Posts Tagged ‘Ulduar

24
Oct
09

Achievements and Titles

Starcaller Wrathy, the tank of insanity?

Last night was a very, very successful night for us. Even though the night started out quite slow and stressful, we ended on a Big Bang! When I logged on last night, there were 12 people online, so I went to go solo the Headless Horseman to have a shot at the achievements. After nothing worth noting dropped, I got into the raid for the night to see that we amassed 15 people for what should have been a 2 x 10 man night. After some juggling, some respecing, and some stress, we had a raid, we had 5 bosses dead, and we had 50 attempts remaining.

We then went into Ulduar and dropped Algalon. I was pretty impressed at how quickly it was done, I spent a total of 1 hour and 15 minutes on him before he died. I went in for an hour a few months ago, and never went back until tonight. When all is said and done, those were the great results for the night, but how we got there and some of the details are just as juicy.

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Jaraxxus near wipe

After we killed Northrend Beasts in a quick fashion, we started in on Jaraxxus. We had everything we needed to play it safe, two tanks, three healers, a mage to spell steal, and a shaman to purge. The fight was going smooth, the portals were dying fast, and then something happened. Our mage died to a fire, then our shaman got one shot by a 5 stack chain lightening. It was starting to look like a wipe. We were at about 20 percent with a few seconds left before a Nether Portal spawn, and people were dropping like flies. In the end, we were at about five percent when our last healer got one shot by the boss. We were looking at a wipe on one of the earlier bosses in the instance, and blowing our chance at insanity.

With 1% left the last dps was dropping fast, and I was still near full life. The end of the encounter looked something like a 1v1 in a long 5s arena. I was bubbled, beating away at something with a sliver of life, and if I didn’t get it down before the bubble wore off, I was toast. Then the boss dropped, and we saved a wipe. I got myself a killing blow, and last man standing! Too bad you don’t get an achievement for that…

Block set results

On Anub’arak again I used my block set and I saw similar results to last week with respect to damage taken. As you can see I took a total of 33k damage the entire fight from the Nerubian Burrowers. The only other two people that took damage were Mokk who pulled one of them off me and proceeded to tank it for a few moments, and Puhlaydin who was a victim of a slow pick up at about the same time that Anub’arak was at 10%.

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Algalon schnanigans

Algalon was fun, and it was quite obvious that we completely over-geared the instance, but none the less, 10 achievement points and a title is still a nice cherry on top to the 258 cloak and the mount that we got a half an hour earlier.

30
Sep
09

I need more block value!

In preparation for Anub’arak, I have started to assemble my block value set. So far its coming together quite nicely, and with my Libram of the Sacred Shield up, I am sitting at  3200 block value but still struggling to get passively unhittable. How did I get there and what am I still looking to get to augment my set? I basically looked through my bags and equipped every piece of gear that had block value and block rating on it. The problem with that is that some of the gear that I used to get to that level was from Naxx. Now we all know how defense starved the naxx gear was, but you can make up for that with gems and enchants. When I first designed my unhittable set for naxx tanking, I could not hit the defense minimum with out using the repelling charge. Now we are drowned in Defense, and we have the ability to interchange gear freely with out juggling that stat.

Assembling my set and special considerations

Even when I started looking through my bags, and equipping all of the gear that had block value  and block rating on it, there were a few considerations that I waned to keep at the front of my mind. Health is still something that you are going to need to consider, as this is still Trial of the Grand Crusader. Also, when I completed my set I was astonished to see that I went from a comfortable ~570 defense to much less! I was completely starved for avoidance. Fortunately, this is where gear sets really have advantages. I quickly assessed what pieces were from my core tanking sets, and noted that there wasn’t much, my weapon, Helm, Cloak, and Belt from my threat set, and my shield from my overall and EH set. In the end I had four or five pieces that were strictly dedicated to this set. Why does this matter?

