Threat & Stats
Until comfortable with health or at the CtC cap, follow the priority of Stamina >= Mastery > Parry > Dodge. When you have enough health, then get as much Mastery and avoidance you can. Keep Parry about 1-2% above dodge, or 200-300 rating. If you need Threat, follow Expertise > Hit >> Strength > Crit. Only grab Threat stats if you feel you need more, otherwise get more Mastery.
There are 3 concepts that you have to realize when you are talking about Prot Warrior stats: Threat stats, CTC and Survivability stats. Usually you don’t really need to concentrate about Threat stats, but that requires that you do other things correctly.
Threat, in principle, is made of 3 things: Gear, Spec, Rotation. However, Cataclysm threw a thing called Vengeance in the mix, increasing your Attack Power when you get hit, making you hit harder. In addition, Blizzard hotfixed a threat increase in 4.2. These 2 together push out the Gear and partially Spec out of that principle, assuming you Spec at least somewhat sensibly and do your Rotation properly. However, sometimes you still need the extra threat you can get. Either you do Heroics, where Vengeance doesn’t get to stack properly on trash, or you have DPS that overgear you by a huge margin, or something different. In these cases, if you do your rotation properly and still need to get the threat, you want to get Expertise first. It gives you more threat until you get to the softcap, which is at 26 Expertise. After that, Hit and Expertise have similar benefits. The reason you don’t want to stack Strength as opposite for Hit/Expertise for threat is the fact that even though you hit harder, those hits don’t connect that often, and the only feasible way to get enough power into the hits that connect is through Vengeance.
Survivability is a whole other kettle. Currently, we die because our healers go out of mana, thus unable to heal us. This is different from the Wrath-era, where we could be 2-shot, and healers couldn’t run out of mana. Now we can maybe get 4-shot under normal circumstances, so we want to make sure we can save as much healer mana as we can, since they got much more room to work with, but much less mana. This is done through 3 things: Mastery, Dodge and Parry. Armor is also in the mix, but the problem is that we get too little of it from the items that provide extra armor. Thus we get much more out of using something that gives Mastery or avoidance than Armor. Stamina only helps us until we get to the level of normal circumstances, and if you are at the gear-level of what you are attempting (and have the correct enchants), you got all the health you need. These are why we gem for Mastery mostly.
“But but, dude! Dodge and Parry totally avoids the whole hit! Those must be better!”
In theory, yes. However, in practice you have the problem of Diminishing Returns, which means that you need to get more rating to get the same increase. For instance, to get 1% Parry, first you might need 200 Rating. To get another 1%, you need 240 Rating, and so on. Both Dodge and Parry are affected by this. Mastery, however, isn’t. You can stack it as much as you want, and you always get the same result. This brings us to the third concept, CTC.
CTC stands for Combat Table Coverage, and means every single hit against you is Parried, Dodged, Blocked or Misses. This is currently at 102.4% against mobs 3 level above you, which bosses are too. Miss is 5% for everybody except for Night Elves who has 7%, and the rest needs to be covered with Parry, Dodge and Block, so that we minimize the damage we take. Because of DR, you can only get so much with Parry and Dodge (at about 20% the DR seriously kicks in), but since Mastery doesn’t have DR, it means you can cover the rest of the difference with that. It is possible to hit 102.4% as a Protection Warrior without trinket procs, however it will require a lot of Firelands Heroic mode gear (or better). After you have passed the CtC cap, you can start switching from Avoidance into Stamina, while still keeping the cap.
Edited by Kaikuri on 15/12/2011 19:06 GMT