Tanking for Dummies

Race Change for Tanking
October 28, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Analysis, Lists | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

First off thanks to those who send their good wishes.  To those of you who asked: No, it isn’t swine flu.

However, for those of you who have been paying attention, the Race Change service is now available.  Meaning that between this and the Faction Change you can swap your warrior tank to any other race in the game (well, except Blood Elves, but who wants them anyway?).

Why would you want to switch races?  Well, let’s be straight here – you want to be the best tank you can be so you want to seek out every advantage you can get.  There are different advantages that race options can give you.  Let me parse them for you:


  • Orc – You have Blood Fury which will increase your threat and Axe Specialization that will increase your expertise with Axes.  The former can be a nice boost, but the latter is gimped by the parsity of tanking axes.  Boo.
  • Tauren – More health from Endurance and an AoE stun on a 2 minute cooldown with War Stomp.  The former sounds better than it is in actuality, but I cannot even begin to say how useful the latter has been over the years.
  • Troll – Berserking is a nice boost to threat, though given it’s dependence on your health it can feel a little gimped on a tank since you’re not wanting to go too low on that.  Other than that, there isn’t that much here… outside of pure mojo.  You have to respect the mojo.
  • Undead – Will of the Forsaken used to be the great grand-daddy of tanking racials, but with the advent of access to Berserker Rage in Defensive stance, this is (at best) a good back-up in case you hit the button at the wrong time.  Cannibalize can also be very useful under the right circumstances, but again, you’ll rarely have the opportunity to use it.


  • Dwarf – Stoneform is one of those abilities that you think you won’t use until you discover just how often things hit you with debuffs.  The ability to remove bleed effects is also Godly, as the only other abilities to do so also drop you off the threat table.  Mace Specialization, however, is gimped due to the parsity of tanking maces.
  • Gnome – While I have seen some great uses for Escape Artist, this is mostly to help in situations for anyone, not specifically for tanks.  Tiny Hijinks aside, you’re not going to find much more use in your tanking repertoire for gnome racials.
  • Human – Every Man for Himself is probably the most powerful racial in the game right now, so it bears noting that it works for most things that you would want.  It’s effectively a PvP trinket that doesn’t take up an item slot.  If that were not enough to think that Blizzard has it in the bag for Humans, they also get Sword Specialization – which is pretty awesome considering that the vast majority of tanking weapons or swords.
  • Night Elf – Quickness deserves a special mention here because bosses do not get expertise or hit.  This means that your Night Elf tank is going to just have better baseline avoidance – not to shabby.  Shadowmeld can also be useful when it comes to tank transfers, keeping you from accidently overtaking your friend who just taunted off you.
  • Draenei – Heroic Presence is a great boost to threat.  It’s always on, and it works for everything you might equip.  It’s also no great surprise that Gift of the Naru is good for tanking, especially in smaller groups where the mobs don’t hit quite as hard.

That pretty much covers it.  So am I going to switch?

Heck no.

Tauren, forever.  For the Horde!


6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Nice write up!

I have an additional question. Is there still talk of changing all racials to put them on par with the awesomeness of the worgen/goblin racials?

If so, one will also need to reflect on how badly they want to change now if there is another racial up and coming that we don’t know about yet that will make you want to change again.

Nothing serious, but food for thought. Especially if you’re a cheapskate like me.

Comment by Billy Wallace

There is. It was at Blizzcon I believe. I, for one, think that the race changes will be thematically similar to the existing racials, just more potent. There might be one or two additional racials as well.

That said, I know plenty of people that are race swapping anyway, either for personal reasons or some racials are just too powerful to pass up (cough cough Stoneform). So given that it’s going to be several months before we see Cataclysm I think that it’s worth it to review what races are advantaged tanks and which ones are not.

Comment by Tarsus


You WILL respect the Mojo.

Nice summary as I have been considering making a Tank for some time and I am just to darn cheap to pay for a race change later down the line! Thanks!

Comment by Nicoran

Didn’t really think of it that way, but it’s true that it could help folks settle on a race for a new tank.

Comment by Tarsus

I pondered changing to something with better tanking capabilities but I have been a gnome for 4+ years now, and I’m sure I’d regret it. For the gnomes!

Plus, what I was going to mention in conjuction with this, is that as we know all races will get overhauled racials possibly even before the patch preceding Cataclysm. So it may turn out that you change races now in favor some other race, only to see your old race or one of the other races get such racials that you’ll regret not waiting until the post-Cat new racials are leaked out. if you value your 20 eur/25 bucks that is :)

Comment by Sudiin

Our cute, pigtailed, flipped out undead warrior is now a huge, beefy, burly male tauren! (Didn’t undead get extra dodge, or was that removed?)

I am still getting used to it, I know it seems a bit odd, as it’s the same person and all…but I see him and I’m like who the f is that in our raid…oh, right!

Comment by Beruthiel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: