Sunday, May 10

Aggro for the non-Warrior

So, I'm playing tourist in a Hyjal raid last night and we end up with, like, five freakin' tanks. Which might be fine at 70, but all of them were above that and three of us were 80. The MT was a really good, Naxx geared Pally. This was definitely a "Gee, haven't seen this, let's go on a tour" kinda run with several 70-suches hoping for a lil' gear boost in tow.

Biggest problem?

DKs pulling aggro. We also had a Mage that was WAY more geared than anyone else there and she was rocking the place. The difference was, she was trying REALLY hard not to pull aggro off the MT. The DKs were nuts. They died a lot.

I got to tank the second boss, and plenty of the trash, and I was working overtime to keep threat up. I don't raid, so maybe that's how it always is. Great practice, though, and lots of fun!

Regardless, it got me thinkin'. A disturbingly large number of players don't understand HOW a tank holds aggro. They may understand the basic principles of threat and aggro, but they don't get (or don't care to get) how it's done.

There's an important distinction in that line of thinking. It's the tank's job to generate threat. It's EVERYONE'S job to MANAGE threat. The tank can't manage your threat for you. We don't have those tools.

How does a Warrior tank generate threat? Here's an easy cheat sheet:

Attack Power

The stronger the tank, the more Attack Power (AP) they have. The more Attack Power they have the more threat they generate. Strong tank = lotsa threats. There's lots more to it than just Strength and AP, but it's a good start. Many Warrior abilities are based on AP.
Thing to Remember: If the Warrior's gear is several levels lower than yours, her AP is gonna be lower and she'll generate less threat than a tank at your gear level. Adjust accordingly.*


I've written about Shockwave before. It's the one where the tank stomps the ground and a big cone-shaped dust cloud shoots out in front of her.

Things to Remember: If the mob is outside the Shockwave cone, the Warrior gets no threat. Don't hit the mob outside the cone. This has a long cool down, 20 seconds unmodified.

Thunder Clap

This is the one where the tank stomps the group and lightning shoots out all around her in a circle. It generates threat and damage, which equals more threat. Many Warrior tanks have Improved Thunder Clap. Yah, Warrior tanks do a lot of stomping.

Things to Remember: If the big meanie is outside the circle, no threat. The base cool down is six seconds. If you out threat the Warrior, she can't use this again until it cools down. Be mindful of the timing.

Damage Shield

This one is based on Block Value. Check the Warrior's shield. The more block value they have, the better this works. It is a VERY GOOD, constant threat generator in melee. (Note that block value is not Block Rating. Different animals.)

This is one very few people actually get.

Things to Remember: The mob must be actually hitting the tank in melee for this to work. It doesn't work on caster mobs unless they hit the Warrior with their funny little sticks. More important, if the mob is hitting you, Damage Shield isn't generating any threat. Um, yah that would be a Bad Thing.

Warriors are subject to the GCD just like you. Unlike you, Warriors have few instant attacks.

Things to Remember: The best way to control threat is timing. Let the Warrior build up threat for as long as you can stand it. I grew up as DPS, so understand the ants-in-the-pants feeling. Zen a bit and let her do her job.


Warriors' main threat generators are melee based and include Shield Slam (GCD, but can be proc'd), Revenge (proc), Heroic Strike (swing timer, check the weapon speed), and Concussion Blow (30 second cooldown and AP based). Thunderclap, Heroic Throw and Shockwave add a bit of range, but not much.

To Remember: If it's not in range, the Warrior isn't getting its attention. No touchy. Specially with anything AoE. Watch the AoE. Seriously. No, really.

Some final things to remember:

- If it's hitting you, stop hitting it. Just stop generating threat. Yes, your Warrior has panic buttons to equalize threat, but even then you've gotta give 'em a second or two to build it up before you start blasting away again.

- Never run away from your Warrior tank. Yes, your Warrior can run you down very quickly. But those chase 'em down abilities are on cool downs and it's better not to have to use them. Always move with the tank.

- If you cast, stay out of melee range. You generate way more threat in melee range than you do outside of melee range. I know, everyone wants to get close to the lovable, huggable Warrior. Understandable. But in a fight, give her some space.

- Warriors (all tanks, actually) prioritize. We prioritize threats, problems and abilities. Learn how your Warrior does this, talk to her about it, and listen when she points it out. Your Warrior is the best source of information. She's very smart and knows all about doing Warriory** things. :)

Remember these things and you'll find that, like magic, your adventures with Warrior tanks suddenly work flawlessly. Just like you nuke bad things in your own sweet way, just like you pew pew your lasers in your own joyous fashion, Warriors generate threat and hold aggro in their own unique way.

Get to know your Warrior a little better. It won't hurt.... much. :)


* I'm not even getting into a fight about degrading oneself so horribly as to run with a lesser tank who's gear doesn't match or out do your own. I'm talking about reality here, not a little epeen fantasy world. :P

** YES! Warriory is a word. It is.


  1. Keep in mind that for Damage Shield it's not just the block value of the shield. Every point of strength contributes to the shield block value of the warrior. The greater the strength, the bigger the Shield Slam and Damage Shield numbers.

  2. Hiya Kadomi! :D

    Yah! Strength is very good stat to get to know about your Warrior tank. The more the better.

    I wrote out a whole buncha stuff in the first draft (that kinda sat there for weeks) about how Strength, Expertise, Hit, AP, and what have ya all effect threat.

    Then two things occurred to me. 1) Warriors love that stuff, but it's already posted in a bazillion places that have done it way better than I every could. Why reinvent the wheel? 2) Non-Warrior aren't really going care nor be inclined to be that informed.

    So, I mulled it over and decided that since Strength and AP are the easiest to relate to for a non-warrior, I'd go with just those. I chose AP because of the abilities it modifies... but you're right, Strength would be a better thing to look at for a general impression.

    So... all you non-Warrior types... take a look at Strength. It does all sorts of yummy things to your Warrior. What it doesn't isn't as important as recognizing that a bunch is a Good Thing.

    TY for stopping by! :D


    PS if I didn't say it, that you for the interface videos. mine is horrible, but i cleaned it up a bit using the stuff in your videos. ty!

    PSS Look at Kadomi's blog for real Warrior goodness. It's awesomely called Tank Like A Girl! Go!