Protection Warrior Guide for The War Within

Last updated on Jul 01, 2024 at 10:00 by Mwahi 47 comments

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the Protection Warrior changes in World of Warcraft's latest expansion, "The War Within." This page is designed to help you navigate the new changes, optimize your gameplay, and get the most out of your Protection Warrior in PvE environments.

In this guide, you'll find detailed breakdowns of the new Hero Talent Trees for Protection Warrior. We'll explore the most significant updates, and offer insights into how these changes will impact your overall playstyle. Whether you're a veteran Protection Warrior or new to the class, our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and tools needed to excel in "The War Within."


Protection Warrior: The War Within Expansion Preview

Welcome to our War Within expansion guide for Protection Warrior. Ahead of launch, this page will contain everything you need to know about the Protection Warrior spec in the forthcoming The War Within expansion, including changes, Hero Talent Trees, and some light predictions on the state of the spec going into the expansion.

This page is a constantly evolving work in progress, with regular changes expected as updates hit the War Within Beta. This is not meant to be a launch guide for Protection Warrior, but instead serves as a resource for you to keep up to date with how the spec is evolving on Beta, and what you can expect from its playstyle and feel on launch.


The War Within Changes for Protection Warrior


Core Changes

Protection Warrior has received no significant changes to the baseline class itself. On the core level, it still plays and feels like the familiar class that we have all learned to like.

There has been some re-shuffling of talent positions and some number tuning on the class side of the talent tree. Below you can find some of the more noticeable changes for Protection Warrior.

  • Blood and Thunder Icon Blood and Thunder has been removed. If you have Rend Icon Rend talented, Thunder Clap Icon Thunder Clap will now apply Rend to 5 enemies by default;
  • Uproar Icon Uproar now reduces Thunderous Roar Icon Thunderous Roar cooldown by 45 seconds, instead of 30 seconds;
  • Champion's Might Icon Champion's Might's effect now lasts until Champion's Spear Icon Champion's Spear is active, without the limitation of having to be inside the spears effect;
  • Defensive Stance Icon Defensive Stance no longer reduces your damage dealt, and it now reduces your damage taken by 16% instead of 20%;
  • Titanic Throw Icon Titanic Throw, Furious Blows Icon Furious Blows have been removed;
  • Shockwave Icon Shockwave and Thunderous Roar Icon Thunderous Roar no longer give rage;
  • Thunderous Words Icon Thunderous Words only increases bleed damage while Thunderous Roar Icon Thunderous Roar bleed is active;
  • Reinforced Plates Icon Reinforced Plates now gives 10% of armor instead of 20;
  • Second Wind Icon Second Wind now also constantly heals you while you are below 35% health;
  • Honed Reflexes Icon Honed Reflexes has been redesigned to reduce the cooldown of Shield Wall Icon Shield Wall, Intervene Icon Intervene, Spell Reflection Icon Spell Reflection, Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt and Pummel Icon Pummel by 5%.
  • Impending Victory Icon Impending Victory now heals you for 20% of your maximum health, instead of 30%.

Protection talent tree, on the other hand, has had only two significant changes, and a punch of number tunings.

  • Improved Heroic Throw Icon Improved Heroic Throw has been replaced with Fight Through the Flames Icon Fight Through the Flames;
  • Dance of Death Icon Dance of Death now increases the duration of your Ravager Icon Ravager by 2 seconds, up to 3 times, if an enemy dies while affected by Ravager;
  • Into the Fray Icon Into the Fray now increases your Haste up to 8% instead of 10%;
  • Punish Icon Punish reduces damage enemies deal to you by 2% per stack, instead of 3%;
  • Enduring Alacrity Icon Enduring Alacrity now increases your Stamina and Armor by 8% instead of 10%;
  • Indomitable Icon Indomitable increases your maximum health by 6&, instead of 10%, and heals you for 1% of your maximum health per 20 rage spent, instead of 10.
  • Defender's Aegis Icon Defender's Aegis reduces Shield Wall Icon Shield Wall's cooldown by 60 seconds, up from 30;
  • Impenetrable Wall Icon Impenetrable Wall causes Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam to generate 4 additional Rage, instead of 3, and reduces the remaining cooldown of Shield Wall by 6 seconds, instead of 5;

The above changes are the most relevant ones for Protection Warrior. While they do seem mostly as nerfs, they really are not as significant.


Systems Changes

While nothing changed for Protection Warrior's core features, The War Within still has major implications for all specs thanks to the Hero Talent Tree system, new tier sets, and the natural reduction in secondary stats when entering a new expansion.

