The random ramblings of a casual tankadin

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Update Failsafe Gearing Guide Maintankadin, 4.3

Still lacking PvP gear and crafted gear, but it should be usable for the average pugadin by now. Head over to the failsafe guide and have a look.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Well, for once us pugging tanks are in the same seat as pugging dps. The queue for LFR is a nightmare. Half an hour is perfectly normal, and you can't count on seeing the first bosses.

At least the content looks faceroll enough to make the five man trolls seem like a hulking obstacle when they were released.

My guess is that we'll see queue times lower as the raiding tanks collect their 4PC bonus and leave LFR never to return. Finding healers, however, will remain troublesome.

The other, maybe minor, issue with LFR for the pugadin is that we really don't need that much of the gear there. While the 4PC bonus is a huge boost for a raiding guild, a pugadin simply won't run into situations al that often where the difference between raidwalling every second or every third minute matters at all.

One could argue that the bonus is good in the LFR, but to be honest, we're roflstomping all over it the same week it's released. Sure, we're pugging with proper raiders, but gear inflation will be absurd between 378 five man drops and a very generous pool of 397 VP gear. Add the occasional 384 LFR drops bound to find their way to pugging raiders and we should expect to see 25k+ dps from even the more, erhum, unskilled dps a month or so from now. Healers are likely to see a similar increase in output.

I fully expect tanks gearing for expertise and hit-rating to handle both the new five mans and LFR within a couple of months. Partially because an average ilevel 390:ish allows us to do so, but also because there's a lot of threat slapped onto out VP gear.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

4.3 live

Well, it seems I was off by a week. 4.3 hits servers this maintenance.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Update Failsafe Gearing Guide Maintankadin

My failsafe gearing guide at Maintankadin will be obsolete when 4.3 goes live. While I plan to update said guide accordingly, you'll have to accept some lag. I prefer to confirm that the failsafe gear is actually there to get, in the form I say it is in and at the cost I state it has.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Loot update: 4.3 raid

Head over to MMO Champion for a read on the candy dropping from the upcoming Dragon Soul raid in patch 4.3.

Being pugadins we're likely to be most interested in the drop table for LFR. A short summary below:

Shield: It's as close to perfect as it can be. Ok, both gem-slots aren't yellow, and the socket bonus is dodge rating. Still, remember that we're likely to cap 102.4 even as pugging tanks, so excess mastery isn't as welcome as before.

Sword: Highest dps with RNG self healing instead of defensive stats. It's an interesting alternative.

Axe: Mastery and crit rating, the latter for reforging. I'm not entirely positive we'll be allowed to use the new spec-based need option for this one.

Bracers: What's there not to like about these ones?

Belt: Avoidance, avoidance, everywhere avoidance. I'm not entirely happy about these, but two yellow sockets are nice.

Belt: This is rather obviously a dps belt, and as such you shouldn't expect to be able to roll for it for a long time. When that time comes, however, I wonder if this belt isn't better than the tanking belt due to the mastery if we're sitting shy of the 102.4.

Shoulders: Another dual avoidance items, and again with a yellow socket. We can't forego mastery in too many slots if we want to hit the 102.4.

Shoulders: Dps shoulders for the mastery starved. Same story for this one as for the belt.

Feet: A pretty perfect pair of boots. Sure, dodge had been even better alongside the mastery, but some of our gear has to come with parry on it.

Ring: An absolutely superb ring. You want it.

Ring: The dps counterpart. If you can grab this one you can reforge away the hit-rating into dodge.

Trinket: Stamina with an RNG six second shield should you dip below 50%. That said, the shield soaks 43%, so it's rather sweet for fights where you're getting huge bursts of damage infrequently. I still dislike the RNG though.

Trinket: Stacking avoidance. 78 dodge rating on your attacks, and max ten stacks. If you're above 102.4 and have decided to go the MDR route, this is the item for you.

Trinket: Stamina with RNG mastery on your attacks. It's an unholy crapton of mastery, so on proc you'll hit 102.4 almost no matter how you decided to gear. We're talking in the order of 20% increased block chance here.

And the LFR drops tier 13 tokens as well.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Minor update on 4.3

The ending of season 10 has been pushed to November 29, which would make December 6 a likely date for 4.3 going live. December 7 for us in Europe.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

4.3 incoming

It would seem that 4.3 will be released soon.While the link pertains the end of PvP season 10 at November15 those seasons and PvE related major patches tend to follow eath other very closely. My estimate would be one week after season 10 is finished, so November 22 (or 23 for us in Europe).

Such an estimate would also correlate pretty well with the PTR receiving a Release Candidate.

Anyway, what will 4.3 mean for us pugging tankadins? Not all that much it would seem. Let's put the new content aside for a bit and just look at the tankadin. While Blizzard has decided to make a major overhaul come MoP, as the do every Xpac, they'll let us keep our rather insane mastery for 4.3. Say hello to 102.4 even as a pugadin. At the other hand, that also means if you take an unmitigated hit, then you'll be considered doing something wrong.

So we'll continue to be the holy tin-can with an oversized barn door as extra protection for, say another half a year or more. I'd guess they'll slap in some kind of micro content patch late 4.3, like the very last dragon-raid during WotLK. And, as usual, I expect whatever new mechanics are being implemented in MoP to go live in Cata around a month or so before MoP is released. So don't expect a major overhaul of our abilities until August - October 2012.

With Blizzard losing subscribers left and right I don't expect them fo keep us running the last major patch in Cata for a full year. That would be akin to corporate suicide, so I might be too pessimistic when guessing at August - October. But then, who in their right mind would even consider releasing a major patch for a computer game in July -- oops, ok, maybe, after all.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I guess I'm not alone waiting for 4.3 and more or less merely going through the motions of playing the game at this time.

Even us casuals should be pretty much fully geared from Valor Points by now. I'm converting mine into CP for a slow upgrade in PvP gear, but by now it's more levelling alts and running random BG:s than actually trying to tank anything in a serious fashion.

To further aggravate the feeling of merely waiting, the announced Pandaren expansion kind of devalued the upcoming 4.3 as well. It feels like something that has to be done before what we're really waiting for arrives, and I suspect a fair number of players will leave the game as a result. Instead of waiting a couple of months we're now waiting for the lion's share of a year, because that seems a reasonable time before the next Xpac arrives. And a year is a long time waiting.

So things are at a standstill. There's very little discussion going on at Maintankadin, a sure sign in itself that there's very little going on at all. Hopefully the patch will liven up things a bit, but I'm not entirely psitive that'll be the case. And I wait.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Random battlegrounds: Arathi Basin

This is possibly the BG I like the most.

Five objectives, two teams.

I prefer getting a solid hold on the Lumber Mill because you can stand there and call incomings. Conversely the Gold Mine leaves you blind to what's happening.

Obviosuly you should capture your own 'starting' objective and keep a defensive force there or at least ready to intercept anyone going for it.

The Blacksmith in the middle is usually heavily contested. I'm not entirely certain why as it can be attacked from all sides and is the objective with the longest distance to another objective. In my mind it's best used to tie up enemy resources while your team holds on to Farm/Stables, LM and GM. A decent alternative is holding LM with an oversized force, and smaller defensive force at BS and an even smaller at Farm/Stables. At least if you have a decent number of people who can parachute down from LM.

As a tank I prefer defending LM for the duration of the battle, calling out incomings and notifying my team of the number of defenders at enemy held objectives. Well, barring GM which is invisible to be.

Being a random BG you can sneak in in full sight and snag Farm/Stables all too often, and swarming the enemy starting objective is quite often a solid response to them zerging one of our bases. You're not planning to hold it, just force them to return back home. In such a scenario a tank is quite useful suiciding at the enemy starting objective in a fruitless attempt to 'defend' it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Random battlegrounds: Battle for Gilneas

This is a three flag competition.

Each faction starts close to one flag of their own, and there's one in the middle.

The battle is very much about holding two flags, or rather rotating forces so that you always hold one flag more than the opponents. My experience is that you want to zerg the middle one as quick as possible while avoiding a humiliating loss of your 'starting' flag.

As a tank I've come to the conclusion that the best job I can do is to head for the enemy starting flag immediately. Not to take it, but to suicide. The reason for this is to tie up resources. In a best case scenario I'll have three or four enemy players spend well over half a minute killing me when I do my lonely assault. That is almost always enough for us to get the middle, or Water Works, flag.

After this the fight usually splits into one out of two scenarios. The enemy tries to hit WW while being careful not to lose their starting flag. I spend those fights rushing their flag alone, which is usually enough to see us winning by keeping two flags for the entire battle, and obviously never getting close to taking the third.

One useful trick is to get 'caught' by the enemy respawned players as they rush to hit WW again. As I play horde I also get the benefit of getting trapped in plain sight of those defending the Lighthouse, so they tend to stay there while I get chewed up by the force who ought to have let me be and hit WW instead.

The second standard battle is when the enemy hits our starting flag instead of getting caught up in a slug-fest for WW. Defending our flag is very often the most important job I can do now. The point isn't to kill the enemy players but rather to disable them from capping our flag by being a general PITA and refusing to die. If things start to get really dirty, a lonely rush for the enemy starting flag surprisingly often pays off. Just make sure noone else in your team isn't already trying to ninja-cap it before you head away, though.

It's also highly important to remember that this is a Random BG. You'll have players leaving their toons at the flag and going AFK in the hope noone will notice (players never leaving the spawn points are always noticed). Thus it's perfectly viable to hit the enemy starting flag in plain sight and cap it. You're likely to find out if there's really a player behind the keyboard of the defending toon.

