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Posts with tag protection-warrior

Warlords of Draenor: Tanking and the future

One of the things I'm thinking about lately is how tanking is changing in Warlords of Draenor. In at least one major way, it's not changing - Active Mitigation established itself in Mists, based in part on DK tanking in Cataclysm, and it's going to be front and center in Warlords of Draenor. But right now, AM tanking heavily relies on four stats (depending on the tank class) and all four of those stats will be gone come Warlords, meaning that we're looking at a pretty significant change depending on the class. The remaining stat, mastery, is probably going up in value, and in addition, we'll have crit, haste, readiness and multistrike to consider. But stats aren't the whole of the game, and they're not the whole of the changes, either.

In addition to new stats, there are the abilities each tank will see affected by readiness to consider. There are also Draenor Perks for each tank spec, granted randomly as we level from 90 to 100. There are changes in what abilities exist, in what specs get them. Vengeance is gone, replaced with Resolve, buffing our self heals and absorbs. In short, while the basic idea remains the same - generate resources via attacks to spend on damage reduction in one fashion or another - how we go about it, how it interacts with us has so many changes that it's worth discussing in length. There's so much change coming in that I don't pretend I'll catch all of it, which is why we have comments, after all.

So what do I expect to see out of tanking coming 6.0? It should be noted, this discussion is based on the Warlords alpha patch notes and such datamining as I've looked over, and I freely admit I only tank on one class, so while these are general observations I may be missing key class specific factors.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: On reaching 90 and the basics - Protection


Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

Last week, we covered arms. This week, we're covering protection. Like last week, this article assumes you just leveled your first warrior to 90, but it can also be useful for someone who's played a warrior for a while but who never tried tanking on her. If you're unsure about giving tanking a try, I can understand why that would be - it's a lot of pressure, it's fairly gear dependent and you may not have it yet, and most of all it's often expected that a tank will be leading a dungeon run, which can be daunting if you're unfamiliar with a dungeon. Frankly, I always found raid tanking preferable to PuGging, but I still tanked PuG's and I had a few tricks for how to establish myself when doing so.
  1. It's okay to admit it's your first time or that you're new at something. Even experienced tanks don't always know the specific dungeon they're about to tank very well - if you're a new tank and you're feeling uncomfortable or unsure, go ahead and say so.
  2. Even if you're comfortable with your class abilities as a tank, but are unsure about boss strategies, see #1 - often someone in the dungeon will be happy to explain to you what you should or shouldn't do.
  3. Avoid the two extremes of 'tank megalomania' and 'tank doormat' - don't be an egotist who makes the tank run all about him or herself, and don't let yourself be walked over by players who deliberately make your life harder. Also, be cognizant of gear discrepancies when evaluating your own performance as a tank - if you're in 463 blues and the guy pulling threat is in Heroic Warforged gear, cut yourself some slack. You're simply not going to be able to do much against over one hundred ilevels in his favor.
  4. Be cognizant of the healer. I know that you want to run and pull more stuff while you have a full rage bar. Believe me, I know how it feels. But if your healer is undergeared and needs a break, let them have it. It's good to get in the habit of paying attention to your healer's mana - believe me, healers will tell you when you can run and pull like a fiend.
Also, one of my pet peeves as a DPS who knows how to tank is tanks who pull mobs, put no threat on them, then run down the hallway. No. I know you love chain pulling, but if you can't hold them, you're not chain pulling. You're just hitting mobs then running away and letting someone else tank them. Make sure you have solid threat before you decide to run away.

But let's get to the actual process of tanking - how do we play as protection?

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Mists of Pandaria

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: The Plunder from the Siege Part 1

The Care and Feeding of Warriors The Plunder from the Siege
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

Loot lists. Let me tell you a little secret about them - they're a lot more work than you'd expect. They involve going over each boss to see which plate and strength items he drops, checking them out, looking at their stats and then writing up a brief summary of the items here. There are fourteen bosses in Siege of Orgrimmar. That's a lot of items. And in order for the lists to be useful, I have to prioritize gear that's good for warriors and explain why. So it's not as easy as flipping open the Dungeon Journal and then linking a few items. Which is why I resist doing loot lists every single time a new tier opens, but in the end, we all know I have to do it.

