Tanking for Dummies

So a Warrior Walks into a Pug…
February 27, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Advice for Non Tanks, Humor, Rants | Tags: , ,


I will fully admit I have a ingrained hatred of pugging.  Part of this is being spoiled by having great guild mates and being married to my healer.  The other part is that as my gear gets better, it is less and less cost effective to pug.  There’s not even much I can buy for Emblems of Heroism.

So every time I enter a pug, I find myself sizing up my group mates according to the stereotypes I’ve accrued over past experiences.  If I’ve never met you before, I’ll admit, I am going to be thinking of you as the worst of your kind (and believe me I’ve seen bad).  That tendency, I have begun to realize, is exactly the sort of behavior that I get into in other RPGs.

Especially those from the old World of Darkness.

Color me black, but I’ve played my share of Vampires, Werewolves, Mages, and Fairies.  And, invariably, I always found the blurbs that the game designers included on the stereotypes that one group has of other groups to be simply fascinating.  Especially in that whole spirit of, learning what the worst in your faction/class is like.  It’s like preparing for the worst (and also learning a bit about what NOT to do when you are playing a certain faction or class).  In that spirit, may I present the words of Tarsus, Cow-Who-Takes-it-in-the-Face.

Death Knights: I get that you’re the new kid on the block, but you’ve managed to level to 80 and it has been a few months – can’t you possibly just remember to do basic things?  Death Grip Casters?  Use Death and Decay?  Control your pet?  And no, I don’t f**king care if you’re frost spec-ed, you can’t tank.

Druids: You know, don’t you think it is somewhat ironic that you’re killing those critters?  Aren’t you supposed to be a guardian of nature or something?  Balance you say?  Well, I suppose we need some DPS.  Do you have a spell other than Moonfire?  Oh, you’re a cat now.  You know, this is taking a long time, do you think you could innervate the priest?  No, no, the priest, not the warrior.  I don’t even have mana!  And now… why is it Immune?  Cyclone, full duration?  ARG!

Hunters: Look, I’m very sorry you got hit in the face with the nerf stick, I really am, but can you please use something besides volley now?  And… wait, an axe?  A pair of axes?  Get out of Melee and shoot it, SHOOT IT.  No your damn pet can’t tank.  I don’t care if it’s a tenacity, or a buffalo, or a walrus or anything else.  It looks like a rhino to me.

Mages: Our priest says you haven’t buffed her or summoned anything to drink.  Oh, you forgot to buy reagents.  I see how it is.  And… did you really have to use Frost Nova?  Now the Melee DPS is dead.  You… sheeped.  Well, that lasted all of two seconds – you know I can AoE tank, you don’t have to hold back.  Oh, you’re dead.  That was fast.  Well, I guess there’s always the next pull.

Paladins: My what… delightful dragon ball hair you have.  Ah, I see you’re at least wearing plate and carrying a large sword.  You know you should at least try and ditch those boots “of the whale.”  What are you doing now?  Why the hell do you have Righteous Fury on?  And now you want to heal?  Take it up with the priest.  If you tell the story one more time how you were able to do 9000 DPS durring beta I am going to hit you in the face with my shield.

Priests: You know my wife is a priest.  She’s rather good at this so… oh, you’re shadow.  I see.  Well, I guess replenishment is pretty awesome.  So, hey, HEY, quit pulling agro!  I thought they did something about Vampiric Embrace?  What the hell is Dispersement?  Why is the other priest dead?  Can’t you drop out of shadow form and heal or something?  ANYTHING?!  Crap, I’m dead.

Rogues: Are you a unicorn or something?  For real?  Okay,  I promise I’ll try not to outdo you on the DPS meters or anything.

Shaman: Are you sure that it’s safe to DPS in that skirt?  It’s mail?  Are you sure?  Well, if you say so – Oh God did you just pull with Chain Lightning?  I thought you were Enhancement!  You are Enhancement!  Well, then, you’re dead now but at least I have agro.  Wait now you’re up again and… you did not just drop stoneclaw totem.  I think you just made a cute baby Tauren cry.

Warriors: Hey there bro.  Nope, no worries, I got this tanking bit down.  Just get out the two-handers and lets get this show on the… what do you mean you don’t own a two-hander?  What kind of spec is that?  Did you grow up in a barn?  Are you wearing leather?  And… daggers.  You know my last group had a rogue.  I totally beat him on the DPS meters.  Do you want to go and commiserate?  What exactly does “Warrior get big bonus from rushing!” mean anyway?  Hello?  Oh f**k.

Warlocks: You have shards don’t you?  Ah… you don’t?  I guess that explains why you’re Demonology but still have the imp out.  Go… drain a soul or something.   And make me a Healthstone.  Now Soulstone the priest.  No, THE PRIEST.  The one with the HALO.  You Soulstoned your pet? That is amazing.  Just… amazing.  You know what, I think I’m going to call that rogue back, he was pretty nice for a guy who likes to stab people in the kidneys.   /boot


14 Comments so far
Leave a comment

>My what… delightful dragon ball hair you have.

Bloomin’ Onion-head humans are KoS. If I see one I will immediately drop whatever I am doing to death grip them over and scourge strike them in the face.

>What exactly does “Warrior get big bonus from rushing!” mean anyway?

It’s totally true and you know it.

Also in the long run leather is probably still going to be BiS for deeps warriors :( Stupid terrible plate itemization; we really don’t need 2-3x as much stamina as the rogues, I promise. You can spend those points on something useful, we won’t mind.

Thankfully DKs have enough strength-specific talents (especially if you’re unholy for permaghoul + glyph) that I can still justify it.