I've used this defensively as well. As I can't see a stealthed player I'm forced into a guessing game. However, stealthed players tend to CC me before trying our flag, in which case I'll have to lay down AoE and notify my team. The best way to handle a plain-sight ninja attempt isn't to attack the enemy immediately though. Wait for them to start capping. Make sure you can break CC, and give them a slap. Preferably a ranged attack. Sometimes they'll try the flag again, and get slapped, and try again. Normally, though, you'll get caught up in a duel none of you can win, but that's good enough. The flag stays secure.

All in all this is a BG where you'll doing your job best if you keep dying slowly against multiple opponents killing you rather than doing tehir job -- capping or defending flags.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

4.3 and valor slots

So, the quoted blue post on MMO Champion is quite interesting. We learn that any hc, including the first Cata ones, will yield 150 VP at the end, with a weekly VP cap of 1000 instead of today's 980. The new LFR splits the new raid into two, and yields 250 VP upon completion of either half.

We also learn that VP will buy you gear for a lot of slots "including cloaks, rings, ranged weapons, necklaces, trinkets, chest pieces, helms, gloves, bracers, boots, and belts, all of which are ilvl 397." From earlier posts we've gotten to know that tier pieces won't be there for VP any longer.

So it would seem we're depending on either the new five man heroics for an ilevel 378 version, or the LFR for an 384 version of slots helmet, shoulders, weapons, shields, one trinket, one ring and legs. Obviously FL will become supremely puggable, and thus a 391 ring and a 378 trinket becomes available from AH reputation, not to mention 378 drops from that raid. Given what people have had to say about Shannox, you could get lucky and get a shot at 391 loot from that specific encounter; a little bit like the lootship fight in ICC.

If you're lucky enough to pug a proper raid then loot tables for normal mode drop 397 gear. The big guys who knock Deathwing over can look forward to 403 loot. Hardmode versions yield 410 and 416 loot respectively.

I haven't seen any notes on a quest hub with 'free loot', but given that the PTR is up and running I would have assumed voices on that by now if it were the case. This makes me believe we won't see a crap-ton of daily quests rewarding us with 384 loot like the Molten Front 365 loot.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Random battlegrounds: Eye of the Storm

This one is rather fun for a tank. Four towers, one flag.

The general strategy is to leave the flag alone and capture towers ASAP. A semi-decent team will have two smaller groups capture the two towers closest to your starting spawn, and either one massive or two smaller zergs fighting for the tower/s closest to the enemy starting spawn.

For a tank this presents a golden opportunity to do it all wrong, provided that you clearly state what you're up to before the battle starts. You're hitting the flag, and you don't want any help.

Most often this is a suicide mission. You get to the flag and blow every defensive CD in your arsenal in order to keep enemy players tied up by a flag they shouldn't have come to in the first place. If you can keep four or five players busy there for some thirty seconds, then your reward is likely to see three towers captured in the absence of defenders.

Sometimes the enemy team has a working leadership, and you'll end up by the flag alone. Not much to do about it. Collect and head back home to capture it. The lack of a single tank at the towers is outweighed by the extra points you get by capturing the flag.

If you're followed by a bunch of teammates to the flag, just ride through the area and attack an enemy tower. You're up for a bad start with a group of people hitting the flag instead of the towers, and the best way to do something about it is to go suiciding at one of the enemy towers in the hopes that your presence there will see the enemy team move more players to defence. It's unlikely, but I've seen it happen.

After the battle has started in earnest you should rotate between three types of duties. Defend an undermanned tower, attacking an undermaned enemy tower or hitting the flag if there is an enemy group at it.

If you're defending, do call out incoming enemies. Your job isn't simply to suicide. Your job is to stay alive until reinforcements can arrive.

If you're attacking a tower alone, then you are indeed suiciding. Make an effort to get inside, or behind a corner, or whatever you can do to move the defenders away from a position where they can see incoming forces. Chances are they'll call out for reinforcements to a defence which really doesn't need any.

If you're hitting the flag, then you're suiciding to keep enemy players busy at a location they shouldn't be in.

Sometimes you can even help your team by fighting on the roads. This will only be true if you can grab the attention of three or more enemy players.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Nerf to the ground

As you might have noticed we got ourselves another BH earlier this week. Now I'm situated on an all but dead realm, but you really ought to get out there and start pugging FL if you haven't done so before.

By shredding the bosses you ought to be able to take them on rather than being satisfied with a trash pugging run. Semi-abyssmal dps ought to be enough to take out 4/7 bosses.

With decently competent healers and tanks Belth and Shan should be quick work. Dps still needs to be able to steer Ryl, and obviosuly everyone has to be able to rotate shards on Bal.

Still, give it a shot.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Random battlegrounds: Isle of Conquest

So, let's have a look at the other mass combat BG.

Just as when comparing WSG with TP, you'll notice how Alterac Valley is positively huge when compared to IoC. Just as with TP this means you can actually change your mind as for wether going defensive or offensive.

As with Alterac there's very little you can do as well as any other role until the enemy boss is engaged. Go for a siege engine and get those gates down, or follow a parachut drop team to get inside and do the same job withou having to get gates down.

To a minor degree you can defend objectives, but the fight lasts for so short a time that taking enemy held objectives are rarely worth it.

You should expect the team rush madly for either the workshop or the docks initially. Preferably they should do both, but in a random BG with 40 players on each side there's very little coordination going on.

You'll just have to go with one group. Preferably the smaller one as you could make a difference in how long it takes your team to finally lose the initial struggle for that objective, and time is worth gold.

When the time comes to tank the boss, swap to PvE gear, pray enemy players are removed and make sure the boss stays in his room. You don't want the wiping buff to kick in. Use your raidwall (if specced into it) for the first jump (one of two boss special attacks) and drop your area heal at the same time. It's helpful if someone in the assaulting team could drop a bloodlust or similar just after the pull. Hence it's a good idea to communicate this on chat before pulling.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Random battlegrounds: Alterac Valley

This is one of the large scale battlegrounds, and to be honest my knowledge of the overall strategy for this one is rather shady.

With very little to do when it comes to handling enemy players I usually ride to the very opposite end and start picking off archers and burn down two bunkers.

While I wait for more people to join I continue killing off the NPC:s, and eventually I swap to my PvE tanking gear and hit the enemy boss when we're ready for the final assault.

I'm a bit unclear as to how important it is to clear out every NPC at the enemy starting base, but in order to make the ordeal as short as possible I'll drag the elite ones out of their buildings and tank them in plain sight of my team mates. This almost inevitably leads to them being burned down in seconds as people have a tendency to attack anything that is being fought close by.

The final fight is a pure tank and spank fight with no finesse involved at all. Don't forget to swap to PvE tanking gear as it makes the fight a lot easier for your healers. You can't do anything about remaining enemy players more than pray your team keeps them CC:d rather than getting involved in in an outright fight as this slows down the boss fight considerably.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Random battlegrounds: Strand of the Ancients

Let's have a go at what I believe is the most tank-hostile BG of them all.

Basically, we have nothing to offer here, or almost nothing.

The battle is split into two rounds. One attacking and one defending. Attackers protect siege engines, pick up bombs and commit general mayhem to gates in a wild race to the last gate. They need to remove slowing debuffs from the engines, slow defenders, capture graveyards and get to the final goal in short time.

Defenders, well, they have to make this not happen. So, slow engines, slow attackers, defend graveyards (within reason) and overall become a major PITA at all natural choke points.

We have poor snaring abilities, a stun on a long CD, are suspectible to CC, do abysmal damage at close range and more or less no damage at all at long.


As an attacker, try getting up on an engine. The driver doesn't use any abilities anyway. Just drive and destroy. When your engine is about to blow up, desert it and get up on your mount. Ride the hell away if possible and pick up a new engine.

Later, always pick up bombs before picking up your engine. Same rule as above for almost destroyed engines, but this time you drop at the gate and deploy the bomb. Now our much maligned Consecration shines. People taking damage don't defuse bombs. Stay on top of the bomb and suicide while using every AoE attack in your arsenal. Anything that makes that bomb go off is a bonus.

If you're at the relic chamber when the gate breaks, and if you have the ability available, bubble immediately and rush for the relic.


Don't bother getting down to the dirty job. We have little to offer. Go grab a cannon instead. Bomb away at anything that moves, especially engines. When the gate you defend goes down, jump down on the enemy side of the gate. Take the portal to get back home faster.

We're doing poor damage, but we're still good at AoE tanking. Tank the graveyards. People taking damage can't capture any graveyards, and you can survive longer than a squishy. Suicide time again.

At the last choke point, and definitely at the Relic Chamber, please do bubble your healers. You're on defusing duty if the attackers allow you. Doing poor damage, remember?

So, are we entirely worthless? Well, we share a small benefit together with Frost DK. When a gate breaks down, ride at +20% speed and capture the graveyard associated with the gate that is still intact. Chances are you'll be alone capturing it, and you'll get a head start at picking up bombs and start driving for an undefended gate. It's not much, but it's something.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Random battlegrounds: TP

Twin Peaks is WSG on speed. They're very much alike, but they aren't identical.

To begin with the flag areas don't have the excessive amounts of attached areaas where you can run around and hide. They also lack the opportunity to back into a corner at the very place where you want to dump your flag.

TP is also smaller than WSG. Swapping between defence and offence is a lot faster.

All in all this calls for a slightly different strategy for the PvP tank.

When you collect the flag, ride in through the front door, but exit through the side entrance. Don't stay, just grab the flag and get the hell out.

When returning home I personally prefer going back through my front door. The reason for this is that I've seen too many abyssmal accidents result from having your team split in two groups because you're trying to sneak in through the side entrance together with your escort.

