The Unhittable Warrior (4.2 Edition)

•06/10/2011 • 6 Comments

There’s been a lot of talk about the concept of being “unhittable” over the years, and very few people really know what that means. Even fewer realize that the concept of being unhittable is only really achievable now in Cataclysm by two tank classes; Warrior and Paladin. Paladin has a much easier time of doing it, and for this reason, nearly all of the information online about the concept is specific to Paladins, leaving Warriors to wonder how in the world this concept applies to them. I’m going to do my best to fix that lack of information for Warriors.

First, notice that I’m putting a version number on this guide. It is unlikely that the base concepts presented here will change any time before patch 5.0, but *just in case* I’m going to version this guide. Basically, for this guide to be outdated, they would either have to radically alter how Mastery works, change how the hit table works, create a new reason to invest in Hit and Expertise caps (and thus severely reduce the stat allocation we can apply to Mastery) or a combination of those there. A

What does it mean to be unhittable?
When a tank is unhittable, it does not mean that a boss can never hit the tank. What it means is that the boss cannot land a *full* hit on the boss. For the purposes of this idea, you need to realize that if the boss actually hits the tank (is not dodged and doesn’t miss) then the hit is either a full hit, or a mitigated hit. Mitigated hits are mitigated by blocks and parries. While it is technically true that even a full hit is mitigated by the tank’s armor, for the purpose of this discussion we’re not going to be that anal retentive with the definition of “mitigated”.

So, the goal of becoming unhittable is the goal of making sure that when the boss swings at you, that swing will either miss, be dodged, be parried, or be blocked. It will never simply “hit”. Thus, “unhittable”. Yeah I know it’s not the best term in the world, but it’s what everyone uses so get use to it.

To fully understand how this is possible, you need to know…

What happens when a mob swings at my character?
When a mob performs a melee (non-spell) attack against a player, the results of that attack are determined by the game rolling on the Attack Table. The hit table will always look like this.

Miss
Dodge
Parry
Block
Critical Hit
Hit

Now, for a tank who is specced into not being able to be crit (which all tanks should be of course), our Attack Table looks like this.

Miss
Dodge
Parry
Block
Hit

Note that there use to be Crushing Blow in there too, but that mechanic was removed from the game.

So, that’s great. Now what? Well, now you fill in your stats… here’s mine as they stand right now without buffs of any sort and using double stamina trinkets.

Miss                       5%                         0.0 – 5.0
Dodge                   10.56%                  5.1 – 15.56
Parry                     14.44%                  15.57 – 30.0
Block                     52.33%                  30.01 – 82.33
Hit

So there’s Udiyvli’s Attack Table that’s used any time anything tried to attack her with melee. The range that the mob rolls on to determine the results of the attack is based on the difference in level between you and the mob. For equal level (85 vs 85) the boss roll 0 to 100. For every level above or below you, the boss either gains or loses .2% chance to Miss, Dodge, Parry or Block respectively. Since we, as Warriors, can benefit from all four, then for simplicity’s sake we just multiply .2 by 4 and get .8% change in the mob’s roll.

Mobs that are higher than us gain in the roll range, and mobs lower than us lose. This is why you see very low level mobs miss you so much more often. The 5% miss on the table takes up a proportionally larger range on their Attack Table versus you due to them having a smaller range to roll on.

Boss level mobs are always three levels above you, so you take .8 and multiply by 3 to get the boss’s roll range.

.8 x 3 = 2.4 + 100 = 102.4

So, when facing a raid boss, the above Attack Table looks like this:

Miss                       5%                          0.0 – 5.0
Dodge                   10.56%                   5.1 – 15.56
Parry                     14.44%                   15.57 – 30.0
Block                     52.33%                   30.01 – 82.33
Hit                         20.07%                   82.34 – 102.4

When a raid boss swings at Udi, the game rolls 0 to 102.4 and then compares the result to the “Udiyvli vs Raid Boss” Attack Table. For example, let’s say Chimaeron swings at me, and rolls a 71.12. The game checks the table and see that 71.12 falls between 30.01 and 82.33, so Chimaeron hits Udi, but Udi blocks the attack. A further roll would then be made to determine if she critically blocks (based simply on her chance to critically block on a 100 point scale) and the damage is them reduced by the resulting block or critical block. The remaining damage is then mitigated by Udi’s armor, and the final total his applied against her HP total (which hopefully was above 10K).

Simple, right?

OK, so when am I “unhittable” then?
You are considered to be unhittable when you “push” Hit off of the table. For Udi to do this in the above example, she’ll need 20.7% more Dodge, Parry or Block. Well, as a Warrior, Udi has Shield Block which gives a 25% boost to her block chance. You can’t keep it up all the time, but you can keep it up 10 seconds out of every 30 seconds, so in theory 33% of the time. That’s actually not bad at all as up times go, and Shield Block is what allows Warriors to have two types of “unhittable”. The hard cap, and the soft cap.

Unhittable Hard Cap: Your total Miss, Dodge, Parry, and Block is at least 102.4% without the use of Shield Block.

Unhittable Soft Cap: Your total Miss, Dodge, Parry and Block is at or above 102.4% when Shield Block is up.

In the above example, Udi is actually a little above the soft cap. Let’s demonstrate how Hit gets pushed off the table by recalculating her Attack Table with Shield Block active:

Miss                       5%                         0.0 – 5.0
Dodge                   10.56%                  5.1 – 15.56
Parry                     14.44%                  15.57 – 30.0
Block                     77.33%                 30.01 – 107.33
Hit                          0%

Now remember, a boss is only going to roll on a 0 to 102.4 scale. It will never roll on a larger scale than that, so unless a debuff is reducing your evasion stats, a boss can never reach the “Hit” on the table. Thus, it’s been “pushed off the table” by the block boost from Shield Block. The hard cap would look like this as well, but without the need for Shield Block to be up to achieve it.

Why is it that Paladins can achieve the hard cap easier than Warriors?
Well, it comes down to how points of Mastery convert to Block for the two classes. Paladins convert Mastery into Block at a higher rate than Warriors do, but do not have a Critical Block mechanic. Warriors do come out ahead over all since we can still easily get the soft cap though Shield Block, and Critical Block is actually quite useful. The only down side to using Shield Block in this way is that the first six seconds of Shield Block now also act as a spell damage reduction if you’re specced into it (and you should be) so that encourages us to save Shield Block for special events in some cases, such as every time Nef crosses an HP percentage ending in zero.

A Paladin in good Mastery gear from T11 stacking Mastery trinkets, gems and using a Mastery elixir rather than an HP flask can fairly easily become unhittable at the hard cap. Unfortunately they still sacrifice a fairly large amount of HP to do this, so it’s not at all desirable for high spell damage fights where being unhittable means much less than in a high physical damage fight.

