1 0 Tag Archives: anafielle
post icon

From the Mailroom: Theck on Word of Glory Spam

Today’s exciting post comes to you courtesy of Theck, patron math saint of the tank theorycrafting community. We’ve been exchanging emails lately, and I got his permission to share some of his thoughts on the blog.

A lot of us have expected a nerf to Word of Glory for some time, and were surprised to see one to CS last week instead. Here’s what our community’s favorite theorycrafter had to say on the topic of WOG, threat, Vengeance, and possible solutions.

First, on Word of Glory:

WoG self-healing is small compared to what your healers are doing, but it’s not insignificant. 1k extra HPS out of 20k total HPS (numbers pulled from our last heroic halfus kill as an example, note that this excludes overheal bubbles and should thus be an under-estimate) is still around 5% of your total healing taken. That’s small, but certainly not negligible.

The problem really isn’t that it’s a large amount of self-healing. The problem is that your only other option is more damage via SotR. And in general, the extra DPS you gain from SotR isn’t going to make or break a kill. On the other hand, that 1k extra HPS, or a lucky WoG at the right time, could prevent you from dying and turn a wipe into a kill. So the issue is not that WoG healing is OP, even if it is much better than what other tanks have; it’s that there’s really no compelling reason *not* to use it.

Unless SotR is necessary to maintain threat or the extra DPS is significant enough to matter, both of which are going to be hard to pull off without retuning the rest of our mechanics (or Vengeance), it’s not going to be an attractive trade compared to more survivability, even if it’s only a small amount. Basically, when threat/dps doesn’t matter, it gets valued as worthless while survivability doesn’t.

On the topic of balancing threat around Word of Glory spam:

To be fair, I’m sure the devs are not ignorant of these facts. It may just be a tricky balancing issue.

Vengeance ensures that a tank following a tight rotation will generate sufficient steady-state threat even without using finishers. On the other hand, a tank that’s a little sloppy with his rotation, or one that makes a sufficient number of mistakes in their ability choices, may still struggle a little for threat. This leads to an interesting question about balance.

Let’s assume that Blizzard balances around the “average” tank, who makes mistakes here and there that break the rotation and result in a slightly lower average threat output. If things are tweaked so that this average tank can hold threat against equally geared DPS, then an above-average tank will have a significant threat surplus. The above-average tank has more threat than he needs, which means he can spend more of his Holy Power on survivability in the form of WoG. Under current conditions, the disparity is so great that there’s little advantage to be gained in using SotR over WoG once threat is established. It’s a choice between a little extra threat and a little extra survivability in an environment where extra threat is unnecessary.

The average tank, on the other hand, is more constrained because he needs some of those SotR’s to hold aggro. For him, the choice is less obvious. The real problem is that we have an interesting choice (Threat vs. Survivability), but balancing constraints make it an uneven choice for tanks of different skill levels.

Later, we were talking about possible changes to WOG. Two interesting solutions I’ve seen, on Maintankadin and on the official forums, would be:

1) Giving WOG a longer cooldown- making it more of a cooldown-heal for Prot.
2) Having WOG proc off the Paladin Tank talent Eternal Glory.

Theck sez:

I actually kind of like the idea of WoG as a short-cooldown self-heal for prot. We still have it available for emergencies, some players no longer feel like dumping everything into WoG is the only sensible way to play (because that option is taken away from them), and other players no longer feel like they’re holding back their raid by using SotR. We lose options, which most people would normally complain about (and I suspect many on the forums would), and tightens the gap between “skilled” and “unskilled” (which even more will complain about), but it does so in a way that’s probably better for the class as a whole.

Fascinating stuff! What do you think, dear readers? Are you loving WOG? Do you think it needs a change? What would you do with it, if your posts were blue?

Let us know in the comments!

Leave a Comment
February 18, 2011
post icon

A Week’s Worth of Raiding

Hey y’all! Anafielle here. Rhidach and I have been slacking on the raid updates, so I thought I’d let y’all know what we’ve been up to recently. Here are some thoughts from your favorite off tank about some of the starter bosses in this expansion and how we dealt with them last week.

I gotta say – hat’s off to you, Blizzard. This is a challenging, exhilarating tier of raiding content, and I’m enjoying every bit of it.

Halfus Wyrmbreaker… the second time.

The nice thing about Halfus? He’s a little bit different every week

Two weeks ago, detailed in the blog post Rhidach did here on the 6th, we capped off our first week of raiding with a hilarious 7:03 Halfus kill.  An unbelievably lucky kill.

Of course, we didn’t have Storm two weeks ago. Last week, we did. When Storm is up, Halfus gained his Shadow Nova ability – and that, ladies and gentlemen, is a raid wipe when it goes off post-enrage. The hard part about having Storm wasn’t the interrupts – we’re melee heavy, and our melee had interrupts covered with ease. No, the hard part was meeting the enrage.

