Tanking for Dummies

Frost Lotus Droprate Increased
February 18, 2010, 1:22 pm
Filed under: News, Raiding | Tags: ,

Listed below are recent fixes we have applied to the game. Keep in mind that some of these changes may not be active until after the realm has been restarted.

To review previous in-game fixes, please visit: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=21723843880&sid=1


  • The drop rate of Frost Lotus, from herbs in Northrend, has been increased by 50%. (Source)





There is mischief afoot
January 27, 2010, 3:19 pm
Filed under: Rants | Tags: , , ,

By which I mean this:


Protection damage in 3.3.2
The damage you’re going to do depends a lot on your gear, raid buffs and personal style. But I think these are in the ballpark for an Icecrown 25 guild.

Shield Slam — hits for maybe 3500.
Revenge — hits for maybe 3000.
Devastate — hits for maybe 2000.

Over the course of a raid, Shield Slam and Devastate might do about the same total damage, with Revenge doing 50% of that. (In other words, if we ignore all other abilities, you’d have a pie chart with a 40%, 40%, and 20% slice, though Revenge can be pretty variable.) So at first glance, you might imagine a world in which Devastate eclipses all other abilities. But let’s consider them in more detail. You’re probably using Shield Slam half as often as you’re hitting Devastate because of the cooldown. Are you going to give up that much damage packaged into one GCD? Now Revenge on the other hand might be a contender for another Devastate GCD, but consider the enormous rage bargain that is Revenge, even that doesn’t seem like a big concern.  (Source)

I’m not sure why, but this really pisses me off, because my numbers don’t look like that.  Tarsus is much more like:

Shield Slam — hits for maybe 2500.
Revenge — hits for maybe 2900.
Devastate — hits for maybe 1900.

Now, the Revenge and Devastate numbers are off by 100, I can handle that.  That Shield Slam number, that – THAT gets under my skin, especially because it’s Shield Slam that is getting the nerf-bat.  I wasn’t precisely riled up about the nerf before, but now I’m feeling the itch.

So, I have to ask, what the hell is wrong with poor Tarsus?  Is he some weird mutant that just can’t get his Shield Slam up?  I don’t precisely stack block, so maybe I shouldn’t be complaining, but come on here – I’m 1000 under where I “should be” according to the crab.  It’s not like I’m some strangely geared aberration.

Serious WTF here on my part.  I have to wonder where these numbers come from.  Maybe the mystic land where Prot Warriors are overpowered or some crap.

On a side note, updates are being sparse because of real life issues impacting when I have time to write.  These are good sorts of real life issues, so nothing to worry about, but they are time consuming so apologies if I keep missing regularly scheduled posts as has been happening.

Using the Mocking Blow Zone
November 9, 2009, 12:07 pm
Filed under: Strategy | Tags: ,




Oh Blue, sometimes you say the craziest Things.

“I agree with the notion that there is less of a use for Mocking Blow in the toolbox these days where tanks generally maintain enough threat, at least relative to the ‘Wait for five Sunders’ days.”

Really now, you think there is “less of a use for Mocking Blow in the toolbox”? That must qualify as one of the great overstatements of the century.  There is no threat use for Mocking Blow.  It falls below Devastate on the priority rotation.

That is not to say, however, that Mocking Blow does not have a use.  It’s even a good use, albeit one that comes under the worst of circumstances.  Most tanks, by now, are accustomed to the “Tank Swap Fight;”  Gormok the Impaler is a good example, as is Thorim.  To put it simply, tanks need to taunt off either because of a debuff of some kind, or a very large hit on a cooldown that requires the use of something like Shield Wall.  In these circumstances, it is very important that the Taunt work.

Well, sometimes Taunt doesn’t work.

Welcome to the Mocking Blow Zone.

The Mocking Blow Zone is now the most important six seconds of your life.  What you do with those six seconds and when you use those six seconds can save you from a wipe.  The Mocking Blow Zone takes advantage of Expertise, something that seems increasingly in-abundance, unlike Taunt.  The Mocking Blow Zone is only temporary, however so you must use it wisely.

In the case of a fight like Thorim, where it is essential that you get him away from the Tank that has Unbalancing Strike as soon as possible, you will want to use Mocking Blow right away.  You can then follow it up with a Challenging Shout to get you to when your Taunt cooldown is up.  It is risky, because Taunt resistance can stack up, but because of the fight mechanics you can accept that risk.

