Tanking 101

It’s AB weekend and my baby Hunter is soaking up massive amounts of XP there. The only problem with this is that my adorable little wolf, Corey, falls behind on levels since he doesn’t get the same XP. This means I have to haul his fluffy butt in some random dungeons. Bright and I Q’d for the random and got BRD – Prison, a nice short one. The first time we had a butt pulling Warrior who lost this thunderclap and taunt abilities. The second was a bear who didn’t know what Swipe is. He used Maul so at least he knows that. Bad tanks make even a 10 min BRD run take ages. I am sure they will be good tanks with a little guidance.

Here’s my list of tips for new tanks:

1) Do not butt pull. Pull with an ability or you get no threat on those mobs and immediately loose them when a DPS hits them or the healer gets aggro from healing. Same with auto attack – they generate no threat whatsoever.

2) Please find your AOE ability in your spellbook. Add it to you cast bars. Look for things like Swipe, Consecrate, Thuderclap and Death and Decay. Use them liberally and whenever they are off CD if you have more than one mob on you.

3) Look at your party’s mana bars, especially the healer. If I see the Mage sitting to drink, I’ll give them a second before rushing into the next pack. DPS play a vital part of the group just like a healer. It would take me ages to kill a pack if it was just me and the healer hitting them. Wait a few seconds and shave minutes off a run by waiting for mana.

4) Make sure you have aggro on caster mobs or make an LOS pull to bring them to melee range. Caster mobs away from the main pack are most likely to peel off and munch on the healer.

5) Turn the bad things away from the group. Mobs like Abominations and snakes should always be faced away since they spew poison and disease – making more work for the healer. It is good practice to turn all mobs away since kitty Druids and Rogues have abilities that only hit the backs of mobs.

6) Do not let the mobs get behind you. They do more damage to you if they are attacking your behind. The best way to do this is to take a few steps backwards. They will automatically get positioned in front of you.

7) Pull mobs out of the bad stuff on the floor so your DPS doesn’t have to stand in it, too. This would be anything on the floor that isn’t the same color and/or pattern as the rest of the floor.

8 ) Once you have all the mobs in front of you and out of bad stuff, stay put. Don’t drag them all around the room and out of DPS range. Stay your ass in one safe spot so that DPS can channel whatever and kill them quick so you can move on to the next pack.

9) Know where your healer is at all times. This goes with watching their mana bar. Do not go into another room to pull unless the healer is with you. A healer drinking in another room way over yonder during a pull is just a recipe of disaster unless you over gear the content by a significant margin.

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Preparation

My baby Hunter hit Level 40 this morning and I have been working towards her level 80 gear. My Druid is a leather worker so I can make some really nice stuff for her – including the 264 boots and legs. I have spent some time farming leather and arctic furs in Zul’Drak here and there. I have been running my daily heroics to get Frost Badges for the P Saronites for the crafted stuff. (I have enough for 7 so far – should have enough to make the gear by the time I hit 80.)

I have done this with both of my two level 80 alts. It never occurred for me to do it any differently. I knew I was going to hit 80 with them from around level 30 or so. I had 50-odd levels to get my ducks in a row. I did my research and found out what crafted stuff I could get. I was lucky to be part of a guild with crafters that had most of what I needed so I farmed the mats or bought them on the AH for cheap. My Druid dinged 80 with almost 2 full gear sets – feral and resto. I just needed to do heroics for off pieces and upgrades. Weapons were an issue, as well. I think I used that level 77 polearm for a couple of weeks before the feral staff dropped in heroic VH.

My Pally was pretty easy to gear since I was only ever Holy with her. Kells made me all the plate things I needed and I got the mail boot pattern for my Druid to make for her

I was able to jump right into the ICC 5 mans with both of them – minutes after I hit level 80. All the gear I had amassed over the weeks of leveling had been gemmed and enchanted – ready to be put on. When I knew 80 was close, I even put the gear in my bags. Amazingly enough, I dinged 80 on both my Druid and Pally in Culling of Stratholme. I asked my party to give me a second and I put on all my level 80 gear right then and there. Then we finished the instance…

It is just natural for me to do this preparation because it’s what I do all the time. My bags are full with trinkets, different buff foods or flasks for every situation. Don’t have enough haste? I have stuff for that. We’re on Dreamwalker – I have spellpower food and flasks. I need some extra mp5 – put on Tears of the Vanquished and drink a Pure Mojo flask.

I can’t imagine someone else not doing at least some little bit of preparation. Even my Priest had stuff prepared for 80 and she was my first character ever.

Which brings me to today…  

The random dungeon finder is everything that isn’t random. I’ve been stuck with DTK for the last week or so. I zoned in and said hello to everyone. They were a nice chatty bunch – a change from most pugs. The DK tank had around 30k health with my King’s buff – no big deal. She wasn’t getting crit on so all the better. I notice the casters off the bunch are taking a lot of damage. Both Mage and ‘Lock are standing in the black pancakes of doom. I asked them to exit them – which they did. They even made some pancake jokes. That’s why I say something so absurd about those void zones because it gets people’s attention and they move most of the time. The tank didn’t turn the aboms away (no one ever does) before the first boss.

We get to the first boss. And it takes FOREVER to kill him. I mean a LONG time. I look at my fellow puggies. The tank is around 4200 GS and the DPS were all kicking at around 2300 GS. The Mage is rocking the T9 shoulders over the BOA chest and staff. The tiny ‘Lock was all in quest rewards and stuff I had honestly never seen before. Nothing gemmed or enchanted. The kitty Druid was the same way but his stuff was gemmed and enchanted. He managed his aggro really well where the casters were constantly pulling off the baby DK tank.

We troop on to the second boss. Everyone but the Mage is downstairs fighting the adds. I run up the stairs to help the Mage out because she’s getting eaten alive by those sissy mobs. She’s only got like 13K health and not doing much damage so I start DPSing the mobs. I look over and she’s almost dead after 2 or 3 hits. She didn’t Iceblock or Blink away from them. She must have trusted me to heal her up rather than giving me an inch to get it done.

I’m in the middle of a Holy Light cast when she dies. I was still mostly raid buffed with my haste food and my haste elixir – sitting at almost 900 haste. I felt like it was the first day hitting level 15 and not having any haste at all – trying to heal a chain pulling tank with no mana. They were taking SO much damage that I could barely keep up. The heals that seemed so fast before seemed to take ages to reach their target. Even instant Holy Shocks and Flash of Lights took ages to land. Time slowed down and my hand clinched my mouse so hard to actually hurt my fingers. I don’t think I blinked the entire time I was in there.

The tank was doing so well and everyone was so earnest that I couldn’t just leave them, regardless of my aching hand and shot vision. I rez’d the Mage after a 4 minute boss fight and apologized for her death. The ‘Lock sent me a tell saying that “she should have been on the bottom” and it was her fault she died. He said everyone should be on the ground floor because that’s the way he did it “once before”. I explained to him there should be 2 people up top and 2 people on the floor for adds. He didn’t say anything after that.

We went to King Dred with surprisingly no problems. The little hallway up to the last boss was pretty nice. I was still healing my tail off. Maybe I had gotten used to them by then – I don’t know. They were super nice people and I was so happy when the Druid got the arpen trinket that dropped. I really got behind those people and rooted for them.

But… damn people… Could you not have prepared to hit 80? Especially you, Ms. Mage. You are in BOA’s so this isn’t your first character. I can understand not getting a Merlin’s Robe or the 226 crafted chest because of gold restrictions. There is a really decent blue cloth chest that’s BOE that you can get on the AH pretty cheap – at least get one of those!

I know Heroics are to gear people. But there is a difference between people who prepare for stuff and people who just waltz into them, waiting to be carried. I am so torn because they were really nice people and I have no idea what they are going through in real life – maybe they didn’t have much time to play. On the other hand, it’s not like they didn’t have time to get prepared for level 80 because they spent how much time to get to 80 in the first place? You can’t tell me that they were taken by surprise when level 80 hit and thought… oh, wow I didn’t see that coming…

For the Horde… Denied!…

  … At least for as long as I was in SW… heh

I was running around Dalaran when Trade chat lit up with Horde in SW! Horde on the Tram! “Oh, hell no”, I thought to myself. I took my Druid ass out to the Tram to see what was going on. 

