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.


Anonymous said...

How long until we bid a fond farewell to our beloved HonorsHammer? You've made a lot of jokes & comments lately about warriors & switching. It's only a matter of time before we're reading about the warrior at HonorsCode. :)

Honors Code said...

Well when I did the April Fools thing it wasn't even on my radar, I was just a bit torque about the Warrior 4pc bonus.

There's alot at play right now (what Blizzard ends up doing with Block, what the new Paladin cooldown is, and how the new Paladin combat system works out.)

It's all moot til he's 80 anyway.
Burn that bridge when I get there.

Darraxus said...

Come to the dark side Honors. I really love tanking on my warrior. It is an absolute blast. I may have to try tanking on my Ret pally at some point.

Ironhorn said...

There is a lot of QQ on the EU official forums about tank balance and how warriors dont compare favourably to the other classes atm. Ive been tanking on my warrior since I started playing in TBC and honestly I dont think warriors have been in a better place since I started playing.

Multi mob tanking is easier than it has ever been with the new improved thunderclap, shockwave and damage shield. The cleave glyph lets us hit 3 mobs at a time up from 2. Holding more than 3 mobs on a warrior used to be a major headache, now its easy and fun. Pre wrath there is no way a warrior could have tanked adds on sarth + drakes, now thats probably my favourite tanking assignment in the game.

I think a lot of the QQ ing in general among the tanks comes from people who have just started tanking and expect it to be easy. These people dont know what it was like trying to overcome the various shortcomings of the different classes on different assignments and make things work before the new talent trees.

They have been spoiled by Blizzards new "everyone can do everything" approach to the game. This in turn leads to bad/clueless tanks thinking they can do anything.

For example I joined a naxx 10 pug with a friend on my rogue alt the other night and ask who is tanking. The reply was that 2 of the DK's were and they proceeded to pull. It was then that I notice a warrior with a shield trying to DPS mobs. After some explaination that prot cannot dps (he did 600 dps on the first couple of pulls)they gave him a tanking assignment and switched a DK to dps. Fine I thought and on we went....expect the warrior keeps going down like a ton of bricks on trash and cannot keep threat. Inspection of his gear showed a wierd mix of crafted prot blues, frost resist gear and a dps and pvp trinket, armoury check confirmed that yup he was at 510 odd defence....and that was my queue to leave.

Deathknights suffered a similar influx of idiots claiming to be tanks who hadnt a clue at the start of wrath and the classes reputation suffered badly as a result. I know there are some very skilled DK tanks out there, and I have run with many. I have however also run with the "Oh hai blizz sez I can tank dis" deathnabs.

I guess the point Im making is that if the player is good enough they will find a way to make it work, as you have shown by jumping on a class you had never tanked with and getting the job done.

Im looking forward to seeing what blizzard do with block too. From ghostcrawlers posts it is going to be something big. I was hoping they would do something to make spell reflect useful again, like make it work on a % damage reduction for aoe/dragon breath magic attacks but it seems they were way ahead of me and are thinking of rolling it into shield block. That would be awesome.

Ratshag said...

Huzzah little warrior tank!

Artorin said...

I recently got my wife to start playing and rerolled a druid to level her lock up to the pointw here I could switch to my warrior who was holding at lvl 50 at the time. I mostly leveled arms but started messing around with protection here and there. Since out of 10 characters my warrior was the second lowest that I wanted to play he is fully decked out with bind on account items including 2 1h swords, shoulder, trinket and the 2h axe and also dual speced protection and arms.

Atm he is lvl 69 and my wife and I have hit every instance in outlands up to our level. For some reason I feel like I have a much more control over what I am doing on my warrior vs my paladin. Having so many tricks for aoe tanking and controlling casters in addition to mounds of different cool downs for surviving insane amounts of incoming damage just seems so much more fluid then tanking on my paladin.

Maybe its just the set stable rotation on my paladin that gets kind of old after awhile but I just am having so much more fun atm tanking on my warrior. Will be interesting to compare the 2 at 80.

Anonymous said...

I've always held from day one that paladins are "easy mode" because there's not a lot to them (mainly in the early levels). Basically you set your Blessing & Aura, you choose your appropriate Seal & judge on CD. If you choose the right combination then you're playing a paladin at the very best of its abilities.

Compare to a warrior (possibly other classes, though I can't speak from personal experience), you have tons of abilities that could all be arguably useful in most situations, but which is best? There's much more potential to be sub-optimal on a warrior than there is on a paladin.

Of course, as you level your paladin you gain more and more on-demand abilities, but the basic optimal play style stays the same. At least, at level 67 I hold true to the above mantra. The only difference is instead of only using Judgement on CD, I have Judgement, my hammer-three-way, & Holy Shield. I keep Consecrate & my stun hammer close to CD, but if I spam them I go OOM while leveling.

In the end, I can walk away from a paladin fight - even at level 67 - and feel that I did as good as the class would allow. With my warrior, I don't always feel that way.