Skip to content

Musings on Aemma and tanking

May 14, 2009

In the course of leveling Aemma, my prot warrior, all the way to 51 tonight, I keep going back to my self-doubt.  Am I doing this wrong?  Is my rotation right?  Is my gearing correct?  omgtheywantmetotankZFnowai – things of that nature.

And in several days of mulling this over, I’ve centered my mullings around two camps – either I am not completely happy with Aemma because I don’t know what I’m doing or because being unsure of how to tank is hard.  Or perhaps it’s really one big camp of “I don’t know how to tank so I don’t like this”.

While I am sad to say that I didn’t level all the way to 80 as holy, I did level holy from 58 on.  I knew from the start that Anea would be a healer, but I was only specced and leveled as a healer for twenty-two levels.  Sure, I didn’t know what I was doing right in the beginning, but I learned.  Trial and error, after all.  Eventually I figured things out and I grew confident in my abilities.  I also had a pocket tank, Lus – I felt more secure because not only was he in my group and was a familiar face, but also he was my tank and he wouldn’t tear my face off if I messed up and let him die.  So, you would imagine that after so many levels of being leveled prot that I would have a handle on things and feel semi-comfortable in my shoes hooves that it wouldn’t be an issue.

I have only had one foray into tanking thus far – I pugged Zul’Farrak a few days ago and it went alright.  There were no deaths or even close calls – we had an excellent healer.  (Sidethought: as a tank do you measure the success of a run in number of deaths?) I didn’t feel as though it was a great run, tank-wise.  This largely centers around the fact that I didn’t feel in control 90% of the time.  I don’t know if this is what it’s like as a tank or just something that I’ll feel better about as I tank more (the resident tank is currently offshore and not available for a consult.)  Getting into a tanking rotation is something I need to work on.  In fact, I’ve made a list of things that I feel I need to work on that feels rather extensive and I wonder if I shouldn’t already be familiar with some of the items anyway.

This presents a problem for me – I have invested in this character enough to get her to this level, which is nothing to sneeze at.  I’ve tried multiple times at this class – or I’ve banged my head on this wall long enough that I have gotten this far, I should say.  I worry that I won’t feel comfortable tanking the way that I feel comfortable healing.  If you gave me the choice right now, I would choose to heal any instance before I would tank it.  I don’t want to dumb down what we healers do, but it would seem a thousand times easier for me to heal something than tank it.

Perhaps I’ve built up tanking enough that not only do I want to be one, but I’ve scared myself off of it as well?  Have I grown too dependent on being part of a team and I’m unable to function solo?  As soon as I wonder this, I think surely it’s not the case, because I’ve had plenty of alts that were played to a decently high level alone without being part of a team.  But I can’t help but wonder.

Semi-related closing thought: I’ve heard it said many times that people whose main is a tank or healing role will most often choose to have a DPS-specced alt – y/n?

Advertisements
21 Comments leave one →
  1. May 14, 2009 11:52 AM

    Personally, I measure baseline success in terms of whether or not the healer died. After that I mostly go by the amount of time it took to clear the instance.Warrior tanking tends to be a bit hectic, there’s a lot of button pushing necessary to reach your potential. The better you tank the more buttons you push, etc. That might be related to the feeling of lack of control your talking about. You could try setting up macros to relieve some of the strain, but it never really completely goes away.

  2. May 14, 2009 11:59 AM

    RE: Semi-related thought – The odds are stacked in that favor, since there are a lot more DPS choices than tank or healing choices. For a while my main two characters were a holy priest & holy paladin, but … yeah, I fall into the DPS alt category now that I have a hunter.As a side-note though, I’ve found that I really enjoy non-traditional tanking – Tanking as a holy pally, pet tanking, and so on. It’s harder to do (and you usually need to be a few levels too high for the drops to be upgrades for you), but the nonconventional aspect of it makes it more appealing to me.That, and as a holly pally tank I can hold aggro just fine by out-healing the party healer. :3

  3. willel permalink
    May 14, 2009 2:02 PM

    Tanking as a holy paladin, huh? I’ve heard of that but never tried it myself. I guess you’d have to wear tanking gear, right? But tanking gear for a pally doesn’t tend to have SP, does it? And I guess I wonder why you’d want to tank holy when, from what I understand, a prot pally makes a really good tank.

