Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Newbie Tanking Compendium (Levels 15-20) - Choosing Gear and How to Spot Upgrades



I.     Classes and Specializations
II.   Choosing Gear and How to Spot Upgrades
III.  Abilities and How to Use Them
IV.   Talents at Level 15
V.    Preparing for Your First Dungeon
VI.  Helpful Settings and Resources






II.   Choosing Gear and How to Spot Upgrades

Gear is very important in WoW. It’s usually why we run dungeons and raids—to get the best gear possible! But naturally, you have to start somewhere. The quality of a piece of gear is indicated by the name of the item; the color reflects how “powerful” the gear is. Grey is poor quality, white is common quality, green is uncommon, blue is rare, and purple is epic. (There’s also orange quality—legendary—but few people are able to obtain those!)

Grey and white gear usually only provide armor and no other stats. When you encounter green quality gear, you will see stats on the gear that make your character more powerful. By the time you hit level 15, it’s likely you’ll only have picked up grey and white quality gear, with a few green pieces here and there. It’s your goal to try and get all the grey and white quality gear replaced with green or even blue gear. You can also look at the “item level” of a piece of gear (different from the required character level) to see if the “caliber” of the gear is substantially better. At later levels, you can even find green-quality gear that is better than blue or purple quality gear, due to much greater item level.

But how do you know what kind of gear to pick?

First, you’ll need to know what kind of armor your class wears. It’s different for each class! For this guide, we’ll only look at our tank classes.

Warriors and paladins will want mail gear.
Druids and monks will want leather gear.


At level 40, warriors and paladins will upgrade to plate gear. At level 50, all characters receive an armor specialization, granting them bonus stats if they are wearing only the best armor type for their class (such as a druid wearing all leather gear). So it’s good to get into the habit of picking the best armor type for your class.

But, what stats will you want? It’s different for each class! Fortunately at this level, it’s rather simple to spot upgrades.

Warriors and paladins will want Strength and Stamina gear.
Druids and monks will want Agility and Stamina gear.


Essentially, all tanks want lots of Stamina. That increases their health so they can take more hits! But they want to deal damage too; an enemy will notice someone who hits hard, after all! Warriors and paladins get more attack power from Strength, while druids and monks get more attack power from Agility.

Armor is also a useful stat for tanks, but in general, the primary stats of Strength/Agility and Stamina are much more important. So don’t pick a piece of gear just because the armor value is higher. Besides, you should be getting the best armor you can anyway simply by virtue of always trying to pick the best armor type for your class.

So essentially…

Warriors and paladins will want Strength and Stamina mail gear.
Druids and monks will want Agility and Stamina leather gear.


How about those weapons? You’ll want to pick weapons with the appropriate stats I indicated above. In addition, keep in mind that tanking warriors and paladins will always want to use a one-handed sword, axe, or mace in their main hand, and a shield in their off-hand. Shields are essential for several of their tanking abilities, and are required to block attacks as well. Druids and monks have a few different choices for weapons, though druids tend to wield staves/polearms, while monks may either use a two-handed weapon or dual wield.

So, how will you know when an item is an upgrade? When you see an item that you’d like to check against the one you currently have equipped, put your cursor over the item’s icon and hold down the Shift key; this will make a little window with your current item’s stats appear next to this item’s stats. It will also show in red where your stats will go down, and green where your stats will go up, if you equipped this piece of gear instead. Use that to help you decide if a piece of gear is better!


Well, I’m sure that’s a lot of information to take in, but hopefully you now have an idea of what to look for when you find new gear! You should now know which upgrades to pick while questing or in a dungeon.

But even more important than gear… is using your abilities! If you don’t use your abilities right, the enemies will run amok in a dungeon and kill your companions. It’s your job to protect them, so the next part of my guide will teach you how to use your abilities properly!
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