In a fight like Gormok, you should wait.  The Impales are predictable.  They always come at the same intervals.  Wait to Mocking Blow him until the Mocking Blow Zone will overlap with the Impale.  That way, you preserve the longest amount of time you avoid using Taunt again, thus avoiding stacking the Taunt resistance.  You will have more than enough time (Impales every 15 seconds, Taunt resistance cooldown is 20 seconds) to be able to taunt before the next Impale.  Staying chilly and focused will save your bacon there.

It’s worth also mentioning that Mocking Blow can be handy if you need to get a mob’s attention while you’re silenced, but you will still need to Taunt after the Silence ends.

Translating Blue
July 17, 2009, 8:52 am
Filed under: Humor, News | Tags: ,

I am sure you have read that Warrior Q&A by now, haven’t you?  If you haven’t, you might wish to.  It is an exciting and entrancing case study in obfuscation.

You could be forgiven for thinking that our dear Bornakk was speaking in a foreign tongue.  This is not entirely false, but it would be more accurate to say it is as if he is speaking in another dialect of English.  We shall call this dialect (for lack of a better term) Public-Affiarsese.  It is the sad native tongue of those who work for corporations whose intense desire for secrecy runs up against the saleability of public engagement.  It’s unique property is that it allows you to say a great deal without saying anything at all!

As a trained and educated linguist English Major, I have prepared a translation for you.  I can assure you that all appearances of sarcasm and bitterness are purely coincidental.

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Warrior Q&A is Up.
July 16, 2009, 3:43 pm
Filed under: News | Tags:

Hey there tanks and other warrior types.  Our Q&A is up, in case you missed it.

Blue Post Alert: Messing with Block
May 29, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Analysis, Rants | Tags: , , , , ,

Ghostcrawler is at it again.  Now he is teasing us about Block:



Think about it this way.

Avoidance is good because it removes a lot of damage. Avoidance is bad because it is unpredictable. If you stack too much avoidance, you are likely to give your healers coronaries.

Mitigation (armor and straight damage reduction) is good because it’s consistent. As you all point out, you can start to learn how much a blow will actually do to you. Mitigation is bad, from a player’s perspective, because it can’t save you. If you have 10 health and dodge, you might live. If you have 10 health and hope your armor will save you… well, it won’t. You become the dreaded mana sponge because you are never avoiding damage completely.

Mitigation also has a risk from a design-perspective that when fights get too predictable they become too easy and unexciting. Imagine a tank with 75% damage reduction and no avoidance. You could calculate from the moment of the first attack whether you will survive the encounter. Heck, you might be able to not even heal the tank and know you’ll survive depending on the specific abilities used by the boss.

Block as a mechanic is somewhere between avoidance and mitigation. Ideally it removes a fair amount of damage (vs. all damage) reasonably often (vs. rarely). If block is up 100% of the time it just becomes armor that you improve through a different stat. We have let block chances creep up frankly because the amount blocked is pretty trivial when bosses are hitting for 40% of your health pool every swing. If this still strikes you as too RNG, imagine abilities like Shield Block and Holy Shield that could guarantee 100% chance to block for a short period of time.

We don’t think block is cutting it as a mechanic, but the direction we are likely to take it is probably more of a change than you are considering.

We also don’t think it’s necessary that every tank rely on avoidance, block and mitigation in equal amounts. They can’t get too far apart or someone will come to dominate for certain encounters, but we don’t think the tanks need to be completely homogenized to get what we want either.

If (to make up numbers) the DK and druid get hit for 20K every swing that hits, but the warrior and paladin get hit for 24K half the time and 16K half the time, then that seems like it would work. When the boss emoted that his big hit was coming, you could make sure you had your cooldown ready to guarantee a block.

So you’re looking at Block, eh?  Sort of like you’re looking at Heroic Strike?  I’ve got your number crabby.  That’s a discussion you started in February.  Where’s the beef?  Or, should I say, where’s the gumbo?

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Blue Promises: Looking at Heroic Strike
February 18, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Analysis | Tags: , , ,


In the spirit of a previous Wednesday, I think it is time again to look at a recent post by one of our illustrious Blizzard employees – in this instance Ghostcrawler.  The subject?  Heroic Strike, and it’s particular role as a warrior unique mechanic/pain in the butt.  The crab says:

We still are not convinced that warrior tanks are operating at some huge deficit compared to other tanks. There are going to be situations where one or the other classes are going to feel easier as tanks, just because the abilities and mechanics are still different despite all of our homogenization (and we really don’t want to homogenize any more).

I think there are some quality of life issues we can improve for warriors. Heroic Strike is definitely one of them. It does its job in letting you convert excess rage to threat without consuming a global cooldown, but it requires a lot of extra button pushes. It is something we are discussing.

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