Archive for the ‘Tanking’ Category

A Quick Note on a Dead Journal

August 16, 2011 2 comments

I haven’t played WoW much at max level since I lost my job back in March, but a friend bought me a time card to level alts with him and a couple others over the summer, so I have been keeping tabs on the Warrior game again and the big news hit on the upcoming threat revamp today, I figured I could jot down some notes to forward.

Here is the article I am referring to:

Point one: Yes, Threat has become insignificant from what I have been hearing and even a friend said on a low dungeon run yesterday, “You held threat, big deal, you are a warrior, you just do.” So the general opinion is the tank has threat if they don’t they are a moron. DPS only care if they are catching the Tank, and Tanks only care if the DPS is pulling, otherwise threat is ignored. It’s a breakpoint, it either holds no problem or breaks regularly, and it’s usually the former. Obviously Threat is not in a place they want it based on previous articles.

Point two: Yes, Tanks are the babysitters on the group in a sense, pick-up these adds, move the boss over, and watch your own rear while doing it (fire, etc). Keeping a decent threat rotation up while handling awareness isn’t hard, but making it harder would be pouring more stress on one role, a required role you don’t want to burn out (Partially the reason I stopped trying to play). So they have decided to go the other way and say, forget threat and focus on the other Tank focuses, bringing us to…

Point three: Tanks focusing on Survival and Resource management will be the key. Cooldowns costing a bit of Rage to use won’t be too bad, as long as it’s A) not too high, B) useful enough, C) not overhauling rage generation to drastically.

With those points in mind, I want to see the concepts discussed in action. Making the Tank’s damage input matter more in a fight would help prevent rage stockpiling for cooldowns (devastates, revenges, & shield slams do add up), but can’t make it too high or they will have to focus too much on a “rotation” and basically become a lesser dps, and making it too low means no point in hitting abilities at all.

What I want to see come of this is making the Tank more of a fight controller. Instead of just moving the boss/adds out of bad, perhaps there is a bonus for moving them into certain zones, like air strike targets, or runes they have to be moved onto in a certain order, but the runes position are random and change each battle. Likewise, how about points where the boss remains in one place, but the tank has to run to activate a machine or run across the room for some reason (carrying a debuff of some sort so ONLY the tank can do it.) The Tank becomes the Active Role of the raid, the DPS burn the targets, the healers keep everyone going, and the tank sets the events and phases rolling.

I want the Tank to be more than just the babysitter, let the tank be the action hero of sorts, everyone else gets to bring the boom, let us have the flash.


EDIT: Have an example to how this could work. We have a boss of unstable energy we will call Glowmore. Glowmore summons slime adds that have to be rounded up and merged by one tank, while the other handles the boss. When an attack made by Glowmore is dodged, parried, or blocked, the character (Tank) that did so gets a “buff” that does damage over time (damage is equal to X-% of character health so that for a tank it is minor compared to a non-tank.), but also this buff creates a shield against a kind of area damage. At set intervals, Glowmore moves to recharge stations, where he casts a random area spell (so dps & healers have to keep moving) and begins charging a large AOE. The shielded tank has to run to a cut off switch in an irradiated area and shut off the charging station before the AOE goes off and wipes the raid. This stuns the boss for 10 seconds allowing the tank to reset to position before the previous stage begins (the tanks could even swap roles at each recharge).

Stacking Avoidance instead of Stamina

November 5, 2010 Leave a comment

… Or how to actually make your Healers wake up a bit and smell the Cataclysm.

Right now the common theory is to stack Stamina and let the Healers sort it out. That kind of thinking is going out of the window in favor of a more complex system of mana management. Taking loads of damage and expecting the Healer to just handle it all just won’t cut it. I am going to ask you for a minute to follow me with this. Warning any and all math involved is going to be brief and simple.

Currently we Gem for Stamina, the only thing with higher priority is Hit and Expertise to their respective caps. At the moment I have a total of 18 Gem slots. Now considering approximately 3 slots worth of those is spent adjusting Hit and Expertise that leaves us 15 to put straight Stam in. Doing so (without any Jewelcrafting or Blacksmithing bonus) would be worth 450 Stamina or basically 4500 HP. Assuming your average Boss swings for about 10k thats two swings worth.

I recently Reforged my gear (using mostly Dodge and Parry) to Mastery netting me a total Block Chance of 40.45%, my Parry and Dodge dropping from about 22.5% each. I then switched my gems to favor Parry, Dodge, and Agility (using some half Stamina Gems in places) which has reduced my Stamina bonus from that 450 to about 180, a loss of 2700 HP. My Parry is currently 20.23 and my Dodge is 20.07 (Parry being more favorable due to the Talent Hold the Line). So Basically in exchange for 4.7% avoidance I Picked up 10% Block all of this is without any buffs. Which is an increase overall. That 5.3% more reductions when spread over an encounter really starts to add up, but basically each boss’ physical swing is reduced by about 1.6% which on that 10k swing means about 160 damage which is more than the difference in a full 30 Stamina Gem and a +15 Stamina + something else gem. Factor in longer fights and Critical Blocks and those numbers start to add up.

