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Posts with tag tank

Lichborne: Gemming, reforging, and other gear tweaks for blood death knight tanks

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

Last week, we discussed the basics of death knight tanking, including finding your perfect spec and figuring out which stats to aim for. This week, we're taking it one step further. Once you're all geared up, you need to put the finishing touches on your gear. Today, we'll look at how you can use gems, reforging, and enchants to bump your tank gear up to the next level.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Lichborne: Tier 11 raid and valor point tank gear for death knights

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

With no sign of patch 4.1 going live so far and all the tier 12 raids not coming until patch 4.2, the best place to get gear is still in raid dungeons. Last week, we covered all the DPS gear you could pull from raids -- so this week, we'll cover tank gear.

Note that with tank gear, there is still a pretty healthy debate going on in the DK community over whether mastery or avoidance is the best secondary stat set to get. We've covered this extensively in past columns, so I won't go too much over it again, but suffice it to say that you'll have to examine the boss fights you're doing, your raid makeup, and your own playstyle to see what works for you, although you should strive to fit in four pieces of tier gear in order to get your set bonus. This list will cover primarily raid gear and valor point gear, but reputation rewards and crafted items will be mentioned where they are a viable possibility for the slot.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

WoW Rookie: Learning how to tank

New around here? WoW Rookie has your back! Get all our collected tips, tricks and tactics for new players in the WoW Rookie Guide. WoW Rookie is about more than just being new to the game; it's about checking out new classes, new playstyles, and new zones.

Tanking is a pretty fun thing to do. It seems like a lot of the WoW populace isn't terribly interested in it, though. When you use the random dungeon finder, it seems like groups are waiting for tanks more often than any other role. That's pretty confusing to me; tanking isn't that hard, and it's pretty enjoyable to be the tough guy who gets beaten on by the boss.

I think what makes tanking intimidating is that it's a highly visible role in the group. Tank failures translate quickly into group wipes, and a tank who is vulnerable to damage can be a big drain on healers. Tanking can be stressful.

The tank is also a fulcrum for the group's DPS. If the tank isn't putting out enough damage, the DPS character get "threat-capped." That's another way of saying the DPSers have to "peel back" their DPS sufficiently that they don't pull aggro. Again, it's another highly visible way in which tank challenges are translated into group performance.

Still, the game seems like it needs more tanks. Here's how you get started with the role.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

Lichborne: Death knight tank pre-raid gear guide

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. Join World of Warcraft's first hero class as we head into a new expansion and shed the new kid on the block label.

So a few editions of Lichborne ago, we talked a bit about stat priorities for death knight tanks. Because of that, I probably won't go over it much more before we head into this week's gear guide, but I did want to give you a quick refresher course. Let's run it down one more time:
  • Stamina is still king, but not as much as it was in previous expansions. You may find that there comes a time when more avoidance or absorption is better than a higher health pool, as the extremely high health pools and new boss design philosophies of Cataclysm mean, for now, that you'll rarely die from a couple hits.
  • In the mastery vs. avoidance struggle, you'll essentially need to experiment to find your best balance. Which stat is best for which tank will depend on personal playstyle and competency, healer and raid competency and composition, and other factors. You should take a balance of each, but where that balancing point is will vary. Recall that Death Strike is getting a slight nerf in patch 4.0.6, which will in turn nudge the balance more toward avoidance for most people.
  • When gearing for avoidance, try to keep dodge and parry percentages as close to each as possible, as they have the same diminishing returns. This means you'll always want to raise the one that's lower for optimal effect. You can do this by regemming and reforging instead of regearing in many cases, especially now that solid gems in every slot isn't 100% mandatory.
  • Hit and expertise are not as mandatory as they are for most DPS, but you may find they help you with threat. That said, you should never go beyond 8% hit rating and 26 expertise. If you're mastery-heavy, you'll want to focus a bit more on these stats, as missing a Death Strike could prove catastrophic.
With all this in mind, let's take a look at some of the stuff you should be rooting up as you prepare to tank the first tier of Cataclysm raiding. Note that while some ilevel 333 items may be decent stopgap options for a raider with an experienced raid group that doesn't mind a bit of undergearing, I've left them off this list, and you really should just try for the higher-level options. Finally, don't feel too guilty if you can't afford some of the crafted or world drop BoEs on this guide. Most raid groups probably won't hold it against you, and in some cases, they're arguably inferior to or only marginally better than BoP drops anyway.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Ghostcrawler talks tanks and threat

Hey everyone, having fun in those heroics yet? In my own personal (PUG) experiences, things go wrong far more often than they go right. While healer longevity is a major issue, effective crowd control and threat management is growing to be another. Some tanks are just ill-equipped to handle generating threat on supercharged mobs, and some DPSers are just unable to understand the basic rules of threat -- or ignore those rules entirely.

Perhaps it's timely, then, that Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street posted a blog entry about Blizzard's philosophy with regard to threat. The piece is something of a follow up to his previous blog entry on Vengeance and threat. A few of the key takeaways of his latest post include:

Threat Needs to Matter
"We don't think it's too much to ask for DPS and healers to wait a couple of GCDs for the tank to get the enemy under control ..."

