Last night my guild, Mal Katai, zoned into Tempest Keep : The Eye. We had a little trouble getting a full complement of 25 players, and what we lacked at first were healers. You would think in a guild with over 100 Level 70 toons, that getting 25 online at the same time wouldn't be a problem.
One of the first things I learned was Mal Katai is working on a looting system. It won't be DKP, it'll be completely unique to Mal Katai, because as Dora put it "that's how we roll."
The trash in Tempest Keep is more what I'd call intense rather than hard. There are pulls with as many as 6 mobs, so Crowd Control is important, but just to keep things interesting there are anti CC mobs in there as well who can remove CC from the more dangerous mobs.
We ended up taking 5 tanks, which I thought might be too many, but we were struggling to get 25 on at first so we took who we took. What really bothered me was that the entire night, I was not assigned to actually tank anything (until we get to Void Reaver himself).
I could understand not tanking on pulls that required two tanks. We have two very well geared Warriors. Then we get to the pulls where you need 3 tanks. Another Warrior is selected. Then we assign 4 tanks, yet another Warrior.
So out of 5 tanks we brought last night, it appeared to me that I was their 5th choice. This may not have been intentional. In fact, I'm pretty sure it wasn't, my Guild and Raid Leaders aren't like that. I know from comments made by the officer's that they think I'm competent at doing my job. They wouldn't have put me on Gruul if they didn't. But as I sitting there watching the assignments and being passed over again and again, it started to concern me. If you are going to bring me, for Elune's sake, use me!
I'm not that much less geared anymore than any of our other tanks. Some of them really have me on Avoidance because they've gemmed and enchanted for Avoidance where I've gone almost exclusively Stamina. I actually have the most stamina of any of our tanks. I'll have even more on Tuesday if Patch 2.3 comes as promised.
I'm a tank. If I try to tank something when the raid has setup for a different tank to have it, I can mess up the pull. DPS and Healing are more cooperative. You can combine the efforts of several DPS or Healers much more easily. Tanking is a solo endeavor. The mob only has one toon at the top of the aggro list.
So most of my night was spent keeping a Judgement of Light and watching for loose mobs. Of course this brought me into another quandary, if I try to build threat on the loose mobs, I basically make it impossible for the CCer assigned to that mob to get it back under control.
There were many times that I felt I wasn't making much of a contribution to the cause, like we were doing 25 man content with 24.5 people.
We finally got to the Falconer packs in Alar's room. I had been looking forward to these because they present an excellent opportunity to AoE tank, a Paladin's forte.
We tried it once with CC, and we wiped. I had written in our Guild Forums about the possibility of AoE tanking them, so I reiterated that. So the next pull we try it AoE tanking. I get the mobs gathered up on me, but my healers got silenced. I got no heals and down I go.
One attempt, and we go back to the CC strat. I know the AoE tank strategy will work, but the guild leadership didn't seem to want to give it more than one try. The irony of the night was the healer with whom I had had all trouble in Kara and Gruul's was now championing my cause. What I learned from this is that it's not so much he has anything against Paladin tanks, he just has a very strong sense of doing things exactly as they were done in his old guild, Malice. They used a Tankadin on those pulls and it worked so that's the way he felt we should do it.
We finally get into Alar's room and see him flying overhead. That's just freaky, and exciting at the same time. He flies right over your raid.
I had heard about the big birds in his room, and yes indeedy, they are a pain in the hindquarters. You have to clump up on them except for one person, preferable a tank, who gets charged. My goodness, Blizzard seems to LOVE that Charge the range, walk back to the tank dynamic. The Birds them do an AoE mana drain. Lovely. I'd love to see a mob (just one mob) in a high end instance with a Rage Drain ability.
People start having to leave, so we grab replacements as we can. I'm not a fan of changing people in and out midrun but we didn't have much of a choice.
We start clearing Void Reaver's trash. The robots weren't too bad. This was one place where I didn't mind letting the Warriors tank. Those guys basically require spell reflect and try as I might I just can't find it in my spell book.
The roughest pulls came just at Void Reavers room and then inside Void Reavers room. You have two demons to be banished, a humanoid to be CC'ed and two Robots to the tanked. The problem we were having was that our Warlocks or Healers would be killed by the Demons Saw Blade throw and then the Warlocks couldn't rebanish their mob which led to more Saw Blades destroying our Healers. Poor Dora got Saw Bladed the first pull when she hadn't so much as thrown a renew. Oh and Stoneform doesn't clear the bleed debuff. Thanks, Blizzard!
What I did on these pulls to try to help was pickup one with Exorcism so they were targeting me when they were banished and then again when they came out of banish. I thought it helped, although I'm not sure anyone realized what I was doing.
Finally the time comes to tackle Void Reaver himself. He generally considered an "easy" boss. So much so that he's nicknamed Loot Reaver. I was pretty happy to get to him because this was finally an opportunity to do what I've spec'ed and geared my toon to do, Tank. I buffed up and got ready for the pull. Tanks simply fight for aggro on this boss because he does a knockback on his main target that reduces their threat, so you want him to switch to another tank when he does that.
First pull went okay. I was around all the other tanks but couldn't quite pull him. Our healers and DPS got destroyed by the Arcane Orbs he launches.
Next pull, I was able to hit my spell rotation right and get a favorable SoV stack up right away. I was able to hold him for a good little while, but our DPS and Healers were again killed by Orbs.
Final pull was a bit bad. We didn't get him tanked in the center. The whole attempt he got moved around quite a bit, which rendered one of my big threat tools, Consecration, ineffective. I never got him that attempt.
As the attempts got longer and longer, we could see we were behind the Enrage timer. You have to kill Void Reaver in 10 minutes. So every minute 10% of his life must be taken away. At the 8 minute mark, he was not under 80% which meant that in all likelihood, we were not going to get him down before the Enrage timer hit.
Looking back, it was really, really cool to get inside Tempest Keep. Now of course, I want to see Void Reaver die a horrible death at the hands of Mal Katai.
It is my hope that we bring less tanks next time. After the raid, one of the Warrior tanks mentioned some of the same frustration I had been feeling in either Guild Chat or Raid Chat. He had been the 4th tank used, and I think there were maybe 2 or 3 pulls where we used 4 tanks.