Regemming and re-enchanting! I need to start cutting up a ton of defense gems and inserting them in said slots. Let me reiterate that statement, you want to gem EVERY slot you can purely defense. In the end the set is lacking where we are usually powerful, stamina, but the whole point of the gimmick set is that you block almost ALL incoming damage. The conecept of this fight, for those of you who do not know is that you have a tank with the ability to block on the burrowers. The “gimmick” set comes into play because of a mechanic that is currently a bit different. These adds have a stacking debuf that increases the damage that they do called Expose Weakness. As you can see, each stack of expose weakness increases the amount of physical damage you take by 25%. At 9 stacks this is a whopping 225% damage increase. The way that block works in this fight is different to most fights, and for this reason, a tank with a shield is king when it comes to tanking the adds.

If you have a Nerubian Burrowerer hitting you for 4500 damage and you block 4000 of it, you take 500 damage. Now usually the way that the stacking debuf mechanic would work is that when you have 9 debufs, the mob would be hitting you for 4500*325% or 14,625. After blocking your 4000, you would be taking a 10,125 hit. However since the debuf is applied to you and YOUR damage TAKEN, you are only taking your unblocked damage (4500-4000) plus the modifier or 500*325% or 1,625 damage. The power of block value is immense on this fight. The amount of block value you have is critical in your ability to mitigate the damage. Now seeing as I am still on Twins in ToTGC, I cannot for certain say how much that the adds hit for, however when you are taking multiple adds, it is imperative to understand that the more block value you have, the significantly less damage you will take, and the easier it will be on your healers.

Some Gear that I am drooling over for this encounter…

Obviously every shield you have will have some semblance of block rating on it. You have to find the one that has the most, and for me that was the Boreal Guard. This baby has block on the shield PLUS block rating in green, making it a powerful piece in your block value set. If you don’t have that shield, and believe me I understand if you don’t (I have had HORRID luck on tank drops for the past month), there are other choices, just look at your shields and see which one has the most BV/BR on it. On too the goodies, below are a list of some of the items that I use for my BV set. Unfortunately some of these come from long outdated instances, and if you are really looking to min/max your set, you are going to have to go back to naxx and Ulduar.

Bindings of the Hapless Prey Necklace of Unerring Mettle
Unbreakable Chestguard Shadow of the Ghoul
Dragonslayer”s Brace Handguards of the Enclave

This is by no means the only list of gear that you can use, however it is some of the best when it comes to stacking block value and block rating. If you are like my guild and have NEVER seen the Unbreakable Chestguard drop, or any of these items, there are alternatives for your set, but these will net you the most block value / rating for your set. Remember that you can and NEED to also augment your set with defense enchants if you need a bit more total avoidance.

In the end, this is a gimmick set for one boss of one instance, and its not really worth it to go farm ALL of this gear if you didn’t save it from before, however if you have it in your bank or in your bags, it would be wise of you to work on creating a block set in your equipment manager for the day when you are staring down Anub’arak in Trial of the Grand Crusader. Good luck everyone!

Clarifications and explainations…

First off, I have not completed my own set, as I am still a few weeks away from needing it, and the links in the comments are to a chardev and thread on MainTankadin, and not my own ideas. My gear set is Comprised of the following pieces of gear – T8 Helm and Shoulders, Necklace of Unerring Mettle, Shadow of the Ghoul, Unbreakable Chestguard (when i get it… Crosses fingers), Bindings of the Hapless Prey, Handguards of the Enclave, Dragonslayer’s Brace, Wyrmguard Legplates, Inexorable Sabatons, Clutch of fortification, Signet of the Earthshaker, the ony trinket and the repelling charge. Everything is gemmed with defense, except two gems to satisfy the meta. Everything is enchanted with Defense or Agility (where no defense enchant is available). When it is all said and done, I buff up to 26.3% dodge, 20.5% parry, 43% block, 10.7% miss = 100.5% which is almost there. As I said, I am personally still working on it, but very close.

25
Sep
09

Farming the Previous Instance Tier

Clearing an instance for one piece of gear

I wanted to take some time today to discuss something that is quite frustrating to me, and possibly the greater tanking community from a dedication stand point. At the same time I am sure that the dps community is just as frustrated with blizzards poor stat allocation on certain pieces of gear in each new instance. To clarify, I am talking about best in slot items that come from previous instance tiers. I spent most of my night last night in Ulduar 10 for two trinkets which may or may not drop, the Mjolnir Runestone and the Royal Seal of King Llane. Now while these trinkets are very powerful, the question that I have been asking is as such:

Is it worth 10 peoples time to farm an instance for a slight chance at the hard mode boss dropping a trinket that will increase the raids dps or a tanks survival by a fraction of a percent?

