Tanking for Dummies

Hey You! From HoR Yesterday!
February 16, 2010, 2:48 pm
Filed under: Advice for Non Tanks, Rants | Tags: , , ,

Does line of sight mean anything to you?  I mean, the mob that’s killing you is at range.  How hard is this?

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You can tank (if not now, then later)!
January 20, 2010, 2:10 pm
Filed under: Advice for Non Tanks | Tags: , ,

There is a lot of nervousness on the part of those who are attempting to take up the tanking torch.  I completely understand why this is so – the new LFG tool incentivizes tanking with low wait times and high desirability.  Even if you’re terrible at it and you get kicked from your group, you probably wait less time for the debuff to wear off than you would to get into a new group as DPS.

Yet, expectations are high, as is performance pressure.  Tanking is a lot about confidence.  You are, after all, the front line.  So that nervousness is itself working against you.  The tag line of LFG instancing, “Gogogogogo,” doesn’t help this situation much.  No one wants to be rushed.

So if you want to tank, take the following tip from the Stupid Cow: If you know where you are going, everything else is just heroic strike spam.  You can read the strategy on Tank Spot, or watch a video even.  Boss strategies are about research more than anything.  But getting lost is  not something you can prepare for very well.  In my experience, no video or map can replace the actual experience of running it through.

In some instances, this is cake.  You can’t exactly get lost in the Halls of Reflection.  In others, such as Sunken Temple, it would be easy to get lost.  As the tank, you control the pace of the group it’s true, but more importantly you control where the group goes.  If you know that, you’re already on the way there.  If you don’t, maybe you should run the instance using a character you are more comfortable with.

THEN come back and tank it.

Because after that, you’re talking about either things you can prepare for outside of game (boss strategies, etc) or things that even the best tanks would be hard pressed to compensate for (bad LFG puggers).  Everything else you either get by tanking, or just knowing where you are going.

That is how you get from where you are to tanking.  Run the instance on your other spec/toon.  Consult your favorite strategy site.  And pick up your shield and go.

You can get to “Gogogogo” later.  It’s not like they can do this without the tank.

Nerf News (or, in case you missed it)
January 13, 2010, 4:20 pm
Filed under: Advice for Non Tanks, Analysis, News | Tags: , , ,


It should be noted that we have been warned about some potential in-coming nerfs to Protection Warriors.  You may read certain choice responses here, here, and here (reply #385).  In case you missed the information involved , allow me to get you up to date (from oldest to newest):

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Ze Tank Survey
November 6, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Advice for Non Tanks, Analysis | Tags: , , ,

This survey is courtesy of Dämmerung of The Children of Wrath fame.  It is itself spawned from the mind of Miss Medicina or so I am lead to believe.  If you’re new to Warrior tanking, or looking to get more into it, it does say a lot about the advantages and limitations of the art.

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary tank?
Tarsus of Scarlet Crusade server is my Protection Warrior.  At the moment, I’m using the cookie cutter 15/3/53 build stolen shamelessly from Tankingtips.com

What is your usual tanking environment?
I do almost exclusively 25-man raiding with Axiom.  I do run the occasional 10-man and every 5-man into the ground when they first come out.

What is your favorite encounter to tank, and why?
Auriaya with a Warrior tank can be fun because if you do it right it’s essentially a one cow show.  That said, probably my favorite encounter is Yogg-Saron provided the DPS aren’t being retarded.

What is your least favorite encounter to tank, and why?
Faction Champions is probably the least fun fight to tank as a warrior.  You get practically no rage as the opposing team rarely targets you, meaning you need to conserve what you have to make sure your interrupts are available.

What do you think is the biggest strength of your class, and why?
Currently, the strength of Warriors is in three areas, snap AoE threat (Thunderclap and Shockwave), fear cancellation (Berserker Rage), and spell interrupts (Shield Slam primarily, but also Concussive Blow, Shockwave, Heroic Throw w/talents, and Intimidating Shout).  Outside of that, we can tank most encounters provided we know in advance and can swap around talents and glyphs as needed.

What do you think is the biggest weakness of your class, and why?
In order to put out the same kind of threat as other tank classes, warriors need to reduce their hands to claw-like appendages of pure pain, due primarily to the need to constantly spam Heroic Strike.  Frenetic button pushing is a feature of most tanks, Warrior tanks are just by far the the worst for that feature.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel is the best tanking assignment for you?
Because warriors can essentially do any tanking assignment, we often are assigned to being “Off-tanks” in fights where such labels are applicable.  Outside of that, for me personally, I prefer those tanking assignments that require me to quickly pick up adds using my high-mobility abilities (such as Charge, Intercept, etc.)

What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with the most?
Warriors and Paladins probably work the best together of any of the tanking classes.  Our snap AoE threat works well to control adds and bring them into a Paladin’s Consecrate, and our ability to break fear and interrupt spells make up for the obvious holes in the Paladin portfolio.  The ranged snap threat of Avenger’s Shield is also complements the weak ranged threat abilities of Warriors.

What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with the least?
Death Knights would almost certainly classify, as most of their abilities tend to fall under the “like a Warrior, but better” category.  This also means they offer little to diversify the abilities of the tank team when a Warrior is already present.

What is your worst habit as a tank?
I generally do not hit Shield Slam as much as I should.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?
People not reading strategies/watching videos, or otherwise using the resources of the internet before raid, thus necessitating long drawn out explanations and wasting time.

Do you feel your class/spec is balanced with respect to the other tanking classes?
I generally feel that there are always places the various tanking classes could be improved, but the one thing Warriors are still definitively lacking is sustained AoE threat.  While lack of snap threat in other classes can be compensated by holding off on AoE for a few, there’s very little in our repertoire available to increase sustained threat other than the old standby of tab targeting madly (see the above comment about claw-like appendages for problems with that).

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?
I use Omen to track on the spot threat stats and follow up afterward with the logs our guild takes of all raids.  Outside of that, using my own instincts and self-reflecting through blogging are the best tools I have.

What do you think is the biggest misconception that people have with your tanking class?
That Warriors are the best “Main-Tanks” probably ranks up there because of our legacy status as the only tank in Vanilla WoW.  In all honesty there is no more “Main Tank” and most raid teams are probably best off having one of every tank type available.

What do you think is the toughest thing for new players of your class to learn about tanking?
Use of Heroic Strike is probably the one thing that everyone trips up on.  There’s no tutorial that tells you “When your rage bar is full, hit this.”  In fact you would be forgiven for thinking Heroic Strike is something you’re supposed to use until you get Mortal Strike, Blood Thirst, or what have you.  Raid tanking, you practically cannot spam Heroic Strike enough.  If you hand doesn’t hurt at the end of the night, you’re probably doing it wrong.

If someone were to evaluate your tanking ability via tools like fraps, recount, and World of Logs, what tendencies would they notice?
Probably that I spend a lot of time adjusting and re-adjusting my position when tanking.  Anyone who has played a Tauren can tell you that our big models mean that mobs will dance around us using the patented NPC “walk through you and get behind you” maneuver.  Particularly if we have to move them during a fight (Twin Jormungar or Grobulus being good examples of that) that means we get hit from behind a lot more.  They might also notice an addiction to things like Savory Deviate Delight that help mitigate that problem.

Stamina or Avoidance, and why?
Stamina, stamina, stamina.  If Blizzard has taught us anything its that if you stack avoidance they will do their best to take it away from you.

Which tanking class do you understand the least?
Probably Bear.  They’re the only one of the tanking classes I haven’t messed around with even in the slightest.

What addons or macros do you currently use to aid you in tanking?
Deadly Boss Mods is essential to what I do, as is Omen and Item Rack.  Other than that, the add-ons I use are primary ways to manage data (Fortress) or keep my UI reasonably clean (Dominos).

Do you strive for a balance in tanking stats, or do you stack some higher than others, and why?
I definitely stack stamina when I get the chance, though given ToGC I haven’t had much choice.  Other than that, I try to keep my threat stats up as this is regularly my weakest area.

Big Numbers Needed
September 18, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Advice for Non Tanks, News, Raiding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Some of you were, shall we say, inspired by my recent public service announcement.  However, perhaps you were hesitant to make the leap blindly.  Perhaps!

But Perhaps No More.


Uncle Saurfang wants YOU to join Axiom!

Once again, Axiom is recruiting!  In addition to giving me an exciting opportunity to abuse italics, we need DPS. I, personally, am somewhat sad our raid team lacks a Fury Warrior.  However, all DPS Class/Specs are welcome, nay encouraged, to apply.

Needless to say, serious applicants should heed the timeless advice of Seri over at World of Snarkcraft.  She’s only one of our co-guildmasters after all.  But aside from that, you seriously need to run, do not walk to our forum, and particular this section to apply right NOW.

Do not delay!

Maximize your Heath!
September 2, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Advice for Non Tanks, Raiding, Strategy | Tags: , , , , , ,

Effective Health

See that?  That is the power of Buffs.  Practically ten thousand health.  It’s hard to put a value on that, but I’ll give it a shot:

-Extra time before Thorim/Snaplashers/et cetera can one shot you.

-Capacity to undertake “Hard Mode” encounters that are highly damage dependent (e.g. XT-002, Mimiron)

-Live through Flame Breath on Sartharion

-Trivialize farming for Badges in Heroic Dungeons.

-Give or take 1000 Stamina.

I’m sure there is more.  Effective Health (or EH, as the parlance goes) can be a good measure of what a tank can handle if it’s not stacked to the expense of everything else.  Certainly it plays an important part in raid progression.  One might even suspect that Blizzard plans encounters under the assumption that Health increasing buffs are in place, meaning that they assume that every raid has Greater Blessing of Kings, Gift of the Wild, and Prayer of Fortitude.

I think it’s reasonably certain that not all raids, particularly 10 man raids, have these buffs.  And that is why I think tanks everywhere should cheer the addition of these items on the PTR:


* Runescroll of Stamina – Snowfall Ink, Resilient Parchment x 5 – Increases Stamina by 165 for all party and raid members for 1 hr.


* Drums of Forgotten Kings – Heavy Borean Leather x 8, Icy Dragonscale x 8 – Gives all members of the raid or group the Blessing of Forgotten Kings, increasing total stats by 8% for 30 min.
* Drums of the Wild – Heavy Borean Leather x 4, Jormungar Scale x 20 – Gives the Gift of the Wild to all party and raid members, increasing armor by 750, all attributes by 37 and all resistances by 54 for 1 hr

I know I’m going to be carrying these around with me in the future.  It’s a habit I would recommend for just about everyone.

The 5 Characteristics of the Happy Tank
June 10, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Advice for Non Tanks, Lists | Tags: , ,

Following up on Monday’s thoughts on leveling prot warriors, it occurs to me I didn’t say anything about who might find it fun. Given all the changes that have been made to Tanking in WoW, I dare say there is no better time to pick up a tank than now.  This has been a pretty exclusive club so far, but the dis-incentives that were put into tanking have all but vanished, and the there is that whole Death Knights start at 55 thing going.

That said, some things haven’t changed and I cannot help shake the impression that tanking is still not for everyone.  That is perhaps doubly so for we Warriors who Tank.  However, given that there will be many people now who are taking a second look at tanking I wanted to provide a bit of insight into what I think characterizes Warrior Tanks.  So if you’re thinking of making a tank, or even dual-speccing to tank, consider these following traits.

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