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Posts with tag 5-man-tanking

20 observations from a leveling tank

My main is a druid tank and healer, but on occasion, I've returned to two low-level warrior alts and braved leveling in the Dungeon Finder. Most leveling groups are a bit like the proverbial little girl with pigtails: When they're good, they're very, very good ... and when they're bad, they're horrid.

The following is a list of somewhat random observations I have collected after several expansions' worth of tanking for low-level groups.

1. Don't take shortcuts on trash packs. The time you save sneaking past one of them will be eliminated by the time you'll lose when someone blunders into them and dies.

2. Someone will almost always blunder into them and die.

3. Despite common complaints on the forums, the vast majority of players are actually really nice people who are perfectly willing to tolerate mistakes and the learning curve. The actual occurrence of true, unforgivable jackasses seems to be about one per five groups, although this depends on when you're queuing.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Shifting Perspectives: The unbearable suckhood of pugging

Every week (usually), WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, we soothe everyone's ego by telling them it's not their fault (while secretly thinking it's everyone's fault).

I apologize for the recent absence, guys. While I would like to say it had something to do with battling hordes of evil minions from some morally questionable wizard with an abundant set of apostrophes in his name, the truth of the matter is that I've just been crushed by work. It didn't help that I started a Shifting edition on gearing a restoration druid at level 85 and thought, "Hey! Wouldn't it be nice to include all the gear available to druids from Cataclysm quests on up, à la Emmerald's old gear list, so that people know exactly where they stand in relation to upgrades?"

Some 1,600 words later, I am pleased to report that I am almost to the end of the shoulder slot.

Yeah. You're gonna have to give me another week or two on that ... unless you're planning to go naked from the shoulders down. If you do, send pics.

Anyway, it hasn't escaped my attention that the forums more or less exploded once people started getting into heroics. One contingent claims that Cataclysm heroics are too difficult and need to be nerfed. Another insists that everyone claiming that heroics are too difficult is a bad player with bad gear and bad talent choices and bad glyphs and they should feel bad. Personally, I've seen enough of both the dungeon finder and guild groups as a tank and healer to arrive at my own conclusion:

People on both sides of this argument are equally correct.

Or, if you're in a judgmental sort of mood today, they're equally full of it.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: A peek at the beta bear


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting feral/restoration druids and those who group with them. This week, we push off from the island of Swipe spam and float toward the ominous continent inhabited by Lacerate spam.

Hail, druids. I've had another week in the beta, and my main's now level 82. While I would love to tell you that all of the bugs we talked about last week have been tracked down and eliminated; that's not the case, so I'm not sure that a big analytical article on abilities that Blizzard's by no means finished with is a great use of our time. But I did tank a very successful Blackrock Caverns run, and Ghostcrawler (lead systems designer) recently wrote something interesting about the future of AoE tanking, so today's post is going to take a quick peek at how bears are developing.

Also, there's a great quest in Mount Hyjal where you throw bears off a tree, which naturally I recorded. It recorded upside down for some reason, so I'll have to figure out how to flip it before it gets posted.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Pulling 101: Deeper into the dungeon


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting feral/restoration druids and those who group with them. This week, we continue to get hit in the face.

This week, we're continuing our series on Pulling 101 with a look at what happens during the dungeon itself. I was surprised to discover exactly how much of this advice concerns rage management, but shouldn't have been; any discussion concerning how to pull as a rage tank invariably touches on how to get the most out of an eccentric resource system. A good chunk of this advice will become obsolete as of the Cataclysm content patch, but if you're leveling and gearing a bear through the dungeon finder, there are still an awful lot of 5-mans between yourself and this fall.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

The Queue: Dragon Slave!


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Allison Robert, erroneously described by Alex Ziebart as "universally adored" on this site (whisper the phrase "I hate Tauren cat form" in Turtlehead's direction and run) is your hostess today.

Mmmm...my favorite kind of Queue, the kind with a tank question. Actually, there were two good tank questions from the previous Queue, but the one asked by Gatorforest is something I'd like to address in a separate article. Additionally, two of the questions you'll see here wound up requiring fairly involved answers, so there are a few more questions I'd like to take a crack at sometime later this weekend if I get the time.

And because it's Friday:

Charlie asks...

How many Queue columns does it take for one to finally reach the front of the line?


The readers or the writers? I don't know about the former, but for us, it depends on the outcome of the previous day's in-staff gladiatorial match. Much like Mary Sues in the now-classic Pirate Monkey comic, THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE. Actually, I'm just using this as an excuse to quote the following:

Professor Flitwick: Wait, she said she's both Dumbledore's and Snape's daughter. How is that possible?

Dumbledore: Ehh, remember that Christmas party where we all got really drunk?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Features, Guides, The Queue

Lichborne: A PTR preview of 5-man Crusader's Coliseum Tank loot for Death Knights

Welcome to Lichborne, the weekly Death Knight column, where all Daniel Whitcomb wants is his runeblade back. But he'll settle for a sweet axe if he must.

