Completely New to Tanking
Just as a note, I'm comparatively new to the game as a whole, my only other character being a level 81 rogue, so things that might seem obvious to you (such as common abbreviations) probably aren't to me. It would be a huge help if you could avoid them as much as convenient. I can look them up obviously, but it's a lot harder to understand any lengthy paragraph when I'm back and forth between a wiki getting definitions Hope you understand that.
Basically the only character I've played is a rogue, and I'm quite tired of the grind of running DPS in instances. So a little while ago I rolled a Night Elf Warrior as everything I read on tanking seemed to point at a Protection Warrior being the most challenging and rewarding which is pretty much what I'm looking for after getting bored of DPS. I've read up a lot on tanking including the FAQ and the guide on here by Wroar which gave me a lot of useful information obviously and a fairly decent grasp on the basic essentials of tanking but any guide I've found that goes into detail is pretty much entirely for end game/high level tanking which doesn't really help me in my situation beyond the parts that are always applicable.
My situation is I have a Night Elf Warrior who is currently at level 25, and I want to level it up by tanking instances repeatedly because I find them by far the most enjoyable part of the game for many reasons I'm sure I don't need to go into. I don't have a guild so I'll be exclusively using the LFD tool to do this, and having witnessed first hand the abuse some tanks are on the receiving end of if there's a wipe, particularly kickvotes started by impatient players, I'm a little apprehensive about tanking my first instance which I plan to do this evening. Since a quick search of the forums didn't find any dedicated Protection Warrior levelling/low level tanking guides I just decided to start up a thread and ask a bunch of stuff all at once
Firstly, even though my Blacksmithing is maxed out for my level at 225 (thanks to my rogue being a miner) none of my recipes to create items nor anything I've found on the AH, available for use at level 25, offer any boosts to the avoidance/mitigation attributes so what I've been doing instead is going for the maximum armour rating I can whilst stacking stamina for the HP increases. Is this pretty much the right way I should be heading until I start noticing drops/recipes that can boost the avoidance/mitigation attributes?
Everywhere always references the standard marking scheme (skull - main DPS, red cross - secondary DPS, blue square - Main CC and moon - secondary CC) which as a tank would be pretty much down to me to set? Is it worth doing this in the low level instances I'll be starting off in just to get into the habit and to practice assigning the targets efficiently/quickly? As I've only rolled one character before I don't really know what sort of mobs should be assigned as what, as I just hit what I was told to before, and none of the guides I've read seem to have any information on this, most likely because it's really standard fare for people to know it. Where's the best place to read up on which sort of mobs I should be trying to take out early and which should be CC'd etc?
Obviously all the end game guides I've read are talking about the best tactics in terms of the order to hit your spells/abilities in, and referencing a fair number that I don't have yet such as revenge being the main one. Another thing is I need another 2 levels before I get the warbringer talent, meaning a lot of the tactics for pulling/initiating combat and then charging won't work for me yet so I'm not 100% sure on the tactics I should be using at the moment.
I'm guessing from instinct really that I'll be needing to pull with a charge to generate some initial rage end then hitting the shield slam ASAP. After that I'm really not sure at all as the high level guides focus on revenge so much. Should I use sunder armour and then taunt mobs I lose threat on? Or just try and hold threat on all of them with thunderclaps when shield slam is on cooldown? I'm guessing nothing changes with the Heroic Strike spamming when I've got a whole lot of rage to burn?
Anyway, I'm sure there's more stuff I wanted to ask but forgot about, but my lunch break is over so I don't have time to remember it right now. This post is looking more than long enough already too.
Thanks in advance for any help and advice and I'll be posting in this thread again later when I'm done with work.
Edit: Holy hell that's a wall of text, sorry
Ciderhelm did some videos detailing the basics of how to control a tank character a while back, here are the links to the forum threads with the videos he made:
bind them to your number pad. this speeds up marking so much, when you can just target a mob, hit 1, target next, hit 2, target next hit 3, target the one with skull and pull. Reduces the time you need to mark a group of 4-5 mobs by about 10-12 seconds.
Well it's hard to give you special information about how to play at lvl 25 and the next levels. You will get new abilities all the time. You have to work around not having some of them and switch over to them as soon as you have them. But it's the same for everybody else, too.
