Image courtesy of a really old wow.com post (2007)
Leveling alts used to be a lot of fun for me at low levels. The first instance that I got into was always an experience, an adventure. Sometimes there would be completely new players, and sometimes old players running alts, just like me. I don’t know what caused the change – maybe it was the LFD tool, but recently, I’ve been getting shit tanks and healers. Why? Well… who wants to wait 40 minutes in a queue to get into an instance at that level? I wish I didn’t have to, but leveling my hunter leaves me no choice. We always get healers and tanks who are DPS who just want a quick way into an instance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty myself with one of my druids who is tanking as balance, and to this effect, I don’t mind people that can gear themselves correctly despite spec. I’ve always been a firm believer that the line between dps and healing as well as dps and tanking are very hazy, and all roles can be played by all classes without much difficulty. It only starts to matter a lot when you get into the higher levels. With that said, those who jump into an instance as a tank and are using a two-hander (note that this is a level 15 instance, not 55, so two-hand tanking is a no no) and as healers who are also using two-hand weapons (paladins), are despicable and should put in the small amount of effort it requires to get the right gear for tanking. Below are some suggestions for each tanking class at low levels.
Warrior and Paladin Tanks
The easiest way to gear up on armor for warriors and paladins, is to have a blacksmith make you the bronze mail set. It shouldn’t be too hard to get the ore required for this, and will be great for your tanking set. Note that I’m suggesting you have these items for when you go into instances – not to wear while leveling.
These are all craftable and usable by the time LFD queueing is available to you. The stats will net you a total of 15 stamina, which increases your health, and 15 strength, which will help you keep threat – an important aspect of low level tanking. If you can’t find someone to craft these for you, there is a decent chance they are on the auction house. The rest of the items listed below are also on the auction house, and could be useful for tanking.
With all of these items, you’ll have 26 strength, 3 agility and 27 stamina, which is much better than a whole bunch of whites and greys for your tanking needs. If you can get your hands on these items, trust me, the new players will love you, and the older players who are leveling alts will compliment you on being exceptionally prepared. Being prepared gear-wise, isn’t the only important aspect of tanking though. You need to know your skills and how to use them, as well as have talents that are helpful.
Now I understand that everyone wants to level with DPS talents, because they do the most DPS. For warriors, I believe that tank specs put out a lot of damage, so you may not have to worry about this. Here are dps/tank hybrid specs for warrior and paladin that will give you good survivability while DPSing solo, and allow you to tank efficiently at low levels.
This spec is for level 20, however you can start it when you’re level 10 and work up as you see fit. There are obviously a couple choices that you could choose, and so really, it’s up to you how you hybrid.
You’ll want to always keep Devotion Aura up while tanking, as this adds to the armor value that you and the rest of your party has. Righteous Fury is also very important as it gives you the most threat out of any of your abilities, passively. When you pull a boss, make sure to know what and where your taunt is, and I’d suggest starting with Consecration for groups of more than one, and that you use Seal of Righteousness and Judgement of Wisdom for your attacks. It’s pretty straight forward, so please, learn it and do it.
This spec is also level 20 and should be built up as you see fit from level 10. Again, this is really up to you, as there are many different specs at this level that are good hybrids. Just make sure to balance your damage talents with your tanking talents.
For warriors, make sure you are in Defensive Stance while tanking. This is similar to righteous fury for the paladins as it wil generate extra threat from your attacks. There are a lot more utility abilities for warriors than paladins including Heroic Strike (threat generator), Sunder Armor (threat generator), Thunder Clap (threat generator, AoE), Shield Bash (Spell Interrupt), and Cleave (threat generator, AoE). There are other conditional abilities to use that will help with tanking, but not threat generally.
I elected not to include Druids because they’re not as common as warrior and paladin tanks, and a lot easier to gear for. Find any leather that has stamina and agility on it, and get a two hand that has stamina, and you’re set. I think it’s reasonable that everyone learn how to tank instead of just queueing as the tank while you’re dps and hoping that your healer is a real healer and can keep you up. This lack of responsibility is one of the bad sides of our LFD tool, but it’s so simple to educate yourself that there really isn’t any excuse. Stop sucking!