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Posts with tag tanking

Mists of Pandaria Beta: Rage tanks get angrier

Rage tanks get angrier and harder to hurt

Rage tanking is in a weird place right now. Both as a tank and as a DPS in runs I've noticed a certain amount of squishiness that wasn't there before, both due to certain abilities being fairly hard to use (Both Shield Block and a full Shield Barrier are expensive, costing 60 rage) and the loss of a lot of passive mitigation we were all accustomed to. Apparently the devs have noticed it too: Ghostcrawler posted these changes coming for rage warriors on live and the beta fairly soon.

Ghostcrawler - Beta Class Balance Analysis
Tank Time
I mentioned previously (though it very well could have been in another thread) that we have been looking a lot at tank balance. We think tanks surviving short windows of spike damage has been fairly balanced in beta for some time, and indeed we are seeing all tank classes used effectively in beta Challenge Modes and Heroic raid testing.

We have made a few changes to longer-term tank healing required, which will show up both on beta and live very soon. I mentioned that we were initially going to nerf monk and DK, but we now think they and paladins are fine. Instead, the rage tanks required too much healing, so we are causing them to take less damage and have more rage for active mitigation.

Druid
-- Auto attack rage generation increased by 75%.
-- Thick Hide now provides 12% physical damage reduction.

Warrior
-- Rage generation from Revenge increased from 10 to 15.
-- Rage generation from Shield Slam increased from 15 to 20. (Sword and Board continues to give 5 extra, so 25 now).
-- Reduced internal cooldown on Critical Block from Enrage from 5 sec to 3 sec.
-- Increased damage reduction from Defensive Stance from 15% to 25%.
-- Increased armor from Unwavering Sentinel from 10% to 25%.



The rage changes are nice (druids will now get 10.85 rage from an auto attack) because they'll allow for rage tanks to be more often using their active mitigation. Honestly, high incoming rage really isn't an issue for tanks, since we don't use rage abilities for threat anymore (with the exception of rage bleeds like Heroic Strike or Maul) as much as we do for survival.

What impressed me was the change to Thick Hide and the Defensive Stance/Unwavering Sentinel changes. Were they warranted? Absolutely. Warriors in particular have been the squishiest tanks since the patch, with druids not far behind, and this change will help even out some of that sustained damage that erodes healer mana and thus, our lives. This is me, being happy over here.


It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Druid, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, 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

Vengeance, threat stats, and the future of tanking

Personally, I love Vengeance, even with all of its ups and downs and redesigns. But a recent discussion of Vengeance by math guy Theck over at Sacred Duty has hit the forums, and Ghostcrawler responded with the following.

Ghostcrawler - Why make vengeance so complicated .. really.
We don't want tanks to do awesome damage just for being tanks. We want tanks to do awesome damage when they are actually tanking. That remains the governing philosophy behind the design.

Remember, Vengeance doesn't exist to give tanks something fun to do. It exists solely to make sure tank threat stays high when DPS characters are gearing for higher DPS while the tanks gear primarily for survival. Tanks only need to generate high threat when they are tanking, and typically threat is the most important on the most dangerous opponents, which also tend to be those who hit the hardest.

As an aside, if I was able to design WoW solely for me, threat would still be an important stat to gear for. Raiders would scoff at tanks who stacked only Stamina as being bad tanks because they couldn't hold aggro. It was fun for me back in BWL to try to generate higher threat than the warlocks. I don't think it was that fun for the warlocks though. I don't think it was that fun for the rest of the raid when I screwed up e.g. my Heroic Strike use and caused us to wipe without them feeling like they could do anything to resolve the situation except stop DPS. Fortunately, I recognize that WoW would have far fewer players if I got to design it totally around what I find fun. :)



Here's the thing: I used to gear for threat. As recently as early Cataclysm, before the 500% threat increase, I was arguing for hit and expertise gear on tanks. Threat stats and threat generation were important parts of gearing a tank. A good tank didn't just ignore those stats. Granted, I've always tanked on a warrior, and that's been the lowest damage (and thus, lowest threat) tanking class since The Burning Crusade. But I was always motivated to put out as much threat as I could feasibly arrange and stay alive.

So now I'm forced to consider: Is this a case where Ghostcrawler should be designing for himself? Yes, I understand the argument that it's not fun for DPS players to have to throttle themselves. But are our only options Vengeance and massive threat or throttling?

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

The Queue: Benjamin Franklin created the internet to resurrect himself

The Queue Benjamin Franklin created the internet to resurrect himself
Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi is writing this sucker today.

I'm kidding. Sort of.

Ben is one of my personal heroes, though.

In today's Queue, I answer a bunch of tanking questions. I know -- I was as shocked as you are.