If there are more than one mob use Thunderclap. Start with Rend early and take the talent Blood and Thunder. If you do that everybody will be amazed about how good you can hold multiple mobs. No other tank at that level but warriors can do something like that. I'm not sure which abilities you have by now. Just try to integrate every new tanking ability (that's probably everything usable in def stance) to your bar and maybe your rotation. Do it as soon as you get them.
Your base rotation should look like the following eventually:
Shield Slam -> Revenge -> Devastate -> everything that needs to be done or Devastate
for single target encounters. This will change eventually when you get Sword and Board, but the only change will be that you start over the rotation every time you get a free Shield Slam.
For multiple mobs your rotation should look like the following (assuming you got Rend up on at least one mob):
Thunderclap -> Shield Slam -> Revenge -> whatever else needs done or Devastate
This will change eventually when you reach 70 and can get Shockwave. But when you are there you can probably look at "normal" guides and follow them, since you will have more or less everything that they assume you have.
I'm not sure if this really helps you...
Edit: Forgot to mention to use Heroic Strike / Cleave whenever you have enough rage. (You have to learn to decide if you have enough rage by your own. It changes by the abilities you have to use normally. Just try it. If you use one Heroic Strike / Cleave too much, nobody will see it, it's just not optimal.)
Last edited by Katzazi; 02-23-2011 at 08:38 AM.
Thanks for the links Pyrea, I'll be sure to watch those when I get home later (no audio at work) and yeah the keybindings tip was something I've read too and I'll definitely set those up, thanks.
Katzazi, that does help because the only talent build information I could find relating to protection warriors were pre-Cata so were either outdated or entirely obsolete. As such I'll be putting points into blood and thunder per your recommendation. I think it's just going to be like most things in the world, learn by doing and hope people are patient enough to not rage at you
Uhh ok I did not know that there is just no good lvling guide for prot warriors around. Maybe I should write one *G*
I just give you my advice for talent choices:
2/2 Blood & Thunder
(You dont need Toughness at this level. And you probably don't need it before Heroic 5mans anyway. But you should consider to switch thos 3 points of Incite over to it before you try to go there. Maybe around lvl 80.)
20-28: Is just carp at the level because you have only few abilities that are buffed through this talents at the levels you have to chose them
I'm not exactly sure, what will you help at the moment, but probably stuff like
3/3 Shield Specialization (if you have any rage problems else Shield Mastery or 1/1 Shield Mastery 2/2 Hold the Line)
2/2 Gag Order
1/1 Warbringer - now it's easy to use Charge
1/1 Concussion Blow (and try to figer out how to use it)
2/2 Bastion of Defense - you don't need the crit immunity at the level, but the enrage is nice to have and there is nothing you need now on the earlier tiers
1/1 Last Stand - can be quite usefull if something goes wrong
2/2 Improved Revenge
2/2 somewhere in Tier 2 - there should be some usefull stuff by now all those talents are nice to have at the end
(Impending Victory is not usefull at this level, sinc stuff needs to be below 20% to use this talent and should be more or less dead anyway if it is below 20%)
2/2 Heavy Repercussions (USE IT!!!)
2/2 you may take Thunderstruck here, because you get a better Thunderclap, Rend and Cleave - I did it. But to get the full potential out of this talent you need Shockwave, which is the ultimate talent of the whole tree. If you don't think it's worth it, just go to Tier 2 and pick something there
1/1 Something out of Tier 2 probably. Vigilance is quite nice in Raids and stuff, but probably not something you need at the moment. But if you want to try it out - take it. Refreshment on taunts is quite good.
60 - 68:
3/3 Sword and Board - One of our best talents. Now you get those free Shield Slam procs and have to sometimes restart your rotation because of it
2/2 Some points to use whereever you want - I doubt that you want to use Saveguard, it's extemely clunky and all.
You probably have everything from the def tree but Toughness, Impending Victory, Vigilence and Safeguard by now.
As long as you take Toughness eventually (maybe at the cost of Incite) you should be fine with every high level guide or discussions you find hear. The last 10 points are more or less "free". Well Field Dressing is something you should take soon.
