Sunday, September 19, 2010

Favorite Bosses to Tank Part III

Now we’re in the home stretch. My 4 favorite Bosses in World of Warcraft to tank.


At #4 on the countdown, we go to the ancient halls of Ulduar, and the Spark of Imagination.
One of the great tragadies of Wrath’s design is that if you weren’t around when Ulduar was current content, you liklely haven’t seen it. It, and Naxx, have been relegated to the same level as pre-Wrath content. It’s a shame because there are some really cool fights in there. Fights like Mimiron.
800px-MimironV-07-TR-0NMimiron was a 4 Phase fight, and my favorite part of it was that your job as a Tank changed from Phase to Phase. In Phase 1, you tanked a mini-Flame Levithan (an earlier boss). This phase tested your cooldown usage, and for Paladins who lacked a second cooldown at the time, it tested your coordination with your healers for external cooldowns.
In Phase Two, there wasn’t really anything to tank, so you whacked on the boss which looked a little big like a Tie Fighter. Then in Phase 3, you did some add tanking as the raid fought a disembodied mechanical head.
Phase 4, all three constructs came together Voltron style. For you younger folks in the audience, think Power Rangers, it’s essentially the same story. You fought all 3 bosses together and each section had to die with seconds of the other. It was a very fun dynamic and my favorite fight in the Wrath Expansion. I hope they reuse this mechanic in the future.
Mimiron also had what I felt was the hardest Hard Mode I ever did, Firefighter. It was the normal fight with Archimonde fire. It was intense, even when we outgeared it.


Coming in at #3, that sctizophrenic elemental lord, Hydross.
767px-Hydross_the_UnstableHydross was one of the first bosses guilds fought in Serpentshirine Cavern. He had two phases, a Frost phase where he did all Frost damage, and a Nature phase where he did all Nature damage. You needed two tanks. Each tank needed a specialized set of resist gear, one Frost and one Nature. But the tanks decided when to change him from Frost to Nature and back by moving him over an invisible dividing line. Each time he crossed over, he dropped threat, and spawned 4 adds that needed to be picked up by a third tank in a Frost/Nature mix and had to be quickly killed so your DPS could get into Hydross, who had a fairly tight enrage timer when he was relevant content.
Hydross would drop aggro each time he crossed the line, and you had to wait for the right tank to pick him up. Anything could pull aggro. A DoT tick, a HoT tick, any attack of course, and as we found out one epic night, a wand.
One of the reasons Hydross makes the list is some of the incredible stories that happened around tanking him, like the aforementioned wand. We were working on Hydross and one of our Mages wanded him at transition. That pulled aggro, he spawned a second set of adds and it was wipe city. We started calling that mage the Wand of the West after that.
But that night was topped by another. We had been working on him all night, and we had already recleared trash once or twice. We knew we were right up against the respawn timer again. I was the first tank up, and I wasn’t quite ready to pull. Our Feral Druid, Trelic, was leading the raid, and he ordered to pull, ready or not. So I pulled. According to our addons, it was mere seconds before the trash respawned. Somehow, that managed to be our first kill.
But my favorite Hydross story came well after that. This night, I was having constant issue with disconnecting. I begged the raid to replace me, but no one else had the Frost Resist gear, so I did my best. At one point, while I was tanking him, I disconnected. Paladin threat was pretty fire and forget back in those days, and incredibly, I was able to hold threat while disconnected. I finally reconnected just in time to take him back from our Nature tank. It was about the most epic tanking I ever did.
The Developers used the drop aggro mechnaic in ICC for Marrowgar, but quickly removed it. I wonder with threat supposedly mattering more in Cataclysm if we will see a lose threat equals wipe type of boss.
I also miss resist fights. The big problem for Resist fights was staying uncrittable and still having enough room for resistance stats. With all tanks having a Survival of the Fittest type talent, perhaps we can have a resist fight or two in Cataclysm.


At number 2 on our countdown is a boss from all the way back in vanilla WoW. Hailing from Upper Black Rock Spire, let’s welcome General Drakkisath.
586px-Drakkisath_Monster_GuideDrak doesn’t make the countdown for any special mechanic to the encounter. He was far more a test of your Hunter’s ability to kite him than your tank. So how in the world did this boss from a Raid that can hardly be called a raid (it dropped blues, not purps!) be #2 on my all time favorite list?
The answer is quite simple. I took up Tanking in the 2.0 patch. Much like the coming 4.0 patch, this patch put in all the systems of Burning Crusade (talents, spells, class mechanics) but none of the new content, nor the ability to level. 2.0 was the patch that gave Paladins a Defense Stance Lite, and Avenger’s Shield.
Somehow I convinced my guild, Heroes Inc, to let me tank. Over the nights and wipes that followed, I learned the ins and outs of the spec. This was months before Maintankadin existed. Because we were a small guild, UBRS was about the most challenging content we could do. So Drakkisath became the first Raid End Boss I would successfully tank. For that, and that alone, he will always have a special place in my memory.


You’ve waited through the whole countdown for this moment. We are about to reveal Honorshammer's #1 Boss of all time in World of Warcraft. You know at this point who its not, and some of the guys who have been raiding a while might have an inkling of who it is.
My #1 Boss marked a tipping point for Paladin tanks. A tipping point is are "the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable." This Boss proved that Paladin tanks could help a raid team. We still weren’t universally accepted. That wouldn’t happen until Wrath, but after this Boss there would be no turning back. No other Boss in all of WoW so highlighted a Paladins unique strengths and advantages.
Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, let’s welcome our winner, Morogrim Tidewalker!
654px-Morogrim_TidewalkerThe Morogrim fight consisted of one tank grabbing Morogrim. Periodically, Morogrim would call a posse of Murlocs to wreck the party and that’s where your Paladin came in. The Murlocs like to go for the hightest threat targets, generally your raid healers. It was up to your Paladin to grab all the Murlocs, quickly lock them down and give your DPS the ok to AoE the snot out of them.
At the time, Warriors and Druids had very little in the way of AoE tanking capabilities. Tanks had niches. Warriors were Boss tanks, Druids were offtanks, and Paladins were AoE tanks. It didn’t work so great for Paladins when there wasn’t a need for an AoE tank, but at that point in the games history, the challenge was for Paladins to be thought of as a tanking class at all.
It was Morogrim that first made some raid leaders think, ‘boy, I don’t how we are going to raid tonight without a Paladin tank.’ It was Morogrim who gave lots of Paladin tank there first shot at a real tanking job and allowed them, through their demonstrated skill, to prove to their raids they were capable players in the tanking role.
I should give an honorable mention to Jan’alai, the Dragonhawk boss from Zul’Aman, who performed a similar role on the 10 man level in Burning Crusade.
So that’s my list of the top 10 Bosses I tanked in WoW. Who was your favorite Boss? Was it someone from my list, or another one completely?
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