Posts Tagged ‘Tank Talk’

Post title is, of course, semi-inspired by Ratshag.  The other source of inspiration is a sorry excuse used by a tank.

Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upsdie down.  And I’d like to take a minute – just sit right there; I’ll tell you how I became the Prince of a town called Bel Air… err… I mean, Azjol-Nerub. 

Umm… yeah, what was I saying… Imma gonna get some coffee before I finish the rest of it…

*one hour later – and with tea, not coffee*

So, as you may or may not know, I’ve been messing around with the Resto spec of my druid as of late.  And although the wait times are longer than queuing as a tank (3 minutes as opposed to 3 seconds), I’ve been enjoying it much more.  And as a result, I’ve managed to get two pieces of Tier 9, some things from ToC-10 and the ICC 5-mans, and some other EoT gear.  I still need some better gear (ie: trinkets) – I still can’t quite keep up in HHoR – but I usually do alright.  This, of course, does not mean that there aren’t a few hiccups that can occur. 

There is one particular run from this past weekend that stands out.



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This should have been a Monday post, but the day was far too busy.  And I lacked focus.  Because focus is for chumps.  And for people who know what they want to do.

But that’s where I was this past weekend, as well.  I completely lacked any focus about what I wanted to do with my characters.  Sure, I had a general idea, but I had no plans on how to go about it.

Darthregis – I’m pretty much “maxed” out with him in regards to gear, other than trying to farm EoFs.  I’m far too impatient to worry about that.  (Ie: I won’t spend 48 days straight doing a random just to get the iLevel-264 chest piece.)  But I was gradually gaining the materials to get the Bejewled Wizard’s Bracers to upgrade from some Naxx-25 bracers I’ve had forever.  Fortunately, I finally got all the mats put together and found someone to craft them for me (I don’t have the recipe myself).  Now that the Patch 3.3.2 is getting released today, hopefully I can score some T10 pants and gloves in VoA as I did with my current gloves and pants.

Naturalregis – My goal with him was to get away from stacking so much stamina and getting some more avoidance, primarily through more agility.  I’m not sure if it’s necessarily worth it from a survivability standpoint, but I think it should help overall (maintaining threat, etc.)  Anyway, this was achieved by saving up all my EoTs so I could buy four T9 pieces all at once.  I just couldn’t justify the gear swaps until I could get the set bonuses.  I was sitting at about 25 EoT’s away from that.  With some help from guildies and then some chain-heroics from Chawa, BBB‘s horde toon, and a couple of his pals, I managed to get that done. 

Unholyregis – “Wait!  Who the hell is that?” you might ask.  Well, that’s my Death Knight.  I haven’t been doing much with him.  In fact, once he got out of the starter zone, he sat in HFP for a long, long time.  I’d hop on and maybe run some low BC stuff with guildies.  But I’ve dabbled a bit over the last couple of weekends.  Last weekend, I got him up barely to level 66 and got him some heirloom gear (finally).  This weekend I crunched away and got him to level 67 and level 68 (and Northrend) are in clear sight!  The new map/quest tracker system has made questing very efficient for me and with randoms tossed in there as I run through, leveling has been quick.  He now sits in Nagrand getting himself rested up for his next forray into the wilds.  XP bonuses are delicious!  (Much like bacon.)

Trappyregis – “Wait!  Who the hell is that?” you might ask, again.  Well, that’s my baby Hunter.  I quested with him for a good while, early on.  I gave him a break to tinker with a Shaman but that didn’t last because I’ve been in the Barrens too many times.  But I’ve got the heirloom chest and shoulders for both the hunter and shammy (yay enhancement!), but priority is on the hunter.  So I got him from level 40 to level 43 and did some questing with some lowbies in the guild.  We also ventured into Mara Orange and made it pretty far in, but we couldn’t keep up with the bosses being four to six levels higher than people in our group.

