I have returned, and I had this crazy idea of adding a post that might actually be useful. I know, it’s crazy – I blame it on the pain killers. Since my main character is a Protection Warrior, obviously that is what I will focus on.

Below are some pointers to warriors based on what I’ve seen people do (wrong) in Heroics. A lot of this advice will work just as well for any other tanking class, so feel free to give them a heads up. I would have thought a lot of it is common sense, but after having done some Heroics on my alts (not tanking) I have come to realise that believing so was rather foolish. I have been proven wrong. More than once.

I don’t proclaim to be an awesome player, or even an awesome warrior. But I know to do the below – and I suggest you learn to do the same.

First of all, I would like to make a disclaimer. If you’re thinking about being a tank – any tank – make sure you do it for the right reasons and that you’re willing to put the time into it. You may not be interested in raiding on a tank, but even for Heroics tanking takes a lot of work – more so than a lot of other roles. Your gearing up process is much more steep. There is no way you can enter a Heroic with your levelling gear and expect to do well. You have to work on it.

If you just want to get quicker queues for Heroics. Maybe tanking isn’t for you. Unless you’re still willing to put the time in to get your gear ready and learn how to do it well. A bad tank can ruin any Heroic run. (That said a bad healer can too, and bad dps is annoying, but it doesn’t necessarily wipe the entire group.)

So, here are my tips on how to be a better Warrior (or tank in general):

1. Get defense capped

This isn’t too big a deal at lower levels, but when you hit 80 – if you want to do Heroics you want to get defense capped as soon as possible. In short – it means bosses can’t crit you which means you won’t die as easily. The defense cap at 80 is 535 for heroics (540 if you want to do raids). Note that this is not the rating, but the actual value (the rating is much higher, ~689 defense rating for 540 defense).

Doing Heroics before you’re defense capped may very well be possible, but it is not advisable. Your healer especially won’t be too happy to see you getting crit for 20k. Especially if you’re a new tank with a total of 25k health. I’d even go as far as saying that you won’t be too happy getting crit for 20k since most likely you won’t survive. So do yourself (and everyone else) a favour and get yourself defense capped.

As a side note, getting more than 535 (or 540) defense is not a bad thing. Defense still provides you with useful things, so look at 535 (or 540) as your bare minimum rather than the number. So don’t pass up on gear because it “brings you over the cap”. Getting defense still gives you dodge, parry, block and chance to get missed. All things we love!

2. Don’t stand in the stupid

I’ve seen a lot of tanks in instances that seem to think that because they’re tanking or because they’re wearing such and such good gear it’s okay for them to stand in void zones, fires and whatnot. Let me explain this to you; It is never okay to be taking damage that you don’t have to take!

I don’t care if you’re wearing full T10 gear from ICC with a gearscore of ten zillion. Don’t take damage that you don’t have to be taking.

If you’re not well-geared, taking extra damage is most likely going to get you killed. If you’re well-geared you’re most likely pissing your healer off and you might still die, if that doesn’t happen – you’re still tanking the mobs in a place where melee have to choose between taking chunks of damage or not dpsing. In short; there is never really a good excuse to stand in the stupid.

3. Rage Starvation

As a new tank you may not have problems with this – if things hit you enough. I find this more of a problem at higher levels of gear when they don’t hit me as much, meaning less rage. However, if you do have problems getting enough rage. There are a few things to think about. First of all, charge into packs whenever you can because that gives you a little bit of starting rage. If you’re really screaming for some rage you of course also have Bloodrage. It only has 1 minute cooldown and you can glyph it to not take health from you.

Another thing to think about when feeling rage starved is to NOT use Shockwave. I know, it seems crazy, right – because it’s good AoE threat. But you have to make a judgment call here. The threat or rage (and more rage means more threat too, maybe you want to hold off on the Shockwave for a few seconds). Shockwave stuns the mobs – stunned mobs don’t hit you – you don’t get hit means no rage.

