Tag Archives: meta

Our AoE tanking to get a nerf?

Recently, Ghostcrawler had this to say in a threat about warrior complaints:

Long-term, the paladin manner of generating AE damage and threat is probably too good, especially given how simple it is. To be honest, we have very mixed feelings on the whole AE tanking game. We brought the druid and warrior more in line with the paladin for fear of recreating the Shattered Halls / Mount Hyjal experience, where other tanks just weren’t competitive. What that has led to of course is the AE tank + AE style of damage for almost every pull. You need the tools to be able to tank legitimate adds fights (imagine lots of incoming mobs), but does that mean every pull needs to devolve into that? We’d like to see less AE overall, so buffing everyone’s AE tools isn’t going to be tops on our agenda. That does however mean that we really can’t afford to have a “best AE tank”, and while things are more fair there than they were in BC, they aren’t fair enough.

I don’t think this means we’re going to get nerfed any time soon. I’ll explain why.

Here’s the problem with decrying the OPness of Paladin AoE: the sample is wrong. You can’t wait us tank the mobs before Marrowgar and assume that that’s the rule rather than the exception.

In that room I get to use Holy Wrath and benefit from additional damage multipliers from Glyph of Sense Undead and Crusade. On top of Seal of Command cleaving like nuts, of course our AoE damage is going to be ridiculous. It’s a fait accompli.

Line us up in a room full of evil monkeys or some mob type other than Undead/Demon and you’re going to see a different picture of Pally tanking.

Also, the fact can’t be ignored that Paladins were initially designed to be the best AoE tank, because generally that’s all we could do in Burning Crusade. Only in Wrath was it decided to bring other tanks up to our level, but not to concurrently re-evaluate Pally AoE prowess against the other tank classes. A classic oversight by Blizz.

My point being, Paladin AoE is only “overpowered” due to the situations we’re being observed tanking in. I posit we’d be much less effective in a dungeon crammed with non-Undead/Demon mobs. Still the best AoEer, sure, but not some godly tank that could hold a sweeping horde against all comers.

And every time Consecrate is assumed to be the end-all, be-all of our AoE arsenal I have to chuckle. This isn’t TBC, CC doesn’t stand for Constant Consecration anymore. We can’t just drop that golden puddle and make all the mobs stick to us like glue. What makes us such amazing AoE tanks are all the tools at our disposal: HotR, Seal of Command, Holy Wrath, Holy Shield, Retribution Aura, and Consecrate.

Now as to the reason behind GC’s aside regarding our tanking style, he’s probably foreshadowing a design decision that’ll come to bear in Cataclysm. They’re probably going to move away from raids at least, and maybe heroics, being complete AoE fests. Maybe with 75% AoE damage reductions across the board like Blessing of Kings suggested.

I wouldn’t worry about a nerf any time soon. Between the piddling warrior buffs (I use the term lightly) and the reluctance to fix DK survivability, GC has demonstrated time and time again they’re happy to leave tanks as is as long as that mythical “replacement” situation doesn’t occur.

AoE tanking is just another ball kicked down the road.

The 10 best posts of Righteous Defense in 2009

Hell, if I wanted to be smarmy I could say “the best posts of the decade,” but that kind of smarm is below me. Making up words like smarm, however, is not.

Um, but I digress. 2009 was the first real year of this blog, which was initially created on December 19th of last year, and sporadically updated, then abandoned for a month, and then kick started for good at the very end of January. Every since then I’ve been churning out posts, 266 in total this year. Some were bad, some were good, some were awesome. A lot were raid stories, or musings on the state of our class, or news about buffs and nerfs, or just silly divergences from the normal stuff.

Below I’ve listed what I personally feel are the 10 best posts of this blog in 2009. Some of them I wrote before I started getting a real audience here so they may be new to you. It’s interesting to see how my writing style and focus of topics changed over the course of the year. I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane as much as I did.