So then, let's get started. I'll probably cover the first six or seven bosses this week and move on to the rest of the raid next - there's a lot of gear in Siege of Orgrimmar. I'm not going to link all the LFR, Flex, Warforged, Heroic and Heroic Warforged items, just the normal mode ones - assume any piece I link scales up and down properly depending on the version of the raid you're running.

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Filed under: Warrior, Raiding, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Mists of Pandaria

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Why you should tank in 5.4

The Care and Feeding of Warriors Tanking in 54
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

Sometimes, you just want to write a simple column with an easy to answer premise. The idea for today's column came when I was tanking LFR early this morning, something I do to keep my hand in tanking now that I'm a DPS warrior. We had an extremely hairy moment on Lei Shen when the other tank mis-timed the hammer throw and got gibbed and I had to move Lei Shen to the other pillar very quickly. So I intervened out to a caster, then heroic leaped to the next pillar while hoping someone would battle res the other tank (they did). We got Lei Shen down, which was nice, but it got me thinking about tanking for warriors in 5.4.

There are quite a few adjustments for protection in 5.4, which we covered last week. So this week I asked myself a simple question: should warriors who have given up tanking, or who have never tanked, give tanking a shot in 5.4? And the answer is yes, they should. Now, we could just say "Great, glad to have that answered" and go about our days, but then we'd be stuck with the smallest column ever, and those of you who've gotten used to me are probably aware that I don't do small columns.

Besides, I have multiple reasons why you should give tanking a chance if you are a warrior.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Mists of Pandaria

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: The Exodus

The Care and Feeding of Warriors The Exodus SatSun
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

There are columns I don't like to write. This is one of them.

When multiple players from all levels of raiding tell you that they've dropped the warrior class for better alternatives, there's a problem. When people who have played a warrior for six years (and who therefore have survived from BC through Wrath and Cataclysm to the present day) tell you they had to switch to keep from hindering their raids, there's a serious problem. It's not just tanking, it's not just DPS, and it's not just PvP - it's all of them. When the expansion opened, arms warriors were at a ridiculously high 14% of high end PvP - now that number has dwindled to around 5%, and that's around a 2% drop in two months. Meanwhile, prot warrior numbers in raiding have only fallen slightly, but that doesn't change the fact that other tanks like Death Knights, Paladins and Guardian Druids are all going up in numbers - even Brewmaster Monks are up to 2.2% of the raid population.

Another way to put it is like this - protection warriors are 2.5% of total representation in raiding, but overall are 3.5% of the game population. Both Guardian Druids and Brewmaster Monks see more representation in raids than in the game at large - prot paladins are almost twice as common in raids as they are in the game. Death Knights are an interesting outlier, in that they make up 3.7% of raiding, but 4% of the total DK population - clearly DK's are still very popular tanks, but even they lag behind the prot paladin juggernauts.

We've talked about fury warrior DPS and the complete lack of arms warriors in raiding - to some degree, arms will probably see a bit of a bump when 5.4 comes out and significantly buffs their AoE DPS. Since the PTR hasn't done damage balancing yet, harping on fury or arms DPS issues seems disingenuous. We'll wait for that balancing. Let's talk about where warriors are going, instead.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Speculative solutions

The Care and Feeding of Warriors Speculative solutions
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

In the past few weeks I've talked about warrior survivability concerns and our problems with itemization and that's got me thinking: what are the solutions? Now, I'm not a dev nor even playing one on TV, I'm basically just a fan of the game, but that doesn't stop me from thinking about these things. It's easy to complain about issues, after all, but harder to discuss meaningful solutions. So I've decided to do just that, since the comments alone are usually worth the price of admission in cases like that.

