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Posts with tag TANK

Do certain roles encourage bad behavior?


I still like tanking and healing more than anything else in the game, but they have their deficiencies while you're trying to smash Hexos into a well-deserved stain on the floor. In order to finish off Brawler's Guild achievements, I went DPS for the first time in 6 years and then thought, "This is actually kind of fun. Let's try some LFR and see what this puppy does in a raid."

In a matter of days, I and my hapless raid-mates encountered the following:
  • A tank who RP-walked to everything. (Spoils took forever.)
  • A tank who posted the meters after each trash pull and boss to make fun of the least well-geared DPS.
  • Tanks who couldn't be persuaded to kill the blademasters in Gates of Retributon, trapping the entire raid in perma-combat.
  • Tanks who kept taunting Thok back and forth to alternately breathe on or tail-swipe the raid.
Notice a pattern?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The struggle between gear disparity and good play

Okay, truth time - I can solo any five player heroic dungeon in Mists of Pandaria, as long as it doesn't have mechanics that prevent me. If I'm even concerned that I'll take too much damage and die, I'll pop on my tank set and go prot, but many times it isn't even a concern. Blow all my DPS cooldowns, blow my defensive cooldowns when I'm at about half health, boss falls over. Done it in Mogu'shan Palace and Scarlet Monastery. And I'm hardly the exception here - the fact is, the Mists of Pandaria dungeons were introduced at the beginning of the expansion and tuned so that players in ilevel 450 gear could complete them.

I'm at around ilevel 576.

Even players who are just in flex or LFR gear out gear these instances immensely. If a DPS player in full SoO LFR gear goes into Mogu'shan Palace and decides to pull more mobs than the tank was ready or waiting for, he or she can probably DPS them all down before dying themselves, especially if they get a few heals. Meanwhile, even the tanks can often put out enough damage (while taking so very little and having various means to heal it up) that they can basically solo the whole place if they want to, leaving absolutely everyone in the group feeling very little need to actually play as a group. As many, many people point out to me on twitter, it's just assumed that everyone is going to pull like crazy, so even undergeared players in a specific role often assume it's going to happen and react. Maybe your tank doesn't want to pull like a fiend, but they saw your gear and thought they had to in order to keep control of the dungeon. The lines of group communication have broken down into a silence that masks intent - runs are zoned into and pulled with grim efficiency.

Into this veil of silence enters you, the player. So what can be done about it?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Oops, I queued as tank again

I've tanked a few LFR's lately. The thing is, I didn't mean to.

I don't mean I pulled aggro. I mean that when I queued, I forgot that I had tank selected alongside DPS. I do this in five man heroics I'm running for justice points as well. When I find myself selected to tank the dungeon (often only noticing after I get in and no one else is the tank) I usually shrug and put on my tank set and do it. It's not the group's fault I keep forgetting to uncheck that box, after all. And there's a bit of an up side. The other day my wife and I were talking in game and I said "I think I'm going to ride my blue dragonhawk" which surprised her, because I am not a mount collector. "Wait, you have a blue dragonhawk?" Well, yes I do, and I can thank forgetting to uncheck that tanking box for it.

I'm under the impression that I'm fairly rare in this regard. I don't know how true that is, because I've really only talked to a few people about it, and some of them don't play hybrids, so there is no other box for them to check. I'm sure all the warlocks I know would select tank if they could, for instance. But at least some folks seem to do this from time to time.

Being an opinionated cuss, I have some thoughts on this whole phenomenon I'd like to share.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

The coming tank squish?

When Wrath launched in 2008, the last thing I ever expected to see was a decline in the number of druid tanks. We'd just come off a successful expansion of not being Innervate bots, and I thought we'd capitalize on a new set of talents and skills in Wrath to hold our own against the brand-new death knight. Not so: The population of feral (now guardian) druids went into freefall and has never really recovered, and at the time, protection paladins took a hit too.

My best guess remains that the popularity of the death knight and the protection warrior in early Wrath pushed a lot of druids and paladins out of tanking. We had more role options than they did, so respeccing to melee, heals, or ranged DPS was a better option than getting yourself or others benched. There were other things going on that probably didn't help much, but at the end of the day it was a numbers game that the bear and paladin simply lost. It was a vivid lesson that design decisions that don't necessarily have much to do with your class or role can wind up having a serious impact on them anyway.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Warlords of Draenor

Officers' Quarters: Tanksplosion

Officers' Quarters Tanksplosion MONDAY
Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

A good tank is a precious resource to a raid team. Few players want the responsibility and the pressure. Those who not only want it, but thrive in it, are rare indeed. This week's email asks, what do you do as a guild leader when your tank goes off the deep end?

Hello Scott.

Im a long time reader and I have implemented a lot of your suggestions in my own guild and it has helped sort out many of the issues, but I once again find my self at a crossroad and I have many doubts on which road to pick.

In many of your blogs, you talk about the behaviour of one member within a guild, that is having a very negative effect on the guild as a whole, and Im sorry to say, that my problem concerns one such individual. [...]