This brings up an interesting point… While it is easier for Paladins to get to the hard cap, it’s possible for us, through Shield Block, to reach the soft cap while still having plenty of HP. So a Paladin doesn’t have access to the soft cap because they lack an ability like Shield Block, but can reach hard cap easier than we can while sacrificing HP. We can’t really reach the hard cap in T11 realistically, but we can reach the soft cap without sacrificing anything. Over all, we’re in better shape on this one.

How do you calculate how much more Mastery you’d need as a Warrior anyway?
Prepare for math…

First, Mastery currently converts as follows:
179.28 Mastery Rating = 1 Mastery Point

The number you see on your gear, gems, etc is Mastery Rating.

For Prot Warriors, our Mastery will give us 1.5% Block Chance (and an equal amount of chance for any given block to be a Critical Block) per Mastery Point.

So:
179.28 Rating = 1.5% Block

There is no diminishing return on Mastery, so this is pretty easy to work out. Let’s look at the previous examples and figure out how much more Mastery Rating Udiyvli would need to become hard capped unhittable.

Miss                       5%                          0.0 – 5.0
Dodge                   10.56%                   5.1 – 15.56
Parry                     14.44%                   15.57 – 30.0
Block                     52.33%                   30.01 – 82.33
Hit                         20.07%                   82.34 – 102.4

She currently needs to come up with 20.07% more Block to push Hit off of the table.

20.07 / 1.5 = 13.38 Mastery Points

13.38 x 179.28 = 2398.7664 Mastery Rating

Rating doesn’t come in decimals so we’ll round up… and we get that Udi needs 2399 Mastery Rating to become hard capped unhittable. Even with a perfect set of T11 Normal gear with the highest Mastery values, double Mastery trinkets, an Elixir of Mastery and fully gemming for straight Mastery, I’d still be about 900 Rating away from the hard cap. It’s not an easy amount of Mastery to reach for a Warrior, as you can see.

Is this even worth worrying about?
Well, honestly, I think the soft cap is easy enough to reach that you should be going for it. As a Warrior, the hard cap is going to be much, much harder to get and perhaps even impossible without being fully geared in T11 Heroic gear or waiting for T12. It might not be realistically possible until T12 Heroic, and even then Blizzard has stated recently that they really don’t want any class to be “unhittable”, so I wouldn’t bank on it being possible for long even if it becomes relatively plausible to achieve. The devs are watching this one closely, and they are going to break it as soon as the hard cap is moderately simple to reach.

For now though, definitely go after the soft cap. If you find that you’re over the soft cap, you may even want to move a little ways back into Expertise to even out threat, but I’d suggest playing around with that carefully. Blizzard *also* stated very clearly in the same post mentioned above that they are not balancing encounters around tanks gearing for any Expertise or Hit. So, if you move any avoidance into either of these, you are basically moving yourself away from what Blizzard has in mind when designing encounters. That’s not a great idea…

Any final thoughts?
Personally, I’m going to keep edging toward the hard cap without putting great effort into it. I’m not going to gem straight Mastery or run with double Mastery trinkets or anything like that. I’m over the soft cap as is, and too far away from the hard cap to be able to achieve it at all even if I ditch tens of thousands of HP from my unbuffed total. Stamina hasn’t been our god stat for a long time, but it’s still important. Mastery with no meat behind it just means you take really even damage from melee but then get your face blown off by spell damage. If you can’t take a Crackle from Nef and Nef’s melee swing at the same time, well, you’re dead… and so is your raid.

The concept of being unhittable is fascinating, and the allure seductive, but as of right now it’s just not tenable. Know what it is and understand the concepts behind it, but don’t make the hard cap your goal yet as a Warrior. Go for the soft cap, and don’t forget to keep that Shield Block up!

Zen and the Art of Raid Leading

•06/08/2011 • 2 Comments

There are many styles of raid leading out there in the world. You’ve got the spineless leaders who get walked all over. You’ve got the ragers who scream until people listen. There are folks who insult or belittle others for every little error in attempts to motivate them. Sometimes you find a beggar, honestly imploring their raid to behave better. You have the draconian dictators who hand down severe punishment or even boot people from guilds for relatively minor breaches of execution, and you have “everyone’s buddy” who refuses to ever make the tough calls for fear of upsetting someone just to name a few.

Personally, I try to lead raids with as calm a tone as I can manage. I try to call out raid events with five second warnings, and I make an effort to watch everyone’s positioning and status so I can call out warnings for people to move or note if someone needs an emergency heal. I watch mana bars, know when to call for raid wall, watch Omen to call for salves on DPS without threat drops and coordinate specific actions when it’s needed. It’s usually on *my* word that Blackout gets cleansed on V&T for example, and I’m the only one calling to push a boss into a phase or to wipe and start over.

My raids are like orchestral performances and I’m the conductor. Sure, all the musicians need to know how to play their roles to an acceptable level of skill, but I take it upon myself to set the tempo. The key, however, is to remain calm but never fail to command respect.

As a raid leader, people are going to question your authority. People are going to tell you you’re wrong about a strat or class mechanic, and how you deal with these challenges is critical to the health of your raid. First, never dismiss something simply because it isn’t how you think it should be done unless it’s an obviously flawed idea (solo tanking Nef Phase 1 for example). If there seems to be any merit to the idea at all, inquire for more details. Invite explanation of the idea, and if you still feel it’s not something you should try, provide a good reason for not trying it. If you do use the idea and it works, never try to claim credit for the idea yourself. Likewise, if you decide the idea is a bad one, never allow yourself to be bullied into trying it anyway, and never tolerate someone trying to countermand your final decision. Remember, you *are* the raid leader and ultimately this is not a democracy. Raids need that final decision maker. It has to be you.

You are also going to have people who underperform. It may be a healer who just can’t seem to output a level of healing appropriate to their gear and spec. You’ll eventually have a DPS who simply can’t generate the minimum required for a fight, or a tank that for some reason is as durable as wet tissue paper in spite of gearing correctly. Or, and even more likely, you’ll have someone who flat out just can’t remember to move out of something, or forgets they have a class speed boost when they need it, or can’t seem to pay attention to tank switches. I’ve been raid leading for as long as I’ve been a guild leader, and I’d like to share some things I’ve learned over the years:

  • Everyone has an off night eventually, even you. Someone who you know is good at their job suddenly being the worst person on your team for one night could be for any number of reasons up to and including personal tragedy. Now, that isn’t to say you shouldn’t sub them out for the night… but you should probably speak with them privately to see what’s wrong.

 

  • Even if you know everything there is to know about a class and/or fight, that doesn’t mean everyone else does. Holy Priest didn’t Body and Soul the person being chased by the fire in Atramedes air phase? Don’t yell at them or make them feel bad. Simply tell them they should be doing that to help the runner, and see if they do next time. If they continue to neglect doing it, *then* you can get annoyed. Always assume someone simply hasn’t thought of the idea first, and never feel that everyone should always realize the applicability of every trick in their bag the first time they see a fight.