  4. willel permalink
    May 14, 2009 2:06 PM

    I have heard once or twice that all healers have a tank they are secretly leveling.

  5. May 14, 2009 2:15 PM

    The boy claims that warrior tanking is the most complicated, and as he has tanked with everything but a bear druid I’ll believe him.There are days when I, too, would rather heal an instance than do anything else-DPS or tanking. It seems as if you have to remember far more about each fight as a tank or even a DPS.Also, deaths aren’t necessarily my fault as a tank. As a healer, do I really feel responsible for everyone’s death anymore? Even when they do things like stand in a fire? HELL no. I have you come to accept that sometimes people die of their own dumb. Tanking is more of the same. The mage’s death is my failure only if he wasn’t attacking it out of turn (SKULL POEPLE OMG), or if he didn’t get aggro and then proceed to RUN AWAY from me, or…any of the other myriad stupid things people do.I think part of the problem is…lack of comfort and familiarity with the role. I spend so much time on my healer that I feel perpetually rusty with my prot warrior-and it’s such a “front and center” job where every mistake seems obvious! But familiarty only comes with time, which is why I’ve stuck with my warrior so long and now have her at 75. It’s…a very different game from healing, let me tell you.

  6. May 14, 2009 2:15 PM

    The boy claims that warrior tanking is the most complicated, and as he has tanked with everything but a bear druid I’ll believe him.There are days when I, too, would rather heal an instance than do anything else-DPS or tanking. It seems as if you have to remember far more about each fight as a tank or even a DPS.Also, deaths aren’t necessarily my fault as a tank. As a healer, do I really feel responsible for everyone’s death anymore? Even when they do things like stand in a fire? HELL no. I have you come to accept that sometimes people die of their own dumb. Tanking is more of the same. The mage’s death is my failure only if he wasn’t attacking it out of turn (SKULL POEPLE OMG), or if he didn’t get aggro and then proceed to RUN AWAY from me, or…any of the other myriad stupid things people do.I think part of the problem is…lack of comfort and familiarity with the role. I spend so much time on my healer that I feel perpetually rusty with my prot warrior-and it’s such a “front and center” job where every mistake seems obvious! But familiarty only comes with time, which is why I’ve stuck with my warrior so long and now have her at 75. It’s…a very different game from healing, let me tell you.

  7. May 14, 2009 2:19 PM

    Addition:One Kara run back in the day, we wanted a hunter and couldn’t find one. Various people had geared hunter alts they could bring, but……every single person with a hunter alt, was a healer.I was holy pally, BM hunter, prot warrior in BC. Now it’s all that but with a disc/shadow priest thrown in. Make of that what you will. ;)

  8. May 14, 2009 2:29 PM

    O.o@Ambrosyne Elgar is a healer, he’s become my main. My “alt” is Troutwort the hunter! More evidence to the all healers have a hunter alt? Ha ha ha.

