One thing that is always daunting for the majority of PvE content is gearing up — and our effectiveness being 50% dependent on that gear. Mention that only one or two pieces drop in a single dungeon, and it makes a new tank just a tad hesitant to move into a full-time job.
Tanking doesn’t have end-all, be-all rules and guidelines that other roles must strictly follow. It’s one of the more forgiving archetypes to play (as long as you’re able to get the job done, of course).
The most favorable stats are different depending on your class, such as Druids having little to no use for Parry.
I won’t proclaim to be an expert at this point, especially since Tanking stat priority is still heavily disputed in the community right now as to what’s most favorable, but prevailing theories claim the following:
Warriors: Stam > Parry > Dodge = Mastery > Hit = Expertise
Druids: Stam > Agil = Dodge > Mastery = Hit = Expertise
Paladins: Stam > Parry = Dodge = Mastery > Hit = Expertise
Death Knights: Stam > Mastery > Dodge = Parry > Hit = Expertise
I list Stamina on top for every class, because personal experience dictates that stacking it is the most reliable way to provide effective mitigation, giving more time for healers to launch their spells. It also relies less on the Random Number Generator.
Boss is hitting for 25k every 3 seconds, and you have 175k. That gives the healer 21 seconds to get at least one heal off.
Boss is hitting for 25k every 3 seconds, and you have 120k HP. That gives the healer just under 12 seconds to get some sort of heal off.
Read on to see my final analysis of Tanking stats and a full list of gear that will put you over the threshold and into Heroics, to then have fun progressing there!
What good does high Stam do if we’re not being attacked because we can’t generate enough threat due to not hitting our target? We need to be Hit/Expertise capped. With blizzard’s new built-in stat UI, it’s easy to tell whether you currently are or not.
For avoidance, it’s based on what your class uses. Death knights are privy to Dodge over Parry because Dodge gains more % per point than Parry does. Druids don’t use parry because they can’t, and Warriors and Paladins are pretty balanced.
Mastery is heavy, but it’s on just about every piece of gear, as of late I’ve been reforging from Mastery for Hit, and I’m still around 35% Block (which my Mastery affects).
Rule of Thumb #1: If it has 2 Stats that are more favorable on a piece, while you lose 1-3 less favorable, it’s an upgrade.
Rule of Thumb #2: When obtaining gear (crafted, via Justice Points, or otherwise), first buy what is the biggest upgrade.
Rule of Thumb #3: Socket in color. The socket bonuses are normally Mastery or Stam, and a lot of it. Blue sockets should be pure Stam, and others use mixed or pure, depending on what you need (such as Hit/Expertise if you’re under the cap).
With Cataclysm bringing six new factions to the table, it’s hard to pick which one to start earning reputation with first when each has something to offer. I’ve listed them in top priority – to me – with a few others to give you some decisions.
- Helm / Shoulder Enchants
- Epic Cloak (you won’t replace until raiding – might as well get it now)
- Epic Bracers (easier to upgrade in regulars / questing / crafting than cloaks, but still should get soon because you won’t replace them until raiding)
- Epic Boots (less uncommon than bracers – but you still won’t replace them until raiding)
Neither Baradin’s Wardens (Alliance) or Hellscream’s Reach (Horde) have items for Warrior and Paladin tanks. Death Knights might want to look at Blade of the Fearless (Both) and Druids the Spear of Trailing Shadows (Both)
Now for the annoying part, actually farming the gear. All items that drop in both Throne of the Tides and Blackrock Caverns are replaced by the other regulars, so it’s a waste of time to farm those. Listed below are items from the more viable dungeons, with their respective iLvls and slot types trailing. If you need help finding the dungeons first, check here.
- Stonecore (everyone wants Leaden Despair, trinket, iLvl 316)
- Warrior / Paladin: Elementium Fang (replaced in Grim Batol, one-handed sword, iLvl 316), Phosphorescent Ring (Ring, iLvl 316), Stalagmite Dragon (Paladin, Relic, iLvl 316)
- Death Kinght: Stalagmite Dragon (Relic, iLvl 316), Sword of the Bottomless Pit (two-handed sword, iLvl 316)
- Druid: Darkling Staff (Staff, iLvl 316), Helm of Numberless Shadows (Helm, iLvl 316), Key to the Endless Chamber (Trinket, iLvl 316)
- Vortex Pinnacle
- Halls of Origination
- Lost City of Tol’vir
- Grim Batol
- Warrior / Paladin / Death Knight: Earthshape Pouldrons (Shoulders, iLvl 333), Mace of Transformed Bone (replaces Elementium Fang, one-handed mace, iLvl 333), Throngus’s Finger (Trinket, iLvl 333), Wild Hammer (replaces Sword of the Bottomless Pit, 2-handed mace, iLvl 333)
- Druid: Ring of Dun Algaz (Ring, iLvl 333), Vest of Misshapen Hides (replaces Hieroglyphic Vest because of Mastery and more inherent Agility, Chest, iLvl 333)
Now that you have all that farming done — or if you still have some holes to fill – hopefully you’ve earned enough Justice Points to get something. Remember when deciding what to get to stick to Rule of Thumb #2. Don’t worry about spending them, just about all of them are BiS out of raids, so if you stick with the Rule of Thumb, you’ll be in good shape. Here’s the list below, first for Plate, then Druids.
- Warrior / Paladin / Death Knight
These don’t fill every slot, but they sure to fill near most of them! As iTZKooPA mentioned, make sure to do all those quest chains, they offer some high-end gear. Warriors and Paladins might want to complete the Hero’s Call:Twilight Highlands! / You Say You Want a Revolution Quest chain for Truthbreaker Shield / Twilight Mirrorshield because I didn’t replace it until I got Shield of the Iron Maiden.
Hope this helps the rest of you tanks busy gearing up out there!