 

  • Just because you can pick up on a fight’s mechanics in one or two tries doesn’t mean other people can. Personally, I rarely need to see a fight more than twice to catalog everything I need to do and to perform my role well enough to not stand in the group’s way. However, I understand that *most* people are not as quick at memorizing mechanics and counters, and that sometimes these people can be your best raiders. Sure, it can be annoying to wipe to a boss for the 7th time because one person hasn’t yet gotten the rhythm of an instant kill attack down, but so long as they’re showing improvement, you’ll get there eventually! So long as it’s not costing you *days* then give them a chance… One of the best raid healers we’ve ever had was widely recognized as being the last person in a raid to fully grasp all mechanics, but once he did he was also one of the most valuable to have around.

 

  • Coach, but don’t belittle. There is a world of difference between “Let’s take a moment to make sure we have our cooldown rotation sorted out for this” and “Play better!”. One is helpful. The other just generally pisses people off. “Hey it looks like you aren’t pulling DPS up to par with where your gear is. I know so and so has a strong grasp of your spec. Can I set up a workshop to figure out what might be going wrong with your DPS?” is how you should do it. “JESUS CHRIST! HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW YOUR SPEC BY NOW?!” is not. “You’re dying to that hazard a lot… what sort of camera settings do you have? Do you have spell effects up enough to see it easily?” is a good start. “BADS R BAD!” is not. “OK, seriously guys, this is a farm boss. Get your heads into the game” is much better than “FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!”

 

  • There are limits. While you should make every effort to help an underperforming player do better, there comes a point where the raid no longer needs to suffer them continuing to fail at their role. Let’s say someone is constantly pulling 10K DPS. You have a talk with them, coach them, and for one raid it goes up to 15K, but returns to 10K on the following raid. You mention to them again that they need to be doing more damage, and suddenly it jumps to 15K yet again, next raid, it’s down to 10K. What does this mean? It means they’re capable of pulling 15K all the time, but just don’t care enough to put in 100% effort. This person is a bad team player, they’re bad for the raid, and they should never be taken to content because they are making a conscious choice to underperform and ultimately waste everyone else’s time. The same can be said for healers and tanks too. Consistency is very important, as is willingness to accept advice and to improve. Remember, neither you nor your other raiders should ever feel obligated to carry someone who isn’t trying to stand on their own.

 

  • Sometimes, you do need to get angry, and this is where staying calm the rest of the time is so important. If you can command respect without raising your voice, then the rare times when you do need to raise your voice carry just that much more weight. If you yell all the time, no one cares that this time you’ve added F bombs. If you only bust out the angry voice once every few months, it’s jarring and perhaps even frightening to people. It gets their attention, and leaves no room for wondering about the severity of whatever just happened. Case in point… someone carelessly turning off the ICC buff when we were 18-manning 25man ICC. Not cool… even as an accident, not cool at all.

 

  • No matter how angry you get, never turn it into a personal attack. Feel free to say “For the love of every god, stop standing in the damned Defile, Bob!” and even “Look, last chance, do it again and I’m subbing you out” but never “Bob, you’re a baddy how did you ever even get into this guild in the first place you ‘tard?” Keep your anger to the point. They stood in a Defile multiple times and were the direct cause of wipes. There’s nothing mean about that. It’s true. They can’t debate the fact or the reasoning. They did X and that killed the raid and they keep doing it. If someone takes offense to being confronted with the bare reality of what they did, then they probably shouldn’t be a raider. However, stating the facts of the failure is not the same as personally attacking their overall ability as a player or worth as a person.

 

  • Always run logs. While many times the reason you can’t kill a boss is clear just from watching the attempts unfold, it’s hard to beat logs as an indisputable way to see what the problem is. Think there’s a healer problem? Logs can tell you if a healer is doing less than half of the healing output of any of the others. Think someone’s DPS is oddly low? You can check the spells that they used and see that perhaps they aren’t using a reactionary spell. Such as if a Hunter never used Arcane to burn off extra Focus, or if a Warrior never used Heroic Strike at 70+ Rage. It’s not only good for diagnosing the problem, it’s great for proving to people that you aren’t just picking on them. They really *are* doing something wrong.

 

  • Favor the path of greater ambition. People, like muscles, become stronger from being stressed to their limits. If you’re finding that you’re blowing down a boss easily every week like he isn’t even there, it’s time to fire up hard mode! If you don’t feel like doing that yet, well, at least try to get that boss’s special achievement. It speaks far better of you and your raiders to attempt a hard mode and fail than to never try even though you’re ready for it. Plus, would you rather lose a great raider to being  bored, or a mediocre raider to being unable to deal with the stress of progression? I’d rather keep my strongest players happy.

 

  • Always, always have an outlet to vent to. Maybe it’s your best friend in guild. Maybe it’s your OT. Maybe it’s that other guy who takes raiding as seriously as you do, or a raid leader from another guild. Whoever it is, have someone you can trust to unload your frustrations at. Preferably two… just in case the person you need to bitch about is your usual sounding board. We’re human. We get frustrated. We need to let off steam so we don’t explode sometimes. Just don’t do it publicly, and make sure the person you do vent to can be trusted to not pass on what you say, and that they understand what you’re doing and why.

 

  • Remember, raiding is a learning process. There are fights with mechanics where even a minor error can mean a wipe. Especially in 10-man, there are lots of cases where even a single death can turn the attempt from a possible kill, to a practice run that’s now unkillable. There are times where you’ll wipe for hours or even days learning a fight, and there are times you’ll walk in and own it in the first three attempts. If you can’t handle this, then you probably shouldn’t be raiding let along raid leading.

 

 

  • Study the encounters. Everyone on the raid needs to know how the fight works, but as the raid leader you need to be held to an even higher standard. Keep up with patch notes, and have a modified strat ready if something significant changes in a patch.

 

  • Lastly, whatever loot system you use, stick with it. Even if that means that your worst player eventually ends up with a best in slot item that your best player could use, do not deviate from the established loot system. Your credibility depends heavily on the perception of fairness, and nothing will destroy that faster than giving someone, anyone, an opening to claim that you play favorites with loot. It sounds like a minor thing, but you’d be surprised how fast this one breach of common sense has destroyed guilds. Don’t do it.

 

There are a lot of ways to lead a raid, but that’s a taste of how I do it. I don’t get a lot of complaints, so hopefully you’ll find the insight useful if you yourself are a raid leader, or perhaps if you’re dealing with a bad raid leader.

Got a story about raid leading, or about a particularly good or horrible raid leader you’ve encountered in your time? Share it in the comments!

Prot Warrior Tanking Guide (4.1 Edition)

•05/16/2011 • 32 Comments

Hello and welcome to Version 4.1 of my Prot Warrior guide. Honestly, hardly anything has changed, but I’m going over the guide with a fine tooth comb anyway and updating or simply polishing anything that needs it. If most of it seems unchanged from before, well, you’re not imagining things! Prot saw some changes in 4.1 but functionally we’re doing the same stuff.

For the sake of reference, the previous version can be found here.

Without further ado, onward!

A Quick Review of 4.1 Changes:
If you need to read the full blue posts, those are easy enough to find. This is just going to be a really quick overview.

