The random ramblings of a casual tankadin

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.

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