Now my Druid has NO PvP gear at all but I do have about 50K health self buffed and all manner of defensive CDs. I waited at the Tram entrance with some other 80’s and a crazy ass level 11 dwarf warrior. They started coming almost as soon as I got there. My bear lasted a good 10 seconds before going splat. I took a Tauren Tree with me, by god! 

I started to think it was pretty lame going splat that soon on my Druid so I hopped on my PvP geared Priest and joined the montley crew of Ally to protect the King. By then a good group of us had gathered. People of all classes and levels came together to fight for King Varian. We pushed them back from him and waited… and waited… and waited… Damn Horde graveyard is so far away that people started leaving, thinking it was over. I knew better. There were still a few Hordies hiding in the Keep so we cleaned them out. Still waiting… There came some trade chatter that they were in Goldshire – we cleared them out of there. I thought it was a good time to get my Druid her body back so logged over to my dead druid. 

I get back to SW and there’s more trade chatter about Horde in the Tram – again. My body is still at the tram entrance so I rez and a lone Troll Shaman decides it’s a good idea to try to gank me at half health. I would have had troubles with an ICC shaman but this was a fresh 80 in dungeon blues and a few purples. Needless to say he suffered a horrible bear induced death before that same Tauren Tree came out of the Tram portal. Oops… good bye Tree – again. Cropcircle, you are such a good sport to keep coming out and getting killed! (I know you were the spy – telling the rest of the Horde that we were all still standing there waiting.) I even remember your name! It’s cute… 

The cowardly Horde kept zoning in and out of the Tram portal. I guess they were looking to see if we were still there and surprise! We totally were still there. We took a few of them down before they could zone back to the Tram. I accidently got into the portal as I charged a Priest and followed him back. I was met with about 30 Horde and a summoning stone – oh shit. They almost had me killed when I zoned back. A very nice 77 Disco Priest healed me back to full as we waited some more to come out. 

And come out they did! All of their raid group came out at once and killed my little group of Tram defenders. Luckily, we still had lots of Ally at the King – even some that had come for the first wave. There were a few bewildered new players running around, trying to turn in quests or just wanted to see what was going on. A few of them had the bad luck of getting caught in the mess and dying. We rez’d a few low levels and sent them on their way. 

At that point it had been about an hour and I was tired of playing with the Horde. I got on the flight path to get attuned to Molten Core and left SW behind. I looked at Cropcircle’s armory today and it does look like they finally got the King down. (He’s not one for achievements so I can only imagine he was pretty bored or the raid leader’s friend.) They did get all the leaders down but at least we gave them a good run at it. 

I didn’t used to protect the leaders before I PvP’d a lot. Now, don’t you dare mess with MY King! I love King Varian! Poor guy’s been through a lot… His wife died, he was kidnapped and forced into killing, his best friend became the Lich King and tried to destroy the world… SW is about to be destroyed by Deathwing… Poor guy can’t catch a break! I ❤ King Varian and I’ll do whatever it takes to protect him. 

Also, I am kind of a sucky Guardian of Cenarius – seeing that I killed that poor Tauren Tree a few times. I know we shouldn’t fight each other because we are Druids and on a higher standard… but… but… he started it! /pout 

Also… Stay off my King, bitches!

New and Improved Cata Bucket List

As new information is coming out about Cataclysm I’ve had to re-do my bucket list. The biggest change will have to be getting the parts together for a legendary weapon to help the guild get the Dark Phoenix mount. I’m still a little sketchy on the details but it seems like you can get the parts and then put them together after Cataclysm hits to get credit for it. I have a few options. I can get the healer mace on my Priest, or the DPS weapons for my Pally or Druid. None of them are “easy” to get – even the old level 60 ones. I am thinking of doing Thunderfury on my Pally. I need to go to MC for the Lawbringer set, might as well get it done at the same time.

