onsdag den 4. februar 2009

I love tanking, just not as much on a Death knight

As mentioned in my introduction of my many toons, I have one Horde toon on a rp-pvp server. He is a druid, and he is feral. And boy did i love logging on to him, grabbing a couple of online friends and just tank away. Sure it wasn't endgame tanking. It was back in tbc -near the end, and all we did was heroics and Karazhan. I was usually the raidleader in Kara, because my main Alliance had done it a gazillion times, so i knew every part of it. But i had a blast.
I even have an SS of someone we picked up to OT telling me i was a God at it (talk about a confidence booster - we will get more into that later).

So I had a blast, and once Wrath hit, i rerolled Death knight. At first my goal with him was to tank. But -as it turned out- I was hardly the only one in our guild contemplating to switch around to tank. At a time on our raid-rooster-who-is-going-to-roll-what-forum-topic I believe we had 5 new raiders wanting to tank. And only one tank rolling another toon.
There was no way that would ever work out. And surely enough, once the organized Naxxramas 10 manned groups started forming, I was invited to join the almost same group of people I had first cleared Kara with -But only only only if I was okay with doing nothing but dps.

Maybe some clarification is in order here. I haven't been in that many guilds so i don't know how other guilds do, but we have 3 active 10 manned groups atm gearing up, and 3 times a week those 3 10 men groups combine into a 25 manned group killing the bigger stuff. That was how we did it in TBC, thats how we do it in Wrath. (in vanilla we had as many as 3 groups 40 manned in MC, i'm glad I was not in charge of invites or raid organization back then either.)

So i started raiding (poorly) as pure dps, and it was great!
I love Death knights, I'm smitten with their rotation and cooldown management. I was blood at first, and my very first raid our imba druid MT did more dps than me :)
But i still had a blast, and I slowly got the hang of it, and slowly I managed to build up a decent tanking set.

And now we get to the core of this post. Because once i felt like i had the set for it, I started doing heroics as a tank. And I did enjoy it, just not very much, and it got worse.
I tried on a heroic i'd never seen before as dps, as a tank. It was with guildies, people i knew well, and people who knew how to play. But everything just didnt go as planned.
All of a sudden the things I used to love about the Death knight playstyle in dps seemed to be working against me. The cooldowns where something I fought against, the mobs where all over the place and our paladin healer where having a nervous breakdown due to the amount of damage flying around. In the end we did clear it
And while we’re on the subject of Sjonnir the Ironshaper, I’d like to see a priest, shaman or druid pop a bubble after the rest of the group dies and finish the boss off themselves. I know a Paladin who did that, though. :)
...But only barely.

Since then i've gotten better, I've OT'ed and MT'ed naxx 10 (and one fight in naxx 25), ive tanked a succesfull clear of CoT speedrun for the dragon (thank you very much), and some other stuff. But I've never really found that looving feeeling of tanking that I had back in the day on my druid.
Now why is that then? Well i think there are a couple of things that hinders this. First off, the rotations are clumpy at best to get initial aggro on many mobs -ill get into that later- and secondly, show me an instance that is not based around gathering up as many mobs as possible and AoE'ing all down untill you get to a boss, and I'll show you a TBC instance.

What the hell happened there? Why on earth do every single instance depend on going AoE bananza?

Is this really all we need to learn in raids? How to aoe trash and then kill bosses?
Maybe it was a bit like that in TBC too, but on my bear it just seemed easier. Demo-roar+swipe and you where pretty much solid. (Its been a while since i last played, im sure theres other things, I just can't remember them).
Now dont get me wrong, I don't mind things beeing difficult, however, with Death knights things seem impossible, as the Death knight AoE has some inherent flaws imo.

Lets look at AoE rotations. This is from a frost tank specc view since unholy tanks are...well... Maybe thats my first mistake. Unholy tanks seems so, 'bleh' to me.
Anyways rotations on AoE.

Icy touch, Plague strike, Pestilence, Howling blast, then Blood boil.
- Notice how I do not mention Death and Decay? Well thats because if you add that, you cannot get the rest of this rotation up and running. That is flaw number one. Because you *do* want d&d up and running.
Flaw number two might be a little more tricky. It might be a little more subtle but its our biggest problem in tanking.

The above rotation looks pretty much the same as the rotation I use in my frost/unholy DW dps specc, when I AoE. Why? It's brilliant for killing lots of mobs without getting aggro. Because you slowly build up aggro on all of the mobs. Having to put IT and PS up on one target before Pestilencing the group for the perfect setup for HB and BB, is plenty of time for the tank to get all the aggro she needs.
The same reason this is so great is the same reason this is horrible when you are tanking, we need time to build up aggro. Who ever heard of a mage holding back AoE'ing untill the tank has aggro? The old "wait untill 5 sunders" days are loooong gone. Now a-days its: tank in, first hit on mobs, then gunz blazing and moving onwards. And it works great. If your tank is a paladin or a warrior or a druid. Just not so much if he is a Death Knight.

