Monday, July 13, 2009

Speaking Another Language

My guild did an “Alt Naxx10” run over the weekend. I was going on my Warrior since I had burned my Hunter in a Naxx10 pug earlier.

We needed an offtank, but my Warrior just wasn’t ready. He was sitting at around 515 Defense, so I went in as DPS. My DPS wasn’t steller. People joke that I’m all Greens and an Ironsoul. That isn’t far from the truth, but I am in mostly Blues, not Greens!

Depending on the fight I did about 1.7k to 1.8k. That’s right about what Hammer was doing at that gear level.

We knocked out Spider, Plague and Construct without much problem.

I was the only Plate wearer who needed any gear from Naxx10 the first night. Our Tanks were a Death Knight and Protection Paladin. Both were geared past anything that Naxx10 could give them. I came away with a new Back, a Ring, two new chests, and a Shield.

I was fighting that old ‘upgrades take me below the crit cap’ battle that I fought (and honestly still fight) on Honorshammer.

It had really bothered me that I wasn’t able to offtank for the group, and I was determined to do what I could to rectify that.

After the Raid, I went to my Bank and pulled out some mats and got some new Bracers made. Then I grabbed some new Shoulders and a new Belt off the Auction House. I got everything gemmed up and enchanted, except for my Bracers because I kept debating on having Honorshammer buy the Badge ones and send them to my Warrior. I got him up to 537 Defense, and logged off.

The second night rolled around and lo and behold, we have no Tanks. So my Warrior gets tagged along with Blue’s alt Warrior. Blue’s Warrior was much better geared than I was so he took the Maintank role and I took the offtank.

The best way I could describe my experiences of tanking on a Protection Warrior versus tanking on my Protection Paladin was that I felt like I was trying to learn a new language. My brain knew what I needed to do, but I wasn’t always sure how to translate that into the game.

My Paladin just comes so naturally to me. I’ve been tanking on my Paladin for over 2 years and my Warrior for about 2 months. I know what needs to be done and exactly how I’m going to get it done. I have to ‘think’ much more on my Warrior, and I made all kind of mistakes like missing Sword and Board procs.

I would liken my Paladin to a sharp switchblade, but the Warrior to one of those utility knives with 80 attachments that slices, dices and makes thousands of julienne fries! You get the feeling that the Warrior has a larger toolkit. Some of that has to do with the fact that many tools on the Paladin are passive, silently working in the background. For example, I don’t have to Thunderclap on my Paladin, it’s built into Judgment.

The skill I missed the most from my Paladin was Avenger’s Shield. Not only is it a fun skill, but it gives you good initial threat on 3 mobs. I felt much less comfortable in multi-target situations overall than I did in single target situations. Back in Burning Crusade, I had really given Warriors a hard time about not wanting to tank Heroic Shattered Halls. After last night, I sort of felt bad about that.

The entire raid really missed not having a Paladin of any spec for Blessings. We had Battle Shout to cover Might and a Mana Spring to cover Wisdom, but everybody including myself, wanted Kings.

I absolutely loved having a real interrupt. I know we have Hammer of Justice for Paladins, but it’s locked out by the Global Cooldown, while Shield Bash isn’t. Warbringer is still a ton of fun and Vene’s Warbringer macro is nothing short of genius.

Sword and Board is a lot of fun, and I’d love to have something like that added to the Paladin arsenal.

I really like Shields. I need to level up my Druid at some point, but using a Shield to tank just feels right to me. My favorite sound effect in the game is the THUD of a Blocked Hit.

I came to the conclusion I prefer the Mana mechanic to the Rage mechanic. I really like starting the fight with a fuel resource bar. With all the mana regen techniques Paladin have, it’s not like I can run out of mana even with 1/2 Spiritual Attunement. It’s only on certain corner cases like Vezzax that I hate mana because it seems like Blizzard didn’t balance the encounter for Paladin tanks. The vast majority of Paladin Tanks I talked to on Maintankadin corroborate that even with 2/2 Spiritual Attunement, Vezax can run you dry.

Of course the most important characteristic of any toon you play is how fun they are. All three of my 80s are fun. I enjoy playing them. I prefer my Paladin and my Warrior over my Hunter but I think that’s because I like Tanking, and it’s kind of tough to do that on my Hunter.


Trash went pretty well, Blue’s Warrior grabbed more than I did usually. We had two DPS in the raid that were ‘mains’ and we had a devil of time keeping threat off them. One of the guys is a really skilled mage who I struggle to hold aggro against even on Honorshammer. I usually took the whirlwind guy and kept him locked down with Concussion Blows, and Shockwaves.

Instructor Raz
Since this is a vehicle fight for the tank, there was no difference at all.


Avenger’s Shield, how I missed thee. I was assigned to Live side, while Blue took Dead side. The first couple of pulls were okay, but the fight got progressively more hetic. We were saved more by our Healers keeping the DPS alive, and DPS killing the spawned mobs quickly than any tanking I did. Heroic Throw has a LONG cooldown, Shattering Throw’s is even longer.

Gothik himself was more fun. I enjoyed being able to Spell Reflect his Shadow Bolts back at him. We opened the gates on Blue’s side and killed him there.

4 Horsemen

Honestly, the fight didn’t feel any different on my Warrior than it had when I was comparably geared on my Paladin.

