Sunday, June 27, 2010

Grandpappy Hammer

Now gather round younglings. You kids today, I see what you write on Mr. Ghostcralwer’s boards. You have no idea how good you have it. Let Ole Grand Pappy Honorshammer spin you tale of yesterday, how things were ‘back in the day.’ Before you kids got your new fangled talents and spells. I’ll tell you how it was, how it really was, when Paladins were walking to school, three miles they walked, in the snow, two feet of snow, uphill, both days.
Now I could go way back in the day, and tell you tales that me Grandpappy told me. Days before even Righteous Fury when Paladins tanked with Seal of Fury and were by all accounts darn good tanks. A time when Blessing of Kings was a 31 point talent… in the Retribution tree… and Consecrate, oh sweet Consecrate, was an 11 point talent…in Holy. A time when blessings lasted all of 5 minutes and you had 40 people to keep a buff up on.
But those were even before my days. So let me tell ya the story I know da best. My story.
When I started tanking, we didn’t even really know if we were supposed to be tanks, at least not raid tanks. A Warrior would see you wearing a Raiding Tank shield in Shattrath (that’s where we hung out before Dalaran) and shake his head and mutter about what a waste of gear it was. We were called the worst spec in the game and a waste of a raid spot. We were, by our very existence, destroying the game.
We didn’t have fancy things like Divine Plea, or mana return from Blessing of Sanctuary. Sure, we had Spiritual Attunement, and Judgement of Wisdom. We had Mana per 5 on our gear and we liked it! Actually, we hated it. We begged the developers, and after months and months, they took it off our Tier 4 gear. And speaking of our Tier, it was always itemized to be worse than Warrior Tier gear. Less hit points, less avoidance. We didn’t have the stamina talents you have today. The Warrior would always have a large hit point pool than you, unless you just flat outgeared him.
We were just so bloody happy we could get actual Tanking Tier gear.
And spell power plate? That wasn’t just the realm of the Holies. Oh no, that spell power was what we needed to make threat. We did back flips when they put a sword with Block Rating AND spell power in the game. Still has that in me bank, I does.
Twas a different tanking world back then. You had to know this thing called Uncrushable. You youngins call it ‘Block Capped’ and don’t care about none too much. But back in MY day, you couldn’t tank much if you weren’t Uncrushable, and you need a Master’s degree in Mathematics (or a well writen addon/macro) to figure out if you were. Them Warriors, they got Uncrushable with the push of a button. Not us Paladins. No sir, we had to gear for it. And you need to act like a rogue spamming your Holy Shield button. Back in MY day, it was 8 second duration and 8 second cooldown. You let that thing fall off and BAM, you are Crushable and the Bosses would turn you into a fine paste of goo.
Course, you could handle spamming your buttons cause there wasn’t much going on in the rotation. This fancy 969 stuff you whipper snappers love so much didn’t exist in my day. We had Consecrate. We had Judgment. We had Holy Shield. And that, my young apprentices, was it.
Didn’t matter none, because we made outstanding threat. Might have even been OP. But staying alive, well that was another matter. These fancy cooldowns you play with like Bubble Wall and Raid Wall? Nope, didn’t have them. Our cooldown was Lay On Hands and in MY day, it had a 60 minute cooldown. It really didn’t help none if you were going to get hit for 120% of your HP. For that you needed Shield Wall or Last Stand.
Oh we had Ardent Defender, but not like what you have. We had no idea if it was working or when it saved your butt, which wasn’t often. If you were hanging out sub 35% on hit points, your healers weren’t doing their job and your death would be close at hand. See for Ardent Defender to work in MY day, you had to ALREADY be under 35% before the hit came. Then she would knock off some damage. It wouldn’t hurt, you’d just be dead.
And kids, we would RUN back after the wipe, a long friggin way sometimes. None of these fancy-smancy teleports you kids can’t live without.
We didn’t have none of this Dual spec business. If you were a tank, by golly, you were a tank from beginning of the instance to the end, unless you ported back to Ironforge and coughed up 50g to change your spec. When you weren’t needed to Tank because the particular boss didn’t need as many tanks as the last one, you whacked the boss like a wet noodle, respeced to Holy and healed, or got replaced, plain and simple.
The encounters were stacked against you, too. There were two encounters that could not be defeated unless your Tank had Spell Reflect in his spell book. One of them, Kael’Thelas, was one of the most important encounters in game at the time, and the other, Reliquary of Souls, was a hurdle you had to pass before the end boss of that Expansion.
There were fights like Hodir where you needed special resist gear. One of them was called Hydross. Getting Uncrushable was dang hard without some specific drops. One of the most important was a Defense trinket that dropped from Hydross himself. So you needed a drop from the Boss that you needed the drop to Tank. It was beautiful.
And there was fight after fight after fight where the strategy was basically have your Warrior Tank pop Shield Wall and Last Stand to survive the Bosses big nuke. Guys like Gruul, and Magtheridon. We had to cheat with things like Nightmare Seeds. Still have some of them in me bank, too.
There was an entire instance where it felt like every other mob had a silence, or a mana burn. You think keeping your mana bar up is tough today? Try it with mobs that mana burn and no divine plea. Replenishment didn’t exist either, well unless you brought a Shadow Priest and had him in your group. Fat chance on that one. In Tempest Keep, your raid was 24 manning much of the time. Speaking of 24 manning, there was one boss that burned your mana, and if you ran out, you BLEW UP. Nothing like risking the raid cause your bar is blue and not red.
And Hammer of Justice didn’t interrupt back in MY day. If something had to interrupted, and there’s always a couple of fights where it does, you better trust your Rogues a whole bunch.
My favorite might have been Fear. A ton of Bosses did it. When they did you turned your back and got Crushed, or the Boss turned and Cleaved or Breathed and wiped out half your raid. Warriors, you know the ones who were supposed to be tanking, they just stance dance and Bezerker rage. We came up with some neat tricks, like Bubble cancel macros. Course that only worked once. The best news was one of the End Bosses of the Expansion, Archimonde, was based on that mechanic. Fun times.
Course, we didn’t let none of it stop us. No siree bob. We fought through it all. We had to work twice as hard to be half as good, and we pushed a few lazy Warriors to the ranks of the DPS. We took the lumps for you to be the tanks you are today. Appreciate your past, and remember where you came from.
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