General to do List:

1) Save up at least 30K gold. I’m sitting at 27K right now but my Hunter is going to need some gear when she hits 80. The 245 bracers and chest are really nice. I make a couple of thousand a week with my alchemy so it shouldn’t be much of an issue. I really, really want to do the Hilt quest line, too.

2) Read more Lore… especially about our smexy King Varian… oh yeah! (Must find hot VarianxArthas fan fiction)

3) Have a good stock of Northrend mats to get those last few profession skill points before Cataclsym patterns and mats.  

For the Priest:

1) Glory of the Hero proto drake. Only have 6 more achievements to go!

2) See all of Ulduar and Naxx

3) Get the Explorer title.

4) Northrend and Outlands Loremaster achievements done.

For the Pally:

1) Full Lawbringer set.

2) All the parts to make Thunderfury.

3) Damn shield from ICC 25! >< Stupid thing… Even thought it will be replaced the first couple days in Cataclysm – I want it!

For the Druid:

1) Ravenlord mount.

For the Hunter:

1) Get to level 80 with cute, fluffy pets.

2) Tame a spirit beast, preferably a kitty.

Things I have had it with:

  1) Suck ass tanks. Get your shit together before you tank my run. I had a Prot Pally the other day that forgot to switch gear when he zoned in. He noticed after a few pulls, said he was sorry, swapped gear and off we went again. I understand mistakes happen. But if your big bear ass is pointed to the caster mob that is eating my face off – you are a suck ass tank. Also, never tank an abom facing the group. I have to tell every tank I come into contact with not to tank them facing the group. I am convinced all the good tanks have either quit the game or quit doing randoms for badges. If I didn’t have a baby hunter in the works I wouldn’t step my ass into another heroic until Cataclysm. My hunter is going to look really cute in the 264 crafted pants and boots so I keep doing them for saronites. I have mostly stopped doing the raid weekly quests unless it’s something I like such as Jaraxxus.

2) Going to raids and never getting anything to show for it except a repair bill and some badges. The only upgrades for any of my 80s are from 25 mans or heroic 10 mans – which we can’t do yet. This means its pugs or nothing. I still have yet to see the shield or the plate gloves on 25 ICC in all the weeks since I’ve been there on my Pally. I turned 80 on 22 May – 3 months ago. I did my first ICC 25 on 01 June so I’ve been there every week since then – 10 weeks total and nothing but the borderline crappy 264 shoulders to show for it. 

3) Having to run 25 mans for better gear. I hate 25 mans with an all out passion. It lags my connection down and it lacks any feeling of community with the other people. Maybe I would feel different if I was in a guild that did 25 mans but I’m not. I prefer the intimacy of a 10 man. Cataclysm will be a much needed change of pace. Instead of doing 6 different raids on my 3 toons I can now do half as many for the same gear. I love it! 

4) I am sick of doing to same old things everyday. The same dailies, the same dungeons, the same quests, the same raids, etc. I am tired of it. The only thing that really challenged me was 2 healing Ulduar. We 7 manned Tempest Keep with me being the only healer and it was glorious because it wasn’t the same thing for the millionth time. I thought about doing Loremaster and I’m half way through the old content but I’m getting so bored with it… I really don’t know if I’ll make it to 100 mounts before Cataclysm because I can’t imagine doing all that rep grinding… 

5) I am sick of waiting for Brewfest. Just get here already! Perhaps Lady RNG will be kind to me and give me a mount this year. I would settle for the remote but a mount would be so nice!

Skywall Adventures

I am so blessed to have the love and support of a great man. His love is so great that he farmed me this:

I can haz Hyacinth Macaw?

 And yes, I did fall off that stupid dock multiple times. It isn’t a trip to Booty Bay without me falling off that damn dock. WTB wider ramp to the boat.

