Tank Experiment: Update 2010

The past month I have been of course bogged down with christmas/new years. Lots to do on the family front and work is at an all time high. I’ve never seen any engineering firm this busy during the holidays. It’s even more suprising that our company isn’t even 8 months old yet. Which maybe actually why I’m so busy, I’m the only one here to do any work…

You’re not here to read about that crap and I don’t feel like talking about it. So, onto the update. I got some more work done on the DK. She’s somewhere in the ball park of level 63. Unholy ATM and have yet to tank with her, dpsing is pretty fun though and I’ll probably wait until I hit northrend to begin tanking. I’d rather go in as a tank just trying to learn the class and since I know the northrend dungeons pretty well, it’ll make the learning experience much easier.

I haven’t gotten a chance to mess with the druid or paladin at all. Instead I’ve been working on my mage….wait what? Yes mage! Maybe it’s because every single toon I have is melee but I’m loving the encasing mobs in blocks of ice while slinging more blocks of ice at their face.

A little background on Masscis the mage. He is the very first toon I ever created in WOW. I picked some random server, created a gnome mage….I was thinking gnome because I planned to pvp with him and figured it would be a nice slap in the face getting pwned by such and innocent little creature. Little did I know, I hate pvp on him. I later found out that a friend of mine played wow, so I made a hunter on his server. The hunter was way too easy. I just owned everything. I transferred Masscis to Hellscream so we could level together. Shortly after, my wife began playing. Since Masscis was already in his late 20’s. I re-rolled Mandalus and my buddy started a level 1 alt so we could all 3 level together. My thinking was if we were on at the same time, I’d level Mandalus with them and if I was solo, I’d level Masscis. Of course I fell in love with the warrior play style and tanking and never looking back.

Going back to level my mage now was supposed to just be about changing it up. Getting away from everything and just blasting shit. However, I have found a use for him and it actually fits quite well into my tanking experiment, especially since the new LFG system is up and running. That use is, I get to see some dungeons I missed while leveling Mandalus….Mara, while too long and confusing to navigate, is beautiful. The big thing…I get to see many tanks in action. I’ve been doing this on Mandalus….queing up as dps, just so I can see different play styles and maybe learn a trick or two. The problem with doing this on an 80…a geared 80 anyway. Is that I’m usually with others that are well geared and we just blow right through the dungeon. I don’t really get to see anything that I didn’t know from the tank.

Masscis, however, is level 46 now and the 5 mans take some work. I’ve run around 6 dungeons using the LFG tool now and have gotten a variety of groups….some awesome, others not so much.

ZF – group make up, 4 pallys and me. They were already through the first 2 bosses when I joined. Best I can tell with this group was we had 2 tanks, 2 healers and I was solo dps…1 tank would run through the room and agro as much as possible and the other tank would collect them and I would blizzard the crap out of everything. Surprisingly, we only had 1 wipe and I think it was because the round up tank wasn’t ready. The only problem I had was being out of mana quite a bit. I pretty much used enervate every time it was up, drank when I could and kept my mana gem on cooldown.

Mara #1 – Group 2 druids with almost identical names, 1 was tank the other healed, a hunter, warrior and myself for dps. This was the best group I’ve had. I was the highest level toon in the group and doubled everyone else’s dps. That being said, there was nothing I could do to pull agro off that tank. I’d set my blizzard reticule down and wait to see the swipe animation. Then let loose. A simply amazing job. This guy knew what he was doing, as did the healer. I don’t believe we had a single death. We actually ended up clearing the entire place, even though to get the bag of goodies we only needed to down 2 bosses. I got some nice loot from it also. Very fun time.

Mara #2 – Tank, druid….the group didn’t last long enough for me to even remember who else was here. I think the healer was a priest and we had a rogue. I know it was a rogue because I followed him to the entrance, which I would have never found, after we wiped. 1st trash pull, I counted to 5, watching for that swipe….never saw it…/shrug, maybe I missed it….so I cast blizzard and pulled the entire group off of him, including his focus target. Oh, did I mention he was 2 levels higher than me? Yeah, I died…then the entire pack went straight for the healer. On the run back (nobody quit, amazingly) I got the “wait for me to get agro, don’t use you’re biggest dps attack” speech. Yeah, I’m specced frost….I got blizzard and frostbolt pretty much. I use frostbolt on 1 guy and blizzard on a bunch of guys. Then cone of cold if they get too close.

