2:Prot warrior veteran's primer: What's changed?
Blizzard have changed a lot mechanics, but for the most part Protection is largely unscathed. the basic rotation/priority remain the same, keep shield block on recharge, and prioritise using shield slam over Revenge over devastate, use Heroic strike on Proc and use Shield Barrier against unblockable boss specials and to burn off excess Rage.
The Stat Squish
All stats have been squished; So instead of your helm having 1,802 crit, it will have 69 crit, however the actual amount of critical strike chance you get will stay roughly the same (just over 3% in this case). This has happened to all primary and secondary stats, the numbers have gotten smaller, player power has remained roughly the same. As a result you will have a smaller health pool, but boss damage has been scaled down to reflect this, so if you could take Nazgrim's execute with no CDs, you still can. if you had roughly a million HP you will probably have dropped to around 100k HP in 6.0.2. Player DPS has also dropped, a T16k geared tank who was doing about 200k DPS will probably find they are now doing closer to 20k DPS, as a reflection boss health pools have alos been diminished. so if you where ripping 0.5% of Thok's Health off per Shield Slam, you're still going to be knocking 0.5% off, Its just that your shield slam and his Healthpool are smaller.
Player power has not diminished, they've just moved the decimal place to left a few digits.
Hit & Expertise
Hit and expertise are gone as stats. Instead mobs no longer have a chance to dodge from behind unless they are several levels above you, in excess of boss level, all tanking classes now passively ignore the baseline chance for mobs to parry their melee attacks when attacking from the front. Essentially as long as you're doing level appropriate content, you're attacks will not be avoided as long as you're attacking form the right direction. Melee should still stand behind targets, tanks are not penalized for not being able to get behind mobs they are tanking. You are still not going to play spin the dragon.
The Other Stats
Parry and Dodge are no longer found on gear. and as a Warrior other than a small amount of baseline dodge you're not going to have any real way of raising your dodge chance. Riposte has inverted and is now entirely passive, that is to say 100% of your Critical strike rating is also taken as parry rating (this being the only way warriors get parry rating), and its always there even if you're out of combat.
Haste now lowers our GCD and the CD of Shield Slam and Thunderclap. Gear with Haste on should not be avoided (and haste heavy builds are rather fun)
Mastery Baseline has been lowered to 12%, however Prot warriors now gain 5% more mastery from all sources. additionally Mastery increase our Attack power.
In addition we have 3 new stats to worry about. Multistrike,Versatilty, and Bonus Armor. Multistrike give all of our attacks/heals the chance to hit 2 more times for 30% of the original damage. in addition prot warrior auto-attack multistrikes proc Blood craze a rolling HoT on ourselves.
Versatility is a straight up increase in DPS, and healing throughput, and a smaller decrease in damage taken.
Bonus armour is only available on non-plate pieces (Cloaks, Shields, jewellery) and works just like regular armour, with the exception that plate takes gain 100% of their Bonus Armor as AP.
Berserker Stance has been removed in Warlords. Defensive Stance has had it's damage reduction pegged down to 20% rather than 25%, but its threat magnifier increased to 10x damage done however. As a Tank neither of these changes will particularly affect you and how you play. There was never a reason to swap to Berserker Stance, and Defensive Stance is still a better option than tanking in battle stance, further more the extra Stamina granted by Unwavering sentinel, is deactivated when not in Defensive stance, so you would lose +15% stamina, +6% crit immunity, +3% expertise, and after the perk, +5% armour
Prot warriors have lost a fair amount of abilities, mainly our raid CDs, we've forgotten the following abilities
Additionally the Sunder Armor and Weakened Blows debuffs have been removed, so we don't need to worry about keeping them
- Rally Cry - only available to Arms and Fury
- Skull Banner
- Demoralizing Banner
- Sunder Armor
and our 3rd tier talent row has been reworked from a control tier to a DPS tier
Resolve is the new Vengeance
Vengeance is gone, we no longer get bonus AP for taking damage, Instead we have Resolve. Resolve instead grants a % increase to our Self healing (including absorbs) based off our damage taken over the last 10 seconds. This means taking damage will not increase our damage done, So no more gaming vengeance to increase your DPS. Since your damage done is no longer reliant on how hard you're being hit, Blizzard has increased tank damage across the board, Blizzard wants tanks to be (roughly) dealing about 70% of damage that a DPS spec would do, so if you want to quest as Protection it shouldn't be quite so tedious. Additionally resolve has no ramp up mechanism, nor does it have a taunt transfer mechanism. However even without those mechanism Resolve hits it's steady state value much faster and also falls off a lot faster too, as unlike vengeance Resolve recalculates every second, rather than every damage event. This does mean that the sooner you react to damage events, the more benefit you will get from resolve. If you want to know more about the specifics of resolve compared to vengeance I suggest reading Theck'sBlog post on the subject.
I've just got back from Pandaria What does this actually mean?
As far as rotation and priorities go not a lot has actually changed. You still want to be keeping shield block recharging, and you still mainly want to stick to the old SnB based SS>Rev>Dev rotation. However we don't need to use Thunderclap to keep up the tanking debuff. Stats may have changed but for the most part you'll just want to go for the highest Ilvl. a few talents have changed, but most of them