I finally got the other wing achievements on ICC 10! I don’t feel like a scrub anymore. It was hard to explain why my main doesn’t have the wing achievements when my Druid alt does. The new guild is still learning the fights and how we all work together so it took us a few attempts at Prof P to get him down. I am disappointed the game wouldn’t let me /kick his dead body… but oh well…

/kick

We put in a few attempts at Lich King. I found myself having to explain the fight to everyone since I had actually done it many… many… many times. It was fun answering everyone’s questions and I felt kinda special. We saw the second phase a few times and I got carried away by the Val’Kyr for the first time ever. It’s amazing to me that she had never picked me up before.

Also, why the hell is Arthas so damn big? Would he not be intimidating to us if he were regular sized? Does his sword have to be person-sized so that we can stand up in it? I understand he’s a boss and all but he was human once. He is normal sized in CoS and in the old, old cinematics. Anyways… I just want to know if… um… *all* of him is in proportion?

My, what a large sword you have...

 Speaking of which! I re-rolled my Hunter and the first dungeon she entered was Ragefire Chasm. I found myself giving my Gift of the Naaru to the tank as the healer was having problems keeping him up. The tank was grateful and this happened:

Famous Last Words

 I love my hunter to bits. Her first pet was the rare spawn pink plainstrider flamingo that I named Pinklet. That damn pet is the strangest pet ever. He likes to randomly seek out critters and kill them. He runs away from me and kills snakes, bunnies, frogs – you name it and there he goes after it. I don’t tell him to do this – he does it on his own. He’s pretty funny in PvP. I can’t imagine how embarrassing it would be to be killed by a pink flamingo.

Pinklet laughs in the face of the Horde

 As I have said before, trade chat is rather lively on Skywall. People really express themselves freely. Bright and I were inbetween Arena matches to come back to all sorts of trade chat oddness like penis jokes and murloc movie titles.

If I had not already been in a raid, I would have joined this one. I love the honesty of it all… I hate healers who do nothing!

A valid point, I think

 I really don’t talk in other people’s vents because when I do talk I get all sorts of stuff like “OMG an actual girl!” or this:

/facepalm

I love that floor in ICC, btw. I think it’s amazing. I wish my floor at home looked like that.
The damn white polar bear mount refuses to drop for me from the big blue girls. I have a nice supply of snowballs and goat cheese for my troubles. At least I can still amuse myself with it…

That cannot be comfortable

 Oh, look! An Earthbender! Now to find a Waterbender, an Airbender and a Firebender…

Don't look at my crap tank set!

I think this was maybe the second raid Bright and I had gotten into once we got to Skywall. It made us question our move. This raid leader then went on to ninja the Paladin PvP pants so we left, wondering what the hell kind of back water server we found ourselves on… Also in the raid was a Priest called Helpme and a warrior called Tanknspank – who was not a tank…

Oh yeah, you can totally 26 man a 25 man instance... tard...

 I have a confession: I didn’t listen to Chris explaining the Mimiron flight in Ulduar. All I could think was OMG I AM ON THE TRAIN!!!! I’ve always wanted to see the damn train in Ulduar and never thought I would. I took a lot of screen shots of it…

ZOMG... train!!!

 My Druid is one step closer to both of my goals for her before Cataclysm drops. She did the second greatest quest in the game. I felt really motherly during this quest…

Is it just me or are they going for my tail?

And finally! My Druid has joined the ranks of the greatest Druids in all Azeroth! I am now a Guardian of Cenarius!

Woot!

Skywall Does Things Oddly

  The server change still has Bright and me shaking our heads at some of the stuff that happens here. We experienced this before after the dungeon finder came out and people across servers were thrown together. It was interesting to see how tanks from different servers would pull mobs in a seemingly odd way or how people talked or not talked in /p. Some servers seemed to be populated by nothing but d-bags and others seemed to have nothing but nice, friendly people. It was all very odd until we got used to it. It was like extended family members that you don’t see enough to really get to know but you are familiar with them and their eccentricities.

Being on Skywall is like that but on a more grand scale. We have to relearn how people do things. It is amazing how different people can play through the same content but does it in odd and colorful ways. We have seen both extremes in this. We had a DK tank with over a 6500 GS drag us through DTK in less than 9 minutes – leaving us all breathless in wonder. Then we had a warlock who thought it was really cool to hide behind the loot box for the duration of the Brann event in HoS – all the while telling Bright that he was going to do more DPS than Bright’s 6K GS Boomkin who constantly pulls around 11-13K DPS. 

