IV. Gear and Stats [STA4]
Gear and stats have changed a bit since the Cataclysm has parted the Mists on the shores of Pandaria. Many of our stats are important, but all important in different ways. Plate, obviously, is still important and our intended armor class. You will be tanking with a shield, because if you’re not, well, you can’t use a good chunk of your Prot-only abilities, and that just makes you look silly. Don’t be silly. That’s bad and makes us all sad for you.
However, the statistics on your gear are important as well, but not quite as restrictive as tank gear has been in the past. Most tank-centric stats are not inherently “useless” or “ignore this at all costs” like they were before, or others aren’t absolutely “stack this until x” as they were before. I’m getting ahead of myself here, let’s get to the brass tacks:Stamina:
Stamina remains the de-facto EH (Effective Health) stat next to armor, which is impossible to stack in surplus thanks to Blizzard not itemizing pieces with bonus armor. Stamina raises your health pool, which lets you supposedly live longer in worst-case scenarios, e.g: scenarios where you have little or no healing and a boss is trucking you. However, Stamina is not a mitigation stat, it just allows you to live longer. It is a strong stat for its purpose, and if you’re finding yourself dying to magical burst, accept no substitutes. Keep in mind, that if you don’t have enough health to survive hits in an encounter, you are going to die, and you should make sure to at least have enough health to last.Mastery:
Mastery buffs your chances to block, as well as Critical Block. Both of these chances scale independently of each other; your Block Chance actually has a very small DR on it, versus Critical Block, which scales as normal up to 100%. This is your defacto damage smoothing stat, and if you're a 10man Protection Warrior, there's no reason NOT to be stacking the hell out of this given the opportunity. If you're a 25man...well, make sure you don't crumple when the bosses start punching you? D:
In 5.4, given the right itemization, a Protection Warrior *will* be able to Critical Block Cap; this means that they can achieve 100% Mastery and have every block made be a Critical Block. The numerical plateau for this is 19641 Mastery Rating (Pre Blessing of Might/Grace of the Air), after which Mastery's value *heavily* falls off due to only buffing your Block chance, which in effect turns it into a worse version of Avoidance in every way.Parry:
Parry is an avoidance stat, or rather, a stat which results in damage avoidance
; basically, when you parry an attack, you take zero damage. That simple. Boss parry-hasting no longer exists, as such Parry is not a dangerous stat to have. Parry also procs a use of Revenge while it is on cooldown, which leads to it indirectly buffing Rage generation. In addition to being found as a secondary stat on gear, Warriors also receive bonus Parry in relation to their total of Strength. As stated by Berthold on Elitist Jerks:
Since MoP, the benefit of strength got greatly increased, it gives almost as much parry % (952 for 1%) as parry_rating (885 for 1%) does. This means that some of the DD-gear (hit/exp/strength) can turn out great. This also applies to trinkets, e.g., lessons of the darkmaster has EXP/STR on it and isn't too bad if you go for avoidance. However, socketing for strength shouldn't be done as secondary stats have double the amount on gems that primary stats. Lastly, strength increases our dps quite significantly and it slightly increases Shield Barrier (as the non-buffed AP Bonus is ignored for Shield Barrier calculation).