4. Love your Heroic Strike/Cleave

A large part of your threat actually comes from Heroic Strike (switch to Cleave if you’re tanking multiple mobs). It’s different from your other abilities though since it’s on a next swing timer. This means you won’t hit anything with it when you press they ability, but rather that you will hit it the next time your weapon swings. (Which also means that for tanking a quicker weapon is better.)

You want to keep your Heroic Strikes coming. What I do is basically hit that key every time I can, so it hits as often as possible between the other abilities I’m using. Some people bind it to their mousewheel and just keep “scrolling”, but I personally prefer to do it properly.

5. AoE tanking

I don’t want to scare you – or whine (okay maybe I want to whine a little bit) – but AoE tanking as a Warrior is not a dance on roses. You actually have to work for it if you want to hold aggro. We don’t have the luxury of putting down Consecration or Death and Decay. Or Swipe spamming. (Okay so a little bit of whining.) We have to use Thunderclap every cooldown, Shockwave (if our rage generation allows) every cooldown and Cleave. Yes, that’s important. You have to switch your Heroic Strike spamming for Cleave spamming when tanking more than 1 mob.

Even when doing all that, you still might lose aggro. If people AoE-ing, it’s usually not a problem. But say that you’re tanking 5 mobs. You’re focusing one and doing the AoE abilities to keep the others on you. If people AoE – that will be enough. But if a dps is focusing all his single-target dps on another mob (not the one you’re focusing) he almost certainly will pull aggro (unless he’s absolutely crap).

But why aren’t they just dpsing my target you ask? Well, because quite frankly. Most people seem to have forgotten the lost art of targetting the tank’s target. So don’t count on them doing that.

There is no easy way to keep all mobs on you. To make sure you hold the aggro on all of the mobs, you have to not focus on target but sadly you have to tab through them and put up sunders and use Cleave and Shield Slam and every other ability on which ever one happen to be targeted when it comes off cooldown. Do remember to keep Demoralising Shout up – it does do some threat, and Revenge if you have specced into it now hits a secondary target as well. If you do this – you will do AoE tanking fine. You just can’t be lazy when you AoE tank as a Warrior.

It sucks, and it’s annoying. But sadly, until people start targeting the tanks target (which will never happen) we have to do this if we want to tank multiple mobs successfully.

6. Chill

I think this can go for anyone that enters a Heroic actually. Just take a moment and breathe. Don’t bite people’s heads off – even if they’re being asshats. Remember that some people are new, sometimes mistakes are honest. Other times, yes there will be idiots who run ahead of you and pull mobs before you – and that really sucks. But try to take another deep breath, and remember that you can do this. You’re a tank and you can handle it. Don’t be one of those ***** tanks that give us all a bad reputation.

We all have bad days, and we all get annoyed when people play in a way that we feel are stupid. But try not to get rude. It’s not easy, I know. But try to take the high road – if someone is pulling before you are, ask them nicely to not do that. If they still persist, let them die. Okay okay, don’t let them die.. but yeah then you can be annoyed. But give people the benefit of the doubt. We were all new once. If you’ve been pleasant you will know that at least you did nothing wrong, and if people continue being asshats  – well at least you know you’re not to be blamed.

By the way, as a warrior you have the greatest excuse to not have people pull before you (unless it’s a hunter with MD or rogue with tricks, but that’s besides the point). It’s quite simple. We don’t have awesome AoE threat. If they pull 4 mobs and actually do damage to them a Thunderclap won’t snap the aggro back most likely. And your taunt has 6 seconds cooldown. Sure, you can do a Mocking Blow. But even then getting 4 mobs off is a total of 6-12 seconds. During which they might die.

I’m sure I forgot lots of stuff. But this is what I could think of for the time being. If you have any Warrior questions, or even Tanking questions, feel free to ask. (I have tanked on Paladin as well, Druid a little bit and DK a tiny bit – so btw I can definitely say that Warriors have the worst AoE threat.)

