Warrior tanking shields in Wrath

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Warrior tanking shields in Wrath
Many people are wondering how long their Aldori Legacy Defender or Bulwark of Azzinoth will be lasting them in WotLK. While there will be no definitive answer until the official release of Wrath when items are more or less finalized, we can take a look at the various shield options now and at least get a feel for when they'll be replaced.

We'll compare shields by selecting a few key statistics: armor, block value, defense, and stamina. There might be other statistical factors in each shield, however these four values are the major stats that define a shield's power. We also show the strength on the shields which are coming in Wrath, since that attribute will be playing a larger role for the Protection Warrior post patch 3.0.2.

Read on after the break for a statistical break down of shield options for the Warrior tank, and why the iconic Bulwark of Azzinoth won't be replaced until at least level 77, if not level 80.

The shields you can currently get either by raiding, reputation grinding, or by purchasing from a badge vendor include:

AC BV Def Sta Sock
Azure-Shield of Coldarra 4668 148 22 31 0
Shield of Imp. Darkness 4872 155 22 33 0
Dawnforged Defender 4872 155 18 31 0
Aldori Legacy Defender 5279 137 19 39 1
Bulwark of the Amani Empire 5400 184 0 42 1
Kaz'rogal's Hardened Heart
5930 160 28 43 1
Bulwark of Azzinoth 6336 174 29 60 0
Sword Breaker's Bulwark 6359 225 20 49 1
Abbreviations: AC - Armor. BV - Block Value. Def - Defense. Sta - Stamina. Str - Strength. Sock - Number of sockets.

In Wrath of the Lich King, the following shields will be dropping on your way to 80:

AC BV Def Sta Str
Bulwark of the Tormented God
Quest reward in the Grizzly Hills
5849 157 32 44 21
Blade-Binding Bulwark
Drop in Sholazar Basin
6011 162 21 43 19
Saronite Defender
Made by Blacksmiths, trainable
6052 164 23 61 17
Saronite Bulwark
Made by Blacksmiths, trainable
6703 187 31 66 25
Riot Shield
Unknown dungeon drop
6703 210 23 51 34
Random Green Level 80 Shield 5546 185 0 0 0
Abbreviations: AC - Armor. BV - Block Value. Def - Defense. Sta - Stamina. Str - Strength. Sock - Number of sockets.

You'll notice a few things about the WotLK list. First, it doesn't include any level 80 shields other than a token green shield for comparison – any good level 80 shield will replace your level 70 shields hands down. The first shield in Naxxramas is Cryhil's Discarded Plate Panel, which is better than any epic shield in the game today. Second, there are a couple shields that can be made by Blacksmiths. This is a nice little bonus for the Warriors that have stayed with blacksmithing all these years.

While you can make the determination for yourself with the above data I've collected, let's look at a few wide swaths of shields and make some general statements.

A shield from a vendor, Kara, Gruul, or ZA will be replaced early on with a quest reward from the Grizzly Hills, namely the Bulwark of the Tormented Gods. Kaz'rogal's Hardened Heart off Kaz'rogal in Mount Hyjal will be replaced with a shield that drops in Sholazar Basin.

The famed Bulwark of Azzinoth and the Sword Breaker's Bulwark, dropping off of Illidan and Felmyst respectively, can be replaced by the Saronite Bulwark or the Riot Shield at level 77. It should be noted that these shields "can" be replaced then – but the gain from replacing them isn't as great as one might expect. Only 400 more armor, a bit more (or less in the case of the Sword Breaker's) block value, and only 60 more health in the case of upgrading the Bulwark of Azzinoth to the Riot Shield. Many would consider this a side grade for a Bulwark of Azzinoth, especially given the special proc ability from Azzinoth (2% chance for 2000 additional armor).

As you can see, while some shields can be replaced more or less right away, others are going to last well into the late 70's, if not all the way up to level 80. Depending on your gear, this is either a good thing or a bad thing.

We'll revisit this topic when Wrath is released and see if there are any major changes to the list.
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