With the introduction of the Burning Crusade, the talent trees has been expanded from 31 to 41 points depth. Because the 30+ talents were so good, if you wanted to tank you were expected to go deep into the designated tanking trees. While Feral Druids still could do pretty well soloing on their own, for Paladins and Warriors speccing for tanking meant being pretty useless for most other things.
With WotLK Blizzard wants to change this. They have taken several steps to counter this imbalance:
- Tanking talents have been reworked to help tanks do more damage
- No need to spend talent points on increasing threat generated, it is included by default
- Tanking gear now comes with offensive stats as well as mitigation
The largest single change done to tanking is the removal (not removed, just shifted up one level so you need to be 4 levels below a mob for it to occur) of crushing blows. This will dramatically impact tanking gear:
- Defence is only good for the damage reduction it provides through increased dodge/parry/block/miss/decreased chance to be crit
- Resilience is a viable tanking stat up until the crit cap (see below)
- For Druids and Death Knights Resilience will be an even more viable mitigation stat
- For Warriors and Paladins Defence will be the best all-round stat
- For all classes Dodge will remain the best avoidance stat
As a result, there will be lots of tanking conducted in PvP gear by all tanking classes.
A tank has two main tasks. The first is mitigating the incoming damage as efficiently as possible, and the second is keeping the enemies focusing him (and not the group). The first part of this guide will focus on taking damage. Do not be afraid of taking damage. As long as it is not too spiky, your healer will be able to keep you alive – without breaking a sweat.
The Attack Table
The attack table dictates what will happen when you or an enemy performs a melee attack. Knowing what this means is essential for tanks, as they are the ones that should be taking.
- Glancing Blow (only players and pets versus mobs)
- Crushing Blow (only when the mob is 4 levels or more above you)
- Ordinary hit
Miss, Dodge and Parry means completely avoiding the attack. The attack will deal zero damage. Crushing blows only occurs when the mob is four or more levels above you – which should never be the case for a tank.
Block means absorbing some damage with your shield. You can increase the amount blocked by adding more Block Value through items or by obtaining a stronger shield. Blocking an attack is more useful when the hits are relatively weak. Blocking 300 out of a 500 hit is good, blocking 300 out of a 3000 hit is not as good. Block Rating increases the chance you will block an enemy attack.
A melee critical hit will deal 200% of normal damage. A spell critical hit will deal 150% of normal damage. Being crit can be avoided by having enough +Resilience or +Defence gear, and also some talents will decrease the chance of you being crit. To tank higher-level content, it is important to be “crit immune”.
While tanking is a team effort, as a tank you the only one allowed to put the “I” in that team. You are in the best position to protect your group from harm. First it is important to understand the basics of threat and aggro management. Threat is a number per target, which increases every time you use an offensive ability against that target. Some abilities generate much more threat than others – those are your tools as a tank. Aggro means being focused by a mob. As a tank, you should always have aggro.
Ranged and melee threat
When another melee fighter has 110% of your threat, the mob will switch his target to that character and aggro him. To regain aggro, you must either pass his threat level by 10%, he must decrease his by 20%, or you must taunt the mob back. Other melee fighters should always fight the mob from the back, so it should be very visible to you when it turns around.
For the mob to run towards a ranged attacker, the attacker will need to have 130% of your threat. In order to regain aggro, you must pass his threat level by 10%, he must decrease his by 40%, or you must taunt the mob back. In such a situation, it is recomended to use a taunt straight away, before the mob runs away.
The team effort
To make the team work effectively, before you set out, make sure everybody agrees on the order in which a pack of mobs shall be killed. This ensures that you can use your threat abilities on one target at a time. If your DPS follows this kill order, they should be safe from harm. However, if they pick a target which you are not currently attacking, they may get damaged.
Unless they have a good reason to do this, let them die. While this sounds cruel, it is necessary for them to learn. If you constantly need to keep on your toes, and taunt back mobs because your teammates goes after them in the wrong order, something is very wrong. The only one you need to protect no matter what, is your healer. If your healer dies on duty, you are usually the one to blame.
As a tank you need some stats more than others. The main focus for any tank should always be stamina. It will give your healers a much larger buffer to work with, and you will get rage/mana back. Some tanks focus heavily on avoidance – this leads to them running out of rage or mana quickly, and when faced with magic damage or heavy-hitting mobs they risk taking too much damage. After lvl 60, stamina is also a “cheap stat”, which means that you get 150% the amount of stamina on an item compared to other attributes.
Another very good stat is expertise. Since you always face the mob from the front while tanking, you will get 2x the value from expertise compared to hit. In addition, the bosses will less often get the benefit of having parried your attack, which reduces incoming damage. When you have reduced the chance to dodge/parry by 5-8%, other stats are more valuable.
Defensive stat costs at lvl 70
7.88 block rating = 1% block
18.92 dodge rating = 1% dodge
23.65 parry rating = 1% parry
Offensive stat costs
15.76 expertise rating = -1% enemy dodge/parry
15.76 hit rating = 1% hit