The main concerns I'll be discussing are as follows:
  1. DPS warrior survivability in PvE
  2. The rapid decline of Arms warriors in PvP (Cynwise's recent class distribution numbers went a lot more in depth than my own class rep post, and it's convinced me the warrior decline in PvP is more meaningful than I first thought)
  3. Warrior tanking issues (haste, overall DPS, our lack of 'cheese')
So what could we see that would help with these issues? What changes would be effective without being too effective?

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Itemization Concerns

The Care and Feeding of Warriors Itemization Concerns
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

I admit the title is a fancy way for me to say I want to talk about a bunch of stuff, all related to warriors without dedicating the entire column to one of the topics. These things I want to discuss include:
  1. The ridiculous dependence on crit to the exclusion of pretty much all other DPS stats for fury.
  2. Warrior tank threat/DPS and how it holds back the class.
  3. The ridiculous amount of hit on Throne of Thunder gear.
  4. Why I'm still annoyed that haste does nothing for protection warriors.
I know I've been flogging that haste for protection horse for a while, but it just irks me to see two of the plate classes getting solid use out of haste/expertise or haste/mastery gear for their tank sets and we get nothing. Considering point #2 for warrior tanks (namely, that our DPS and thus threat is just way behind the other tanks) I find it absolutely maddening to see haste be so completely useless for protection warriors. It doesn't give us resources at all, due to the way rage regenerates in Defensive Stance - it doesn't even help us with our rage generators like Shield Slam and Revenge because haste does nothing for our GCD. I took a pair of haste legs for my tank set recently (they were still a huge upgrade, that's how bad my old tank legs were) and every time I look at that haste on them, and know I can't reforge all of it away, I get this lump in my gut where the snarky itemization elitist in me says haste? Really?

I hate that guy. I hate him even more because I know he's right. Haste has no business on my tanking gear because haste does nothing for a warrior tank. Nothing. We don't even generate rage from our autoattacks, so the miniscule increase in attack speed doesn't even avail us.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Mists of Pandaria

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Are warrior attacks boring?

The Care and Feeding of Warriors Are warrior attacks boring
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

Are we boring?

Obviously I don't think so or I'd be fairly unhappy with my choice of class. But when you see certain statements like this one from Ghostcrawler, you do start to wonder. One of the difficulties I had in writing a wishlist for the class in the future was that our toolkit is fairly limited. We don't channel any weird energies like nature or divine magic or chi, we just get angry and use that anger to smash things, yell at things, and then there's the 'pinball in a washing machine' and 'here is my flag' aspects of the class.

Aesthetically, I enjoy the warrior class quite a bit. But that aesthetic comes in the form of plate armor and is hardly unique to the class - death knights and paladins can wear almost all of the same gear as we can, especially now that transmogrification exists. The fact is, as much as I hate to admit it, Ghostcrawler is right and warriors don't look all that interesting when we attack.

The question becomes, why does that matter? And the answer is, it matters for the overall health of the class and its representation.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Mists of Pandaria

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Tanking itemization

The Care and Feeding of Warriors The alternative models of tanking
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

Still
waiting for the extra 1-h weapon to start looking at Single-Minded Fury. But I did start working on my tanking again recently. I went back to September to look at Theck's posts on warrior mitigation statistics and started thinking about how warrior gearing works now. To oversimplify for convenience, the value of our various active mitigation statistics and our passive avoidance statistics varies depending on how you prioritize Shield Block and Shield Barrier. This means, among other things, that you can gear, gem and reforge differently if you intend to be running primarily five man dungeons vs. raids, and that you can even change your tactical outlay of stats based on whether or not you're running 10's vs. 25's to some extent.

Really, what it comes down to is Shield Block vs. Shield Barrier use and the tension between trying to avoid the absolute most incoming damage vs. trying to create the most predictable spread of incoming damage. Theck makes the point that, while spamming Shield Barrier might cause you to take the least amount of damage overall, you're going to end up taking spiky damage. Spiky damage is something healers hate. A healer would much rather you were taking hits that kept you constantly losing about 60% of your health than be in a situation where most of the time you took no damage, but occasionally you took 90% of your health in one hit, especially when those hits could occur back to back.