10. “The generation of random numbers is too important to be left to chance”

This post was a bit–er, pardon the pun–random. It sprung from back when my guild would use a roll system for loot back in Naxx and we had folks griping that they were cursed with “bad luck” when it came to rolling on things, or when they rolled high early in the evening they would gripe that they “wasted” their one “good roll” of the night. As the arch-skeptic of the guild, I felt it was my duty to correct such Cargo Cult-level nonsense. Hence, this diversion from tankadinery.

9. Achieving great things in the kingdom of the spiderfolk

This post was from back in the early life of the blog and when every post I did was burdened by some huge word vomit of a title. That was probably one of the longer titles I’ve ever given a post, to accompany one of the wall-of-textiest posts ever.

8. Four characteristics of a great tank, part 1: A sense of ownership

Ah, broken promises. Parts 2 through 4 still do not exist, despite my many fervent attempts to sit down and commit the little bastids to computer screen. I’m a huge fan of the way the series started though, and one day when I finally finish the other parts they will make a magnificent treatise on what it means to be a great tank.

7. Thought of the day: Situational Awareness

This was a fun post to write, and stemmed from reading about the study that I mention wherein. I don’t want to ruin the premise of the post for those of you who haven’t seen it and watched the video, but suffice it to say, it’s a pretty cool exercise on what I would consider a linchpin characteristic of tanking.

6. Why I love Rogues, a raid recap

Not just a run of the mill raid recap! I included in the post, for lulz, a haiku devoted to Falowin (a rogue guildmate who has the unlucky habit of dying on trash). Epically, he responded in the comments with a Shakespearean sonnet, in iambic pentameter no less. Comment of the year for sure.

5. How to gem, via a flowchart

This was the redo of an earlier chart from the days before we had epic gems. I’m a huge fan of how the chart turned out, both in terms of reception and how classy it looks.

4. 5 ways to boost your threat

One of my best “how to” posts, I feel. I also decided to test the blogging cliche of making a numbered list. In terms of visitors brought to the blog, this post has brought the most, bar none. Clearly all my posts should be numbered lists.

3. How to defeat heroic 10man Trial of the Crusader

I loved writing this article, crafting it the morning after a thrilling Tribute to Mad Skill run. I lovingly included as much detail as I could and from what I could tell the guide was an immense help to some people. A few folks emailed me or commented in the original guide saying that it helped them complete ToGC-10, which was an awesome thing to be told. I’m glad it was helpful.

2. Call me Ishmael

Oh Thorim. The bane of ES’s existence in 3.1. The gatekeeper between us and victory in that awful place. And, the impetus for the guild restructuring that followed. Nevertheless, we did eventually kill him, but only right before 3.2 came out. To celebrate the victory I cribbed a bunch of quotes from Moby Dick and retooled them to fit the narrative of Thorim being the Great White Whale to Demo’s Ahab. Hilarity followed.

1. I could say this joke was running

This was a very funny post when I wrote it, giving me the chance to draw on all the nonsense my guild commits during raids. Probably took me longer than it should have because I kept collapsing into fits of laughter. I love my guild, everyone in it rocks. We’re crazy, crazy people.

And I hope ES has as much success in 2010 as it did in 2009, and enjoys even more glory when Cataclysm raiding begins.

A very heartfelt thank you to all my readers. You guys and gals are why I write this blog, not for my own self-aggrandizement (an added bonus!), but to share some laughs, impart some advice, and provoke some discussion. Thank you so much for reading me in 2009 and I hope I live up to my first year of blogging by being a better blogger in 2010.

Have a great New Years everyone, stay safe and have fun!

Weird end to a weird kid

Odd story for the day.

We had this blood elf DK in the guild, who was a member for a long time. Probably something close to 9 months. On constantly, he maintained a stable of about 6 different level 80 characters, most with transmute mastery alchemists, to farm out gems all day long. I suspect he possessed a small fortune.

Now, he never raided because of parental controls, and his main interactions with the guild was randomly running heroics with other guild members. Yet he was always–ALWAYS–in vent, and if a few folks would hop on he would immediately move to the room they chose and help himself right into their conversation.

Moreover, he’d offer to tank heroics for people with the explicit proviso they go in vent and talk with him. Kid probably didn’t have many friends.

He’d also post nonsensicalities in guild chat and forums saying crap like “I like candy!” and “I love you guys!” Like I said, weird kid.

This weekend I was minding my business running a Heroic Halls of Reflection on the DK, when this kid announces in guild chat that he thought he should be the DK class lead (instead of the current one) because he’s on more often and is always answering questions about DKs for people. Nevermind that the current DK class lead is the nicest guy ever and pulls down 8k dps, single target, on bosses. This weird kid definitely deserved the honor.

Anyway, so I cut in after a few seconds of stunned silences and question in /o of “is he serious?” with the inquiry of whether that was an appropriate thing to demand in general guild chat. Weird kid retorts with the Ciceronian logic that he didn’t care and he wasn’t interested in “sucking up” to get the class lead spot. He then goes on to “demand” the guild leader talk to him about it.

So then of course we acquiesced to his well reasoned arguments and made him the new guild leader.

Actually, we told him no and he needed to learn how to communicate like adult. He gquit a few minutes later.

Then yesterday he posted a random link on the guild forums that reeked of keylogger (like he copy-pasted a keylogger post from the official WoW forums). I swear, I think that kid was trying to get back at us by getting some random members hacked.

I won’t be mourning the loss of the random weird kid, for one, but I know a few liked him. It’ll be nice to be able to go in vent and not have to hide in the officers channel to avoid the familiar, pubescent voice declaring “I like candy!”

It’s a shame, he was obviously very lonely. But also odd. Very, very odd.

Thought of the day: Situational Awareness

With 3.3 and the recent wave of alt-mania that’s been sweeping the guild, a few buddies have been asking me for pointers when it comes to tanking.on their paladins. I’ve told them all the cookie cutter stuff, along with a few hints on how to pull, etc. But the one thing I’d like to impart that’s basically impossible to teach is good, old situational awareness.

To demonstrate the concept, please first watch this super quick video and count how many times the kids pass the basketball.

Correct answer after the jump. [...]


Pardon the IRL post…

So I had jury duty this morning, showed up bright an early, waited in the assembly room, etc, etc. I’m probably in the .1% of Americans that actually wants to serve on a jury, and in the years since I turned 18, I’ve eagerly watched my mailbox for a summons.

Well, finally the day came and I am happy to announce that I have been selected to serve in the jury of a civil case. We already had opening statements today and Monday/Tuesday are the scheduled continuations of the trial.

My blogging is going to be a tad disrupted since I usually post from lunch at work and the judge seems to frown on blogging during proceedings. I’ll have to do some late posts or have something in the can ready to auto-post that day.

I’m currently thinking of the jury as a 14-man raid and the foreperson as the tank. Let’s see if I can get them to pass me lead Monday morning, haha.

Using Google Wave as a guild coordination tool

Confession: I love Google Wave. I think it’s the future of Interwebz communications and have spent every waking second since I was hooked up with an invite exploring and evangelizing the technology.

As repayment for the initial invite, @ibroadfo committed me to doing a post on how I’d utilize Google Wave within my guild. So, here’s what I’m doing:

Truthfully, right now that only thing I’ve settled on is using Wave to consolidate raid strategies for Icecrown. Thanks to Wave’s collaborative features, I can write a full wave of raid strats, each “blip” (box of text) for a specific boss, and include any Waving guildies so they can comment and contribute to formulating a viable technique for each boss.


In each strategy blip I pasted a list of boss availabilities I stole from wowwiki.com. And then added little comments here or there, and highlighted colors to represent if something only really applies in heroic mode, or if it’s something a healer/dispeller needs to pay attention to.


Wave also allows me to embed videos from Youtube, so I can put up kill vids from the ptr.


And of course, others can comment or ask questions about specific bosses and we can work out answers or solutions.


Obviously, there’s still a lot more to do …


The sky’s the limit with Wave and I just need to figure out what else can be done with it within my guild.

I have some ideas but I think that depends on if I can manage to finagle most of the raid core into using this new technology.

