Adventures in Tanking

Someone in the forum section asked for help with threat and I started writing this response and then I went into story-telling mode and it just ballooned in size. But I think its is funny enough for me to stick on the front page instead of the forum.

Last night in our raid my threat was really low and i just couldn’t figure out why. I was doing the same things I normally do, but my threat just sucked. I am normally a button masher and I figured that my sloppy technique had finally caught up with me so I tried to slow things way down. I waited for the GCD to end before doing my next move and I would make sure the swing timer quold go off before queuing up the next HS. And it really helped a lot. I went from doing 600 or so tps in the beginning of the night back up to 800-850 that I usually do through trash.

I normally use an add on called TankBuddy. It’s a great little tool that will announce to the raid when you use challenging shout and are about to get pummeled by everything in sight or it will announce when a taunt gets resisted or if you use last stand or shield wall. In addition to those announcements, it will also remove buffs you don’t want. If I am in defensive stance it will automatically remove prayer of spirit, arcane brilliance and other buffs that don’t benefit me at all but take up space on my already crowded buff bar.

Now our paladins are pretty good, but, for whatever reason, like to put their Blessing of Protection right next to other important buttons. We have had a few wipes because a pally accidentally BoPed the tank instead of doing whatever else he was supposed to do. So to make sure that wouldn’t happen, I added Blessing of Protection to the list of buffs that would be automatically removed.

Over the weekend I was doing some arena and at one point I was getting hit pretty hard to I threw on a shield and switched to defensive stance to try survive, at the same time my pally partner tried to BoP me. But TankBuddy saw that I was in def stance and automatically clicked off BoP and then I died and we lost. I turned off TankBuddy so that wouldn’t happen again. One thing that I didn’t mention before is that TankBuddy will also automatically remove Blessing of Salvation and since I almost always have TankBuddy on, I never even think about having to click it off manually. You see where this is going don’t you… I never turned TankBuddy back on after those arena matches and in last night’s raid, I didn’t remember that it was off until about halfway through the raid. I was tanking for about 2 hours with Blessing of Salvation… /facepalm

An interesting corollary is the story about why I had to add Blessing of Protection to the list of automatically removed buffs in the first place. It was one of the nights when we were learning Archimonde and we were getting pretty close to a kill and then around 30% I see the Forebearance debuff pop on my screen and Archimonde runs off and starts killing people. One of the pallies confessed to being an idiot and we all laughed at him and moved on.

I thought I would be clever and add BoP to the TankBuddy list. We even tested it out before the next pull by having a pally BoP me and making sure it got automatically removed. What I didn’t notice was that I had made a typo when I put BoP on the list and I accidentally left a comma in there at the end of the line. That comma made TankBuddy think that there was one more buff on the list that it had to remove but it was a blank field. So after I am sure that BoP will get removed and after the pally moved the BoP button far far away from everything else, we start the next attempt.

About 20 seconds into the fight I noticed my HP was a lot lower than usual but just figured I my warlock was out of range for blood pact and I hadn’t put up commanding shout yet. About 30 seconds into the fight someone said, “Does anyone else see Rochelle as not having any buffs or is my UI messed up?” I glanced up in the corner of my screen… Oh. My. God. “I don’t have any buffs, wtf?”. The raid leader called out to get me buffed and the buffs came flying in. But a few seconds laters, “Oh shit, they fell off again”. TankBuddy had freaked out because of that blank field and it removed every single buff I had. Pally blessings, priest buffs and shields, flasks, food buffs, EVERYTHING. It was even removing hots like renew and lifebloom. We of course ended up wiping that attempt but we got the boss down to 60% with a completely unbuffed, direct heal only tank. And the really funny part is that we didn’t even wipe because I died. A mage, of all people, let himself die to fall damage and then the deaths chained – as they tend to do in that fight – and we wiped. Then I confessed to being an idiot and everyone laughed at me.

ooo, and that reminds me of another of my finest moments in tanking. This one was really awesome and I wish someone had gotten a screenshot.

I switch my trinkets around a lot depending on what I am doing. I often use a pretty simple macro – /use 13 /use 14 – that triggers both of my trinkets at the same time. I will click on the trinkets individually if I want to use them individually, but most of the combinations I run with are meant to be used together.

So there we are, about to start the Illidan encounter and I have my trinkets on and I am running my simple double trigger macro. Illidan has an ability called Shear that reduces the MT’s health by 60% for 6 seconds. Since he hits really hard, it can be instant death for the tank to get Shear. The only way to stop shear is by blocking it. Illidan dual wields and it is possible for him to eat up both your shield block charges very quickly and then cast shear before your shield block cooldown is over. It is rare, but it happens. To prevent getting killed when that happens I pop my dodge trinket and cross my fingers and hope he doesn’t hit me and almost every time Shear goes away and I am just fine.

When we were going for our third kill, the first two attempts were a little sloppy but the third attempt was looking good. We had him in phase 5 which is easymode. At about 20% he managed to slip a Shear through. A shear on the MT is a pretty paniced situation since my health drops to 8 or 9k and Illidan hits 6-7k with his main hand and 3-4k with his offhand so I freak out a little bit. I did what I usually do and popped my trinket macro. Now, for some reason, I decided to wear a stamina trinket as my second trinket next to the pocket watch instead of Shadowmoon Insignia like I usually do. I am too poor to afford the darkmoon faire cards so the trinkets I use for stamina are the SSC trash drop and a Goblin Rocket Launcher. The rocket launcher has a little more stamina than the one from SSC so I went with the rocket launcher.

So, 20% on Illidan who was definitely not on farm yet and I get sheared. I freak out a little and punch my trinket macro. I see the animation for the dodge trinket then… Raid leader screams, “What the hell are you doing?” And I die almost immediately and the raid wipes shortly thereafter.

When I hit my trinket macro, it tried to fire the rocket launcher… So there I am, at the Temple Summit, the final boss of the expansion is going down, and I am trying to shoot him with a rocket launcher… I don’t think I will ever live that one down.