There are just under 3 weeks left until Mists of Pandaria, and thus, just under 3 weeks during which your Humble Narrator must still concern herself with proper tanking form. I can’t work up the give-a-damn to completely rework my spreadsheet for less than a month of play – especially since most of the theorycrafting resources I rely upon, most notably Elitist Jerks’ rating conversions, have not updated their level 85 stat values, focusing instead on the upcoming level 90 formulae. I don’t begrudge them their focus on MoP – if I were upgrading, I’d focus on it too.
I’ll probably get the expansion eventually, once the sting of rage’s death has died down a little. Despite its increased power – I’m not so divorced from reality as to claim that the warrior changes weren’t a significant buff! – all I can see when I watch my rage bar stand, unmoved, in the face of a boss hit, is a mockery of the class I once loved.
To the point, and more importantly, on from the melodrama! Combat statistics received some major overhauls this patch, most notably with the introduction of the two-roll system for block; and of course, our own stat priorities widened to include hit and expertise.
Veneretio used to post his emblem-purchased gear picks every major content patch, before his untimely retirement. I of course am no Veneretio, but since I have to construct my pick order myself now, I submit them for popular consumption.
- Forgesmelter Waistplate – Belt – 1650 VP
- Signet of the Resolute – Ring – 1250 VP
- Guardspike Choker – Neck – 1250 VP
- Indefatigable Greatcloak – Cloak – 1250 VP
- Bladeshatter Treads – Boots – 1650 VP (These are BoE – use an alt to buy them ASAP if you have one.)
- Ring of Torn Flesh – Ring – 1250 VP
- Chestplate of the Unshakable Titan – 2200 VP
Note that only numbers 1-4 are best in slot pre-hardmode; whether or not you want to buy 5-7 will depend on if better has dropped for you already.
As you probably know, in patch 4.3, in addition to the Dragon Soul raid, Blizzard is releasing three new Caverns of Time-themed 5-man heroics, which will drop item level 378 gear, including a full tank set. This will give us a nice selection of gap fillers and minor upgrades for raiders, and a whole new baseline set for the non-raiders still stuck in 353 Troll gear.
As usual in any gear discussion, the rankings here are based on my own warrior’s gear set unless I state otherwise. What is an upgrade for one tank may be a downgrade for another, so please take recommendations with a grain of salt, and when in doubt, spreadsheet it out for your own character.
Well, I never did publish this in 4.0. And by 4.1, I figured it was pretty much unnecessary.
But 4.2 is coming up, and there have been some major changes in stat weights for plate tanks!
- Agility is now worthless as a mitigation stat for plate tanks.
- Parry from strength has been slightly increased.
- Holy Shield has been redesigned away from 100% uptime, making the value of mastery to paladins more dependent on playstyle.
I feel like this is as good an excuse as any to release the damage reduction spreadsheet I keep alluding to. So here it is, in its full, updated-for-4.2 “glory:”
If you’re reading this in the future, the above link may be broken or out of date. Please see the Spreadsheets category for the most recent version.
The spreadsheet is appropriate for both paladins and warriors.
The main difference between my spreadsheet and the other gearing tools/spreadsheets I’ve seen for shield tanks is that it takes into account Shield Block (and now Holy Shield) uptime in its calculations, which slightly boosts the value of mastery, parry and strength for warriors* (and now mastery for paladins) the higher its uptime is.
Feel free to play around with the spreadsheet, and please point out any errors you notice.
Sorry bears, I’m leaving you out today, because I know you already adore agility.
This is the Signet of the Elder Council.
It is the second best tanking ring available pre-raid for warriors and death knights of the mastery-stacking variety, after the Elementium Moebius band – and only because the Moebius band has a gem slot.
It is the best tanking ring available pre-raid for paladins.
And it’s an agility piece. Read more…
I’ve never really understood having a single “best in slot” list for tanking (or healing) gear. It makes sense for DPS, since in most cases what you need won’t change by the fight. Sure, you’ll have your occasional caster bosses or fights where you attack from the front, where melee could use more or less expertise; but generally these are fights where the raid is struggling with execution, not with DPS.
Tanks, on the other hand, have a lot to gear around. There are fights where sustained threat matters and fights where sustained threat is a joke; fights where armor and avoidance matter and fights with 100% magical damage (or nearly); fights where the most important thing is to take as few hits as possible, fights where the most important thing is to take as little damage as possible, and fights where the most important thing is to take as small of hits as possible; and of course, fights which call for X, Y or Z type of magic resistance, while gear of that resistance type is useless on most other encounters. To say that a certain gear set is best-in-slot can only really be done with reference to what it’s best at.