Ok, Casual and non-raiding 2 hand wielding Death Knights, you might want to sit down, because I have some big news for you: You may finally be able to chuck that Titansteel Destroyer. That's right, we're getting a new, higher level epic weapon in Patch 3.2's 5-man Crusader's Coliseum. The loot we're seeing come out of the Coliseum is all epic, and all amazing, and if you haven't even been to Naxxramas yet, either by choice or by lack of time or opportunity, you're going to have a reason to love the coliseum.

Weighing in at a whopping 203.7 DPS with a high end damage of 856, the Edge of Ruin is pretty much the dream for any serious casual Death Knight. It's right up there with Death's Bite or Armageddon from Naxxramas. The only downside is that it's an axe instead of a suitably awesome sword, and that it switches out hit rating for armor penetration, which means you may need to do some regemming to stay at the hit cap. Other than that, this is probably the number one thing you want to be gunning for once the Coliseum goes live. It even has a big chunk of strength and stamina, making it great for tanking as well.

Of course, that's not all you'll want to grab out of the Coliseum. Let's start with the tank loot.

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Filed under: Patches, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, News items, Instances, Bosses, Guides, Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

BBB's tips for a new tank

Starting to tank is scary. During BC I leveled from 40 through 69 as a Balance Druid, and then discovered that a tank couldn't be pugged for love or money once you hit the later portion of Outland on my realm. I'd picked up some feral gear along the way and decided to give tanking a shot, but then spent my first afternoon in the trenches being a nervous wreck after losing aggro to impatient DPS, aggroing extra mobs by charging into pulls instead of LOSing them, and taking a ridiculous amount of damage. The feeling of being constantly judged by your group members isn't a pleasant sensation, but more maddening was the knowledge that certain things beyond your control -- mob stuns, lazy or trigger-happy DPS, an inattentive healer, or something as simple as a missed Mangle -- could make you look worse than you actually were.

That's why I like a recent blog post by our own Big Bear Butt on "Tips for the New Tank," which addresses not only that but also a number of pitfalls to which new tanks are prone. I particularly agree with his assertion that you should never start a boss event assuming that everyone in the group is on the same page, because someone who's not sure what they're doing can and often will cause issues for you without realizing it. It's a great guide for a new tank that gives a nod to the "feeling judged" syndrome mentioned here, and with so many players returning to their tanking trees or trying Death Knights in Wrath, I recommend it for anyone interested in the job.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Guides, Death Knight

Breakfast Topic: The tanking shortage


One of Blizzard's avowed aims with the creation of the Death Knight class was tackling the chronic tanking shortage for 5-mans. While it was the opinion of many players that the tanking shortage had a lot more to do with tanks' unwillingness to suffer messy and expensive (and sometimes stupid) PuG's, there was no way around the fact that only 3 of 9 available classes could tank (and that 2 of them were just as frequently specced to heal). Providing a new, cool-looking tanking class that had tanking talents in all three trees and could use Warrior gear was Blizzard's contribution. Post-release, the rest is up to the players.

I've seen several Death Knights already at 80 on my realm (and to my everlasting horror, two of them in my guild beat me to 80), but haven't noticed any real difference in the number of tells in trade and LFG searching for a tank. Whenever I see these, it's hard not to wonder what's going on. While it's much too early for the majority of leveling DK's to have had a big impact on 5-man tanking between 70 and 80, most of the ones I've seen at 80 are rerolled DPS and have continued in that role. Some would like to tank but just don't have the gear to withstand the damage of a high-level dungeon. Others have privately admitted that, while they're willing to give tanking a try, having to learn it at 80 with an impatient group that just wants to get through a dungeon is a daunting prospect. Still others really do just prefer to DPS.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Features, Death Knight

Shifting Perspectives: State of the class, part 1 - Balance


Every Tuesday, or possibly Thursday when the writer votes on Tuesday and spends Wednesday screaming and beating her laptop over formatting errors, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week Allison Robert steals John Patricelli's column once again, secure in the knowledge that she will never be forced to atone for her crime as long as she writes something nice about ferals and keeps a respectful distance from Dan O'Halloran's whip.

I hate Tauren cat form.

Good. I got that out of my system and can write something productive. Although, believe me, if I could get away with it, an entire Shifting Perspectives would be devoted to just how much I hate Tauren cat form. I mean, just look at it! Look at the angle on the horns! The cat can't bite anything! Christ, I just -- hi, Dan. Yes, I'm totally writing the column! Look at me go!

This week, mindful as always of American election-year politicking, I'm going to borrow a page from presidential duties and write a little something I like to call "State of the Class." Druids have undergone a number of changes in the transition to Wrath of the Lich King, and will acquire even more as they level to 80. We are one of Blizzard's primary targets for both gear and role consolidation, which raises a few questions over how comfortably we're going to scale in relation to pure classes and what we can realistically expect on the march to a new level cap.