We originally used four tanks for our first kill, which is the safe route- but the DPS just wasn’t high enough. Close to the end of the evening, Rhidach asked the healers, “How do you feel about three tanks?” They were nervous, but we gave it a shot. Antigen, playing fourth tank, switched back to DPS for the kill. Done and done! Halfus fell over like butter on the six minute mark.

Killing a boss for the first time is always an exhilarating feeling. But sometimes, you know in your heart that that fist kill was just luck… and I’m picky. I like things done right. That second Halfus kill, that was right.

Double Dragon, Theralion and Valiona

The terrible twins took us two weeks to kill, mostly phase 2 work while the ranged figured out a strategy that would allow them to survive void zones, Engulfing Magic and Twilight Meteorite.

The Tankspot video shows the ranged moving in a single stack, strafing out of void zones together, while anyone with Engulfing Magic immediately gets out of the group. This wasn’t working for us. Engulfing Magic currently procs off all your dots and hots, which is pretty nasty both damage wise and graphics wise. I’ve seen comments that the graphics problem is hardest on resto druids, but we had a lot of raiders having trouble with it. The graphics definitely lagged out a shadow priest at least once, as well as most of our healers. Several ranged set new record for friendly fire.

Eventually we decided it wasn’t a problem we could solve with “Run out of the group faster!” The strategy wasn’t working. Instead, we spread the ranged out around the dragon. This makes void zones and Engulfing Magic much, much easier to manage.

Twilight Meteorite will one-shot anyone unstacked – but you have six seconds to move after you’ve been targetted and the little purple arrow appears over your head. Ranged who get targetted by Twilight Meteorite should have enough time to get to the melee stack, splitting the damage and thus surviving.

In reality, this was more like a “sacrifice the slow ranged” strat… but hey – they learned, and it worked! Double Dragon died with this strat pretty darn effectively.

This photo has nothing to do with Double Dragon at all… but I’m sure all you tanks know precisely why I’m fishing here. That food is expensive!

Maloriak as Progression

Last week, our progression boss was Maloriak. The 25 came very close to a kill, but didn’t quite make it – we just need to see phase 2 a few more times and I’m confident he’ll fall over. Two 10s worked on him on Sunday night, and Rhidach’s group took him out.

A couple thoughts on Maloriak, although I personally haven’t yet seen him dead…

On 25s, I tank the boss. On the plus side, I feel all special whenever I get to do this. On the minus side, I have to be pretty careful with my Avenger’s Shield button. But hey, what’s life without a challenge? (Hey, Blizz, why can’t we glyph out of that silence?)

On 10s, I kite adds. Blegh.

Add kiting is one of those things the offtank just gets to do, all the time, and it’s not always one of my favorite jobs.

Here’s my least favorite part, on Maloriak: when he spawns his adds, sometimes one will fly up into the air for a few seconds. I can’t tell you how many times this happened – I pick up one add, I see the 2nd fly into the air, I can’t get to it. So I turn around and grab the third, which is, of course, across the room. I go back for that flying add – and there it is, chewing on a healer. Goddamn it!

I promise I didn’t let anyone die, but vent was chock full of my QQ. Those damn adds….

Some things we’ve learned. On 25s, we let each of our two kiting tanks grab 6 adds (for a total of 12 out in each green phase). On 10s, we found the kiting tank could safely hold 9 adds at most. Adds were brought to the center for green phase killing. We’ve learned that preemptive AE is key for green phase – if the DPS take a second or two of green to find their AE keys, you won’t kill the adds. Best to start early and make use of every millisecond of that green debuff! When we executed this right, the adds melted like they were supposed to.

Maloriak… down on 10, and close on 25. Here’s hoping for a kill post tomorrow!

Leave a Comment
January 18, 2011
post icon

Cataclysm Dungeon Cheat Sheets

This is going to a brief post. A tribute to a fellow blogger who has provided me and hundreds of others with critical Cataclysm dungeon information when we most needed it. Ladies and gentlemen, tanks and non-tanks, I present to you the four most useful webpages in my life over the last four weeks or so.

Cataclysm Dungeon Cheat Sheets at Sword and Board

  • Part One (Blackrock Caverns, Throne of the Tides)
  • Part Two (Stonecore, Vortex Pinnacle)
  • Part Three (Grim Batol, Halls of Origination, Lost City)
  • Part Four (Shadowfang Keep, Deadmines)

Credit: Vosskah and Idkittens at Sword and Board.

Brief, concise bullet point summaries of each boss.

Rhidach and I begin to raid 25s for the first time tonight. I’m looking back on my journey through heroics throughout the month of december, my journey from greens to blues, and I never, ever would have survived without my trusty cheat sheets. Vosskah and Idkittens, you are my heroes.

And so I share these cheat sheets with our readers. If you come here looking for tanking guides, well, here’s your guide to Cataclysm dungeons.

… Enjoy.

Leave a Comment
January 4, 2011
post icon

The Threat of Wiping: Why I Like Hard Heroics

I posted yesterday on heroics, in a roundabout way. Hells yeah. Hearts, stars, and rainbows for everyone!

