Patch 4.0.1 was out for a good while before I had a chance to do much tanking. Now I’ve done enough to conclude that warrior tanks are still pretty great.
However, I did need to play around with my warrior a bit and make some adjustments to my toolbars. Here are some of the things I’ve learned about warrior tanking in 4.0.1:
Rend is only good if you can spread it around
When I first saw that Rend appeared to have a role for warrior tanks I was concerned that it was yet another debuff to juggle and attempting to work it in during single-target fights made the rest of my rotation shaky.
Now that I’ve had a chance to look at some logs, it’s pretty clear that Rend is weaker than Devastate for single-target fights.
But for tanking multiple mobs it is basically a reliable version of Deep Wounds. Rather than a chance of dotting all mobs when you Thunderclap, if you Rend first you can guarantee that you will do so. Plus it’s not even possible for tanks to take Deep Wounds at this stage.
Additionally, if you Thunderclap on cooldown it keeps Rend up on all mobs without any fuss. It also doesn’t matter if the original target of the Rend dies, so long as one bleeding mob gets hit with Thunderclap all other mobs will be Rended, so it’s kind of fun for chaining pulls.
I just need to avoid being too clever with complex pulls. It’s better to Thunderclap early to beat healer threat than to wait too long because you want Rend up first (sorry, Pachec0).
Heroic Strike and Cleave are better when they aren’t spammable
I used to have two toolbars: one for when I needed to manage my rage and one for when I had effectively infinite rage.
The infinite rage toolbar had “!Heroic Strike” bound to everything so that it was always lit up. The normal toolbar had all the same buttons but without that macro.
This really made Heroic Strike a largely pointless ability that could easily be replaced by a mechanic where being hit by raid bosses makes you do more damage. And it was.
Now I have it bound to `, which is my go-to key for something I’m going to hit a lot but at unpredictable times. I find that if I just hit that whenever my rage bar seems decently red I’m not bumping against the cooldown and it’s a good amount of threat.
Likewise, my “infinite rage” toolbar is now a multiple mob toolbar with Cleave bound to the ` key and used the same way I use Heroic Strike. My rage is good enough that I can use it often without feeling that I’m suffering when it isn’t available.
That which doesn’t kill me occasionally heals me
Warriors are now getting in on the self-healing action that other tanks already had.
I currently only have two points in Blood Craze but it accounted for about 5% of my healing during my last ICC trip.
Additionally, Victory Rush is now usable in Defensive Stance and starts becoming available before a mob has died. I can see this becoming useful for raid bosses that start to do more damage when they are below 20%.
It’s best to shout before a fight, not after
Previously, I would typically refresh my stamina buff at the end of combat when I tended to have some rage. Now Bloodrage is gone and the shouts are needed to get some rage at the start of fights, making it more like Horn of Winter.
Plus, instead of competing with Imp buffs we can now fill in for a priest.
Except for the whole healing thing.
I think warrior tanking is only going to get more fun once I hit 85.
While I still kind of hate Diablo II, I’m glad they finally brought Heroic Leap over to WOW.
Also, I couldn’t squeeze Blitz into my current spec without giving up good talents for raiding but I plan to have it at 85.
Warrior tanks will continue to be the masters of battlefield movement.
At least until they get nerfed.