As a result, while it may be mathematically best to rely on Shield Barrier, it won't work out that way in actual practice because healer mana isn't infinite and they can't just bomb heal you to full if you go down to almost dead in one or two hits. Damage spikes are the enemy, and a balanced use of Shield Block and Barrier will cause your incoming damage to be far more predictable and easier for your healers to cope with.

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Filed under: Warrior, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Mists of Pandaria

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: 5.0.4 prot warriors and the looming shadow of Cataclysm

The Care and Feeding of Warriors The 504 discussion for protection warriors
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

It's hard for me to write about protection right now, because it still doesn't feel finalized to me. I've been tanking on the side lately, since raiding is on hiatus until Mists, and I have mixed feelings about it. The thing is, I don't think it's because the current state of protection is bad, so much as I'm spoiled a bit.

See, here's part of my problem in terms of being fair to patch 5.0.4 for protection. The protection warrior talent specialization was the best designed talent specialization in Wrath of the Lich King, and it was the best designed talent specialization in Cataclysm as well. And it was better in Cataclysm than it was in Wrath. In short, not only was protection the best spec in the game for four years (2008 to 2012) but it managed to be the best spec in the game without being overpowered, in fact being a better spec than specs that were overpowered. You can keep your paladins, your druids and your DK's, all of whom had their moments of being blatantly too good for this fight or that fight. Warriors were never that. The tanking warrior was the best designed spec because it managed to have tools for every single possible potential tanking situation you could imagine without ever once being considered the only possible option for the job.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria Beta: Rage tanks get angrier

Rage tanks get angrier and harder to hurt

Rage tanking is in a weird place right now. Both as a tank and as a DPS in runs I've noticed a certain amount of squishiness that wasn't there before, both due to certain abilities being fairly hard to use (Both Shield Block and a full Shield Barrier are expensive, costing 60 rage) and the loss of a lot of passive mitigation we were all accustomed to. Apparently the devs have noticed it too: Ghostcrawler posted these changes coming for rage warriors on live and the beta fairly soon.

Ghostcrawler - Beta Class Balance Analysis
Tank Time
I mentioned previously (though it very well could have been in another thread) that we have been looking a lot at tank balance. We think tanks surviving short windows of spike damage has been fairly balanced in beta for some time, and indeed we are seeing all tank classes used effectively in beta Challenge Modes and Heroic raid testing.

We have made a few changes to longer-term tank healing required, which will show up both on beta and live very soon. I mentioned that we were initially going to nerf monk and DK, but we now think they and paladins are fine. Instead, the rage tanks required too much healing, so we are causing them to take less damage and have more rage for active mitigation.

Druid
-- Auto attack rage generation increased by 75%.
-- Thick Hide now provides 12% physical damage reduction.

Warrior
-- Rage generation from Revenge increased from 10 to 15.
-- Rage generation from Shield Slam increased from 15 to 20. (Sword and Board continues to give 5 extra, so 25 now).
-- Reduced internal cooldown on Critical Block from Enrage from 5 sec to 3 sec.
-- Increased damage reduction from Defensive Stance from 15% to 25%.
-- Increased armor from Unwavering Sentinel from 10% to 25%.



The rage changes are nice (druids will now get 10.85 rage from an auto attack) because they'll allow for rage tanks to be more often using their active mitigation. Honestly, high incoming rage really isn't an issue for tanks, since we don't use rage abilities for threat anymore (with the exception of rage bleeds like Heroic Strike or Maul) as much as we do for survival.

What impressed me was the change to Thick Hide and the Defensive Stance/Unwavering Sentinel changes. Were they warranted? Absolutely. Warriors in particular have been the squishiest tanks since the patch, with druids not far behind, and this change will help even out some of that sustained damage that erodes healer mana and thus, our lives. This is me, being happy over here.


