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?


Tegoelf said...

Al'ar It has personal reasons. I started my TBC raid career either right before or right after BT was released. I never saw that Raid until I came back to WoW in Wrath, so I can't comment on any of that from an at gear perspective. Al'ar makes the cut for one reason It was the first hard content I got to tank. I started TBC running with a group of RP centric players (still friends to this day) and we were struggling with some point in Kara... to make a long story short my RL friend who got me into WoW convinced me to roll holy and heal for a T5 raid he was in. I was there with that raid through all of T5, and into T6. (this was about the time when blizz decided that progression raids (excluding stuff like the eye, and kara) shouldn't have long ass and annoying quest requirements just to get keyed) I always picked up whatever tank gear I could, and since we had only one pally tank in the raid it wasn't that hard. One night our excellent War tank Bostong (I may be misspelling that after so long) decided quite rightfully for his situation that he couldn't keep raiding. Al'ar was progression for us at the time. we went into TK cleared trash and I was up to tank. I was one of the Al'ar tanks in p1 the running, jumping, adds, everything in that fight made it such a great intro to tanking again. Kael eventually killed my raid, but for a short time I was a tank, and a good one. (in wrath I am Prot/holy so it was the start of a good thing)

A close second would have to be void reaver (loot reaver to most) also from TK. It makes the list for one terrific night where our War tank did almost no tanking. At that time The other paladin and I would output threat like a mac truck. (for those who don't know/remember he had a mechanic where he would periodically smack around the current tank with top threat knocking them back and knocking 25% of their threat off) there were times that night where he would knock back one of the paladins (happened to both of us) and we didn't loose threat, we had that big of a lead. and by the time one of us finally lost the other paladin would have passed our poor warrior. He was also one of the last bosses I saw from both sides in TBC. The ranged marathon out running the silencing missal, coming to the frantic fight for threat on an untauntable boss.

dmn it now I am thinking of more. Will have to write my own list, plus favorite bosses to heal


Orthien said...

I would have to put Prince into my personal list. He was the first boss that having a Paladin tank was better than the other classes because of his phase 2 attack speed and how well a uncrushable pally and our block worked with it.
I remember when I started raiding, it was around the time most were getting into BT but I had not been 70 long and this was my first toon.
I had been with my guild as offtank for some time and generally had only been thought of as the "Add or Trash tank".
I can remember having to convince our raid lead over the course of weeks to let me have a try and that I could do it. Finally one night he gave in and I was to be given my shot that next week. I spent hours on maintankadin reading all I needed to know and practicing in 5mans. That weekend I had my shot and it went off without a hitch, from that point on I was no longer considered and off-tank, I was now a co-tank and would go on to trade MT rolls with out raid lead and then even be handed MT possition as we trained a new tank and the RL switched to his mage.

Honors Code said...

I definately should have had Loot Reaver on the list. It was so much fun wtfpwning the Warriors on threat (although ours were very good).

Prince was another great example of one of our few advantages.

Both great examples, thanks guys!

Todyn said...

Leotheras is my personal favorite.

Our talents and abilities effectively countered all of his.

Bladewhirl aggro drop? No problem, stand in the middle and time throw your shield and grab his attention.

Inner demon popped on you? No problem, they take extra dmg from holy and we deal plenty of it.

The entire zone of SSC particulary, i feel highlighted the strengths of a paladin tank.

Anonymous said...

I was there with you for some of those fights, some of the most fun I ever had raiding:)

I was proud of all those kills..esp the guild firsts, your mag blog is still one of my fav reads!

Awesome blog Honors:)


Honors Code said...

No disrespect to Dominion, but I still consider leaving MK during tBC to be the biggest mistake of my WoW playing days.