"... if someone is nuking or cleaving a random target on a group pull instead of assisting the tank, that's not the tank's fault."

"... overall, we'd like to present threat better since we're asking you to take it seriously in the PvE game."

The post, "Threat Needs to Matter," is worth reading regardless of whether you're a tank or not. The full text is after the break.

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Filed under: News items

New changes to tanking cooldowns coming for Cataclysm

Blue poster Nethaera informed us today about a number changes coming to tanking cooldowns in Cataclysm (specifically, patch 4.0.3a). It seems an imbalance occurs in the current build when tanks stack mastery, leading to astronomical values of block.

For now, specifics are only available for paladin, druid and warrior tanks. The post hints that cooldown changes for druid and death knight tanks will be coming later, once developers can get a better handle on the complexities of the classes' abilities.

When asked for comment and analysis, Fox Van Allen's orc Grunk posited, "Me Grunk! Grunk fear change! Grunk smash!" Sadly, Grunk lacks the mental clarity to process the full meaning of all these forthcoming changes because as a warrior, Grunk does not stack intellect (and takes repeated physical blows to the head). If he did, the changes would be meaningless to him, as he'd have followed his dream and become an architect rather than becoming Orgrimmar's No. 3-ranked skull cleaver.

In lieu of expert testimony from Grunk, we have the full blue post just after the break.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, News items, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Ol' Grumpy's guide to Cataclysm instance protocols

If, like me, you've been tanking for a while, Cataclysm will be a return to a slower, more deliberate form of instancing. There are pros and cons to this, of course. The positives are:
  • After a few weeks, those jerks who constantly say "go go go" in runs will have died a lot and will either have stopped playing or learned to stop doing that.
  • Same for people who feel the need to pull while the tank/rest of the group is regaining mana and so on.
  • Abilities that haven't seen much use in Wrath of the Lich King will probably make a comeback. You're going to need to learn to Polymorph, Sap, Trap, Hex and use other forms of CC.
  • For the first few months of Cataclysm, at least, there will have to be more of a focus on skill and execution than numbers. Switching targets properly, not breaking CC before it's called for, and using your abilities at the right time will be rewarded.
  • You're going to get whole new dungeons you haven't seen hundreds of times already, with all-new mechanics. Glory in once again having no idea what this pull does.
The downsides, however, are also worth mentioning.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm

Reader UI of the Week: Scyian's UI

Each week, we bring you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs. Have a screenshot of your UI you want to submit? Send your screenshots, along with info on what mods you're using, to

Welcome to another exciting edition of Reader UI of the Week, your one-stop shop for the WoW Insider community's personal user interfaces. This week, Scyian's UI promises some gasps and shocks, perhaps even a guffaw or two lined up. As you'll soon see, Scyian's user interface is a little bit different, but here at Reader UI of the Week, different is good. Let's check it out!

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Filed under: Add-Ons, Reader UI of the Week

Breakfast Topic: Do you prefer to be the off tank?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to our pages.

Most tanks (and aspiring tanks) want to be the main tank of a raid. It is upon this prestigious player's shoulders that the success or failure of the raid is often considered to rest.

Screw that.

First of all, we know that stereotype is untrue. Healers and DPS both play critical roles in raid success, even though they are sometimes forced to argue for their significance. But I don't often hear praise for the off tanks. While the healers heal, the DPS damages and the main tank tanks, these "wannabe main tanks" play critical roles in most every fight. Whether they have to pick up adds or share the burden of boss tanking with the main tank, these intrepid heroes have to work just as hard to keep the raid alive.

I first tasted off-tanking back in Naxxramas (10-man) when I stepped up to the task of being one of the rear tanks on my elemental shaman during the Four Horsemen fight. Here, I received my first taste of the special joy of adapting my skill set to new situations for every fight. I pined to be the one who would kite the zombies on Gluth, but my shaman lacked the capability, and one of our mages shouldered the responsibility. You can rest assured, however, that I was always back there to assist by laying down my Stoneclaw Totem.

My guild fell apart for a while after Ulduar was released, and I was too poor for more WoW. Once I wasn't poor anymore, I leveled a feral druid, and we all got back together just recently and started raiding Icecrown. Now I'm the off tank, and I'm loving it. Being an off tank lets me flex and show how creative and adaptable I am.

Do any of you tanking types out there prefer the off-tank role?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Guest Post: Confessions of a noob death knight

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to

Here's the thing: I've been a mage from day one, when I first started playing WoW a good two years ago. I always liked being a mage in Dungeons & Dragons, so I figured I would like being a mage in WoW. I was right. In fact, I love being a glass cannon. (OK, I don't love the glass part so much, but I really dig the cannon part.) I'm not a great mage; age and fingers that were broken by judo or baseball have slowed me some. Still, I am a good mage. I hold my own, doing anywhere from 7-12k DPS depending on buffs and what I am watching on TV.

