The random ramblings of a casual tankadin

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.