Protection Warrior has the choice between the Colossus and Mountain Thane Hero Talent Trees. In sections below, we will talk more deeply about the implications of these Hero Talent Trees for the spec, and some thoughts on what looks strong and weak ahead of launch.


Hero Talent Trees for Protection Warrior in The War Within


Colossus Hero Talents for Protection Warrior

The Colossus Hero Tree opens up a new ability, Demolish Icon Demolish. The rest of the tree consists of various talents which buff or interact with Demolish in some way.

Gameplay-wise, nothing really changes outside of getting to press Demolish Icon Demolish every once in a while. The ability itself hits very hard, so it is definitely a satisfying button to press. Something to note, the ability is a hasted channel. This means that you are unable to move or cast the majority of your abilities while it is channeling. You can still block, and use Shield Wall Icon Shield Wall, Shield Block Icon Shield Block, Spell Reflection Icon Spell Reflection, Last Stand Icon Last Stand during it. You can also Charge Icon Charge and Heroic Leap Icon Heroic Leap, but doing so will cancel the channel, and thus the damage. In addition, you can reduce the cooldown of Demolish with Dominance of the Colossus Icon Dominance of the Colossus, this creates a guaranteed short burst window on a low cooldown. Your aim is to use Demolish Icon Demolish as often as possible, and ideally pair it with other cooldowns like Avatar Icon Avatar and Demoralizing Shout Icon Demoralizing Shout to increase its damage. Missing out on Demolish casts will put a big dent in your overall damage, so using Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam as often as you can will be crucial due to Dominance of the Colossus Icon Dominance of the Colossus.

Power-wise, the tree performs very well. Demolish Icon Demolish will provide you with big numbers, especially in single target, while AoE is slightly behind. Revenge Icon Revenge will also play a bigger part in your overall damage output, as the Colossus tree has some talents focusing on its damage output.

Defensively, it has some solid options. Demolish itself reduces your damage taken during the channel, and for 10 seconds after the channel. You will also take 2.5% less damage at all times, thanks to Mountain of Muscle and Scars Icon Mountain of Muscle and Scars. No Stranger to Pain Icon No Stranger to Pain and Veteran Vitality Icon Veteran Vitality are on a choice node. The 15% more damage prevented by Ignore Pain Icon Ignore Pain will go a long way, considering how much we are using the ability. There is also Martial Expert Icon Martial Expert with the 20% increased damage blocked with critical blocks. The issue with this talent is that if you do critical block, you already neglect the damage down to almost nothing, causing this extra 20% be irrelevant.

Utility-wise, you get access to a knock-up with Earthquaker Icon Earthquaker. This pairs very well with Rumbling Earth Icon Rumbling Earth, in any AoE situation. Knock-ups do not share diminishing returns with stuns, which means that you can still knock enemies up, even when they are already stun-immune. Alternatively, you can gain access to Boneshaker Icon Boneshaker, which increases the stun duration of Shockwave Icon Shockwave and provides a short slow after the stun ends. Between the two, Earthquaker Icon Earthquaker should be the default option.


Mountain Thane Hero Talents for Protection Warrior

The Mountain Thane Hero Tree focuses on Thunder Blast Icon Thunder Blast and Lightning Strikes Icon Lightning Strikes. This tree is totally passive, and full of random procs, which in turn can proc other procs, eventually leading to a full circle.

Gameplay-wise, you are looking at a totally passive tree. The whole concept of this talent tree is revolving around various procs, which can start a chain reaction of proccing various other effects, creating a full circle as shown below.

  • Burst of Power Icon Burst of Power allows Lightning Strikes Icon Lightning Strikes to proc Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam;
  • Strategist Icon Strategist can proc Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam;
  • Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam can proc Thunder Blast Icon Thunder Blast;
  • Thunder Blast Icon Thunder Blast can proc Lightning Strikes Icon Lightning Strikes thanks to Flashing Skies Icon Flashing Skies;

And if that was not enough random procs, Lightning Strikes Icon Lightning Strikes can also activate Avatar Icon Avatar for 4 seconds through Avatar of the Storm Icon Avatar of the Storm, it should be mentioned that this Avatar does not provide you with 2 Thunder Blasts. Taking all the above into consideration, playing your normal rotation of focusing on Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam and Thunder Clap Icon Thunder Clap, you are already taking full advantage of this Hero tree. Thunder Blast Icon Thunder Blast hits like a truck, and has a really satisfying animation to it, and the best part is, it just replaces Thunder Clap Icon Thunder Clap when it procs, no extra button to worry about. Mountain Thane being focused on Thunder Blast Icon Thunder Blast (Thunder Clap Icon Thunder Clap) and Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam, provide it a more fluid gameplay, than its counterpart in Colossus.