Going home through the front door means hacking your way through the choke point. Again this isn't as bad as it sounds if you have solid team  mates. You take fire because the flag you carry aggroes just about every enemy in sight, and your healers keep you up, remove snares and occasionally Holy Leaps you a bit closer to home. During the entire chaos your escort gets the opportunity to give enemy healers a hefty gift of hurt.

Obviously, if your team sucks, then going through the front door is suicide, but you're likely to get stomped all over anyway, so it really doesn't matter all that much.

Well back at home you'll want to stick close to the flag until you have incoming enemies. Then you should move to a corner which can't be targeted from the platform above you. That way ranged enemies have to get down on the floor where they can be targetted by your own melee. Make sure your healer stands close to you as well.

As with WSG, hiding above the flag is taking a huge risk. You can be separated from your escort and go down in seconds.

TP also differs from WSG in another way. Three tanks isn't all that excessive in TP. The reaon is that even a short delay can be golden. If you have three tanks in your team, then having one suiciding by crashing into the enemy train heading for your flag is good use of your money. If the enemy dismount to kill your offending tank (and they usually will) then you've just split the enemy into two separate groups even before they collected the flag.

In the best scenario this results in a slug-fest when your own flag carrier returns with their flag and they're still busy collecting your flag. You can afford going all out aggressive here, because even if you lose your flag by getting killed you still have ample time to collect theirs long before their flag carrier can return back home. Obviously you could get lucky and down most of their team before they can exit the building, and if that happens you're very likely to kill their flag carrier during the next wave of combatants incoming from the grave yard.

Just as with WSG the battle will usually boil down to you waiting at home with the enemy flag while your stacks of damage debuff tick away. The difference is that incoming waves of enemies come quicker compared with WSG, and an offensive team have a far greater chance of going defensive due to the shorter distances involved.

In the three tank team (or a two tank one with a squishy collecting the enemy flag and returning for a drop off) this means you want one tank being a major PITA on the bridge separating the playing fields. If that tank and a healer can keep three or four enemies busy in the middle you're likely to have superior numbers where it matters. It also slows down incoming attacks.

As for the flag carrier back at home, you'll have to take much higher risks compared to WSG. You're a weak damage dealer, but a damage dealer still. During enemy waves you'll simply have to take an active part in reducing them. This will mean you risk being CC when your own team kills the enemy flag carrier, in which case they'll pick up the flag before you can capture it. If your healer is a priest this isn't a problem as long as you have spoken beforehand. Have your priest healer heal you from the capture point and Holy Leap you immediately if your own flag is returned home. Obviously never fight out of reach from your healer.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Random battlegrounds: WSG

Two flags, get the enemy one, stay alive and have your friends kill the enemy flag carrier.

This is a BG where a tank shines.

I've learned to dispense with all finesse. Just ride across the field, keep a little bit to the right to avoid getting caught up by enemy CC. Ride straight through the front door and keep running.

This can be done even without escort, but if the flag is guarded by more than two people you're dead. Preferably you have a squishy with you to grab enemy attention.

Get the flag, and avoid getting involved in any fights unless you're zerging the place. Run back out the same way you came. Don't forget to check for the speed-buff.

What I've found working out best is to cross the field somewhat on the outskirts of where fighting is going on. You're likely to draw attention, but unless the team you're grouped with are hopelessly bad you'll also get yourself a pretty strong escort.

The reason getting slightly caught up in battle mid-field is actually pretty good is that you'll draw fire onto yourself. Your healers are likely to be left alone, and with a live healer you can crawl all the way to the flag-deposit point without going down. I even go as far as backpedalling the last bit to make sure enemy players don't lose interest in me. By that time I've stacked up an impressive amount of vengeance, and reds quickly learn that a flag carrier actually hurts pretty bad.

The kind of attrition fight described above should normally give your dps a decent opportunity to catch the enemy flag carrier in superior numbers. The reason for this is that while you slowly fight your way home, the closer to your own spawn point you get. As players die left and right you'll generate a continuous superiority in numbers simply because the enemy has longer to ride to get back in action.

Back at home you just cram yourself into a corner by the deposit point. Hopefully you have a small escort including a healer staying with you.

I know a lot of people prefer staying upstairs, but my experience is that this is all too often a very bad idea. If an enemy DK pops into the fight you're likely to be physically separated from your healer. It's a lot harder to split up the defending group if they're close to the flag.

When the enemy arrive, and they probably will, you'll need to check their numbers. If they're few you most likely want to leave your protected position and assault in order to help with local numerical superiority. Use SoT and let them eat shield.

If they're a crap-ton, make sure you're seen and back into that corner again. Hopefully one or two enemy melee dps beeline directly for you, giving you a superb opportunity to tank them PvE boss-style. Even though some 25% block chance is rather poor, it's a lot better than zero. Add that your measly dodge and parry both activate if you're fighting frontally. It all adds up. Your stun is a defensive cooldown as well. Use it.

This is also the point when you need to decide if you're going to bubble before going down or if you're going to risk being CC when you need to pull the LoH off. Always remember that bubbling makes you drop the flag, so this has to be timed. As for the general fight just distribute your defensive cooldowns evenly and keep a very close eye on your healer health. You'll want to bubble him/her when things look dark.

Also don't forget your raidwall (if you're specced into it) and the measly area heal you have available. You should probably fight with SoI rather than SoT when overwhelmed numerically as well. WoG at CD, so use that SotR sparingly. If you have time and are able to see anything, free friendly melee dps from slows.

Usually nothing funny will happen until the flag carriers have collected four stacks or more of the damage debuff. This is also when enemy zergs usually occur. Eat food, bandage and throw self-heals between attack waves. Also, don't forget to buff up occasionally.

When the flag has been captured you need to know if you're one or two flagcarriers in your team. Sometimes a squishy grabs the enemy flag. In that case you need to get out to orchestrate a drop off. If you have a proper tank picking the flag up, then you should join the offensive team. Not because you're especially good at killing anything, but because you want to be close to the enemy flag when it spawns after the next capture.

Now get out there and tank your way to glory.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Random battlegrounds: general

I'll give my input as a casual tanking PvP player. Hence BG are always the atrocity called random battle grounds.

I'm assuming that you're joining in some kind of tank spec, possibly in your main tank spec.

I'm also assuming that you have access to a semi-decent set of PvP gear. Say the 371 you collect for honor. If you don't, just don't bother. You're made of paper the moment a caster shows up.

You'll be doing bloody awful dps, so your goal is to stay alive in a constructive way. Or you'll suicide in an equally constructive way.

When suiciding, try getting a message away that you're planning to do so, and that you don't want any help. Your mission is to buy the rest of the raid a few extra seconds by keeping some opponents busy killing you. Just burn every CD you have available for survival and pop whatever CD you have for getting out of CC.

When staying alive you're either waiting for reinforcements to arrive, in which case you do as when suiciding, or you're jogging around with a flag. In the latter case you're trying to reach teammates unless you already have an escort with you. Use defensive cooldowns sparingly if you have a healer with you. In that case, attack as many targets as possible. You want people hitting you and leaving your healer alone.

When people refuse to hit you, or you're getting chain CC:d, Hand of Sacrifice a friendly target who's taking a beating.

I'll follow up with some more specific articles for casual BG-playing as a tank.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Those last twenty

If you don't have access to raiding spots, something which all too often happens to me, but still grind out the 980 VP weekly, then you're likely to run into the revenge of the twenty.

You did a couple of randoms, and then BH opened up. After that you did more randoms, and now you're stuck with 960 out of 980 weekly VP.

So, do them or not?

For practical purposes, don't. They're worth just a bit above two percent of your weekly gain. In order for the difference to make up for even the trinket you need to grind those twenty out for 35 weeks. That's about the lifetime of the entire content patch.

If you have nothing to do, sure, but at least don't live under the illusion that it'll make any noticable difference.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A short piece of advice, shards

"It's pointless to run Tol Barad / Random battleground / weekly heroics."

Heard that one before? Even said it?

Well, if that's the case, my respect for you.

I've also heard it from people who believe I should hand over WoW-gold because I have so much. Dream on!

When you do mass-PvP (as in TB or BG), or when you run your weeklies, you amass a staggering amount of Honor and Justice Points respectively. This just happens, no matter if you're interested in it or not.

Now, watching someone capped at 4000 honor or JP, who's stating in a deadpan voice that they are unable to produce WoW-gold is a bit like watching a kid firmly in belief that a baby will never be able to walk because it's currently crawling.

Walk to the honor/JP trade goods vendor. Buy Heavenly Shards at 600 honor/JP each. Then walk over to the auction house and list them. In a worst case scenario you should make an extra 100 gold daily. It's not much, but it really didn't cost you any effort either.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Just made a change for comments. It struck me that I'm more likely to receive input if I allow people to actually post a comment.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

4.3, gearing and pugging

The announced 4.3 content patch presents us pugadins with an interesting question.

What will drop from the three new five-mans?

If the scaling runs as it has done, then the new normal mode raids will drop ilevel 397 gear. The five-mans, therefore ought to drop either ilevel 391 or 372 gear, given that the trolls drop 353.

I'd personally expect them to drop 372 gear as the instances are likely to explode in the face of puggers jogging around in an average ilevel 365 or so set.

The problem with five-mans dropping 372 gear is obviously that raiders hitting them in 375 or better gear have nothing to gain but their Valor Points from the very start. We won't even talk about hard mode raiders.

Later on that problem would become even more accentuated with raiders geared in 390+ gear running together with puggers in 370- gear. The difference in ability to handle the content should be astounding given a 20+ ilevel discrepancy in gear between a semi-decently geared raider and a pugger who has gained just about everything there is to get from pugging.

