Tanking for Dummies

Patch 3.2.x Raiding Sucks Your Will to Live
November 18, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Analysis, Raiding | Tags: , , ,

I’ve been doing some thinking about ToC and ToGC, namely in the context of raider burnout and turn-over. I should say first though that this post is dedicated to my fellow Axiom Prot-Warrior Armann who stopped tanking recently because Heroic Strike spam gave him a serious medical condition (carpal tunnel aka “The Claw”).  His transfer to our DPS team (you can play a Death Knight with one hand, apparently) got me thinking about this.  We can pour a “40” on his shield later.  Get better soon man.

On topic, however, I’ve seen a lot of signs showing the stress of raiding is taking its toll.  Or boredom taking its toll.  I think either way you would be hard to find that many people “enthused” about the content of the current raid instance.  Some people I am sure would tell you this is because Trial of the Crusader is too easy, while others would say it is because Trial of the Grand Crusader is too hard.  I am of a slightly different opinion, which is that (as a whole) it’s too short.

I’ll start by acknowledging that I think that both the prior statements are true – ToC is too easy and ToGC is too hard, but realistically speaking I don’t think that either is to blame for the sense of malaise that I can feel in raiding right now.  The reason for that is because this whole raiding business (actually, MMOs as a whole, but that’s getting way off my point) is a social experience.  The thing that really keeps us going is not so much the experience of the content itself, but rather the experience as it is with other people.

At this point in the game (late content patch) I think most raiders are either farming for loot (ToC) or wiping trying to do things the hard way (ToGC).  Generally, we wipe for hours and hours on Heroic Northrend Beasts (not even any trash to clear to break the monotony!), whereas we’re spending maybe and hour in ToC getting upgrades and generally goofing off.  The stress to de-stress ratio is way skewed, and that is a function of the fact that the Crusader’s Coliseum is way too short.  In Ulduar (which was super long, of course) there was a definite progression of difficulty and, well, trash to fill up the extra time (And give you a break after wiping for several hours).  There were also choices of what to work on instead of being highly linear.  Hell, Molten Core was less linear than Crusader’s Coliseum, and it’s practically a model of the genre.

Sure, you might say, why don’t you just do ToC?  I think the answer can be found in the different kind of malaise we saw with at the end of content patch 3.0.x.  Just farming is as brain killing as just wiping.  I think most raiders want to be challenged (or else why would we throw ourselves at the same fight for four hours?), even if we do need to stagger it with an easier fight or trash just for our sanity.

All that brings me to the point, namely that we’re drooping (nay, dropping) because ToC and ToGC together are a 1-2 punch that practically drains your brain by design.  If it feels like 3.3 can’t hit soon enough; if your raid members are dropping faster than tanks on Gormok the Impaler; or if your tired of logging on once a week to farm for an hour then maybe this is why.

As a related note, if you are looking for a good gift for your favorite tank this holiday season, remember their heroic strike finger – a little BenGay goes a long way.


Devistate is all better now
October 16, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Gear, Strategy, Talents | Tags: , , ,

I want to point more tanks over at Kadomi’s post from Tuesday concerning warrior ability use priority.  It is a great summation of the information gleaned from this TankSpot thread.  Make sure you read both the comments on Kadomi’s post and the responses to the thread, as there is significant dispute (which means time for real in game testing!)

In essence, this is all fall-out from this change in patch 3.2.0:

  • Devastate: Weapon damage and bonus per Sunder Armor on the target increased by 100%. This ability now requires a shield to be equipped.

This obviously shakes up some things I’ve been doing, making me revisit a few assumptions – and that’s good.  Needless to say, I need to put some serious thought into what to do to here.  In the interests of science then, let me share this slice of cow brain with you.  Maybe it will be helpful if you are doing your own tests.

  • I want to try Glyph of Devastate, but I like my current glyphs of Vigilance, Heroic Strike, and Blocking.  I feel like the logical choice for the swap out is Heroic Strike because I’m not precisely hurting on rage.  My role lead says I need to work on my leading threat in any case, so this is probably something I should look at anyway.
  • If it turns out to be true that Revenge is so much lower on the priority scale, should I take that one remaining point in Improved Revenge and put it somewhere else?  If so, where?  Cruelty?  Puncture?
  • I’m using a pretty fast weapon right now (1.6 Speed).  If Devastate lags behind now, is there a slower weapon currently in game that would change the equation.  I’m thinking the Burnished Quel’Serrar (2.0 Speed), but also potential future weapons in Icecrown.  What’s the slowest speed on a 1-hander… 2.8?

Thanks to Axiom switching over to World of Logs, I have a pretty good base-line of numbers to test against.  Heroic Northrend Beasts is still kicking our butts – so anything I can do to boost effectiveness my little part of helping on progression.

Any feed back from fellow tanks who have tested these changes in the field is, of course, appreciated.

Review: Trial of the Crusader (Normal Mode)
August 28, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Analysis, Raiding, Rants | Tags: , ,

I’ve now had the distinct pleasure of running Trial of the Crusader on both 25-man and 10-man Normal modes, and though no one has faced down Anub’arak yet I think I can say with some confidence that the experience has been at least interesting thus far.

However, simply put, after working over Ulduar for several months and recently starting on several “Hard Modes” therin, I can’t help but feel something disturbing about the Trial of the Crusader raid experience.  Perhaps it is the speed of the boss-fights, or utter lack of trash, or the quality of the gear, but…

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Trial of the Champion
August 10, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Analysis, Gear, Strategy | Tags: , , , ,

First off, let me ask your forbearance dear readers.  I’ve only been managing two posts a week or so for the past few weeks.  Not exactly the finest record.

