker Stance)
    2 - Charge/Intercept Macro (Battle/Defensive/Berserker Stance)
    3 - Shield Slam (Battle/Defensive/Berserker Stance)
    6 - Piercing Howl** (Battle/Defensive/Berserker Stance)
    **Note that Piercing Howl could be replaced with Hamstring/Shield Bash depending on stance and use.

    1.1.5 Do Your Own Thing; and, Some Mouse Clicking is Fine
    I simply do not believe you can be the most effective player of the Warrior class by limiting yourself to the use of your mouse alone. However, I also believe that players have many different preferences and all I can give is an example.

    If you wish to experiment with your own Keybindings, please keep in mind that you have to develop a "muscle memory," or, your brain has to get used to doing the unfamiliar. The keyboard itself is inherently an extension of your brain, just as a hammer or wrench might be, so you will learn it -- it just takes a day or so to get used to it.

    Also, I do not entirely use Keybindings. Battle/Commanding Shout, Last Stand, Healthstones, Shield Wall, etc., are exclusively clicked for me. Depending on my hotbar setup, I may use my mouse to click some abilities on the Global Cooldown for the sake of ease. Don't feel bad if you don't Keybind everything!

    Defensive Talent Builds

    |Return to Top|

    The following are examples of solid talent builds that work. I have used all of them for the purposes listed; you can check which build I am using currently by following this link:
    The World of Warcraft Armory

    What is critically important to remember with any of these talent builds is that they are simply examples. While they may give you some insight to possibilities you had not thought of before, that doesn't mean you should necessarily copy paste. So much of speccing is about getting the job done that you need to get done. For instance, in Blackwing Lair, then again with the Four Horsemen in Naxxramas, I would never miss Improved Taunt in my build -- yet, how good was Improved Taunt, really, when I wasn't working on those encounters?

    Be smart!

    2.1 Damage Reduction (8/5/48)
    This is a popular build that emphasizes raid survivability. This build assumes you have another Warrior with Improved Demoralizing Shout. If another Warrior has Imp Thunderclap, points should be moved to Imp Heroic Strike instead. This is not a rage-efficient build, but is superior for some Main Tanking situations. -> Info -> Classes -> Warrior -> Talent Calculator

    2.2 Highest Efficiency/Utility (11/7/43)
    This is my current and favorite build. Reasons for all talent decisions are outlined elsewhere in this guide. This is not suggested for certain encounters such as Kael'thas, where Improved Defensive Stance is beneficial. -> Info -> Classes -> Warrior -> Talent Calculator

    2.3 Stupid-high Shield Slams (21/5/35)
    This is for those fanatics who want to put their Block Value to use for a bit. If you were serious about PVP'ing you may want to switch some points around in favor of Imp Intercept; however, you'd be able ot tank 5-mans, Heroics, and off-tank raid content w/ this build w/o a problem. -> Info -> Classes -> Warrior -> Talent Calculator

    View it in action: Current Shield Slam Records - TheorySpot

    Those Things I Didn't Write

    |Return to Top|

    7.1 Those Things I Just Mentioned
    This guide was never finished. It got longer and longer, and as much as I pushed to perhaps finish it, I would always think of more that needed to be said. Two sections I would have added were one on gear options prior to raiding (as well as a Shield Block Value gear list) and another on basic instance encounters. Perhaps I will finish it some day.

    With that said, here are some very basic pointers which I will let you, the reader, ponder because I never got around to them.

    *Warrior Threat scales not just with Shield Slam and Devastate, but with pure avoidance. If healers are forced to heal you for less (understanding that overheals do not generate Threat), then by avoiding more damage, you effectively reduce their Threat potential. How does this affect raiding? Does it matter? Players have tons of aggro-reduction abilities for that!

    *Related to the above point, you don't have to tank everything. I rarely tank casters of any sort in a 5-man. I do this so I can generate Threat on the mobs that might actually kill my healer. Since I can only (at a maximum) reduce the damage incoming on caster mobs by 16%, I feel that my DPS classes do fine handling them. By the time DPS'ers are done with the caster mobs, you should be confident that you have enough Threat on all mobs to easily handle them.

    *Two pure tanking sets should be developed by Warriors. The first is your normal Stam/Armor/Avoidance gear, the second is full Shield Block Value set.

    *Related to above point, Shield Slam is very viable in PVP with the gear. This is alluded to in the spec section. From personal experience, I found the burst damage fairly incredible in Battlegrounds.

    *The Gnomeregan Auto-Blocker 600 should be your first goal from Heroics as a Protection Warrior. The damage increase on Shield Slams is phenomenal.

    *12 Stamina gems are the only gem choice right now for pure tanks. While Defense Rating is nice, stacking every slot with a 12 Stamina gem maximizes your ability to survive new encounters. With some exceptions, it is usually more beneficial to simply drop any gem bonuses you would receive in favor of this.

    *Always open with a Shield Slam unless you have dire issues with rage or you are not concerned with initial aggro. Doing this allows you to get the second Shield Slam sooner, and maximizes Threat gain.

    *There is a solid Threat cycle you should work with. In any given cycle, hit Revenge, Shield Slam, Sunder, Sunder*, then rinse and repeat. Sunder Armors are completely unnecessary in this cycle -- they help Threat, but if you are going to scrap any ability in favor of Demoralizing Shout, Thunderclap, etc., this is the one to drop. Never miss a Revenge then Shield Slam. Also, server lag is a very real component of the gameplay, as well as the 5 second Revenge (which does not fall properly in line with a 1.5 second Global Cooldown), so lose a Sunder here and there in favor of a quicker Shield Slam or Revenge.

