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7-11-2008 @ 6:53PM
I have a feral druid alt who has tanked plenty up through T4 (Mag/KHM/Gruul), though not as progressed as my main, I only brought him off the shelf in TBC when I got the picture from raiding on my main. I wouldn’t have even attempted tanking if I thought I would be a weak link by lack of understanding all of the expectations upon him, making an ass of myself in front of my friends and going in over my head. Even before I brought him back, I leveled a healer and spent a lot of time raiding with him. So I like to think I have experienced most of the game from the three major perspectives and I’m familiar with the triangle of expectations. I have had some fantastic models for really good tanks, and these are the qualities I decided I would pursue and the qualities those tanks look for in others when we need an extra.Knowing when to use cooldowns is the reason I emphasize awareness and knowledge of trash mobs and bosses. If you’re clueless, how would you know when a 30 minute cooldown is safe to use? You could pop your shield wall, allowing the attempt to recover and spare your raid a 5 minutes graveyard run and re-buff if you knew for a fact that you wouldn’t need your shield wall in the encounters immediately ahead, or if you were wise about the encounter, you might save your cooldown even when it goes south if you know you cannot recover from a loss of a key player. If that death is the difference between taking an extra boss out that night, you should be headstrong about using it at the right time. Or maybe you can count on your raid and find that you can use those cooldowns creatively to shave a little time off the run.Knowing that a mob is going to stun you and run away for 3 or 4 seconds (though that’s being nerfed soon), can give you the heads up to take a free action pot or call for an OT. Knowing that you may threat-cap the raid on trash, causing a cumulative loss of time over the course of the night, could spur you to strap on some lighter gear to generate more rage, hit capped for lv71s with expertise to ensure more of your hits land though you’ll still want a load of stam and be uncrittable. Maybe even ask another healer to keep an eye on you. This is a proactive solution, and it’s an action you can take upon yourself rather than asking 14 others to change their style.As far as TPS and zealous DPSers, there’s plenty of room in WoW for dainty tanks and DPSers who haven’t learned to use a threat meter, but not in a raid where you’re working against a timer or trying to get through X many bosses in Y many hours; Zul’Aman bear runs are the gold standard. In T6, a tank’s job is to be cocky and sure of himself, practiced, experienced and hopefully theorycrafted to the teeth. A DPSer should have passed the gauntlet of idiot checks and should be thouroughly familiar with threat meters. Healers should know their strengths and limits and volunteer them readily when given their role as well as when to walk the straight and narrow of their assignment and when to stray for the win. If your DPSers are pulling aggro, act accordingly, if your tank is threat-capping the raid… act accordingly. If you’re doing what you’re supposed to, you should always be doing everything well and if your raid is worth the time so is everybody else.I said that tanks set the pace of the instance, and this is where cockyness and confidence come into the picture. Nothing is worse than standing around during a raid, 30 seconds is fine, 1 minute is a long time, 2 minutes and you start losing people to smoke breaks. A solid tank can keep everybody on their toes and keep it moving to get through a lot more content a lot faster. If everybody in the raid has their eyes on you because the next pull could be coming at any moment, you’re doing it right. In turn, you should be watching the mana bars of your healers, and judging when you /can/ do a pull, rather than waiting for the raid to top off every time you leave combat and your raid leader to verbally poke you. If your raid sees more bosses, they will reciprocate the effort, they’ll move up to the next pull spot before sitting down to drink, they’ll keep oils and food buffs up for trash, they’ll get used to the tempo and pace themselves for longevity. They’ll feel bad when they screw up and slow down the train, they’ll learn from each other’s mistakes vicariously and push each other to new heights through competitiveness.At the simple, technical core of the tank-healer-dps equation the goal is to do enough damage to exceed the health pool of your opponent. In this balance of relationships, the tank has two jobs: set the upper boundary for DPS and ease the healing load through ample defenses. The damage dealer’s job is to make good use of that boundary by surfing it closely without exceeding it and occupying as little of the healer’s effort as possible by self-preservation. The healer’s job is to ensure that the upper boundary of DPS doesn’t suddenly disappear through the loss of the tank and that the lower boundary of DPS doesn’t drop below the threshold of success though the loss of DPS.I know I’m being captain obvious, but I wanted to illustrate that outside of these parameters, raid bosses are mostly gimmicks and are designed to test part or all of this triangle. When everybody is thoroughly skilled and aware of their own capability combined with a little theorycrafting, anything is possible.
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