Although we do in fact have 6 MRD/WAR cooldowns, plus another 4 possible cross-class defensive based cooldowns, I’ve found that I tend to use multiples together. My cross-class defensive abilities of choice are Awareness and Convalescence. I split my defensive buttons into 5 groups.
1. Inner Beast. This gets its own group because you can use it frequently, and if there’s a big hit coming there’s nothing stopping you from using it with one of the other groups. In fact this is what you should do.
2. Foresight. This cooldown is relatively weak, and only affects Physical damage. At 60 it is basically the same as putting an extra peice of chest armour on. This should be used pretty much any time it’s available and you’re tanking physical damage.
3. Raw Intuition and Awareness. This again only works on physical attacks, and only those you receive from a 90 degree cone centered on where you’re facing. Using Awareness here prevents the attacks from the side and behind from doing critical damage, meaning you can still use this on larger packs without fear of being insta-bigged by all those critical hits. Awareness does have a shorter duration though, so be prepared to click Raw Intuition off early if you’re worried about that.
4. Thrill of Battle and Convalescence. As explained above, Damage Reduction has two components: extra effective hitpoints and extra received healing effectiveness. By combining these two abilities, we get both extra health and more effective incoming heals… in effect damage reduction of about 17%
5. Vengeance and Blood Bath. Vengeance is our most powerful damage reducing ability and it generates additional reprisal attacks against anyone attacking us. Blood Bath could quite easily have been in the Foresight section where you just use it when it’s available. I tend to use it with Vengeance in order to capitalise on those extra attacks (more healing yay!) and because if I’m using Vengeance I’m probably tanking a large amount of incoming damage.
VIT versus STR – Fending or Slaying?
This is an age-old debate for Warriors. It has been raging since I started playing back in 2.0 and the consensus has flip-flopped a fair bit during the intervening time. Most of the time though, the answer has seemed to be that you should use penta-melded crafted accessories in order to get the best balance between having enough health to survive big hits and having more STR to kill things faster and make hate trivial. For those people who don’t have the millions of gil that crafted accessories require, there are some decisions to be made.
As a tank, your two main goals are to hold agro and to not die. Damage is important, especially with DPS check fights, but it is of tertiary import to your role as a tank. I have tanked pretty much everything this game has to offer (Alex Savage being the main exception), and I can tell you that you can do all of it in full STR and you can do all of it in full VIT. Neither of the two options will make you take less damage. STR no longer scales Parry and VIT doesn’t make you take less damage it just gives your healer a bigger buffer to work with. STR gear will increase your self-healing ability but tanking in full STR will put a bit more strain on your healers. Agagin though there really isn’t anything outside Alexander Savage that hits anywhere near hard enough for this to be an issue. Having said that, if you’re going to run around with full STR gear, you better be Johny-on-the-spot with your cooldowns and Inner Beast usage. Going from full STR to just Asuran Fending gives me a bit more than 4.5k extra hit points (25% more). If you’re going to throw that aside, you NEED to hit those Inner Beast timings, you NEED to be pro-actively using your other defensive cooldowns and you NEED to be minimising incoming damage by dodging or interupting AoEs and damage increasing self-buffs on mobs. If you’re a tank who isn’t doing all of those things, you should be wearing at least some fending stuff to make up for that deficit.
Agro control is something I’ll touch on here as well, as using VIT accessories will make it harder to hold agro. The thing about enmity is that it is a binary construct. You either have the most agro and are tanking the mob, or you don’t have the most agro and are not tanking the mob. Once you have the most, it makes no difference if you have the most by 2 or by 2 million. Any additional enmity once you have a comfortable lead is only useful in that it lets you do other things that aren’t generating threat. Even in full VIT gear, you should have absolutely no issues easily holding threat from even the most ham-going DPS you can find. If you’re losing hate to a similarly geared DPS, you’re doing something wrong.
The final answer: If you can afford it, melded crafted gear is the best of both worlds. If you can’t afford it, then use enough VIT gear to help out your healers and add STR gear as you get more familiar with the fights and have the left-side gear to help reduce your incoming damage. When you’ve just hit 60, start with full Vitality and just tell people you’re new to 60. Your runs might take a few minutes extra, but you wont die as often and the DPS can just learn to throttle their damage. Death is a big delay. Not knowing that a big hit is coming means you can’t time your Inner Beast properly. Not having at least full law gear means your Defense score is going to be low and you’re going to get hit harder. Not knowing when bosses are going to stop attacking means you’re going to waste defensive cooldowns. Until you know what you’re doing and have some armour to back you up, full VIT is the choice. Once you know a fight and have at least law armour, you can start adding more STR gear.
Deliverance and when to use it while Tanking
So you’ve seen those threads on reddit and on the official forums about Warriors who are tanking in Deliverance and doing infinity+1 DPS and you think to yourself, “Man, I want to do that. How do I do that?”
The answer? You don’t. Usually those threads are from annoyed healers who have had to heal their butts off to cover for your e-peen waving. You’ve made the healer have to work much harder, and increased the risk of wiping your group for an increase of maybe 200 DPS. By simply staying in Defiance for most of the tanking, your healers will be able to actually do some damage and more than likely more than what you’ve just gained.
This isn’t to say that you should never use Deliverance, because there are many phases during boss fights where the boss is doing very little or no damage and you should be in Deliverance for those phases. You can also safely pop into Deliverance any time you have a cooldown group available. Pop Vengeance and then Deliverance and you’ll actually be more tanky than just sitting in Defiance, plus you’ll be doing more damage. You do have to be careful of agro during this time though, as Defiance has a large threat modifier attached to it and you wont have that anymore.
Macros will go here. I personally don’t use any macros, and the only one I would advocate using is one that anounces to your healer when Berserk has worn off and asking for an Esuna/Leeches.
There it is folks. If there’s anything you think is wrong, let me know. If there’s anything you think is missing, let me know. Hopefully this guide will help someone. If not though, I had fun re-writing it.