Of course a new quest hub, similar to the one in Hyjal, could rectify the problem somewhat. But Blizzard has only announced a new raid, and prior to Firelands they were pretty loudly sending the message about a brand new quest hub with lore, individually changing landscapes and new vendors with upgrades.

Obviously the Firelands raid would see some rather heavy nerfs hitting it to open it up for puggers. The announced Looking For Raid would tie in well with making more players get inside raids, which in reality means more players getting inside nerfed raids. That way 378 gear is theoretically within the grasp of puggers as well.

If this is indeed the scenario, then the hysterical buff to tanking threat makes more sense. While a 365 geared tank should be able to survive a five man with 372 drops, the same tank wouldn't beeven  remotely able to keep threat from a competent 30 ilevels better geared dps.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Vengeance, the revenge of the retards

Once upon a time there was a concept developer who came up with the idea that the warrior class should have a bit of a berserker in them. A warrior should become enraged if he/she was being hurt.

Even though it sounded like a great concept, eventually warrior tanks ran into problems. They were being starved for rage, and so they had to remove some of the mighty armour that protected them in order to become properly enraged and inflict damage.

That was, in general, considered as a bad thing.

Having seen problems like these evolve over time, the very same developer visited someone higher in the hierarchy of those who had, among other things, created the warriors.

"What do you want?" asked the boss.

The developer rolled his head slowly, a string of spittle stretching from his half open mouth towards the floor.

"Ah, I see you have come up with a new and daring concept." said the boss.

The developer nodded, eyes glimmering with a frightening absence of coherent thought.

"It must be a grand idea indeed." exclaimed the boss. "Implement it! It is my wish."

And thus was it decided that all tanks, not only the warrior variant, begat something berserkerish about them. Whenever a tank is hurt a desperate need for revenge grows, and the tank hits back harder.

Astonishingly enough this resulted in a pecualiar problem. As time passed, all tanks noticed that they were becoming less and less vengeful, and that as a result they didn't hit things as hard as they had used to.

Three out of four tanks knew that some tanks had whispered dark words about a very similar problem, and so those three fourths turned to their warrior colleagues. And lo and behold, the warriors knew the answer.

"Remove the mighty armour that protects you, and you shall become properly vengeful again." they said. And all tanks concurred.

And the healers groaned in dismay, but as healers are prone to groaning noone took much notice.

This, my dear reader, is the reason I'm carrying four sets of gear in my bags, two more than I should decently have. One for quests and tier 1 Cata heroics. One for BH, tier 1 raids and the troll heroics. One for PvP, and one for raiding. Because, you see, my raiding set, the very best gear I have, isn't good enough for tanking content I should be bulldoozing through.

And this, my dear reader, is why one shouldn't have drooling retards as concept developers in a computer games studio, and expecially not a management who would agree to their idiocies.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Threat management gone

Threat has been a joke for the entire expansion, and now Blizzard announced that threat management is removed from the game.

My initial reaction was that it's a horrible change, but then I sat back and rethought my position.

Threat has been a joke for the entire expansion. This is the key fact. It is also not entirely true. Threat has been a joke for the entire expansion, apart from the first fifteen seconds when you play Russian roulette with your party/raid. After all, taking zero damage should be the holy grail for a tank, but if you take zero damage, then your target will have your companions for dinner.

So, in reality this change makes the likelyhood of you accidentally blowing the head off your friends less likely until you reach the point where threat didn't matter at all before the announced change. Threat was already binary due to a poor implementation of Vengeance to begin with.

Still, there will be complaints. An immediate stack of one third of the taken damage from the first attack. PvP as a tank suddenly became a lot more interesting.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


The tank stages on Maintankadin may vary a bit in implementation, but they're based on the same assumption. The differences are mainly a matter of granularity and viewpoint concerning the breaking points.

I'll give my view of the different stages, based on a higher granularity than I use myself.

1) Newly dinged 85. This happens the moment you become 85. Theoreticaly all the best gear in the game are available for you from this point on. In reality you are clad in a hopeless mix of gear suitable for questing and levelling. Most of what you have should be a wild mix of 312 greens to 325 blues.

2) Prepared to start your career as a max level tank. This ought to take you a day or two. If you've levelled an alt it could also be a matter of a few hours. You'll run the initial Molten Front quests to unlock the vendor Zen'Vorka and gain access to a couple of ilevel 365 taking items. You also do the Thrall quest chain to get the tanking cloak. Depending on your stash of gold you should visit the AH to shop a few upgrades.

You are now ready to tackle all level 85 five man dungeons on normal difficulty.

3) Prepared to tank hc. This really means that you have amassed the gear needed to tank the first Cataclysm five man heroics, no matter which one chance gives you when you try your luck in the LFD. You have spent a few more days, maybe a week, doing daily quests and tanking normal difficulty dungeons. During this time you should have gained a few ilevel 333 blue items as well as ranking up your reputation with the zone-factions by means of tanking dungeons with a faction tabard.

You are now mainly geared in ilevel 325 and 333 blue items. This set is boosted by three or four 365 items. In all likelyhood you have also bought a couple of ilevel 353 items on the AH as these costs only a few hundred golds. Almost all your gear ought to be properly gemmed and enchanted, albeit with second best in slot gems and enchants unless it's the 365 slots.

4) Prepared to tank the Troll instances. You have spent a week or two learning how to tank when things make a serious attempt att killing you. Running Cataclysm first tier heroics should see you having access to the best shoulder and head enchants in the game as well as getting you the reputation needed to collect a few ilevel 359 gear. While you might still be saddled with a single green quality item you should prepare to get your head smashed in by the trolls.

You are now mainly geared in 346 blue quality items, but your gear is boosted by six or seven slots of ilevel 353 or better quality.

5) Prepared to pug Cataclysm first tier raids. Basically this was true the moment you were ready to take on the troll heroics, but verbal abuse when you tried your hand at the previous tier of raiding content should have forced you to clear up some more slots. This, in all likely hood, is the result of gaining a few drops from the trolls as well as unlocking the vendors from the Molten Front. You shouldn't have to spend more than a few days at this stage.

You are now mainly geared in 353 and 365 epic quality gear. You also have access to one, or possibly two, ilevel 378 items due to collecting valor points. By now you are in reality hysterically overgeared for pugging the initial raids, but at the other hand it's a way to learn the ropes.

6) Prepared to raid. Unless you joined a raiding guild, the previous stage sunk you into a quagmire, and you have easily spent a month pugging for little gain. The problem here is that albeit you are geared for raiding the current content you're unlikely to do so without a guild. Still, 980 valor points weekly and quite a few pugged easy mode raids should have you prepared for harder content.

You are now mainly geared in 359 and 365 epic quality gear. Four slots are of ilevel 378 epic quality, and you are in reality well overdue to tank the Firelands raids at normal difficulty. This is most likely your end-game.

7) Hard mode raider. You got yourself into a guild and have had your arse handed to you in the Firelands raids. However, reputation gained there as well as maybe a drop or two should have you geared to fail miserably when one of the usual tanks don't show up at raiding time. You'll either revert back to a stage 6) tank, or you'll spend most of your free time developing the skills needed to handle content that truly is out to get you.

You're now mainly geared in 365 and 378 epic quality gear. The ilevel 391 gear beckons.

8) Trailblazer. You've killed it all. WoW starts again when the next content is available on the Public Test Realms. Everything is farm.

You're balancing your 391 gear against the lower ilevel slots which in reality are an upgrade depending on which boss you're planning to pull. You're not reading this blog, because 'casual' is about the least proper word to describe you.

Now, we can't have eight tanking stages when we make gear lists. We have settled for five, and that is likely one too many. However, settling for a lower granularity means cutting corners, and that's the reason you see different numbers sharing the same piece of gear. Also, totally unaccounted for is the knowledge among us gear-list makers that a simple rank is very seldom entirely true.

Some fights require extra health, some that you take as little damage as possible when it counts, and some that you simply take as little damage as possible. Where one fight has you scrambling to get that magic 102.4, another might see you stacking stamina like there was no tomorrow. In reality we can't afford, mostly as a result of time (the raid won't wait for us to regem and re-enchant), to be perfectly configured for each fight. So we make gear sets, and those gear sets have no stage ranking. They're simply an assortment of gear available to us to do the best job at the moment.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Short piece of advice, Molten Front

Actually two pieces.

The first was found out independently by several members of Maintankadin. The quest Burn Victims is best solved by throwing an occasional Holy Radiance while doing the other quest.

The second concerns the quest Solar Core Destruction. For some reason the clicky can be done while bubbled. As you can't take any damage while bubbled you won't get interrupted. Before the bubble drops (and you get a horde of angry flame druids crawling all over you) you'll get thrown to the pillar.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

But I only PvP

I ran into a conversation with someone who wanted to tank but only spends time on PvP.

Now, first of all I have to say that it's a horrible idea to tank without tanking. Gear will never replace knowledge.

Still, let's assume that you do indeed know how to tank, but you spent the last half a year doing nothing but PvP. Now you need to get into shape to take up that tanking again.

Your gear will, correctly, get you kicked out of every pug you join, so there has to be a way to get around it.

Well, there is. At least to get you into heroics, and from there you get valor points without destroying your supply of the conquest points you need to continue PvP.

Buy the season 10 helmet, cloak (or do the Thrall quest chain if you haven't done it) and belt. Get a season nine onehander. Continue doing PvP, but concentrate on getting honor. 375 honor buys you 250 justice points. You should be able to buy one JP piece or two daíly this way.

Do the Molten Front quests. The quick and dirty version is only doing only one day's worth of quests. That's enough to get you a necklace and boots.

You should be good for running the old Cata heroics within a week as tank, and from there on you have 490 valor points available per week. Gearing for the trolls would require the standard grind, and that's better explained in my failsafe gearing guide.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

New to Molten Front

So, you've dinged 85 later, or for some other reason haven't had time to do the Molten Front dailies. Now it's time to catch up.