To the individual, these trinkets are very large upgrades. To any melee or marksman hunter, the runestone is a massive upgrade, and will help them reach the armor pen cap quite a bit easier, however, how much dps does the raid gain? The same holds true for the Royal Seal. Although it is a great effective health trinket with a powerful on use, is the opportunity cost of trying to get that trinket worth wasting 9 other people’s time (8 if someone wants the runestone), to full clear an instance that has nothing to offer the rest of the raid. The runestone has a bit more of an argument, as there is not an upgrade in ToTC or ToTGC that compares when it comes to reaching the armor pen cap. The Royal Seal can be replaced easily by the Brewfest trinket (neglecting the on use disparity between the two).

Aside: With Thorim Bugged, I spent all night in Ulduar 10 and we did not get a chance to kill either boss we went in there to kill…ouch

Unfortunately, this debate can be extended beyond trinkets, and beyond ten mans. What about Val”anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings? You could argue that sending not 10 but 25 people back to an instance to clear it at a chance to get a few shards a week, until you have 30, is similar. I personally think that when looking at these instances, you have to understand what the cost and benefit of the item are. With the trinkets, its a few hundred personal dps for one person, or a great stamina trinket that truly only offers an on use over its alternative. With the mace, its a raid wide massive decrease in damage taken. This is a no brainer, and for most guilds, I would assume as long as you have the ability to do three light, you should be striving to complete your next mace.

The great glaives debate

This was an issue that cropped up in a more grander sense in burning crusade. The addition of a set of glaives to a rogue or warrior were a powerful advantage when you were banging your heads up against the Brutallus enrage timer. So, as a result, you took your full raid into black temple, and cleared it every week for that very, very low chance that you were going to get a glaive. This type of raid philosophy leads to burn out at a much quicker pace. I appreciated when Ulduar came out that there was no need to go back to Naxx. Similarly, as a tank, there is really nothing in Ulduar that can not be replaced by something in ToTC (maybe the Heart of Iron, but even then you can use normal and heroic Juggernaut trinkets). We have the luxury of not having to farm something to min/max our gear.

However, there are many upgrades for healers and dps that come from Naxx or Ulduar, as they were progressing to the next level of instances. This means that if they want to min/max, they will be running instances that are boring, monotonous, and the number one cause of burn out. Why go back to ulduar when you went there for four months straight? I believe that the mace is an exception to the rule, but only to a point. If you do not have Val’anyr yet, is it worth it to keep farming? If you have one mace, do you want a second? etc, etc. To me, If you have more than half the shards, you should complete your mace, but after that, you should acknowledge that its not going to happen and move on. The burn out that you will cause as a result of trying to get that next mace is not worth it.

In the end, the current tier of instances does not take that long to clear, and if you are a hard core guild used to raiding 5-6 days a week, you may go back and full clear it one night just to fill the time. However, in my guilds case, we only have two days of mandatory progression raiding a week, some times three if we are close to a kill. In those two days we clear ToTC and all killable bosses in the heroic version on the first night, while wiping all of the second. If you add Ulduar in there, you have increased your raiding by 33%. 10 mans are optional (although with the caliber of guild members that we have, we run 4 normals and 2 heroics a week). After all is said and done, you have four nights of raiding, for the 100% attendance folks, in which you work to gear out your raid as best as possible to help with progression. After all of this is done, who really wants to go back and do it again just to get one person one chance at one upgrade?

25
Aug
09

Managing your Numbers – How to ensure your raid is full

After a nice long weekend of birthday celebrations, I am back at work and back on Avenging Wrathy. As I stepped away from my computer for the weekend and did not log on to talk to my guildies, I was quite out of the loop when it came to our problem of the month, attendance. As the days grow shorter, and excuses approach, each guild is faced with the same problems: lack of people. This is only compounded by blizzards newest and greatest instance, the Trial of the Crusade! As much as I would like to blame the kids going back to school as the excuse for our recent abysmal turn out, I truly believe that there are more sinister demons in our closet so to speak.