However, beneath the whimsy, the point I was making was this – Cataclysm heroics are awesome. Why? Because they are hard.

Let’s think about this, because right now, hard heroics are a controversial topic on my beloved Twitter feed.

Heroics & The Threat of Death

Hard means that skills are required of everyone.

Not gear – no – gear makes it easier, but gear is not a requirement. Skill is a requirement. When I originally started to run heroics, I was undergeared and worried. My healer – also undergeared, and healing in his offspec in the first week of Cataclysm – told me something like this: “It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing. As long as we’re not stupid with CC, and as long as you tank right, it doesn’t matter. It’ll be harder, but we can still do it.” Sure, we wiped a ton. Sure, I wiped more in pugs.

Eventually, something became clear – newstyle heroics reward skill one hell of a lot more than they reward gear.

I find this a plus.

Yes– hard means that everyone has to play correctly. There is no room for error anymore. Standing in poison means, you die. Tanking too many mobs means, you die. DPS pulling a mob off you means, they die. Failing to pop a cooldown when it’s needed means, you die. Most importantly – failing to interrupt a nasty spell probably means death.

Hard means that executing your job incorrectly leads to death.

Are They Too Hard?

There’s not really an in-between, in my opinion. Heroics either require skill and punish mistakes with death, or they don’t.

Is this a bad thing?

It’s really difficult for me to be sympathetic to people who are complaining about how difficult heroics are to pug. I’m not trying to be a jerk here – I do understand that it sucks to wait 45 minutes and then wipe over and over. I’ve had pugs that failed, and heroics I just couldn’t finish. It’s no fun, especially if it’s late at night, and you wasted a lot of time. I QQ my fair share, too. It sucks. It’s no fun.

But … isn’t this better, in the end?

The Alternative To Hard Is Easy

If heroics are “too hard,” what is the alternative? Easier heroics? If CC is too hard… is it better to not require CC and make every pull boring? If it’s too hard for DPS to run away from fire… is the solution to remove the fire, and make the boss fight a straight tank and spank? Would that really be better?

Wrath style heroics? These are really better?

In the days of Wrath, even the worst group could finish. In the days of Cataclysm, that is no longer true. Even one DPS can make errors that will wipe the whole group over, and over.

Death sucks, but it also teaches. I’d rather that awful hunter got kicked for not knowing how to trap, than played the game for months without ever finding his trap button.

Which is better?

Would you prefer a world where the hunter didn’t have to use that trap, and the group would survive if he failed to CC?

Long Queues Suck, But There’s No Way Around Them

I’m really sorry DPS have forty five minute queues. I wouldn’t want a forty five minute queue. I’ve had them on my alts. It really does suck that there are more of you than there are tanks and healers. What’s to be done? You chose to play a DPS, just as I have on my alts. There are more of you. I know. It sucks.

And it’s even worse when you get into that heroic and you can’t finish. Hell yes, you have a right to complain! It really does suck!

But I still don’t think heroics are too hard. I don’t think the risk of failure means they are too hard.

WOW is a social game. Life is like this: there are good people, and bad people. There are people with skill and people without. There are noobs who just need a helping hand, and noobs who will never, ever learn. There are players with Light of Dawn who will be the biggest assholes you will meet, and surprisingly skilled people who will make your heroic fun, even if it’s not short. Unfortunately, when you pug, you’ll see the whole range. You won’t just get the skilled people, or the experienced ones. You’ll get them all.

There’s no way around it. Either you choose your group (and queue with friends), or you don’t, and take the roll of the dice. There is no in-between.

PUG groups are just plain harder. Although they can suck, I don’t think the solution is to make this game easy for bad pugs.

Harder Heroics Mean Stronger Players

The world is a little bit different now. Painful, and harder… but better.

I’ve QQed my heart out, but I’ve also danced for joy when I get a rough PUG through a hard instance. It makes the game just a little bit more meaningful to me. If we’d had Wrath style heroics, sure, I’d be saved some of those awful and painful late-night fails. But I’d also be bored. I’m not bored. I’m still interested. And anything that keeps this game interesting, even when it involves wipes, is something I support.

Let’s Hear It!

If you disagree, please feel free to comment. I know my opinion isn’t shared by everyone- this debate has been raging all over the wow community since Cataclysm dropped and the new heroics became available.

Go ahead. Tell me what you think.

With love… and hearts and stars, and as many rainbows as possible,

PS: I have to stop signing my posts!

Leave a Comment
December 29, 2010
post icon

Dear Santa: Thanks for Heroics!

Christmas season is crazy for retail. How crazy? Well, two of my coworkers and I are splitting a bottle of wine. Right now. At work. Our CEO gave it to us.

What does this have to do with tanking? Nothing.

A Short Christmas Story

Readers of this blog know that I’m not afraid to speak my mind – at great length – when it comes time to complain. I’m a QQ expert, if you will. Let’s be honest- that’s just another word for “paladin.”