The reason all this is important is come Cataclysm our Shield Block will only give us 25% chance to Block increase for 10 Seconds, but will convert the overages of using it that push us above the 100% mark of Block, Dodge, & Parry from Block percentage to Critical Block percentage. We want to be as close to the line as possible. Right now however, what we gain is survivability. I haven’t checked my fully buffed Dodge & Parry ratings, but in the last run in ICC I had a full 40% less damage taken than the off tank. We favor Block a bit because we no longer gain Rage from Dodges and Parries.

With the Healers focusing on keeping Mana managed we need to focus more on keeping down on incoming damage, not how we can just take more of it. Maybe spending the Gold to swap out now isn’t entirely worth it, especially if your guild is on break, but it is definitely something to keep in mind for the future when making Gear choices at 81 and beyond.

Blood an’ Thunder

October 27, 2010 1 comment

I am currently working on a Talent by talent review of the Protection tree, but it has come to my attention that one talent in particular is causing a lot of grief. The general consensus has been reached that at this time the Talent Blood & Thunder is simply not worth taking for a Prot Warrior. There are multiple combined factors that sort of mess into this view. Most of the blogs I have looked at have come to this decision after testing it out. My personal experience agrees with them, but lets break it down point by point.

Rend‘s damage is not substantial enough. That is, in Defensive Stance with a one hand weapon and minimal Attack Power bonuses, a Protection Warrior is going to be doing far less damage per Rend tick than an Arms Warrior would, and the ability is (as it should be) Balanced for Arms. There are two bonuses in Protection that would boost Rend, Thunderstruck (which is a synergistic Talent which gives a 20% damage boost to Rend when maxed out), the other being the Attack Power bonus from Vengeance, which takes a good deal of time to build on a trash pull; leading to my next point.

Cooldowns need to be used effectively and efficiently early in a pull, Charge, Rend, Thunderclap, then start building threat is too long. This seems to be the most easily identified part of the problem. Blood & Thunder forces a change to the “rotation” of a Prot Warrior that is ineffective at holding a single target. A dps attacking the “skull” or main target (or any target, especially if a kill order is not marked) will be able to get off 2 or even 3 (based on Haste) attacks in this time and will probably rip aggro. DPS patience is extremely low and very few will wait 5 to 7 seconds to begin bringing the pain, even if it is in their best interest. Which is just another of the compounding issues.

Speaking of other players, other Tanks still seem to hold snap AoE threat better. My personal experience is from ICC trash with two Paladin Tanks holding trash threat so easily I could hardly get a target to myself. I think this might be more of the time needed to pull off Blood & Thunder just not being effective, but I do just feel worth less on most trash pulls.

Having identified some of the problems, what are possible solutions?

If Rend isn’t hitting hard enough, the obvious solution would be buff Rend. However, Rend is, as I said earlier, balanced around Arms using it, not Prot (Tip: Blood & Thunder is actually useful as a secondary Talent in an Arms PvE build). So buffing the skill directly would not be a likely scenario. Adding a damage boost to Blood & Thunder along the lines of, “When Rend is applied via Blood & Thunder, its damage is increased by 10%/20%” is a reasonable balance and makes the talent more appealing to Arms as well. Lastly, increasing the Rend Damage boost in Thunderstruck could work as well, and wouldn’t in anyway affect Arms’ use of the skill.

If the problem more lies in the time needed, maybe there needs to be an alternate way to apply Rend. A wiser Tank than me suggested glyphing Heroic Throw to apply Rend instead of Sunder Armor. Heroic Throw does open most pulls before the Charge and this may be effective (obviously testing would have to be done). My thought was to add or change one of the Glyphs dealing with Charge itself to apply Rend. Currently we have a Glyph to reduce Charge’s cooldown and one to increase its distance (both of which have more PvP utility than PvE), adding a Glyph that causes Charge to apply Rend to the target would remove one of the cooldown uses and speed up the entire process without altering our toolbox too dramatically.

The final choice is to tell DPS to wait for the Sunders, but the odds of that happening seem low. Any ideas or concerns I missed?

/script DEFAULT_CHAT_FRAME:AddMessage(“\124cff71d5ff\124Hspell:84615\124h[Blood and Thunder]\124h\124r”);

A farewell to Tankingtips

October 26, 2010 Leave a comment is closing. Veneretio was a great blogger. Inspirational is also a good choice of words. He will be missed. He was probably the first blog I ever read on Warrior Tanking. I recommend flipping through the archive at least once, and don’t ignore the comments.