The advent of the totally worthless instance is upon us. Throughout all of the first two instances of this expansion pack, I was in the top three on wow-heroes.com for most geared tank on our server. However, now with the fact that you can purchase end game gear with badges that you can get from heroic dailies, everyone and their mother is in amazing gear, yet their skill levels have not increased at all. The surplus of guilds that can clear all of the content available to them is skyrocketing and the gear is falling from the heavens, yet so many guilds are struggling to fill raid spots in 25 man raids. So, how do you as a guild recruit people and at the same time weed out the baddies from the people that will ultimately make up part of your core team. I have a few theories on why we are in this current situation and what you can do to stop the hemorrhaging.

The difficulty level of Trial of the Crusader

As I do appreciate the fact that the difficulty level of trial of the crusader has allowed so many more guilds to experience end game raiding, it has also truly homogenized the guilds of our server, and more than likely your server as well. We now have 12 horde guilds that have killed hard modes in Ulduar on our server. That is a significant amount of talent that is distributed very evenly across a lot of guilds. The fact that you can pug the end game server right now makes it so that someone who thought they may have a chance at end game in a progression guild can stay contently where they are and earn free loot with their friends. As the loot begins to fall from the heavens with item level 245 stamped all over it, guilds gear levels are getting higher and the difficulty of the Hard Mode achievements in Ulduar is diminishing as the weeks pass.

So how do you deal with a guild that is losing its players to real life, other guilds, “casualitis”, and plain boredom from ToTC?

There are a few things that you have to keep in the back of your mind if you are an officer or raider in a guild that is suffering through a numbers drought. First, this is the natural progression of guilds, people come and people go, and it is your duty to keep the guild together by filling the gaps that have been left by the departed. How you fill those gaps is completely up to you, but there are some ways that are more effective than others. Moreover, you have to remember that, if we are lucky, in two weeks all of these problems will be solved by a nice fat brick wall called Hard Mode Northrend Beasts. Nothing stops the general homogenization of server talent like a big fat raid boss stomping your ass into the ground. At this point the cream will rise to the top and you can look for those people that no longer have a home to bolster your ranks.

With that being said, you should be prepared to face that brick wall head on and understand what it is that you have to offer to the players of your server that is unique and appealing. From my guilds perspective, the officers have focused on one thing that separates us from the rest of the guilds that are waiting for a challenge, the race back to server firsts, and the elite ranks: our schedule. Our leadership is well aware that we have a unique service that we can provide to the masses of our server, and the lucky ones that would like to share in our success will come forward and apply when they are tired of wiping. We offer the same progression as every other guild on our server save one, in half the time. We raid 2 nights a week and clear the same amount of content.

That is our pitch, our slogan, our appeal. What is yours?

Once you have that unique identity that you can offer, and understand what your demographic is for prospective applicants, you still have to understand that it is no longer just as easy as looking at someone’s gear and achievements and knowing that they are a good player. You need to be more cautious when it comes to recruitment and guild invites. Our guild has a few policies in place that weed out the initial round of poor players. We require a guild sponsor, someone that is a current raider in our guild to recommend the recruit and vouch for their competence and ability to adapt to our system of play. Secondly, we have a 1 month trial period where each individual recruit is tested in the progression raid environment to see what they can contribute to our guild. The combination of the guild vouch and the trial period serve as a very significant filter to keep the caliber of player in our guild at the level we are accustomed to. What about the people that don’t make the cut? well that is what the gkick function is for.

How do you get those people to come to you?

This is another difficult decision that your guild has to make. Do you want to advertise on the over trolled and under utilized world of warcraft server forums, spam trade chat, go to specific sites such as maintankadin and post, or do you have more subtle tactics. Our guilds recruitment is strictly by word of mouth and raider referrals. If we have issues with filling a certain class, we tell our raiders to look out for a player that fits the role of what we are looking for during their day to day playing. We don’t recommend poaching by any means, and we do not actively participate in trying to take people away from competing guilds, however if we can offer them a step up in the raiding experience and they are willing, we give them the chance to prove to us that they can hang.

In the end, people come and people go, but you have to actively work to keep your guild full and successful if you want to enjoy the content that is considered end game. Understanding what makes your guild unique is the most important first step in getting those people that you need to fill spots. Remember that every guild is full of fun loving, chill atmospheres where “we plow through content and dont stress about it.” you have to find that thing that ONLY your guild has to offer, and market it to your advantage.

