Jul 16

Yogg-Saron is not your average tank and spank type of fight.  In fact, there is an entire phase were we aren’t really tanking anything at all, that phase being Phase 2.  Here is some advice for how to remain “useful” during this Phase and really help your raid do what needs to be done.

  1. Interrupting Diminishing Power. The Crusher tentacles have a channeled ability called Diminishing Power that, while active, reduces all damage raid-wide by 20%.  This can stack if you have more than one Crusher up at a time.  Tanks should be running around and interrupting this ability to keep the raid-wide DPS as high as possible throughout this phase.  Heroic Throw is amazing for stopping the channel without getting in range of the Crusher’s punishing melee damage.  Note: shooting it with a gun will not stop the cast, you have to use a melee ability to successfully interrupt.
  2. Sunder Armor and Shattering Throw. When a Crusher becomes active your first priority, after stopping Diminishing Power, is to get five Sunders up on any of the Crushers that are being actively DPSed.  While this will only directly help your Hunters during the brain phase, once the tentacles are stunned and your melee can jump on they will already be hitting a fully-debuffed tentacle.  Remember to put up Shattering Throw on the tentacle once they are stunned as well and you can really watch your melee just go to town.

If you have any more tips for tanking Phase 2 of the Yogg-Saron fight, feel free to post here.


Apr 30

Say hello to my new favorite progression enchant, Blood Draining!

Blood Draining enchant description.

How it works is that as you attack the target you gain up to five stacks of a buff called Blood Reserve, which combined can heal you for up to 2,200.  That doesn’t sound like a whole lot but then again the amount healed isn’t really the best part of the enchant.  The best part is that the enchant fires off automatically when you are reduced to under 35% of your total health pool.  That means that it works much like the old Commendation of Kael’thas but instead of giving you dodge raiting it fires off a little extra heal for you.  Does the 2,200 number not excite you?  Well let’s look at some numbers:

The effect of a full five stack of Blood Reserve going off and healing you is equivalent to drinking a nearly maximized Super Healing Potion!  “That’s not amazing, it’s just a Super Healing Potion,” I hear some of you saying and while it’s true you might be forgetting two things:

  1. It’s automatic. You never have to think about using it, it just fires off the instant you fall below 35% health.
  2. Potion Sickness. The days of being able to chain-chug pots as an oh-shit button are gone.  We know this and we aren’t happy about it but we’ve adapted.  I just recently looked at a WWS report from our Auriaya kill this week and I noticed that a healthstone I used gave me 4,337 health but, again, I could only use it once and I had to trigger it.  I regained a total of 8,828 health from Blood Draining over the course of the same fight, that’s the same amount of healing as if I had used an additional two healthstones!

Bear in mind, however, that while Blood Draining is fantastic for progression fights where your raid might be a little under geared or new to the content that you’re attempting, it will be very much wasted if you are doing farm content since it will rarely, if ever, proc.  If you are looking at farm content, look at other enchants.


Apr 29

Last night my guild was making progress on Auriaya in 25-man Ulduar and we got a string of unlucky breaks in terms of situational damage.  Instead of boring you with details I’ll just say that I ended up taking a ridiculous amount of damage in a very short period of time.  Directly after this huge damage spike four things happend; I blew Shield Wall, the discipline priest used Pain Suppression, I got Lay on Hands from on of our Paladins and to top it all off I got Guardian Spirit from one of our holy priests.

The only way to describe that is with a single word and that word is “overkill”.  All in all it wasn’t exactly a stellar use of cooldowns but I lived so who cares, right?  Well you can bet your ass that the entire raid did about a  minute or so later when I took another huge string of damage and died because everyone was out of OH SHIT buttons to use on me.

Normally communication between our healers and tanks is very good but this is one of those times when it broke down and the entire raid suffered for it.  It is hugely important that the tanks build a good rapport with the healers.  Communication needs to be instantaneous whether it’s through raid warnings, class channels or over Vent.  If someone uses a cooldown I need to know about it and so does everyone else so that situations like what I described above are as limited as possible.

Be good to yourself, be good to your raid and above all, be good to your healers.  You’ll thank me later.

Polgera says: I’d like to just say the best thing you can do for your healer is to communicate well. My personal pet peeve is when a tank goes down and the tank who then picks it up doesn’t call it out. Sometimes a taunt war ensues and healers are left in the dark as to who is actually going to be tanking the boss. Please call it out on vent it prevents wipes and I guarnetee it will lower your healer’s blood pressure.


Apr 26

Pro-Tip: Be sure to let one of your off-tanks know what you want him to do before you yell at him over Vent to taunt Kologarn while he’s tanking adds. Surprisingly, the melee do not like being blown up by your bad decisions.


Mar 15

I want to take some time and lay out for you, gentle readers, how I feel the State of Warrior Tanking is at this present time in-game and some of the solutions I have in mind.  I had a super huge post typed out but I decided it would probably be nicer to all of you if I broke it down into sections, this it the first part entitled “Buffs and Debuffs”.

Before you start reading, I want to make it clear that I’m not really pissed off or emotional about the state of Warrior tanking, it’s just that I feel there are some things that need to change if the idea of tank homogenization that Blizzard has in their minds is going to work.  This is especially important to me because my guild’s three raiding tanks are all Warriors; we have no Paladins, no Druids and only one casual Death Knight tank.

Buffs and Debuffs

Problem: We are the only tanking class that doesn’t bring some kind of buff that isn’t covered by another class.

  1. Sunder Armor: Sunder Armor used to be the realm of Warriors only but that’s changed since rogues can now put it up in the form of Expose Armor.  If you really wanted to, a Hunter could bring a Worm to a fight and use it’s Acid Spit ability.
  2. Commanding Shout or Battle Shout: You only need two different warriors to keep both Battle Shout and Commanding Shout active.  Odds are good that your Fury Warriors are also rocking 5/5 in Command Presence, making their Shouts better than yours anyway.  If you have a Retribution Paladin with Improved Might, then Battle Shout isn’t going to be used in the first place.
  3. Demoralizing Shout: A decent debuff, particularly useful on melee bosses but, again, this can be put up by any other Warrior or even a Druid with Demoralizing Roar.
  4. Vigilance: The only real “buff” we have that no one else does, it’s really nice in instances where instant taunts are necessary, but it seems as if it’s going to be providing Blizzard with a design problem. I will discuss this in more detail later in the “Threat vs Damage” post coming up in the next few days.
  5. Thunder Clap: This ability’s claim to fame is it’s 20% attack speed reduction on the targets that are affected by the debuff, which is both a blessing and a curse.  On the one hand the debuff allows us to slow the attacks speeds of a huge amount of targets all at once, making it one of the most healer-friendly spells to use during AOE tanking.  On the other hand, it’s this debuff that Ghostcrawler stated during WotLK Beta was going to keep Thunder Clap’s AOE threat and damage under that of Consecration.  On boss fights, Paladin tanks can automatically apply the 20% attack speed debuff by putting points into Judgements of the Just and doing their normal rotation.

Compare this to other tank classes who bring some pretty wicked buffs:

  • Blessing of Sanctuary: Considered by many to be the tanking buff, Blessing of Sanctuary will pretty much guarantee that your tanks will never run out of rage or runic power.  This buff has no equal among other classes meaning no other class can bring this powerful ability to your raid other than a Protection Paladin.  If you’re lucky a Holy Paladin might spec into it when making some crazy spec for 3D Sartharion like Polgera did.
  • Blessing of Kings: In 3.1 Kings will be baseline for all Paladins but at the moment this still stands.  Unless you have a Retribution or Holy Paladin who is nice enough to pick up these talents then you might miss out on this fantastic buff if you don’t have a Protection Paladin along.
  • Leader of the Pack: 5% increased critical strike change to all melee and ranged targets in range of the buff.  If the druid gets Improved Leader of the Pack they also heal when anyone under the affect of Leader of the Pack deal a critical strike.
  • Blood Aura (Blood DKs): 4% of the damage dealt by players affected by this buff is transferred straight back to those players as heals.  Assuming a DPSer does 1,000,000 damage over the course of a fight, this Aura is passively healing them for 40,000.  That isn’t a game-changing amount of healing but it’s certainly better then nothing.
  • Unholy Aura (Unholy DKs): Raid-wide 15% movement speed increase.  Buffs like these are getting more and more needed as the fights in the game keep moving toward heightened levels of movement.
  • Frost Aura (Frost DKs): A passive 80 (1 per level) resistance to all schools of magic if you’re near the Frost DK, that’s pretty nice on fights like Sapphiron and we don’t know if Blizzard is going to be throwing in more resistance fights in the future.
  • Improved Icy Talons (Frost DKs): This buff provides the same kind of returns as Improved Windfury Totem and it doesn’t even have to be put down again and again like the totem, it just auto-refreshes when Icy Talons is used.
  • Hysteria: A buff that is a huge 20% damage increase for physical damage dealers, provided they get enough heals not to die.