Spookyregis – He sat idle.  Poor Warlock.  But he’s reserved for any questing with Chawa’s priest, and as you may have read, she didn’t get much attention either due to Chawa’s other conquests.

The crazy bit is that I managed to get all that done while still doing some errands with Chawa AND getting some PS3 action in there.  Getting close to the end of Batman: Arkham Asylum and got a couple of games in “Be a Pro” mode of NHL ’09 (I’d like NHL ’10, but I got ’09 off a buddy at work).  Yeah, it was a fairly eclectic weekend.  They usually don’t feel so productive.

Now that I’m done all that rambling, I’ve got a few questions for you:

Do you play the game just going with the flow, doing whatever feels right at the time?  Or do you go into the game with specific goals?  Or both?

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This blog got called out as having some Druid tankey goodness to it.  I’ve brought it up a couple of times, but haven’t gotten into it that much.  Now that it’s been brought up, I feel obliged to talk about my Druid tank.  No pressure!

So, I’ll start it off with some old thoughts and work it into my renewed focus:

Since patch 3.3 dropped, the biggest and shiniest feature would probably be the new LFG (LFD) tool.  And I would have to agree – it’s a very good, efficient way of getting groups.  I like it a lot.


Given the amount of blog posts that are going on out there, it seems that this wonderful tool has also made it evident that WoW is full of more asshats than initially anticipated.  (Penny Arcade did an amusing NSFW comic on this anomaly.)  And you’d think with this many people complaining about asshattery, eventually the problem will subside.  Well, it’s a new shiny still, so we can only  hope it will get better.

Anyway, a little while ago I wrote a blurb on how I was hesitant taking Naturalregis in to see Koralon; the latest resident of the Vault of Archavon.  The fact remains, I’m still hesitant about taking my tank into PUGs.  Even into 5-mans using the LFD tool.  This time, though, it’s not so much that I worry about lacking gear.  (Have a look here or here – yes my expertise is low – what of it?!)  What I’m aprehensive about is what I may lack in a few other areas.  Here’s a quick list about what I worry about:

  • Being able to keep aggro over the T9 + EoT gear dps’ers
  • Being able to keep aggro over the dps that attacks whomever they want out of the group
  • I don’t chain pull; I do pull more mobs than I used to, but I still don’t go all nuts over it
  • I don’t rush-tank; which often goes hand-in-hand with chain pulling
  • I actually mark my intended kill order; this also makes asshats more impatient

So, basically I like my dungeon experience to be a little more calculated than brute force, regardless of how easy the latter may be accomplished.  This may make me boring, but whatever.  Sure, there is some fun in chaos, but I prefer a clean, steady path to completing things.  In the long run, it probably saves more time rather than take longer.

That being said, it’s time I overcome this hesitation.  There are some things to be learned from the chaotic approach and hopefully I can figure out a thing or two about tanking better.  Such as better use of my growl and fairie fire on mobs, etc, etc.

Another one of the things that I should be doing is helping out my guild by getting some better gear.  Again, it’s not all that poor, but there’s still room to improve.  And using the armour and miscellaneous gear lists that BBB posted, I can actually break it down and pick gear that will be relatively quick (and easy) for me to get.  (For the record, I’m going to focus on getting the EoT trinket first and then work towards the head, chest, hands, and legs T9 bits and pieces.)

Now, all I have to do is stop being a big sissy and stop shying away from those PUGs.  For me, it’s always better to run with guildies, but that can’t always happen.  And there’s always going to be a rotten apple in the bunch, but I’ll just have to roll with the punches.  And considering the short wait time for tanks, I should have no problems reaching my goals.

Do any of you have any thoughts on the matter?  Any other experiences to share while tanking out there?  Will I get kicked from a group when I let the mage, who initiated the pull, die?

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Do you see what I see?

Although we were a little let down by our lack of success with Malygos on Friday, we decided to group up again on Sunday night.  We were sitting one short and we figured we’d need a full ten for Maly.  So what did we do instead?