17
Aug
09

Tanking finesse – Predictive Movement

Rusted Proto-Drake

Rusted ProtoDrake 1

I’m a bit behind in the times. My guild got their Rusted Proto-Drakes months ago, but because of my work schedule I haven’t been able to run 10 mans with the guild. But, thanks to the advent of the raid extension, we have been clearing most of Ulduar 10 on alts and leaving the last few bosses for mains to get their achievements. It has been a busy weekend so I am going to have to make this one short and sweet.

Predicative versus Reactive Movement –

Anyways, after having the pleasure of single tanking the Yogg-Saraon encounter last night in the ten man with only Thorim down, it got me to thinking about a lesser known mechanic that I use on phase three of Yogg to ensure that I don’t ever have to turn around and face Yogg. The trick involves the concept of the predictive vs. reactive mechanics of npcs. What I mean by this is that there are two different pathing methods that npcs use when reacting to your movement.

The first and most prevalent of these is called reactive movement. This means is that if you run into a mob and then back up to place him in the position that you would like him to stand, the mob will reactively move. He sees you move back and he counters moving forward, following you but stopping short in front of you. This is how most tanks move mobs, bosses, etc. They will run in, aggro the boss and back him up into place.

The second and less utilized method of movement has to do with predictive pathing. Specifically as you are moving, the mob will attempt to predict where you are going to move next and run to that position. This is very useful for the immortal guardians in the third phase of Yogg. If you properly employ the tactics that are necessary to create predictive movement, then you can effectively tank every guardian with out ever having to turn and face Yogg.

This is crucial because even with the best of execution, you will be running low on sanity when you enter the third phase. In order to get a mob to employ predictive pathing, you must strafe. Strafing enables the predictive movement of npcs in the game. All you have to do is stand about 20 yards away from Yogg, with your back to him, but your camera facing him, taunt a mob, and strafe up and left or up and right. The mob will run right past you and he will now be in front of you. This prevents you from taking a nice fat hit to the back and you don’t have to turn around to achieve it.

11
Aug
09

A theory on gearing – the threat set

As I was driving to work this morning, I was trying to think of a topic that would work well as a follow up post to my gear choices post. At first I did not think that back to back gear theory posts would be the best idea, however after receiving my first comment, /cheer, I realized that there were some holes in my post and I should jump on this as an opportunity to take an in depth look on how I set up my threat set.
The two most important things that you must understand when assembling a threat set is what is the end goal of the compilation of gear that you will eventually tag as your threat set, and when is it suppose to be used. For me, the understanding of when is a precursor to the what. From my point of view, and my experience of gear swapping through a farmed instance with hints of progression (in my case Ulduar with hard modes), a threat set is used for three things, any trash that can not squash you like a bug, farmed bosses where your dps can let loose on auto pilot, and hard modes with time limits.

Lets take a look at gear from each of these perspectives and understand what is the limiting factor when it comes to threat:

Trash – The essence of a trash pull in current raiding conditions is usually instant balls out dps (AoE or single target). When I raid Ulduar on my hunter, I usually notice that by the end of my opening rotation, even with a misdirect, I am still past 100% on the threat meters when playing with mediocre tanks. This is even more pronounced when you pull an AoE pack. Depending on your progression, AoE packs can be almost any pull in your instance, or set packs that you know are not dangerous. Either way, initial snap aggro is essential to saving that warlock with an itchy trigger finger (I know every guild has a few).
Farmed bosses – When you are tanking farmed bosses, it means that everyone knows their job, the bosses abilities and what to expect. Specifically you know if and when you need to blow cooldowns, and the healers know when spike damage is coming. From this perspective, dps will be goings balls to the wall, and you will have to compensate with an overall increase in threat generation.

DPS Races – Some DPS races are the Razorscale achievement, Hodir Hard Mode, Yogg speed kill, etc. These bosses add either the crunch on your dps to push the envelope of threat, or the added buffs that come from the encounter to increase dps significantly (such as Hodir). In these instances, the difference between your first kill and a wipe is usually how much threat you can pump out (as long as your dps is doing their job right). On my guilds first Hodir hard mode kill, our number 1 dps was at 15k dps, that is a lot of threat, or a lot of salvations. I prefer the former of the two.

