Tanking for Dummies


A Simple Reminder
February 1, 2010, 11:23 am
Filed under: Gear, Raiding | Tags: , ,

How do you measure the value of an upgrade?  The stats on the item? Gearscore rating? Perhaps a list made by a blogger?

Quantum Fluid Theory?

No matter what system you use for determining your list of desired upgrades, before you do boot up your armory profile and consider this little bit of advice:

An upgrade is only as good as the piece it is replacing.

Take, if you will, the case of Tarsus’ gloves. They’re Tier 8 (Ulduar) set gear.  I’m not still wearing them because they’re some sort of super itemized awesome piece – I’m wearing them because my Tier 9 options were downright underwhelming.  Given the sparsity of hit on Tier 9 gear, that 49 hit rating was quite valuable – and they didn’t exactly have another option available.  In terms of my list of priority – gloves were then at the bottom.

Now looking at what is available in Tier 10, I have other options.  Specifically I have an attraction to the Sanctified Ymirjar Lord’s Handguards, now that (come Tuesday) they have bonus armor on them.  Having that clear of an upgrade over my existing gloves moves them substantially up the priority list (now at priority one, since that is my last piece of Non-Heroic Tier 8 gear).

Sometimes this is easier than others, as described in the example above.  It is, however, more difficult when you have to weigh the impact on your entire gear set.  For example, you could pick up Last Word – but it has no defense, no hit, no expertise – hell it doesn’t have anything on it by stamina and that proc.  That is a pretty hefty hit when you compare it to my Sorthalis – I need to find some of those stats elsewhere before I can equip it.  Down on the priority list it goes (despite replacing gear of lower Tier).  I still need a weapon upgrade, but maybe I can stand to find some new boots first.

So, when weighing spending your DKP or just making up your list – remember that your tank is the sum of their parts and give some thought to your upgrades and prioritize.  You never know, there might be another tank in your raid that needs that piece more than you and you need to know how generous you can be.



Icecrown Raid Progression is a Recipe for Pain
November 23, 2009, 2:34 pm
Filed under: News, Raiding | Tags: ,

I am certain that many of you have heard The Plan® for gated progression in the Icecrown Raid.  It’s worth your time if you haven’t; if you plan to raid Icecrown Citadel, it is the future.

If you don’t have the time, I’ll try and put this in as few words as  I can (Twitter practice, I suppose):

Icecrown Citadel will have two methods of slowing down our progression.  The first is hard and fast: parts of the dungeon will only open after a certain number of weeks has passed.  This is similar to ToC but I suspect will be much longer in the roll out.  The second is soft and skill based: You only receive a limited number of attempts at certain key bosses.  This number is small (5 times for each wing that has become unlocked, to a max of 15) and shared among the bosses they apply to.

Needless to say, this has produced a great deal of anger and alarm among raiders.  I think a large amount of this is probably pre-mature and dependent on the difficulty of the fights in question (and the competency of the raid team).  There is, almost certainly, going to be pain though.  A lot of it.  Particularly if you are in the business of leading raids.

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Hard Mode Trial of the Crusader is Hard, pt 3

Gormok has fallen.  The only update I’m going to specifically add to my original post on the matter was I have discovered that Last Stand is pretty much as effective as Shield Wall, and lets you save Shield Wall for more important things. However, having done it now dozens of times, I’m confident about the strategy I put forward otherwise.  It gets the Impaler down in a timely manner.

Acidmaw and Dreadscale are another matter.

Our strategy has one Tank always on Acidmaw, and two on Dreadscale.  DPS, regardless, focuses on Acidmaw.  When Dreadscale is mobile, the two tanks swap off, with whichever tank that has Burning Bile moving to clense the Paralytic Toxin.  When Dreadscale is stationary, it is the responsibility of whichever player(s) get Burning bile to free the Acidmaw tank.  If the Acidmaw tank becomes paralyzed, using a Guardian Spirit, Penance, or other healer cooldown may be necessary.  When Acidmaw dies, Tanks swap out tanking the enraged Dreadscale using Shield Wall, and DPS focuses down the worm.

Things we need to do better to make this strategy work:

  • DPS performance needs to be 100%.  Needless to say, Trial of the Grand Crusader puts a real focus on individual performance.  This is our biggest issue.
  • Ranged DPS and Healers need to spread out more when Dreadscale is stationary.
  • Whomever gets Burning Bile needs to be on their toes.
  • DPS with Paralytic Toxin need to keep DPS on and not move.
  • Tanks need to be better about using some cooldowns (Enraged Regeneration, Shield Block, Potions, etc) if their healers become paralyzed.

Simply put we cannot get Dreadscale down before the presence of Icehowl destroys us (generally his via his frost breath).  DPS is insufficient mostly because people die, hence the need to spread out more, but we’ve lost just as many attempts because tanks die either because their healers bite it, or because the healers are paralyzed.

I’ll keep updating this series when breakthroughs occur.  Just remember, tanks who are in the same boat as me: it’s supposed to be this hard.  The problems are not because of tank ability favoritism (e.g. Vezax), no tank is going to be better at this than another.  Keep your individual performance high, and encourage the same in your other raid members, and we’ll all be talking about Jarraxas next.



Tier 10 Set Bonus = Awesome
October 12, 2009, 10:50 am
Filed under: Analysis, Gear, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

So, now that we have a good sense of what the new Tier 10 set bonuses are, let me express a word of praise for the design of the Prot Warrior set bonuses:

  • 2 Pieces (Tank): Your Shield Slam and Shockwave abilities deal 20% increased damage.
  • 4 Pieces (Tank): Your Bloodrage ability no longer costs health to use, and now causes you to absorb damage equal to 20% of your maximum health.

To provide some context, here are Tier 8 and Tier 9

  • 2 Pieces (Tank): Increases the critical strike chance of your Devastate ability by 10%.
  • 4 Pieces (Tank): Shield Block also grants you 20% reduction to magical damage taken.
  • 2 Pieces (Tank): Decreases the cooldown on your Taunt ability by 2 sec and increases the damage done by your Devastate ability by 5%.
  • 4 Pieces (Tank): Decreases the cooldown on your Shield Block ability by 10 sec.
  • It is fairly easy to see the pattern here.  The 2-piece set bonus is always something that generally increases threat.  It’s hard to argue with something so basic and functional – though never something to write home about – not unlike getting that 3rd rank in Incite.  By contrast, the 4-piece bonus is like an extra glyph slot, some secret new functionality to an already useful ability.

    I’ve already talked about how I love the functionality of the Tier 8 4-piece bonus.  I’ll not mince words, however, about the Tier 9 bonus.  It’s terrible.  Sure, you could pop Shield Block every 20 seconds for the bonus to your shield slam, but from a defensive point of view it adds no particular functionality because Shield Block is such a weak cooldown.  The 2-piece bonus is actually even worse, in some ways, because Taunt has become so handicapped.

    With that in mind, the Tier 10 4-piece bonus is a really awesome addition to the Warrior repertoire.  Assuming the continued growth in health pools, it’s easy to imagine being able to produce a shield that can absorb 10k  worth of damage every 30 seconds.  That’s magic damage.  That’s physical damage.  It’s a lot of little hits.  It’s a good chunk off of a large hit.  I suspect it will stack with healer damage absorption. It scales very well with your gear.  It’s hard to imagine a situation where this wouldn’t be useful, and easy to imagine a situation where it would be very useful (I’m thinking Heroic Gormok the Impaler here).

    Now, bear in mind, these things have a way of changing on the PTR, so take this with a grain of salt.  But until then, there’s something to smile about warriors – this is probably our best protection set-bonus yet.



    Breaking: Warrior Tier 10 revealed
    October 7, 2009, 9:25 pm
    Filed under: Gear, Media, News | Tags: , ,

    Courtesy of MMO Champion, once again!

    Update: 8:16 AM EST – But wait!  There’s More!



    Hard Mode Trial of the Crusader is Hard, pt. 2
    September 16, 2009, 12:01 am
    Filed under: Raiding, Strategy | Tags: , , , , ,

    So, as established in the previous post, Heroic Mode Gormok the Impaler is hard.  As should be no surprise, it’s just as hard on 25-man.  Monday night there was a lot of death on my first Gormok Wipefest.

    But we did it.

    It was, as I thought, very much like Iron Council Hard Mode – careful coordination of cooldowns to live through the brutally high hits, particularly Impale.  Our method after the break.

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    Hard Mode Trial of the Crusader is Hard
    September 14, 2009, 5:15 pm
    Filed under: Analysis, Raiding | Tags: ,

    I just wanted to put in a quick word on “Hard Mode” (or in the official nomenclature “Heroic”) Trial of the Crusader.  You may recall my previous post on Trial of the Crusader espousing that it was rather easy compared to it’s predecessor.  At that time I expressed the opinion that Hard Mode should be harder and that if it wasn’t, it would be a disappointment.

    Well, considering that I’m not in the habit of reporting world firsts I’m pleased to say that, in my opinion it is anything but a disappointment.

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