Saturday, February 27, 2010

How to! Warrior Tank - Level 50-59


Welcome to one of the more interesting and also horrible level brackets! At least I think so. The reason is quite simple, it's horrible because at these levels you'll get to do the old end-game vanilla instances, mostly BRD and LBRS, but also Dire Maul, Scholomance and Stratholme if you're unlucky. I say unlucky because I really dislike these instances. Well that's not completely true, I like the instances themselves, I dislike the fact that they take way over an hour to complete fully. Most of these instances take about an hour even if you do them the fast way and skip bosses. They have difficult mobs and pulls, and even more difficult layout. Finding your way around in the proper order (because things has to be killed in a proper order to take as little time as possible) is doomed to fail.

The extra difficulty and time needed to complete these instances often leads to annoyed puggers. Annoyed puggers lash out at each other when things go wrong. My favorite example was one BRD run I did where the healers constantly said "pull more pull more". I kindly (I hope) told him that even though it might be easy for him to heal, pulling more mobs won't be easy for me to tank, so I preferred to do it my way and if he wanted it some other way he could reroll a tank class. I also stressed that if I pulled more and something were to go wrong, I would surely get the blame. But he kept on whining and then I did a bigger pull. And we wiped. And guess who got the blame? Yours truly. You have to be ready to face people who will tell you things like "you're the worst tank I've ever met", not because you're actually the worst tank they've ever met (that's usually quite hard to beat), but because you don't do exactly what they want you to do. Don't let it get to you, you will meet these people all the time :P Luckily enough, you'll hopefully meet people who tell you you're "the best tank they've ever met" even more often.

And the bracket is interesting because you'll get to go into Outlands at level 58, and that will vastly change your gear. I love it as much each time, because over the course of some quests, it feels like you're suddenly twice as good than you were when you first came to Outlands. The first outlands-quests are usually that rewarding. Also leveling in Outlands goes way faster than in Azeroth, because the quests are better planned. There is very little long-travelling and you get the flying mount at level 60 which makes travelling alot faster.

If you're a herbalist this level bracket will be your time to earn the big money. I sold stacks of Sungrass for 90g each on my server and had made well over 1000g by level 60. By the way, remember to skill your professions while your leveling! I thought I was, but still had to spend 4 hours after dinging 58 in Azeroth to skill herbalism, cooking and alchemy before I could get to Outlands! The problem is, in Outlands you have to be max skilled to be able to learn new skills. They changed that for Wotlk fortunately. So you need exactly skill level 300, and nothing else.

I dinged 60 at 3 days and 20 hours.

Glyphs
At level 50 you get another minor glyph slot. Since thunder clap is still one of my awesomest tank skills (and solo play skills) the choice was quite easy - Glyph of Thunder Clap which increases the range of Thunder Clap by 2 yards. Doesn't sound like much, but it is in fact something like a 30% increase of it's range.

Talents
Congratulations on Devastate! The questing and killing (and tanking!) will be much much easier now. The problem with prot killing before Devastate is that you don't have any fast, on use skill. Every skill is either on next swing (Heroic Strike), which is dependant on your weapon for its speed, or it has a cooldown (thunder clap, revenge, concussion blow, shield slam). When running after a mob to kill it, to prevent it from pulling more mobs, this can be quite frustrating. But no more! Devastate is that one use skill you've been longing for, and you'll be using it alot. Wherever you had sunder before, you should place Devastate now. Unless sunder was in a bad place, because Devastate probably deserves one of the very best spots in your action bars.

And congratulations on Warbringer! Now you can finally use charge in defensive stance and in combat. This will do so much for your tanking you probably don't even understand it yet. Charging when tanking can't be overused. It is a really good way to get a head start on the mobs, before the dps starts wrecking havoc. It's also a good way to get to a caster who's decided to stand a bit off and shoot on your healer instead of you.

This means the first two talents are pretty easy to place. Devastate and Warbringer first. I chose Devastate before Warbringer because having that on use dmg skill is actually more helpful than being able to charge mobs. But they're only one level apart in any case, so you can take them in any order you like. After that I recommend Critical Block, Sword and Board and Damage Shields, pretty much in any order you like. I took them in the order mentioned, but you'll end up with them all in the end anyway.

That means;
Level 50 into Devastate
Level 51 into Warbringer
Level 52-54 into Critical Block
Level 55-57 into Sword and Board
Level 58-59 into Damage Shields

Skills
I've already mentioned the awesomeness of Devastate and Warbringer (i.e Charge). There are no other new skills in this level bracket, but considering how great these two are, we're happy anyway!

Instances
Oh the horror. I've already told you what I feel for the instances in this level bracket, and it aint pretty. I actually only did two or three runs to BRD before I decided to level as fast as possible and get to the more fun instances of Outlands. I was lucky and found some people who wanted to boost me (they asked me in fact!) and therefore got some gear from UBRS and Scholomance. There is a really great shield from the last boss in UBRS (Draconian Deflector, which can be seen on me in the top most picture), but the shield you get from one of the first quests in Outlands is nearly as good and takes 10 min instead of 60 min (120 if you're not being boosted) to get. None of the end game vanilla instances are necessary to do for gear. The only reason to do them is to have experienced them, and this I actually encourage.

Although I don't like BRD, LRBS and UBRS much, I do like Scholomance, Stratholme and Dire Maul more. They have a nice feeling to them. Maybe you'd like to do them at this level to get the right feel for them, but I recommend doing them at level 80 instead. Doing them at this level could easily end up taking the same time as a raid, I'm talking several hours here!

Since I don't recommend you doing the instances at all (except perhaps the first bosses in BRD if you have someone to guide you through it), I won't mention much about them. They're long, they're difficult, and the gear will be replaced when you get to Outlands, that's all you have to know.

Places to quest
This is a new feature to this guide, but especially for the levels before Outlands it could be difficult to know where to go to get those last levels. I usually do Hinterlands until level 50ish, then I turn to Felwood. Combine Felwood with some quests in Wester Plaguelands and Winterspring, and you should be 58 by no time. Only once (when leveling a char) did I have to turn to Silithus (avoid it if you can, probably the most boring place in Azeroth).

That's it for this time, and next time you see me I'll be a happy warrior out in Northrend!

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