  9. Myrlin permalink
    May 14, 2009 2:50 PM

    I played a priest to 70 during BC and now I have an 80 DK tank for Wrath. A month or two ago I started to feel really burnt out playing my tank. It wasn’t that I disliked tanking or felt out of control, for me it was that I had to be online all the time or I was letting my friends down. I’m in a small guild with about 12 capped players. Our choices for tanks were me, the alt of our best healer, and a different spec for one of our best warriors. I was the preferred tank because the other 2 options were better at their other role. Eventually I took about 3 weeks off from WoW and came back about 1 week after 3.1 came out. While I was gone someone finished leveling their pally tank and took over my role as the MT. When I came back I took a week to just DPS. It was so easy compared to tanking. There’s almost no stress related to the rest of the group. You just punch the boss in the face and make sure you’re not standing in the shiny stuff. Outside of that, my brain could basically go to sleep.Now that we have dual specs I don’t feel bad about not being around all the time because we have more people that can swap their spec and tank. I still tank most of the time, but if I’m feeling stressed out I’ll switch to DPS for a night and just relax.As for measuring success as a tank, I think its about confidence. Obviously if you don’t finish the instance then its a failure. But if you do finish, its just a matter of polishing whatever felt like your biggest weakness. If you felt like you were constantly battling for threat, maybe you need to think about threat generation (more hit/exp or str on your gear). If you felt like you were constantly chasing down a mob that strayed from the pack, maybe you need to focus on tabbing to other targets and spreading the threat around more. Another thing to keep in mind is that not all tanks are created equally. Warriors are very good at single target tanking, but aren’t as good for packs of mobs because they don’t have as much AoE as a Pally/DK/Druid.

  10. May 14, 2009 4:04 PM

    My main is a hunter (gasp), but I have a prot pally that I’ve leveled to 80. She was 70 in BC long enough to OT Kara once, but that was about it. I shied away from tanking instances unless hubby really pushed me, mostly because I was petrified of messing up and being “that dumbass of a tank”. Right now I only run her with guild groups, just because they’re friends, and won’t think (much) less of me if things go pear-shaped.I measure success in number of wipes. Deaths is a hard number to judge yourself by, because there’s always the one DPS that wasn’t -quite- geared, but was the only one available, or just started DPS just a tad sooner than they should have. We’re only Draenei, after all.But really, it’s not just the tank or just the healer that keeps things together, it’s how well they complement each other. I like being a paladin tank because if the stuff hits the fan, I’ve got a few extra tricks up my sleeve to hopefully eke out that little bit between OH CRAP and Phew.

  11. Jack permalink
    May 14, 2009 4:13 PM

    Sidethought: as a tank do you measure the success of a run in number of deaths?Number of deaths is one measure, but as has already been mentioned, only taken in context of the encounter. When I first ran ZF (as a healer) and died because the tank didn’t pick up adds? Tank fail. When, on returning to my body, I dashed past a blind corner and pulled a group that wiped the party? Not a tank fail.There are two measures I use to determine if a run is successful when I tank. Though, I haven’t downloaded any tools that report on them so “measure” is more of a subjective judgement than a good critical analysis. Personally, I think the numbers are overrated anyway (and that’s coming from someone with a B.S. in math!), but that’s a different topic.The first measure is what you mentioned: was I in control? Did I lose aggro? Did I pick up adds? And while my rotation, the efficient use of my abilities, is important to that, it has more to do with situational awareness. It’s about noticing when adds show up, knowing they’re going to rush the healer, recognizing when some dps AoE has pulled something off you and picking it back up. Even before the fight, you’re usually the one who sets up the pull. Did you assign cc to the right mobs? LoS pull where appropriate (which is often a challenge in ZF) and avoid patrols?The second measure is more related to how I’ve prepared to tank than about what I actually do in the instance. Could a competent healer keep me alive? This is where it helps to have played a healer and know what the encounter looks like through their eyes. Is my armor, avoidance and mitigation good enough that I did not impede the healer? Could the healer get stunned or take a second to clean up the AoE damage dps has taken without me dying or coming close to it?I guess high level tanks will tell you that second measure is the first priorty. Honestly, I’m just now with my level 78 DK tank starting to tank instances where that’s true. Just now reaching the point where bosses are frightening enough to kill me in just a couple hits if I’m undergeared or don’t use my cooldowns well (though as a disclaimer, I skipped old raids and BC heroics). While you’re tanking the “levelling” instances, my experience says the first priority is being able to control fights. As you level your tank, as long as you’ve got level appropriate tanking gear, your stats kinda’ take care of themselves.I’ve heard it said many times that people whose main is a tank or healing role will most often choose to have a DPS-specced alt – y/n?My main is a healer. I’ve chosen a lot of alts . . . but my main alt (oxymoron?) is a tank. There is just such an overt tight bond/synergy between tanking and healing that I really wanted to see encounters from both perspectives. And playing each has helped me understand even better what they need from each other. I have come to really enjoy both roles.I did dual spec into balance on my resto druid simply because there is more gear overlap between resto and balance than between resto and feral druids. But it was purely a practical consideration. Not because I felt some need to dps.