Shield Bash is gone. You now use Pummel. It doesn’t make a sound to confirm it landed a hit… have fun with that.

Spell Reflect now has a 25 second CD, up from 10 seconds.

The Shield Mastery talent no longer reduces the cooldown of Spell Reflect, but it does give Shield Block a 7/14/20% reduction to incoming magical damage for 6 seconds. Don’t forget this when it’s time to mitigate a large nuke, like Nef’s Crackle.

Heroic Leap is off the GCD, meaning it’s more useful than ever before.

Gag Order, thank god, now applies its silence via Pummel since Shield Bash is gone.

We have a new raid-wide Last Stand. It’s called Rallying Cry, it’s on the same cooldown as Last Stand, it’s 20% of max health, and it effects everyone in the raid. Coordinate its use with other Warriors in raid to help even out things like Chimaeron feuds or Nef Crackles in Phase 2 for people on your platform (it does have a max range and won’t hit the other platforms).

Spec (Minor Changes):
This is the spec I’ve been using for a bit now, and the one I recommend especially for raids.

http://www.wowhead.com/talent#LRZhb0oZcfGdRRodbu

The only difference you’ll find is that I’ve dropped the one point out of Impending Victory and placed it instead in Piercing Howl. Now some of you might be wondering why that’s a good trade off, especially if you haven’t had to deal with fights like Nef, Cho’gall, or being the add tank on Maloriak. Having an ability to spam snare unlimited targets is pretty crazy on those fights, and puts Prot Warriors at the top of the list for roles such at Maloriak add tank among the tanking specs. Also, if you start as the second tank for Cho’gall, you’ll be free for each slime spawn to assist with snaring them if need be. It’s a great dose of utility that doesn’t really sacrifice much in trade.

Aside from that, the spec is the same. The one change I could suggest if you’re having serious single target threat issues would be to move one point out of Thunderstruck and move it into War Academy. It’s a change I’ve considered myself, but really I haven’t seen a need for it so long as DPS gives me the 5 to 10 second lead time on a boss pull that I need for Vengeance to ramp up. I mention it here for consideration regarding your personal situation.

Glyphs (Minor Changes):
The prime glyphs remain the same and are still Devastate, Revenge, and Shield Slam.

Thunder Clap and Shockwave remain as Major glyphs, but I’ve replaced Resonating Power with Piercing Howl. That increased radius is a pretty huge deal when you’re trying to keep twelve foaming at the mouth, exponentially self-buffing adds from eating your face so your team can get an achievement.

Minor glyph selection should still include Battle and Command. I’ve gone with Demoralizing Shout as my third, because I’m the one keeping that up in raids, but you may find something else more useful if you have someone else doing that debuff.

Enchants (Minor Changes):
Here are the enchants you should be going for. In cases where the best available cost maelstrom crystals (which are still fairly rare for most people), I’ve listed the affordable alternative. Keep in mind that the following list assumes that you are not a crafter and do not have access to proprietary buffs that they can provide. For example, ring enchants or the substantial (and best in slot if you can get it) self-only Stamina bracer enchant for Leatherworkers.

Head:

90 Stamina, 35 Dodge (Earthen Ring Revered)

Shoulders:

75 Stamina, 25 Dodge (Therazane Exalted)

Cloak:

Protection (250 Armor)

Chest:

Greater Stamina (75 Stamina) <– Best

Stamina (55 Stamina) <– Affordable

Bracers:

Dodge (50 dodge)

Gloves:

Greater Mastery (65 Mastery) <– Best

Greater Expertise (50 Expertise) <– Affordable

Legs:

Charscale Leg Armor (145 Stamina, 55 Agility)

Boots:

Lavawalker (35 Mastery, Run Speed) <– Best

Earthen Vitality (30 Stamina, Run Speed) <– Affordable

Weapon:

Windwalk (Dodge and movement boost proc) <– Best

Mending (Self-heal proc) <– Affordable

Shield:

Mastery (50 Mastery)

Stat Priority and Reforging (Major Changes):
Here’s where things get weird. First off, I need you to understand two very unusual things about Cataclysm tanking:

1) Taunt never misses in Cata.

2) Hit and Expertise are pretty much worthless stats now. Expertise still has its place for smooth threat generation, but Hit is basically ignorable. Case in point… the warrior that tanked the world first Sinestra kill has less than 1% Hit and Expertise in the low teens. Why does this work? Vengeance. As a boss hits you, your attack power goes up. Way up… so while you’re going to be parried, blocked, dodged, and straight up miss, you’re also going to completely plaster the boss when you do connect. Once the fight gets going (5 to 10 seconds depending on encounter) you’re usually fine on threat even with zero Hit and Expertise.

Now, with that in mind, here are you stat priorities.

Stamina > Mastery > Parry ≥ Dodge

When reforging, look at each piece of gear that you have and follow this thought process:

If it has Mastery and Parry as the two stats you can reforge, leave it alone.

If it has Mastery and Dodge, reforge Dodge for Parry

If it has Mastery and Hit, reforge Hit to Parry

If it has Mastery and Expertise, reforge Expertise to Parry

If it has Parry and Dodge, reforge Dodge into Mastery.

If it has Parry and Hit, reforge Hit into Mastery.

If it has Parry and Expertise, reforge Expertise into Mastery.

If it has Dodge and Hit, reforge Hit into Mastery.

If it has Dodge and Expertise, reforge Expertise into Mastery.

If it has Haste or Crit, then pick the higher stat and reforge it into Mastery if you can, or Parry if Mastery is already on the item.

Now here comes the big “but it’s really not that simple” part. Mastery may never experience diminishing returns, but Parry certainly does. However, Parry is also the trigger for Hold the Line, so it’s importance is higher than Dodge. Dodge, however, is more valuable the deeper into Parry’s diminishing return you get. There exists a sweet spot for Parry vs Dodge that is determined by your current Mastery rating.

Some fellow who I do not know personally, by the name of Swcarden, put together a handy graph we can use to calculate this sweet spot with relative ease. Do note that this graph assumes you are facing a single enemy with the standard 2.5 second swing time. For fights against multiple enemies, Dodge will outweigh Parry more so than this graph depicts, and for a slow attack speed fight like Chimaeron (who wings once every five seconds), Parry becomes more valuable than Dodge. The ultimate goal of this graph is to optimize Hold the Line uptime while having the highest combined evasion possible.

First, look at your total Mastery and consult the upper right portion of the chart. This will show you the corresponding color for your Mastery.

Second, add your total Parry and Dodge ratings and find the resulting sum on the bottom of the graph. This is your Total Avoidance Rating.

Now, draw a line straight up from your Total Avoidance Rating until you hit the circle of the color pertaining to your Mastery.

Finally, draw a line from that circle to the left edge of the graph to find your Parry/Dodge Ratio.

Using this ratio, you can tweak your reforging to get as close to the optimal ratio as possible. Keep in mind though that it probably won’t be possible to reach it exactly, but it’s a good idea to try for it.