*Flying in on a Blue Dragonhawk* Tales from my introduction to the Cataclysm Beta

September 15, 2010 1 comment

Yes, I’m back again. Where does the time go? As the Title indicates, I succeeded in gathering my 100th mount since I last posted. However, the bigger development is, I won a Beta Key. After a week of the character copy not working, followed by a few days of waiting for the copy request to go through, I have my level 80 Warrior on the Beta Server (Twice actually).

First thing I noticed, the emblem cash out already went through. Gone were my 112 Frost , and 40-something Triumph Emblems, in their place was a nice 500 Justice Points. Cool. Now to the Heirloom Vendor to outfit a Troll Druid… Heirlooms are going for over 400 points a piece… There goes that plan. Thankfully I had copied my Plate Heirlooms and had enough for several happy level 1 Warriors (a Tauren, a Worgen, and an Undead, mostly to see the new starting areas).

I did have quite a few honor points, about 1600. So, I went to check out the PvP Heirlooms in Wintergrasp (the ones you can get with Stone Keeper Shards currently). Wintergrasp was in progress, I decide to queue up, no talents, actions bars still out of wack, but I did. Stupid me. I zone in and see “Zeluminati now Party Leader.” I’m the sole Alliance member of the defense of Wintergrasp. I have never seen this before. A quick glance shows the timer at 5 minutes remaining and a single Horde Siege Vehicle in play. I run to the left and find the outside wall on the West side of the Keep falling to a Catapult. I back pedel around the corner, up the ramp, and into the turret and open fire. The Catapult begins to attack the innerwall. I continue to fire. He finally takes notice and backs up to attack my turret, but it’s too late, and his vehicle crumbles. 3 minutes left, and I discover my adversary is a very mad 85 Orc Hunter. I do my best to survive as he lays into. I die, but I have done my part, time will soon run out, and the inner wall still stands. The PvP 2hand sword only cost 520 honor points, which is far fairer than the change in PvE heirlooms (which will probably be easier to acquire). 1-on-1 Wintergrasp victory, that is indeed a strange feeling.

Next thing up, Race changing one of my Draenei copies to a Worgen (characters on the Beta are randomly recieving Race Changes and Recustomizations everytime the account logs in it seems, and it just so happens one of my copies was flag for one). Current problem is, and character Race Changed to a Worgen is stuck in human form, due to not having done the Gilneas quest line. There IS a work around. Go to Gilneas, die, and use a specific Spirit Healer to get knocked into the starting area’s phase (Will be doing that when I have sometime tomorrow or Friday most likely).

Back to the Draenei. I would like to note, I miss my bag addon, I miss it a LOT. everything is a mess in my bags and bank without it. My bar addon is missed as well, but not as much as the bag one. Anyway, I have set up my talents for the new system. It was HARD! So many interesting choices. I currently have a trash tanking spec and a boss/single target tanking spec. The system is definately more complex than PvE & PvP talents now. The Glyphs were a lot simpler. I think I really had one or two choices I had to decide between, otherwise the 3 levels filled themselves (may have been more difficult if I wasn’t focusing a tree on single and a tree on multi). Replacing a Glyph is NOT free, by the way. You need a reagent called Vanishing Powder. There are 2 forms of it, one costs 8 silver and only works for level 80 and below, the other costs 8 gold and only works for level 81 and up. For of a gold sink for ya.

It was late, so I didn’t feel up to jumping into the new questlines just yet. I did however head on over to Stormwind and pickup my license to fly in Azeroth. I hoped on my Blue Dragonhawk and took to the skies. The New Stormwind is beautiful. Varian has a giant statue in the new Castle Courtyard. There is a graveyard behind the Cathedral, complete with a monument to Varian’s late wife. Next to it is an unmarked Mausoleum. It’s sort of strange that there is no name plate when it over shadows its surroundings. Even more interesting is the fake that the tomb in the center is etched with what appears to be the symbol of Lorderon (The stylized “L”). I’m curious if this is the resting place of Arthas’ body. The only other possibility I could think of would be Anduin Lothar, but I’m not sure where his body ended up after he died at Blackrock.

I (like many others) then flew off to Burning Stepps to kill that dragon that fights the dwarves under the flight path in an area that was previously unaccessable. Satified I hearthed and logged out for bed.

I will definately be posting things here as I continue to explore the future of WoW in the Cataclysm Beta.