Solutions:

  • Make Shouts into auras. This was mentioned in TankSpot and it’s something I really agree with: make “shouts” into auras similar to the aura for Draenei, but base it off of stance.  For instance, while in Battle (or ‘Zerker!) Stance the warrior projects a Battle Aura, giving the same buff as the shout without having to cast it every two-minutes, for Protection Warriors give them Commanding Aura and have it apply the health bonus to all surrounding raid members.
  • Change Vigilance. I would personally suggest removing the 10% threat siphon from Vigilance and instead making Vigilance an alternative to Blessing of Sanctuary which could be buffed onto the entire raid, or make it an aura that surrounds the Protection Warrior while he’s in Defensive Stance that grants the same bonus as Blessing of Sanctuary, perhaps rename Vigilance to Improved Commanding Aura.  This would eliminate the problems with Vigiliance that I will outline later in the “Threat vs Damage” section of this topic while also fixing the inherent problem with Protection Warriors not bringing any buffs that aren’t either covered by other classes or are, in s0me cases, subpar to the ones that other tanking classes bring.

Mar 7

It seems like about a couple of months now, but Kadomi over at Tank Like A Girl gave me a shout out for a little game called “Sixth of Sixth”.  The premise is simple: go into your World of Warcraft folder, find your sixth screenshot folder and post the sixth screenshot in that folder.

I don’t have any screenshot folders so I just grabbed the sixth screenshot and boy howdy is it awesome:

Baby Spice + Mechano-Hog = Win.  I love it.


Feb 25

After making my first post in this series about tank gemming nearly two months ago entitled, “Tank Gemming in Wrath, my experiences“, I’ve decided it’s time for a little follow-up.

It all started when I got a whisper from a level one Tauren Warrior while I was getting ready for a three-drake Sartharion attempt.  This person was a tank from another server who is a reader of this blog and wanted to chat with me for a bit about tank gemming.  We finally met up a couple of days later on AIM and had a nice little discussion about that infamous yellow socket and he brought up an excellent point.

If you remember my first post I said that you should use +8 Defense +12 Stamina gems in yellow sockets since defense is so good for avoidance and mitigation.  This is well and good if you’re still looking for a little extra survivability when you’re first hitting T7 raid content in this wonderful expansion.

But…

What if you’re like some of us that are all epic’d out and have nearly all of the best-in-slot items?  Pick up some of these: Accurate Monarch Topaz.  That’s right, I just suggested a Hit and Expertise gem.  Why is this, you ask?  Well, just like how at the moment the cookie-cutter spec is all about damage and threat versus mitigation and Effective Health, why not gem that way too?  If you’re at the gear-level where I’m suggesting you do something like this you have almost all, if not all, of the raid content in this expansion on farm so why not do more damage and get through it faster?

I was looking through my WWS parses for Patchwerk and noticed that even with 158 hit raiting and 41 expertise, I have a 3.3% parry rate on Revenge, 3.8% miss rate on Heroic Strike, 3.3% parry on Shield Slam and a whopping 7% parry rate on Devastate.  That’s a lot of threat and damage that I could have added back into the mix at the loss of a tiny bit of stamina and a tiny bit of defense raiting.

Now, of course, I’m not saying that adding a couple of gems will complete negate all of those misses and parries but the added expertise and hit will certainly help.  If you’re like me you have one (maybe two) yellow slots in all of your gear so this won’t break your bank if you follow this advice, but you just might find yourself doing a little more damage and making a little more threat then your fellow tanks.

The Bottom Line

Remember: the more damage you do, the more threat you put out and the faster a boss dies. It would behoove you to do all that you can to assist your raid in downing your content.

As an aside, while we are on the subject of Hit and Expertise, check out Vene’s post “Expertise is always better than Hit“.  It’s an excellent read and I highly recommend it.


Feb 9

Pro-tip: Do not Alt-Tab into Ventrillo while trying to tank trash.  Bad things happen.


Jan 16

Okay so maybe 1001 is pushing it, but Intervene is such a potent and versatile tool that we have in our Warrior arsenal it’s a shame that 90% of the time, if they use it at all, you’ll only see tanks using it to peel a mob off of a DPSer or a healer who pulled aggro.  There is a big problem with this mentality and that is that if you are running with a good group you’ll never ever use this ability.