This guy is our guilds main tank, and he does suffer from the old: "I'm a tank, so therefor I AM GOD!" complex, but we can deal with that, since it has been contained to his tanking and not spread to the rest of the guild.

That was untill a few months ago, when things suddently took a turn for the worse.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Pro Tip: Damage meters don't tell the whole story

Pro Tip Damage meters don't tell the whole story
Some people /ignore others in random raids or dungeons for language or bad play. I add to my instant /ignore list those who spam the meters in raid chat.

Anyone who cares about whose bar is the longest is already measuring on their own screen. Not only is the reporter almost always on the top (and conveniently never reports when s/he is below), but displaying the damage done for a fight to the same raid who's on the meter is just pure epeen spill. Asking for a damage meter is just laziness (or, in rare cases, a really crappy computer paired with a log-intensive fight).

Let's not forget that problem of boiling a player down to a single number. All three roles of the holy triad have a complex set of abilities for every encounter.

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Six simple tips for getting started in tanking

5 tips for getting started in tanking
Tanking is arguably one of the more stressful roles in WoW, particularly in the raid finder. You can't just waltz in and hit some things or heal some things and everything will turn out rosy, you do actually have to know the fights. Not that healers and DPS don't, it's just that they can generally get along a bit easier if they aren't exactly sure what's going on. The same is, alas, not so true for tanks. The fact that there's only two tanks, and that, even in the heady days of Dragon Soul, they had to be relatively co-ordinated on some, if not all the fights, puts the spotlight firmly on their performance. Some groups are forgiving, some less so.

The same applies in smaller dungeons, tanks are expected to lead the pack, to take control. Of course, there are exceptions to this, it's a generalization which is not true 100% of the time. But I don't think it's unreasonable.

All this makes it a little harder to get started in tanking. So, WoW Insider has put together some tips for the novice tank.

Pulling
Pulling is the term given to getting a group of mobs to hit you, instead of that mage over there. For most early dungeons, and several of the later ones too for that matter, the pull is half the battle. As long as you can get those baddies latched on to you, you're doing alright.

So how do you do it? Well, that is, of course, highly dependent on your class, but there are a few kinds of pull that I can run you through here.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Rookie

Tanks, healers, and a daily problem

Tanks, healers, and a daily problem
As someone who plays a guardian/restoration druid, I've had mixed feelings about Blizzard's move to the "dailies model." Of course, you don't need to be playing a tank or healer to feel that way -- it would appear that everyone on the planet has mixed feelings about the seemingly-endless march of Mists of Pandaria dailies -- but there's an special agony to them if you don't have a battle-ready DPS spec. Beefy mob health pools make killing anything as a healer last the approximate length of the Roman Empire, and because quest mobs rarely hit hard enough to make Vengeance a threat, tanks don't fare much better. I will grant that grinding Golden Lotus to revered did give me the opportunity to finish Gone With the Wind after all these years. (Spoiler alert: The North wins the Civil War.)

Now, dual-specs exist for just this reason -- i.e., so you don't have to quest on specs that are really designed for group play -- and I could avoid this problem if I really wanted, but here's the thing: I really like being a tank/healer. Whatever it takes to be a truly competitive DPS, I just don't have it, and I will tank or heal 5-mans and raids, happy as a clam, and hopefully contributing to a lower dungeon queue. By contrast, dailies leave me trying to collect every quest mob in sight to get enough Vengeance to AOE them down efficiently, but it feels really inconsiderate to do this while other players are trying to get the same mobs. And other players are always after them, because everyone's on the same rep grinds. Every day is like being trapped in the starting zone of a new expansion, and I honestly don't know if I have it in me to do this all over again on my alts (who are -- surprise, surprise -- tanks and healers).

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Tanking Stormstout Brewery

Stormstout Brewery, home to the native Pandaria branch of the Stormstout family (and so distantly related to Chen Stormstout of the Wandering Isle) has fallen on hard times. It's infested with hozen, virmen and crazy ale elementals, and it's up to you to fix the place and get it back to something like a working brewery. Chen would really appreciate the help, I'm sure.

The fights in Stormstout Brewery tend to have gimmicks to them. Fortunately, as a tank you can almost completely ignore these, which makes me happy. I'm easily pleased, I guess.


Shock that monkey, you gotta

Tanking Ook-Ook is actually interesting in that you can really help your group out by turning him so that they can easily ride one of the barrels into him, increasing his damage taken by 10% for 15 seconds. Aside from that, you want to keep him turned away from the DPS and healer, because of his Ground Slam ability which stuns in a cone in front of him. You'll want to save some form of damage reduction or cooldown for the Ground Slam (as a warrior, I tend to save up rage and hit a Shield Barrier just before he does it) and watch his stacking buff, Going Bananas. I find it best to use my threat gen up front on this fight, and by about 50% my lead's so comfortable that I can devote all of my resources to active mitigation with no concern that I'll lose threat. Just remember not to let the barrels hit you, they do 50k damage to players.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Tanking Temple of the Jade Serpent

Tanking Temple of the Jade Serpent
While working on the warrior column this week, I realized I could give you guys a general guide to tanking the various Mists of Pandaria leveling dungeons, so here we go. The dungeons this time out are pretty fun and varied, and not particularly onerous to tank through.