I will say though that at least this week, part of the contributing factor has been my pushing with two things.  The first of these is the new Trial of the Champion 5-man, and I’m going to tackle that today.  The second is my new offspec, Arms, which I will get to later this week.

There is a lot of comparison between Trial of the Champion and Magister’s Terrace.  Both present a good jumping forward place for people hoping to tackle more difficult content, something that newcomers and old hands with alts are sure to appreciate.  If you haven’t had a chance to get a look at it though, let me give you the highlights.

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Warrior Tank Patch Notes Review
August 3, 2009, 7:09 am
Filed under: News | Tags: , , , ,

For your reading pleasure, what you need to know from the patch notes set to come out soon (perhaps tomorrow?).

# Agility: The amount of agility required per percentage of dodge has been increased by 15%. This change required recalibrating the amount of dodge a player has with 0 agility by a slight amount as well, so all players will see their dodge percentage vary a small amount.

# Block Value: The amount of bonus block value on all items has been doubled. This does not affect the base block value on shields or block value derived from strength.

# On-Use Block Value Items: All items and set bonuses that trigger temporary increases to block value have been modified. Instead of increasing their block value amount by 100% like other items, they have all had their effect durations doubled. This applies to Glyph of Deflection, Gnomeregan Autoblocker, Coren’s Lucky Coin, Lavanthor’s Talisman, Libram of Obstruction, Tome of the Lightbringer, Libram of the Sacred Shield, the tier-8 paladin Shield of Righteousness bonus, the tier-5 paladin Holy Shield bonus, and the tier-5 warrior Shield Block bonus.

# Dodge Rating: The amount of dodge rating required per percentage of dodge has been increased by 15%. This is before diminishing returns. Combined with other changes, this makes dodge rating and parry rating equally potent before diminishing returns apply.

# Parry Rating: The amount of parry rating required per percentage of parry has been reduced by 8%. This is before diminishing returns. Combined with other changes, this makes dodge rating and parry rating equally potent before diminishing returns apply. Parry still diminishes more quickly than dodge.


# Bloodrage: This ability now generates 20 rage initially, and 10 rage over the next 10 seconds. The health cost is unchanged.

# Shield Slam: The benefit from additional block value this ability gains is now subject to diminishing returns. Diminishing returns occur once block value exceeds 30 times the player’s level and caps the maximum damage benefit from shield block value at 34.5 times the player’s level.

# Talents:

# Fury

* Armored to the Teeth: This talent now provides 1/2/3 attack power per 108 armor, up from per 180 armor.

# Protection

* Devastate: Weapon damage and bonus per Sunder Armor on the target increased by 100%.
* Shield Specialization: Now provides 5 rage on a block, dodge or parry instead of 2 rage on a block.
* Vigilance: This talent and Blessing of Sanctuary will now both be able to be cast on the same target without sometimes overwriting each other.

And lest it somehow be missed among all the other changes:

* The local Postal Service has grown tired of walking so far each day to collect mail and has decided to install a large number of new mailboxes in Stormwind, Undercity, Darnassus and Orgrimmar.

Best Change EVAR.

Breaking: Horde Plate Models are Here!
July 13, 2009, 1:35 pm
Filed under: Gear, News | Tags: ,

MMO Champion is on top of things again!  We got a major update on the Tier 9 Models for today, include the models for Horde Warriors.  Okay, I know I shouldn’t rat on the Alliance, but the Horde plate models are pretty darn awesome.  The Warrior model is below.

Contrast this with the Alliance version:

I mean, maybe it’s just me, but Spikes seem just so much more awesome than… I’m not sure what those are supposed to be.  Wings?  Crests?  Bunny ears?

Usually I don’t say such things, but unless there’s some sort of awesome particle effect to the Alliance armor I’m not seeing, today is a very winning day for the Horde.

Tanking Gear in the Tournament of Champions (patch 3.2)
July 13, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Gear, News | Tags: ,

So, late last week and over this weekend, MMO Champion has be deluging us with the fruits of the PTR testers and database miners.  So far the results have looked rather sweet all around, with the 5-man encounters looking to be not unlike the stepping stone that Magister’s Terrace was get in the game if your gear has been behind (or you are coming into said game late).  To make some things clear, there are six versions of the instance on separate lockouts, two each of 25-man, 10-man, and 5-man.

Some interesting features in the loot below are the general similarity between items found in Heroic and Non-Heroic versions of the instance, and the different approach to the look of the gear for Alliance vs. Horde.  An aggregate of the results thus far is below, and (as usual) keep your eyes peeled to this space for more revelations, including (we hope) the plate models for the Horde coming soon.

25-Man Raid

Girdle of Bloodied Scars (Heroic) Belt of Bloodied Scars (Normal)

Satrina’s Impeding Scarab (Heroic) Juggernaut’s Vitality (Normal)

Bracers of the Shield Maiden

The Arbiter’s Muse

Greaves of the Lingering Vortex

Loop of the Twin Val’kyr

Pauldrons of the Silver Defender (Alliance) Sunreaver Defender’s Pauldrons (Horde)

Fervor of the Frostborn (Alliance) Eitrigg’s Oath (Horde)

5-man Instance

Peacekeeper Blade (Heroic)

Helm of the Crestfallen Challenger (Heroic)

Regal Aurous Shoulderplates (Heroic)

Mark of the Relentless (Heroic)

Warlord’s Depravity (Heroic)

Boots of Heartfelt Repentance (Normal)

Mercy’s Hold (Normal)

Legguards of Abandoned Fealty (Normal)

Girdle of the Pallid Knight (Normal)

The Black Heart (Normal)