Last Visit: 11 April 2005
Posted on 12 January 2005 at 14:52:35 Looking for some feedback on the flow and readability of this warrior guide I wrote.
Hellmountís guide for tanking warriors
I am writing this guide because all I hear is either complaints from warriors about their inability to hold aggro or complaints by other classes that warriors canít tank an instance. Part of the problem is that when a lot of warriors started their characters they envisioned a Conan the Barbarian type who swung a big huge axe and sliced everything to bits. There is a place for Arnold in WoW, but his place is not as the tank in an instance group. Now Iím not telling you how to play your character, Iím just telling you how I think you should play your character while tanking an instance. You can keep the big 2 hander for when you are questing or PvPing just put it away when you are tanking. Iíll first talk very briefly about gear and talent set ups but spend most of this guild discussing how to play your warrior in an instance, because I have found that a well played but poorly equipped warrior with all his points in arms talents will make a better tank then a defensive specced warrior with uber gear who doesnít know what heís doing.
Use whatever gear you like best for your questing and soloing but when tanking I would suggest using the following criteria for your gear:
1. High Stamina 2. High Defence 3. Resists as needed
Stamina and defence are the two most important with stamina being slightly more important then defence. Each point in stamina gives you 10 more hit points where defence increases the amount of damage reduction. However, after a certain point the returns in percent damage reduced for an additional point in defence is greatly reduced where as an additional stamina always gives you 10 hit points. Finally you may want to have some gear to switch out for special scenarios where you want to increase your resistances. Maybe add some fire resist if you are going to be tanking a fire elemental or a fire-breathing dragon. Also, use a shield. This reduces the damage you take significantly and allows you to use shield bash.
There are basically three ways you can set up your talent tree.
1. Offensive (Arms and fury talents) 2. Defensive (Protection talents) 3. Hybrid (a mix of Protection with Arms and Fury)
To be quite honest for the first 50 to 55 levels it doesnít really make a huge difference how you place your talents, you will still be able to tank. So if you want to play an offensive warrior, go for it and sink your points in to the Arms tree for Mortal strike or in the Fury tree for Blood thirst. If you are going to put some points in the defensive tree, and I suggest you do, I would suggest getting 5 points in Defiance for additional threat generation, 2 points in improved taunt and 3 points in improved revenge. You can place points in all 3 talents and still reach the top skill in another talent tree of your choice. Personally I have almost all of my talents in the defensive tree at the moment, but this certainly isnít required to be a good tank until you get to the level 60 instances at the end of the game, and even then good gear and playing your class well will put you a step above most warriors on your server regardless of your talents.
This section will describe how I have had success tanking instances from Rage fire chasm up to Black Rock Spire. First off Iíll go over general strategies you can get your party to do in order to help make your job be easier as well as list the skills you will use to hold aggro, then I will go over some of the types of pulls you will encounter in instances and how to deal with them.
How your party can help you:
Part of being a good tank is having a good party, and here are some things that will help your party be better.
First and foremost have the damage dealers in your party focus their attacks on one mob until it dies, and then move on to the next. This will help because it makes it less likely that a mob will run away with low hit points and aggro more mobs and it will also make your job tanking much easier. If everyone focuses on one mob, you can focus your threat generating skills on that mob and hold the aggro of the other mobs with little to no rage spent. Second whenever possible have your party let you pull. That way the mobs start attacking you first which helps you generate rage as rage is generated whenever you cause or receive damage. The exception to this would be if your rogue is using sap, or your mage is pulling with polymorph. Finally have your party members avoid using high threat abilities unnecessarily. Examples of this would be a mage using arcane explosion on a group of elite mobs or a priest waiting until you are low on health and using a huge healing spell rather then keeping you alive with renew early in the fight. There are times when these spells are necessary but there are other times when they will cause you headaches trying to keep mobs of your casters.
Skills to use:
Here are the skills that I use while tanking which I separate into three categories bead and butter skills, emergency skills and my rage burning skills. It should be noted that I do all my tanking in defensive stance. I use defensive stance because it both reduces damage and increases my threat generation. The only exception is that I sometimes use battle stance for charge to start a fight. I however only do this to build rage and immediately switch to defensive stance. This stance switching only works with the tactical mastery talent.
Bread and Butter:
These are the skills I use in almost every fight and which I have found to be very effective at holding aggro.
-Taunt: Instantly cast, no rage cost and grabs the attention of one mob for a few seconds. It is good to get the attention of one mob at the start of the fight, but is most useful for when a mob is chasing your mage or your priest and you need to get that mob back right now. The large disadvantage of taunt is that unless you use other threat generating skills on the mob after taunting it, you will lose the mobís aggro when someone else attacks it. Taunt also has a cool down or 8 to 10 seconds depending on your talents, so its important that you donít waste your taunt, it should be saved for when you need it. That being said I tend to use taunt multiple times per battle.
-Sunder Armour: By far the skill I use the most in an instance. It lowers the mobs defence, can be stacked 5 times on a mob and generates a lot of threat. This is the skill I use to keep a mob on me. Stacking 2 or 3 sunder armours should be enough to hold he attention of a mob until it dies. It is also useful if you have the rage to grab something that is chasing your priest if the cool down on your taunt is not back up.
-Revenge: Does a small amount of damage but is instant cast, has a chance to stun with the right talent build and generates a fair amount of threat for its very cheap cost of 5 rage. Personally I cast revenge every time that it becomes available. The one disadvantage is that it can only be used after you block, parry or dodge an attack.
-Demoralizing shout: An area of effect de-buff that generates a small amount of area effect threat. It is useful to grab the attention of a group of mobs, but it wont hold the aggro if other people attack the mobs. I use this skill as the pull comes in to make sure all the mobs are attacking me, and it also reduces their damage making me live longer.