The only really important question is in which order you'll open up the vendors.

No matter what I suggest you wait with filling up that moonwell as the last vendor. While a new stamina trinket is fun to have, it's simply not good enough to merit waiting for the other two vendors.

If you're a blacksmith, then it's easy. Get those armaments up and ready and craft yourself a new weapon with good itemisation.

If not, well, Ricket's bracers are a huge upgrade from the Ramkahen 359 you're likely to sport as a casual tank. So stick to those armaments.

That leaves the druids as your second pick. While the Lyagar ring is a good piece of equipment, it's not that much of an upgrade compared with the Justice Point option.

Oh, don't despair if you can't find the quest giver for the new quests when you have reqruited one of the mini-factions. Sometimes it's waiting at the secondary quest hub.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Difficulties getting that elusive slot

We have one very problematic slot as pugging tanks, and that is the helmet. While pugging Cata tier one raids is perfectly doable, a 359 helmet isn't all that much of an upgrade compared with the 353 one that eventually will drop if you farm the trolls for Valor Points.

So we need to find us a replacement. That replacement would be the 384 PvP helmet. Now, a PvP item doesn't sit all too well with most of us, but this one comes with a bucket load of mastery. The Resilence is, obviously, a dead stat, but at ilevel 384 it comes with a big chunk of armour and stamina to make up for close to 300 points of wasted stat.

Now, I'm not even remotely arguing in favour of this helmet compared to a 378 PvE one, but that's the catch. You need to pug down anything dropping a 378, and that might prove difficult for a casual tank. So we're stuck with a 359 or a 353, and compared with those the PvP piece doesn't look too shabby.

Now we have another problem. 2200 Conquest Points. Doing arena as prot is more or less out of the question. I've spent a lot of time dying to cram out a few wins, but you'll make yourself an unhappy partner.

Pugging rated battlegrounds, however, isn't entirely futile. A tank is quite often handy there, so you can pull your weight properly.

Still, you may be a casual tank for the simple reason you can't spend a lot of time gaming. Then you're unlikely to want to spend the time you have available smacking other players over the head.

So your last resort would be to convert Valor Points to  Conquest Points. At least it's done at a ratio of 1:1.

I'd suggest that you wait with it though. There are quite a few items which should come higher on your list, but eventually you're going to run out of truly appealing items to buy for VP. That's when this helmet, and of course, the PvP cloak starts to look appetizing. The helmet because it's the best we casuals are likely to lay our hands on, and the cloak because it's the second best there is in the game.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Strange failsafe in 4.2

The failsafe tanking gear is somewhat confusing in 4.2.

First you get an absolutely fantastic cloak from the Thrall quest chain. Then it gets weird. The neck-piece you get after a day's worth of questing Molten Front is a threat piece, and a good one at that. The 378 cloak from Avengers of Hyjal is a direct downgrade compared with the Thrall quest one, unless you're desperate for hit-rating.

The 365 boots are a downgrade from the rep 359 ones, and the reward for pushing to honoured with the Avengers of Hyjal, a 378 belt, is suspiciously close to a side-grade from the crafted 359.

While you should eventually be able to grab some good bracers from the Molten Front quests, your 378 Valor Points option is likely a downgrade.

All in all we're getting stamina and armour force-fed to us, but the other stats are mildly put strangely distributed.

Now, the boring thing is that if the increase in stamina and armour is great enough, then it is indeed an upgrade, but as both stamina and armour are linked to the ilevel of the item, very little remains for personal configuration. At least in you stick with tanking gear. Now, if you go insane and start looking at dps and PvP gear, then you could find some gems of superior tanking gear.

Weird is weird.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The true joys of tanking pugs

There are moments, few and far between, when pugging is the best there is.

I hit Zul'Aman by means of the LFD. Queue is, as usual, immediate, but so is the player response. This usually means I'll end up in the middle of the instance, and quite often in an ongoing fight.

I brace myself.

15 minutes to rescue prisoners. The instance is virgin. As the stupid gong session is done, and the doors open, my healer opens us on party chat: "Kakad, I want a fast run."

Now, I'm just about as far from a proponent of the 'gogo' mentality as is possible, but if it's the healer who wants to give us a headache, then I'll give him hell. So I ride down the stairs, turn left, body-aggro the untauntable sentinel and pull from horse back.

One of the two mobs is ripped from me. I taunt back and watch my primary target getting ripped from me as well. It's dead before it reaches the offending dps.

This part of the instance is like a mini gauntlet, and I'm getting outaggroed left and right.

Now, get me right. I'm not a fantastic tank by any means, but I'm fairly competent. If stuff get ripped away from me, then someone is doing something seriously wrong -- or something extremely seriously right. Scanning my surroundings I notice that anything dangerous I lost aggro from is sheeped. Nobody is taking any damage, and things die at a speed I've never seen before. RF is on, I'm doing close to 20k dps, and things are lost all over the place, and die.

When we ride up to the boss I have time to watch recount for the first time. Two mages are solidly placed at above 40k dps, and one shammy is lagging behind at a lowly 30k.

I don't even ask if anyone is ready and pull the boss from horse back. He never even gets to the first storm cloud before going down, and I have to taunt him back twice at the start.

While this ought to make me happy, it actually makes me quite irritated. I decide to show the healer that things can be pulled even faster and more recklessly than he thought was possible. It doesn't matter. Things die at a staggering pace, and in a last attempt to test their mettle I just bomb the trash before boss number two without any communication.

Two targets sheeped and the remaining bears peeled to me as if we had been planning the CC a minute in advance.

Needless to say things die, as does the boss, and we continue the barrage. Nothing stops the maniac mages from out aggroing me, but they simply refuse to take any damage. I'm frantically using everything available in my arsenal, but they're simply too fast for me. I can't even make a mess of the last pull before the hatchling boss. Casters are sheeped immediately and the group falls over and dies.

The boss-fight, however, is a mess. Both adds are immediately killed, and the boss takes damage at an alarming rate. Before the second spawn everything is hatched. I flunk and forget to bubble my healer who dies immediately. Flipping all my cooldowns in short time, including a full self-heal I stay up long enough to see most adds vanish in a maddening cloud of AoE, and then there are three dps alone with a boss. Two of them manage to stay alive for over twenty seconds, and to my enormous surprise the boss keels over.

For the first time the healer complains, and rightfully so.

We burn our way to boss number four. This is a part of the fight I do in my sleep, so I concentrate on generating max dps. Still, close to 25k dps as tank isn't enough to hold aggro, but by now I just don't care. The group is superb, we hit the boss, it dies and I get some kind of funny achievement.

When I'm ready to pull the trash prior to the last two bosses I notice that two of my dps are absent. They stay absent. One of them continue to stay absent. Then a loot-message for some kind of mount pops on my screen. Realising I've forgotten to look at the cashe for speed-running the instance I decide to greed rather than need. All four pass and just throw me a 'congrats'. Now, that takes style. They could just have sped away together with me, but for some reason they decided to prolong the run by digging up a mount none of them were interested in.

The last part of the dungeon gets eradicated in the same style and I thank the group for the best pug I've seen in my life. The response is something along: "Yep, good run, decent tank."

That's about when it slowly dawns on me it wasn't really a pug. All four of them come from the same server.

What was the best run for me ever would likely have turned out to be a first class nightmare for a more green tank.

It made me realise you have to watch for what you wish for -- it might come true.

The joys of tanking pugs.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Trashing Firelands

Sporeggar EU is a convalecent backwater realm. Hence it should work as an example of how hard it is to get together proper pugs.

After doing my daily crap yesterday I saw a call for a Firelands trash run on /trade, I sent a whisper and got invited. Half of us, me included, had never seen the place as we zoned in.

There were some ugly wipes, the expected QQ, and then we started learning both trash and each other quickly. I'm pretty certain we botched quite a few of the mechanics during the run, but even so we didn't even bother with getting a new dps after one had to call it a day.

If our pug could nine-man most of the run with half of us neewbs, then there really is no excuse for staying out of these runs if you're a casual tank like me. One run saw me at some 1700 odd reputation, so I'll expect six instance resets to hit just below honoured. That's where easy trash stops giving rep, but I've come to understand that you could push above on a wipe-run on some of the harder trash if bosses are beyond your reach.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

PvP gear for tanking

Even though it doesn't make me feel very happy, for those of you out there who never see a drop, the PvP helmets make a very good substitution.

The new ilevel 371 Vicious Gladiators Scaled Helm is better than anything you'll se before the Cataclysm tier 1 raids. You could get ilevel 359 tanking raid drop -helmets that aren't as good as this one.

The ilevel 384 cousin doesn't fare as well when compared with its Firelands ilevel 378 tanking cousins, but it's obviously a step up from the 371. Observe that 'not faring as well' still means that the 384 PvP helmet qualifies as a perfectly valid 378 tanking helmet, albeit poorly itemized.

The Ruthless cloak, at ilevel 384, clocks in as the second best tanking cloak in the game, only beaten by an agility based dps cloak. You have to love Blizzard for itemizing gear properly.

So, what's so interesting about these metal hats? Well, you can buy Honor for Justice Points, and you can buy Conquest Points for Valor Points.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Joys of pugging

Having done my dailies, pushed my poor hunter to 75, spent 4k gold on the AH buying every scrap of Savage Leather there was and realising I'm stranded at 510 Leatherworking, I gave up on upgrading my leg enchants.

Sporeggar EU is a backwater realm, so I wasn't too surprised seeing that the AH gaped empty on the upgrade for the second day in a row. The old one would have to serve me for a while longer.

I caved in to the ilevel greed and crafted myself a second Elementium Earthguard, lost a minor amount of CTC as I downgraded my shield from the 353 drop in one of the Zuls. At least I gained some armour and stamina.

I had, as is usually the case early after a content patch, run out of excuses to delay getting on with the VP grinding. It was time for LFD.

Now, I'm sitting on an average ilevel 359 goto raiding set with some 32% avoidance and 60% block. A full tierlevel above the Zuls it means I'm taking a risk when it comes to threat due to Vengeance scaling at glacial speed. At the other hand you never know what cards you will be played concerning the other four people you'll be grouped up with.

I hit Zul'Aman.

I was dealt a silent DK who occasionally managed to break the 10k mark, a healer I never got to measure as I take very little damage, and two people playing the druid class, one who spent most of the time in bear form focussing on something in my tertiary AoE circle and complaining about my tanking.

You see, a paladin tank has a primary target, or circle if you so want. That's the object or objects who receive our single target attacks. We also have a secondary circle consisting of the targets who get hit by our multi target attacks, usually Avenger's Shield, and the occasional direct hit if threat starts running low. Then there is the tertiary circle. Those targets should normally have been the subject of CC during the pull, but if they're not, they only get the attention of our pure AoE damage.

Anyway, as we disgustingly slowly grind our way through the gauntlet to the first boss I find myself both topping the charts an throwing taunts on cooldown. The druids target just about everything in the tertiary circle and then some. I let the worst offender die twice to get a cleaner run. While losing a dps is usually bad, the 6k lost is in effect neglible.

Eventually we hit the boss, and we wipe horribly. I'm aware I'll have problems doing decent damage in my gear, so I'm slightly surprised seeing myself at a steady 10k. That's a pretty good sign the small adds aren't killed fast enough. After the wipe I check my Recount and am stunned. The DK runs 9.5k dps, which places him firmly in the top of the three dps. The druids lumber in at 5.5 and 6.5k respectively.

The 5.5k genious is livid about me not tanking the big eagle carrying away people, and I realise this will be a never ending run unless I get out. I inform the group that boss-fight dps below the tank is unacceptable, and that doing well below 50% of the minimum dps given the gear requirements of the instance is a joke. To my great relief I'm immediately kicked.

The next group is a business minded 13k dps (apart from the berserk 45k AoE hunter who never uttered a word of complaint) and environmentally aware healer. We have a lock who's strangely silent after I expressed my hopes for a better run and referred to the numericals from the previous disaster. After a few trash pulls going slightly slower than I expected one dps reminds me that five players might come in handy at the boss. I'm a bit surprised, but it turns out the lock is AFK, and I never noticed, something I remark upon. My friendly, present, dps links the overall 5k dps delieverd by the lock this far, and he's kicked. Stuff dies, we collect our VP, politely share thanks for a pleasant run and disperse.

I want 280 VP, so a new group it is. It's the usual semi-decent dps never attacking skull and breaking CC gang while complaining about retarded tank. I've grown too old to react on those by now. They usually, and inevitably did, quit halfway through the instance. I got a new set of those as replacement, and they proved that I can't tank two casters and three melee throwing crap under my feet while someone collected reinforcements from the light knows where. They also quit.

The last replacement is decent. 16k or so dps, environmentally unaware and firm in their belief that their paladin tank should use his two interrupts on a six second CD each to handle all incoming spells. I tell them they're sadly misinformed about the paladin tank, but recount shows zero interrupts done by the entire party, which either indiactes a bug or rather awful lag. There's very little QQ in the end. We reform, focus and stuff dies.

So I'm sitting here, firmly reminded why quite a few tanks avoid pugs. To be honest only the first run was an utter disaster, but then I've evolved armour as every true tank does. Being called a retard by players who are unable to do their part doesn't concern me overy much, as long as they produce enough damage to see me further into the instance before they quit.

So, 280 VP and three typical types of pugs. It could be worse.

Maintankadin failsafe gearing guide, 4.2

I have updated the guide so that it's current. Please inform me of any mistakes I've made.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Reforging and regearing 4.2

Don't forget to hit a friendly reforger close to you before you venture out in the world. Make sure to ditch any agility gear where you already have access to better strength based gear first.

Getting the 200 more dodge rating than parry rating will be rather hard, but make sure you get as close as possible. If you're way, way down on the CTC curve you could as well ditch mastery for avoidance, but even a CTC as low as 80% makes this advice a bad one. If you can somewhat reliably block, then having access to an active block-bonus will be better for you.

If you're below 70%, though, stacking MDR should be better for you, and that means stacking avoidance up to some 13% dodge and parry is better for you. Thankfully the gear where you gain from stacking avoidance is quickly replaced. Napkin math has gear as low as ilevel 346 favouring mastery stacking.

New gear

Run the Thrall quest line as soon as possible if you haven't already done so. At the end you'll be rewarded with an ilevel 365 cloak that is a direct upgrade to the Hyjal reputation ilevel 359 one.

Some odd 4k Justice Points ought to make the previous 359 VP gear available to you. Even if you have already gathered up most of what you want you could still pick up the boots, the retribution legs and the tanking cloak to make your threat set a little better while still maintaining decent tanking stats.

Oh, do pad out your PvP set immediately if you already have a partial Vicious set. You want the spare room for gaining more honour to make sure you fill the set when you start grinding Conquest Points next week.

Apart from that it's time for the slow and boring grinding of dailies to unlock the 365 gear that is sure to be a benefit to us casuals. While it's mostly superfluos for hacking away in five-mans it's certain to come in handy when we start making serious attempts at the first Firelands bosses.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Maintankadin failsafe gearing guide

The version of my failsafe gearing guide on Maintankadin is as of now officially obsolete. I'll write a current one that takes 4.2 into consideration, but the version you find there is no longer valid.

Friday, June 24, 2011

No Swedes today

If you see one of us from the land where polar bears supposedly walk on the streets of our capital (incorrect, but a rumour we find quite humorous) logged on today, well, that's not a casual.

Today is Midsummer Eve. We're abandoning our proper homes and hitting outdoors venues, usually at some friend or relative who lives sufficiently close to nature. There we'll have an alcohol soaked dinner outdoors. Storms, blazing heat, rain or, if possible, snow, won't change that. Outdoors.

Flimsy plates of paper, flimsy glasses of platic and not so flimsy bottles with strong liquor will all compete to fall of the (you guessed it) flimsy tables we've chosen to drag outdoors for this one day of the year.

Sweden is officially closed. This is the day when network traffic drops by well over 50%.

So I'm writing this well before I plan to marinate myself in 40% alcohol and become incomprehensively incoherent. Sharing this experience with a large part of the local population, and tomorrow most of us will state, in broken voices, we'll never drink again -- just as we did last year, and will do next year again.

So what does this have to do with tanking? Very little, apart from a firm warning that if you do indeed get a Swedish tank later this evening, don't expect much in the form of performance. That the player was able to turn on the computer and type in the password to log on would be about the limit of performance you should expect.

For the occasional national out there. I raise you one. Cheers!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Saving money on expensive gear

This is a rather short advice for people, casual or not.

If you plan to keep your gear in order a week from now, start buying gems, and especially enchanting materials, now. Preferably you started yesterweek, but there's still time.

The same advice goes for whatever materials crafted gear which you plan to aqquire needs for completion.

With the new expansion a sudden influx of upgrades will swamp the servers, and whatever is currently stocked up on the AH will be woefully insufficient to meet the needs during the first weeks.

One item in particular will be very hard to come by, and that is the enchanting shard from disenchanting blue quality gear. Players tend to run the troll instances rather than the old Cata heroics, and the troll ones only drop green and epic quality gear. You may want to spread your VP grinding between old heroics and troll ones only to get a chance to aqquire the enchanting materials.

Oh, and do get the materials needed for the new tanking leg enchant. Plate tanks won't even have to wait for an upgrade to feel the need to get that enchant.

Head over to MMO Champion to get a heads up on which upgrades are available to you without you needing to raid. For the same reason, if you aren't already decked out in all the VP gear that you need, remember that those will be available for Justice Points in a week. Doing this will give you a rather good idea of what gems and enchants you're likely to want within the short future.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Update on parry and dodge 4.2

I had to edit my previous post on parry and dodge due to the increasingly commonly laid out feasts during raids.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Do you eat your food?

If you're tanking a raid I'll just assume you buff yourself with food. If not, then you're doing it wrong.

For a five man heroic, though, the answer isn't as clear cut. For a tank in 350+ gear it's simply not needed, especially not in the old heroics.

Now, the troll instances present an interesting dilemma. Threat can sometimes be an issue, because for us casuals the mobs still hit hard enough for us to wear a survival set.

So, how to get the good without paying too much for it?

The Tol Barad dailies is a very sweet help here. Killing crocs give us what we need to produce stamina/expertise food. Unless you're wiping a lot in five mans even the modest amount of food available from doing those dailies will give us a pretty nice chunk of extra threat.

Oh, and do kill the guy on the bridge in Zul'Farrak. Someone in the party will get the ingredients for a full stack of food. Maybe not you, but the mob dies in just about no time. After all, you do take the time to do the lottery for one Maelstrom Crystal.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

4.2, parry and dodge

After a forum conversation with Chicken on maintankadin (thanks for the info, btw) I can give a pointer on how to rebalance balance and dodge.

Currently we try to keep parry about one percent higher than dodge raidbuffed.

Come 4.2 we want them to be exactly equal raidbuffed.

For the tankadin standing by the reforger without raidbuffs this should translate to about 200 more dodge rating than parry rating.

The difference should be covered by BoK (or similar) and Horn of Winter (or similar).

Edit: If you're eating from a feast prior to pull, you'll get 60 or 90 stamina and 60 or 90 in another 'useful stat'. That useful stat is dodge for us tankadins.  You'll have to take that into account when you tweak the difference between your ub dodge and parry.

If you know you'll always eat a feast for 90 in two stats, then a bit more than 100 higher dodge than parry is a better goal than the 200 I've stated here.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A short piece of advice, Maintankadin

If you need to know anything about paladin tanking then Maintankadin is the place to go. While a place that's basically only a forum might seem lacking in general advice in the form of articles, the truth is that aspects of tanking change so fast that static articles tend to become dated very fast.

That's not to say there are not dated chunks of information on Maintankadin. There are, and they're all attributed with the time when someone wrote the advice.

The main sections of useful advice are Basic Training, Gear Discussions and Advice and Cataclysm Raids. For the five man farmer you could have some use for the Five man dungeon section, but due to the raiding progression of most posters on Maintankadin, it tends to be rather dated.

The main strength with Maintankadin is that it's likely to have an answer to just about everything you'd want to ask about.

The main weakness with Maintankadin is that it's (rightfully) renowned as the number one site for anything tankadin, and thus a partially dated guide will sometimes continue to be seen as gospel even when the information is no longer accurate.

Luckily most guides come with a changelog including the date when something was indeed changed. If the last date is prior to a patch you know has been added to the game, be careful.

You can ask questions and be pretty certain you'll get an answer, even though not maybe the same day you asked it. Note, though, that you are expected to have read the FAQ pertaining to each section.

Occasionally you'll get jumped on in an unwarranted way (even though more often than not it is indeed fully warranted). When you take flak with little reason it's usually a combination of a dated guide/FAQ, and associated multiple pages long discussions, and a responder who just happens to know that one of the posts during a chain of disputing posts includes the answer you were searching for.

My primary advice is that you get used to the site for a week or so before you start posting. A few of the other posters can be terse in the extreme, a few others take for granted that the in-house jokes are appreciated by everyone, but in the end basically noone is out to hang you out to dry.

Well, let me rephrase that. If you repeatedly try to actively make an arse out of yourself then we'll cooperate and hand it to you.

That said, pay that gold mine of tankadin information a visit.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

PvP for fun

Can I PvP as a protection paladin?

Yes, but not very well.

Since the nerf to our incessant selfhealing we became a lot less viable in arena. Battlegrounds, however, are a slightly different matter. Especially if we gear up as well as possible.

Now, being well geared isn't the same as showing up in your mid 350 tanking gear and thinking that it'll work. Casters will hand you your rear and even melee will be sadly uncooperative. By cooperative I'm referring to standing in the front of your shield like the targets you usually tank.

You'll need proper PvP gear, and that's easily gained from honor points alone. As we're likely to focus on getting our tanking gear come 4.2 the state of the art PvP equipment won't come fast. However, if you just happen to sit on a few thousand valor points you could as well convert them into their conquest counterpart and get started.

You want exactly the same gear as a retribution paladin, barring a one hander and a shield. Both are, luckily enough, available in PvP versions. Start with a trinket that gets you out of trouble once every two minutes, and try to get the gloves as soon as possible.

Now, somewhere above 3000 resilience the fun in battlegrounds start as a paladin tank. You'll primarily concentrate on carrying flags, defending objectives and tank the ocasional boss fight that occur. The latter is better done in your proper tanking gear though.

You'll soon notice that players are surpricingly easy to taunt. For some reason a lot of people take personal offence at someone who refuses to die instantly. If you back up into a corner you'll even be able to benefit from some of that shield blocking that is part of our normal procedure. However, you can't fight ranged opponents from a cornered position. Those need to be handled by either a corner pull or an outright assault.

Another fun job is the deliberate suicide, especially if you happen to have a healer who likes you. Just head into the thick of things and start using AoE like you were tanking trash. More often than not you'll get the attention of enemy players who start hitting you instead of doing something useful. A few heals are usually enough to keep people occupied for well over half a minute, which is time the opposing team sorely lacks.

Never expect to get a decent kill score. That's not your job when tanking, and that's not your job in PvP. You're there to be a meatshield and a general PITA.

There's even a marginal profit for your tanking to be had if you're inclined to push out as much damage as possible on content you overgear. The PvP gloves add a sweet 5% damage to all your CS attacks.

Also, if you're grinding materials, most likely as a miner, and play on a PvP server, gear with resilience will make ganking you at a node all that much harder. In a one one one match against someone who's hunting players in the open world you're very likely to come out victorious. The main reason isn't that the protection paladin is so fantastic at duels, but rather that gankers tend not to be overly well geared, and as a tank you're already a lot harder to kill to begin with. While you do pitiful damage you can usually just outlast your attacker.

The last, but maybe most important benefit, is that you'll grow a new kind of awareness to your abilities. When to use them, and how to use some that doesn't see as much use when you tank as they ought, well, at least not as a pugging tank. Removing snares, shielding that friendly healer of yours, swapping seals midfight, using trinkets, using potions wisely and pathing.

Pathing is knowing which way you're going to move, before you move. As a protection paladin you're suspectible to all kind of bad things slowing you down, but you move faster than most other players. That makes moving intelligently all that much more important.

Oh, and fighting with the information from your screen. No DBM telling you when to use what abilities. You'll need to act upon a lot more of the graphics that is provided by the game rather than addons.

Now go out and have some fun slamming that shield of yours into the face of other players!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's just a pug

I don't have to, because it's just a pug.

Then there's the long list of don't have tos.

I don't have to:

Perform at max capacity
Use my buffing spells
Use my cooldowns
Enchant my gear
Gem my gear
Reforge my gear
Run in an optimal spec
Know the content
Run in a spec that's suitable for my role at all
Disrobe my PvP gear
Wear gear that is suitable for my class, spec or role at all.
Pay attention during fights
Be physically present at my computer during fights

Do you see a trend?

Remove items from the list that are clearly absurd. If you have more than the three top most left for a five man or any at all for a proper raid, you're not casual, you're just bad.

Threat 2

Ok, now it's time to break the rule.

What rule?

To never ever gear away from survival.

Why would we ever gear away from survival?

Because it's damn fun.

OK, so it's fun. Even tanks like to watch big yellow numbers from time to time. Even a raiding tank could find pleasure with it. There are, however, a few rules we ought to keep.

Your fun shouldn't:

1) Make the run unfun for the others.

2) Disabling you from properly tanking the content.

3) Disabling an eventual co-tank from properly tanking the content.

So it all boils down to being distinctly overgeared for the content. How much is overgeared? I'd say it depends on you and your group. I have fun in the old Cata five man heroics during pugs. I also have fun in an average ilevel 355 set designed to kill stuff. That's grossly overgeared.

Some have fun in content at their own gearlevel, or at least not very much below their own gearlevel. Like having fun in 359 gear with the earlier bosses in Cata raids. I doubt they're pugging it.

That said, how do your start having fun?

Kick your hit-rating to whatever means never missing your target. I hiked it to 8% because I consider the BH 10-man raid to be distinctly easier than some of the old Cata hc:s, and hence I tank it as one. If you'd never consider tanking anything but five-mans in a threat set, then you only have to get hit rating enough to fight level 87 targets.

Kick your expertise to 16. That makes you soft-capped with glyphed SoT. Then kick it as high as you can without feeling squishy, but never higher than 46, because then you hard-cap expertise with glyphed SoT.

Rather obviously, glyph SoT.

Take the best weapon you don't need for surviving stuff that actually tries to kill you and enchant it with Landslide.

Take a very, very greedy look at the PvP gloves, especially if the Conquest Point version is available to you. +5% damage to the attack you'll use almost 50% on boss-fights is an appealing reason.

Glyph SotR and HotR if you feel like having really fun.

Go kill stuff and match DD dps.

There are ways of having even more fun, as can be seen from the link in this post, but this is The Pugadin blog, and pugging tanks don't get to have fun in proper raids, at least not until 4.2 is released.

Now to some stuff to keep having fun without getting kicked.

You'll take a lot more damage than you're used to. The difference between my MDR raiding set and my threat set is a hulking 19% CTC. That's a LOT more physical damage incoming. That's the main reason I don't have fun in the troll heroics. I'd give my healer a heart attack.

While things running away from you basically becomes a non-issue, that extra damage warrants the use of your stun just after you pull a big pack of mobs, and you do want to mark skull. The combined result of DD focusing on your target, your own higher dps and six seconds of target inactivity makes life a whole lot easier for your healer. In effect that target will die very shortly after it's allowed to attack you. Use glyphed Holy Wrath early on stunnable targets for the very same reason.

The above tactics will actually lower your dps a little bit as you take less than maximal damage, but I strongly advice you to follow them until you feel confident that you'll survive the extra damage anyway.

In difference from what I have done, which should work as a reminder to myself to get my act together, don't nerf mastery to increase hit and expertise. Now I didn't go and actively nerf my mastery, but I have been lazy.

When a piece of gear comes with avoidance and hit/expertise I simply don't reforge away from threat into mastery. That's stupid. Mastery is better than avoidance for survival, point by point. What I should do is to reforge, for example, hit rating into mastery and then reforge, for example, parry into expertise. That way I get the same amount of fun, but I effectively convert avoidance into mastery, which is a net gain in survival.

For the very same reason I should probably see if it is at all possible to keep one of my Tol Barad mastery trinkets, preferably the one with strength on-use, and convert 321 points of avoidance into hit/expertise instead of blindly slapping in a hit-rating trinket. This would also allow me to get rid of the inferior 'fun-trinket' with agility.

Then, of course, as gear become more and more grossly better than the content we want to eradicate, we can give survivability less and less of a thought. Eventually we'll tank the content in pure dps-gear, but honestly, I doubt it'll be as fun.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Threat 1

Threat is a joke -- don't flask, eat, pot, gear, gem, enchant or reforge to get more.

Well, that would make this a very short blog post. Especially as the above statement basically is all that you need to know.

That's also the short short version.

The short version is that if you don't know what to do, then you should follow the above statement.

Then there is a long version as well, and this is where my blog post stops being very short.

Threat is a joke unless you have zero vengenance and zero threat lead. That's usually just before you start pulling, but it sometimes includes tank swap situations, new adds that have to be picked up and fights with threat reset mechanics. While you should have some vengenace up at the moment when these exceptions occur, your vengenace could very well be low enough that threat initially isn't a joke.

If you can rely on hunters and rogues diverting threat your way, then you're potentially not being very casual about your tanking. Sure, member of a casual raiding guild where players still do their job, but those groups tend to be the exception.

Now, if you can't rely on anyone helping you during those moments when threat is not a joke, how should you handle my first statement in this post? Exactly the same way as if you could rely on help.

The thing is, if you're geared for threat in a fight that could kill you even if healers do their jobs decently enough, then you're gearing wrong. Does that mean you just have to bite the bullet and watch stuff run all over the place and then complain about careless dps? Well, both yes and no. Yes, you have to bite the bullet. No, stuff isn't allowed to run all over the place. It depends wether you should complain about careless dps.

Just bite it.

A dead tank generates zero threat. You absolutely have to cover the gearing needs to stay alive. That's simply not optional.

Don't allow stuff to run away.

You have two taunts on an eight second CD each, and they're off the GCD, and they can't miss. If you lose threat, just taunt. Effectively you just got a 10% threat lead against melee dps and a 30% leads against anything else (provided healers are standing away from melee range).

If you're raiding then pots are worth it. Break my initial rule and drink one for a big strength increase just prior to pulling.

Use Divine Plea and Inquisition pre-pull for some extra threat. Use glyphed SoT seal for the pull. When things are under controll you can swap to SoI for increased survivability.

If you know well before the fight that adds are going to pop up with the intent to eat your healers (and the occasional dps) for dinner, glyph dazing shield. While it delays the time it takes the adds to reach you, it also delays their dinner preparations.

Taunt. The two taunts are still there long after your initial pull. Be careful with the RD though. You might taunt something you didn't want to.

If you're tanking one caster add and you realize you have to walk over and disrupt that dinner making mob, there are a few options. AS available? Taunt the far away mob, AS the one you're tanking and start walking. No AS? Stun your current target and walk away. Either you'll have to get back to the caster, or your AS came off cooldown and you can order it to come over to you.

You're truly stuck in place with your current target. There is simply no way you can walk away from it for one reason or another. And a caster chef just popped up a bit away. And AS is on cooldown. Taunt the new mob. Divine Plea, Inquisition, taunt it again and Judge it. AS still off cooldown? Stun your current target and cast Exorsism on the far away mob. AS still on cooldown? Your first taunt just came off cooldown, use it again. AS still on cooldown and that mob starts working on your healer? Well, HoP your healer.

And then there are the oddball situations when you're seemingly out of options. You're getting swarmed and nothing could possibly make you collect all those adds. Well, there are oddball solutions. They're likely to fail, but if the alternative is a guaranteed fail, well. You have two instant heals. Lay on Hands is a nice threat spike, and while Holy Radiance only ticks for about 1k health per second, if you're standing among melee dps it stacks up pretty decently. You're having RF turned on, but your healers aren't. Instant healing might be enough to make anything in the area lose interest in them.

And finally there are the situations where you're simply doing it wrong. You have AoE attacks for a reason. What works on a single boss doesn't always work on a group of targets. You also have a tab key. Noone's going to yell at you for changing target, get in a good smack and continue to the next, all while keeping your AoE attacks up. Just make sure to get back to your primary one rather quickly.

To complain or not complain, that is the question.

If you haven't tried beefing up your initial threat, then you have no right to complain. Now, if you truly believe you've done your part (and haven't been proved wrong) then some complaints might be in order.

If the dps are hysterically outthreating you during pull and they still want you to tank the content, then they should take it easy at the start.

If the dps are still outthreating you after thirty seconds of the fight has passed, then either you can't tank for them, or they'll need to accept to perform under their level. This would most likely be a bad case of tanking, ie you need to learn how to tank, or they're outgearing you badly. The latter might be the situation when you're replacing a previous tank in a guild but simply lack the gear to do the job as well as they're used to.

If you're outthreating every dps minus one, who isn't doing noticeably higher damage than the rest, then that tank wannabe should be told to turn off threat increasing abilities.

But what about threat gear? Well, the exceptions to my first statement is not a topic for this post, but I'll cover that later.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

High latency 2

Seeing the latency dropped to around 450 ms I gave tanking five mans a try. To make certain I wouldn't be too much of a liability I hit two of the original Cata heroics.

To give you a reference point, I'm used to around 60 ms latency for actual game data, and as low as 35 ms for chat and other low-intensity WoW-utilities. That would be the world and home data on your interface.

I ran quite a few of the original five mans earlier to test out a threat set of mine, one that hasn't particularily changed since then.

The result was a decent overall 10 - 12k dps no matter which instance I ran. A bit higher if there were numerous groups of mobs, which shouldn't surprise anyone given how the paladin tank does AoE.

While two runs doesn't constitute a statistical sample, a drop to around 8k overall dps seems significant. Obviously I was aware high latency would have a negative impact on my dps (not to mention overall tanking performance), but the rather drastic difference still came as a surprise.

Some of it can be accounted for by a greater damage intake. Ie, I'm slower to move out of The Green Pool of Doom. Hence I'm likely to hit WoG more often than before, and that's one SotR less. Still doesn't account for somewhere between 2 and 4k loss of dps.

So most of that dps loss has to have latency as the culprit, and as a protection paladin I'm not even dependent on a crapton of procs for my attacks. I'm bashing most my abilities in according to a GCD based schedule, and thus I should pretty much be able to keep my rotation intact.

If I lose that much to a mere 0.4 seconds latency overhead, then I don't even want to have nightmares about what it'll do to someone who relies on procs.

Monday, June 6, 2011

High latency

I'm stuck a long way from home. In Japan to be more exact.

While the local infrastructure is perfectly decent, the overall latency to my EU server definitely leaves a lot to wish for.

So, what should I do at some 800 ms latency?

Raids are right out of the question. While it would be possible to run ten people all guessing what has already happened server side, you can't have your tank being the only one catching up almost a second later.

Grinding five mans for VP I really don't need is an option. I'd just be a sucky tank. There is, however, something that keeps me from deliberately being sucky.

So I guess I'm stuck with doing some dailies, running an occasional instance with a levelling alt and reading up in general. Wait a minute! Didn't I just say I wanted to avoid deliberate suckyness? Well, the primary alt in question is a dps running WotLK content, and there's a limit to how sucky you can be compared to the atrocities you run into. Besides, it's a ranged dps. There's not much in the way of Green Pools of Doom to stand in.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

On giving personal advice

So, you're standing there and one of the members is rigged in ungemmed and unenchanted PvP gear, in a spec that would make your grandmother weep in shame. And swims around in The Green Pool of Doom. While pulling the next group of mobs.

You're now in the position to give advice.

Before doing so, decide what kind of result you want.

1) You want the offending player to vanish.
Your advice should be formulated in the terms of: You suck!

2) You don't really care if the offending player vanishes, but if staying performance had better improve.
Your advice should be formulated in terms of: Your ability to perform sucks!

3) You really do want the offending player to stay, but performance had better improve.
Your advice should be formulated in terms of: If I played your role I'd do the following to have less sucky performance.

4) You really do want the offending player to stay.
You shouldn't advice. Apparently performance isn't an issue.

I doubt there's much to say about points 1, 2 and 4. Possibly that you can get your point through as far as 1) and 2) goes without references to elderberries and other non-humanoid attributes concerning heritage.

But if you truly want the player to improve?

If you're standing there in combat, regearing and respeccing really isn't an option. You'll have to satisfy by getting the player out of The Green Pool of Doom. That is, strangely as it might sound, not best done by telling the player to move the hell out of said pool. At least not the first time. The fifth time you just yell: Get the **** out of the pool!

Point out the non-pool areas. You want the player to focus on the right way of doing it, not on avoiding the wrong way to do it. Even if the pool pops up in your own face from time to time wherever you happen to tank the target, there are still non-pool areas. Often behind the target.

The same strategy goes for hepling with specs and gear, with one huge difference. If you don't really know what is the best setup for the player, then you should preferably introduce that player to someone who does. Don't guess and give wrong advice.

Now, if you do indeed know the best setup, then you could say, to take a prot pally example: You should place two talent points into Seals of the Pure. It provides both higher overall dps and better reliability than Eternal Glory. You want that reliability during the first seconds of the fight when you still need to establish aggro. Later on threat becomes a non-issue, so reliable extra threat is prefered over random spikes of threat.

The same goes for gear: My primary job as a tank is to survive and keep aggro. The reason I prefer the tanking chest enchanted with 75 extra stamina is that it helps me to survive. While your dps chest with +20 on all stats give you better initial threat than mine does, the extra threat gained is unlikely to help you enough during the first seconds of the fight to compensate for the extra damage you take for the rest of the fight. Besides, occasionally those 55 more stamina I get allows me to survive an attack which would otherwise have killed me. When I go down I generate zero threat.

Start with the short time goal you want the player to achieve, argue for it, and only after that point out the deficiencies standing in the way to reach that goal. That's the roundabout way of getting the player to suck less without resorting to: "You suck!" And the elderberries.