Ultimately, Wave is a very powerful collaboration tool and can help streamline any brainstorming processes within your guild that might currently be done (clumsily) in external forums or in-game. Because anyone can add, edit, or contribute to a guild wave, you can do some awesome stuff with them.

Anyone using Wave inside their own guild? I’d be interested to hear how you’re approaching it.

How do I tank?

A spin on the meme that spread through healer blogs like wildfire last week, this survey is a brain child of The Renaissance Man of The Children of Wrath. These are great questions, and I hope my answers weren’t too brief. Hopefully this will catch on as much as the healing incarnation did.

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary tank?

Rhidach, Paladin, Protection.

What is your usual tanking environment?

Usually ToC-25, 10, and 10 heroic. We’ve been working on 25 heroic, but that’s a work in progress for sure.

What is your favorite encounter to tank, and why?

My favorite encounter right now is offtanking Anub10 heroic. It requires so much attention to detail it’s nuts: you have to contribute as much dps to Anub as you can swing, while being aware of when the Burrowers come up so you can nab them before they eat a healer, then you need to position them quickly and efficiently, get them burnt down by the dps, and then be ready to pick up and drag off the next pair. Then, once you hit phase 3 you need to juggle pouring damage into Anub while being prepared for adds to come up. And the entire time your eyes are darting back and forth watching for when the Burrowers turn to cast Shadow Strike so you can squeeze off an interrupt.

I’d probably enjoy the encounter a lot less if we couldn’t down it. But as is it’s pure, stressful bliss.

What is your least favorite encounter to tank, and why?

Thorim25 I think will always stick with me as one of my least favorite encounters. The arena is unadulterated mayhem and was hell to deal with when we were progressing through it. Not because it was hard but just the stress of having to constantly pivot around and hit various guys with taunts of shield tosses, or judgements, and being sure to consecrate at the right time to have maximum effect and making sure I was facing the mobs in a way to maximize my HotR bounces. Madness! One of my healing friends and I used to spend the wind up to the encounter whispering back and forth how much we hated the encounter.

What do you think is the biggest strength of your class, and why?

We’re pretty hard to kill. Between AD, our Guardian Spirit effect, LoH, DP, etc., I tend to be the last one standing during any wipe.

What do you think is the biggest weakness of your class, and why?

A lot of Paladin tanking is too passive. We have a set rotation that could (if you were bad/a robot) macro’d to two buttons, our biggest cooldown is a passive effect… I hate it when other tanks accuse us of facerolling, but honestly, sometimes it feels like it. I wish our abilities were more proc-dependent, or that we had something similar to Revenge or Rune Strike. I want a little challenge in our “quality of life”.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel is the best tanking assignment for you?

Add management. The system the other MT and I have set up right now is he has the privilege of standing there and getting punched in the face by the boss, while yelling our various things dps should already be paying attention to, while I get to run around like a maniac and keep adds under control. Adds can be a hard thing to master–in the hands of the wrong person they can go wild and kill off your healers–so it’s important that they are taken care of correctly. I feel like I excel best in those situations.

What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with the most?

Alas, I’ve only tanked on a Paladin (my only 80). I therefore have a very limited pool of experience to draw from.

What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with the least?

See previous question.

What is your worst habit as a tank?

If you asked me two weeks ago I would have said clicking. I used to not have Judgement bound to any key and I think that majorly affected my tps and my performance. I’m happy to say I’ve since rectified that, but it’s very embarrassing it took me this long.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?

People not paying attention to stupid stuff. For example, during Jaraxxus when a melee gets Legion Flames and doesn’t notice and drops it right in the middle of the melee pack. I understand wanting to maximize your rotation for the best dps possible, but I can’t fathom zoning in/out that much that you tunnel vision and miss warnings. Or people dying because they stood in a void zone for too long. I guess that’s why DBM/BigWigs/etc. have added screen flashes to catch people’s attention.

Do you feel your class/spec is balanced with respect to the other tanking classes?