When Blizzcon came and went, I met many of the developers and quite a few GMs as well. I cornered Ghostcrawler on several occasions at parties to berate him (nicely, of course) about paladin mechanics and tanking mechanics (while buying him beer). I managed to snag a method of contacting him outside the forums. I rarely use this address — I feel pretty strongly that I should not QQ to him privately, it would be a misuse of the address. But I do have it.

My guild likes to make fun of me: “Ana, email your buddy GC to fix this!” “Ana, just have your BFF GC nerf this dungeon for us!” Mmhmm. Well, I don’t misuse it.

But once in a while, on a whim, I will drop the crab an email.

I did so today.

The Email

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: anafielle
To: Ghostcrawler

Dear Santa,

You must have gotten my note & brought me everything I always wanted for christmas this year.

I will skip the paragraphs about how beautiful the old world looks, how amazing the new zones are, how everyone – even the people who powered through 80 to 85 in a single stretch – enjoyed the questing whole heartedly… how you have transformed questing from a chore into something I love doing on alts in my spare time… I’ll skip all that.

Thank you for heroics.

I have never, ever had so much fun in this game as I did when my noob butt got out of normal dungeons and into heroics. Around December 10th or so, I cheesed the gear requirement at the request of a geared healer – as a guild tank, they needed me for dungeons – and my ass got kicked. We were schooled! We loved it. We worked through it all. I still have notes on a second monitor that I keep pulled up all the time as a “tanking cheat sheet” to remind me what abilities I have to deal with on each boss.

I’m pretty much geared for raids now, so I’m mainly doing heroics for rep and points. But my god, they’re still interesting. This is no Wrath. No, no way!

Please never nerf them… ever. By god, I love these challenging heroics so much. Please make all future 5 mans this awesome.

Thank you! Hearts, stars, and rainbows,
– Anafielle

Yes, I really did send that. I blame the wine.

The Aftermath

I forwarded it to my paladin BFFs, Rhidach and Antigen, and they were completely unamused.

Antigen: I hope to God that you actually e-mailed that to dear old Greg.

Anafielle: Whyever not? Shit yeah, I totally sent that to him.

Rhidach: Please… please… please… tell me you didn’t use “heart, stars, and rainbows” with Ghostcrawler. Please.

Antigen: /collective facepalm

Anafielle: Jerkfaces. What’s wrong???

Rhidach: You set the Paladin Movement back three years. If the next tier set is composed of pink floating hearts engraved on the armor, a trail of stars in our wake, and rainbows shooting from the shoulders… you’re dead to me.

Now you know who to blame.

Leave a Comment
December 28, 2010
post icon

Twas The Night Before Cataclysm…

Hey guys! I played from server launch last night up to about 10 AM this morning, when I fell asleep, exhausted from work.

Here are some brief impressions of my first six hours with the game. Unedited since I must go back to leveling!

Monday Night, Preparing for Launch

My laziness knows no bounds– I had reserved a copy of Cata at the local Best Buy, but I didn’t want to leave my apartment. So I didn’t. Trashed my preorder and ordered it online. It took about ten seconds. I regret a bit the whole waiting in line with real life wow players, but I got that at Blizzcon. Way to go with the digital downloads, Blizz!

I also cleaned out my bags and bags of gear.

So much gear to trash. So much. I sold the vast majority of what you see here.

Stuff that was hiding in my bank:

  • My old block set
  • My old avoidance set
  • My Ulduar tier gear
  • Five entire 264 tokens
  • Tons of 264 items which I had upgraded to 277
  • Three copies of Harbringer Bone Band. * (kidding… kidding…)
  • No less than five separate weapons for Ret, all ilevel 264 or above.

Tear. Goodbye, my gear. My guild was calling me a hoarder…..

So — I was ready. So ready. Armed with snacks, smokes, and empty bags, I made my way to Orgrimmar to wait for launch.

3 AM Madness — Cataclysm Launches!

The servers came up at 3 AM my time. Of course, until 3:18, all I could see was this:

Dual monitors: my xmas present to myself! Twitter on the left, wow on the right.

In the words of a twitter friend:

When the servers came up, I found myself at the flight master like the other million and a half people on Lightninghoof. And he was dead. Dead! Thanks, allies! I gave up on flight and went off to Vash’jir to get my leveling kicks.

Vashj’ir Blues

I was pretty frustrated for the first two levels of my Cataclysm experience. Sure, the cinematic going out to Vash’jir was awesome! And the zone itself is really, really cool.

But my idea of fun is not getting ganked repeatedly by an army of jerkfaces:

Or, waiting 25 minutes to tag a quest mob with an item before the other hundreds of people get it. Or, disconnecting upon login for over an hour straight. I just couldn’t get into the game. I suspect my little graphics card can’t really handle both monitors, WOW Cataclysm zones at max settings, and sixteen hundred people AEing their opposing faction all at once. I finally got my graphics turned down and managed to stay online.