The thing that really takes the cake is raiding on Skywall. They really, really like doing old raids. There is constantly an AQ40 or a Black Temple run going on. People love doing all sorts of old content like Molten Core or ZG. You can’t look at trade without seeing someone LFM for all sorts of old stuff. They really know how to enjoy the whole of the content and not just the current “end game”. On Suramar, you could never get enough people to do old world stuff – ever. I would even go as far to say that Skywall farms old content. This is good for me who likes to collect old gear. 

Speaking of trade chat – people really speak their minds in it. It’s amazing. The trade chat is really lively all the time. Suramar just had a few people that would stir the shit every now and then but Skywall has lots of people who do that. 

The trade trolls are treated differently, too. They aren’t as extreme as Brismore on Suramar was – he would start out the day by bashing the president or some other nonsense to get people riled up. He was a special kind of self-aware troll and did it to get a rise out of people. These Skywall trolls must be ignorant as to real effect they have on people. They know they get a rise out of people but not the one they were hoping for. I know my guildies and I are usually laughing at their idiocy instead of having an angry emotional reaction. 

Also, when doing “end game” ICC raids – people aren’t vetted in the same way as Suramar. I know we spent close to an hour filling an ICC 25 to look at people’s armories or achievements. There is no such thing on Skywall. You just PST the raid leader with your GS and you’re in – simple as that. I have some really nice 264 PVP gear I can throw on to “up” my GS if I wanted but I don’t because I don’t think its right. I am one of those people who use what works not just what is good for GS numbers. If that was the case, I would have rolled on a 264 caster neck in ICC 25 the other day with out any haste on it for my Pally. Bright got on to me about not rolling on it. I really didn’t care to lose the haste on my 232 neck from FoS. I’ve already compromised on the 264 shoulders over the T10 ones with haste and didn’t want to do that again. The 232 neck works just as well for what I need it to do. 

That being said, you also run into specimens like I did last week. There were 3 Holy Paladin healers and some Trees. One of the Pallies was really nicely geared and had a great Holy Light spec. He had the shield from 25 TotC to boot. The other Pally was just terrible. I can over look gear if the gear he had was itemized or gemmed correctly. 

Things this Pally did mind bogglingly wrong: 

* Caster + hit off hand from Lady D. You’re a Paladin, for fuck’s sake – get a shield. Farm regular PoS like I did or get the ilvl 200 one off the AH. 

* The Meta gem he used I didn’t even knew existed. It was something like +2% critical healing effect. Eh? His other gems included hybrid + spirit gems. *head desk

* His spec was 63 points into Holy, 5 in Prot and the rest in Ret. He spent so many points in Holy and didn’t get Imp Lay on Hands. Just… wow… 

* He spec’d into the range extending talent for judgments and not once judged anything on any target. 

* He constantly picked different tanks for his Beacon and SS to be on. He would never stay on the same tank but instead chose to muck around with my tank or the other Pally’s tank. This was a bit frustrating to me since I have my Vuhdo to track Beacons and SS. 

I could go on and on about this Paladin. He must only have around 200 haste total. He got the Mark of the Fallen Champion and didn’t even Beacon or heal himself. Ugh… The point is that this person would have been laughed out of any raid on Suramar and would most certainly have not been allowed into a Virtus raid to begin with. 

This little asshole had a better GS than me, too. I make decisions about gear based on stats not GS potential. Look at my damn shield. I could easily have had the same caster off hand or the off hand from H HoR to pad my GS but I won’t do it. I need a shield. I have DPS spells that require a shield to use. Paladins are designed to use shields, period. I don’t think it is ever acceptable for a Paladin to rock anything but a shield for an off hand. 

So… yeah… the transition from Suramar to Skywall is still on going. I have pretty much given up on PVP for this battle group. I will never get Justicar or “of the Alliance” title here. I have come to terms with it. The next crazy goal is Loremaster before Cataclysm. I hate questing – we shall see how far I get…