Tanking for Dummies

Cows Can’t Dance
March 2, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Advice for Non Tanks, Raiding, Stupid Tanking | Tags: , , , ,

Ah Heigan.  Dance Master of Naxxaramas.  Room studio full of traps and other nastiness.  Slayer of lagged players.


I have issues with Heigan.  Not, however, because of lag.  I have issues with the famous lord of the dance because the man’s traps are a pathetic green candle next to my steel clad bovine pecs.

Or, more specifically, I have way too many hit points.

Now, this may seem like a very minor point.  I mean, honestly, how bad can having great gobs of health be?  When You’re wearing epics, isn’t this kinda thing… inevitable?

Well yes, but so is the following scenario.

Cast of Characters

Heigan – The infamous dance master of Naxxaramas.

Tarsus – Our Hero Noob, the unfortunately over healthy Tank.

Vesht – esteemed leader and vocalist.

a motley crew of dps – raiders and pirates most of them.

Act II, Scene 3

A large and dimly lit dance studio.  HEIGAN in a tutu dress with a cow skull on his head stands at the platform in front of the room.  He seems impatient.

VESHT, TARSUS, and a motley crew of dps enters via stage right.  VESHT is carrying many colorful shapes attached to hats.

VESHT: We meet again dance master!

HEIGAN cackles maniacally.

HEIGAN: I see that half your raid has latency over 200!  This should be fun.

VESHT: You will never defeat us fiend!  Tarsus!  Tank him!

TARSUS: But boss!  You know what happens when I do this!

VESHT: No excuses!  Here, wear this.

VESHT places a hat with a LARGE BLUE SQUARE on it on TARSUS’ head.

TARSUS: What is this for?

VESHT: So the hordes will know where to go durring the dance.

The MOTLEY CREW OF DPS emit piratical noises.

VESHT: The natives are getting restless, now get a move on!

TARSUS: Yes sir!


HEIGAN: Have at thee!

TARSUS: Not in the face!

motley crew of dps:  Arr! Epics!  Plunder!

HEIGAN runs away to his platform.

VESHT: The dance is about to start!  Get in position!

VESHT and the MOTLEY CREW OF DPS gather closely around TARSUS at stage left.  The LARGE BLUE SQUARE is clearly visible.

HEIGAN: Now we shall see which of you has Comcast as your internet service provider!  Dance my pretties!  Dance!

GREEN FLAMING DEATH erupts in all places except where VESHT, TARSUS, and the MOTLEY CREW OF DPS are standing.

VESHT: And right two three…

VESHT and TARSUS move to the right, TARSUS more so.  Half the MOTLEY CREW OF DPS are grouped around VESHT.  The the other half is around TARSUS.

VESHT: You’re too far!

GREEN FLAMING DEATH erupts in all places save where VESHT and his half of the MOTLEY CREW OF DPS are standing.  TARSUS appears lightly singed.  The MOTLEY CREW OF DPS around TARSUS have a dramatic and overwrought DEATH SCENE.

a motley crew of dps member: mein lieben!

another motley crew of dps member: I see the light!

TARSUS: Boss!  I killed the raid again!

VESHT replaces the hat with the LARGE BLUE SQUARE with a hat with a LARGE WHITE SKULL.

VESHT: There, stay away from the Tank!  And right again two three…

The Dance continues.


I cannot even begin to tell you how much this happens, but it says something important about this fight.  Well, two things really.  The first thing is that you shouldn’t follow the guy who can live through the entire dance even if he gets hit with every blast.  Not that I get hit with every blast or anything.

The second thing is that you shouldn’t follow anyone.  Seriously.  The dance is fast enough that the lag between your client and the square (or skull) you’re following will just murder you.  If you doubt me, when you next die on this fight, watch the distance between the leading edge and trailing edge of your raid.  It’s like a scatter chart of latency.  Since the server is where the damage is calculated, the time you have to move is much shorter than it appears and if you die early, you’ll be able to see the trailing edge of your raid take damage (provided, of course, that people are failing at the dance).

So how to actually manage this?

The safety dance is, like a real dance, a matter of timing, which means that you can set it to music.  I honestly advise watching videos of Heigan kills and trying to find a piece of music that you like that will help you set the tempo. Or, you know, get a metronome or something.

Or, you can be a tank and soak your way through the dance.  It’s really hard to move well with all that plate you know.  Defense rating is heavier than it looks.


14 Comments so far
Leave a comment

You just made my morning!

And, to top that off, I think you just gave the best advice for the fight I’ve heard so far: “you shouldn’t follow anyone”. I’ll refrain from using the marker from this day on, for you are absolutely, 100 %, positively right.

Comment by Talldar

I feel your shame (not pain, tanks are too dumb to feel that), I swear blizz adds latency in a 1:1 ratio to defence rating.

Our raid leader has learned this (finally) and just lets me do my thing while he wears the funny dance hat… might have to get the skull from him tho, I step on toes when I dance with ppl :)

Comment by Kudos

@ Talldar – As long as lag is an issue, you really can’t follow anyone. If it’s an issue of knowing where to stand, you can always ask your melee DPS to drop smoke flares or other markers during the first phase.

@ Kudos – The skull says “Where I stand… is DEATH!”

Comment by Tarsus

The Comast comment would be more hilarious if…I didn’t have Comcast.

Comment by Ambrosyne

@ Ambrosyne – My condolences. We’re ex-comcast patrons here ourselves.

Comment by Tarsus

That fight was even more fun in the 40 man, when the timing of the dance steps was less forgiving (they were tuned so that with minimal latency you had exactly enough time to get from one quadrant to the next if you didn’t have a speed enchant) and heigan himself had a non-trivial enrage timer. More deaths to Heigan going back at 70 than to any other boss :)

Nowadays, like Thaddius, it’s mostly a good way to spot weak links in your raid :P

Comment by Yuki

I died every time I tried to follow myhusband through. I got tuskar’s vitalaty on my boots, and now I ignore the rest of the raid. Best strat for the ranged and heals…. go where the bad green stuff was last. It took me forever to really realize that I didn’t need to look for “quadrants” and lines and stuff.

Because, when you manage to die 4 times on this fight and look like a big blue angel twice….those motley crews of dps and meat shields laugh at you… =)

Comment by julanna

@ julanna – If you can find the right “path” you can, in fact, just run back and forth in the room without stopping (for the most part) and be fine. The trick is finding that path.

Comment by Tarsus

This was such a great entry. Make me laugh while I am sick, and you are a good man. (Or Tauren. Whichever.)

Comment by Anea

@ Anea – I’m a raging bull. /moo

Comment by Tarsus

“Don’t follow anybody, work it out for yourself” is something that our raid officers have hammered into us again and again. We tried the follow method and like with you, it didn’t work and just got the high-latency people killed. Of course, last night my dwarf died on Heigan while standing in the middle of a clear spot with only 330 ms latency, so who knows…

Comment by Lewis

@ Lewis – Sadly 330ms latency is well enough to get you killed. Like I said in the post, when you start to go over 200, it’s danger territory (particularly if you are following the movement of others rather than the bursts on the floor).

Comment by Tarsus

[…] genuine, shameless plugs This tauren made me giggle pretty hard.  I just now found him, and a glance at the rest of his stuff makes it […]

Pingback by Alsoly « Binary Colors

I agree that you shouldn’t follow anyone. It took me a few tries to figure that one out! Nice scenario. /giggle

Comment by Rubymelon

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