Protection Warrior Review - Battle for Azeroth Community Opinions
Throughout the pre-patch, we'll be launching a community opinions article for every class and spec. We're continuing our Battle for Azeroth Class Reviews and in this post, we'll be taking a look at the state of Protection Warrior. See if this spec appeals to you in Battle for Azeroth!
We reached out to the Protection Warrior community to give their thoughts and opinions on the changes and current state of the spec.
If this spec appeals to you after reading this article, check out our
Battle for Azeroth Protection Warrior Guide
Skyhold is the online community for Warriors.
- Protection Warrior theorycrafter, guide writer, and admin of Skyhold. GM of <Potent> on Mal’Ganis-US. Follow him on
- Skyhold contributor and GM of <Nurfed> on Tichondrius-US. Follow him on
- Skyhold moderator and raider in <Bound> on Zul’jin-US. Follow him on
- Skyhold contributor and raider in <Lethal> on Thunderhorn-US. Follow him on
Protection has once again received a fairly significant number of changes going into the new expansion. While the core gameplay has remained more or less the same, it does feel quite different to play. Namely, the overall pace and “spaminess” of Legion Protection has been slowed down.
This post will mainly look at Protection Warriors from a “gameplay and feel” point of view, rather than any objective analysis. While previous iterations of the spec have generally been regarded as strict improvements over the previous versions, the changes Prot has received from Legion > BfA may not be as well liked depending on your personal preference. Whether you’ve played the spec for a long time or you’ve never touched it, you absolutely need to spend some time with it to see if it’s something you’d truly enjoy. There is an adjustment period, and you won’t know if Protection is a spec you’ll enjoy playing until you’ve given it a fair chance.
As mentioned above and countless times elsewhere, Protection is a much slower spec than it was in Legion. This is due to a few factors, the main one being that
is now on the global cooldown. In fact, essentially *all* of Protection’s core abilities are on the global cooldown (with the exception of
), including abilities such as
. As such, the overall APM of the spec has been heavily reduced.
We won’t go over every single change that Protection has received, just the main and most impactful ones. Another reason for the spec’s reduction in pace is the change to Rage generation. Generating Rage based on your damage intake is gone, and in its place is flat Rage generation from your melees and taking enemy melees. This means Rage generation will remain more or less consistent over the course of the expansion, but compared to Legion the speed at which you generate Rage has been reduced. Overall, this further limits the amount you’re able to cast Rage spending abilities, such as
By far though, adding
to the GCD has been the most criticized change. There are two ways to look at this. On one hand, adding
to the GCD further enforces the choice between spending Rage on damage (
) or survivability (
). It creates potentially interesting rotational decision making, where you have best fit in
into your rotation. It’s no longer something you can “mindlessly” spam. On the other hand, there is still decision making to be had with an off-the-GCD
. It doesn’t need to be on the GCD for it to have interesting gameplay dynamics. One could argue that all adding it to the GCD does is reduce rotational fluidity. Another point here, from a balance perspective, having
on the GCD isn’t that big of a deal in terms of survivability, because generally speaking it’s a proactive ability, not a reactive one. Compared to a purely reactive ability like Light of the Protector, which suffers greatly from being on the GCD.
What you find to be more engaging and fun is completely personal preference. Some will like having
on the GCD, some won’t. In our opinion,
has enough decision making without it being on the GCD, and Protection’s rotation feels a bit bloated with trying to fit in
. Regardless, it’s not a *huge* deal, and it’s something you adjust to rather quickly. There are pros and cons for each approach.
Some purely positive changes are things like the addition of
, and the fact that
is now baseline. Protection has more tools in its toolkit for sure.
To touch on the actual gameplay of the spec for a moment, your core rotation still revolves around
has a 30% chance to be reset by
, so watching out for those procs is a integral part of the gameplay. Putting it very simply, you’re casting
as much as possible to generate Rage for
, then spending that Rage on one or the other depending on the situation.
With the “standard” talent build, you’re taking
, meaning you’re spending quite a bit of time inside of
, every other GCD is used on
, so you end up casting
quite a bit. In our opinion, this is really fun, since
hits quite hard, and you’re getting a lot of
resets, thus generating a lot of Rage. Particularly in AoE, Protection does a lot of damage.
Speaking of AoE, Protection is a strong tank choice for Mythic+, probably more than most people realize. Not only is our damage output very high, but the utility we bring with
is quite useful. The “problem” is that Protection, compared to other tanks specs, is that it’s generally unforgiving, making it the general perception that the spec is weak. When played well, that’s simply not the case. Now, we’re not saying that Protection is necessarily on equal footing with the traditionally “flavor of the month” tank specs (i.e. DKs and DHs), but the spec is absolutely not bad by any means whatsoever.
Finally, Protection is also highly mobile, due to
. This is often an overlooked part of the spec and it’s something that really adds to the enjoyment of the spec.
We’ll briefly touch on talents here, and talk about what we like and what we don’t. Overall, while the choice in the talent tree has improved compared to Legion, many tiers still boil down to “this talent is objectively better in most situations”, meaning there aren’t too many meaningful decision to be had with regards to talents.
is a strong and overall fun talent.
has its niche uses, but will not be taken often.
is simply not competitive in comparison with these two talents.
Tier 30 is a utility tier, and all three talents have their uses and are generally interesting to boot.
is really the only choice in the 45 tier. It would be nice to see some other survivability options here.
is a decent passive choice for those that aren’t comfortable with using
is the go-to in the vast majority of situations.
is a poor talent from both a survivability point of few and a gameplay point of view.
Tier 75 is again a utility tier.
is a bit niche, but again all three talents have their uses.
is generally the go-to for survivability and damage purposes.
is in the same boat.
Now, the thing with Protection’s talents is that every “viable” talent is a passive. Some of them do impact gameplay quite a bit, namely
. But, there aren’t really any talents that add a new ability that significantly alters the rotation, or anything in that vein. Some may find this a bit underwhelming, some may prefer it this way. Compared to other specs, we think it’s fair to say Protection is lacking a bit in the “flavor” department when it comes to talents.
Overall, there’s a lot to love about Protection in BfA, but there are also somethings that many might find frustrating. It’s not a spec that everyone will enjoy, but it definitely fulfills that Protection Warrior fantasy. It’s a formidable spec both in terms of survivability and damage, and with the additional utility added in BfA, Protection is more than viable for all levels of content. Give it a chance, you may sincerely enjoy it.
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