Protection warriors used to be the defnitive tanks of the World
of Warcraft, representing the original meatshields from the
old times as well as remaining premier tanks for almost all top raiding
guilds. However warriors have been surpassed in situational circumtances
by the other tanks: Paladins, Druids, and Death Knights
Still, Warriors represent to many the cutting-edge of meat-shields,
and in many ways they are. So if you're looking for the required threat
mechanics, gear basics, and everything required to start tanking your
first raid, you've come to the right place.
PvP as a protection warrior is painful, due to lack of damage, but
can work in certain areas, such as carrying flags or guarding areas
in the Battlegrounds. See our PvP
Warrior guide for more info on the Warrior PvP game.
Leveling (questing) isn't bad, expecially when you can round up a
bunch of mobs and burn them down.
Any and all races can be Warriors, and none of the racials are so
awesome as to make one race much better than the others. Of course,
the only real Warriors are Humans, Nelves, Orcs, and Undead, but don't
let that stop you from picking a lesser race. ;)
Expertise is a solid threat stat, and Orcs, Dwarfs, Humans,
and Gnomes all have some, but with patch 4.3 threat should no longer
be an issue, so Expertise has
a bit lower value.
Alliance: Night Elf for the Avoidance
Horde: Orc for Blood Fury and Stun resistance, Tauren for
War Stomp and a bit more Stam.
Blood Elf - Useful point blank area effect ability
Subject to off-color jokes
Arcane torrent is useful Vs some trash and to restore a bit of
Goblin - Not much here.
Rocket Jump might have some gap closing utility
1% Haste isn't bad, but it's far from your best stat.
Orcs - Nice DPS increase
Blood Furyis great for those times when a bit more burst is nice.
Resistance to stuns is rarely useful outside of PvP
Expertise with Axe saves some point shuffling, if an Axe is the
best weapon available
Tauren - Useful point blank area effect ability
War Stomp has some use Vs certain trash mobs and in PvP.
Increased health adds very little at high levels
Size makes it a bit easier for team mates to find you.
Troll - Berserking has its uses.
Berserking is nice for the extra burst.
Regeneration is insignificant
Extra damage Vs. Beasts helps against some trash
Undead - Their escape can help with a few instance mechanics.
They just look the part, ya know?
Will of the Forsaken is nice against certain raid encounters
Cannibalism is great for those "In Your Face" moments in PvP, if
you were actually able to kill anyone in PvP.
Draenei - Hit is less useful than before 4.3.
Yeah, right... whatever
+1 to Hit helps with some end-game gearing.
A self heal is always useful for all Warriors.
Dwarf - Not much here for tanking, though Stone Form has occasional
Stone form washes bleeds and adds 10% damage reduction, which
has some use in those "Uh oh..." moments.
Expertise with Maces is nice, if the Mace is the best weapon to
Human - Not much here for tanking.
Expertise with Swords and Maces is nice, if those are the best
weapons to be had.
Increased Rep is nice if you're rep grinding, but hardly a tanking
Escape ability allows the use of two DPS trinkets in PvP.
Gnomes - Not much here for tanking.
Small size makes it a bit harder for people to click on you.
Expertise with small weapons means you should roll as a Rogue.
Escape ability can make short work of some dungeon/raid mechanics.
Night Elf - Avoidance is a nice tanking racial.
2% Avoidance is a nice tanking stat and will help your
healers just that much.
Shadowmeld is only useful for you in PvP, so you can keep your
death count a bit lower.
They look the best in gear.
Worgen - Crit and Sprint have their uses.
1% crit rating is an Ok threat stat.
Sprint-like ability might have some gap closing utility
All of the professions offer some form of stat buff that will be of
some use. All of those buffs will be much greater in the Mists of Pandaria.
Blacksmithing - You can create two self-only gems slots, one for
gloves, the other for your bracers. Pop a Stam or Resilience or other
gem in those, as the need arises. With the intro of the epic gems
in 4.3 Blacksmithing becomes the best /min/max prof., providing more
stats than the others if you can afford those epic gems.
