What’s a Tank to do with Dual Spec?

March 13, 2009

TGAPGeorge – Warrior Tank

Okay, so I’ve found a flaw in the upcoming Dual Spec extravaganza for Tanks… actually there are two.

The first flaw has been talked about already. And that is the fact that Tanks are very gear dependent. Being so, we spend a lot of time and trouble — a LOT of time and trouble — in getting that gear. So much so, the typical Tank only has a few pieces of DPS gear.

So the flaw, at least for us Tanks, is that when Dual Specs comes out, Raid Leaders across WoW will say, “Hey, Tank. You’re a superstar threat grabber and aggro holder, but we don’t need you for this fight. Flip over to DPS will ya?”

The results will be less than spectacular.

But we’ve all known about this DPS gear problem since 3.1.0 was announced. So what’s the second flaw? The DPS setup.

Dual Specs allow us to have two sets of talents, glyphs, spells, and action bars. I believe Blizzard kicked ass on designing a fun, easy, and not-a-pain-in-the-ass way to do this. So when you do switch from Prot to DPS, everything is set for ya.

And therein lies the problem. Not with the mechanics, but with what it allows you to do. You can be DPS almost instantly. But what have you been doing all this time? What have you striven to learn and perfect?

That’s right! You’ve been a Tank.

So — shazaam! — in three seconds you’re DPS. What do you do now? What’s the best spell progression? Where should you be? What should you be doing? What key are you going to be stabbing — in a limp futile panicked manner — when a mob breaks away to go munch on some healers? (Your Taunt key, of course)

Now for some Tanks — and all I’m Tanking What?! readers — this won’t be much of a problem. We will have researched our new spec, gone out into the boonies for some one-on-one practice, and generally done our best to be our best. For the rest of the Tanks out there… well, I’m sure “Tanktard” will be a phrase that’ll quickly gain popularity.

Here’s where it gets really tricky. We’ve worked so hard to become good Tanks, it’s gonna be very difficult to switch gears to a completely different role. I’m not talking about waiting for threat, getting behind the boss, and letting fly. I’m talking about all our carefully honed skills kicking in during the heat of battle. dualspecoopsIt’s going to be tough remembering that you’re not supposed to be at the top of the threat meter. It’ll be weird hitting buttons normally used for tanking and getting different results.

It’s gonna be hilarious the first few times you switch spec and rush to tank, but forgetting to first put on the heavy plate.

Well, I’m not one to pose a problem without at least taking a stab at the solution.

So here’s my suggestion. Get as much DPS gear as you can. Try to put spells that do similar things in the same slots as their tanking counterparts. And practice.

Lots and lots of practice.

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You Are Not Your Tanking Pants

February 18, 2009

TGAPGeorge – Warrior Tank

I read a post by Namthe on his blog, The View From Down Here about Tanking gear and perception. Perception being that although we have new spells and abilities, access to new gear, and are joined by Death Knights, Druids, and Paladins as effective Tanks, Tanking itself has not changed.

You know what? He’s got a point.

Back in the day — which was a Tuesday. Fun fact — and before my time, “Tank” was synonymous with Warrior. There weren’t any other options. Over time, we’ve been giving things to help us tank more effectively — yes, even other classes to help out — but the fact remains our job, our mission is the same as always. Or, as Namthe puts it:

What has changed is our tools. We now have bigger and more varied tools at our disposal. The tools doth not make the player – a good tank is a good tank regardless of what abilities he has to hand. Tanking is all about spatial awareness, positioning and quick reactions (when it’s necessary to save someone). That hasn’t changed.

He’s absolutely right. And here’s the proof: by November 18th, 2008, the guild TwentyFiifthNovember had cleared all of WOTLK content. All of it in three days. That’s every heroic, full Naxx 25, and Malygos.

And a lot of their gear was still level 70.

How did they do it? Skill. No excuses, no needing the “proper” gear, no whining about being nerfed. Just plain, unadulterated skill.

So what does that mean for us Tanks? It means we need to practice. We need to read and study. We need to know our class, abilities, and job through and through.

Focus on:

  • How to keep aggro
  • What’s happening to you and your raid at all times
  • Situational Awareness (Different from above)
  • Communication and coordination
  • Keeping the healers alive
  • Keeping everyone alive

It doesn’t matter how much DPS you put up — other than for aggro. It doesn’t matter if a Mage keeps riding your threat. It doesn’t even matter if you yourself die at the end. The only thing that matters is you get your job done and get it done well.

For you have done your job and accomplished your mission ONLY when the boss is on the ground, Dead.

Here is another quote from Namthe, adapted from Chuck Palahniuk:

* You are not the buttons you press to keep aggro.
* You are not your class.
* You are not the gear you wear, nor the buffs you give out.
* You are not a beautiful and unique, heavily armored snowflake, and your toon is the same collection of fleeting pixels as everybody else’s.

If you know Fight Club, then you’ll understand.


Titansteel Guardian Good for Paladin Tanks or Not?

