Archive for the ‘Theorycrafting’ category

Hit me baby one more time (or Why be a tank?)

June 3, 2010

Tanks. They’re funny creatures, except of course for druids, who are funny creatures no matter the spec. In my experience most leadership positions were held by a tanking class, followed by a healer, followed by everything else… then a hunter. At the top of this pyramid through the classic ages (And occasionally when Blizzard feels kind enough not to nerf us or buff the bloody palas/DKs/druids/warlock pets) was the warrior.

To be honest, when I started playing WoW I had no idea what the role of the warrior was. I expected to go through life wielding huge axes and hitting stuff till they surrendered or bled to death. Imagine my surprise when I entered RFC for the first time and everyone huddled behind me, prodding me to go forward and keep everything busy while they cowered behind that boulder. In that moment, a new tank was born. I discarded my big 2handed axe, picked up a grey shield and a green sword and never looked back.

So what is it that makes a tank? I’ve seen many players try to tank after playing another class/role for a long time. Some succeed, some gain a level of mediocrity but most just fail. By fail I don’t mean running heroics or tanking a world spawn, I mean raid tanking.

Well, to me a tank has to have a few qualities.:

  • Confidence – A scared tank is a dead tank. A hesitant tank is a dead dps or healer. A tank must have an ego as big as his HP pool but the skills to back them up. No-one likes a cocky tank that can’t keep agro off the healer. This is also probably the reason why good tanks gravitate towards leadership positions in guilds.
  • Maths – Tanking theorycrafting is second only to mage theorycrafting imo. Firstly you have this magic number to attain before you can even start raiding (Defence Cap, soon to be gone but it’s still here so I mention it) and then you have to balance out stamina, armor, damage reduction, dodge rating, block rating, block value, parry, mitigation vs threat, etc etc etc. The permutations are limitless and every tank has his own way of doing things.
  • A Thick Skin – No I don’t mean Barkskin. When you start out you’re going to take flak. Think the healer gets blamed for everything? Wait till you mispull your first pack and cause a wipe.  Just persevere, preferably with a group of friends and a few beers, and hone the skills that will make raidleaders beg for your presence.  Oh, and you must enjoy being hit.. all the time… coz thats like… your job…
  • Gold – Getting the gear you need crafted, gemmed and enchanted, not to mention repaired, is gonna cost you a few small fortunes. Be prepared to having a money-making profession (that also benefits you) or rich guildies to help you out. And because every tiny stat helps so much when you’re a tank, you can’t afford to not get that +30 stam gem.
  • Gear – I hate it but it’s true. Tanks, especially warrior tanks, are gear dependent. You can fake your way into a VoA with some PvP gear and a bunch of blues hiding away as a DPS class, but as a tank it’s not your raidmates that judge your gear, but that big boss you’re trying to impress enough so he’ll keep hitting on you. Bosses care enough about things like whether you’re crit immune or if you have more hp than what he hits for or if you do enough threat to keep the hunter who doesn’t know how to FD alive. Of course Gear needs to be coupled with…
  • Skill – Tanking is like a dance. A complex dance, not a linedance. You can’t just bash two buttons every 3 seconds and expect to come out a winner like some DPS classes in the past. You have to be situationally aware, not just about your own position, but the boss and the spawning creep and your teammates. You have an ability for every situation and you need to know which one works the most effectively in what situation.

Ok, so why this post after my post just two days ago about quitting? Well as a social person, I have many of my WoW contacts on MSN and Facebook and somehow I got conned into tanking ICC again by a guildmate, which got me to thinking about some of the partners I’ve tanked with in the past, good and bad. Anyway, random post that’s stretched on way longer than usual. I’ll add some pretty pics soon. Oh and since I’ve only covered the basics and still have to get to the why, see part 2 soon.

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BA topic: Helping newbies.

May 20, 2010

I actually commented op someone else’s blogpost on how he hates newbies in lower dungeons last night and when I saw the BA topic my reply was startlingly on the mark.

I’m leveling a rogue, mostly through questing because I love the lore and want to capture Azeroth in my memory one last time before Cataclysm rips it all up. I do do about 2-3 random dungeons a level too, just to keep my gear and dps competitive. And during these dungeons it amazes me that some people manage to even get to level 30, never mind 80. I’ve had warriors “tanking” with their fists, warlocks meleeing, a mage that I had to shout “Fireball!” at every time I wanted him to cast something, healers in bear form and Sylvanas knows what else. Eventually I get so frustrated I end up soloing the rest of the instance (thank goodness for hardcore rogues at low levels and lots of twinking).

Then every now and again you get a gem. A guy that, through all the absolute ignorance, mispulling and general mayhem, asks an intelligent question. I had a hunter in a SM:Graveyard run the other night. His pet was doing more damage than him by miles and because the pet was mostly on passive the priest healer was outdamaging his pet. I mentioned to the priest that I liked his damage and so the hunter wanted to know how I could see what others were putting out. I explained Recount to him and we started chatting in /w, where he mentioned that it was his first character.

Now I have 2 hunters, one at lvl 80 and the other at 73, and I love BM. I noticed his spec was BM too, which for soloing is usually the easier choice for beginners. His points were spent wrong though so I gave him a few tips on respeccing for faster solo grinding as well as some tips on endgame specs (Which will probably be obsolete by the time he gets to 80). We chatted about the way he engages mobs and getting more out of the time he had on the mobs. By the end of the run he was matching my dps.

A week later I got into a group with him again by pure luck. He greeted and thanked me for my help. His spec was tweaked, his pet had been replaced and he was ripping me to shreds on Recount. He might still be a noob to the game in general, but to his little hunter world he’s a noob no more.

Makes me all warm inside really 🙂

Character Developments

April 23, 2010

Hey there good lookin'

In TBC my guild was pretty hardcore for progression so we raided at every opportunity. Lately though I’m a 2-raid-per-week kinda guy. But not this week it seems. With our primary 10man team doing attempts at Arthas and our 25man finally being all-guild, things are escalating. Monday, usually an off day for me, turned into a 25man ICC in which we were slow to start with but managed to get to Saurfang eventually. Last night I got together a brave group of the off-raiders, alts and benchers and decided to lead for a change. Things went pretty well and we managed to down the first wing, Fester, Rot and the gauntlet in under 3 hours. Not bad for a noobish group, especially considering that I was healing…

Yeah, as stated in an earlier post, I’d been leveling a priest. He’s finally made it to 80 and is starting to gear up nicely. With my poor tank not finding space in our current groups I had to drag my very blue priest into the healing role in both 10 and 25mans. Turns out he didn’t fail too horribly and scored some gear out of the situation too. Now the problem is that the spec I had aint working too well. The only value I add is tons of renews and the occasional flash/greater saving heal. Oh and CoH’ing like mad.

Now I’ve heard about this disc healing and it doesn’t make much sense to me. Of course since all the bigger healy priests seem to rave about it, I’d better get in there and do it too. I’ve started reading up and I’m still clueless. Guess I’d better get some alcohol into my system, blindly copy some disc healer’s spec and get practising in heroic.

Speaking of which, any advice/specs/rotations etc I should try? Comments appreciated.