WoW: The Meatshield Inn

Tanks definitely set the direction and tempo of the runs. When first jumping into tanking and doing pugs, it can be rough. I've encountered pretty much 2 types of pug players that I really dislike (all others I can tolerate). The first is the impatient. The ones that run ahead of the tank to the next pull or even pull something intentionally cause they feel the tank isn't moving at the pace they like. This is rare for me as I try to move at a brisk pace, but it still happens. I usually don't do anything to pull mobs off of impatient players like that. They either die a few times and learn or the groups decked enough that its not a concern. The second type of player I detest is the one that doesn't know their class. I had two of these in the same instance the other day and i just suffered through it, but it took much longer than it should of. 4.2k GS resto shaman who refused to put totems down and a 5k GS Hunter who put out under 1k dps. Not only was the dps low, but the hunter would stop shooting to run up and put down a frost trap under a single mob that was stationary and locked down by the tank. The same hunter was using volley on single targets.

I'd say, if you're confident you got the rotation down (and it seems like you, as you said you may make consecrate the #1 part of your 9696 rotation, that will help alot on packs), you're geared enough to take a beating and you're not having mana issues, that you're in a good place. Just remember pugs are there to remind me of why you're in a guild! I typically try to queue with at least 1 guildie when I pug, that way I know at least 40% of the run will be competent.

In defense of your Resto Shaman puggie, on my shaman I usually only drop totems on heroic bosses. In most instances, the trash just dies too fast. DPS levels are getting silly these days for places like Utgarde Keep.

Still, I try to know my class, and do things like Wind Shock casters to get them to the tank. I had a rogue pug post dps meters recently, so I posted interrupts. I had a bunch, he had none, even though rogues are the original interrupters. Not that it's really needed for Heroics, but I seriously never see anyone post meters in PUGs these days, which is a good thing.

Afterwards, I switched to my main for another instance (it was a good group), out-dpsed him by a considerable margin, and razzed him by asking him to post the meters.

Enix wrote:

I think I've got the rotation down, Reap -- I'm pulling with Avenger's Shield and going straight into a 969 rotation with the various Shields and Hammers of Holy Righteous Smiting.

Holding aggro hasn't really an issue. At this point I'm 2-4 levels above everyone I'm running with (I'm 75 and using UK and Nex as practice arenas.) Mana's not been too bad -- I'm using a JoW and Divine Plea to keep mana up. But I might start putting down Consecrate before 969ing -- that's a good suggestion.

The thing that's unnerving is how everyone's looking at me for cues of what to do. When I play my DPs and (to a lesser extent) healer characters, I follow the crowd. Oh, the tank's wailing on that guy? Guess I'll shoot him. Tank's losing health? Time for a heal!

Yesterday I'm standing in Nexus and there are three different passages. I pick left, and everyone follows.

It's very weird being in charge.

I know the feeling - I'm leveling a warrior tank at the moment, since tanking was something I hadn't really tried before. Just tanked my first nexus run last night, as it happens. I've mostly just been following the way I remember other tanks doing it in the past in terms of which mobs to pull etc. The main things I've been thinking about that I didn't have to in the past as dps/heals:

1) When pulling a group, start with the one with the mana bar.
2) If there's a bunch of casters, do a LoS pull.
3) Focus less on optimal rotation and more on situational awareness - is one of the dps attacking the wrong target? Build up some aggro on that one. Is there a pat coming? Am I in LoS for the healer? Is a caster doing something I can interrupt? I found both dps and healing I tended to get tunnel vision on rotation and health bars respectively, while the tank needs to watch the whole picture more. The flipside being that it doesn't really matter if I miss the occasional revenge proc.

These are very much the thoughts of someone else who's learning rather than an expert, of course.

Sonicator wrote:

These are very much the thoughts of someone else who's learning rather than an expert, of course.

Nope, you're probably well on your way to being a very good tank. Situational awareness is one of those things that (IMO) separates great tanks from okay tanks. In this day and age virtually anyone who can copy a spec and read about a rotation/priority system can hold aggro in most cases. Not taking anything away from anyone, but Blizzard has just reduced the importance of threat overall, except possibly at the very high-end (or maybe still warriors with large packs). The ability to see the overall flow of a fight and to be able to react before anyone else even realizes there's a potential problem brewing is what helps make a really good tank. When you can identify that a pat is going to join the fight and react before it even aggros, or see a dpser hitting the wrong target, or spreading around interrupts and stuns to lock out lots of bad casts, etc. In my personal experience, tanking tends to require you to focus on managing the overall flow of a fight so that everyone else can work effectively.

In my personal view, I think this situational focus is a fair amount of why tanking has a tendency to pair up with raid leading, but that's a different topic...

Sonicator wrote:

1) When pulling a group, start with the one with the mana bar.

2) If there's a bunch of casters, do a LoS pull.

3) Focus less on optimal rotation and more on situational awareness - is one of the dps attacking the wrong target? Build up some aggro on that one. Is there a pat coming? Am I in LoS for the healer? Is a caster doing something I can interrupt? I found both dps and healing I tended to get tunnel vision on rotation and health bars respectively, while the tank needs to watch the whole picture more. The flipside being that it doesn't really matter if I miss the occasional revenge proc.

That's great advice, Sonic. But explain the second concept to me. Do you mean pull the casters back around a corner (or out of a room) to make them come to you and thus delay their attack?

I'm still in tunnel vision mode for the most part because I'm still mastering the rotation and learning the fights. But I was able to see and chase down some stray mobs last night. Progress.

Postscript to yesterday's post: I led the World's Best Group through Nexus - druid healer, enhancement shaman, rogue (with a "Sergeant" title - old school!) and a mage. No wipes, only one death (the mage). Next up: UK.

Enix wrote:

That's great advice, Sonic. But explain the second concept to me. Do you mean pull the casters back around a corner (or out of a room) to make them come to you and thus delay their attack?

Basically. You pull, then run around either a corner or some geometry to get them to stop casting and chase you. You sit just on the other side, and they'll run right to you.

cube wrote:
Enix wrote:

That's great advice, Sonic. But explain the second concept to me. Do you mean pull the casters back around a corner (or out of a room) to make them come to you and thus delay their attack?

Basically. You pull, then run around either a corner or some geometry to get them to stop casting and chase you. You sit just on the other side, and they'll run right to you.

I just had one of those "holy crap, how did I not think of doing this!" moments.

ELewis17 wrote:
cube wrote:
Enix wrote:

That's great advice, Sonic. But explain the second concept to me. Do you mean pull the casters back around a corner (or out of a room) to make them come to you and thus delay their attack?

Basically. You pull, then run around either a corner or some geometry to get them to stop casting and chase you. You sit just on the other side, and they'll run right to you.

I just had one of those "holy crap, how did I not think of doing this!" moments.

Hehe, i second that.

Earlier when Sonic mentioned a spell interrupt, I went, Well, my hunter has Silencing Shot/Wyvern Sting, my warriors have Pummel, my priest can drain mana and my paladin has ... uh ... he has ...

Oh, yeah. Hammer of Justice.

/facepalm

Guess I need to start using it, eh?

If you're prot spec, I believe your Avenger's Shield also has a silence element to it for pulling. Same deal with a Warrior's Heroic Throw.

Here is my 45 Prot Pally's build so far. What should my priorities be over the coming levels? I'm pretty sure I need to jump over to the Ret side to at least pick up Deflection, but when? Should I hold off to finish filling out Reckoning and Ardent Defender? Am I missing something huge by skipping Divine Sacrifice for the time being? Am I just paralyzed with indecision and it doesn't really matter that much for now?

I'm no pally expert, but my general rule would be that:

1) You're not likely in content where the extra 5% parry from deflection would make or break things. Once you're in heroics or raids, sure, but for now, you should be fine without it.
2) It's always good to get used to using all of your skills, so going and getting your last two actively used abilities sooner rather than later will probably help you form better habits now. Not sure if any of the other ret talents you may take would impact things though (again, not a big pally player here).

robkid wrote:
Sonicator wrote:

These are very much the thoughts of someone else who's learning rather than an expert, of course.

Nope, you're probably well on your way to being a very good tank. Situational awareness is one of those things that (IMO) separates great tanks from okay tanks. In this day and age virtually anyone who can copy a spec and read about a rotation/priority system can hold aggro in most cases. Not taking anything away from anyone, but Blizzard has just reduced the importance of threat overall, except possibly at the very high-end (or maybe still warriors with large packs).

Nice to hear that I seem to be on the right track! I've certainly found keeping threat to be fairly straightforward so long as people are aoe-ing or attacking the right target - I've only had problems when either I screw up (e.g. timing of thunderclap) or the dps are attacking the wrong thing, and in that case situational awareness is probably more important than rotation, I think. Come to think of it, the only time I had aggro issues on the main target was when a dk forgot to switch out of frost presence.

Enix wrote:
ELewis17 wrote:
cube wrote:
Enix wrote:

That's great advice, Sonic. But explain the second concept to me. Do you mean pull the casters back around a corner (or out of a room) to make them come to you and thus delay their attack?

Basically. You pull, then run around either a corner or some geometry to get them to stop casting and chase you. You sit just on the other side, and they'll run right to you.

I just had one of those "holy crap, how did I not think of doing this!" moments.

Hehe, i second that.

I can't claim any credit for the idea - learned it from other tanks back in my healing days. I use it less to delay the attack than to make them bunch up - in a normal pull you'll have the melee run towards you and the casters hang back. In those cases, even if you can get the melee and one caster together, it can be tricky maintaining threat on the other one. A LoS pull means they'll be bunched up when they come round the corner, which makes things much easier. One caveat: it's worth mentioning to your group that you're going to do it, I've found. You won't have much threat built up while the mobs are running towards you, so a dps opening up on them too early can make a mess.

Good luck with UK! I found it a bit trickier to tank than nexus, so just some quick things that helped me:

1) On the first boss, get the group to stand on the left side of the room (i.e. so that you're between them and where the adds come from) since it makes it easier to grab the adds when they spawn - in your case, they'll just walk straight into your consecrate.
2) On the second boss(es), make sure everyone stands in close to you, since it stops the guy charging. Most groups are good for this, but you'll get the occasional person who doesn't know.
3) For the last boss, read the tanking tips on wowwiki or somewhere like that, since there's a few tricks to it. It's a little more involved than dps or healing that fight. I still haven't quite got the hang of the positioning yet - I've managed to avoid wiping on him, but it's been pretty messy each time.

Raiding Tankadins don't use Reckoning, but it can be helpful for soloing. I wouldn't stress a ton over your build, because you will respec a number of times during your "career".

That said, if you want to dig in to Pally tanking, google Maintankadin - that is THE Tankadin site.

Sonicator wrote:

3) For the last boss, read the tanking tips on wowwiki or somewhere like that, since there's a few tricks to it. It's a little more involved than dps or healing that fight. I still haven't quite got the hang of the positioning yet - I've managed to avoid wiping on him, but it's been pretty messy each time.

For the tank, the main important thing is Dark Smash (or whatever it's called) after he gets rezzed. If you have a half-way decent healer, as the tank you can pretty much ignore everything else. You do *not* want to get hit by the smash after he's empowered though. Just tank him like you normally would facing away from everyone, and as soon as he starts that cast, run straight through him. Afterwards, you'll probably need to reposition him. After you do it a few times though, you can get the hang of how to run through him so that you can run back quickly and not have him shift too much.

robkid wrote:
Sonicator wrote:

3) For the last boss, read the tanking tips on wowwiki or somewhere like that, since there's a few tricks to it. It's a little more involved than dps or healing that fight. I still haven't quite got the hang of the positioning yet - I've managed to avoid wiping on him, but it's been pretty messy each time.

For the tank, the main important thing is Dark Smash (or whatever it's called) after he gets rezzed. If you have a half-way decent healer, as the tank you can pretty much ignore everything else. You do *not* want to get hit by the smash after he's empowered though. Just tank him like you normally would facing away from everyone, and as soon as he starts that cast, run straight through him. Afterwards, you'll probably need to reposition him. After you do it a few times though, you can get the hang of how to run through him so that you can run back quickly and not have him shift too much.

Ah, that'd probably be easier. I was trying to dodge behind one of the pillars.

ELewis17 wrote:

Here is my 45 Prot Pally's build so far. What should my priorities be over the coming levels? I'm pretty sure I need to jump over to the Ret side to at least pick up Deflection, but when? Should I hold off to finish filling out Reckoning and Ardent Defender? Am I missing something huge by skipping Divine Sacrifice for the time being? Am I just paralyzed with indecision and it doesn't really matter that much for now?

No, it doesn't really matter. But your priority imho should be to get to Hammer of the Righteous (your 51 point talent) asap. Put 5 points into each level, then move on. You can always come back and fill in any gaps later.

For now, you might want to consider taking the 3/3 points out of Reckoning and putting them in Divine Sacrifice/Improved Divine Sacrifice. From what I've read, popping the Divine Shield bubble and then Divine Sacrifice can save your group's collective bacon during a boss fight.

That said, I haven't actually used it (though I'm ready to do so). Can any protadins speak to the fact that this works (or doesn't) as advertised?

ELewis17 wrote:

Basically. You pull, then run around either a corner or some geometry to get them to stop casting and chase you. You sit just on the other side, and they'll run right to you.

I just had one of those "holy crap, how did I not think of doing this!" moments. [/quote]

It's not your fault, it's part of the way that WoW has evolved. In days long ago that was they only sane way to pull a room full of casters. Way back when you used to have to use crowd control and corner pull techniques. Unfortunately someone at Blizzard decided that Consececrate/Thunderclap and AoE was the preferable way to clear a room of baddies.

Bear wrote:

Unfortunately someone at Blizzard decided that Consececrate/Thunderclap and AoE was the preferable way to clear a room of baddies.

And DK's were given death grip. <3

A question for the vets out there:

How do you keep your DPSers on target? Or is it even worth the hassle in a PUG?

I was running Nexus (again - I hadn't bothered to do the quests, and the tank gear was too good to pass up), and my group included a nuclear-powered mage who was a little too quick on the trigger finger and a warrior who aspired to being a tank.

I don't mind having a melee DPSer picking up stray mobs, especially when we're dealing with trash mobs or boss adds. Sure, it means I'll take longer to burn down my target. But if a warrior (or shaman or rogue or paladin) is competent, when I'm done, his mob will be nearly dead and right next to me (as opposed to mostly alive and banging on the clothies).

It's the ranged DPS that can be the problem, especially when the mage (or hunter or priest or warlock) is standing right next to the healer. I had to chase mobs more often that I wanted to (which is why I picked up Pursuit of Justice in the ret tree.)

Do you deal with it in a PUG, or do you let it slide? How would you deal with it if it's a guild run?

x

Enix wrote:

It's the ranged DPS that can be the problem, especially when the mage (or hunter or priest or warlock) is standing right next to the healer. I had to chase mobs more often that I wanted to (which is why I picked up Pursuit of Justice in the ret tree.)

Do you deal with it in a PUG, or do you let it slide? How would you deal with it if it's a guild run?

My pally/druid rarely experience this, but my warrior on the other hand, knows this feeling. Not sure if I do the right or wrong thing, but here's my normal reactions

If DPS seems to be spread out attacking all different mobs, I just start marking a single skull in each pull. I have skull mapped to a keybind so it doesnt take long to flag someone with skull and have them be a priority target.

If I am losing threat single target, my warrior will vigilance the person pulling the threat (or my pally will hand of salvation them time to time). If they just completely outgear you, sometimes there is not much you can do except start getting aggro on all other mobs.

For AOE'rs, it can be tough. I know just starting out, my warrior had a rough time with AOE mobs if there was a decked warlock or mage in the group. Vigilance/Hand of salvation sometimes wasnt even enough. I found that if you ask them to slow down the response is usually "L2TANK", so I hope they either know their class enough to use threat reducing cooldowns or get hit a few times and realize maybe they need to give you an extra second or two.

As far as guild goes, I've never experienced the problem in guild. But I can tell you from the experience of playing with the guild that no one would be offended if you asked them to slow down for an extra few seconds. The guild is friendly and helpful and would probably both comply with your request and possibly offer suggestions on possible ways to improve the situation. We have a lot of very knowledgeable players.

Bean wrote:

For AOE'rs, it can be tough. I know just starting out, my warrior had a rough time with AOE mobs if there was a decked warlock or mage in the group. Vigilance/Hand of salvation sometimes wasnt even enough. I found that if you ask them to slow down the response is usually "L2TANK", so I hope they either know their class enough to use threat reducing cooldowns or get hit a few times and realize maybe they need to give you an extra second or two.

I don't worry too much about losing a stray piece of trash or two to high-performing DPSers. Sometimes the benefit of burning them down outweighs the risk. Ironically, this is sometimes easier in Heroics where you can generally count on DPS overkill.

If not, they can LRN2POTION.

I pull threat off the tank in Heroics all the time; I seldom blame the tank. If I pull the boss off of him, then I blame him, because I wait a second and also Salv myself before attacking.

Fedaykin98 wrote:

I pull threat off the tank in Heroics all the time; I seldom blame the tank. If I pull the boss off of him, then I blame him, because I wait a second and also Salv myself before attacking.

Just a heads up Fed, Salv reduces threat already done each second for 10 seconds. If you're hitting it before you start attacking, you'll be doing 1800 TPS instead of 2000 TPS for those 10 seconds (example numbers), but if you catch up to the tank around 20,000 total Threat, then pop it, it'll reduce your total threat and threat done during that time, meaning only 1600 TPS instead of 2,000 because of that kickback (effectively doubling that effect). The longer you can hold out, the bigger the dent in your threat you'll make.

Something to keep in mind when tanking too, if you happen to have a fight longer than 30seconds, and an eager dps, you can always hit them with Hand of Salv to knock em back a peg.

I can see that squeezing more out of Salv, but I almost never pull threat after the first 10 seconds; I can pull threat immediately if I don't Salv or wait a couple seconds. So I'm playing the odds.

I do remember in a U25 Gwen Stefani PUG from eons ago where they had a warlock who wanted (and needed) to be Salved midway through a fight, but that's not where I generally have issues.

Fedaykin98 wrote:

I can see that squeezing more out of Salv, but I almost never pull threat after the first 10 seconds; I can pull threat immediately if I don't Salv or wait a couple seconds. So I'm playing the odds.

I do remember in a U25 Gwen Stefani PUG from eons ago where they had a warlock who wanted (and needed) to be Salved midway through a fight, but that's not where I generally have issues.

Yeah, much more difficult to grab threat further into a fight, unless there's times where the tank isn't building aggro (I can only think of a few fights like Saphirron in Naxxramas for instance when I used to get Intervened from Titanos because Gloc was just destroying that fight). So definitely using at the beginning I can see in your best interest. That's how I found out that warriors also have an external threat reducing mechanic, most of who forget they have that option.

I'm curious if DKs or Druids have something similar to the HoSalv/Intervene mechanic, as I can't think of one off-hand.

Zablocki19 wrote:

I'm curious if DKs or Druids have something similar to the HoSalv/Intervene mechanic, as I can't think of one off-hand.

They hit like trucks. On really bad acid.

My highest level character is my mage at 77, so my advice should probably be taken with a grain of salt ...

But I found that in PUGS at least, things worked out far better if the tank ignored any mobs I pulled and let me figure out how best to deal with them. If I can finish off whatever I pulled I will, if not, I have no problem with either just bringing running the mob back to the tank if possible, or using my threat decreasing skills to get it off of me. The tank has enough to do without having to go chasing down a mob I screwed up and pulled, and too often if they try, things end up getting worse instead of better.

It seems to me that a key part of playing a DPS class is figuring out just how much damage you can get away with producing ... while its fun if you can just max out, it isn't the tanks fault if you are too inflexible to figure out when you need to dial things back a bit.

I wish I could say my problem has been with DPS as of late. I've had a rash of bad healers in my last few groups.

Seriously, should I start initiating kick votes on these people or just drop? It's not like tanks spend much time in the queue.

absurddoctor wrote:

But I found that in PUGS at least, things worked out far better if the tank ignored any mobs I pulled and let me figure out how best to deal with them. ...

I'm very new to the tanking game, but my attitude toward that is: You spank it, you tank it.

That said, I keep Hand of Reckoning on cooldown just for those situation. I know mages love to show off with their thermonuclear attacks, but I'd rather have all the mobs right there in front of me so I can hit them without having to chase them all over a dungeon.

Sure, I've got pretty good wheels for a dwarf, but all that plate armor is heavy, ya know?

GioClark wrote:

Seriously, should I start initiating kick votes on these people or just drop?

Depends. If someone's AFK or has DC'd, yeah, kick 'em. Otherwise, just whisper someone else in group about how awful the healer is and just bitch privately. Publicly, see if you can help the healer. Suggest a spell or rotation. Guide them, if you can. Chances are, they're still learning. And since I'm still learning the tanking game, I use those sorts of issues (poor healer, bad DPS, impatient pullers, GoGoGoers, etc.) as learning experiences for me, too.

My rule of thumb is two (bad) wipes on the same boss or three wipes total. At that point I figure all I'm going to learn is that the group stinks.

Keep in mind that it's very possible that I'm way too patient.

Gio - Keep in mind that dropping locks you out of LFD for 30 minutes, so it's better to kick. I've only seen two people kicked, personally. The latest was a 650 DPS Hunter in Heroic OK. Even with him, I was just going to live with it, but someone initiated the vote halfway through.