Matthew2 asked:

I finally got around to making a DK and leveling it. (I'm a tank - my first tank!!!) Having said that:

Is DPS in Blood Spec viable for 5 mans? I'm not a raider, I just want to learn my Blood spec and tank with it and dps with it in instances that I am learning about. Is it ok to use death and decay if I'm in Frost Presence when I'm DPS'ing? And I don't yet have unholy presence, so I'll pre-ask: "what spec should I be using as DPS in PvE [assuming i'm a blood dk if that matters]?

Clearly, I don't know this class yet - any good sources to learn about being a DK?

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Filed under: The Queue

Boss fights and perspective

I love heroic Spine of Deathwing because I am a prot warrior.

Is the fight hectic? Absolutely it is. If I were a healer, I would probably hate it with a passion, having to heal that stupid debuff off of people and deal with some ridiculously high damage spikes. If I were a DPSer, I'd probably loathe having to throttle my damage for 90% of the fight then go for broke for the tendons, being sure to line up my cooldowns and consumables and trinkets. And dealing with the Fiery Grip is an exercise in doing exactly what you have never learned how to do as a damage dealer, not killing things.

But as a tank? Especially one kiting bloods up and down the spine? It's glorious. It's hard, really really hard. As the fight progresses, the difficulty of tanking the bloods goes from Meh, I can do this while I eat this giant hoagie to There are 50 bloods chasing me help help. You will use every cooldown, big and small, as well as every movement increase you have. You will shift from tanking one or two bloods to tanking 10 or 20, and finally you will find yourself drowning in the things, hopping around the back of the spine and desperately hoping for a cooldown to come up. And it's awesome. It is the most fun I've had in Cataclysm, bar none.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Cataclysm

Does tanking exist in PvP?

Tanking in PvP
I was inspired by a recent discussion thread on the Battle.net forums to talk about PvP tanking.

Earlier in Cataclysm, the changes to the tanking mechanic, Vengeance, led to tanking specs suddenly becoming viable damage dealers in PvP. This was removed in 4.3, apparently because it was felt that tanks were too powerful, given their survivability in PvP. Fast forward a few months, and we find some vestiges of PvP in tank specs remain. In mid-level Arena, blood DKs continue to crop up every now and then on survival-centric teams; however, they are not really the most formidable opponent. Their damage output is not so high, and if kited, they can be fairly easily (if slowly) taken down.

Many a feral cat druid will shift into bear form to use Frenzied Regeneration and increase their survival, and bear damage is fairly high (for a tank class, at least). However, bears lack the high self-healing of a blood DK, since Vengeance's removal.

Should Vengeance be returned to PvP? Frankly, I don't think so. Does tanking have a place in PvP? Should anyone PvP as a tank? Does tanking even exist in PvP?

Well, let's have a think about that. What is tanking? Tanking, in a PvE sense, is the act of ensuring the enemy is attacking you and not your weaker allies. If a PvE enemy is attacking a healer, the tank is doing something wrong.

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Filed under: PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

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

The headspace of switching roles

The headspace of switching roles
It's about as easy to switch your role in World of Warcraft as it has ever been in the history of the game. With dual spec, you can have two ready to go. With the justice/valor system and heroic Hour of Twilight dungeons, you can have a passable off-spec set in a few days. The problem nowadays isn't gear, and it isn't having to go respec to do it. The problem is ingrained habits, and that problem can be the hardest to overcome.

It's certainly far from impossible, though.

The first thing you have to do when switching from tanking or healing to DPS or vice versa is abandon how you approached the job. You're not doing that job anymore. When I first went DPS in Firelands, it took me two weeks to get myself to stop trying to intercept mobs running for the healers or other DPSers and getting myself killed. That was because no one was healing me -- not because they didn't care, but because they had no idea I was about to get aggro on Firelands trash. Why would they? I wasn't a tank. It's not that they didn't appreciate it; it's that they had no way of anticipating I was going to do it.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Raiding, Cataclysm

Rossi-related raiding revelations

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Matthew Rossi recently wrote a piece on the spoils of progress, detailing, among other things, his covetous streak and how it translated into a love of raid farming, including heading back to old content, farming out legendaries, and generally stealing stuff from monsters.

He mentioned how he loved it when raids go into farm mode, loved seeing his numbers increase and eternally upgrading his loot. He even loved farming through old content he could solo to get drops the loot gods never blessed him with the first time around, or the second, or the third.

And it hit me that, while Matt and I both enjoy raiding, we enjoy it completely differently. I read his piece, and barely agreed with 20% of the things he said he enjoyed! This is not a criticism of Matt, not at all, it's simply an observation, and testament to the vast variety of playstyles catered to by WoW.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm

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

Blood Pact: Don't sell your soul for a warlock tanking spec quite yet

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. Today, Megan O'Neill is your host, and she wants to remind Matticus that warlock fire cannot be rainbow-colored in Mists of Pandaria, else we'd kill all our wild imps that we summon.

Everyone's excited about the warlock tanking glyph for demonology. I'm cautiously excited. It's one of those things we warlocks always put on our wish lists, alongside green fire and warlock flying mounts.

While we still wait on the flying mount, EU CM Wryxian noted that green fire might be in the works! As soon as I saw the glyphs that change cosmetic things like the felguard's weapon or the color of a bear's fur, I went hunting in the datamines for green fire. I didn't see one, but Wryxian says there's "hope" that we'll get a quest for green fire. I do hope it involves Gorzeeki Wildeyes or Mor'zul Bloodbringer as a throwback to the old Dreadsteed epic mount quest chain.

I'm also aware that this is beta, and betas are for testing things, not for setting things in stone. Like Wryxian's statement about fel fire coloring, things can and will change. I want to be realistic about demo tanking. I don't want the hype surrounding warlock-style tanking to lead to disappointment. Looking at some of warlock and tanking mechanical history, I have some major caveats that Blizzard would need to address if warlocks are to become tanks.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

Ol' Grumpy and the crushing disappointment of roles

There are no pure DPS classes in World of Warcraft that use two-handed melee weapons to deal damage and only one pure DPS class that can even equip them. There are literally hundreds of two-handed melee weapons in this game. This has always annoyed me, because I love big weapons. I know you know this about me.

One of the reasons I hate the argument that pure DPS classes should have dibs on top DPS weapons is that in order for me to play a character that uses a two-hander, I have no choice but to play a hybrid. In fact, in order to play as melee DPSer at all, I either have to play a rogue (all three rogue trees dual wield small, fast weapons) or a hybrid. Those are my options. If I wanted to play ranged DPS, I could pick from one of three possible pure classes, but if I want to melee, I'm forced to either give up the weapons I enjoy and take up a playstyle I don't like or accept that I will be forced to DPS at a penalty and be expected and/or pressured to tank.

This to me is asking me to pay twice, and it's unacceptable. Last week, Ghostcrawler posted an excellent discussion on class and role that I highly recommend everyone check out, and it seriously has me pondering what design I'd prefer for World of Warcraft and indeed how I feel about classes and roles entirely.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cataclysm

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Let's get everyone tanking

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

Now for whatever reason, I've been tanking lately, usually due to a connection issue or what have you. It's one of those confluences of my gear's being just good enough and my no longer being burned out on the role. While I still define myself as a DPS warrior and raid with that as my main spec, I was surprised to find tanking wasn't that hard to pick back up. In fact, it may be a little too easy.

I hesitate to make this statement because, in part, I know I'm not a typical player. I main tanked for years. I tanked in vanilla, in The Burning Crusade, in Wrath, and for the opening of Cataclysm. I was the undergeared tank trying to do heroics in greens when the expansion came out. I was the guy tanking heroic LK. I've tanked in all sorts of situations and gear and specs. I tanked when TC only hit four mobs and did not work in Defensive Stance. What I'm saying is, I've been tanking for so long there's almost no way for me to evaluate how difficult tanking is for other players. I have years of muscle memory. I've kited. I've done adds; I've done bosses. I've picked up murlocs and traded adds on Yogg.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

5 ways to keep your DPS players happy in 5-man heroics

OK, you can't pretend you didn't see this one coming after the healing and tanking editions. As I may have mentioned, I have less DPS experience than tanking and healing, but from that time in Azeroth, I have gathered that there are things everyone can do to make their DPSers happy bunnies rather than melancholy murlocs. Actually, being a murloc would be pretty cool. One of my GMs does an awesome murloc impression.

So, tanks and healers, and other DPSers, how can you keep your DPS buddies happy?

1. Mark your targets. Tanks, or whoever is experienced, or whoever is taking on that role in the dungeon, mark your targets. Telepathy is not a standard talent in any tree, and while sure, it's possible to click the tank and then use an assist macro, you can easily keybind or add a button to your action bars that marks your target with a skull, a cross, a moon and so on.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: How to tank for non-tanks

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

So maybe you don't tank or perhaps have never tanked. Maybe you're new to the game, maybe you just haven't tried it out yet, maybe you used to tank but then stopped for whatever reason and aren't feeling comfortable picking it back up. Whatever your situation, the tanking game in World of Warcraft is available to you as a warrior.

A lot of guides tend to focus on gearing and speccing your warrior to tank, glossing over what you actually do as a tank. What buttons are you hitting and when? Sometimes that's because it seems self evident, or because specific fights call for specific things. This guide is written from an absolutely basic perspective: It will tell you what to do and when to do it, assuming you've no experience at all as a tank. Therefore, this caveat: No guide can make up for practical experience, and you may well learn different ways to perform the role that conflict with this. And that's fine. Learning the role through doing will help teach you what's suited to you; this is just intended to get you started out on that road.

This guide also assumes you are level 85. At least for the first 60 or so levels, you have few enough abilities that there's really no confusion and if you level as a prot warrior, you'll pick this up anyway. This is intended for DPS warriors and PvPers who have never tanked but would like to, as well as old hands who haven't tanked in a while.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors

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