Alchemy - Lots of useful potions, you get 80 more points from the
top end buffing potions than poeple without this skill will get. You
also get added benefit from the other pots you create.
Charge (and related abilities) should now correctly path to a target
even if the target moves during the Charge. This change should decrease
the likelihood of the warrior Charging to a different location than
Slam now uses a new character attack animation.
Colossus Smash now uses a new character attack animation.
Protection Warrior Tanking
As a Protection Warrior your basic abilities are:
Slam - Whack the opponent with your shield causing damge, high
threat, and dispelling one magical effect.
Increases Stam and Black chance, increases Rage generated by attacking
targets that are not attacking you.
Damage taken increases your attack power.
Critical Block - Improves your chance to block
The following build is a nice, general tanking build. Feel free to
move things around for your particular situation. For example, Gag
Order might not be necessary for your game so drop it and grab
something else. The same might be true for Incite and Cruelty.
Blood Craze (Fury) not taken here, can make your healer's
Protection (35 Points)
Incite - Rank 3/3 -
Increases the critical strike chance of your Heroic Strike by 15%, and gives your Heroic Strike criticals a 100% chance to cause the next Heroic Strike to also be a critical strike. These guaranteed criticals cannot re-trigger the Incite effect.
Toughness - Rank 3/3 -
Increases your armor value from items by 10%.
Blood and Thunder - Rank 2/2 -
When you Thunder Clap a target affected by your Rend, you have a 100% chance to affect every target with Rend.
Shield Specialization - Rank 3/3 -
You generate 15 extra Rage when you block an attack. You generate 60 extra Rage when you Spell Reflect a magic attack.
Shield Mastery - Rank 3/3 -
Reduces the cooldown of your Shield Block by 30 sec, your Shield Wall by 180 sec and causes your Shield Block to also reduce magic damage taken by 20% for 6 sec.
Hold the Line - Rank 2/2 -
Improves your critical strike and critical block chance by 10% for 10 sec following a successful parry.
Gag Order - Rank 2/2 -
Gives your Pummel and Heroic Throw a 100% chance to silence the target for 3 sec. Also lowers the cooldown on Heroic Throw by 30 sec.
Last Stand - Rank 1/1 -
Temporarily grants you 30% of your maximum health for 20 sec. After the effect expires, the health is lost.
Concussion Blow - Rank 1/1 -
Stuns the opponent for 5 sec and deals damage based on attack power.
Bastion of Defense - Rank 2/2 -
Reduces the chance you'll be critically hit by melee attacks by 6% while in Defensive Stance. In addition, when you block, dodge or parry an attack you have a 20% chance to become Enraged, increasing physical damage done by 10% for 12 sec.
Warbringer - Rank 1/1 -
Your Charge, Intercept and Intervene abilities are now usable while in combat and in any stance. In addition, your Intervene ability will remove all movement impairing effects.
Improved Revenge - Rank 2/2 -
Increases the damage of your Revenge ability by 60% and causes Revenge to strike an additional target.
Devastate - Rank 1/1 -
Sunder the target's armor causing the Sunder Armor effect. In addition, causes 150% of weapon damage plus 854 for each application of Sunder Armor on the target. The Sunder Armor effect can stack up to 3 times.
Thunderstruck - Rank 2/2 -
Improves the damage of your Rend, Cleave and Thunder Clap by 6%. In addition, your Thunder Clap improves the damage of your next Shockwave by 10%. Stacks up to 3 times.
Vigilance - Rank 1/1 -
Focus your protective gaze on a party or raid member. Each time they are hit by an attack, your Taunt cooldown is refreshed and you gain Vengeance as if 20% of the damage was done to you. Lasts 30 min. This effect can only be on one target at a time.
Heavy Repercussions - Rank 2/2 -
While your Shield Block is active, your Shield Slam hits for an additional 100% damage.
Sword and Board - Rank 3/3 -
Increases the critical strike chance of Devastate by 15%. In addition, when your Devastate or Revenge deal damage, they have a 30% chance of refreshing the cooldown of your Shield Slam and reducing its cost by 100% for 5 sec.