  12. May 14, 2009 4:21 PM

    Tarsus and Ambrosyne are right–warrior tanking is a little more frenetic than tanking with another class (notice I didn’t say “harder,” there’s just more button pushing involved). Warriors being relatively weak AOE tanks compared to paladins or DKs, there’s always that feeling that you’re walking the edge of losing the handle on a pull, and at least for me, no, it never really goes away.The best way to overcome it, honestly, is with practice. Just keep at it. Tank is a front-and-center role, and it can feel like you’ve got eight (or eighteen or forty-eight) eyes on your back just waiting for you to screw up. But everybody screws up, it’s part of the learning process. Keep digging, and gradually the priority system and timing of your abilities will start to become second-nature, like healing on Anea is now.BTW, with me having a tank main? ALL my alts, and there are squillions, are DPS. Two 80 hunters (one marks, one BM), a 74 blood DK who I have no plans to tank with, a 70 druid who’s always been feral and who offtanked Kara for quite a while, and a 68 enhancement shaman. I have no healers, and trust me, I’d be 1000 times as scared of trying to learn to heal as you are of learning to tank.

  13. May 14, 2009 4:53 PM

    “The best way to overcome it, honestly, is with practice. Just keep at it.”QFT – I was raiding for over a year as a warrior tank before I felt like I really getting it.

  14. May 14, 2009 5:02 PM

    Once I finally managed to set aside my emotional attachment to my warlock, all of my alts — with the exception of the ‘lock, of course — also became healers. I have a 74 holy paladin and a 69 resto druid.I created an Orc warrior the other weekend with the intention of giving tanking a try, but I chickened out. My complete and utter inability to orient myself in melee range seems like it could be a bit of a liability for a tank. >.>I seriously don’t know how you guys do it! Healing is easy. Tanking is scary.

  15. May 15, 2009 1:30 AM

    I can only second what people are saying. You have to keep tanking to feel comfortable. This feeling that you are lacking control is common with lack of practice. But once you reach that point where it’s familiar, it’s the best feeling ever. To control the pace and every pull, it’s awesome. But because of lack of healers in my guild, there are now weeks where I don’t tank at all, and every instance after a tank break I feel this lack of control.I have tanked as warrior and druid, and yeah, warriors require a lot more buttons and these days a lot of proc watching and priority tracking.My main alt is a resto shaman. I used to have a DPS alt, but I always really wanted a healer alt, because I must be a sucker for punishment. ;) I will never be as comfortable with healing as I am with tanking, so I understand the feeling. I am finally there as healer that I actually have runs where I will DPS as well, because I can. :)

  16. May 15, 2009 1:30 AM

    I can only second what people are saying. You have to keep tanking to feel comfortable. This feeling that you are lacking control is common with lack of practice. But once you reach that point where it’s familiar, it’s the best feeling ever. To control the pace and every pull, it’s awesome. But because of lack of healers in my guild, there are now weeks where I don’t tank at all, and every instance after a tank break I feel this lack of control.I have tanked as warrior and druid, and yeah, warriors require a lot more buttons and these days a lot of proc watching and priority tracking.My main alt is a resto shaman. I used to have a DPS alt, but I always really wanted a healer alt, because I must be a sucker for punishment. ;) I will never be as comfortable with healing as I am with tanking, so I understand the feeling. I am finally there as healer that I actually have runs where I will DPS as well, because I can. :)

