WoW Classic Protection Warrior Leveling Guide 1-60
On this page, you will find our Level by Level Protection Warrior leveling guide for WoW Classic. Make sure to use the slider to make the guide adapt to your level. Protection has the lowest damage potential of all Warrior specializations, but also the highest defensive power. This makes it great for players who want to focus exclusively on tanking for other players while leveling. For more general leveling information, please refer to our Warrior leveling guide. We also have an Arms Warrior leveling guide and a Fury Warrior leveling guide.
If you were looking for TBC Classic advice, please refer to our TBC Classic Protection Warrior leveling guide.
Protection Warrior Level by Level Rotation, Talents and Trainer Skills
Move the slider below to make the guide update to your level!
Talent Tree for Leveling up as an Protection Warrior
Your first talent unlocks at Level 10.
- Levels 10 to 14 — 5 points in Shield Specialization
- Levels 15 to 19 — 5 points in Toughness
Shield Specialization unlocks Improved Shield Block and is a decent talent on its own, especially against fast hitting enemies. Toughness contributes to your hardiness while tanking and is a generally good talent to have as a tank.
- Level 20 — 1 point in Improved Shield Block
- Levels 21 & 22 — 2 points in Improved Bloodrage
- Level 23 — 1 point in Last Stand
- Level 24 — 1 point in Improved Revenge
- Levels 25 to 29 — 5 points in Defiance
Improved Shield Block is a great talent against high level enemies, as it effectively stops them from being able to critical strike or crush you while it is up due to the way the combat table works. Improved Bloodrage is required in order to reach Last Stand, which is one of your major defensive cooldowns, and the only one you will have until you unlock Shield Wall at Level 28. One point into Improved Revenge allows you to occasionally stun enemies without risking diminishing returns from repeated stuns. Defiance will improve your threat, which is often hard to maintain for leveling tanks.
- Level 30 — 1 point in Concussion Blow
- Levels 31 & 32 — 2 points in Improved Revenge
- Levels 33 & 34 — 2 points in Improved Taunt
- Levels 35 to 39 — 5 points in One-Handed Weapon Specialization
Concussion Blow is a nice short cooldown on-demand stun. Getting the remaining points of Improved Revenge makes its stun very reliable and Improved Taunt helps you keep solid aggro on the mobs that do not get stunned. Finally, One-Handed Weapon Specialization is a nice damage (and thus threat) increase.
- Level 40 — 1 point in Shield Slam
- Levels 41 to 45 — 5 points in Deflection
- Levels 46 to 49 — 4 points in Anticipation
Shield Slam will be your main attack from here on out, as it does a solid amount of threat for its Rage cost. Maximizing Deflection and Anticipation will make your strong defenses even stronger at this point.
- Level 50 — 1 point in Anticipation
- Levels 51 to 55 — 5 point in Tactical Mastery
- Level 56 — 1 point in Anger Management
- Levels 57 to 60 — 4 points in Cruelty
Get the final point in Anticipation and proceed to maximize Tactical Mastery, which will allow you to Intercept without losing all of your Rage. Anger Management is your final point in the Arms tree and will grant you 1 Rage every 3 seconds, which adds up over time. Finally, get as many points into Cruelty as possible, to increase your damage and threat output.
Your talents should roughly look like our recommendations, but keep in mind there are plenty of individual points that can be swapped around based on preference. For example, the points in Improved Revenge can be swapped to Improved Sunder Armor or Improved Heroic Strike, if you struggle with Rage, and the missing point on Cruelty can be obtained from Improved Taunt.
Rotation for Leveling up as an Protection Warrior
You start with a single active ability, Heroic Strike, which you should use whenever possible. Once you train Battle Shout, make sure to keep up its buff while fighting.
The absence of Thunder Clap from the rotation and training list is intended. This skill is great against 3+ targets, especially when you are dungeon leveling with a premade group, in which case it should absolutely be one of your priorities. However, it is also expensive to train its multiple ranks, and its overall threat generation is weak, as it can only be used inside Battle Stance. Therefore, for the average tank in a pick up group, it will be more effective to do the suggested rotation, instead.
Hamstring kiting, due to its stance requirements, is not as useful while tanking as it is while soloing content. It is still an option to Hamstring and run away if your healer is struggling to keep up with your melee damage intake.
- Use Charge to initiate combat whenever possible. Immediately swap to Defensive Stance.
- Activate Bloodrage to generate extra Rage if you are currently healthy.
- Cast Battle Shout if you miss its buff.
- Keep Demoralizing Shout's effect on enemies for its damage reducing debuff.
- Spam Battle Shout, while in range of your party members, in order to generate area of effect threat, when needed.
- Cast Shield Slam as your main attack.
- Cast Revenge whenever you block, dodge or parry.
- Use Sunder Armor to build threat.
- Queue Heroic Strike whenever you have excess Rage. Keep in mind that what Heroic Strike and Cleave do is replace your next auto-attack with a stronger one that will not grant you any Rage. So their real Rage cost is much higher than what is stated in the tooltip.
- Cleave can be used instead of Heroic Strike for Rage dumping on AoE situations.