5 am rolled around. I was tired. I wanted to sleep.

Then one of my guildies whispered me– “Ana, come tank for us! Please!”

Tanking… sounds good!

Five Man Dungeons Make Everything Better

I ended up in a group with my favorite boomkin, in his healing offspec, a rogue and both of our DKs. Armed with our still-overpowered gear and a thirst for new content, the five of us ran Thrones of the Tides.

It was so much fun! I can’t remember the last time I had such a good time in a dungeon. “I’m just glad this isn’t ICC,” one of the DKs sighed happily, and I completely agreed.

Throne of the Tides — First impressions

Throne of the Tides is beautiful. Absolutely stunning. Really, it’s just amazing. It’s also easier than Blackrock, so go here first imo.

I was playing the tanking safe. I was even marking my first target in every trash pull, a habit I fell out of months ago in ICC and which I believe will find new life here in the Cataclysm world of trash. We didn’t have to CC anything, but I have a feeling that’s just a matter of time.

In general, there’s a ton of fire in Cata, both on trash and on bosses. It’s MEAN fire. The fire hits hard. DPS, your ass will die if you stand in the bad. Also, especially in Throne of the Tides, there’s a lot of poison on the ground, which leads to confusion when you’ve got a druid healing you: is this good green or bad green? Will this green heal my ass or kick my ass? Maybe both? Maybe neither?

Throne of the Tides was an awesome experience going in blind. “What’s this?” One of my DKs said. “Defense system?” He activated it, and triggered a freaking badass cutscene. SO COOL.


Thone of the Tides — Boss Fights

Preparation? Psh. I knew nothing. “I don’t know what the fuck this boss does, but I vote we pull and let God work it out.” I said. I wasn’t even tabbed out looking for strats. “Pulling.”

DBM will pretty much warn you about all the major stuff. Nuke coming? Interrupt that now!! Unless your healer says something like, “Wait! I want to see how hard it hits her! Don’t interrupt that next one!” The answer is not very hard, in most cases, if you’re curious. Of course, like I said before: 277 gear.

One of the bosses enraged at the end of his health. “Cooldown,” I said. “You didn’t need to do that;” says my healer, disgustedly. “Come on!” I whined. “It makes me feel all special…”

Our healer was having an absolute blast. “Healing is so much fun again!” He kept gushing, and that’s saying a lot considering healing is his offspec. All I know about the healing is that I’m happy when my healers are happy… and he was happy.

The last boss was slightly confusing. Add waves. Tank adds. Bad adds channel bad things; kill adds; do not stand in black void zones. Then suddenly the room turns all dark, you get FREAKIN’ HUGE, you get a nasty stacking dot, and… the first time we did it… nothing happens! We ran around, wondering where the mobs were, and finally the dot stacked up to something like 120 on each of us and killed us.

“What do we do?” We wondered. “Is phase 3 bugged?” It was our first wipe of the night.

Nah… we did it again and figured it out. The phase 3 boss is in the goddamn wall! He’s a huge octopus. You just DPS it until you kill it dead. Easy peasy. We just didn’t know what to hit.

Blackrock Dungeon — First Impressions

This dungeon is a lot meaner. It was nigh on 8 AM by the time we got in here, so I don’t remember everything, but I remember enough.

Everything is darker. More caster pulls on trash. Bosses that hit hard. There’s an ogre friend in here who will kill a lot of the trash for you, too. A very different experience from Thrones, and equally cool. Some of these bosses might actually kill you if you’re not paying attention.

The Boss With The Fire

This one stumped us. Karsh Steelbender.

He is encircled by two Fire Elemental looking things which circle around him and activate oozes on the ground into Quicksilvers which do a nasty, nasty debuff to your health.

“Any thoughts?” I asked in vent, where two other people were hanging out, two people with beta experience. Someone had explained the tanking mechanic, where you have to carefully debuff the boss, without letting it stack too high. I knew what to do with the boss.

But what about these damn fire guys?

“Maybe they can pull separately,” I said cautiously, and pulled one. We killed it.

“Crap, it respawned.” Someone said. So it had. Lo and behold, there was another one.

“Damnit,” I sighed. “I’ll tank it all. Let’s do it.”

In went two wipes with near-immediate death. Jesus. That quicksilver was deadly. And none of the boss fight guides I read online mentioned how to deal with Fire Elementals or Quicksilver! The guys on vent didn’t remember either. “Umm… kite them? Make Morvain go tank and tank them on the side? Burn them down first?” We all had no idea.

As we were preparing for the third pull, I noticed something and immediately started laughing. “Guys. GUYS.” I was laughing so hard, I was almost crying. “There are two of those assholes! Look! Two fire elementals!!”

“What?” They looked.

“That first one didn’t respawn at all. It was just the second one we saw!”


“We can pull them separately after all!”

After laughing for about ten minutes, we did the fight the right way – carefully pull trash and kill trash. Then kill the boss. He’s really not all that hard.

In the words of our healer: “Jeez. We might as well be demoted to Social Raider.”