No. I think we’re probably more powerful than we should be at the moment. As guilty as feel about it, I remember the dark days when Paladins were the worst and squishiest of the four tanks, and I have no wish to go back to those days.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?

World of Logs, TankadinTPS, Recount’s Deaths tab. One of the great things about tanking though is you need few tools to judge your performance. It’s usually a binary question of if you’re alive or not.

What do you think is the biggest misconception that people have with your tanking class?

It’s easy mode. While Paladins in general tend to require less effort (we have no equivalent of Revenge/Rune Strike, like I mentioned) to tank successfully, any form of tanking is still pretty hard. With Paladin tanking it may be easy to be mediocre, but the spec is difficult to master.

What do you think is the toughest thing for new players of your class to learn about tanking?

There’s more to Paladin tanking than just standing there and hitting two buttons. We have lots of utilities that we need to learn how to toss out effectively to maximize the potential of our class. Your various Hand spells are there for a reason, use them!

If someone were to evaluate your tanking ability via tools like fraps, recount, and World of Logs, what tendencies would they notice?

I’m really bad about sticking to the strict 969 rotation. I tend to run around a lot and lose my place. I’m a very active tank.

Stamina or Avoidance, and why?

Stamina, no contest (sadly). I’ve written about this extensively, but the cliff notes version is Avoidance is, when you boil it down, RNG. You can’t depend on RNG to save your life, you need to be ready to take an unfortunate string of big hits. Only stam can give us this security. Moreover, we get more than enough avoidance by default from our gear, we don’t need to go the extra mile and gem/enchant for it when we’re just pouring ipoints down the gaping maw of diminishing returns.

Which tanking class do you understand the least?

Warrior tanking. I don’t think I have the digital dexterity to constantly hammer a button mapped to Heroic Strike. (I kid!) Honestly, they seem to require the most attention to play even satisfactorily. I can’t imagine the dedication and fortitude it takes to be a grade-A Warrior tank.

What addons or macros do you currently use to aid you in tanking?

I use Recount to find out what I die to, Pitbull to make my unitframes clear and easy to read and to place them optimally, and Bartender to keybind all my abilities to make my reaction times as short as possible.

Do you strive for a balance in tanking stats, or do you stack some higher than others, and why?

I try not to enchant or gem for avoidance unless I absolutely have to (match color for metas, or the avoidance enchant is much better than straight stamina), and even then I tend to favor agility over parry/dodge because you get threat and mitigation in exchange for a little less avoidance.

To help the survey along a bit, here are some tags for folks (that weren’t initially tagged) I’d like to hear answers from:

  • Wrathy of Avenging Wrathy
  • Adgamorix of Divine Plea
  • Amber of I Like Bubbles (you tank sometimes!)

Those last two did the healer one, but I know they are itching for another survey to fill out.

How the other half tanks

To do something a little different, my post today is a brief interview with Demogar, my co-tank and brother-in-arms. Demo was recently served with a 3-day suspension from the WoW forums for what I can only assume was trolling. As you can imagine, he has some strong opinions on the state of tanking today, haha.

This is a bit of a fluff interview though, just to introduce the guy you’ve only seen in taunting comments and raid recaps to the wider audience of this blog’s front page.

1. Tell use a little about Demogar: when did you create the character,
what spec did you level as?

Demogar was actually created solely as something to do when I wasn’t helping a friend level his first toon on my Mage alt. I never intended to play him past level 20 but the mechanics of the class got its hooks in me. I leveled as Fury until level 61. A healer friend of mine begged me to tank for him but I was terrified of the responsibility. After several terrifying dungeon runs I found my footing and a passion for the game I had never known before.

2. What’s your raid tanking experience?

I played but never really got into raiding pre-BC outside of a few Molten Core and ZG runs of my old Warlock. I took some time off after BC launched then when I came back and leveled Demo I seemingly missed the boat on getting into a raiding guild. The guild I did get into spent the expansion running Kara and failing at early ZA. I went to another guild and did a little bit of Hyjal and SSC but nothing serious. Both guilds I tanked for but the Kara guild I was main tank.