Shockwave - Rank 1/1 -
Sends a wave of force in front of you, causing (75 / 100 * AP) damage (based on attack power) and stunning all enemy targets within 10 yards in a frontal cone for 4 sec.
Arms (4 Points)
War Academy - Rank 2/3 -
Increases the damage of Mortal Strike, Raging Blow, Devastate, Victory Rush and Slam by 10%.
Field Dressing - Rank 2/2 -
Increases all healing received by 6%, and the effectiveness of your self-healing abilities by an additional 20%.
Fury (2 Points)
Cruelty - Rank 2/2 -
Increases the critical strike chance of Bloodthirst, Mortal Strike and Shield Slam by 10%.
Glyphs are learned permanently. Get
them all and them swap them in and out depending on the situation.
All you need is a dose of powder or dust from your nearby Inscription
There is a pretty fair amount of leeway in which major glyphs
you use. The Primes are pretty much the only real options.
Glyph of Shield Slam- Increases the
damage of Shield Slam by 10%.
Glyph of Revenge - Increases the damage
of Revenge by 10%.
Glyph of Devastate- Increases the
critical strike chance of Devastate by 5%.
Glyph of Shockwave- Reduces the cooldown
on Shockwave by 3 sec.
Glyph of Thunder Clap- Increases the
radius of your Thunder Clap ability by 2 yards.
Glyph of Cleaving- Increases the number
of targets your Cleave hits by 1.
Glyph of Demoralizing Shout- Increases
the duration by 15 sec and area of effect by 50% of your
Glyph of Battle- Increases the duration
by 2 min and area of effect by 50% of your Battle Shout.
Glyph of Intimidating Shout- All targets
of your Intimidating Shout now tremble in place instead of
fleeing in fear.
Glyphs will change greatly in the Mists of Pandaria expansion. Among other things, Prime glyphs are going away.
With patch 4.3 the priorities have changed. Threat has been buffed enough
that threat builds shouldn't be necessary, so our recommendation
is to go with Mitigation builds.
Previously you had a choice between the Threat route
or the Survival route.
For most cases your abilities and Vengence will provide
ample threat, especially in 4.3. More advanced details are available
Ample mitigation makes life easier for your healer(s) while still maintaining
adequate threat. Especially with the 4.3 rules and with Vengence your
abilities shouild be generating enough threat that you can easily afford
Stamina - You need enough that you can't be "one
by some boss attack. With the Cataclysm gear, especially at high
levels, this is probably not really an issue.
Mastery - Stack as much as you can, then get more.
Parry is a hair better than Dodge
due to synergy with your talents, but both are worthwhile. As an average it's
probably best to have a bit more Parry than dodge (10-20% or so)
Dodge share Diminishing
Returns and effectiveness with Parry.
Hit is only really necessary if you're on Interrupt
duty and if they need to hit.
Stacking expertise isn't necessary either.
Stas for More Threat:
Expertise & Hit are much
better than Strength
Actually landing the hit is far more important than
a little extra damage. Missed interrupts can be bad.
Str and Crit aren't bad, but missing counts
for a lot more and you don't want to miss.
The first enchant listed is the recommended tanking enchant. If you
need more gold to pay for the enchants, gems, gear, repairs, vanity items,
mounts, pets, fund your alts and your guild, give money to strangers,
and so on, then read
our Tycoon gold addon review.
Protection Warriors can level very quickly in the
dungeons, with a near zero wait time in the Random Dungeon queues.
They can also level quickily by questing since they excell at mashing
down groups of mobs. You can also dual build and go arms or fury
If questing's your game then nothing gets you to 85 faster than
guide. You will always know exactly where to go and
what to do, even if you just gained ten levels dungeon tanking
or switched to Arms and cleared out a few of the battlegrounds.
Constantly, and quickly, updated to the latest expansions and
patches, Zygor's guide will get you where you want to be as quickly
as is possible.