-Shield bash: A skill that does minimal damage but serves as your spell interrupt in defensive stance. It can also silence with the right talent build. I also find it useful to generate threat, especially if I have been disarmed because revenge and sunder armour wonít work without a weapon equipped.
Emergency skills: These would be skills that I save until things really get out of hand and are classified as being very powerful skills with long cool downs. I save these for situations where someone will die unless I burn one or more of these skills.
-Challenging shout: Grabs all the mobs within the skillís radius for 6 seconds. Works well if there are too many mobs fighting too many targets for you to deal with, but it has a long cool down of 10 minutes so use it wisely. Also know that once all those mobs attack you, itís going to hurt and know that after 6 seconds you will start to lose those mobs attention. So try and stack some sunder armours on as many of the mobs as possible in those 6 seconds.
-Last stand: Increases your hit points for a short period of time and has a 10 second cool down, requires a talent to learn. A good skill to use if your healer is not going to be able to heal you in time.
-Shield wall: Greatly reduces damage taken. Use it in the same situations as last stand, when last stand alone wonít be enough to save you, or if the cool down on last stand is not yet up.
Rage Burning Skills:
These would be a skill that I wouldnít use unless I had rage to spare, which usually happens for the last mob of a large pull or during a boss fight.
-Shield block: Pretty much guarantees a shield block, which is nice for reducing damage taken and for triggering the revenge skill.
-Shield discipline: Improves your shield block and shield bash for a short period of time, requires a talent to learn.
-Disarm: Reduces damage output of melee mobs.
-Damage skills: These would be skills like rend, mortal strike and heroic strike. These would be the last skills I spend rage on once Iím sure that Iíll be holding the aggro of the mob and I have rage to burn.
Types of Pulls:
In all the instances I have tanked so far in wow I have basically come across 4 types of pulls. I will briefly explain how to deal with each type of pull.
Single elite mob: This is your basic pull where you have to tank one elite mob. An example would be a group of 3 elite mobs where a rogue saps one, a mage polymorphs a second and you tank the third. Before the pull use blood rage to build up some rage, wait for the mob to come to where ever you are pulling to and grab its attention with taunt. Then stack up sunder armour and revenge on the mob as rage becomes available to hold its attention. As a rule I use revenge whenever it becomes activated and stack 2 sunder armours on most mobs. Two sunders and one revenge should be enough to hold the aggro of a mob. If the mob leaves, use taunt to get it back and then use more sunder armours on it. The mob will leave if someone is doing a lot of damage to it, such as a mage spamming and area of effect skill, a rogue landing a big critical attack or a shaman using wind fury or a shock spell. The mob may also leave if the healer throws a big heal. Of these, the heal should be easy to predict because chances are you are the one who needs healing. So as you see the healer casting heal on you, know that you may need to use your taunt skill. Because of this, donít use taunt unless the mob is attacking someone else. Taunt is for getting aggro, not keeping it.
Multiple elite mob pull: Imagine now that there is a group of 4 elite mobs to pull and your group has no rogue to sap one of the mobs. Your group will probably still have the mage polymorph one mob making this pull a 3 elite mob pull. As the mage is casting polymorph, use blood rage same as before. The 3 remaining mobs should now be coming towards the mage. As they do make sure you move ahead of the mage so that they run past you towards the mage; as they come past you, use demoralizing shout. This will cause all the mobs to leave the mage and attack you. At this point it is important that your damage dealers are focusing their attacks on one mob. They can do this by picking the order in which things will be killed before the fight or they can chose one party member to assist during the fight. To assist a party member, select their portrait and press the assist key (default is the Ďfí key) to target the same mob that party member is targeting. You should tank the mob your party is focussing the same as you tanked a single mob pull, using taunt, sunder armour and revenge. The other mobs that you grabbed with demoralizing shout wonít leave you unless someone gives them a reason to leave. Since no one else should be attacking them, the only reason to leave should be that the healer is healing you. See the heal coming and make sure that you have taunt ready to get those mobs back. A single taunt or a taunt plus a sunder armour or revenge should be enough to get a mob back. If two mobs go after the healer, use taunt on one and spam sunder armour and revenge on the second until you get it back. As mobs die, move on to the next one that your group is targeting and treat that mob like a single mob pull. Repeat until all mobs are dead
Multiple non-elite mob pull: This could also be called and area of effect pull. These pulls consist of a lot of low HP non-elite mobs. Usually these pull will involve the casters using area of effect spells while the healers heal the casters. Your role in these pulls as a warrior is fairly limited. Pull the mobs so they attack you first, use demoralizing shout so that the mobs deal less damage and do your best to taunt one or two of the mobs off of the mage or warlock. The idea for these pulls is mostly that the mage kills everything very fast and gets healed by the priest. As I said, the fight is usually quick, and your role is limited.
Mixed pull: This would be a pull with a mix of elite and non-elite mobs. If your group has an arcane mage or a warlock and a good healer they will probably want to AoE the non-elites. Your job is to keep the elite mobs in the pull fighting you, while the casters deal with the non-elites. This is done similar to a multi elite mob pull, but is much harder because the mobs are all going to want to go after the mage casting AoE. You are going to need to cycle through your targets spamming sunder armour, taunt and revenge. This is easier if the mage lets the mobs hit you for a second or two before casting the AoE spells, letting you build a little rage. Remember to open the fight with demoralizing shout and donít feel bad if you can only keep one or two mobs on you. In a pull like this if I can keep 2 elite mobs on me while a mage spams arcane explosion, I consider that a success. And even if I only keep one, itís still not a failure. Once the non-elites are dead, grab the remaining elite mobs with taunt and treat it like a multiple elite mob pull.