5 things about Protection Warriors that still rock the house

1. We have awesome AE snap threat. For this reason, we are the best tanks for the adds on Sartharion, bar none. Shockwave and Thunderclap pile a shedloads of quick threat onto a lot of mobs.

People will also be impressed at how neatly you line mobs up for Shockwave, once you have got the hang of it. The neat mob patterns and the stun give them 5s to oo and ahh at your amazing add control. Milk it.

Even if you don’t take Veneretio‘s word for it (and you should, he’s one of the most authoritative protwarrior posters out there, and he’s particularly good at explaining the reasoning behind his thinking), my corroborating evidence is that my protadin friend was whining to me about this last week.

If a protection paladin whines that you are better than him at anything, it’s:

  1. probably true
  2. probably going to be given to paladins next patch so enjoy it while it lasts

2. We are very mobile. Between Charge and Intervene, we can move much more quickly around an encounter than any other tank.

3. Spell Reflect. An unusual and very fun ability, I don’t think it will ever be necessary on a raid boss¬† but the reason it is now so situational is purely down to current content. This wasn’t the case in TBC and who knows what the future holds? Improved Spell Reflect is still good fun on Malygos and the voidie boss in the Violet Hold. Certainly if more bosses in future allow for spell reflect, it will be a way for Blizzard to increase the damage that warriors do while tanking.

It also hasn’t come up much in Wrath but spell reflect is a great way to build threat on groups of casters, assuming that they all are nuking you (ie. you just pulled one). We used this to good effect in Magister’s Terrace, which did have groups of casters as trash mobs, and it could easily come up later in this expansion.

4. Easier to heal? I put a question mark on this because I’m not convinced, but I was asking some of our healers for their opinions and they felt I took less damage. Or at least they had the perception that they didn’t have to work as hard to heal me. And particularly in heroics, they had a lot of confidence in warriors’¬† ability to pick up unexpected adds/ patrols quickly. This comes down to the great snap AE threat and mobility, but don’t think it isn’t appreciated.

Now to put this in context, a warrior does take less damage than a druid (they have huge health pools to soak but we have plate and a shield), death knights can stack up their amazing cooldowns but they don’t always have something in reserve for unexpected situations, and paladins take less spikey damage but tend to prioritise shield block over avoidance. This is all highly dependent on how you gear — a druid could drop some stamina to pick up high avoidance but most of them don’t, preferring to play to their strengths.

Like I say, I’m not entirely convinced but when someone hands you a compliment, accept it graciously and puzzle it out later. Perception is a powerful thing.

5. Tier 7 looks badass. Who doesn’t like fiery skulls? Warriors do usually get decent looking tier sets, with a few notable exceptions. Clearly this is down to personal preference, but at least we don’t have to wear paladin power ranger suits or have random spikes sticking out of our elbows like Death Knights.

And who would even notice what their druid was wearing? Or not, in the case of some of ours.

What every warrior wants

“We need to get bigger guns. BIG FUCKING GUNS!”

- Dick Durkin, Split Second

It’s true. It doesn’t matter what spec, or whether we prefer to solo, raid, or PvP, all warriors want bigger guns. Bigger axes. Bigger spikes on their shoulders. It’s a warrior thing.

And of course we always wish we could do more damage, even protection warriors hiding behind a shield the size of France. In fact, especially protection warriors.

To understand why this is, you have to understand how tanking has changed in Wrath. It used to be all about threat and survivability. You kept the mobs away from your squishies and didn’t die. If you could do that, you were a tank. If you could do that while walking backwards, you were a raid tank. If you could do all that while walking backwards and remembering to interrupt and spell reflect as appropriate, you were golden.

But with the addition of the Death Knight, two new paradigms hit WoW tanks.

  • The paradigm of threat based on damage.
  • The paradigm of all tanks are equal.

Now we have four different types of tank. Notionally they all are equal and it doesn’t matter which classes a raid decides to take, they can all tank almost all of the content apart from the odd specialist enounter. But some tanks are more equal than others. Of Teeth and Claw sums the situation up. Death Knights and Druids do a lot more damage than the shield tanks while tanking. They also do a lot more damage while off tanking (ie. not tanking but using a tank spec). They can also tank all of the encounters.

It’s not a problem in itself. Current content doesn’t lock anyone out, we just have to be cool with the notion that another tank could do exactly what we do but with an extra 500-1000 or so dps, which is significant on progression raids or dps fights.

Then there are paladins who are still probably the strongest AE tanks in the game and are weakest at … actually not weak at anything at all. They also put out a fair bit more threat and damage than warriors although not in the same class as the Death Knight/ Druid.

This was not intended as a whine post. It was just brought home to me last night when we spent a few hours wiping on 25 man Malygos. One of our raid leaders is a protection paladin (why oh why do I always end up playing the same class or role as a raid leader? It means you’re always second choice for whatever it is you want to do) so he decided that he would tank the boss and I could off tank.

This is a three phase fight. Off tanking involves grabbing a few mobs at the start of phase 2. The rest of the time, you’re on dps duty or flying a drake around. The adds are hard hitting, which meant that I needed to spend the whole fight in tank gear. I didn’t even hit 1k dps (for comparison, this was way below the tank). This fight is also a dps race, and I have never felt so much like dead wood in my raiding life.

If I could have put out as much damage as our druids, I would have doubled my dps. That’s a big difference on a progression fight which is a dps check. Far far too big a difference.

Patch 3.1

So excuse me if I lack excitement over the patch notes. What we need is more damage to bring us up to par with the other tanks. That means more damage while tanking and also more damage while not tanking in protection spec. Buffing devastate would be an obvious choice here, it could only benefit deep protection warriors.

Will we get it? I don’t know. There’s nothing in the current patch notes to hint that they might be looking at this. I’d be surprised if they do, I suspect that the main goal of the patch is to sort out PvP in time for the tournament.

Asking for more damage for tanks feels somehow wrong. We never wanted to have to compete on the damage meters. We just wanted to grab adds and hug them close and hide behind our big arse shields and keep everything nicely controlled. But the new paradigm is not one that warriors were designed for.

We could use another pass.