Grinding for the Summer

June 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Yes it has been MONTHS, I fail at keeping up with things. Plus it has been a slow couple of months. My guild seems to be in a unique position, we have too many tanks. Our Guild leader is a Bear, we have two full time Paladin tanks, two ret Paladins who offspec as tank, a Death Knight tank (MIA as of late due to connection issues), and me one of two Warrior Tanks (though the other has been away for a bit). This doesn’t include quite a few alts who have moderately geared tanking specs. For about a month or so, I was the main tank of the hastily formed “ICC10 Group 2”.  I and the DK would tank it, we got gear, as well as geared up some of the people who weren’t in the guild’s main group (and at times, the main group would fill in open spots with alts).

Recently the guild has expanded, and since the main group has downed Lich King, and have several Heroic bosses down, the guild leader has decided to refocus our guild to being dominately 25man. This leads to the problem of, who gets to tank? For the past month it has pretty much boiled down to whoever is on first gets to tank (Excluding the Guild Leader, he goes as DPS, has recently switched his offspec from Cat to Moonkin). The raid time is set at 5:30pm server on Wednesday, for me that is a local time of 7:30pm. If I get off work at 6:30 or sooner, I can make that no problem. However, if I get off work at 6:45, rush home, eat, shower, and immediately get on the computer, I’m lucky to make it by 7:45, which usually means I’m out of luck. This past week I didn’t step foot in ICC25. I tanked the 10man run on Friday, which is mostly for alts, lesser geared members, and people who need certain upgrades. In summary, Blah… I may start looking if anyone has openings for tank on Gnomeregan US Alliance side… maybe…

Enough of my Blues, lets move on to the main point of this post, Achievement Grinding. Over the last three weeks I hammered out the Vanilla portion of Loremaster. I enjoyed it. Duskwood and the stories of Jitters and Mor’Ladim are good and all the sights and NPCs show how much excellent work went into the game. Finishing Outland is next on the list (though I am taking a side trip to Grizzly Hills, since only it and Icecrown are left up in Northrend, I figure its a good side trip with lots of throwbacks to the areas I was passing through).

I also am working on gaining Exalted status with the Kalu’ak. Never finished it and since I managed to get ALL of the mounts out of the Argent Tournament I can skip those dalies for a week or two before going back for the tabard (also, need more inventory space, also mount total at 90/100 for the Dragonhawk). The other dalies I’m making a point to hit are the Skyguard ones in both Terokkar and Blade’s Edge, its a long road to Exalted for them as well, so its best to start ASAP. 

I need to get back in the habit of doing older raids on weekends, just seems like too many people fail at them. (This one time in Blackwing Lair… *shudder*)

Taking the Lair

April 2, 2010 Leave a comment

Last night I got into a PUG Blackwing Lair run. There were characters of various levels between 60 and 80, many of whom probably never were there before. Thankfully there was an attuned Warlock in the group to summon people straight in. Oh, did I mention, the person putting it together disconnected at some point before I got summoned?

As I have had to do once before (on my second run of “For the Alliance”) I assumed the defacto role of Raid Leader for 2 reasons:

1. I am the tank (there was a Bear off tanking, but I was better geared, so main tanking).

2. I know most of the encounters from a near full clear on a previous run (server reset as Chromaggus tore the 7 of us apart) and had read Nefarian’s encounter several times (I like dragons).

The group did fine. A little shakey at time with loot and pulling, but we (Shikamaru was handling the Master Looter duties) held it together.

The opening boss went smoothly, as the raid didn’t wipe us. Vael got burned without a single death. Trash was a minor bump.

The biggest irritation was the rooms before Broodlord Lashlayer. Fast respawning adds and traps spraying slowing gas. It was frustrating trying to get the rogues up to disarm them, but we decided to push through and forget the disarming. Took a bit too long, but we survived.

The drake trio and Chromaggus went down smooth. Nef was entertaining. Everyone pilled behind the throne after the first few waves and no one got the debuff. Nef summarily went down hard (did the Hunter call out and broke Shikamaru’s Weapon though).

As the only Shield wielding Tank, and one of only two Warriors (the other being there for the achievement only, I think) I cleaned up in drops. Two old school tank trinkets, and the Chest, Bracers, and Boots for the Tier 2 Battlegear of Wrath set.

I really dig Blackwing Lair. The encounters are cool, the gear all looks Awesome, and I can do it once a week >.>

Also did ZG with a friend’s guild (much drama) and went with a couple friends part way into Kara (Shikamaru brought his 71 Paladin for heals and picked up the Mongoose Enchant off Moroes, which I am now rocking). We cleared through Opera (Oz knockoffs) and will pick it up this weekend.

If you have never done these raids, get some friends together, read up on the basics, and go grab some loot.

P.S. If you qualify to run VoA on 10 or 25, I HIGHLY recommend getting into it everyweek. Got my ilevel264 Gloves last night off of Toravon.