    *Have two tanks? There are plenty of good tricks you can pull with them. For instance, one that my friend Aylevene uses is cycle taunts on mobs for incredibly fast Threat generation. For example, he would pull, Shield Slam, then his off-tank would Taunt, Shield Slam, then he would Taunt, Shield Slam, in a constant flow. Understanding how to work with another tank is absolutely critical for everything from complex Threat generation to simply dealing with Fear cycles.

    *Good Warriors have Sprite Darters and Bloodsail Admiral Hats. It really is that simple.

    Any questions you have or anything you want to know, catch me at

    Last edited by Ciderhelm; 03-24-2008 at 05:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Queens, NY
    I really want to make sure I understand these charts. I think I get the bottom one: One point in defensive skill = the various percentages. I can't figure out the first two charts....the decimal number is from what and the "1" is in referece to what? Sorry for the ignorance. Trying to catch up...
    The Raid - A feature length documentary following the lives of a group of virtual raiders.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    I think the other charts mean that it takes X number of points to equal 1&#37; change. I could be wrong though. It's bound to happen someday <nod>

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Question on SS

    When I am calculating my SBV, do I count both of the below?
    Equip: Increases your shield block rating by 24
    Equip: Increases the block value of your shield by 29.

    or do I just include the block value numbers? In your example, you have 750 SBV and after adding up just my SBV numbers, not the "rating" numbers, i only come up to 268. That's a far cry from 750!

    BTW - This has to be the best site I have stumbled on for tanking, after reading through most of the site, I have completely changed my play style. I am now having more fun than ever before while doing more DPS and generating more threat! So thank you to all the authors for that...

    Mokono - Area 52

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Rating and value are different stats. Rating increases you chance to block an attack, value increases how much you block.

    Block value is wonderful for threat scaling. I've recently cracked the 600 mark in my block value / aggro set and I've been much happier with my threat generation. As you upgrade your gear, keep an eye out for it and prioritize it as one of your key stats (for example, Iron Gauntlets of the Maiden > Tier 4 gloves).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    Now only if she would drop them...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Tacoma, Wa
    Fully updated for 2.3 and compiled in a single thread with table of contents.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Well done...very very good and help full info in this guide thanks a lot.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Tacoma, Wa
    Per request, I've highlighted all 2.3 changes.

  10. #10
    Thank You!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    The link to your Damage Reduction build (8/5/48) shows a 11/0/50 build.
    Also the “Read & Respond: New Initial Threat Rotation?” link seems to be broken

    Anyway, great guide!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Tacoma, Wa
    A ton of links have broken when reposting information and I have no idea why. They are taking "forums/" out of the URL.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Regarding what you said for Avoidance and Miss Chance, to be passively uncrushable, one can add up all the Miss/Dodge/Parry/Block seen in the tooltips, along with the extra 5% base chance to be missed to exceed 102.4%?

    If that's the case, actual uncrushability happens at 97.4% as seen from tooltip information.

    Is the above bolded statement correct?
    "I played hard to avoid mistakes, but now I can play hard to capitalize on opportunities." -Arold, on the 3.0 Protection Warrior.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    I recently found this site and started looking arround. Found your guild relation forums as I am currently looking to change guilds.

    Only one thing to say.....

    Thank you for this guide. I found this a couple years ago on the WoW warrior forum and it completely changed the way I look at tanking and the mechanics of gearing my warrior to tank. From the information I have gotten from it and what I have figgured out on my own grinding away at this game I have been told time and time again that I am the best tank that people have ever run with..... period.

    Thank you,

    Last edited by Jerubbaal; 12-16-2007 at 05:43 PM.
    A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. Gen. George S. Patton

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by Finelle View Post
    If that's the case, actual uncrushability happens at 97.4% as seen from tooltip information.

    Is the above bolded statement correct?
    102.4% is including the base 5% chance to miss. It's just an all purpose formula and what you're saying is the same thing.

    There's a nice macro from Satarina's uncrushable thread you can make so you don't have to go through the pain of adding up the values in the tooltips manually. It's great for comparing gear. Just equip, hit macro. See difference.

    /run local a,b=UnitDefense("player") a = (a+b-350)/25 ChatFrame1:AddMessage(format("Need 102.4%% combined (miss+dodge+parry+block). Currently at %.2f%%", 5+a+ GetDodgeChance()+ GetBlockChance()+ GetParryChance()))

    Substitute the 5+a+ near the end for 24+a+ to make a macro vs DW bosses.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    You might wish to revisit your keybinding section now that Thunderclap is use able in defensive stance!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2008


    May be a stupid question.

    With my 'boss gear' i had a defense of 542 so i moved points out of anticipation to tactical master and anger management (11/5/45). Trash set (2nd best shield with spike, vengence trinket etc I m still at 499. I dont have any defense gems except an epic 1 which I picked up in a heroic and am loath to lose.

    Am i being stupid and should maximize defense? I havent noticed more deaths though I havent asked healers if they are having to work harder. I share MT with a tankadin ssc 6/6, Eye 3/4, MH 2/5


  18. #18
    Any chance of this being updated for current content/cap?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    I took a year off from Wow and returned to this site for information. How current is this information?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Not up to date. Most of the current new info is split into various guides here now. Click the "Guides" Button/Tab at the top of your page to see what is available and current. For some "mostly" current guides, just scower this forum a bit. Most are pretty close to upto date. Just check how recent the posts are to get an idea.


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