Example: Your ratio is 1.25. You should have 1.25 Parry pre 1 Dodge. Divide your Parry by your Dodge and see how it stacks up. If it’s higher than 1.25, you need more Dodge. If it’s lower than 1.25, you need more Parry. Just get as close as you can, but *never* reforge Mastery into either Parry or Dodge.

Gemming (Minor Changes):
Gemming has gotten a lot easier with no caps to shoot for…

If the socket bonus of an item isn’t Parry, Dodge, Mastery or Stamina then gem straight Stamina gems.

If the socket bonus is Parry, Dodge, Mastery or Stamina, then gem like this.

Red = Parry/Mastery

Blue = Stamina

Yellow = Stamina/Mastery

Prismatic = Stamina

Meta = Eternal Shadowspirit Diamond

If you find that more mitigation works better for you and your raid team, then use this alteration…

Yellow = Mastery

Blue = Stamina/Mastery

In the end, you want to have around 150K HP unbuffed for T11 normals. More, from around 165K to 180K, for T11 hard modes. Past those milestones, depending on content, you can focus more on the mitigation stats. It really depends on what you and your raid are planning to tackle.

Threat Rotations (Minor Changes):
For an AOE pack:
Rend > Thunder Clap > Shockwave > Revenge > Cleave spam as rage crosses 60.

For a boss, tell your DPS to wait roughly five to ten seconds before unloading the heavy artillery, and then follow these opener and maintenance rotations.

Opener:
Charge > Shield Block > Shield Slam > Devastate to three stacks of Sunder > Rend > Demoralizing Shout > Thunder Clap > Heroic Strike spam as rage crosses 60.

Be sure to also use any Revenge or Sword and Board procs you get while performing this opener.

Maintenance:
Shield Slam > Revenge > Devastate > Heroic Strike spam as rage crosses 60

Thunder Clap as needed to maintain Rend and the Thunder Clap debuff.

Demoralizing Shout as needed to maintain the debuff.

Shield Slams should always be followed by Revenge if it’s available and by Devastate if it isn’t. If this then procs a Sword and Board, you should then Shield Slam again and again follow with Revenge or Devastate.

A Brief Word on Trinkets (No Changes):
There’s a good amount of debate regarding straight Stamina trinkets vs mitigation trinkets. From what I’m finding, it depends on what you have access to. If you have epic mitigation trinkets, but blue Stamina trinkets, the extra stat budget of the epics seem to outweigh the standard rule of using Stamina trinkets. The reverse is also true if your Stamina trinkets are epic. Another factor is whether or not you’re a Jewelcrafter, as having access to the epic Stamina cuts makes up a decent amount of ground for not using a blue quality Stamina trinket. So does being a Blacksmith (more sockets) or Leatherworker (giant Stam enchant to bracers).

Of course, all things being equal, you should have a complete set of both and use them as the case warrants it. High spell damage fights are always going to favor higher Stamina, while high melee damage fights will always favor mitigation.

At any rate, I strongly suggest you pick up the Mirror of Broken Images (Mastery / Resist trinket) from Tol Barad and the Darkmoon Card: Earthquake (Dodge / Max HP trinket, reforge for Mastery) as soon as possible. Coupled with the two Stamina trinkets from the raid content, these four provide a lot of flexibility.

Conclusion:
That wraps up this update of the guide. As always, please feel free to leave questions. Enjoy 4.1 and here’s hoping 4.2 isn’t too far off. What’s being shown of Firelands looks like a lot of fun!

The Merciless Crush of Real Life

•05/09/2011 • 3 Comments

Wow, I am behind… ><

I live though. Rest assured that I am working on several new guides and updating the 4.0.6 guide to 4.1… which is basically just going to say that very little has changed except our threat is lower in the first 15 seconds of a fight, so DPSers need to behave themselves.

… and yeah one of those posts I’m working on is going to be an open letter to DPS imploring them to behave themselves and explaining why it’s important.

Unfortunately this blog and playing WoW is not my job. I make no money from it at all actually, so when I’m given the chance to work 50 hour weeks for overtime pay, well, I run out of time here and there.

I’m still here. I’m still playing WoW… still tanking away and keeping up with the changing (or not really changing) theorycraft behind it. I’ll have new posts up soon, and my sincere apologies to the comments I only just now got around to replying to.

Planned posts:

4.1 Prot Guide Update (Complete with a wacky new method for figuring your Parry vs Dodge sweet spot)
4.1 Prot Gear Guide Update (Adding drops from ZA/ZG)
An Open Letter to DPS (The floor can go untanked for the entire fight)
15 to 85: A Baby Prot Cow’s Journey (A log of experiences, insights, and talent/quest gear choices for the leveling warrior, told as I, well, level a warrior through LFD)
5-man Heroic guides for Prot Warriors (all launch instances and ZA/ZG)
Extreme Remedial Tanking (A guide assuming you’ve never played the game and don’t even know what group roles are)

And that should pretty much keep me very busy for quite a while. I really should get paid for this. XD

Dungeon Finder: A Call to Arms (to queue as Prot)

•04/07/2011 • 3 Comments

As I’m sure many of you have already heard, an incentive program is being added to the Looking for Dungeon (LFD) to encourage the least represented role to actually use the system in a fully random PUG. The basic idea is that the DFT will keep tabs on which role is least represented in the system and then mark that role as the current “Call to Arms” (CTA) role. If you then queue, alone, as that role, and complete the dungeon by killing the last boss, you will get a goodie bag as a reward.

Commonly, this bag will contain gold, occasionally an uncommon quality gem, and rarely a companion pet or a mount.

Companion pets will be randomly pulled from those available Horde side *and* Alliance side, meaning that as Horde you may get a tabby cat if you’re extremely lucky. Mounts include those which you can already farm for in dungeons, such as Anzu and the skeletal horse.

Now, this is an important note for everyone to understand, so please pardon the all caps. I want to make sure everyone sees this.

THERE IS NO REWARD FROM THIS BAG THAT ISN’T ALREADY AVAILABLE, OFTEN THROUGH SIMPLER MEANS!

OK? We’re all on the same page on that? Because that right there, folks, is a fact. Seems a lot of people on various forums are raging under the delusion that this bag is going to contain something unique. Or, as I saw bemoaned, that it can contain a Spectral Tiger or currently discontinued mounts like the War Bear. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Wrong. Completely wrong. Scandalously, idiotically wrong. If you’ve not grasped how wrong that idea is, go re-read the all caps line above until it sinks in.

So, first off, why is this a bad idea? Clearly the intention is to lower the wait time for the over populated role, which frankly is pretty much always going to be DPS. It’s a noble goal, since DPS tends to wait anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour for a random depending on the day of the week and time of day. To facilitate this, a reward is going to be offered to the bottleneck role to speed things along. On paper, this sounds great. There is, however, a factor contributing to the current state of the LFD system that must first be understood.

