Tanking for Dummies

Some thoughts on Leveling a Warrior Tank
June 8, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Advice for Non Tanks, Gear | Tags: , , , , , ,

In case you haven’t been following it, my long lost Bro-on-another-server Linedan has been put together an awesome and comprehensive Protection Warrior leveling guide for those of you thinking of rolling with the best.  For ease of navigation, let me point you in the right direction (apologies for the pingback spam in advance Lewis):

This series has inspired me to put in a few words on what I consider to be some of the points of leveling a Warrior Tank.  Some of these points echo what the Panzercow  has said because I think they’re extra important.  Others are little extra tips from my own experience.

But first let me say that I am a big advocate for Protection Warriors.  I have two of them.  Even before the massive buff in 3.0, I thought they were the cat’s pajamas.  I may have leveled Tarsus as Fury, but I just couldn’t contain myself and I ended up speccing Prot on him anyway.  This may have been because I was tanking on him anyway, but considering I do this on my Blood Specced Deathknight I think this is more of an addiction that I just make easier when I’m the “tank spec.”

Why Prot?  WHY?!

Because AoE DPS and survivability are the secret to faster leveling.  Protection Paladins figured this out in Burning Crusade: you can AoE grind your way to fame even if your single target DPS is low.  In essence, it takes Tanking Spec Warrior the same amount of time to kill five (or TEN!) mobs to kill just one.  And since, by virtue of Blizzard’s bizarre priorities, it is more efficient in terms of leveling to find a spot and kill all the enemies there then complete quests one at a time in the most selective manner possible – you can actually level faster as prot than as another, squishier, spec.


In regards to technique all I can say is that you need to level like you are engaging in ethnic cleansing.  Don’t be selective.  Just kill everything in an area without remorse.  Since you no longer need to do every quest in a zone, try to focus on quests that have you killing large numbers of mobs in a certain area.  The best situation is if you can have several of these quests reasonably close together so if you manage to clean out a “camp” and not be finished you can simply move onto the next and come back once it has respawned.  Needless to say this method can be somewhat hard on your health, so I highly recommend you go out there with plenty of food and utilize the first aid skill to the maximum.

Also, needless to say, as you level you’re really using no more than the following abilities: Heroic Strike, Cleave, Demo Shout, Thunder Clap, Shield Slam, Concussive Blow, and Shockwave.  Unless one of those abilities is on the trainer for you, there’s no reason to go back and visit the trainer.  Wait until there is something you actually need.  Time spent in transit is wasted time.

As far as Talents go, filling out Cruelty in the top of the Fury tree will always be best the best way to start, but after that working down Protection to Shockwave is good.  Whether you choose to now work to grab Deep Wounds is up to you, though I think you would find it pretty advantageous.

A word on gear.  If you choose to purchase Heirloom items (Bind on Account Items), I recommend buying shoulders first as you get the very nifty 10% XP bonus.  Warriors can’t wear plate until 40, but shockingly the plate shoulders available are still wearable at level 1 despite this limitation.   Outside of that, choose a weapon if you have the currency to burn.  The fact that you can use both Badges of Heroism and Stone Keeper’s Shards to buy these items should make these double purchases easier.   It is a pity there aren’t any Legacy Shields at the moment, but maybe there will be in time.  Also, remember, once you hit Outland items with gem sockets are ridiculously better than they were previously due to the ability to cheaply socket green quality Northrend Gems.  That Circle Stalwart’s Helmet is now a lot better than it was previously, and will last you much longer.

Lastly, leveling with friends is even better than alone, particularly with a healer.  You will have less downtime and more killing time that way, something I’ve learned through pretty extensive experience with my favorite leveling partner.  This is not even mentioning that getting instance groups together is much easier if in LookingForGroup all you have to say is “L4M, 3 DPS.  PST.”  Your healer will be happier for your efforts, and you will be happy that you aren’t stuck running Blood Furnace with some crappy Death Knight who can’t tank.


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

10% xp is nice, but I’m not sure it outweighs having to wear the UGLIEST SHOULDERS IN THE GAME. *shudders at the repressed memories*

Also leveling with friends is more fun regardless of what spec/class/etc you’re playing :D

Comment by Yuki

Hey, no problem on the pingback spam. Pingbacks are always good!

Regarding taking Cruelty first…in the SYWTBAPW guides I didn’t. (I don’t add it in until the level 61-70 guide, hopefully coming soon.) I did those guides largely to prove that yes, you can quite happily level a prot warrior to 60 without a single point in any other tree. It’s not a bad choice at all to load up on that extra 5% crit first, especially since you won’t be seeing most of your other crit-boosting talents until the 45-60 range anyway.

Your tip here about AOE grinding fills in the big hole that I now realize I left in SYWTBAPW…I talked about abilities and talents and a bit about gear, but didn’t actually talk about how to efficiently level as prot. AOE grinding, prot paladin style, is the way to go. Although on Linedan from 70-80, prot all the way, I did it conventionally–questing and mostly normal single-target killing. That was largely due to the crowds in Northrend on Feathermoon making AOE grinding impossible. Yes, we can AOE grind very efficiently, but we can’t gather a group of mobs quite as efficiently as some other classes. When things get crowded, we’re vulnerable to getting mobs sniped from us, even with our mobility talents. (Not so much now that things like Charge Stun will tag a mob, but in original 3.0, many times I’d charge a mob only to see the tag go gray because a hunter or mage popped it while I was charging and before my first swing registered.)

Comment by Lewis

@ Yuki – You could always go with Strengthened Stockade Pauldrons instead.

@ Lewis – Pro-tip. Taunt also tags mobs since 3.0.8. Better yet, if you’re leveling with a partner, Vigilance them and let the taunts flow. My experience in Northrend suggests it is much less crowded now, but it probably varies from server to server.

Comment by Tarsus

[…] for Dummies points to Some thoughts on Leveling a Warrior Tank. There’s a lot of level-specific advice for leveling a warrior there. If I leveled a warrior […]

Pingback by Joel’s Scattered Thoughts » Blog Archive » Some thoughts on Leveling a Warrior Tank

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