Gear Eye for the WoW Guy - Issue 5

A Warrior tank is examined, but does he have what it takes or will his DPS focus make this tank sink.
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Welcome, to the fifth edition of our column here at WoW.TenTonHammer.com called Gear Eye for the WoW Guy. In it Byron "Messiah" Mudry takes a look at a character that needs some help in the game. He then gives that player a complete gear makeover in an attempt to get them moving on to new content in the game. Sometimes that advise is slight upgrades, sometimes a full scale redo for those that are completely lost. Tune in each week to learn the tuning tips that will help you stand out from the average player.

Visit PlayerScore to find your score.

Of course there are two big tools that are needed to be able to check out a player and make useful recommendations. The first of those tools is an in depth knowledge of the game, specifically the classes, mechanics, best stats, best gear, enchants, gems, and more. This isn't something that everyone has for the first little while that they play the game or even for the first while after they hit the level cap.

The second major tool is PlayerScore, which luckily is available and usable by anyone and hosted right here on our network. You can find search for your own character and see how you stack up by visiting the PlayerScore site.


Our Victim

This week I have a request for some help from a retired Navy man that has been playing forever, but never really put a lot of serious time in. He now has some more time and wants to dig deeper into the game to upgrade his gear, play some new content, and of course just kill some time.

Pdar Playerscore

Pdar is looking to turn into a serious tank, and has done some good work already.

His character of choice is a Warrior that he would like to tank with. He has apparently been doing the PVP thing, but now wants to move on to PVE and tanking. His gear has come from quests and the auction house, but needs some help.

A look at Pdar on the WoW Armory

The character that I am looking at is Pdar from the Kul Tiras server. Even before talking to him I liked the character as a choice as there is a lot of work to do. This character also matches a lot of what I see when starting to run instances at max level in dungeon finder groups.

Many players want to start tanking and get some tank gear, and then start tanking while half equipped. Sure they have some tank gear, and may be able to halfway manage it, but are really missing a lot. Pdar is actually better than most since he has some very good gear in quite a few slots. However it is still mixed in with some very poor gear.

The issue is that some of the gear is DPS based instead of tank based. Even though it is good DPS gear, it makes very poor tank gear, and you would probably be better off with some cheap green tank gear instead of epic DPS gear.

You can find Pdar's PlayerScore information here: Pdar's PlayerScore, remember however that it will change over time compared to what is listed here. This is due to PlayerScore constantly being updated to reflect any new gear, achievements and anything else that happens as Pdar plays and upgrades or changes gear.

Either way, at the current gear arrangement you may be able to get away with tanking some of the level 85 instances, but probably not heroics, and defiantly not the troll heroics. Anything above a normal level 85 instance and my guess is Healers will have a hell of a time keeping you alive through a fight.

So, the first priority should be replacing all the DPS gear with tank gear. Even downgrading to green items with tank stats is preferable in many cases. After that then it is time to fine tune. I’m going to look both here, but the DPS replacement takes priority.

Before looking at gear though, let’s start by looking at stat priority so that we know what we are looking for and why on gear.


Stat Priorities

Gearing a protection warrior is much like gearing a protection Paladin, which lucky for you, I am quite good at. One of the first things to look and understand is stat priorities.

In the past when gearing many players felt that stamina was king for tanks, and therefore geared for pure health. However, that was rarely the best plan. What worked better was managing effective health, by looking at a combination or health, mitigation, and avoidance.

Currently in the game the only real way to gear a tank, and that is for effective health. Therefore I have to point out that Pdar has stat priorities all wrong. Almost every gem is filled with a stamina gem, and he is still worrying about hit and expertise.

So before we go any further lets look at what stat priority should be like for a protection warrior:

Protection Warrior Stat Priority
Mastery > Parry = Dodge (balanced) > Stamina > Expertise soft-cap (26) = Hit cap (8%)

Notice that stamina comes after three other stats? That’s because you get so much of it on your gear anyway, it’s almost always more effective to build up your effective health than your base health. Your base health is going to be enough from your gear anyway.

Also a big change from previous expansions is that in general, tanks do not need to worry so much about threat. While being hit and expertise capped is nice, it really doesn’t matter that much for most tanks. The only time it really plays in is when you are raiding and your main DPS players are able to pull threat even giving you a little bit of a lead. Now that everyone is aware of the priorities, let’s start by looking at Pdar’s gear and making some adjustments.


Gear Upgrades

Pdar simply has way too much DPS gear. It needs to be replaced and replaced fast. In total he has 8 different DPS pieces including his helm, back, chest, ring, belt, 2 trinkets, and weapon. Lets start with the priority items.

Ring of the Battle Anthem is an awesome tanking ring, but the band of the gurubashi berserker is pure dps and has to go! Sure it is listed on some tanking lists, but that is only for threat situations. Until a tank is running in solid pre-established raid groups and having issues with specific DPS players, In would always run effective health over threat gearing.