The TL:DR version of this article -- I believe our future is generally bright, the Druid community continues to have a few concerns over certain aspects of the class, our focus in PvP seems to be changing the most, and I hate Tauren cat form. This is a three-part post, so let's get started with balance. However, if you want to jump ahead to feral, you'll find that here; and the third part, restoration, is here.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Instances, Expansions, Features, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Leveling, Buffs, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds, Arena

A plea on behalf of frustrated tanks everywhere

Several classes and specs have gotten "knockback" abilities as part of patch 3.02 and the game's transition to Wrath of the Lich King, and I've had fun watching these skills be deployed in battlegrounds to extensive and quite possibly evil use. It's pretty funny watching an elemental Shaman defend AB's lumber mill now, and the AV bridge? Even funnier.

And yet...as I laughed, I started to cry inside, because I knew that these skills would also be deployed in 5-man groups and raids to much less amusing effect. And man, it's a real burden being right so often.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, PvP, Instances, Humor, Classes, Battlegrounds

Tips for new Death Knights from a fellow tank, part 2


Dear corpsified bundles of beautifully-armored joy (but more particularly those who tank Azjol Nerub while wearing Expedition Bracers of the Bandit),

We had a little bit of controversy in the first installment, so I'm just going to state this as baldly as possible; if you hated what I wrote last time, there's a good chance you'll walk away from this one thinking I eat babies. Delicious, delicious babies. While I never mean to offend people, I reserve the right to tell them the truth, or at the very least a highly entertaining and plausible lie.

Truth, she be at times an ugly mistress. And she ain't gettin' any prettier as we move from DPS to tanking.

Tanks have significantly more responsibility, both in groups and raids, and they face the competing directives of maximizing mitigation (to keep their healers happy) and maximizing threat production (to keep their DPS happy). I've healed dozens of Death Knight tanks at this point, and while the average pugged DK tank has gotten noticeably better, there are still a few trends you'd want to be aware of as a healer. The problems in beta right now are made worse by Blizzard unintentionally overselling the ease of tanking on a Death Knight in 5-man runs. Many people seem to have interpreted the statement that they should be able to tank well with Blood, Frost, or Unholy specs as being tantamount to saying they can tank well regardless of how their talent points are spent in those trees.

Any experienced tank can tell you right now that this is not true, but people believing that it is is how you wind up with 11K-life Death Knights taking 7-8K enraged hits from Keristasza in the Nexus. If you've never tanked before but you're interested in tanking on a Death Knight -- or pragmatic enough to know you'll probably wind up tanking a certain number of 5-mans on your DPS Death Knight -- I hope this article helps you avoid what I went through in May 2007 when I started tanking and sucked at it.

I came to the beta to slowly lose my mind trying to heal insane tank damage and gulp Extra Strength Tylenol. And I'm all out of Extra Strength Tylenol.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Expansions, Features, Humor, Raiding, Guides, Classes, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Death Knight tanking overhaul


The ever-helpful Ghostcrawler hit the forums late yesterday with a slew of changes to Death Knight tanking in the form of both bug fixes and buffs. The single biggest "buff" is actually a fairly significant bug fix; Death Knights had half the untalented, ungeared dodge of a Warrior or Paladin, and that was definitely never intended. Between that and a change to Blade Barrier (it's currently activated with all runes on cooldown; it's being changed to activate with only Blood runes on cooldown), Death Knights should see a significant improvement to their avoidance. Threat generation is also getting a nice boost, as Blizzard recognized that Death Knights suffered badly whenever key moves failed to land. Rune Strike is becoming a reactive ability like the Warrior's Revenge, and Frost Strike can no longer be dodged, blocked, or parried. Death and Decay has also been changed to be more competitive with Consecration and Thunder Clap, which is consistent with the overall trend toward AoE tanking effectiveness.

I've healed a number of Death Knight tanks in 5-mans now (you'll be hearing from my grumpy self about this soon) and recognized a few early versions of these issues, certainly in the form of Blade Barrier's often-spotty uptime. While I'm glad that DK's are getting more consistent threat generation, I have to admit that my real concern is the amount of burst they seem to take (something others have noticed as well), so I'm keeping an eye on the tweaks being made.

Thanks to Doug for writing in!

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Instances, Expansions, Raiding, Buffs, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Forums

Death Knight tanking undergoing tweaks

The latest announced changes for Death Knights are out, and this time, they seem to be mostly concerned with tanking. There's two major philosophies that Blizzard seems to following for Death Knights: First, any tree should be able to excel at tanking at least to the 5-man level, and Death Knight tanking should be at least somewhat interactive.

In that vein, they're introducing two revamped late tree tanking talents to the mix. In Frost, Unbreakable Armor will be a usable ability that costs 1 frost rune, but will only increase armor by 25% and Strength by 5%. In Blood, Vampiric Blood (previously mentioned in last week's Lichborne) will be a 1 blood rune ability that increases healing received from all sources by 50%. Both abilities will not trigger the GCD, will last 20 seconds, and will have a 2 minute cooldown. Blizzard aims to balance these 2 abilities with Bone Armor (which will have an internal cooldown of 3.5 seconds, like Shaman shields) to create 3 viable late tree tanking abilities.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Raiding, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

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