It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Druid, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Mists of Pandaria

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Mists of Pandaria Protection 101

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

Last week, we covered fury; this week, we're moving to protection. Before I do, yes, I saw the most recent beta patches. This is what we have to expect and to some degree endure from the beta, continuous patch cycles that can follow hard upon each other. All we can do is wait for release, ultimately, and see where we stand then. The Vengeance changes will have an effect on several abilities including our scaling ones like Shield Barrier, but that doesn't really change their intended use, which is what this post will be covering.

Protection is the warrior tanking spec. Of the three warrior specs, it's the most "ready to go" spec in terms of how it feels to play on the beta right now, and I suspect it will launch with patch 5.0.4 feeling pretty good to most warrior tanks. It's not completely unchanged -- far from it, in fact, as rage for protection warriors has been fundamentally altered and new abilities have been introduced -- but warrior tanks in Mists of Pandaria will still be charging in combat, still using Heroic Leap to drop a huge burst of threat on certain pulls, still pinballing with Intervene and still slapping bleeds on multiple targets with their AoE. Some of it will even be easier now.

A lot of the stuff that's changed is under the hood change, stuff that will affect the game fundamentally but not in immediately obvious ways.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Mists of Pandaria

The Queue: Benjamin Franklin created the internet to resurrect himself

The Queue Benjamin Franklin created the internet to resurrect himself
Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi is writing this sucker today.

I'm kidding. Sort of.

Ben is one of my personal heroes, though.

In today's Queue, I answer a bunch of tanking questions. I know -- I was as shocked as you are.

Matthew2 asked:

I finally got around to making a DK and leveling it. (I'm a tank - my first tank!!!) Having said that:

Is DPS in Blood Spec viable for 5 mans? I'm not a raider, I just want to learn my Blood spec and tank with it and dps with it in instances that I am learning about. Is it ok to use death and decay if I'm in Frost Presence when I'm DPS'ing? And I don't yet have unholy presence, so I'll pre-ask: "what spec should I be using as DPS in PvE [assuming i'm a blood dk if that matters]?

Clearly, I don't know this class yet - any good sources to learn about being a DK?

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: It shouldn't annoy you, but it does

Breakfast Topic It shouldn't annoy you, but it does
I've been leveling my warrior recently, as those of you who read a previous Breakfast Topic already know. There's one thing about leveling her as protection that really keeps niggling at me, and that's how bizarrely a one-handed weapon sits on the female tauren model. It might just be me, but something about how the handle of almost every sword, axe, and mace in the game bangs into her chin seems wrong somehow. (I could probably also write something about tabards bugging out on the female tauren when she sits, but I'm pretty used to that now.)

Now, in the grand scheme of things, this is small potatoes. I should be getting mad about how druids aren't getting Shark With Lasers form in Mists of Pandaria or the serious game balance issues posed by my inability to get a decent pair of shoulders to drop for my shaman. I have absolutely no excuse for my obsession with how high a one-handed weapon sits on a female tauren -- and yet somehow, it still bugs me. At least with my warrior, I can spec her fury with Titan's Grip and stop thinking about it, but other classes are still kinda stuck.

Spill, folks. We've all got tiny things in the game that don't merit attention and yet drive us nuts. What are yours?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Considering the Mists talent calculator

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

We now have a new version of the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator to discuss. While we've covered the Mists talents and abilities before, every new iteration of the design process brings us new elements to consider. What we're effectively being presented is a snapshot of the future through the lens of current design, giving us a chance to muse about what warriors will be doing and not doing.

One of the things that jumps out immediately when considering the new talents is that the current capstones Bladestorm and Shockwave (as well as Avatar), which had been gained at level 90 before, are now level 60 abilities. I'm not actually surprised by this change, but I am pleased by it. Those are abilities people can currently get by around the end of Outland, so making them level 60 talents means they'll be useful for leveling characters again.

Let's go over what can be gleaned from the calculator update and discuss what it all means.

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Filed under: Warrior, Add-Ons, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Mists of Pandaria

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