Luckily there are three really easy to get replacement options. First up there is the Red Rock Bar from Ramkahem and next is the Felsen’s Ring of Resolve from Therazane, and lastly the Elementium Moebius Band from a jewelcrafter. Both reputation rings are good tanking rings and easy to get, however since Pdar is only honored with either faction, buying the crafted right is probably the better option.

Long term for rings you will want to look to purchase the tanking ring Deflecting Brimstone Band for 1,250 valor points as it is one of the best in the game.

Ring Upgrade

The new ring offers more stamina once gemmed as well as trading hit and expertise for dodge and mastery.

The helm equipped is a DPS helm since it has crit and expertise. On the good side it does have a meta gem socket, however you can get far better pretty easily. There are decent tanking drops that can be found in heroic Vortex Pinnacle and normal and heroic Halls of Origination. However probably even easier is to get the Crown of Wing from the Wildhammer Clan in the Twilight Highlands as you only need to get to revered reputation with them. Since Pdar is already honored, in a few instance runs he can get to revered and buy this great tanking helm.

Helm Upgrade

Besides gaining an extra 50 stamina, you trade crit for dodge which is a huge improvement.

Plain and simple, you need tanking trinkets, both the blood-soaked ale mug and oremantle’s favor are dps trinktes and have to go. An easy one to get is the Impetuous Query from the Lost City. It’s extremely easy to get because it is BOE and can be found for relatively cheap on the auction house. Beyond that it gets a bit trickier. There are several choices but are harder or more expensive to get.

You could get the Darkmoon card: Earthquake for more dodge, but it is expensive. You could also get the Bedrock Talisman for justice points that gives armor and dodge. I really like Leaden Despair from heroic Stonecore for the extra stamina though, as I like to use one stamina and one avoidance / mitigation trinket.

Trinket Upgrades

These trinkets combite to form a huge tanking upgrade for you, trading DPS stats for actual tankings stats. While you could go for two avoidance trinkets, and I would it that is what you can find first, I prefer one of each to keep some base health as well as effective health.

The redsteel belt is another item that is very much like the DPS chest piece. While it is a DPS piece it isn’t actually that bad for tanking since it has mastery and expertise. Also there is not any really easy to get pieces that are great upgrades. You can get the Girdle of the Mountains for 1,650 Justice points which has some really good stats, but its hard to part with that many points for a belt.

Instead I would try farming Zul’Gurub for the Coils of Hate which has Dodge and Mastery. Or probably the best option is to purchase the Hardened Elementium Girdle which again has Dodge and mastery but with even more stamina. Both also have gem slots so you can add even more of what ever stat you need.

belt Upgrade

Another massive upgrade, providing over 100 stamina even before being gemed. More importantly it trades the threat stat of expertise for dodge.

There are a few tanking pieces as well that need to be replaced and can be easily. The first is the cloak. If you haven’t done the whole rescue thrall from the elements chain, start with that, the resulting cloak is awesome. And very easy and fast to get, the Mantle of Patience.

Other good choices include the cloak for justice points or the cloak from the Lost City of the Tol’vir the Kaleki Cloak, but because it’s a specific instance that’s a bit harder.

Cloak Upgrade

The cloak from the quest chain is amazing, especially since it is so easy to get. 30 minutes doing some solo quests and you get an item level 365 cloak.

These are again at least a tanking piece, but a level 318 green. There are not that many different shoulders that you can get from instance and heroics so you pretty much have to farm Grim Batol to get the Earhshade Pauldrons or Zul’Aman for the Pauldrons of Sacrifice. If you don’t mind spenind some gold you can also get the Pauldrons of Edward the Odd from the auction house as they are a world drop. Lastly you can purchase the Sunburt Pauldrons for justice points, but again you probably want to keep those for other items, like the tier 11 gear.

shoulder Upgrade

This is a massive upgrade and can generally be found on the auction house for a decent price.


Good Item Choices

Pdar actually has many really good tanking pieces already such as his Earthen Legguards (tier 11 tanking set), his Shield, bracers, one of his rings, his boots and a few others. There are even some surprises.

Surprisingly this DPS piece is not completely horrible, which surprised even me!

Sure elementium deathplate is an awesome dps piece, and yes, it has a lot of mastery, but it just isn’t a tanking piece. Yet, after getting ready to slam Pdar about this piece I just can’t. Sure in has crit, which is useless, but it has mastery as well, and since the primary stats on it are the same as the crafterd tanking chest piece the Hardered Elementium Hauberk, which has parry and expertise, it’s actually pretty close.

Expertise is of very little use, and parry is poorer than mastery. Therefore the overall effectiveness works out pretty damn close between the two.

I would still get the tanking piece, or better yet the tier 11 Earthern Chestguard form justice points, but really there isn’t much else out there that is that much better than the DPS piece, without looking to raid content. Strange, and surprising even to me, but true.