Leave a Comment
December 7, 2010
post icon

Vengeance, part III: Ghostcrawler Responds!

My battle regarding Vengeance continues! Part I was when I got up to ask the devs about it at Blizzcon, and Part II consists of this post from Meloree on the subject several weeks ago.

Well, here’s part III: Ghostcrawler Responds!

A very nice paladin player asked me recently about Vengeance. She had concerns about the mechanic, which made me realize that we haven’t done the best job of explaining to players exactly what Vengeance is supposed to accomplish……


Huh. Here’s my reply. I posted it here because the comments section murdered it and took out all the freakin’ paragraph breaks.

Missing The Mark

As (maybe) the tank referenced in this post – since I’m the one who berated the devs about Vengeance at Blizzcon – I’m pleased to see a response. :)

Unfortunately, it’s not the response we need.

For reference, please see Meloree’s post on the subject here: … he laid out the concerns better than I could, and from the perspective of a main tank in a US top 100 guild. I am an 11/12 HM 25 raider, and I and my cotank have noticed the same things although to a lesser extent. Problems are always clearer at the extremes.

I think you’ve missed our concerns a bit here.

Tanking Is Fun!

No need to be so defensive! We love tanking! Tanking has never been about the rotation. Tanking is about the role you play in the raid. If we think it’s fun, we tank. If we don’t, we don’t. I don’t think anyone is arguing that tanking isn’t fun — I certainly am not! I hope no one is doing that.

I guess we complain. Well, I will moan about boring 93939, and I will moan about Vengeance, because they are concerns and because the devs will listen. Also, because it’s part of the contract I signed when I became a paladin that I would QQ about everything. I’m required to QQ about something at length at least once a day.

The Need for Vengeance: We Agree!

I think you’re not giving the community enough credit. I like the idea of Vengeance and I agree with every reason why it should exist. I, at least, appreciate all the concerns raised by the devs, and I don’t need anyone to tell me why they think threat should be hard – I also liked the Misdirection / Tricks change, because I hated fake threat. I, at least, want it to be a challenge. Witness how the tanking community responded to the threat problem in this tier. We geared for threat on farm fights. We like the threat game.

The problem WITH Vengeance, is not that it exists, but how it works.

A stacking buff that is based on the damage we take has very un-tank-like implications.

Vengeance can contribute 150% of a tank’s natural AP. That’s a pretty absurd amount of threat generation dependent on your damage intake and avoidance. Unfortunately, higher avoidance = less Vengeance.

What this means: The first twenty seconds of a fight can look wildly, wildly different depending on if the tank gets an avoidance streak or not. For a ranked progression guild, this is enough of a problem to wipe it if the tank gets a bad avoidance streak at the start. Is this the spirit of Vengeance? No, I know, it’s not. Will it happen? Oh, yes, all the time. It’s already happening.

I don’t like my avoidance harming my threat generation. I don’t like standing in fire to do more threat. I don’t like being even more inclined to put on Strength gemmed gear, and ret gear, in old content – because it gets Vengeance stacked, and in WOTLK old content, I absolutely need it. Vengeance was supposed to solve this problem – taking off tank gear for old content – and instead it has made it worse.

I do appreciate the big numbers, though.

Not Seeing the Logic

I’m just not seeing the logic behind making Vengeance dependent on precisely what the tank is gearing to avoid. All this does is penalize tanks, threat wise, for doing tank like things, and reward us for doing un-tank-like things. Sure, this is an exaggeration… but that doesn’t make it any less true. I feel like the design is weird, and un-tank-like.

Even if the design is just The Way Things Are Meant To Be, the numbers right now are way off. 150% of a tank’s natural AP is far, far too high a number and makes for huge swings of RNG depending on how your avoidance works out.

Don’t get me wrong – I love the threat game. I love looking for a balance between threat and survivability. I love playing with my gear. But I don’t like my threat being inherently tied to my avoidance. I know in Cata, we won’t be seeing these ridiculous avoidance numbers, but the mechanic remains, and I still don’t like the logic.

Leave a Comment
December 1, 2010
post icon

I Give Thanks for Tauren Paladins

This will be a brief post. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you’re all having a nice vacation.

It’s a bittersweet time for me. Raiding has wound to a close for most of us, with (in general) all the progression we are likely to do behind us. I’m glad 4.0 wasn’t quite the end, because I really love my raids every week – they make my Tuesdays and Wednesdays interesting and fun, no matter how good or bad the raid ends up being. Tuesdays used to be my least favorite day of the work week, before I started to raid. Now they’re my favorites. Whether I’m ranting on twitter, QQing in terribly long emails to I’d go in just to chat in Mumble with my 24 friends in this guild. But now that 4.0

But it’s really starting to feel old and crumbly now,

Comments Off
November 24, 2010
post icon

Dear low level paladin tanks…

I’m leveling my priest, Aneliese, with Antigen’s mage Mitogen. Aneliese has been disc since level 10. Yep, I’m leveling disc!