There is another reason why I am not an immidiate succes as a tank. And I think that has a lot to do about what type of player I am. I think in order to tank well, and lead a group or a raid, you have to be a bit... Well a bit of an arrogant arse.
Now I say this in the most loving way. But its still true. You need to be able to order other people around to "kill skull" "stay on him" "could I get a heal please" "stay on my target" and "we kill them in this order because I said so". I'm not very good at doing that... Ooookay Im very good at doing that, just not while im tanking. I prefer to have one of the dps mark and as a dps I prefer to mark, so the tank can worry about tanking.

DPS is not hard, tanking and healing is.

So when I say that they have to be an arrogant arse, its because 90% of players expect the tank to handle tanking and marking and leading at the same time, and you need to be a certain type of person to be able to say "hell yea ill do that, who else can?".
Now on my druid, I was able to do that. Id seen and killed Illidan at the time, id healed everything and i knew Kara like the palm of my hand. I'd even raidlead a bunch of alts in guild on my rogue so i knew the instance well. The people I played with while i tanked kara was on a new RP-pvp server, and hardly any of them had ever been past Moroes.
I was (and still am) elitist enough to say that I was a better and more experienced player than all of the other 9 players combined.
So it worked. It worked great. I was the allmighty leader, whom noone dared question. At least not about the instance and the bosses.

Skip forward to Wrath and my death knight, and all of a sudden that smug self-confidence of mine is gone. I think most of it is because im an off-specced tank. Tanking in a dps build (mostly) and in offgear that none of the 'real' tanks didnt want or need in Naxx. I just do not feel prepared. Especcially not when I have to mark and lead too.

So to sum up. DK tanks have a clumpy rotation, and to be a good tank you need to be selfconfident in tanking.
And that last part really just is not me. I think with experience and time ill get there, but im used to look at a wipe and wonder "was that my fault? If i had taken that extra mana pot and spammed target Y would we have made it?" And that way of thinking does not necessarily go well with beeing a tank.

Oh and please, stop with the AoE trash, please.

As a little p.s. id just like to add that I was a little concerned about posting this with only the one pic in it of somebody telling me how awsome i was :) I do have many SS of me dead, or trash killing the healer, but they arent just as fun ! And.. well... its my blog, and I like this one :)

3 kommentarer:

  1. Every thing about this post is true, you and me would get along very well my friend. It's like you took a peak inside my mind and wrote down every thing I thought about tanking, It is true that in order to be a good tank you have to go into "Arrogant bastard" mode, but it is because so many selfish asses who only roll dps toons and complain at tanks and healers are involved in raids, one of the hardest things about tanking is that you can really be getting along with someone before the instance run begins, then once you're inside you have to be able to turn right back around at that person and tell him off if he's playing badly.

    As for death knights well, I went through what you've posted about right here, all my time on WoW I had been a healer but I wanted to try tanking so I tried death knight and it quickly became my main, death and decay really messes up threat rotations, I would tell my groups to wait on me to spread diseases, they would say nothing and blatantly attack next wave before I spread diseases, I would ask them why they attacked and they would get pissy with me and tell me to use death and decay, this pretty much happened every instance run where I tanked till I finally worked out a threat rotation that worked, This basically combines both sides of the conflict, the noobs who say just spam dnd(and obviously know nothing about tanking or they would know you can't hold threat that way..) and those that say dk tanking is about keeping diseases up and using your talent trees' aoe spells(Howling blast...corpse explosion)

    Basically you open with DnD for quick initial threat, you have to do this because of other people's ignorance and refusal to work with you sadly, then give it a second or two and your diseases should be ready for casting, this is the fun part imo, spread diseases like you would if you weren't going to use dnd, then use blood boil and your talent trees' aoe spell, now the thing that separates this from a typical dnd spamming death tard hybrid rotation is the fact that you do not use DnD more than once per fight, it wastes too many runes to be spammed. There you have it, sounds simple enough but it fixed every problem I had with death knight tanking, I love dk tanking and I hope you can make it work for you, it is the most fun class to tank on in the game to me, I love keeping the diseases up and I love the brutal aoe spells like howling blast, until more people understand how to play a dk tank we are just going to have to open with dnd sadly.

    P.S. I only open with dnd on 3 or more mobs, anything less gets the diseases and strike treatment with a little aoe maybe if there are 2 mobs.

  2. It is also worth mentioning that keeping diseases up at all times is vital to dk tanking, and it is a known fact that blood is the worst tree for tanking, if you still have problems holding threat after trying my style of tanking, you might want to consider a re spec, I'm not saying blood isn't viable for tanking, and the fact that it heals itself is a plus, but from an efficient point of view it fails in comparison to the other trees in it's ability to hold threat, of course someone skilled at blood tanking can make it work. I also suggest picking up glyph of diseases as it really helps keep diseases up.

  3. Hai peanut :)

    Whoa, this sure brings me back. This was an issue I was having with Death knight back in december/january. A lot has changed since then, both in my ability to play (hey the class was like 3 month old back then) and to the class itself.
    If you still think that blood is the weakest tanking specc, then I hope you are only talking about aoe tanking. Otherwise ill have to disagree with you a lot :)

    But thanks for reading... hmm maybe I should do a 1 year of tanking lookback :)