DPSing is relatively easy. You are seldom the reason for failure unless you do something exceptionally stupid. In five-mans, one or even two of your DPS can often die early in a boss fight, and assuming your tank and healer and the remaining DPS are good at what they do, most bosses can be three-manned. This is, in part, why DPS is so prevalent. Yes, some folks just really, really prefer DPSing as a role of choice, or love a class that can only DPS. Hunters, Mages, Locks, Rogues… if you love those classes, well, you’re DPSing and that’s that. There are, however, plenty of people who love a class that can tank or heal who choose not to due to an aversion to the responsibility that those roles entail.

Let’s be honest, the most likely point of wipe inducing failure for any group is the tank or the healer. Tank doesn’t know how to deal with a particular pull? Wipe. Tank fails to move out of a hazard and dies for it? Wipe. Healer gets distracted? Wipe. Healer doesn’t know when a boss is going to do a high AOE damage phase and hasn’t topped the group up in preparation? Wipe. DPS botches a rotation and pulls 2K less DPS than they could have? …generally not a wipe.

Think of a group as a car… If your tire blows, yeah, it could be bad, but chances are good you’ll be alright if you keep a level head. That’s like a DPS critically failing at something. If, however, your drive shaft snaps, falls out from under the car and digs a furrow into the road at 55 MPH, you’re very likely seriously screwed. That’s like the healer or tank critically failing.

What’s the point of all that? The point is that tanking and healing are high responsibility, high attentiveness, high risk of getting other people killed jobs. Folks who identify themselves as healers or tanks thrive on this. We enjoy the responsibility. We run at a hyper-aware state to ensure that our mistake doesn’t mean the group’s failure. Yes, it can be stressful, but we enjoy it because it’s who we are, and whether or not we do it for PUGs probably isn’t going to be greatly swayed by the offer of minor rewards. If we’re going to use the LFD tool at all, it’ll be as tank or healer anyway.

So, who is this incentive really aimed at then? It’s aimed at two groups of people. First, those who are tanks or healers and who will use the LFD tool more if offered a reward. Second, those people who are not tanks or healers but who will try to fill those roles when offered a significant enough reward. From the folks I’ve touched base with, it seems to me that the first group is in the extreme minority.

How bad can it be though? This change might encourage people who wouldn’t otherwise have tried to tank or heal to give it a try. They might like it. They might find it’s their new favorite things to do, and WoW as a whole might see a new surge in tanks and healers because of it. That’s absolutely true, and it’s really the best case scenario. The S Rank ending if you will. I hope that’s what happens. However, I’m nothing if not cynical, and I foresee a much darker outcome.

I see a future in which people with zero passion or even knowledge of these roles are queuing up just to get a reward. I see people forced to deal with a flood of uneducated, unprepared, ungeared Arms, Fury, Ret, Unholy and Frost players trying to tank without even being the right spec. I see Cat druids trying to Bear tank without even picking up the talent that makes them immune to crit. I see Boomkin trying to heal without Spirit gear, because they geared for Hit assuming they’d never heal. It’s like the End Times, but with horrible tanks and healers and less Antichrist and Rapture.

To use a real world analogy, a friend of mine who herself was an elementary school teacher once went on about the concept of teacher pay increases. “It’s a difficult topic,” she said, “because there’s a sweet spot you need to hit. People who genuinely love teaching should be able to live comfortably while providing such a valuable service, so you can’t pay us too little. However, pay us too much and people who have no business teaching will go after the jobs because it’s good pay, not because they care about educating our kids.”

This is a very similar situation. I don’t disagree with the concept of paying the bottleneck roles to do more dungeons. I do, however, feel that the reward of mounts is probably going too far past the sweet spot. That is almost surely going to encourage a lot of people who have neither the capacity nor the legitimate desire to tank or heal to take on those roles. Not because they care about doing them well, but because they care about the reward.

Of course, I could be wrong. I hope I am. With any luck, at least the aspiring Prot Warriors may find their way here and get a dose of knowledge.

 

((UPDATE: The bag from the rewards is going to be BoA, so you can send it and anything you didn’t loot from it to another character. That’s great for those angry that DPS wouldn’t be able to get a bag by any means, but it doesn’t do anything to alleviation my concerns expressed above.))

Gearing Guide for Prot Warriors (4.0.6)

•02/12/2011 • Leave a Comment

(Note: This list of gear is built assuming you will be raid tanking. If you are going to be doing mostly 5-mans, or exclusively 5-mans, then you will be wanting more Expertise and Hit than what is presented here as your best in slot. Little to not Hit and Expertise works in raids because the incoming damage pushes Vengeance up so high that when we do hit, we hit so hard that we keep a great threat lead. In 5-man’s this just isn’t the case, and a few attacks that don’t land can easily lead to a DPS pulling off of you. Please keep this in mind when using this guide!)

Hello and welcome to the Prot Warrior gearing guide. My intend here is to help you get up to raid ready status as quickly as possible by prioritizing gear farming to shoot for the best items first rather than blindly hoping a boss has something useful for you.

For this guide, I will be listing items starting with your best in slot, and then working my way down to your Justice Point item for that slot location (assuming on exists). No item below 346 iLevel will be listed. I’m stopping at the JP item because with the current ease of farming JP from normals, there should be no reason for you to not have those items as a minimum. If you find tank gear not on this list, then by all means use it for the time being. Understand, however, that your JP gear will be better than any unlisted items.

The same rule applies for any case where you have an item that you can acquire from a rep grind. Once again, this is a process that isn’t hard to complete, so obtaining that item shouldn’t be difficult enough for me to list alternative, less ideal items for that slot.

You may also notice that I am not listing the random enchant items from Throne of the Four Winds. While some of these items can be best in slot, the relatively low chance to see that specific setup of stats devalues included them in the list.

I am also not listing heroic raid loot. As a rule of thumb, the better Stamina and larger stat budged on that gear will likely make the heroic version of the worst normal raid drop tank piece better than the normal version of the best raid drop tank piece. This won’t always be true, but it’ll be true often enough.

In a couple of cases, and item with a DPS stat outranks an item of the same iLevel but with more standard tank stats. This is usually due to the presence of Mastery on the “DPS” item and equal Stamina. In these cases, I’ve noted what to reforge the DPS stat into.