So just as a bit of an update more than anything, I ran 4 dungeons today as a tank. Twice through Stockades and twice through Blackfathom Deeps. There was one wipe on my first run and it was my fault, I didn't see the adds in Hogger's room so the pull was slightly large haha. Soon learnt not to do that again
One thing I think I've found out is it's absolutely vital to take charge. I didn't really seeing as I wasn't confident in my abilities at that point and it just piled on the difficulty as the hunter kept pulling, meaning I didn't have time to build up the rage for any effective AoE attacks, and the adds scattered all over the place making it incredibly hard to round them up again.
On the occasions where I was given the opportunity to control the pull myself and a few seconds before the DPS players jumped in to build up rage I found it made all the difference. The rotation I used the majority of the time was 1. Charge > 2. Shield Slam > 3. Sunder Armor x2 (switched to rend when stacks are full) If I had ~50+ rage I hit thunderclap whenever it was available and when I was getting close to max I spammed cleave. Found it easy enough to hold all of the aggro in that situation.
My main problem was missing the buttons (I'm not used to using so many ) and forgetting to hit shield slam every time it was available. Tanking was a lot easier in a better group, but I guess that's the case with everything really.
Katzazi, their might be a leveling guide somewhere, but I couldn't find one on these forums when I searched for 'low level' and 'low level warrior'
I can say you are off to a great start in terms of tanking. Simply going to the effort to read these forums and ask questions is more than I've seen from a lot of "tanks."
You'll likely have trouble finding a good leveling guide for prot as you'll usually be told "Level as DPS" to speed things up. That said Prot levels fast enough past about 70, and as fast as anyone else in the 80-85 range of Cata.
Katzazi has the right of it with talents you should be taking. Blood and Thunder makes AOE tanking a breeze since you stack rend on everything nearby. Just be careful of CC'd mobs as you'll stick a dot on them making them un-CCable. Once you get shockwave you'll find AOE tanking isn't a problem as it allows you to stun everything and get in some threat right at the start.
Couple of ideas as you level:
Heroic Throw with gag order makes pulling casters easy, otherwise you have to go to them.
If you want to seperate mobs you are CCing from those you are tanking, shoot(or heroic throw) the one you are going to tank first, take a few steps back, then charge once the CC is done.
Plenty of DPSers (not all) out there don't know the meaning of the word aggro, they only concentrate on numbers. It's not your fault if they get themselves killed and if they quit and call you a bad tank, tell a friend and get a good laugh. I once PUG'd marrowgare (boss in icecrown citadel) and was told by a dps I was a poor tank for failing to hold aggro. Thing is, he was talking about one of the bosses main abilities where the boss runs around the room AOEing; which I can do nothing about. My guild to this day gets a good laugh out of that one.
I'd recommend looking into getting Tidy Plates (with the Threat Plates mod) and Bartender. You can get both of them from any one of the sites that offer WoW addons. Tidy Plates puts nameplates over the heads of mobs that change colour depending on whether you have threat on them or not. Bartender allows you to customize where and what size your buttons are. An example is that I put all my emergency buttons near the middle of the screen so I can hit them quickly. Addons aren't for everyone but I find they make a big difference.
Other than that keep up the good work man. Warrior tanking just gets more fun as you level.
Could I throw in using the Glyph of sunder to help throw around the threat?....found it useful on my Warrior when he was leveling..
Yeah, it's interesting how the glyphs change as you level. Glyphing Thunderclap to cost less rage was a godsend early for me but, of course, is almost useless at higher levels.
Warbringer....changes everything. Until then, I would go Battlestance, pop a shout (I actually used to use bloodrage but it's gone now) and charge. As soon as I got to the mob I would thunderclap to use the rage I had and then swap back to defensive stance. Warbringer used to be unavailable until about lvl 55. Leveling my dps toons, I almost never saw other warriors "stance dancing" this way. I don't know why they didn't because not only was it very effective, it was very fun.