Since I’ve been leveling heals, you can imagine that I’ve run quite a few dungeons on my way from 1 to roughly 50. I do a lot of healing. I see a lot of tanks.

And, my pink comrades, I am ashamed of our class. I have judged the tanks presented to me, as a priest, and I find myself preferring warriors.

I know. It’s that bad.

Dear Low Level Pallies: Stop Sucking.

It is definitely possible to tank well as a Paladin at low levels. Roughly half the paladin tanks I’ve healed have been fantastic. They know the game; they use their Avenger’s Shield right; and they pull intelligently. Some of them even blow their Holy Power on Word of Glory.

Yet these good ones are a rare, rare breed.

Low level pallies. Let’s have a chat. Gather ’round and listen to Mommy Anafielle. I will smite you down if you keep screwing up and giving our very intelligent and very skillful a community a bad name.

Let’s talk about some basics….

DON’T queue as a tank without a Protection spec.

You might still be able to get away with tanking in ret at the low levels. Maybe. However, every excellent low level pally tank I’ve healed has been prot without exception. Either level as prot, or go get dual spec and keep some prot gear in your bags.

Dual spec is only 100 gold. Get it.

“I don’t have enough money.” Well, being a hybrid takes commitment, my friend. If you want to be a tank, you need a prot spec. If you can’t afford a prot spec, you can’t be a tank.

DON’T run around the room and gather everything up.


Don’t run around the goddamn room like an idiot. Because I am your healer. I will pre-bubble you, but that only goes so far. If you run around trailing a hundred mobs like the Jonas Brothers at a concert full of teenage girls, the moment I rebubble your half-dead ass, those teenage girls will realize that I am freakin’ Justin Bieber and TURN AROUND AMG THERE HE IS HOLY SHIT HERES A SHARPIE PLEASE SIGN MY TRAINING BRA TAKE A PICTURE AMGGGGGGGG BEST DAY OF MY LYFEEEEEEEEEEEE.

And then I’m dead.

Don’t make me Justin Bieber.

Really. Don’t do it.

I know that level 80 tanks can sometimes appear to pull very messily, especially when we outgear things.

You are not level 80. This is not the pre Marrogar trash in ICC. You are not a badass heroic geared raid tank with six personal healers, a low cooldown Consecrate, and the old school Seal of Cleave. This is Maraudon, post-4.0, and you are just some idiot who thinks that running close to mobs will stick them to you like glue.

There is absolutely no good reason to ever do this. It’s not like the mobs will die more effectively. Half the DPS don’t even have AE abilities yet. You are only making the whole dungeon slower! We’re all chasing after you, I’m burning through my mana pool healing everyone frantically, you aren’t holding threat on jack shit….. It’s just a mess, and a completely pointless one.

Stop being stupid.

DON’T confuse body pulling with actual threat.

Let’s talk about threat, and mobs. Mobs are fickle creatures.

They are pretty easy to snag. All you need to do is show your face, and they’ll chase you. Oh, they’ll chase you! It’s love at first sight – you’re at the top of their Omen – and everything is great. You are a hot little number, you sexy blood elf you, and they want a piece of that plate clad ass. You didn’t even have to get them flowers, and they are totally drooling all over you. It’s probably the hair.

But let me tell you a secret. It’s all a lie. They aren’t really all that attracted to you. Yours was just the first face they saw.

Once I start healing and other the other three people here start DPSing, they will drop you like you were nothing to them, nothing at all, and get way more interested in your more active friends. If you want to keep all those mobs, you actually have to hit them. Love is pain.

Actually, I’m a little bit concerned about where this analogy is going. Let’s drop it and move along.

My point is, you need to deal damage to mobs to keep them on you. A harsh but true fact. Welcome to the world of tanking.

Pro Tip: dropping a Consecrate on the ground and running through it doesn’t count.

It doesn’t do shit. It probably won’t tick on half of them. You need to sit them in a Consecrate and keep them there.

“Alright, ‘Anafielle’,” You might say, scornfully. “Quit telling me I’m a noob. Be useful. How the heck do I hold threat on a whole lot of mobs?”

There’s an easy answer.

Pull intelligently.

Fact of Life: The best way to hold threat on a lot of mobs is to pull them right in the first place.

I have no idea what spells you get now with 4.0, but it seems like you’ve got most of the really important ones. Here’s how I’d pull, if I was a young and pre-60 paladin tank.

Observe the area in front of you. Usually, you’ll target the mob you want the DPS to kill first. Run your ass in there. Now let’s all pause to mourn Prot’s present lack of Pursuit of Justice. I know. I miss it too. Alright, the moment of silence is over. Pull.

Hit your target with Avenger’s Shield, or Judgement and then Avenger’s Shield. The mobs run to you; you run to them; it’s like your meeting was meant to happen! When you stop, make sure they’re all in front of you. You’re not hitting jack shit with Hammer of the Righteous if your targets are not in front of you. You aren’t blocking if your targets aren’t in front of you. Backpedal accordingly.