Head:

Reinforced Bio-Optic Killshades
http://www.wowhead.com/item=59359
Engineer made BoP
(Note: Use Mastery and Parry cogs)

Daybreaker Helm
http://www.wowhead.com/item=63531
Valiona (BoT)

Dragon Bone Warhelm
http://www.wowhead.com/item=59344
Maloriak (BWD)

Earthen Faceguard
http://www.wowhead.com/item=60328
Helmet token from Nefarian (BWD)

Helm of the Proud
http://www.wowhead.com/item=58103
Justice Points

Neck:

Rage of Ages
http://www.wowhead.com/item=59442
Nefarian (BWD)

Buc-Zakai Choker
http://www.wowhead.com/item=67138
World Drop BoE
(Note: Reforge Haste into Parry)

Ironstar Amulet
http://www.wowhead.com/item=59319
Atramedes (BWD)

Carrier Wave Pendant
http://www.wowhead.com/item=56319
Ascendant Lord Obsidius (BRC)

The Lustrous Eye
http://www.wowhead.com/item=57932
Justice Points

Back:

Wrap of the Great Turtle
http://www.wowhead.com/item=62383
Exalted with Hyjal

Chest:

Earthen Chestguard
http://www.wowhead.com/item=60329
Valor Points

Hardened Elementium Hauberk
http://www.wowhead.com/item=55058
Blacksmith made BoE

Beauty’s Plate
http://www.wowhead.com/item=56308
Beauty (BRC)

Chestplate of the Steadfast
http://www.wowhead.com/item=58101
Justice Points

Waist:

Jumbotron Power Belt
http://www.wowhead.com/item=59117
Omnitron (BWD)

Hardened Elementium Girdle
http://www.wowhead.com/item=55059
Blacksmith made BoE

Girdle of the Mountains
http://www.wowhead.com/item=57914
Justice Points

Legs:

Earthen Legguards
http://www.wowhead.com/item=60330
Valor Points

Triton Legplates
http://www.wowhead.com/item=56283
Neptulon’s Cache (TT)

Greaves of Splendor
http://www.wowhead.com/item=58102
Justice Points

Feet:

Boots of Sullen Rock
http://www.wowhead.com/item=62418
Gryphon Rider’s Boots
http://www.wowhead.com/item=62432
Exalted with Dragonmaw/Wildhammer

Shoulders:

Pauldrons of Edward the Odd
http://www.wowhead.com/item=67144
World Drop BoE

Heaving Plates of Protection
http://www.wowhead.com/item=59901
Zone Drop BoE (BoT)

Earthen Shoulderguards
http://www.wowhead.com/item=60331
Shoulder token from Cho’gall (BoT)

Earthshape Pauldrons
http://www.wowhead.com/item=56452
Drahga Shadowburner (GB)

Sunburnt Pauldrons
http://www.wowhead.com/item=58104
Justice Points

Wrists:

Bracers of Impossible Strength
http://www.wowhead.com/item=59470
Halfus Wyrmbreaker (BoT)

Sandguard Bracers
http://www.wowhead.com/item=62449
Exalted with Ramkahen

Hands:

Earthen Handguards
http://www.wowhead.com/item=60332
Valor Points

Fingers of Light
http://www.wowhead.com/item=56428
Rajh (HoO)

Numbing Handguards
http://www.wowhead.com/item=58105
Valor Points

Fingers:

Ring of the Battle Anthem
http://www.wowhead.com/item=58187
Valor Points

Bile-O-Tron Nut
http://www.wowhead.com/item=59233
Chimaeron (BWD)

Band of Bees
http://www.wowhead.com/item=58185
Valor Points
(Note: Reforge Haste to Parry)

Blauvelt’s Family Crest
http://www.wowhead.com/item=67139
World Drop BoE
(Note: Reforge Haste to Parry)

Ring of Three Lights
http://www.wowhead.com/item=56398
Siamat (LCT)

Felsen’s Ring of Resolve
http://www.wowhead.com/item=62351
Revered with Therazane

Elementium Moebius Band
http://www.wowhead.com/item=52320
Jewelcrafter made BoE

Red Rock Band
http://www.wowhead.com/item=62440
Revered with Ramkahen

Trinkets:

Lifebound Alchemist Stone
http://www.wowhead.com/item=58483
Alchemist made BoP

Vial of Stolen Memories
http://www.wowhead.com/item=59515
Valiona (BoT)

Symbiotic Worm
http://www.wowhead.com/item=59332
Magmaw (BWD)

Mirror of Broken Images
http://www.wowhead.com/item=68713
Tol Barad rep and token grind

Darkmoon Card: Earthquake
http://www.wowhead.com/item=62048
Full set of Stones cards

Bedrock Talisman
http://www.wowhead.com/item=58182
Valor Points

Figurine – Earthen Guardian
http://www.wowhead.com/item=52352
Jewelcrafter BoP Quest Reward

Leaden Despair
http://www.wowhead.com/item=56347
High Priestess Azil (Stonecore)

Throngus’s Finger
http://www.wowhead.com/item=56449
Forgemaster Throngus (GB)

Porcelain Crab
http://www.wowhead.com/item=56280
Mindbender Ghur’sha (TT)

Heart of Thunder
http://www.wowhead.com/item=56370
Asaad (VP)

Ranged:

Crossfire Carbine
http://www.wowhead.com/item=60210
Zone Drop BoE (BoT)

Thundercall
http://www.wowhead.com/item=56376
Asaad (VP)
(Note: As of 4.0.6, this item is available in game.)

Shield:

Blockade’s Lost Shield
http://www.wowhead.com/item=67145
World Drop BoE

Akmin-Kurai, Dominion’s Shield
http://www.wowhead.com/item=59444
Nefarian (BWD)

Elementium Earthguard
http://www.wowhead.com/item=55069
Blacksmith made BoE

Shield of the Four Grey Towers
http://www.wowhead.com/item=57926
Justice Points

Weapon:

Mace of Acrid Death
http://www.wowhead.com/item=59347
Maloriak (BWD)

Soul Blade
http://www.wowhead.com/item=59521
Zone Drop BoE (BoT)

Elementium Fang
http://www.wowhead.com/item=56346
High Priestess Azil (Stonecore)

Darkheart Hacker
http://www.wowhead.com/item=68740
Tol Barad rep and token grind

Axe of the Eclipse
http://www.wowhead.com/item=56364
Altairus (VP)

Cookie’s Tenderizer
http://www.wowhead.com/item=65171
“Captain” Cookie (Deadmines)

Sun Strike
http://www.wowhead.com/item=56430
Rajh (HoO)

Mace of Transformed Bone
http://www.wowhead.com/item=56459
Erudax (GB)

I hope you’ve found this guide to be helpful. Should Blizzard revise the stats on any items listed here, I will try to keep the rankings up to date. As of right now, this is accurate for build 4.0.6.

Prot Warrior Tanking Guide (4.0.6 Edition)

•02/08/2011 • 36 Comments

Note: This guide is out of date. The 4.1 version can be found here: http://glaivecow.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/prot-warrior-tanking-guide-4-1-edition/

Hello again, everyone. Yes, I know it’s been quite a while… I’ve been a very busy cow. However, after a long while experimenting with specs, gearing and reforging options, I finally feel prepared to write an updated guide without fear of providing incorrect information. If you’ve been waiting, I appreciate the patience. Let’s get started!

Spec:

The biggest change I’ve made recently is to go to a more standard spec.

http://www.wowhead.com/talent#LRZhbZcfGdRRkdbu

Without belaboring the details, this spec has slightly more AoE threat than my previous one, slightly more DoT threat (both handy when single tanking fights with adds such as Al’Akir 10 Phase 2), and a little more focus on self-healing. I still don’t pick up Safeguard (but I do urge you to remember that it can be a Pain Suppression for your OT should you find you need it), and I move out of Incite and into Cruelty. This point is one I personally don’t fully support, but it’s what the most top end of the top end does, and I can’t say I see any difference in threat from making the change.

