So you want to be a prot warrior: Character creation
TOO SOON, EXECUTUS! YOU HAVE PULLED THOSE MOBS TOO SOON!
Now that you’ve made the decision to head down the Way of the Meatshield, you’re probably sitting at your handy-dandy old Blizzard WoW character creation screen, and might be thinking, “OK, Panzercow, which race makes TEH BEST Prot warrior?”
Answer: All of them.
Seriously. I had this big long post written comparing each race’s racials and which ones were good for a warrior and which ones weren’t…and after 800 words, I deleted it all because it simply doesn’t matter. No racial is so good that it really makes one race over the other. Play what you like. Pick something that you don’t mind staring at on your screen from now until whenever. If you want to be a big studly orc, then a big studly orc you shall be. If you’d rather fap to some Draenei /waggle action…I sincerely hope I never group with you, but, hey, it’s your character, go nuts.
(As always, there’s one exception to the rule. Humans have what I believe to be the single best racial in the game…Diplomacy. Does it make you hit harder? No. Does it give you more health? No. Does it make every stinking ridiculous rep grind in the entire game 10% shorter? Hell yes.)
As for male vs. female, again, it doesn’t matter stat-wise. But you do need to know that the platemail that makes your male human look studly is probably going to be a metal bra on your female human. Yes, that’s right, a 30-armor cloth robe will give you burqa-like coverage; a 600-armor piece of platemail is two steel pasties and a piece of piano wire to hold them together. Hey, I appreciate a well-populated chainmail bikini as much as the next guy, don’t get me wrong. But when the same piece of armor looks like this on a dude, and this on a chick…yeeeeah. Mercifully, for female avatars tired of being harassed by the Beavis and Butt-Head crowd, this sort of look is somewhat less common in Outland, and goes away completely in Northrend, probably because platemail Wonderbras and titanium thongs don’t keep you very warm when standing on a glacier.
Faction-wise, again, it’s down to what you like. I’m primarily focusing on PvE here because I don’t PvP very much; there’s a whole different set of faction dynamics where PvP is involved, where racials like Every Man for Himself and Will of the Forsaken become a little more important, the smaller “footprint” of a gnome can be an advantage (little bastards are HARD to target when they’re in full-on scuttle mode), stuff like that. In PvE, there’s not much difference in the long run between Alliance and Horde. Things vary too much by server type and individual server to make blanket statements about one being “better” than the other.
Now, professions. Start on your professions early, and keep leveling them as you go. Otherwise, you’ll be level 80 and running around the Barrens punching hyenas in the face to skin them. Not fun. To get the obvious out of the way first–keep your First Aid leveled. You command no green sparkly goodness, therefore, bandages are your friend. As for Cooking and Fishing…honestly, I should have leveled these on Linedan, but I never did. Don’t make the same mistake. Take a little effort to level them as you go along and you’ll thank yourself when you’ve always got tasty stat-boosting food in your bags. A couple stacks of bandages and food, combined with the natural resilience and toughness of the Prot spec, will keep you out and grinding for a very long time.
Before you pick your “main” professions, ask yourself–do I just want to make money to get things on the AH, or do I want to actually make stuff I can use? If the former, you might consider a double-gatherer setup, say, Mining/Skinning or Herbalism/Skinning. (Mining/Herbalism might be the best moneymaker of the double-gatherer type, but since you can only search for ore or plants at one time, not both, it’s slower.) If the latter, you’ve got a few obvious options for self-sufficiency: Mining/Blacksmithing, Mining/Jewelcrafting, Herbalism/Alchemy, Mining/Engineering. It gets easier if you’ve got other characters, of course, because they can help your warrior out. I went Mining/Blacksmithing on Linedan; the problem is, in “vanilla” WoW, there’s very few things you can craft that are actually better than you can loot or buy. Engineering has some really, really nice toys, but leveling it is hellish.
The other consideration is, do you have alts that can twink out your warrior? If you’ve already got a 450 Blacksmith, obviously your new character doesn’t need Blacksmithing. For alts, I tend to like the double-gatherer setup, so they can feed my higher-level crafting characters (or my wife’s).
Next: Starting out, and leveling as Prot instead of DPS.