Gearing a Tank: Classic vs TBC

So I’ve been doing a lot of research on tanks, especially in tbc, because I’m going to play one when the time comes. But I just can’t understand why tanks are geared so drastically different in the 2 versions of the game!


  • wears mail gloves for weapon skill
  • Doesn’t really care about defensive stats
  • Laughs in the face of traditional tanks by duel wielding instead of using a shield


  • uncrittable is a top priority above all else
  • after that, get 102.4% avoidance to eliminate crushing blows
  • Only after those 2 requirements are met can you focus on HP/threat

So why the sudden shift? Do bosses really hit THAT much harder in tbc? Or perhaps is there a threat multiplier that makes makes survival gear much more appealing? Help me understand what’s going on here.

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Generally speaking, yes, TBC bosses hit pretty hard.

There’s likely to be some shifting away from high-defensive-stat stacking in favor of guaranteed threat output, but in general the Tanks need to survive pretty nasty hits. You also have to remember that threat became easier in some regards because a lot of Tanking abilities that currently don’t scale with anything suddenly get AP modifiers and such.

Feral for instance gains two skills, Lacerate and Mangle, and Swipe is no longer static damage. Feral also gains the equivalent of Impale with a deeper talent, and our Dire Bear Form goes from a static amount of bonus health to a 25% Stamina increase, which stacks with Heart of the Wild and a new talent, giving us nearly 50% bonus Stamina. Finally, Feral gets a laundry list of Feral Attack Power items that go all the way through to the end of the expansion. A Druid can easily stack Stamina and just laugh off the damage while still holding very good threat.

This trend continues into Wrath and onward where threat becomes increasingly trivial but survival becomes paramount. I think its Cataclysm where Tanks get Vengeance and threat becomes just hilarious. Druids in particular are still able to DPS and Tank with the same spec and with high Vengeance, we can swap out of Tanking on a Taunt and do insane DPS numbers.


I love being a solid brick of a tank. I hate the whole fury tank stuff but people will play how they want, and they certainly can. It would of been nice if classic was like tbc as your describing. I play a deep prot and do very well in my eyes, but i feel lonely in the sense that I don’t see many traditional tanky boys like myself :sob: it’s cool no biggy. I hope and would love too see lots of real tanks in tbc not just dps holding threat and calling them self a tank. it would be nice :hugs: but we’ll see I guess.


I agree, I adore getting big tanking stats on my tanks, and fury prot just feels like a degenerate spec to me (sorry to all the fury prots out there, you know it’s true).

I’m looking forward to the challenge of getting uncrushable on my prot pally in tbc


I too am a deep prot tank. Thick bois unite!


I gotta say, a dwarf in full plate going toe to toe with a dragon just warms my old DnD heart.


Love it! :muscle::hedgehog:

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You guys are making me so excited to have my very own thicc boi once the dark portal opens!

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Another thing to note that the Fury tree is heavily overtuned in PVE in classic. Best DPS spec, best tanking spec - across all classes, not just warrior.

In TBC, this isn’t the case at all. Prot has real advantages in both threat and survivabilty.


Not noticeably. I main tanked progression up through sunwell until I got bored and quit till WotLK using an arms spec, getting many server firsts.

The prot gains are pretty minor until Blizzard finally nuked Arms and Fury to make it virtually impossible to tank with them sometime after Wrath. I was main tanking progression heroic ICC as Arms too. But I never played Cata, Panda, WoD or Legion so I couldn’t tell you which one exactly they decided that only prot could tank in.

Why wait when you can be one now?

Because I want to wait before leveling one to see what method of tbc blizzard is going to use lol

Man not only do bosses hit harder, everything does.

You’re gonna see a lot of tanks get instagibbed in heroics at the start when everyone’s in leveling gear.

Even just the trash mobs in some of those heroics are super scary, let alone the bosses.

mana fiends in what? Heroic Mechanar? omg… the nightmares

what if you might wanna test druid tanking in tbc am already know i wanna dps but i like the option of being able to do bot

Haha yeah. When Heroics first launched I remember we used to do kiting instead of tanking. Basically I’d pull it all, and then just hamstring/piercing howl spam while ranged dps went nuts because it was too much damage to take at first.

But we’ll probably get the nerfed version of a later patch and just Mongo it tbh like we do Classic.

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Yep good times.

Just a few I can remember:

The red bogstroks and the spell reflect nagas in slave pens will def 1 shot tanks.

The talon guards in sethekk.

Destroyers in mech.

The blade storm mobs in bot.

There are heaps more these ones just stand out a bit.

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Kudos to another brick player. My Warrior plans to do the same (still low level at the moment tho) because he a brick. I have been calling his charge 'I’mma throw a brick at ‘em!’ for a while now.
It also helps that I tend to play with friend group and thus can tell them things on voice. I rarely PuG.

Tanks in actual Vanilla would go full avoidance and do everything to eliminate crushing blows too.

With how nerfed/easy everything now is in classic, and threat issues due to dps being constantly world buffed, tanks have to give up avoidance to focus mostly on threat.

You’re talking about original TBC where world buffs stacking didn’t exist, and the content was still challenging enough in its original form that tanks still had to gear for longer more sustained boss encounters.

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No we didn’t. Crushing Blows aren’t even scary, never have been, and that’s evidenced by the boss abilities themselves.

In later iterations of WoW, for instance Heroic Lich King, survival was exceptionally hard because each and every melee swing was a massive hunk of a Tank’s health. The burst moment was when a melee swing and Soul Reaper could land simultaneously, essentially acting like a critical hit and then some.

Contrast that with Broodlord Lashlayer. His melee swings are the same strength as the three Drakes in BWL, and weaker than Chrommagus, Vael, and Nef. Contrast that with his Mortal Strike which hits FIVE TIMES the strength of a melee hit. So by simple logic, if a Tank can eat just the Mortal Strike, they can eat 5 melee hits without direct healing as well, which is a lifetime as far as Healer reaction is concerned. In no way is a Crushing Blow a significant worry here.

Vanilla bosses only get to punish Tanks by having super hard hitting abilities that occasionally land, and otherwise do no real damage with their autos. Expansion bosses have significantly harder hitting melee hits, and relatively weaker specials, making Tank survival/avoidance that much more important since the incoming damage is much more relentless. Vanilla’s one and only exception is Patchwerk, and that fight is unique in that the ONLY MECHANIC AT ALL involves Healers planting their feet and spamming the Tanks due to Hateful Strike. Otherwise, boss melee swings are trivial and silly in Vanilla.

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