First up is the Temple of the Jade Serpent. It's a lovely dungeon, with just enough bosses and trash to take up about 30 to 40 minutes of your time. What I like most about the temple is how the trash is all linked very specifically to the events of the temple's corruption. Which is totally our fault, by the way. Oops. Sorry, August Celestials. It's up to us to free Yu'lon's temple from the Sha.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Death Knight, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

Healers need something like the raid dummies

Healers need something like the raid dummies
If you didn't know by now, there will be a new raid dummy setup in Mists of Pandaria's latest beta build. They will be located in Shattrath and are designed to mimic a raid boss. They will have 50 million health, can be killed, respawn quickly and are set up in such a way that they won't interfere with other people's tests. They will not turn to face you, so you can practice DPSing from behind, and will give a full suite of raid buffs for the duration of your combat with the dummy.

The idea behind this new marvelous tool is to make it so players can get a better idea of their actual numbers in terms of damage output under the optimal conditions. It's a way to really bring simcrafting back into the game instead of solely through a spread sheet, adding a layer of practical application.

It's a fantastic idea, something that I think should have been around for a long while. While I agree something like this is fantastic for DPSers, lets not leave out the other player types as well. Something like this could be absolutely amazing for healers, something that I know would be most welcome.

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Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

Breakfast Topic: Tell us your tanking bloopers

Breakfast Topic Tell us your tanking bloopers
Recently, we asked you to tell us your healing bloopers. Frustrated Healer requested a similar thread for tanks because he is, well, a frustrated healer. Now, we all have horror stories from other people tanking, as well as tales just as bad about people making it difficult to tank. Most of these stories are the same, which is why tanking bloopers would be so much more fun. (I mean, how many times do we need to complain about the GOGOGO mentality?)

WoW Insider does have a few guides to help beginning tanks, including: But even if you read everything you should when starting to play a tank, you still make mistakes -- sometimes big, smelly, embarrassing ones. And even veteran meat shields have their oops days.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics

How I learned to love tanking again

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So yeah, I'm tanking again. There are a few reasons for this. Reason #1 is my experiences testing prot in the Mists of Pandaria beta. Quite frankly, I think it's going to be much easier to level to 90 as a tanking warrior, what with the spec working quite well on the beta at the moment. Since I expect us to be doing so by August at the latest, I wanted to get a jump on things.

Another reason is simple necessity. We needed a tank; I happen to be capable of doing the job and doing it well. Even back when threat was harder than it is now, I always knew I was a respectable tank. I pay attention to my positioning, I know how to use my cooldowns, and I've got a lot of experience with the role. When my guild found itself short a tank, it seemed like the right thing to do. It's just plain easier to recruit a DPSer and have someone established doing the tanking.

I've asked before if it's time to kill tanking. Almost a year down the road from that question, here I am tanking again. I think what I'm learning is that, at present, it's fairly easy to tank decently and not very hard to tank well, but tanking itself is now split into two halves, and one of them is actually more difficult than it has ever been. It's easier to learn but not easier to master.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

This Too Shall Pass: Balance and imbalance in World of Warcraft

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First off, we know that game balance is an eternal goal. As the game evolves and becomes more complex (as it does every expansion, because new abilities are introduced and new classes or races make their debut), balancing them all for every role they can fill and every aspect of the game (Arena PvP, BGs, 5-man instances, raiding) becomes ever more complicated. Abilities that seem minor in impact can mushroom in importance due to synergy with other talents or abilities. As an example, Vengeance in PvP became important enough to cause it to be turned off, as gear improved and health pools rose.

This has been the case in World of Warcraft since its debut. Heck, thanks to Indalamar, warriors got nerfed before the game went live. Balance is ephemeral. Your class may be on top one day, but your day will end. Anyone who's tanked for the past six years can attest to the roller coaster of which class is best at which aspect of the role. There was a time where paladins were the undisputed kings of AoE tanking, a time before Death and Decay or Blood and Thunder.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, PvP, Raiding, Hotfixes

Are pure DPS classes really just another form of hybrid in disguise?

Once upon a time, my guild was trying its hardest to down 25-man heroic mode Lich King. It was the very end of Wrath, and we were running out of time to put an end to the boss before the inevitable launch of Cataclysm. I had been playing an assassination spec since some point between Ulduar and ToC, having given up on ever obtaining a really good combat weapon (I was partial to fist weapons; something about punching people in the face with knives appealed to me), and I was really good at it. I spent forever poring over stat caps and best-in-slot items and had just gotten the perfect set of items that capped every stat that needed to be capped.

And then it happened -- the prep patch for Cataclysm. Do you know what the best stat is for an assassination rogue in Cataclysm (other than hit, of course)? Mastery. Do you know what wasn't present on any Wrath gear? Mastery. My DPS went down, and due to sup-par burst DPS, I was sat for the realm-first 25-man heroic mode Lich King kill. I watched all my guildies ding the achievement and get the one title I was really excited about. And later, one of the officers, a druid, asked me flat out -- why didn't I have a backup combat spec?

Oh ... if only he knew.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

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