Glyphs:

Glyph choices haven’t changed much. The prime glyphs are still Devastate, Revenge, and Shield Slam. No shock there.

For major glyphs, I still use Thunder Clap, Shockwave and Resonating Power. You may find Cleaving to also be useful if you AOE tank lots of 5-mans, but with the build above, I don’t find that it’s needed to keep threat on lots of mobs at once.

Minor glyph selection should still include Battle and Command. I’ve gone with Demoralizing Shout as my third, because I’m the one keeping that up in raids, but you may find something else more useful if you have someone else doing that debuff.

Enchants:

Here are the enchants you should be going for. In cases where the best available cost maelstrom crystals (which are still fairly rare for most people), I’ve listed the affordable alternative. Keep in mind that the following list assumes that you are not a crafter and do not have access to proprietary buffs that they can provide. For example, ring enchants or the substantial (and best in slot if you can get it) self-only Stamina bracer enchant for Leatherworkers.

Head:
90 Stamina, 35 Dodge (Earthen Ring Revered)

Shoulders:
75 Stamina, 25 Dodge (Therazane Exalted)

Cloak:
Protection (250 Armor)

Chest:
Greater Stamina (75 Stamina) <– Best
Stamina (55 Stamina) <– Affordable

Bracers:
Dodge (50 dodge)

Gloves:
Greater Mastery (65 Mastery) <– Best
Greater Expertise (50 Expertise) <– Affordable

Legs:
Charscale Leg Armor (145 Stamina, 55 Agility)

Boots:
Lavawalker (35 Mastery, Run Speed) <– Best
Earthen Vitality (30 Stamina, Run Speed) <– Affordable

Weapon:
Windwalk (Dodge and movement boost proc) <– Best
Mending (Self-heal proc) <– Affordable

Shield:
Blocking (40 Block Rating)

Stat Priority and Reforging:

Here’s where things get weird. First off, I need you to understand two very unusual things about Cataclysm tanking:

1)      Taunt never misses now. I’ve still never seen a blue post confirming this, but I’ve also never had a taunt miss, and neither has any tank I know.

2)      Hit and Expertise are pretty much worthless stats now. Expertise still has its place for smooth threat generation, but Hit is basically ignorable. Case in point… the warrior that tanked the world first Sinestra kill has less than 1% Hit and Expertise in the low teens.

Now, with that in mind, here are you stat priorities.

Stamina > Mastery > Parry > Dodge

When reforging, personally, I suggest leaving Hit and Expertise alone. If you have it, great, leave it be. If you don’t, however, then don’t ever reforge *into* it.

Look at each piece of gear that you have and follow this thought process:

If it has Mastery and Parry as the two stats you can reforge, leave it alone.

If it has Mastery and Dodge, reforge Dodge for Parry

If it has Mastery and Hit, leave it alone

If it has Mastery and Expertise, leave it alone.

If it has Parry and Dodge, reforge Dodge into Mastery.

If it has Parry and Hit, reforge Parry into Mastery.

If it has Parry and Expertise, reforge Parry into Mastery.

If it has Dodge and Hit, reforge Dodge into Mastery.

If it has Dodge and Expertise, reforge Dodge into Mastery.

If it has Haste or Crit, then pick the higher stat and reforge it into Mastery if you can, or Parry if Mastery is already on the item.

The one caveat to the above guide is when diminishing returns are really kicking in for Parry. After about 15.2% Parry, you’ll get more total evasion by keeping some Dodge (or even reforging Parry into Dodge) than you will by using the above guide. If you’re sitting at about 16% Parry and 8% Dodge, sum the two, reforge something out of Parry and into Dodge, and sum again. Repeat till the gain is trivial. While Parry does outperform Dodge these day, highest total evasion chance is still your ultimate goal. Being over 100% chance to Dodge, Block or Parry when Shield Block is used is a very desirable thing, and entirely doable with T11 normal gear.

Gemming:

Gemming has gotten a lot easier with no caps to shoot for…

If the socket bonus of an item isn’t Parry, Mastery or Stamina then gem straight Stamina gems.

If the socket bonus is Parry, Mastery or Stamina, then gem like this.

Red = Parry/Mastery
Blue = Stamina
Yellow = Stamina/Mastery
Prismatic = Stamina
Meta = Eternal Shadowspirit Diamond

(Note: With the nerf to this meta in today’s build, it might not be the best option anymore. The numbers are not in yet. Should I find that the +Armor meta is better, I’ll amend this guide.)

If you find that more mitigation works better for you and your raid team, then use this alteration…

Yellow = Mastery
Blue = Stamina/Mastery

In the end, you want to have around 150K HP unbuffed for T11 normals. More, from around 165K to 180K, for T11 hard modes. Past those milestones, depending on content, you can focus more on the mitigation stats. It really depends on what you and your raid are planning to tackle.

Threat Rotations:

For an AOE pack:
Rend > Thunder Clap > Shockwave > Revenge > Cleave spam as rage crosses 70.

For a boss, tell your DPS to wait till they see three Sunder stacks, and then follow these opener and maintenance rotations.

Opener:
Charge > Shield Block > Shield Slam > Devastate to three stacks of Sunder > Rend > Demoralizing Shout > Thunder Clap > Heroic Strike spam as rage crosses 70.

Maintain:
Shield Slam > Revenge > Devastate > Heroic Strike spam as rage crosses 70
Thunder Clap as needed to maintain Rend and the Thunder Clap debuff.
Demoralizing Shout as needed to maintain the debuff.

One final note as I wrap this up… There’s a good amount of debate regarding straight Stamina trinkets vs mitigation trinkets. From what I’m finding, it depends on what you have access to. If you have epic mitigation trinkets, but blue Stamina trinkets, the extra stat budget of the epics seem to outweigh the standard rule of using Stamina trinkets. The reverse is also true if your Stamina trinkets are epic. Another factor is whether or not you’re a Jewelcrafter, as having access to the epic Stamina cuts makes up a decent amount of ground for not using a blue quality Stamina trinket. So does being a Blacksmith (more sockets) or Leatherworker (giant Stam enchant to bracers).

Of course, all things being equal, you should have a complete set of both and use them as the case warrants it. High spell damage fights are always going to favor higher Stamina, while high melee damage fights will always favor mitigation.

At any rate, I strongly suggest you pick up the Mirror of Broken Images (Mastery / Resist trinket) from Tol Barad and the Darkmoon Card: Earthquake (Dodge / Max HP trinket, reforge for Mastery) as soon as possible. Coupled with the two Stamina trinkets from the raid content, these four provide a lot of flexibility.

I hope this guide has been helpful. Other current projects include guides for each of the 5-man Heroics, the Stone Drake achievements, and perhaps even some raid guides. Happy tanking to all, and enjoy Patch 4.0.6.

 
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