In the end, I find it difficult, and I imagine others do too, to remember exactly which talents are available at which level. What's more, that has all changed a lot recently with the new trees, etc. If you find you have specific problems, we would be glad to help, but I think the generic info so far should be pretty useful.
one thing i also found useful was to remember to TAB target around a group using cleave on mobs to build up some threat. with Blood and thunder its probably not as essential as it use to be but helped me alot at lower level
Thanks for the UI mod recommendations Baelaron, I'm currently running with WoW as it comes out of the box so my plan was to read some of the dedicated UI forum when I got more time. I had a couple of nice mods when I first rolled my rogue but I had to do a complete reinstall and repatch when the Cata launcher completely messed up the admin privileges on Windows 7 for me so I lost everything I had before. Just as an aside, is it easy to turn certain addons on and off between characters? I plan on still playing my rogue as I have a bunch of friends at 85 who I'll be running dungeons with when I get there and obviously some addons are going to be pretty obsolete for that.
Hamhead: Anyway, back to tanking, I looked on the AH at some glyphs last night and the glyph of cleave (one extra mob hit) was 4g and the glyph of sunder armour was 45g. I figured the cleave one would give me far more bang for my buck as now I hit 3 targets with it and most pulls are only 4 mobs so far. Maybe I'm wrong though to be honest because I use sunder armour a lot more than cleave because of the rage costs, I just baulked a bit at spending 45g at level 25, hehe.
Sifuedition: Great advice, thanks a lot. Before my pulling was Charge > Stance swap. Obviously just inexperience causing me to overlook the benefits of a shout and a thunderclap before the rage was lost in the stance swap, that should make things a fair bit easier for me. Warbringer is 2 levels away, the earliest it can be unlocked is level 29, and that was my main problem when the DPS decided to pull mobs. I was in battle stance and had no way to quickly swap to defensive and generate the rage needed to try and get the agro back. I'll definitely be using your opening rotation up until warbringer
Woodyman: I actually read a little bit of the macros forum during my break earlier and I think I'll be experimenting with a couple I saw but with slight changes. There was a mouseover sunder armour one, but I figured if I made that a mouseover cleave macro instead I could make the cleave hit a wider range of mobs and avoid the one I am focussing on as that mob should have enough threat already.
Thanks again for all the posts, it's really helping and even though the learning curve is proving to be quite steep you've all helped me deal with that a lot better than I would without the advice
I just leveled a second warrior who was level 28 when the pre-Cata patch dropped. My goal was to level almost entirely through the random dungeon finder as quickly as I could.
Given that goal my recommendation is to look at getting some heirloom gear, specifically either the one handed sword or mace and enchant it with the crusader enchant. If you have the resources also get the chest and shoulder pieces. I found with the heirloom gear that survivablility and threat wasn't even remotely an issue until I reached Wotlk content.
During the low levels I was somewhat lazy and always stayed in defensive stance.
I would open with battle shout to get some initial rage and then run into the pack and rend/thunderclap to generate some initial aoe threat. This would be followed up using a priority system of shield slam, revenge and sunder armor while I kept thunderclap on cool down. As rage allowed cleave or heroic strike. I glyped so that sunder armor and cleave hit an additional target.
One secret is that on the last mob of a pack I would only use enough of my abilities to ensure I maintained aggro. Often times this would mean that I only auto attack the last 50% of the mob so that my rage bar was full when the mob died in anticipation of the next pack. In order to do this make sure you have some type of threatmeter addon. I personally like classic threatmeter but Omen is probably more widely used.
I am a macro freak on my warrior...this probably doesn't apply until later levels but a good macro to use is
#showtooltip defensive stance
/cast defensive stance
/equipslot 16 Main hand wep
/equipslot 17 shield
/cast [@focus] intervene
one of my most used macros. I set the healer as my focus (I also have regular intervene keybound) and intervene healer > charge back into the group for luls and to stun 3 mobs. also works great for getting out of fire quick.
Just thought i'd share...
I leveled a second warrior after 4.0.1 until Cata hit. I left her at around lvl 73 or something. Some abilities have changed around when they are availabe. But without doning so I would not know how to answer most leveling questions. *G*
Warrior is a very special snowflake for leveling. They have the most boring start at level 1. It's mostly autoattack. But even before they reach 10 they are the only ones happy to fight multiple mobs. (Well maybe with the exception of warlocks who have a pet and a big bunch of dots.) However you have to switch around your rotations multiple times because of new abilities that are available (or procs you get via talents). Most classes just get a bigger toolbox but more or less stick to the old stuff.