Power-wise, it performs well in all situations, but excells at AoE. While the whole tree relies heavily on random procs, it still provides a hefty amount of damage over the course of the encounter. Thunder Blast Icon Thunder Blast is the biggest damage part of the tree, and while being mostly randomly procced, you can guarantee 2 stacks of it every time you use Avatar Icon Avatar, thanks to Avatar of the Storm Icon Avatar of the Storm. This means that you have guaranteed burst windows every ~45 - 60 seconds on top of all the other Thunder Blast Icon Thunder Blast and Lightning Strikes Icon Lightning Strikes procs.

Defensively, you gain access to Strength of the Mountain Icon Strength of the Mountain and Keep Your Feet on the Ground Icon Keep Your Feet on the Ground (or Steadfast as the Peaks Icon Steadfast as the Peaks). The first one causes Demoralizing Shout Icon Demoralizing Shout to reduce 5% more damage. This can lead to a lot of extra damage reduction, especially when paired with Thunderlord Icon Thunderlord. Keep Your Feet on the Ground Icon Keep Your Feet on the Ground reduces your physical damage taken by 2%, and also causes Thunder Blast Icon Thunder Blast to reduce damage taken by 8% for 5 seconds. Both of these are great passive defensive benefits for an already tanky class.

Utility-wise, you get to choose between Storm Shield Icon Storm Shield and Storm Bolts Icon Storm Bolts. Storm Shield Icon Storm Shield makes Intervene Icon Intervene also grant a magic absorb to your target, while Storm Bolts Icon Storm Bolts makes Storm Bolt Icon Storm Bolt hit 2 additional enemies. There is a clear winner here, and it is Storm Shield Icon Storm Shield. The absorb is based on 3 times your Armor, and Protection Warriors have a lot of armor.


Protection Warrior Tier Set in The War Within

Below are the Tier Set Bonuses for Protection Warrior in The War Within. After the wording of the bonus, you will find a brief note/commentary that is italicized.

  • Warrior Protection 11.0 Class Set 2pc Icon Warrior Protection 11.0 Class Set 2pc — When Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam is reset through Strategist Icon Strategist, you gain a buff, increasing the damage of Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam by 5%, and reducing damage taken by 3% for 6 seconds. Considering how often Strategist Icon Strategist resets Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam, you can expect a fairly high uptime on both of these bonuses. Neither of them are significant, but they still provide a tiny bit of extra damage and defensiveness on a 70%+ up-time. A totally passive bonus that is kept up by focusing on the highest priority rotational ability, Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam.
  • Warrior Protection 11.0 Class Set 4pc Icon Warrior Protection 11.0 Class Set 4pcShield Slam Icon Shield Slam critical strikes increase the damage dealt by Thunder Clap Icon Thunder Clap and Revenge Icon Revenge by 10%.The up-time of this is heavily reliant on your Critical Strike stat. Luckily, Critical Strike is a solid second stat option to stack for Protection Warriors, after Haste. As it was with the 2 piece, you do not need to actively pay attention to this damage increase. Playing the rotation properly, you will be pressing Thunder Clap Icon Thunder Clap or Revenge Icon Revenge after most Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam casts, taking benefit from the increased damage.

How Good is the Protection Warrior Tier Bonus in The War Within?

Warrior Protection 11.0 Class Set 2pc Icon Warrior Protection 11.0 Class Set 2pc is numerically fairly weak. The saving grace for this is that it has a fairly high up-time, if Shield Slam Icon Shield Slam is pressed on cooldown, as supposed to.

Warrior Protection 11.0 Class Set 4pc Icon Warrior Protection 11.0 Class Set 4pc is also fairly lackluster, as it relies heavily on Critical Strike. With enough Critical Strike, it becomes better and better, as the up-time of the buff increases.

It is a totally passive tier set, which just works off of our core rotational abilities. The 2pc can be expected to have 80%+ up-time, but the 4pc will be significantly lower until we get to higher crit values. Compared to previous tier sets, the bonuses are very bland, unnoticeable and dull.


Protection Warrior Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths icon Strengths
  • +More utility options from Hero talents, to help your group, or to CC enemies.
  • +Core gameplay remains the same, but Hero talents provide a slightly different flavour to the already familiar rotation.
Weaknesses icon Weaknesses
  • -Lack of build variety in talents. No real choices to be made, a more or less clear cut single-target and AoE setup.
  • -Rotationally the same as previously.
  • -Hero talents require 2 - 3 points to be spent in the class tree to even function.


  • 01 Jul. 2024: Updated the Core Changes and Mountain Thane section with the latest class changes.
  • 17 Jun. 2024: Page added.
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