2:Prot warrior veteran's primer: What's changed?
Blizzard have shaken warrior tanking up quite a bit this expansion, in previous tiers there was not a great deal of synergy between a prot warrior who could do his rotation flawlessly and one who was just pressing whichever button he though looked best, beyond keeping up a couple of taking debuffs and timing SW/LS/ER/SB there really wasn't much a tank could do to impact his survivability. That isn't true in MoP.; The new active mitigation model means the better you can perform your rotation, the more difficult it is to kill you.
Talents, Glyphs and specializations
Prime Glyphs are gone, Talent trees are gone. Glyphs are mostly unchanged and have reverted back to what we knew in WotLK, you get to choose 3 Major and 3 Minor glyphs, major glyphs tend to be mechanic changes, and can have significant effect on your play style, minor glyphs tend towards being purely cosmetic. A lot of what used to be Talents are now major glyphs. Specializations are what define you're play style, as a warrior you have the option of choosing either Arms, Fury or Protection. Choosing a specialization will grant you many new abilities. For tanking you really should choose to be specialized in Protection. Whilst the Talent trees are gone, we still have talents to choose from, some of these are old favourites, some are new. Every 15 levels you get to choose 1 talent form 3 options, and these choices are mutually exclusive; you can't skip the level 15 choice and pick two options from level 30. Talents are now exclusive to specializations, regardless of what specialization you choose you get the same selection of talents to choose from.
Stances no longer confer damage bonuses, and none of our abilities are now stance limited; You can execute in defensive stance, and it will hit for just as much as if you where in berserker stance. Stances mainly affect how you generate rage. In Battle Stance you will generate most of your rage from white swings. You will not gain any rage from damage taken, and your protection specialization Rage builders will not work. In Berserker Stance you gain half as much rage from white swings as you would in battle, but for ever 1% HP you take in damage you gain 1 rage, your protection specialization rage builders will not work in this stance either. In defensive stance, we gain no rage from white swings, no rage from damage taken, but our Rage builders do work., additionally we gain 25% damage reduction, 700% threat increase and generate 1 rage every 3 seconds whilst in combat, it is also the only stance in which your protection specialization Rage builders will work, for the vast majority of situations, there is almost no reason for tanking warriors to ever leave defensive stance.
Unlike previous tiers we no longer gain rage from damage taken; you can't stand in the fire for extra resources. You're rage income will be defined mainly by two factors: how well you can perform your rotation; and to a lesser extent how well geared you are. We also spend rage differently from previous expansion. It used to be the case that almost all our abilities cost rage. And we used either HS or cleave to burn off excess rage as increased DPS. In MoP most of our rotational abilities are free, and whilst HS and Cleave can still be used to burn excess rage, the vast majority of our rage will be used to keep up defensive buffs.
- Shield Slam: Generates 20 Rage, No longer dispels (restored via a major glyph).
- Revenge: Generates 20 Rage, Hits 3 targets, 9 second cooldown. No longer only usable after a dodge, block, or parry. Instead Dodges and Parries refresh it's CD, no longer can proc SnB. each additional target will take 50% reduced damage.
- Sword and Board: Grants Devastate a 30% chance on hit to reset the CD of SS and increase the rage generated by your next SS to 25 rage.
- Thunder Clap: No longer slows melee attack speed by 20% (that buff no longer exists in game) instead applies the “Weakened Blows” Debuff, decreasing the physical damage dealt by 10%
- Demoralizing Shout: no longer decreases physical damage dealt by 10%. its now our minor defensive CD; 1 minute CD, decreases damage done by all enemies with 10 yards to us (just us) by 20%
- Deep Wounds: no longer procs off crits, or deals weapon based damage, its now just a DoT that's applied by Devastate and Thunderclap, no longer rolls.
- Shield Block: no longer a minor CD, increases your chance to block by 100% (no longer just 25%) costs 60 rage, this is going to be your main Rage dump. Lasts 6 seconds, has a 9 second CD, has 2 charges.
- Recklessness: No longer increases damage taken
- Ultimatum: we have a 100% chance to on Shield Slam crit to make our next HS or Cleave Auot-Crit andcost no rage.
- Vengeance: Now is 1.5% of the unmitigated physical damage taken, or 5% of spell damage taken, caps at your maximum health
- Defensive Stance: Now decreases all damage taken by 25%, and grants some passive rage gen. Threat Bonus is up to 700% damage done
- Pummel: now like almost every other Interrupt has a 15 second CD
Vengeance has undergone a number of changes in 5.4; its now only 1.5% of the bosses pre-mitigated damage, i.e. the damage value of his attacks before your active or passive damage reductions affect that number, its not affected by absorbs or cds or any of the stuff you do to stop yourself dying. 5.4 eliminated Vengeance gains from Persistent ground effects, so you're not going to get a DPS boost from standing in the fire, it also eliminated extra Vengeance gains from being crit, so there's really no excuse to sit down and take a crit now. Additionally there are Diminishing Returns on vengeance whilst tanking multiple mobs, Lore was kind enough to post a succint Explanation of how this multimob DR works;
The basic, concise explanation is as follows: The Nth strongest (based on pre-mitigation average auto attack DPS) mob that has hit you in the last 5 seconds grants 1/Nth of full vengeance with their attacks. N is recalculated on every hit taken.
So here’s an example. Say you’re tanking 3 mobs – we’ll say it’s a boss and two adds. The boss has pre-mitigation average auto attack DPS of 1500k, one add does 400k, and the other add does 300k. The game will form a list of those mobs from 1-3, like so:
1. Boss: 1500k DPS, 1/1 (100%) of normal vengeance is granted
2. First add: 400k DPS, 1/2 (50%) of normal vengeance is granted
3. Second add: 300k DPS, 1/3 (33.333%, repeating of course) of normal vengeance is granted
This would of course continue as more mobs are being tanked (granting 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, and so on). Also, if the second add were to land a hit at any point when the first add hasn’t attacked you in the last 5sec (such as if it swings first), that attack would grant 1/2 Vengeance instead of 1/3.
I've just got back from cataclysm What does this actually mean?
As far as rotation and priorities go not a lot has actually changed. You still want to be using Thunderclap to keep up the tanking debuff, and you still mainly want to stick to the old SnB based SS>Rev>Dev rotation. However instead of dumping excess rage into HS or cleave you want to try to keep SB up and dump excess rage with SBlock on physical fights, and exclusively dump with Sbar on magic fights. If you used to weave Shockwave/Concussion Blow in or keep Rend up, forget about it, they either don't exist, or aren't worth it. Rage is going to be very limited for a while, get used to timing your rage dumps.