8 Comments on Tips for (new) Warriors

  1. I think you greatly underestimate a Warrior’s AoE abilities. Our Warrior MT in the guild was one of the pros, and I’ve watched him in action. Here’s was his kick:

    He’s Heroic Throw a mob, Charge Another, Clap/Demo up. After that, there’s a wide amount of AoE abilities a War can pull of, to name some: Clap, Shockwave, Revenge, Cleave, Demo (It does some nefty threat). Most DPSers will go for your first target, and once is done, rest assured from the splash damage from all the above abilities, you will not have a bad time holding threat.

  2. @DKS – I never have a problem in raids because the time between pulls is generally longer. But I do sometimes have problems in Heroics (for which the article was aimed) – mainly because a lot of the people in Heroics just don’t seem to target my target and I don’t have as much build-up time. But that’s not necessarily a Warrior problem, but rather dps being over-zealous problem. (Like dps palas/dks putting down d&d or cons before I thunderclap etc.)

    I did change the title of the section though and added in revenge since I forgot about that (I blame being on pain meds of course :P!), I wrote this all last night while still pretty out hehe

    And while Warriors definitely CAN AoE tank – I just want to make it clear that you have to work for it. We don’t have an “easy” way to AoE tank, but we have to use the right abilities, at the right time and possibly tab target. While other tanks might have an easier time with a near-constant AoE. (I know it’s not constant for DKs OR Paladins, but it’s not far from it.)

  3. I usually go in heroics as a healer (druid) but sometimes (when the queue time is short) I try dps (cat). And here comes the catch: I can’t focus the tank’s target because I don’t know which mob that is. And that is caused by the tank tabing through mobs all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I meet dps idiots all the time, but even if the dps isn’t an idiot, it’s not as easy as it would seem. I usually end up turning on health bars of all mobs and attacking the one with the lowest hp. This of course wouldn’t work in a raid very well, but works quite fine in heroics.

    Nice blog, keep it up 🙂

  4. @Eillena – Yeah, I know. It’s like a viscious circle *lol* I can’t focus 1 mob because a lot of dps won’t focus mine, but that means that when a dps comes in that wants to focus my mob they can’t because I’m tab targeting *lol*

    I actually try to stick to the same mob as much as I can these days (in the hopes of people picking up on it) – I only go back to tab targeting if I notice that everyone is attacking everything else 😛

  5. Hey! Nice helpful post for aspiring tanks. My brother’s main is a warrior tank, he is one of the tanks for his guild’s ICC 25 mans and 10 man normal/heroics. One thing he mentioned to me that REALLY helped him a while back with his AoE threat is to add the warrior bleed into his tanking spec (Deep Wounds?). He said the difference he noticed switching from his bleedless spec to the Deep Wounds tanking spec was extremely noticeable. Just wanted to put that out there – I’m not privy to a lot of warrior tanking mechanics so I thought this might be useful info for new tanks as well!

  6. I find it very hard when i play my warrior to keep threat in heroics. I feel like i have to try my hardest at all times just to keep all the mobs on me. Its honestly to the point wear i don’t even want to raid with him because i don’t want all that pressure on me. That’s just me though. I would rather use a dps class anyway and blow away the dps meters.

  7. @Poptart – Yes, the “Deep Wounds” build is awesome in raids. It’s the one I use too. I’ve never had dps pull a boss off me 🙂 My only problem ever is AoE and generally only in Heroics. I’m usually fine there too these days, but I know that as a new warrior it can be daunting. And I think I just got lazy after playing a Paladin tank in heroics for a bit – their AoE threat is so ridiculously easy *lol*

    @FearBomber – While warriors definitely can AoE tank I do admittedly find them the tank class that have to work the hardest for it. At the same time though, I find them awesome boss tanks because their single-target threat is great.

    If you ever did want to take him to raids though, I find raids generally easier threat wise. Because you’ll often have rogues and hunters who can help with threat on the large packs. But I don’t blame you if you want to stay dps – I kind of miss being dps myself at times *lol*

    @Mr.Stoneskin – Thanks, my surgery was a success even if my ankle/foot is currently the size of a watermelon. And dear lord no, there will be no more broken limbs! I refuse! 🙂

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