We’ve downed her before with the help of BOB‘s Pallywhacker with ten before, so we figured we could handle it with nine.  And after a couple of wipes, we eventually downed that awful dragon lady.

I was tanking on my Druid for this one, as I often do for guild runs.  And during the fight, I took a peek over my shoulder and looked at Chawa’s screen.  I thought it pretty amusing how differently one may actually see the fight in the relation to another.

Me, all I saw was Ony’s feet and my big, fat, bear ass.  Chawa saw a big, mean dragon breathing fire on a wee bear.

Here's my screenshot. I think I got hit by a wing buffet just then.

Chawa's perspective. Quite the difference.

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Gear, LFM and the Loot Piñata

My main character is a mage. My main character is also a druid.

See, I’ve found this particular (im)balance with WoW since just prior to WotLK being released. I started this game with my mage and leveled my druid to help meet guild function. And it was clear that if our guild wanted to do 10-man dungeons together, my druid would be needed for that. Plenty of DPS and healers, but we needed another tank without sacrificing a healer. And I was happy to do it: I liked playing my druid and tanking was pretty fun (and I suck at healing).

The downside about this is that the character I started with wouldn’t be able to get into any raids. He would miss out on gear and such opportunities. That was, until a lot of people were pugging the content.

The most common to be pugged was VoA. After battling it out for control of Wintergrasp, most people would PUG that instance. So, I was able to get into that with both my characters. PUG with Darth and the guild with Natural.

Then after awhile, Naxx was starting to get PUGs. So every so often I would be able to get into that instance with Darth. I had learned all the fights from the guild runs while using Natural, so it was an easy transition.

Then there was the Ulduar patch. Suddenly the majority of guilds had packed up and left Naxx to get through Ulduar. Our guild, as we raid only when we can, didn’t really make that next jump. We had only cleared Naxx once and most of us could use some extra gear, so we didn’t move onto that just yet. And as I didn’t know the fights, Darth didn’t join up into any Ulduar PUGs either.

But for Emalon, the new boss in VoA, most people still had to PUG that. So, I tried pugging that with both toons, only to find success with my mage. I wasn’t quite sure why… it could have purely been raid composition. It could have been awful healers. But I unfortunately started to think that my druid wasn’t ready for it.

And now we’re even further along, with ToC-10 and Koralon in VoA, and my druid hasn’t seen any of it. But I’m quite happy to wait and progress when the guild is ready. But for Darth, well, he’s downed Koralon 10 and 25 several times. He’s got the only 2 pieces of T9.25 you can get from Koralon, now affectionately known as “The Loot Piñata”.

So, that’s got me thinking about something I sure most already suspected: Carrying a DPS character seems to be easier than carrying a tank. This isn’t to downplay the importance of DPS in a raid, but moreso to say that gear on a tank is a bit more critical to the survival of the raid.

For example, if the minimum dps to beat a boss is 2000. If one person is down to 1800, they’re likely to be carried by two people with 2100 and have no one care. Should a tank need to mitigate 2000 damage and can only mitigate 1800, the whole thing could potentially end up in a wipe. (Yes, I’m fully aware that this is an extremely simplified example and tanks can be carried somewhat by amazing healers. Just work with me, folks!)

So, it’s because of this that I think I hesitate to try to PUG VoA with Natural when I normally do on Darth. Because if he’s a little short on gear, it can probably slide by unnoticed. (Ironically, Darth actually has mostly better gear than Natural because of those VoA runs). Now, if my tank is a little short, then I’ve given everyone a lovely repair bill. It may not be the right way to think, but that’s kind of where I’m at.

Again, I’m happy to progress with the guild and do Ulduar and ToC content with them. We work great as a team and have a great time doing so. But it would be nice to be able to hop into a VoA now and then to maybe get some free candy from busting Koralon open.

Anyway… what sort of thoughts do you have on this? Is gear more important for a tank? Can tanks be carried easier than I think?

Or am I just over thinking it?

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