Tag Archives: tanking

The Young and the Retless

Nope Nope Nope Nope Running scared!

Nope Nope Nope Nope
Running scared!

After going through the effort of getting Nir geared in heroic dungeon and Darkspear weekly tank plate, and then shelling out the precious gold to (mostly) enchant/gem her for that role, I have utterly and totally chickened out.  I concluded that I it was much safer to DPS my way into ToT, whereupon I will switch my loot specialization to Protection.  Once I acquire ToT tank plate, I will then requeue for Mogu’shan Vaults as a tank.  This will enable me to safely blame the healers for any fail because with my gear, I obviously know what I’m doing amirite?

The Best Part of Being Well Geared I have GOT to get in on this.

The Best Part of Being Well Geared
I have GOT to get in on this.

I think I’ve pointed out before that I suck at Retribution. It’s not a rotation that comes naturally to me, and keeping up Inquisition seems to be beyond my attention span, what with its maximum duration being thirty seconds.  Inquisition, I mean, not my attention span – that’s more like a minute.  It’s also beyond my willpower, because if I have three charges of Holy Power, I want to use Templar’s Verdict with that sheeyit!  Apparently they’re going to increase the duration of Inquisition (as seen on the 5.4 PTR), but it probably won’t solve my latter issue.

Honestly, this is one of the things that prevents me from really enjoying the paladin class.  I’d like to have a “helpful” spec (tanking) and a “loner” spec (theoretically, ret).  But because I can’t seem to master Retribution whatsoever, that means I can tank, or I can tank in terms of watching my performance be about as bad as possible even though I’m actually using skills.  (I’m talking 30k bad.)  Nir got very, very lucky with loot and rolls in Mogu’shan Vaults last week, landing a chest piece, Starshatter and legs.  So I am going to assume getting out of tank plate, reforging/gemming and the enormous size of a human female’s Starshatter will help my miserable performance.  Hope springs eternal!

Secretly, I’d also like 1handed Retribution to actually be a viable option, mostly because that would work better for Nir’s backstory (not like I ever RP, but somehow she has the longest and most complete one) and also because I like shields.  Alas, being so bad to start off with means that I really couldn’t make an effective argument for it.  No, I really do need the big smashy 2handers to compensate for incompetence.

The other day, the DPS queue for LFR was going to be at least a half hour, so I thought I’d go to the Barrens and kill some Commanders for resources and fun.  (I forgot that it’s not fun on melee, because of increased exposure to poison, fire and axes.)  Right after a series of deaths due to not being able to get out of poison fast enough, I accidentally got myself flagged for PvP by a careless tab target.  I died again right before the commander went down, of course.  Was it the commander or a player taking advantage of my distraction?  I will never know.

I knew I was flagged, so I waited until everyone had left to go fight the next Commander before I ressed.  Unfortunately, there was a Stealthed rogue I didn’t see, literally waiting just for me to come back to loot so she could stun me and rogue me in the back.  When I say just for me, I’m not being sarcastic – there was no other flagged Alliance in the area other than myself.  I felt so hopeless in Ret, I just stood there so it would be over more quickly.  That way I could run back AGAIN and try to loot the stupid resources AGAIN.  Then I flew to a hiding spot and remained there until the flag wore, but by then I didn’t feel like doing anything at all.

p.s., I also decided to DPS because tanking Elegon with two FPS seemed destined to be really, really awkward.  I’ve never fallen through the floor before, but they always say there’s a first time for everything.

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There’s No Bard Here

Illidan Did It Better

Ok, So Illidan Did It Better

To tank, or not to tank, that is the question:
Whether ’tis Saner in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Dailies,
Or to lead Arms Warriors against some raid,

And by fighting end it: to die, to wipe
Still more; and by a wipe, to say we leave
The killer snails, and the thousand silly insults
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to AFK,

To AFK, perchance to bio; Aye, there’s the prob,
For in that AFK of death, some wipes may come,
Others falling through the quick vanishing floor,
Must give us pause. There’s the chance
That a Druid might cast a battle res:

For who would bear the Rolls and Scorns of RNG,
The eyeball’s maze, the queue’s very long wait,
The pulls of despised trolls, the healers’ delay,
The insolence of DPS, and the stacks
of Determination that the unworthy take,
When he himself might his end make
by running in Fire? Who would soldier on,
To grunt and sweat behind a weary shield,
But that the dread of some repetitious quest,
The rediscovered Objective, from whose reward
No good returns, troubles the soul,
And makes us rather bear those LFRs we have,
Than fly to tedium that we want none of.

Thus Hope for gear does make Raiders of us all,
And thus the Mechanics of the whole dang thing
Are glossed o’er, with the damage healed away,
And enterprises of great skill and effort,
In this regard their Coolness goes awry,
And loses the cachet of Raiding. Queue popped,
Does that guy have a tank spec? You, with thy threat
generation can take over.

———-

Healing LFR = OK!  Tanking LFR?  Still chickening out bad.

And yeah, no, I didn’t care that much about preserving syllable count.  I mean, I’m butchering this to heck and back already, so what does structure matter?  So far, I’ve destroyed Edgar Allen Poe and Shakespeare.  What poet or playwright is next!?

 

I Love the 90s

This Could Be A Sign A sign of an alt problem.

This Could Be A Sign
A sign of an alt problem.

Does this mean I have a problem yet?

While I’m trying to get some alts more acceptably/powerfully geared, I am trying to avoid the same kind of single-minded, dailies-based effort I devoted to Thermalix.  I do have Commendations for most Pandaland reps, so if I DO decide to grind one on an alt, that’ll be a bit easier than before.

Logic, We Haz It Because RNG has burned it into our souls.

Logic, We Haz It
Because RNG has burned it into our souls.

#1, Thermalix
Current Gear Score: 497
Current Spec: Beast Mastery

Thoughts: Loot specialization for a class that is all DPS all the time makes me laugh.  JUST GIVE ME A BOW FOR GAWD’S SAKE I DON’T CARE ABOUT SPECIALIZATION UNLESS I CAN SPECIALIZE “WEAPON” OVER “ARMOR.”  If you need me, I’ll be in my corner crying.

Therm’s the one who gets asked to do stuff, solely by virtue of her gearscore.  It doesn’t mean she really helps in any way, though.  One thing that IS nice about having a gearscore near 500 is that her armor is pretty stable – I’m not replacing pieces all the time, so enchanting/gemming/reforging costs are lower.  One bad thing is that I often forget to do it.

#2, Niremere
Current Gear Score: 468 equipped
Current Spec: Protection

Thoughts: I’m most interested in improving Nir’s gear right now.  I simply don’t spend as much time Alliance-side, so I’m not as connected with her guild members as I would be otherwise.  Unfortunately, social bonds are what makes old school raid runs happen – you can’t just log on one day and announce “HEY GUYS, LET’S GO TO THE SUNWELL,” because nobody will move an inch.  So if I want transmog gear from this place or that, I’m really on my own – and I want Nir to be as independent as possible.

I also want to suck less as a tank.

Niremere is able to run the first part of Mogu’shan Vaults, but I haven’t done so for a number of reasons (including LFR stage fright).  She’s mostly enchanted/gemmed, but I refuse to spend 3k on a weapon enchant for a heroic sword that I’m going to drop at the first possible chance.  Wait, given how long Therm’s had her heroic bow, that may be dumb.  On third thought, I actually don’t have anywhere near 3k gold on Nir, so … NEVER MIND.

It feels like she’s in a hugely awkward phase gear-wise right now.  I have to reforge pretty much EVERYTHING to Hit and Expertise.  Before I did that, her hit was around 2%.  TWO.  PERCENT.  Sometimes I lose stats that I don’t care about, but a lot of the time I’m giving up tanky-type things like Parry and whatnot just so I can HIT THE DAMN MOBS and hopefully keep a bit more aggro.

Healing me seems to be way difficult.  Subpar healers can’t keep me up.  If the healer is good, I still manage to suck their mana dry unless they’re geared in crap from Throne of Thunder.  Part of it is relearning the heroics from a tank perspective instead of ranged (FOR GOD’S SAKE MOVE, YOU’RE GOING TO GET STUNNED), but I worry that some of it is my bad gear and the insane reforging for hit/expertise.  But if I don’t hit crap, then I have an even WORSE aggro problem.

Starting somewhere around late Cata and continuing into Pandaland, I’ve been having a lot more trouble holding aggro – I no longer have the huge aggro margins I used to easily sustain.  On bosses, I’m thrilled if I can keep it around above 100%, but I often can’t.  I have to yank aggro back from the top DPS frequently.  I’ve even been putting Hand of Salvation on whoever gets aggro from me, but it doesn’t help much.  It’s time not spent on using skills that build more aggro, so he or she just pulls it right on back.  Sometimes it’s trash, sometimes it’s bosses, but quite often the mob is yoyo-ing back and forth.  It’s REALLY bad when I have DPS in Throne of Thunder raid gear, bad enough that I sometimes give up on trying to get the aggro back.  They outDPS me by twenty miles.  I’m using all the skills I got and I just can’t keep up.

This is probably the biggest reason I haven’t taken Nir into LFR.  I KNOW what the response will be if I can’t keep the boss’ attention, I just don’t know how they’ll phrase it – and I don’t want to find out.

#3, Alexalis
Current Gear Score: 463
Current Spec: Windwalker

Thoughts: Not much for some reason.  Probably because I’m more obsessed with Not Being a Failtank on Nir.  Has most of the farm unlocked, though, if only she’d use it.

#4, Mechalis
Current Gear Score: 468
Current Spec: Unholy

Thoughts: Look at this picture.

Gawd is in the Irony Starshatter is a really nice looking sword, you gotta admit.

Gawd is in the Irony
Starshatter is a really nice looking sword though, you gotta admit.

Mech has run Vaults three times.  That’s right.  Three, and lo, there was A WEAPON.  WTF RNG?  WTF!

Anyway, fights are much harder for me as melee because … well, because I’m not ranged.  Crap keeps moving out of range, or I have to move out of something that I’d normally never be anywhere near.  I’m used to moving some, like for Flanking Orders, but melee has to move ALL THE TIME.  Move into this one attack.  Move outta that one attack.  Tank drags the boss over there for some unclear reason?  Gotta move over there.  Add?  Gotta run all the way over there, then gotta run all the way back to the boss.

Alexalis has the running easier, what with the way monks roll.  For some reason, though, I prefer the DK’s self healing (it feels more effective).  I like self healing A LOT.  This is because when you’re not one of the top DPSers, healers don’t really give a crap about you.  You gotta keep your own self up when the going gets tough and the mana gets low.

Her heroic tanking set is almost complete.  I wonder if I’ll have the same kind of aggro problems …

#5, Ailabeth
Current Gear Score: 441
Current Spec: Shadow

Thoughts: EL OH EL JUST GOT HERE GUYS HAVEN’T REALLY RUN ANY HEROICS YET LOLZ.

All A Matter of Perspective Cal's got my type down pretty well.

All A Matter of Perspective
Cal’s got my type down pretty well.

If There Are Five Stages of Tanking …

She's a Smashing Good TankIrony, I has it.

She’s a Smashing Good Tank
Irony, I has it.

Because I don’t really do Retribution so well and I’m not really temperamentally suited to be the healer (just because I can doesn’t mean I should and all that), I haven’t bothered to set Violaryn’s alt spec.  Therefore, she’s been tanking constantly.  I kinda like tanking; I envision myself plowing ahead FOR THE LIGHT AND STUFF WOOOO, smashing things left and right like some sort of sickly, extremely short Viking with fantastic hair.  And on the upside, the tank queue is OMG amazing even when you have to wait seven minutes for a heals.  On the downside, if there really are five stages of tanking, then I’m probably somewhere between anger and depression – which is just super.

Denial
I deny that denial exists.

Anger

I Can See Clearly Now, the Death Knight's GoneAfter dealing with him pulling and Death Gripping for 98% of the dungeon, I finally had it.

I Can See Clearly Now, the Death Knight’s Gone
After dealing with him pulling and Death Gripping for 98% of the dungeon, I finally had it.

I would occasionally tell him not to Death Grip that, not to pull those and res him when things went wrong (among those guys you pulled is one that summons a totem that charms us, which would be why you died), but for the most part I spent my time giving up on all that because stupid is as stupid does.  He finally got on my nerves right before the last boss, so I had to say something.  I probably would’ve let it pass again after making my point – it was the last boss and all – but then he had to go start being a smartass on me.  Hell no, boy.

Bargaining

Dancing is No DeterrentHe kept on pulling but only danced once.  I am le sad.

Dancing is No Deterrent
He kept on pulling but only danced once. I am le sad.

So they keep on pulling.  They pull with Death Grip.  They pull with Moonfire.  They pull with pets, with arrows, with Frostbolt and arcane power.  You ask them to stop please, then they do it again; as soon as you get one LFD group to stop pulling all the sheeyit, the next LFD group pulls it all once more.  If this is going to be a regular thing – I might as well get some amusement out of it, right?

Depression
Y U DO DIS.  WHY DON’T YOU LEARN?  I AM NOT SLOW, YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE AN ADDICTION TO ENERGY DRINKS AND THAT’S NOT MY PROBLEM.  I ONLY HAVE SO MANY SKILLS TO PULL CRAP WITH ANYWAY.  WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY

Acceptance
Eff it, man.  I’ll do what I do and they’ll do what they do.  Hey huntard, if your pet dies, your pet dies.  Warlock doesn’t know how to take the threat generation off their Felguard?  It dies.  If a mage takes the aggro, they can have the freaking aggro.  You may laugh now, but some day, a mob will smash your face into the ground.  You won’t say “Darn, I wish I had learned my proper party role and left the pulling to the tank.”  No, you won’t.  But at that very moment, I will know that you have gotten crushed into itty bitty little pieces, and I will silently rejoice.  Karma, people.  Karma.

Wait, that doesn’t sound so much like acceptance as it sounds like mostly restrained frustrations.

My Rules for Lowbie LFD Tanking

NO TAMPERING WITH THE MAILNOTHING you can open in Strath contains something good. NOTHING.

NO TAMPERING WITH THE MAIL
NOTHING you can open in Strath contains something good. NOTHING.

RULE NUMBER ONE: KEEP ONE AOE SKILL HANDY AT ALL TIMES
Because if it’s there to be pulled, somebody’s probably going to pull it, intentionally or otherwise.  Whatever it is will almost certainly come with friends.

RULE NUMBER TWO: HE CAN’T HELP IT …
If you have a feral druid DPS in the party, he or she is most likely experiencing an identity crisis and will be shapeshifting for most of the dungeon.  As long as he isn’t actually trying to tank while in bear, he’s harmless.

When you see him switch between tree and cat forms in the middle of the fight, be glad all you do is tank crap, and that’s pretty straight forward at this stage of the game since you are a paladerp and all you do is faceroll in your unsurpassable natural (and only) form.  And just disregard the fact that really, only one of the druid forms is useful for his current spec/role.  Dude’s just confused.

RULE NUMBER THREE: … BUT THEY CAN
Huntards and other ranged classes (but mostly huntards, since they’re not AS squishy as mages) like to shoot sheeyit before you get to it.  Save them if you want to, but a little damage would probably do ’em good.  Just sayin’.

Maybe ...Except the druid wiped too, which makes me think that either 1.) he didn't plan his revenge well, or 2.) he didn't intend to have us die at all.

Maybe …
Except the druid wiped too, which makes me think that either 1.) he didn’t plan his revenge well, or 2.) he didn’t intend to have us die at all.

RULE NUMBER FOUR: MAKE SURE THE HEALER’S GOT YOUR BACK
Because sometimes, the huntard’s got to die.  Also, a good healer who doesn’t panic can save your ass when everything goes to hell – a.k.a., the room in Scholomance with Professor Slate.  Said healer can also save your ass when the chronically confused catbeartreemanbird gets distracted with all the shapeshifting and pulls crap on accident.

Take It Or Leave It'cause I'm stayin'.

Take It Or Leave It
’cause I’m stayin’.

RULE NUMBER FIVE: STAND YOUR GROUND
If you don’t want to run the dungeon like someone who’s hopped up on six venti expresso machiatto chai latte whatevers, then don’t.  You are the tank.  They can take it or leave it.  (As a side note, I’m at full mana because I’m a level 40-something with a mana pool about thiiiiiis big, so I regen what I use in a second – a.k.a., about the time I finish sassing you for pulling half the stuff in Janice Barov’s room.  Being right on the internet is OBVIOUSLY more important than your schedule.)

After all, if you won’t take the damage and the healer won’t heal it, they’re not likely to get very far.  And if they do, then hey – it’s EXP you didn’t have to work for!

RULE NUMBER SIX: IF YOU WANT TO KICK THEM, WELL, YOU PROBABLY CAN’T
If the annoyance they cause is not worth the EXP, then leave.  You’ll get another party because LOLZTANKQUEUEISAMAZING.  If Deserter status occurs, well, you just saved some brain cells and that’s good for you.

He Touched My HAIR!THAT'S IT.

He Touched My HAIR!
THAT’S IT.

RULE NUMBER SEVEN: ACT LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING
Almost nobody knows where to go in Dire Maul, anyway.

RULE NUMBER EIGHT: JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN CLAIM IT WAS AN ACCIDENT DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD
Positioning Instructor Chillheart so that your DPS is at imminent risk of Ice Wall death is considered cruel, even if you do find it enjoyable.

Prima Tankin’ Donna

When I try my hand at healing, I often question my competence and make plenty of ragefaces over the endless parade of derp that is the Dungeon Finder.  Yet I am discovering that the more I paladin tank, the more I turn into an uncontrollable, self-assured, and totally unforgiving honey badger.

Deal With ItThat's just how this works.

Deal With It
That’s just how this works.

I don’t know what it is.  Maybe it’s the endless facerolling, or perhaps it’s the gawgeous hair that none can match.  Instead of being the usual “I think it’s actually over this way, guys” sort of person I am when I’m DPSing, or the “ACK!  SORRY OMG YOU DROPPED LIKE A FLY” panic-prone person when I heal, I give people crap for pulling ahead of me and/or being stupid, and I also collude with the healer to get the unkickable killed.

Sometimes, I wonder WHAT HAVE I BECOME!?  But then most of the time, I just think something like this:

I REGRET NOTHINGNa-da.  Zilch.  Zero.

I REGRET NOTHING
Na-da. Zilch. Zero.

THIS PARTY IS NOT A DEMOCRACY!  I am the tank dictator.  It’s my way or the highway, and we don’t have highways in Azeroth.

Because Life is Ironic or Something

I spent some time debating whether or not possessing just a couple pieces of agility gear was enough to start beartanking with.  On the one paw, OH MY GAWD I AM TANKING IF I DIE WE ARE PROBABLY EFFED.  (This IS a position of responsibility.)  On the other, Daschela’s only level 40 and it’s not like anybody can visually check her near-total lack of agility heirlooms since RAWRRR she’s a bear.  I’ll just pray that the healer doesn’t inspect her, amirite?

Therefore, Daschela said to hell with it and decided to test out her skills in a super low dungeon first – just in case.  She recruited a tolerant healer friend and they headed out just to see how badly things could go.

I May Be Putting Something OffI'm pretty sure I'm going to kill my heals, even though I'm level 40 and going to a level 20something dungeon.

I May Be Putting Something Off
I’m pretty sure I’m going to kill my heals, even though I’m level 40 and going to a level 20something dungeon.

I talked myself into actually going eventually.

Beartanking is Easier if You RoarSee?  Here's some proof.

Beartanking is Easier if You Roar
See? Here’s some proof.

RIGHT.  So after shifting her skills around a bit and getting over the initial OMGWTF feelings whenever she /roared as a bear but a night elf woman’s voice came out, Daschela felt ready to queue.

Her first honest-to-Gawd beartanking experience turned out to be the one and only Dire Maul.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaand the first thing she noticed just happened to be the fact that she was fighting alongside a completely naked worgen.

I Guess I Can't TalkIF ONLY I had thought to quote "No shirt, no shoes, no service" at him.

I Guess I Can’t Talk
IF ONLY I had thought to quote “No shirt, no shoes, no service” at him.

Apparently, he was just having fun by running around naked.  In Dire Maul.  Also, the healer was a shoeless dwarf, but next to the naked worgen, who’s looking?

The Dwarf's Got No Shoes EitherI expect the mage to start stripping next.

The Dwarf’s Got No Shoes Either
I expect the mage to start stripping next.

So basically, the message for me in all this is: you’re level 40, who the eff cares about your gear because LOLZ!  If you show up to tank in healer-type leather, there’s going to be a naked worgen FOR NO APPARENT REASON so it seriously JUST DOES NOT MATTER.

Despite our total lack of gear in some cases, it went ok.  Look at Daschela holding aggro like a pro!

Daschela Keeps AggroON ALL TEH THINGZ

Daschela Keeps Aggro
ON ALL TEH THINGZ

It’s ALMOST like I know what I’m doing!