They dropped the danged Thane’s Tainted Great Helm. This never dropped one time for Honorshammer in all the times he ran Naxx10. I could only laugh. The RNG is indeed a cruel mistress. Since Blue’s Warrior wasn’t there the first night and I had already gotten 5 Epics from the run, I didn’t roll against him on the Helm.

Kind of offtopic, but lately I noticed something with loot I never noticed in Burning Crusade. When I win something, there’s this feeling of empathy for the person I beat out. I’m happy for the loot, but I also feel bad for the person I beat out. This most recently happened when I won the Runed Orbs to make my Spiked Death Dealers over Ellevis. The fact that Ellevis was the Blacksmith with the pattern, only added to it.

On the flip side, I’m more genuinely happy when someone I’m tanking with gets loot. There was a genuine feeling of happiness for Blue’s Warrior when he won that helm. I always congratulated people, even in Burning Crusade, but the emotion is more there now if that makes any sense.


Blue’s Warrior tanked him and I switched to my Arms spec.

Kel’ Thuzad

Blue and I talked about who was going to do what on the fight. While Blue’s Warrior clearly outgeared me (he has about 5k more buffed HP), I had far more experience. We decided I would pick up the Adds and he would take KT.

We struggled with KT for a while. We’d lose people to Ice Blocks, and Void Zones. Every person in that raid had one shot this fight numerous times. We were all figuring it out again on new toons and new roles. Our regular Death Knight Main Tank was playing a Resto Druid. Our normal Holy Paladin was throwing out Chaos Bolts on his Warlock.

It must have been about our 4th or 5th pull, but we lost Blue’s Warrior. The Adds weren’t up yet so I charged in and taunted. I absolutely love that skill (Charge) on my Warrior.

Of course, I would now have to pick up the Bugs as well as tank KT. I picked up the first one with Heroic Throw and taunted the second one. I had to get Jag to Soul Shatter, Fumiko had to Feign Death and was waiting to pull my Hodir trick with Donk. The ‘Hodir trick’ is when I wait for Donk to pull aggro off my Paladin and then taunt right away.

I rotated my trinkets with Shield Block on cooldown to try to limit how much the bugs were hitting me for. I rotated Shield Wall and Last Stand. I interrupted and spell reflected.

Then KT hit me with a Void Zone which was really hard to see in all the mess of KT and the two bugs. I moved just in the nick of time.

KT finally died. Our Disc Priest even told me in a whisper that healing me wasn’t that rough.

After the fight I realized that I don’t think I ever tanked KT himself on Honorshammer. I was always on Bug duty. Nothing wrong with that as I always had plenty of other Main Tank duties in Naxx including Sapphiron nearly every week.

It was really cool to do some raid tanking on my Warrior. It was a blast.

By the way, please don’t kill me in the comments, but I just realized my Warrior only has two of his Major Glyph slots filled. Sorry he’s an alt, and I overlooked that.


Elleiras said...

My baby tankadin just ding'd 80 on Saturday. She has crafted blues and ... the BoE cloak from 10-man Assembly of Iron, courtesy of my shaman main. :D

So the "all greens and an Ironsoul" makes me /giggle, because I know exactly where you're coming from with that!

I hit 535 defense a day after leveling, though. Now comes the working-up-the-courage-to-actually-tank-something part.

Josh said...

Tanked KT and the bugs by yourself on an undergeared warrior?


Kudos Honors, nice job.

Honors Code said...

Thanks Josh, but the credit, as always, must go to our Healers, Black (Disc Priest0, Brooklyn (Resto Druid), and Ironman (Elemental/Resto Shaman).

Dorgol said...

I'll be straight up honest - I refuse to try and tank on a warrior. Consecrate is so much easier for AoE threat. A set rotation is great for holding aggro. Mana is infinitely easier to manage over rage.

I remember the first time I tanked on my Paladin after trying with my Warrior*. I was literally laughing at how easy it was to do my job.

*Side - note - The last time I tried to tank on my Warrior was at level 60. I was spec'd Arms / Fury because I couldn't afford to spec prot. I was able to successfully tank Strat and UBRS (never tried Scholo or Dire Maul since he was an alt). MAYBE things are easier these days. MAYBE things would be easier with a proper Prot spec. I'll likely never know.

Dorgol said...

Oh - and I'm envious of your alt having Ironsoul. My Paladin is Holy for mainspec, but I go Retribution on some fights. I'm wearing a solid set of gear, mostly Naxx25 - though I have PvP bracers and a PvP cloak.

But my weapon is the Axe from Heroic HoL. I'm hardly breaking 3k DPS and I just wonder how much more I could do if I were allowed to roll on a weapon upgrade. :)

Blue said...

Learning to Tank has been least its FUN!

Grimadin said...

Ya we did have a lot of fun with KT. Its funny how easy he can be to one shot, and how quickly things can go awry with a bad aoe, or a void on a tank or something.

I still have to learn to find the "side" of the hit boxes on some of the bosses. Amazing how out of practise you can get at being melee dps when you spend the end of BC as Resto/Elemental, and the beginning of Wrath as a Prot Pally.

Whats my main Again? said...

I've tanked most of these on my paladin and this weekend I'll be tanking them on my baby warrior for the first time so your comparison of the 2 is very helpfull to me.

We'll see how it goes!