February 15, 2009

Lagom – Paladin Tank

They say that Paladin Tanks don’t need a lot of spellpower. Historically, our main source came from our tanking weapons. Since WOTLK, it now comes not from our main weapon, but from the talent Touched by the Light. We Paladins have a question to answer…

titansteel-guardianI have used the Titansteel Guardian item for tanking in some situations and I have to say…..I’m a threat machine with this bad boy. If I can endure the loss of stats from not using Red Sword of Courage, why not? Right? Situational usage?

red-swordI don’t know for sure, but being a paladin tank after the expansion seems like we have almost forgotten that our main threat generator is still spell damage. And this weapon really bumps my spell damage up. I heard somewhere they might be nerfing this item, but by how much?

Anybody have any thoughts regarding these Paladin Tanking weapons or others?

We Paladins have a question to answer.


Advice for Paladin Tanks: Keep Your Gear

January 29, 2009

Lagom – Paladin Tank

In the beginning, I realized quickly that a paladin tank has a bit more to think about over the warrior tank: Spell Damage!  All the stats and considerations for a Warrior Tank hold true for a Paladin Tank.  However, now throw in some intellect, mana regeneration, spell damage and spell hit with all that dodge, parry, block, stamina, armor, strength, hit rating, expertise and BOOM there you go.  As you can imagine it’s difficult to get it all where you want it to be right away.

Paladins primarily build threat with their spell damage abilities, but still need all the mitigation stats to avoid being crushable and critable.  Entry level gear (keep this stuff too!) is pretty much equal across the board for warrior, paladin and even death knights (droods are a whole other story….awesome btw).  It is when you grow out of the entry level stuff and start the end game pve content where you either stand out…or respec for healing :/ rofl rofl!

My one piece of advice: Keep every Tanking item you get!

My biggest mistake was that every time I thought I got an upgrade I trashed my old gear.  Then I would get another upgrade, but now that piece of gear I trashed worked well with my new piece of gear.  So now I had to go get that piece again or wait for another piece that worked.  Of course I didn’t realize this immediately.  It was late in my WoW career before it hit me.  So for you newer tanks or even veteran tanks who aren’t doing this… KEEP ALL YOUR GEAR!

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WOTLK Patch 3.0.8 Changes for Warrior Tanks

January 21, 2009

TGAPGeorge – Warrior Tank

The long awaited patch 3.0.8 has finally arrived.  While it didn’t contain everything we’ve all been looking forward to — where the hell are dual specs? — we did get some good stuff.

I’ve heard a lot of QQ* about nerfs and cooldowns for most classes, but all-in-all Tanking Warriors came off pretty well:

    shields-imw

  • Taunt range extended to 30 yds — I don’t know about you, but this will make some situations a lot easier.
  • Shield Wall taken off global cooldown — This isn’t a game-changer, but it’s still nice to be able to get the wall up that much faster.
  • Glyph of Cleave adds 1 more mob hit — Now you’re able to hit three mobs at once, (used to be -5 rage off cleave).  Higher dps, higher threat, easier CC!
  • New Enchant Bracer – Major Stamina — +40 Stamina?  I’ll take it!
  • New Enchant Shield – Titanium Plating — The +40 block value will be great for shoring up stats.
  • Vigilance gets an animation — And sound too!  Doesn’t change a thing about tanking, just removes the minor annoyance that was a spell with no-feedback.

There’s nothing to make you drop to your knees and pray that the hot new aphrodisiac for women in bikinis is now Blizzard employees, but still some good stuff.

On a non-tanking note, if you’re a miner like me you’ll freakin’ love mining nodes just once — so much faster, so much better.  Thanks for that, Blizzard… you may share ONE bikini clad model.

Enjoy, ShoUt-Callers!

TGAPGeorge

* “QQ” means crying/complaining/bitching.  (The two Qs look like crying eyes — I guess — so sez Urban Dictionary.)


Tanking Warrior WOTLK Reputation Gear

December 16, 2008

TGAPGeorge – Warrior Tank

In the World of Warcraft I am a Human, Warrior, Tank named BumpySpleen. I’m enjoying the expansion, tanking, my guild, and my epic griffin.

Anyway, I did a little research a few weeks ago and decided to help out my fellow tanks by posting it at TankSpot. Here’s what I wrote:

I was pretty excited last night. I was just a few quests away from becoming revered with the Valiance Expedition and getting that sweet shield reward.

The moment happend. I was enveloped in the green flash of rep achievement and I flew off to Valiance Keep. To my dismay, I discovered I was wrong about a couple of things.

First, I realized that the rep rewards were for the Alliance Vanguard, not the Valiance Expedition. Dang.
Then I realized that the shield could only be used by level 78s and I am but a paltry 73. Double Dang.

Well, okay, so I was hoping to jump ahead — gear-wise — and got the hope-smackdown. I really should take the time to read sometimes. Oh well, WOW goes on.

Well that got me thinking, what rep rewards should I be looking for to be pre-geared for raiding when I hit lvl 80?

Here’s my rep-rewards for tanking gear list:

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