Summary of Trainer Skills for Protection Warrior
- At Level 1, as soon as you have the copper, buy Battle Shout. It provides a significant damage boost that lasts for 2 minutes.
- At Level 4, buy Charge. Charge is a mobility tool that also generates Rage, but cannot be used in combat.
- At Level 6, buy Parry to boost your survivability at little cost.
- At Level 8, buy Rank 2 Heroic Strike, and get Hamstring to enable Hamstring kiting.
- At Level 10, buy Bloodrage, which provides Rage at the cost of health.
- At Level 12, buy Rank 2 Battle Shout and Shield Bash. Shield Bash allows you to interrupt enemy casts.
- At Level 14, buy Demoralizing Shout and Revenge.
- At Level 16, buy Rank 3 Heroic Strike, Mocking Blow, and Shield Block. Mocking Blow can be used to keep mobs on yourself when Taunt is not available. Shield Block is one of the strongest defensive tools of any tank in WoW Classic.
- At Level 18, buy Disarm, another defensive tool that you can use against enemies to reduce their damage dealt.
- At Level 20, buy Cleave and Retaliation. Cleave works similarly to Heroic Strike in that it replaces your next swing, but instead of just added damage, it will make that attack hit a second target nearby. Retaliation makes you counter-attack whenever you are melee attacked for 15 seconds, on a huge 30-minute cooldown. Use it when pulling multiple enemies.
- At Level 22, buy Rank 2 Sunder Armor, Rank 3 Battle Shout, and Intimidating Shout, which will cause enemies to cower and run away in fear when used.
- At Level 24, buy Rank 2 Demoralizing Shout, Rank 2 Revenge, and Rank 4 Heroic Strike.
- At Level 26, buy Rank 2 Charge.
- At Level 28, buy Shield Wall, which will allow you to take 75% reduced damage for 10 seconds, with a huge cooldown of 30 minutes.
- At Level 32, buy Rank 2 Hamstring, Rank 5 Heroic Strike, Rank 4 Battle Shout, and Berserker Rage. Berserker Rage allows you to be immune or break out of fear and incapacitate effects, and you generate more Rage from being hit than normal, during its effect.
- At Level 34, buy Rank 3 Revenge, Rank 3 Sunder Armor, and Rank 3 Demoralizing Shout.
- At Level 38, buy Pummel, which will allow you to interrupt enemies while in Berserker Stance.
- At Level 40, buy Rank 6 Heroic Strike and Plate Mail, enabling you to use plate armor.
- At Level 42, buy Rank 5 Battle Shout.
- At Level 44, buy Rank 4 Revenge and Rank 4 Demoralizing Shout.
- At Level 46, buy Rank 3 Charge and Rank 4 Sunder Armor.
- At Level 48, buy Rank 7 Heroic Strike and Rank 2 Shield Slam.
- At Level 50, buy Recklessness, a powerful cooldown which turns all of your attacks into guaranteed critical strikes for 15 seconds, while also causing you to take 20% extra damage, on a huge cooldown of 30 minutes.
- At Level 52, buy Rank 6 Battle Shout.
- At Level 54, buy Rank 3 Hamstring, Rank 3 Shield Slam, Rank 5 Revenge, and Rank 5 Demoralizing Shout.
- At Level 56, buy Rank 8 Heroic Strike.
- At Level 58, buy Rank 5 Sunder Armor.
- At Level 60, buy Rank 4 Shield Slam.
Protection Warrior Macros and Addons
By setting yourself up with an upgraded user interface and macros from the get go, you will make your leveling process much easier. Check out our Protection Warrior Macros and Addons guides in the links below for the full list.
Protection Warrior Quests and Weapons
While leveling, you will need to keep open for weapon opportunities. You will also need to complete various class quests for key Protection skills such as Defensive Stance and Taunt. To help you with that, we have made two dedicated guides.
Advancing further as a Protection Warrior at Level 60
Once you have tanked your way to 60, we would like to recommend checking out our Tank Warrior Guide, which analyses every aspect of end game tanking at length.
These are the top pages you should consult are as follows.
- The Tank Warrior Talent builds guide has all of the end game tanking builds for Warriors. Most rely heavily on the Protection tree, but you can also find a threat-oriented Fury focused build there.
- Our Goldmaking Guide for Warriors explains some techniques that you can employ to farm gold quickly at level 60. Look out for the (main-entrance) Stratholme Righteous Orb farm!
- Tank Warrior Rotation guide is where you can read up on how to use your skills and adapt to various gameplay situations. It also has some advanced Rage management tips.
- The Tank Warrior Stats guide contains all the details on what your stats do and how you can best take advantage of them, in the form of a stat priority list.
- Our Gear guide for Tank Warriors is a list of the best items you can get on your character at level 60, so that you know what to look for and where. There is also a list of special gear that can help you in interesting ways.
- 28 Feb. 2021: Changed the slider starting point to maximum level.
- 05 Jan. 2020: Added a Macros and Addons section.
- 21 Sep. 2019: Added a final section with useful links for players who just hit 60.
- 20 Sep. 2019: Page added.
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