Item Modifications

Ok this is where I see some issues. It appears that while Pdar has a fairly good basic idea on tanking, he is not quite there and not entirely following stat priortization.

Gemming for all stamina is ussually not the best plan.

Looking at the gems equipped all I see is stamina. The same thing applies here as did above. Stamina is not the number one stat for tanking any more. Sure you should gem for some stamina, however it should be merged gems with mastery, dodge, or pary and stamina. The strongest stat being mastery means that for yellow sockets it is strongly suggested that you gem with fractured amberjewels for stacking mastery.

Next up enchants are a huge deal for any character and here Pdar is missing three critical enchants. He is missing his head, shoulder and leg enchants, which all add huge numbers. I mean the leg enchant alone adds 145 Stamina and 55 Dodge, and the legs you have are definately worth spending the gold on for the enchant. The Helm and Shoulder enchant are far cheaper, being available through rep vendors and are missing. Combined they will add a further 165 stamina and 60 dodge, which is hard to go without.

Also some of what is enxhanted is not optimal. For the best tank enchants check out this guide: Paladin Tank Enchants. While it is for Paladins, the enchants are the same.

Reforging to hit as a tank before being in high level raids is a waste of points.

Now lets look at reforging and what Pdar has already done. While most of the reforging isn't horrible it is a bit misguided. I can deal with the reforges to parry, and of course mastery is pure win, but why hit? Maybe let's review what the reforge priorities should be for a Protection Warrior. For those that need to understand what this is they can find it all in our guide called: Reforge This. Make sure you bookmark page 3 that clearly shows the reforge priority for each class - Class / Spec Priorities for Reforging.

Protection Warrior Stat Priority
Mastery > Parry = Dodge (balanced) > Stamina > Expertise soft-cap (26) = Hit cap (8%)

What that means is that I should not see mastery being reforged away from at all and I should not see hit being reforged to at all either.

Take any gear that does not have mastery on it and move the stat that is of lowest priority to mastery. If the item already has mastery then you should take the lowest stat and move it to parry or dodge, whichever is you have less of at the current time to mimize your losses to diminishing returns.

When dealing with a tank you have it a little easier than other classes as you generally do not have to look ar reforging for caps all the time. Later on when you are in a solid raid group and start having threat issues then you may need to focus on hit and expertise and making sure you are capped to ensure threat lock. However until that happens don't worry about hit or expertise at all.


Overall Review of Pdar

Overall I really like a lot of what Pdar has done for starting to gear up, he has grabbed some solid pieces. Sure his enchants, gems, and reforging need a whole lot of work, but that is easily fixed as shown above. Once that is corrected a lot of the issues with Pdar will be resolved and he should be a lot easier to heal.

the set bonuses for tanking tier 11

After item modification is corrected the next step is saving up some serious justice points to try and get some of the tier 11 raid gear. In addition to solid stats they offer some extra abilities such as 5% more damage from your shield slam, and then if you can manage to get into a raid later, the awesome 4 piece set bonus.

Save up those points while first running some easy heroics and correcting some of the DPS pieces and switch them over to tank gear. The suggestions found above should guide you through the getting some of the easiest to get pieces. Once you have them then it will be time to start going after the upgrades in the troll instances of Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub. These provide better gear again and also even more justice and valor points to buy items with.

Once you have the items listed you need to make sure everything is enchanted, gemmed, and reforged appropriately. From there it is time to get a raid group together and get in on the serious fun, especially since you said you wanted to play a lot more.


The Messiah’s Final Word and How to Request your Makeover

Pdar was a lot of fun to look at since he had a decent base, and it's easy to see he at least had a clue. Also tanking is my favourite part of the game so it also makes it more interesting. Something to remember here is that no matter if your gear is almsot there or half missing, you should start looking at a long term plan. Get an idea of what you want to do and how much time you want to invest to get there. Set your plan and stick to it.

Visit PlayerScore to find your score.

Another thing to note here is this is another character where droping down item levels and going from and epic to a rare is actually an upgrade. Everyone should remember this, as item level is not everything.

Response has been great so far for this column and while I have a few characters in the queue to be looked at, I am always looking for more! Especially those that I can make fun of (while still offering some real help), so if you have a character that you want reviewed, or know of one that badly needs help but is just too lost to even know they need it, feel free to sent me a link to their PlayerScore page. One lucky player, will be selected for a gear makeover in this column each week.

To submit a character for a review make sure you lookup the character's PlayerScore and send me a link to that character. Also if you want to provide any basic information on you're goals, how far advanced you want to plan for, how much time you invest in the game, or just a bit about your self, please include it all in a comment below or a note to the Messiah.

Thanks for actually making it to the bottom of this edition of Gear Eye for the WoW Guy everyone, hope you enjoyed.


World of Warcraft - Related Content
Reforge This | Tank enchant list | Big Guide to Tanks | Patch 4.2 Portal
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