The thing is, as much as I love being a mage, making my own food and teleporting all around, I hate taking forever to queue. I also started thinking, "Hey, there must be more to simulated life than just standing back and blasting things." I decided to try a new character. Not having the patience to level a character from 1 to 80, I figured I'd go the death knight route. After all, DKs are mage-killers; they are the anti-mage. So after two years of being nothing but a ranged DPS machine, I rolled a DK.

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Filed under: Mage, Death Knight, Guest Posts

Drama Mamas: Tank entitlement

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

There are many kinds of tanks. There are skilled, geared, uber-tanks and just-learning-how-to-taunt tanks and OMG-I've-never-meleed-before tanks and I-queued-tank-so-I-wouldn't-have-to-wait tanks. There are tanks of various personalities, talents and patience. But this week, we only concern ourselves with the tanks who think they're entitled to do whatever they want because groups are at their mercy. We have two letters that ask about this issue.
Drama Mamas,

In the past few weeks I have noticed a disturbing trend in with the dungeon finder. At least twice a week I will get into a group where one player will pull everything in sight then leave. I play a mage so this means I get killed in milliseconds, which is no fun at all.

I hate to say it, but it's usually -- OK, always -- the tank. So far the only "solution" I've found is blocking that particular player so I don't get grouped with him again, but that won't keep it from happening with other jerks.

Have either of you experienced this, or am I just extremely unlucky?


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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

Breakfast Topic: Tank anxiety

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to

I leveled my main as a retribution paladin until about level 65, when I picked up two new toys running randoms -- a shield with high defense and block stats, and a one-handed sword with good stats that glowed purple and matched the shield. Yes, I became a tank because I wanted to accessorize. I'm a girl; that's how I roll.

I dual-specced protection, invested in tank gear and said to myself, "How hard is it?" I already had leveled my death knight through every heroic instance repeatedly, so I was confident that I knew the layout and the fights. My husband and I queued for a random with me as a tank and wound up in Hellfire Ramparts. And then it all went bad. I kept getting confused about who to pull first and which direction to go, and the group promptly lost confidence in me. They started playing the "kill them all quick" game, in which they used their hardest-hitting AoE spells to take the mobs out quickly and try to survive through it. Never mind that this tactic usually makes holding hate really difficult! We wiped, the healer left, the warlock and the hunter told me I was the worst tank ever, and I literally cried.

I've ran quite a few instances since then, some successful, some not. Now that I am a new level 80, I am on that perpetual quest to get lots of badges and upgrade my gear -- but I'm still suffering from tanking anxiety.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Shifting Perspectives: Pulling 101: Assessing the group

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting feral/restoration druids and those who group with them.

For a long time, I've been kicking an article around on the art of the 5-man pull. Knowing how and when to pull is arguably the foundation of a smooth dungeon run, and it's certainly among the first skills that any tank needs to develop. While a not-insignificant portion of one's ability to pull cleanly only arrives courtesy of experience with a wide variety of players, there are a few rules that approach universal status. Moreover, I expect them to be equally useful when I hit the new Cataclysm dungeons and have to figure out how to tank for a group safely in a new environment with new mobs.

The more I wrote on pulling, the more I realized that the subject can be divided into two very distinct categories: what happens before you pull, and what happens while you're pulling. This week's column addresses the former. Everything I am about to tell you in this column is something that you, as an experienced tank, will eventually do in the space of a second without even realizing you're doing it.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Cataclysm: Reaching uncrittable

For those of you who don't know much about tanking, we're going to talk quickly about a stat that won't exist in Cataclysm. This lowly stat is called defense rating, and it's something that tanks need quite a bit of. The nice thing is that it's on just about everything that tanks wear, which means at higher gear levels, we've got it coming out of our ears. The primary point of this stat is to reduce the critical strike ability for incoming melee hits from the standard of 6% to 0%. Druids currently don't need this stat, as they've got a talent called Survival of the Fittest, which means that bosses don't need to drop defense leather.

All in all, the stat is kinda boring, as while it does still do nice things after you reach the defense cap of 690 rating (or 540 skill), most people don't bother with it and stack stamina or other avoidance. So Blizzard decided that they're going to get rid of it.

Around BlizzCon 2009, we were told that the crit reduction we formerly got from defense rating was going to be tied into things that were available to all members of each tanking class. Examples used were baking it into Bear Form for druids, Righteous Fury for paladins, Defensive Stance for warriors and Frost Presence (or rather, Blood Presence in Cataclysm) for death knights. That means that if a retribution paladin or arms warrior wanted to tank, all he'd need to do was swap to vaguely appropriate gear (or just over to a sword and shield), pop his respective abilities, and away he'd go. That's not how it appears things went down, though.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Death Knight

The cynic's guide to World of Warcraft

We tend to be very careful while composing articles here at WoW Insider. We're always mindful that not everyone plays the game in the same way, or has the same experience on different servers or factions, but every so often a certain madness seizes us and we feel the urge to ... tell the truth. In that vein, I am pleased (sort of) to present The Cynic's Guide to World of Warcraft.

This article owes a heavy debt to Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary. If you want to see a real master at work, read that.

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Filed under: Humor

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