Comment by Yuki

@ Yuki – I’m sure the ret pallies will happily return fire with super-sayan wings of death. Plate itemization considered, leather hasn’t seemed to grand to me either. Too much haste.

Comment by Tarsus

Article made me giggle, cheers! Druid and shaman parts are so true it hurts to think about, although, its far more common to not see a single totem dropped over the course of an instance run.

Oh, and I cant believe you left out Death knights and their army of dead thing, I’ve run into so many of them who pop that whenever its ready…

Comment by Vads

@ Vads – Fortunately, most of the grouping I’ve done with Death Knights in pugs have been low enough level for them to not have that ability yet. That said, man, it is irritating for that to be popped on a boss, even with non-pug DKs. I don’t see why they have to taunt it.

Comment by Tarsus

To be fair, Army of the Dead is a LOT of deeps >.> Also they don’t taunt raid bosses, although they do taunt adds and instance bosses.

The problem of plate vs. leather is more that leather spends its points on mostly dps stats while plate spends an inordinate amount of its budget on stamina for reasons that elude me. The result is that after a certain point, the extra dps stats on the leather, even if they’re not ideal (usually it has agility, which is kind of a crappy stat for the plate classes, and agi, which loses out itempoint-for-itempoint with strength), eventually end up outweighing the fact that the plate tends to itemize stats that would otherwise tend to be “better” (str & crit rating). Right now, the difference is small, especially if you’ve picked up the armor->AP talents, but as gear scales upwards it appears that the leather will eventually be better again.

Granted, this also ignores set bonuses, but they tend to be “worth” about the same amount per tier, so they also eventually fall out of the picture.

Comment by Yuki

@ Yuki – I can guarantee they taunt raid bosses, at least those that are vulnerable to it. This irritates the heck out of me on KZ because positioning him is so crucial for melee DPS survivability.

Comment by Tarsus

Hrm, I just tested this last week when I heard about it and they clearly weren’t. Strange.

Comment by Yuki

I laughed so hard I cried!

Comment by BillyWallace


Comment by Seri

Okay, correct me where I’m wrong here . . . but I don’t use Death and Decay and I thought I had a good reason for it. I mean, I do use D&D, but you make it sound like it should be the Death Knight version of Thunderclap and I use it more like a Challenging Shout.

Howling Blast is, hands down, the key to AoE tanking for Frost spec. Not all by itself, of course. Without some development, Death & Decay has it beat on damage alone, not to mention threat . . . but I assume you know the routine: Icy Blast, Pestilence, Deathchill or Killing Machine proc, Howling Blast. Specced for it, those 3-4 GCDs will generate at least as much threat on everything I’m tanking as a full 10 seconds of Death & Decay. Note that I didn’t say *as much damage* . . . no, it will generate significantly *more* damage and *as much threat*.

Death & Decay takes the runes Howling Blast needs. Plus the rune I need to spread Frost Fever through my opponents.

I certainly wouldn’t suggest spamming Howling Blast after each 5 second cooldown. But I do try to set up its use as the primary tool. Be patient. Take as many swings as I can (esp. Strikes!) to proc Killing Machine and watch for it to proc. Keep Frost Fever up so I don’t waste the Killing Machine on an Icy Touch. If I’ve got a blood rune up, Blood Strike! Convert it into a Death Rune because otherwise, the necessary Icy Touch’s are sometimes gonna’ leave me a Frost Rune short when I want to Howl. I certainly want to avoid using those runes on an ability unrelated to Howling Blast!

Like Death & Decay.

Unless I really have to. ‘Cause D&D does have its place. It’s got a longer range and wider radius than Howling Blast. If a situation comes up that requires me to reach mobs faster than I can run there and set up a good Howling Blast, then Death & Decay gets the job done sufficiently. A patrol adds on and rushes, the healer, for example, I’ll throw D&D around him. Sometimes “getting the job done sufficiently” is better than simply maximizing threat.

At least, that’s my reasoning. Is it flawed?

Comment by Jack

@ Jack – Bear in mind, my DK isn’t frost, so I’m flying on what I can read as opposed to personal experience.

According to the tank spot guide here: http://www.tankspot.com/forums/f14/40694-death-knight-aoe-spec-mt-spec-rotations.html

… you should open with Death and Decay for multi-mob tanking and every other rotation after that. The reason for this, I suspect is that Death and Decay has innately higher threat (almost double, at 1.9 times damage). I won’t quote the entire article here, but it is pretty too the point, not long. Howling blast has a role, but DnD is a pretty incredible ability.

Comment by Tarsus

Cool beans, thx.

I’ll have to take it up with them, then. The idea is that D&D is an inefficient use of runes which will mean fewer high damage Howling Blasts. Sure D&D gets a nice threat multiplier, but threat is still a damage based function and if you can get Howling Blasts to generate more than 1.9 times the damage D&D does, then Howling Blast becomes a better threat generator.

And by using runes efficiently enough to get multiple Howling Blasts and force them to crit, you sure can generate that much damage.

Comment by Jack

@ Jack – Doing some self testing could also help. It takes a little bit of practice to swap rotations I’ve found, but doing one rotation one week and another rotation another week and looking at your threat numbers could give you the information you’re looking for.

And, you know, depending on what you’re doing, favoring Howling Blast could be better. If you’re killing things before DnD has a chance to run its course, HB’s burst threat would seem to be an advantage.

Comment by Tarsus

Since I just started tanking with my frost DK (only at 66) I always open with a DnD but don’t bother using it after every other rotation once I’ve made the pull. When I’m in a group as DPS I usually find my dps to be better when I don’t use DnD than when I do, so for aoe dps I have dropped it from my rotation.

Comment by Priestgiblet

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