Basically, Strength is now a good source of Parry, and will be the reason your Parry to Dodge ratio will be as out of whack as it is. Don’t panic!Dodge:
Dodge is a weaker avoidance stat mathematically than Parry, as it takes more rating per-percentage point of Dodge to make a difference, thanks to a very harsh Diminishing Return on it. It also, like Parry, allows for additional usages of Revenge when it is on cooldown. Dodge isn’t useless, but you don’t want to be stacking it at the expense of other very real stats you could be using, and as such you’ll probably spend more time reforging out of it than gemming for it or reforging into it.Extra special note on avoidances:
Avoidance as a whole allows for more Total Damage Reduced over the course of the fight, as the more times you Dodge or Parry an attack you are taking zero damage per attack. While this sounds all well and good, remember that these are still random
chances, and because of that they are unreliable. In addition, this may make you a dreaded member of the “Spikey Tank” club; do not shy away from either as these are both powerful damage reduction stats, but remember that because they are random, they are not dependable.Hit:
Reduces the chance your attacks have of missing the target. This is gold with regards to Threat Stats and boosting your own personal DPS. There is also a very real link between your attacks connecting and rage generation, seeing as you need Shield Slam and Revenge to actually connect
to generate Rage. As such, Hit is very valuable to us. Our attacks have a 7.5% chance to miss Raid Bosses (Skull Mobs, Boss Mobs or mobs level 93+), which requires a rating of 2550 to suppress.Expertise:
Expertise reduces the chance for our attacks to be dodged, and then parried, in that linear order. It has also changed how it works since Cataclysm; before Expertise would per-point sort of pull double duty, reducing both chances for an enemy to Parry an attack, as well as Dodge an attack. Now, however, Expertise first reduces an enemy’s chance to Dodge an attack until the threshold, and then reduces an enemy’s chance to Parry until the second threshold. This has led to some people referring to the “Expertise Softcap,” which is erroneous.
The values for each are 7.5%, which means that in order to suppress a raid bosses chance to Dodge, you need 7.5%, or 2550 Expertise rating, and to suppress a raid bosses chance to Dodge and
Parry your attacks, you need 15% Expertise, or 5100 Expertise rating. Easier way to read this:
Hit needed for cap: 7.5% (2550 rating)
Expertise needed for Dodge: 7.5% (2550 rating)
Expertise needed for Dodge AND Parry: 15% (5100 rating)
This has very real implications for our Rage generation (and related through that, our mitigation thanks to our abilities), and because of this many people believe that Expertise AND Hit are strong mitigation stats for Prot Warriors. They’re not wrong, either. Keep in mind, though, that the abilities Thunder Clap, Dragon Roar, and Shockwave cannot be dodged or parried, but can miss. As such, Hit leads as the more important of the two stats.Critical Strike:
Better in 5.4, Critical Strike rating synergizes well with the Enrage changes, which include Shield Slam and Devastate critical strikes proccing Enrage. You also are capable of generating this through Riposte with Avoidance, but if you're taking a piece for the Mastery and it's got Crit on it, it certainly isn't the worst thing on the planet you could take.
Secondary stats in general are very well balanced for Protection Warriors this expac, and as such there isn’t really a wrong
way to gear, per se. Well, there is (Don’t gem for Dodge, Crit or Haste!). But there are more subtle ways for you to be gearing wrong, or right, depending on what scenarios you’re involved in, your healers, what abilities you’re using, and how you’re playing.
As such, stat priorities can and will change. I will attempt to list the most popular ways for gearing:
Defensive: Stamina > Hit 7.5% >= Exp 15% > Mastery > Parry > Dodge
Offensive: Stamina > Hit 7.5% >= Exp 15% > Parry >= Dodge > Mastery
The two schools of thought regarding these stat priorities is actually dependent on a few factors; raid size (10's vs. 25's), personal DPS, healing and raid DPS.
DPS issues aside for Protection Warriors, Riposte can be a very potent boost to your arsenal, provided your gear is tailored to take advantage of it. You won't be doing Brewmaster levels of DPS, but you'll definitely be doing enough. In addition, most 25man tanks will probably end up with something similar to the "Offensive" build anyway, as Mastery isn't nearly as potent a stat in 25mans versus its potency in 10mans.
That being said however, use whatever is best for you and your raid.
If you are done with Mastery as a Warrior, or are running an Offensive build, you should be utilizing Avoidance for the TDR, synergies with Revenge, and Riposte gains.
If you’re changing your stats around, please be aware of the possible consequences of them, and how it can affect your damage taken, or how your healers will heal you. If possible, feel free to talk to them about this, or see how they handle certain changes in your gearing.