Basics of Tanking
The job of a tank can basically be divided into two things:
- Produce a sufficient level of threat so that the mobs keep attacking him;
- Stay alive with enough mitigation and large amount of health.
These are also the basic factors concerned when choosing tankadin gear.
Gear Mechanics: Threat Generation
Strength is the primary stat a tankadin needs for threat production. The amount of strength needed depends on your group's DPS.
Other stats that improve threat production include expertise rating, hit rating, block chance and block value. (Hit rating also affects Righteous Defense.) Haste rating is mostly useless because of skill cooldowns. As of 3.2.2, stamina no longer increases spellpower as Touched by the Light was changed to scale from strength instead.
To effectively tank and maintain a threat lead, Righteous Fury must be turned on.
Gear Mechanics: Survivability
Becoming uncrittable is the foremost concern for level 80 tankadins gearing up for raids. Paladins need at least 540 defense (base 400 + 140 defense), to be uncrittable by raid bosses, and 535 defense to be uncrittable in heroics. 4.92 Defense Rating gives 1 Defense. 540 defense can be achieve by wearing enough gear with defense rating. A naked level 80 Paladin has 400 defense, and will need ((540-400)*4.92) = 689 defense rating to reach 540 defense.
After becoming uncrittable, the next priority is more health and armor, and then block and avoidance.
Lastly, some items have block value (not block rating) on them. When we block an attack, a certain fixed amount of damage is "blocked". This amount is the sum of "block" on your shield and block value from other items, as well as contribution from strength. Block value is good to have but not strictly necessary unless when AOE tanking. Raid bosses usually hit for several thousand damage, so blocking a few hundred is not going to help much. On the other hand, when AOE tanking trash mobs, you are getting more frequent but weaker hits. In such case, damage prevented by block becomes quite significant. Therefore, some tankadins would keep a set with high avoidance and stamina for boss encounters and another with high block value (and block rating) for trash mobs. Blizzard did however announce that in the next expansion blocking will reduce damage by a percentage rather than flat value.
Easily Attainable Pre-Heroic Tanking Gear
Gearing up your tankadin is much easier in WotLK than TBC. There is a great Blacksmithing set and with the new Championing system grinding reps is extremely easy and has some very good tanking rewards as well. Below is a list of some easy to obtain yet good tanking gear. If you still need enchants or gems (to meet 535 defense or certain HP for heroics), see the next section.
Head: (blacksmith crafted) or (Oculus) or (blacksmith crafted)
Neck: (quest reward) with or (Utgarde Pinnacle)
Back: (The Wyrmrest Accord honored)
Hands: or (both blacksmith crafted) or (Kirin Tor exalted)
Trinkets: (quest reward) until (Halls of Lightning)
Weapon: (quest reward) or (Halls of Lightning)
It is also worth noting . These are engineer only items and require a , but a Frozen Orb can be bought on the Auction House, or if you can run some heroics you may get one. This head piece is comparable to the Tier 7 10-Man, and so can be used in the early end-game.
Easily Attainable Pre-Raid Tanking Gear
Once you have the above set you should dive into heroics. There are many great gear upgrades, including some epics, that will get you well on your way to tanking Naxxramas successfully. The final boss of each heroic drops an epic item equivalent to 10-man Naxxramas gear.
Head: (Gundrak Heroic) or (Engineer crafted)
Enchant: (Argent Crusade Revered)
Neck: (25xEmblem of Heroism) or (Jewelcraft Created) (19x)
Chest: (The Wyrmrest Accord Revered)
Wrists: (Ahn'kahet Heroic)
Feet: (The Wyrmrest Accord revered)
Note: Rings should be chosen based on your need of defense. If you are capped with only one ring equipped then get the Keystone Great-Ring. If not, then use the rings that get you capped.