2nd pull, I didn’t even cast anything. Healer pulls agro almost instantly….Since I was not dpsing, I inspected the tank. Lets see, intel gear. There was some spirit too….and yep, balance spec…if you wanna call it that. I was about to tell the dip shit not to pretend he could tank in whatever gear/spec just to get a group but he left before I got the chance. Oh well, he’ll either learn or get kicked from a lot of groups, I guess.

Summary:

All in all, I didn’t learn much I didn’t already know. I realise the druid from mara#1 was watching mana bars very closely because she was chain pulling until the healing druid got below 1000 mana then abruptly stopped so we could drink. I also learned, I’m a dps I would love to have in my group because I wait a few seconds to start dps, especially in a group pull with AOE. I also find myself completely stopping dps when I get close on omen and I tend to watch omen a great bit more than recount. I think blizzard did a great job with the new LFG system and I’m thinking about maybe healing a few runs on my druid, just to see what it’s like.

I will definitely encourage any tank out there to dps as many runs as possible. #1 it gives you a break from the tanking grind (which will be the subject of my next post) #2 It lets you see how others do it. I know I get comfortable doing it one way and the dps just has to come along for the ride. As dps, I’m the one along for the ride and I get to watch how other tanks pull and position groups. As well as, maybe pick up on what spells and abilities they are using.

I’m definitely glad I’ve decided to take up this project, I’m definitely enjoying the game much more now than when I had just Mandalus with no real other options. Now, I can log on and work on professions or set a goal for a particular toon….like getting the pally his mount, a flying mount on the DK or just hitting 50 on the mage….I wonder what will happen first.

Any input? Have you all of a sudden gone back to a toon that you haven’t touched for a while and just been like “WOW, I can’t believe I haven’t been playing on this guy”? What about any stories, good or bad, from the LFG tool?

I’ll leave you with this quote….”Water?…Like in the toilet?

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5 Responses to “Tank Experiment: Update 2010”

  1. I wanted to comment because this sounds like a great project. My main is a Prot Warrior. I am looking forward to reading about your experiences on the various tanks. I have often wondered what the other tanks do.

    In an effort to see I have a level 16 paladin and frankly your description of your level 6 one had me roflmao because it is why I can’t get her any higher. It just seems so boring. Hit one key… auto-attack… I rather enjoy having a variate of offensive attacks.

    Part of me wants to roll another warrior to see if I would be just as bored leveling her as I am trying to level my paladin.

    Thanks again for the post. I look forward to reading about your adventures.

    • Leveling a paladin is excruciating in the wrath world. Up until level 20 you have 1 button press every ten seconds, then by level 20 you get consecration and get to shave two seconds of your judgement which gives you 2 key presses every eight seconds. Which is still really really dull. That’s all you get as a retadin until level 50 when you get a crusader strike and level 60 with diving storm. Then things get a bit more interesting.

      However speaking as someone with a level 80 paladin tank I can say that compared to Warrior tanking Paladin tanking is about 10 times simpler. You may have heard about the 96969 rotation which is 90% of all paladin tanking. They have 3 skills on a 9 second timer and 2 on a 6 second timer, so alternating between a 9 second skill and a 6 second skill you get into a stead rhythm of 5 key presses, with almost no thought going into it, it’s a lot less dynamic than warrior tanking. In fact I almost got Paladin tanking down to one key press macro using sequence but it was 3 characters too long.

  2. The reverse is true as well, tanking can help you become a better DPS. Until I started playing a warrior tank I never realized how useful tricks of the trade is to the tank, especially a warrior tank. Now when I’m on my rogue I throw TotT on the tank every time its off CD and if the group consists of three or more mobs Ill open with TotT and 3 Fan of Knives to give the tank about 10k AOE threat which in the first 6 seconds of a fight can be a lot.

    • As a prot warrior I thank you! I agree too that tanking makes you a better dps. It gives perspective about threat management. I have a leveling mage and I know that if I started right off the bat I could probably get higher dps (some spells are so long that the fight is finished before I can get a second or third shot off.) I still wait a few seconds and sacrafice my dps so that I don’t pull aggro off the tank. After a year and a half of always being at the bottom of the dps charts on my prot warrior I have no issues what so ever of not being the top of the charts in dps. To me it is more about survivability.. The dead does no dps.

  3. I have to commend you on your Idiocracy quote… very nice.

    But I also know how you feel. I’ve been using the LFG tool and am spec’d Holy / Prot (Paladin as you can tell), and seem to ALWAYS get pulled in as Tank. It’s not too bad, as it was nice to do some tanking since I healed my entire WoW career. However, hopping on my DK and Mage, and using the tool, made for some fun old school runs.

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