UI Target Debuffs – Reader Question Answered

June 17, 2009

TGAPGeorge – Warrior Tank

I got an interesting question on the post, My New Warrior Tanking UI.  Feroby wrote:

“If you target or your target of target has debuffs they will pop out of the skinner bar won’t they? it will make it a lot less clean right?”

If I understand you right, Feroby, my answer is no, skinner won’t pop out the debuffs.  I suppose you can get it to do that somehow, but the way I have it, the target’s debuffs are large and right underneath the target info–and their buffs as smaller icons under the debuffs.  Here’s a pic to show you what I mean:

Skinner Debuff Placement

As you can see for the Target of Target, only debuffs will be shown.

I hope this explains it better.  If not, comment to this post and we’ll try again!

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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.


My New Warrior Tanking UI

March 7, 2009

TGAPGeorge – Warrior Tank

I’ve been fascinated with addons ever since my little brother showed me how to load up a much better map interface. And now, about a year later, I took a day or two off from playing World of Warcraft to update my addons and User Interface. Well, update isn’t the right word. It was more like blasting away and rebuilding from scratch. At least, it was supposed to be.

I was tired of lag and slow loading screens, and I even thought about deleting and reloading WoW. But then I looked line by line at my addons and saw that I needed most of them. So I deleted what I didn’t need and started surfin’ the net.

After a long time, I pieced together a mosic of the UI I wanted from about ten screenshots of other people’s UIs. My goals were simple and tanking minded. I wanted to:

  • Have a clear field of view up, down, left, and right to spot trouble coming.
  • Have Omen, my target, its debuffs — and a cool addon, “TellMeWhen” — center-screen for maximum visibility.
  • Have my spells in clear-view, organized, and laid out like how they are on my G13 controller.

That may seem like a simple list, but it’s undoable without addon help. Here is what I came up with:

newuicombat3-3-09

Pretty nice, eh?

I decided to leave my buffs up in the upper left hand corner because they would take up too much real estate down below and not be too distracting above. You can’t see it in the pic, but the party and raid will be in the upper right, but smaller than usual; left there for the same reasons as the buffs.

In the middle is TellMeWhen with Omen right below. Just to the right is my target. It’s obvious, and any buffs I have on him will be larger than other player’s. The minimap is far off to the right out of the way, and the same for chat and other non-combat buttons on the left. My player window is below and obvious, but doesn’t block my eye path.g13

My reasoning for all this careful placement is that when I’m fighting, quick looks down need to see target and threat first, reactive spells and abilities next, spells and cooldowns after, and finally my health and rage. I think I’ve got it set up to do that.

A word on spells and my organization. Take a look at the button layout of my awesome G13 Logitech controller:

You’ll notice that I’ve got my action buttons set at two rows of seven, an “alt” row of seven, and a “shift” row of seven. Closer to the minimap on the right hand side is three rows of four buttons to match the third row on my controller (I use the fifth button on the left for tab targeting). It’s a lot of buttons and a lot to keep track of, but since they are arranged like my controller, a glance down helps me hit the right button.

So, TGAPGeorge, how do you do all of these wonderful things? I’ll tell ya. Addons. Take a look at these two screenshots showing what addons were used to do what:

In Combat
new-ui-explanation-3-3-09

Out of Combat
new-ui-noncombat-explained-3-3-9

Here is a list of the addons that contributed to this UI awesomeness:

Even if you load up all these addons, your UI won’t magically look like mine. It will be jumbled and crazy. But with patience, you can move, resize, and adjust it all to look just like you want it to. Don’t forget to look at the options!

Addons can be finicky, so if you have any quesitons or problems working with these, post a comment and I’ll see what I can do to help!

Enjoy!


The Three Faces of Death Knight Tanks

February 24, 2009

Surazc – Death Knight Tank

One of the things that I enjoy the most about playing my Death Knight is that I’m not pigeonholed into doing things one specific way. Do I want to tank as a frost mage in plate? Okay, I can do that. How about a warlock with the long sought after ability to DoT multiple targets at once while granting bonus damage? Yep. Unholy’s got that covered solidly. Ever played a rogue? If not, there’s Blood.

Each talent tree in the Death Knight class is a solid mix-up of tanking utility and damage generation. Each tree has its own flavor, and with that flavor, a focus.

Blood seems to be the solitary OT spec of choice. It has a great deal of utility depending on how far down you go and if need be, can survive on its own for a solid amount of time by sacrificing raw damage obliterates for death strikes.

Frost gets down and dirty with an area-wide CC ability for its 51 point talent. Everything about frost revolves around stacking things up just right. Frost focuses more on controlling a situation versus its distant cousin in the Blood tree who seeks to turn every situation into Rambo v. Country X.

Unholy is, without contest, the Area Tank spec of choice. It also, without trying, is the support spec of choice. A Support Tank is what I’ve always wanted in my raids, and with Unholy DKs my wish has come true.

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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.


Warrior Tanking Macros for Wow

February 14, 2009

TGAPGeorge – Warrior Tank

Macros… gotta love ’em! They make the complex, uncomplicated. They turn the twisting and stretching of fingers into quick — sometimes rapid — keystabs. Macros make it possible to do amazing things while making it look easy.

First of all, if you don’t know anything about macros and programming, or it just looks too confusing to even try, go check out wowwiki’s primer on basic and advanced macro making. After that, start up your alternate reality portal — World of Warcraft — choose your favorite character, and dive in. Once loaded, type /macro to start the fun. You’ll want to hit “New,” type in a name for your macro, choose an icon, and hit “Okay”.

That’s all the basics I’m going to give you, well, except for this. If you want a certain icon, click the question mark icon before hitting “Okay,” and in the first line type, “#showtooltip? Spell Name“, where spell name is the name of the spell icon you want to see. It can be anything you like, this is just for looks. On to the rest of the show!

Before we begin, let me tell you my philosophy on macros: they are there to make my life easier and always keep spells in use. That’s it. That’s how I roll, chicka chika.

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Keybindings and Controllers For WoW

February 10, 2009

TGAPGeorge – Warrior Tank

I came across a Logitech G13 post on the great blog, Tank like a girl, that inspired me to write about my own Ass-Kicking controller. For I too have a G13 and it’s made things so much better!

For a long time I used the WASD keys to move around, only using the mouse to click on stuff. Around level 40 — the first time I hit 40 — I realized this wouldn’t be good enough. I changed my controlling outlook to one more… well, controlling.

I needed two things:

  1. I should never HAVE to look down to see what keys I’m hitting.
  2. Most spells I use need to be readily at hand.

So I changed up my keybindings, used more mouse for movement, and for my Priest it worked fine.  Then I leveled my Warrior and found it was vastly inadequate.

cyborg-unit1Right before Circuit City went under, I found the Saitek Cyborg Command Unit for $13 in the bargain bin.  Less keys than a keyboard didn’t seem like the answer, but I was intrigued by how they were placed.  Theoretically I would have all those keys right under my fingers instead of reaching across the top row.  I gave it a shot and it worked so much better.  Better, but it wasn’t quite good enough.

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