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:
|Azure-Shield of Coldarra||4668||148||22||31||0|
|Shield of Imp. Darkness||4872||155||22||33||0|
|Aldori Legacy Defender||5279||137||19||39||1|
|Bulwark of the Amani Empire||5400||184||0||42||1|
Kaz'rogal's Hardened Heart
|Bulwark of Azzinoth||6336||174||29||60||0|
|Sword Breaker's Bulwark||6359||225||20||49||1|
In Wrath of the Lich King, the following shields will be dropping on your way to 80:
Bulwark of the Tormented God
Quest reward in the Grizzly Hills
Drop in Sholazar Basin
Made by Blacksmiths, trainable
Made by Blacksmiths, trainable
Unknown dungeon drop
|Random Green Level 80 Shield||5546||185||0||0||0|
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.