3. What was your biggest raiding defeat? Biggest victory?

Excluding current content I would have to say working with my old guild to clear Kara and finally killing Nightbane… the biggest defeat was seeing how badly they performed in ZA and how we were never going to evolve any further. Including current content definitely 10 man heroic ToC is what I am most proud of and Yogg-Saron is my biggest disappointment.

4. What’s your favorite part of my tanking? :P

I think we have a good rhythm tanking together. You are as focused and committed to your role as I am. We each bring something different to the table and compliment each other well. You are able to herd adds together and hold them better than I can by far and are always on the spot with raid utility, whether it be Divine Sacrifice or Hand of Sacrifice on me when I need it. Tanks sometimes tend to butt heads and compete with each other, a problem you and I have never had. Your mind is always in the game and you’re always prepared and ready to react when something doesn’t go exactly as planned.

5. In 7 words, sum up your current feelings of the state of warrior
tanking. You are excluded from using the words “nerf” and “paladins”.

Slightly behind, very ignored, still VERY capable.

6. What do you think is the biggest misconception Paladins have about
Warrior tanks?

I see a lot of people think that Disarm and Spell Reflect are useful raid tools when they are in fact near worthless in a raid setting. There is some trash I can reflect tank and a couple bosses I can disarm but generally they don’t count toward anything in a raid environment.

7. Name the biggest change to tanking you’d like to see in Cataclysm

I would love to see a heavier emphasis on bosses with tricky mechanics over bosses that just hit like a truck. I think Twin Val’kyr are easy but they are a lot of fun because it is all about execution. It would also be nice to see gear options that are viable aside from stam stacking. It was nice when we used to have to balance our stats out to be more well rounded rather than just walking HP pools.

8. How many tanks, ideally, do you think a 25man raid should require?

I think they either need to have all encounters require two tanks or have them all require three. If they change it up a lot then you need to not only have two very well geared main tanks but also some very well geared DPS with very good tanking gear. That isn’t always easy to do. I personally like two tanks but I don’t care either way as long as they keep it consistent.

9. What do you think is a better system: high avoidance with
harder-hitting bosses, or lower avoidance but more, smaller hits?

I prefer low avoidance with smaller more predictable hits. I don’t think the difficulty of the encounter should be determined just on how much gear the tanks and healers have. I do think bosses should certainly hit hard but not as hard as they have been.

10. T13/14 in Cataclysm: How much hp unbuffed is a warrior tank going to
have? Make your prediction now!

It all depends on how much HP we have in full heroic T10 before I can compare fresh 80 HP to fully geared. But since they say that the Defense in the item budget will probably going to become stamina I would say possibly 80k in full heroic T14.

Pimped my UI, part 2

The last time I significantly changed my UI was way back in April when I was still rocking the Gundam tier and had a shock of white hair. Oh, simpler times.

Anyway, recently I’ve gotten really bored of my UI and wanted to add a few more keybinds to the mix in order to finally get rid of any clicking I’ve been doing. So, I bought a new mouse with two extra buttons on the left side and got to work.

This is what I came up with:


Unlike my previous UI, this iteration has everything I need to look at concentrated near the bottom middle of the screen. And most importantly, all my major abilities are mapped to some key.

I’m pretty happy with it so far. I took it for a spin in Uld10 last night and I found that my reaction times were a lot better for certain things (like self-cleansing Falcon Punches) and my 969 rotation was much, much smoother.

Sad side note: I finally jumped on the DBM bandwagon after sticking with BigWigs for years. I don’t regret the jump. There’s just no comparison in terms of presentation and what information is presented to you. For example, doing the Disarmed achievement on Kologarn was infinitely easier with DBM’s health bars for all three parts of the boss sitting in the middle of my screen.

Most delicious tank ever

I can’t believe I forgot to post this.

My girlfriend is a savant when it comes to baking, and for my recent birthday she clandestinely wrangled my buddy into secreting her a screenshot of my character. Which she turned into this:


A work of art! I’m a lucky guy.