Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm All The Rage

Wednesday is usually my night off WoW, but my wife wasn’t feeling well, so after I tucked her in, I went downstairs and started futzing around on my Warrior Alt.

He was originally an insurance policy against the Developers taking Protection Paladins in a direction I didn’t like. After that didn’t appear to be the case, he became my disenchanter. I’d send him greens that I got, he would blow them up and I wouldn’t have to hassle a very kind mage friend of mine.

He’s 74, but still knocking out quests in Howling Fjord after getting the Achievement for Borean Tundra. Heirloom Shoulders, plus plenty of rested experience means you level past the zone much faster than the developers first planned.

Even though this is my third time to the level cap, I’m still finding bits of the story that I missed or glossed over the first two times. It’s like reading a good book again or seeing a good movie again. Each time up is enjoyable. It's also fun knowing their is an upgrade for my toon at the end of virtually every quest.

I was merrily slaughtering Vyrkyl in Gjaleborn when I got a whisper from a 69 Shaman. He was looking for a Tank for an Utgarde Keep run and had a full group ready to go, and if I ordered right then, he’d even throw in a summon at no extra charge.

My little Warrior started out leveling as Fury, and since 3.1 has been Arms. He’s never been Protection.

I’ve always been curious about Warrior Tanking. I even had a full set of Cobalt Tank gear in the bank.

I’m a Tank at heart. I could tank Utgarde Keep in my sleep. No problemo. So after explaining to this nice Shaman that I had never actually, you know, tanked on my Warrior before, I got an invite.

I would later learn that this group had been searching, in vain, for a Tank for over 45 minutes, despite the fact that they already had a Death Knight in the group. It reminded me of the Heroic Botanica run I did with myself (Paladin), a Priest, Shaman , and Druid. What did we need to finish out the group? A Healer. Yep.

I went to Stormwind, grabbed my gear out of the bank, and respeced to a Protection.

I set up my bars just like my Paladin. Shield of Righteousness became Shield Slam. Hammer of the Righteous became Revenge. Holy Shield became Shield Block. Consecrate became Thunderclap. Judgement of Wisdom became Devastate. But as I looked over my bars with all the tools and cooldowns, I suddenly felt like a guy who had been flying props all his life being plopped down in the cockpit of an F-16 fighter. Excited, but a just a bit overwhelmed.

I was feeling confident. I know how to tank, I just need to learn the Warrior ‘syntax’. I’m a programmer in ‘real life’. I know how to do Case Logic (Select …Case…End Select in VB), but each language has its own syntax for how to do it. Knowing you need Case Logic is more important than knowing the exact syntax.

I was feeling great, right up until the first pull. That’s when it hit me that one of the keybindings didn’t translate so well. Avenger’s Shield had become Shockwave. Those two are fairly dissimilar in their usage. Hey no worries, it’s a two pull. I can handle this.

I charged (which I have to say is one of my favorite Warrior skills), hit Shield Slam, and a saw a message “Your skill in One Handed Swords has increased to 298.” I got that “I think we’re in trouble” feeling. While I was busy learning how to use the oversized letter open in my right hand, the other mob in the pull, who I hadn’t properly introduced myself to just yet, decided to go get acquainted with my new Shaman friend. With my Sword skill slowly working up, I was missing most of my attacks. The Vrykyl whose face I had smashed in with my shield got bored of me whiffing constantly and decided to go see our Mage and make a Gnome Shish-kabob. So yeah, we wiped on the first pull of Utgarde Keep.

This being a PUG, I was waiting for the insults, the ridicule, and being summarily kicked from the group. But that never happened. We went in, rebuffed, and I pulled again. Only this time, I pulled with my Gun, and just about when they were to me, I hit Shockwave, and Thunder, Thunder, Thunderclap.

The next pull was 4 pull. With liberal use of Taunt, Thunderclap, Shockwave, and some more Taunt, I was able to hold the group. I don’t know how it looked to the others in the PuG, but it felt like I was on the razor edge of losing control of the group of mobs every time we pulled. My eyes got pretty big when we pulled one of the non elite packs of ghouls and I still had Shockwave on cooldown.

We wouldn’t wipe again until Ingvar. The Death Knight apparently hadn’t seen him before and got killed by the first Smash. We didn’t have enough DPS to kill him before the Shaman went OOM, and we all died not long after that. I calmly explained the mechanic to the Death Knight and we went back and killed him. We finished the instance and with only two wipes. Not bad for my first time tanking on a Warrior.

The mark of a true master is to take something difficult and make it look easy. After last night, I realized that I’ve enjoyed company of some very skilled Warrior tanks. I've walked a mile or two in their moccasins, and I have a new appreciation of what those guys do.
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