  17. sparklefreeze permalink
    May 15, 2009 9:20 PM

    My main’s a healy Priest and my alt, a Retadin who is currently Prot to get my guild’s 2nd Naxx going. I just find that healing and tanking are so fundamentally different that it’s really hard for me to be healing Ulduar 10mins ago and jump straight into tanking Naxx. It’s like using 2 entirely different thought processes.Being melee was a challenge to me at the start even as Ret. I think I’m trained too well to fear standing near bosses whose legs hardly fit into the screen. My friends call me the silly tank who is scared to get hit. >.< but it’s true; makes me wince and have the fleeting thought to run away when I see so many mobs running at me waving their swords/daggers/maces..I just think it’s not in my blood to tank, and my guildies agree. Though they can’t exactly put a finger on it, and I haven’t lost aggro and wiped the raid yet.. They just say it’s awkward watching me tank lol.My Retadin however, I really love. It’s just a nice break sometimes to take my eyes off the healy bars and concentrate on getting top spot on recount. It just makes me feel so powerful when my smites miss half the time on dailies mobs on the priest.. =(

  18. May 17, 2009 6:49 PM

    I’ll second all the above emotions. Like Tarsus, my first measure is if the healer dies. And if things go bad, do I go down first or the healer? I’d always rather hit the panic buttons and let the healer make a run for it.The other measure I sometimes look at is damage. How much did I take compared to the rest of the group. It’s not terribly accurate, depending on the situation, but I keep looking at it anyway. Tank is very much a “center of attention” role, so there’s probably a lil’ ego involved. We won’t go there… :)And then threat… Was anyone able to pull off of me? That’s assuming no one is doing something silly, of course. Warrior is difficult to play as tank, but when it goes right it’s also massive satisfaction.I think the biggest fear I have as a tank is the responsibility. K, that wipe wasn’t my fault and I wasn’t specifically responsible for the mess… but every other player is going to turn to me and expect me to put it all back together again so we can keep going. Many nights, I just don’t feel like I can do it, or simply not in the mood to accept that, which drives me to alts.But when it’s good… tanking is the absolute best role in the game. Emotionally it’s a peaks and valleys roller coaster. Just gotta hang on for the good parts.And my alt is a holy priest (currently spec’d disc, but I’ll be switching her back tonight or tomorrow). I think a lot of healers and tanks want to see the other side. :D-Fri

  19. Demori permalink
    May 20, 2009 9:22 AM

    Not sure for others, but for me, I can never seem to pick up dps. I have a multitude of lvl30ish dps classes (4 hunters, 2 locks, 2 rogues), but I can’t seem to leve them past 30. Not because they’re weak, but because I cannot bear to run instances with them. Whenever I instance, I’ll meet idiotic tanks and healers who cause 2 hour RFK runs and make me feel like playing a class that really makes or breaks a group. Or waiting for 3 hours trying to find a tank or healer or both for a full SM run. That’s probably why I have a 70 (pre LK) warrior and druid tank(s) and a level 80 paladin tank and discipline priest. I’m leveling a DK now dual specced dps and tank. I still cannot stand the wait and the fails >< but dk dps is veryyyyy attractive.Anyway, I usually find the reverse to be true too. Many perople starting out as dps classes choose to roll tank or heal alts.I’ve tanked since I first started, and I’ll admit – I only became comfortable at tanking towards lvl 50 on my 2nd character ~~ But yea, I find warrior tanks the worst experience of the 4 tanks. Something about tab targetting and checking how many sunders are on what mob and which mob you haven’t shield slammed/heroic striked/revenged to hold aoe aggro makes it so terribly tedious. When all a pally/dk needs to do is faceroll.How I measure my own success when tanking is how much in control I felt the whole fight. If every mob I was busy taunting and blowing cds because I thought I was going to lose aggro, I’ll know I’m not good enough. But for a 3rd party observation, Tarsus and Fri seem to have it down pat.Anyway, disc priest is now my main and I’m really enjoying it. Much more enjoyable than tanking or even dps, to me.

  20. May 21, 2009 5:14 PM

    […] Anea shares her thoughts on leveling a tanking warrior. […]

  21. May 21, 2009 5:14 PM

    […] Anea shares her thoughts on leveling a tanking warrior. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: