Crack open a RockStar and Enjoy!
As my first post on the new blog I wanted to introduce myself, tell you all a little bit about my background, and why I started this. I have been playing World of Warcraft since June of 2005. I was never really into video games prior to WoW, aside from the occasional drinking game in college, so I was a bit lost when I first entered the world of Azeroth.
I play a Blood Elf Paladin on US Destromath. I was originally a Prot warrior and a MT for a progression guild, however when TBC came out and I started leveling, I rerolled to a paladin and healed all the way through pre nerf Sunwell. Once Wrath of the Lich King dropped, I was asked by the other officers in my guild to be our prot paladin, and at the same time, just a lowly off tank and Sacntuary Bitch.
It is so nice to be back to tanking, I always loved the responsibility and intelligence needed to be a MT in a guild. I found that when I was healing in TBC, I never really knew much about the instance, just where to stand on what fight, who to heal, and how. Now that I am back over 540 defense, I have been enjoying the instances so much more. As my role in the raid transformed from Sanctuary Bitch to Off tank to Main Tank, the time I spent researching every aspect of PvE I could think of grew exponentially.
One of the main reasons that I started this blog was because of the fact that I had a hard time finding some one that was running into the same issues I was and talking about it. At one point I created a hunter alt that I leveled up all the way to 80 and raided with quite often. I had no clue how to play a hunter, what spec to use, and how to use it. In comes Airman Howell, aka BigRedKitty. I became obsessed with his blog and even as I geared up and became fully proficient in the ways of the huntard, I still returned to read every post until he “retired” to Brain Needs Space. This is the source of my inspiration and Avenging Wrathy.
This brings me to my first of many digressions to come in the future:
Tanking responsibilities and the necessity for us to know more. As a tank, I have always felt that we have to prepare for new instances and new bosses more than any other role. Sure great healers want to know what the boss abilities are so that they can proactively heal according to the incoming damage, but lets face it, no one else knows how to mark trash, pick up bosses, and understand the need for spacial awareness like tanks do.
I was hoping that I would have some juicy topics to discuss with respect to the Coliseum and the new content that just came out this week, but alas it seems that the Northern Beasts were a joke, both our 10 and 25 man groups 1 shot them!
Luckily, my boss made me stay late at work the night my guild went to Ulduar so I have some new fuel for the rambling machine. This week, my best friend and fellow MT, although a death knight, was off in mexico celebrating his fiancé’s completion of the BAR and I was stuck at work leaving our guild with two newer but fully capable tanks to run all of Ulduar. This was the first time that I have missed a raid since Ulduar came out, and it was quite apparent that the MTs were not there.
Trash Mobs and Tanking:
Since the start of WotLK, trash has been a joke, in naxx, you threw a paladin and a druid at the trash and everyone AoE’ed from the first second they were placed into combat. Ulduar, on the other hand, required a bit more coordination. My favorite trash pull so far has been the trash to Ignis on patch day (pre nerf) warlocks, mages, and rogues alike were dropping like flies, as Naxx had really dulled the skills of even the most seasoned veteran. The era of the intricate trash pull was back! Sadly the trash was nerfed very quickly. Needless to say, many dps and healers think that trash is a joke and it magically marks it self and gets cleared with little to no coordination.
Boy were they wrong! With the absence of the two MTs, our guild had quite a bit of trouble marking, assigning targets and killing trash with out wasting time. A great tanking core will work together to mark, chain pull and assign on the fly and in tank chat. Our strategies are always the same, first one with out a mob starts marking the next pack. Second tank with out a mob pulls the next pack. The efficiency and speed that is a result of this philosophy is not noticeable until it is not there. Moreover, marking is not as simple as throwing marks up on each of the mobs and hoping that everyone does their job right.
Each tank in our guild has their own mark, each CC class has their own marks. Each mark has a DPS order. If your guild does not employ something like this, you should consider bringing it up to your officers, as it will help immensely. For us, tanking marks are Star, Circle, and Diamond (on occasion Triangle as well), Sheeps are Square and Moon and Banishes are X and skull. The dps order of the mobs works hand in hand with this pattern as we dps down the mark order, star, circle, diamond, triangle, square…etc.
Like I said earlier, just throwing your marks up does not make you more efficient. As a tank you must first properly understand what each of the mobs do, and derive the most logical kill order from that information. What should you sheep, any humanoid? the one that does the most damage, the one that can heal, the one that has an AoE effect. These are all questions that must be answered prior to assigning marks.
Most of the time, marking is simple or even not necessary, however when you get into complicated and dangerous trash packs, like the Freya trash or the large packs in General’s room, marking and control make all the difference in the world. If there is one take home message it is this: Know your opponent and set your self up for success by properly preparing and executing any pull with coordination and a plan