Hit Rating and Threat –

With this being said, the most important part of the “encounter” that is trash is the initial pull and snap aggro. When building a threat set, or more specifically a trash set, your number one concern is that you make sure your initial moves hit the targets. Therefore, Hit rating is by far the most important stat you can have. If your first avenger shield or hammer of the righteous misses, you will be set up for failure, running towards that warlock, slamming your taunts hoping they are not resisted.
So our goal is to be hit capped, but what is hit cap? Well, 8% hit or 263 hit rating will ensure that your attacks are not missed. It is important to understand that 8% hit only pushes the misses off of the attack table, and not the dodges or parries. In order to increase your ability to land an attack and avoid a dodge or parry you have to increase your expertise. This is fairly easy for a paladin to do because you have two options that will instantly push your expertise to 16: Glyph of Seal of Vengeance (10 Expertise) and Combat Expertise (6 Expertise, 8th tier of the Protection Tree). You only have to get 10 more Expertise to hit the soft cap of 26.
Now that we have established that if your Avengers Shield and Hammer of the Righteous deal damage to your targets, and you are tabbing through to establish aggro on all of them, what is the progression of what you need to have great threat:

Strength, Stamina and Block Value –

As stated before strength is a very powerful stat to have on your gear. It increases you attack power and block value. Both of these increase your ability to produce threat, and to a lesser degree, decrease incoming damage. The more attack power you have the harder you will hit, the more damage you will do, and in turn the more threat you will produce.
Stamina increases your spell power via Touched by the Light. This is an added bonus because, lets face it, the more health you have, the easier it is to stay alive. It also increases your damage done by judgements, which as of 3.2, no longer can be dodged blocked or parried. This is a very powerful threat mechanic because it has a larger range and is a guaranteed hit if you are geared correctly.
Block value to a lesser degree is also translated into threat, vial Shield of Righteousness. This is a small amount of threat gain, as blizzard has reduced the amount of damage contributed by SBV from 130% to 100%. This is still our number one snap aggro ability that is not a taunt.

Selecting Gear – Individual choices and the holistic outcome

The way that I personally set out to create a threat set was to select the pieces that most notably had the attributes that have been discussing above and then filled in the rest with supporting pieces. What that means is that I equipped as much tanking plate gear with hit, and strength to achieve the hit cap of 263 rating. Once this was achieved, I ensured that I met all of the other criteria necessary of a tank while maximizing then amount of strength, attack power, and expertise.
Understanding specifically that gemming and enchanting can be a huge help in achieving this philosophy will make your life so much easier when it comes to reaching your goals of creating a threat set. You always want to gem your threat pieces to augment their strengths, not just ensure that you have your token stamina, defense or agility/dodge gems in them.
You should have a second helm with the eternal earthsiege diamond in it for the increased defense and block value, Accuracy to a weapon is a great increase as well as armsman to gloves and icewalker to boots. As long as you have a descent health pool and you have over 540 defense, you should concentrate on getting as close to 263 hit rating as possible and boost your strength, AP, and SBV as much as possible. Remember, trash doesn’t hit for 20k, your healers should be able to keep you alive. Swapping trinkets and rings is also a must. I actually use dps rings in my threat set because I am over the defense minimum with out them.

Obtaining the gear –

Finally, I wanted to discuss how to obtain this gear. About two months ago I wrote a very long and extensive post about tanking on my guild forums, some of which made it to this blog. This post was designed to jump start some of our guilds tanks into picking up items that they habitually pass on. It is your duty as a MT to pick up gear even if it isn’t for your “main set” as you should be building many different sets for different situations. If your guild is progression centric, and allows for MT gearing, you do not have an issue, pick up everything that you can (while taking into consideration your fellow tanks). If you have to deal with competing with your healers and dps for tier tokens, then you may want to focus on those first, however, it is always beneficial to pick up that side grade if it looks like it is beneficial for another set. I passed on a few pieces that never dropped again and I regretted it every day.
07
Aug
09

The Preamble and the Art of Trash Pulls…

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



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