Weapon: (Utgarde Pinnacle Heroic)
- During certain raid encounters, high resistance of specific schools of magic is needed. (e.g. Hydross the Unstable) Therefore, you need to replace the usual equipment with high-resistance gear. Some fights in 5-man instances also benefit from resistance gear, although it is not strictly necessary. Please see the related link for a list of resistance gear.
Wish-List after Patch 3.3
With the changes in Patch 3.3, this raiding gear can be purchased with that will now drop from 5-man heroics, in addition to most WotLK raids. The costs may be subject to further change. Also, remember that with items that cost emblems of lower value than , you can trade for at the Emblem of Triumph vendor, and so on through the rest of the lesser emblems. Look to the emblem flow chart on any of the emblem information pages for more information about the conversion rate.
Chest: or Liadrin's Breastplate of Conquest (50x) Tier 9 Piece, available at the blacksmith shop in Dalaran. Turalyon's is available to Alliance and Liadrin's for the Horde.
Hands: or Liadrin's Handguards of Conquest (30x)
Leggings: or Liadrin's Legguards of Conquest (50x)
For your weapon and shield, you can keep from Utgarde Pinnacle Heroic and from Culling of Stratholme Heroic until you are able to acquire a raid level weapon and shield from an actual raid. For gem and enchanting suggestions, look to the Pre-Raid Tanking Gear section above. Remember that as you are able to stay comfortably within the defense rating soft cap of 540, you should begin to gem and enchant more for stamina and strength, for further mitigation and threat generation respectively as you begin/continue raiding.
Alternative weapons to the from the new Icecrown 5 man instances are from Forge of Souls Normal mode, from Pit of Saron, and from Halls of Reflection. Remember these instances will be more challenging than the traditional Wrath of the Lich King heroics. As for shield there is also the option, though a difficult drop from Halls of Reflection Normal mode for your shield.
Additionally, once you've begun to acquire from raids and running the first random dungeon heroic each day, you can eventually replace some of the above with the following items from the Emblem of Frost vendor.
Tier Pieces There are pieces known as the Lightsworn Battlegear available at the blacksmith shop in Dalaran. There is the option of obtaining these gauntlets and leggings both item level 251 and 264 from [Vault of Archavon]. These can be upgraded to 264 versions upon raiding and obtaining A Mark of Sanctification is a token used to upgrade tier 10 Icecrown Citadel gear.
Six versions exist: Three normal and three heroic. Normal versions of the Mark upgrade from the base tier 10 gear, while heroic versions upgrade further to the heroic tier 10 gear. Like other gear tokens, there are three types:
Marks of Sanctification (all sorts) drop from the last boss of each wing of Icecrown Citadel:
- Deathbringer Saurfang (via Deathbringer's Cache)
- Professor Putricide
- Blood-Queen Lana'thel
- Lich King
The non-heroic Marks of Sanctification are only found when raiding as 10-man Heroic or 25-man Normal. The heroic Marks are only found when raiding as 25-man Heroic. Marks are not found under 10-man Normal.
When upgrading using these Marks, the new piece of gear does not retain the enchants or gems of the old piece of gear.
- Patch 3.3.0 (08-Dec-2009): Added.
|Conqueror's Mark of Sanctification||Protector's Mark of Sanctification||Vanquisher's Mark of Sanctification|
|Conqueror's Mark of Sanctification (heroic)||Protector's Mark of Sanctification (heroic)||Vanquisher's Mark of Sanctification (heroic)|
Maintankadin Forum: Gear Section A good place to discuss anything about tankadin gear
Beginning Level 80 Plate Tank Gear Frequently updated listing of plate tank gear, that can be obtained without dungeon boss drops.
Advanced Level 80 Plate Tank Gear Frequently updated listing of plate tank gear, that can be obtained from dungeons (via boss drops, badges, etc.).
List: Tanking Gear Uncrushability Value (TBC) A handy list of avoidance/blocking provided by tanking gear
Resistance Gear (TBC) A complete list of resistance gear
Warcrafter.net Sandbox A useful tool for planning your gear!
Wowhead.com/profiler Another useful tool for gear planning.