Use Hammer of the Righteous. Use Avenger’s Shield. Sit your mobs in a Consecrate if it’s worth your mana to drop one. Switch targets if the DPS are being idiots and you want to make sure you’ve got threat on everything, but honestly, things in dungeons die in seconds. If you have pulled correctly, you will hold your mobs without too much trouble.

I’m not saying, don’t chain pull… I’m just saying, don’t pull like an idiot!

One group is OK. Two groups is OK. Pull a group and carefully taunt a pat over. That’s all fine.

Chain pulling is ok! The mobs are almost dead? No problem, I like a fast dungeon. While I feel like it’s good tank etiquette to remain in place until everything’s dead, I don’t really mind if you move away to pull the next group while the DPS finishes off the last mob.

They key is to control what you tank.

Good tanking is about control.

You want to pull as many mobs as you can control. If that’s just one group, that’s just one group. If that’s two or three, that’s two or three.

Pull what you can control, finish them off, and move along.

Don’t let anyone rush you, and don’t rush yourself.

So…. low level pallies… please stop being dumb!

Hearts, stars, and rainbows,


Leave a Comment
November 15, 2010
post icon

Twitter Is A Useful Tool

Long, long ago, I was** an internet snob.

“Twitter? Are you kidding me?” I’d scoff. “Are you serious? Twitter is like the new home for AIMspeak and livejournalling emo children. Its popularity is a sign of how selfish and self centered our fragile generation has become. People think their two thousand followers totally care when you got coffee this morning or whether your work day sucks. It just plays into your belief that the world cares about your most mundane thoughts about nothing in particular…”

I’m a little bit elitist.

The character limit is the worst part. First of all, it encourages poor typing. And secondly… what the hell can you say in 140 characters?

Turns out you can say one hell of a lot.

** Side note: This does not mean that I have ceased to be an internet snob…

Look, I Got Addicted By Accident! Really!

I blame wow blogs. Months ago, I noticed that all my favorite wow bloggers had twitter feeds. Hmm. They were saying stuff I wanted to respond to. So I signed up for Twitter.

I can’t really watch a conversation without chiming in. So I started talking. A lot. Then I started following everyone that bloggers recommended on Follow Fridays, chiming into more conversations, following more useful people …

Unsurprisingly, I’m now a complete twitter addict. I too tweet about my coffee in the morning and how much work sucks. I gleefully typo things, misspell them, and mangle the english language in my unending quest to communicate the most mundane shit to the unfortunate souls who have chosen to follow me.

Of course, I also tweet about WoW a lot. Especially on raid nights.

Wow, Raiding, and Tweeting

If I’m having trouble with something – or if the guild is arguing about something – I like to tab out and throw a question at twitter.

This is the beauty of WoW Twitter. Ask a question, and you’ll get responses from a ton of people from all fields of play in the game. Casual players, levelers, RP addicts and writers, altoholics with ten 80s, PVP bloggers… and, of course, all manner of raider from the casual pug champion to raiders from world ranked guilds who’ve had H LK on farm for months.

It’s like forums – but faster!

Don’t Tell My Raid, But This Suggestion Came From Twitter

Take Wednesday night for an example.

Rhidach is gone. Which means, we hit a ridiculous fight – Heroic Lich King – for the first time on 25 without our raid leader and main tank. I had NO 25 experience on this fight, and I was in that sticky “Not really the raid leader, but the main tank, and the one putting the strategy together” position (what the hell? Was I raid leading? I don’t even know).

Needless to say, I forgot some shit.

Guess who forgot that druids (post-4.0) could Soothe the enrages off the Shamblers in phase 1? Guess who forgot that Shamblers do a second, untranq-able enrage at 20% health? Yeah.

Thank you, twitter. All I did was tab out to QQ that we couldn’t keep our shambler tank alive, and in response I got tons of useful suggestions. Mainly from FeistTheRogue, someone every single raider on twitter needs to follow, like, right now.

My point: don’t laugh when I link twitter or mention it in the course of my raiding posts. It’s a great tool! If you try it, you might find you like it.

Now, BRB. I need to tweet about how much work sucks again.

Enveloping Shadows on Twitter

Follow Friday, for the uninitiated, is a twitter phenomenon where you list people you recommend your followers to follow. You mark it with #FF. I personally think you should be following my guild:

  • Rhidach (@Rhidach)
  • Anafielle (@Anafielle)
  • Antigen (@hazmacewillraid) – ret paladin, occasional third tank
  • Ildara (@IldaraTheDruid) – tree druid
  • Ichioso (@OneOfManyIchi) – boomkin
  • Katmandu (@katmandu) – priest
  • Palehoof (@Palehoof) – hunter, Blizzard forums MVP

Antigen has a ret paladin blog at Haz Mace Will Raid, and the illustrious Palehoof has begun to post over at Blizz Planet.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Leave a Comment
November 12, 2010