Intervene is an extremely powerful ability when used in other ways, here are some examples:

  • Pulls. Intervene is great for making those pulls that are too far away from your raid group, but need to be moved into another room either due to the pathing of other mobs or a bosses or because they have casters and you need to LOS them around a corner.  Think back to Karazhan and the Arcane Anomalies directly before Curator. Since Curator paths right through the room that these mobs are in it is beneficial to have a raid member stand near the door way into the adjacent room, pull the mobs and Intervene back to your meatshie-errr, fellow raider.  This will significantly reduce the amount of damage you take while getting back to your raid while also reducing the chance that you will put other raid members in unnecessary danger.
  • Removing roots and stuns. With the addition of Warbringer to the game, Intervene is even more amazing since you can use it to break roots and snares just by Intervening to a party or raid member who’s nearby.
  • Increased mobility. Imagine tanking the adds in phase one for Gothik the Harvester: you can charge a mob that’s far away, Shield Slam it then immediately Intervene back to a party member and grab another mob who just spawned.  If you use some Heroic Throws you can handle an entire side by yourself and look like a total rock star while doing it, too.
  • Corpse runs. There is nothing like annoying Rogues and Mages by being able to make your way from the back of the raid to the front of it after a wipe by using Intervene numerous times to get there.  Throw in some Swiftness Potions and you can get some serious giggles out of it.  Sometimes you have to just do little things to keep your spirits up after a series of crushing wipes and I find that this helps me.  It’s self-prescribed therapy.
  • Reducing aggro. What?  Reducing aggro?  Why would I want to do this?  Well the last half of the tooltip reads, “as well as reducing their total threat by 10%” so why not use that to our advantage?  Pretend for a second you’re tanking Malygos (arguably one of the only fights in the game where aggro matters at this point) and a Fury Warrior is right on your heels when Malygos begins to fly to the center of the platform to use Vortex.  If you quickly Intervene to him you can knock his threat down by 10%.

Remember that lots of abilities can be used drastically differently then the way their tooltip states and the more of these uses you can find, the better tank you’ll be!


Jan 5

Now that the craziness of the Holidays are over and I’ve done a little bit of skiing, snowmobiling and relaxing, I’m here to present to you part two of the gearing guide for new tanks in Wrath of the Lich King.  This series started with Beginning Your Tanking Career, Getting 540 Defense and, as promised (though a bit late), here is the loot from heroics and badge items that you should be on the look out for now that you’re decked-out in all of your beautiful blue gear.

Note: “Badge” in this case refers to Emblems of Heroism, not Emblems of Valor of Badges of Justice.

Items Without a Badge Replacement

If I were you, these are the items I would focus on getting every day while accumulating badges to purchase other items.  This is especially the case if you don’t have a lot of play time.

Weapon: Run Utgarde Pinnacle until you’re blue in the face and pick up the Red Sword of Courage.

Bracers: Head over to Ahn’kahet: The Old Kingdom and get yourself a pair of the Bracers of the Herald.  Just make sure you didn’t do what I did and bring a Death Knight who wants to tank; they will win the roll and force you to come back nine or ten more times to get your own pair.  As an aside, I’m not bitter.  Really I’m not.

Ring: At the end of Drak’Tharon Keep is the most boring boss in the expansion, Prophet Tharon’ja, but he drops Keystone Great-Ring so it’s not all bad.

Pants: Violet Hold is where you’ll find the Bolstered Legplates which drop off of Cyanigosa.

Shield: I hope you enjoy the Culling of Stratholme since you’ll want to run it every day until you get the Royal Crest of Lordaeron. Not only is this an awesome shield but it looks amazing as well, one of Blizzards best-looking models ever.  Note: there is a badge-shield available but unless you got really bad luck with the drop from Stratholme, I don’t really think of it as a replacement, per se.  Plus this shield looks amazing while the Badge one looks like some hairy skin pulled over a metal frame.

Items With a Badge Replacement

Belt: You can find the Ancient Aligned Girdle clutched within Anub’arak’s talons at the end of Azjol-Nerub.

Gloves: And finally in Gun’drak you’ll have to beat a silly troll named Gal’darah senseless to get him to drop the Horn-Tipped Gauntlets.

And Finally… the Badge Gear

I’m not really going to bother repeating everything that Veneretio over at TankingTips.com has already said.  Go read his Emblem of Heroism article entitled, The Badge err… Emblem of Heroism Pick Order.  It should have everything you need to make an informed decision on what pieces of gear to get next.