General Cataclysm Tanking Tips

So, I don’t know about you guys, but it’s been one hell of a hectic week for me.

Between the full time job, the tattered remnants of a social life that’s been consumed by this latest expansion and the little thing called eating and sleeping, life’s been a near constant juggling act since Tuesday.

I hope that you’re all enjoying yourselves out there. I really hope that some of what I’ve written in the weeks leading up to the expansion helped you figure out what sort of path to take while levelling and what paths to avoid.

Sitting here now, just about a week since the expansion dropped, I’m expecting most of you to be ranging around level 83 if you’ve started with a level 80 character. You’ve likely knocked a few zones, tried your hand at a few instances and are hopefully having a damned good time with all the new content.

So, a few tips.

I don’t want to be too specific right now. If I go on and on about one tricky boss in Throne of Tides, majority of you will have been way past it by now and it’ll be useless to you so I’ll impart some oft neglected general advice that will save your life.

For starters, these new dungeons place a much higher emphasis on CC during trash pulls than anything WotLK has shown to date, so USE every bit of it that you have access to. A controlled pull will be a successful one. Brush up on the CC available to your groups and try to keep in mind even some of the more obscure ones. Warlocks, for instance, can fear a mob in place now making them a very reliable source of CC as fear doesn’t always break on damage like a mage’s sheep. Hunters can still trap (though you might want to be a bit more careful using that one as most hunters haven’t really had the opportunity to practice) and even a druid can root a melee mob in place. Keep track of all of the resources available to your party and use them to their fullest.

The other thing matter is something a little more basic but it bears repeating as I believe it’s something that most people have forgotten.

Communication is key.

In the dungeons and heroics in WotLK, we got through it pretty easily just by aoe-ing everything down to the ground and zerging most bosses but these tactics will rarely work now. There is a much higher degree of coordination required in the Cataclysm dungeons and if you fail to take that into consideration and try to just zerg through it, there will be a lot of preventable wipes and a baby murloc will be killed.

The very least you can do is mark a skull and an X. This will let your dps in the group know exactly what to open up on and what to avoid. If it doesn’t take much time, you can also add a few more marks to indicate which to CC and such, but the MOST important to prevent wipes are the first two kill targets.

These are skills that most of us have grown rusty with, simply because they haven’t been needed in the past half year or so.

Well, the game’s changed in huge ways and those skills are definitely needed again, especially once you hit the new heroics so start getting in that practice.

If there’s a certain boss fight or instance that you’re having a lot of trouble with, feel free to drop a comment and I’ll try focus on the places that seem to give more people trouble.


  1. As a tank, I don’t use my Function Keys to select my party members, so I have them set to the raid marks. It works very well.

  2. It’s sad though that WOTLK basically made instances a sort of speed-dating affair, and half the dps have a macro for ‘ GOGOGOGOGO’ when you take more than 4 seconds between pulls. Then when you try to reason with the group and explain that the days of blasting 5mans are over, they just qualify you as a failtank right out.

  3. A post from has a good explanation on how to set the mark keys to key binds. It has been a life saver as a warrior tank to quickly communicate the kill order, or to bounce the skull to the current target in case people forgot what the kill order was.

  4. @velcro I agree, but there is also a VERY lightweight and nice AddOn called TargetCharms. It basically has all the symbols where you can just click them. I HIGHLY recommend it to any tank, especially with all the need for CC and such in trash pulls.