Had a nice writer send in a couple questions that I thought would be worth sharing the answers on, so here we go;
“Stratus” of the Darkspear wrote in saying;
My son convinced me (in wisdom beyond his years) to be a bear tank a couple of months ago. I thought to myself, “I’m actually going to have to know these encounters now.” So, now my main spec is level 80 bear tank. Fun, fun. But so much to learn.
1) On Ony 10 – I just run thru Ony and drag her to the back and turn around fight – no problem. Have done this 6 or so times. On Ony 25 – you cannot do this. You die after about 2 hits to the back. Talk about shocked. A little background – I use my mouse to move my bear. I did not grow up with laptop games. I grew up with arcade games – lol. So – using the keys to move and strafe and all that – really pretty foreign and not comfortable to me. So – my question is. Can’t I just run thru Ony and immediately turn around as Ony turns around and then back up that way?? (Using my keyboard here of course) These are 25 man raids and I hate to be the one to screw it up right off the bat.
2) Have finally figured out how to tank Halls of Reflection to where I have at least a 50% success rate. This dungeon is mob dependant. Can’t control mobs – you won’t complete dungeon period. Your blog back in 2007 (tanking mobs) once again opened up my eyes. Wrath, moonfire?? I never saw anybody do that or read about it but that is brilliant. Anyway – my question here is – do you have plans on updating that blog in the near future?? Would love to read it. Without the benefit of learning tanking as I leveled up – I am having to learn very quickly. Players get a little “testy” when level 80 tanks can’t seem to do the job.
Someone mentioned in that blog commments from 2007, “good tanks are hard to find”…I wanna be that good tank and I am counting on your blog to be a big part of that process.
Have a super day.
To address question 2 first… I’m glad that someone has already noticed I added that ancient post on Bear Tanking Multiple Mobs on the sidebar… and got something out of it.
I have this tendency to never look back at what I’ve written, I move forward. This is why my sidebar is kinda messed up, and why some things never get updated. I’m looking ahead to writing the next post or doing the next thing, not looking back at something already done.
However, in thinking over topics that would be of help to new tanks, or players for that matter, one of the subjects that I keep returning to is aggro and threat. What it is, how you get it, how you hold it, how you lose it.
I recalled writing what I thought, at the time, was a pretty decent overview of how the actual mechanics of threat in a party, broken down for each party member, worked. Healer threat, DPS, tank… all together in one example.
So instead of writing it all from scratch, I went looking… and found it from when I posted it in 2007. I read it, and marveled at how much had changed since it was written, in terms of Bear tanking strategies.
But the core of party threat generation discussion was still pretty good, and I decided, instead of rewriting it, that it would be fun to add it to the sidebar… with a little (2007) next to the name.
A fun look back at the craziness of years gone by… and hopefully, an appreciation for what we’ve got now. A reminder that the name of the game is not competing to be a better tank than the other classes, but to enjoy being a good tank for our own groups, and an acknowledgement that Blizzard has done a good job of adding to and changing up our skill set since the old days.
Perhaps also, to serve as a reminder to the new generation that, you know… you might not want to bitch too loudly about having difficulty tanking with the tools we’ve got now, because in the old days, Bear tanks had to Swipe uphill… in the snow… both ways.
And it was a colder snow, and a higher hill than the snow and hills you get these days.
I hope that, for those that take the time to read that post, it has thrills, chills, amusement, nostalgia, and maybe for some a tip or two.
Now, about question #1 – initial squishiness.
You posit a situation where your goal is to intercept and develop threat on a boss that WILL follow you when you move, that is located in the middle of a large chamber, that has a knockback attack, and that does a great deal of damage.
There are several points to moving to the far wall behind Onyxia.
In the first ‘pull’, Onyxia is in ground phase 1. Her abilities consist of a frontal Cleave, a frontal Flame Breath attack, a frontal cone Wing Buffet that does unmitigated physical damage and knocks you back, and a rear Tail Swipe knockback.
When you initially pull Ony, what you are looking to do is, as fast as possible, get her head faced away from the raid. Because everyone, including healers, is charging in behind you, and Ony is big, the most direct route to this is to run through her so that she changes facing, looking away from the raid instantly.
You do not want to Charge when doing this in most cases, because the healers will be hard pressed to have reach on you… they are not moving directly behind you, they are angling to the side, so as not to be within the arc effect of Tail Swipe.
The only rush in moving Ony around is to get her head away from the raid. You do NOT have to run to the back wall. All you have to do is get through the mid point on Ony’s hit box. Once she turns, you can turn around, and waddle backwards until your butt is at the wall. Your being stationary means she will advance and become stationary, and melee DPS can hit her in the flank without worrying about front cone AoE effects or rear Tail Swipes.
If you are waddling backwards towards the wall, and she does Wing Buffet, all that she accomplishes besides damage is to move you to where you want to be faster.
In looking at your Armory gear, you’ve got a pretty darn outstanding set of tanking gear. Obviously, the movement impairing trinket and the Expertise gems aren’t contributing directly to tanking survivability, but the sum total of your gear is so good that it really isn’t an issue. No worries at all on that score.
If you move directly to Ony, flip 180° and waddle backwards, that should take care of the insta-gib issue.
Now, to add that extra cushion, there are always a few things you can do.
First, trigger Barkskin when you reach Ony. That will provide a very solid damage reduction. You don’t have the 4 piece Tier bonus on reduced cooldown, but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is giving your healers a chance to get stationary so they can use their full repertoire of heals.
Working along with that is triggering Survival Instincts when you reach Ony, so that your max health pumps up for a short time, giving you more of a cushion to eat damage until healers are ready.
You won’t want to trigger Frenzied Regeneration, because the Healers only need a few seconds, and while it’s up you’ll have your Rage bleeding away. In the very first two or three seconds of the pull, you want to be establishing rockstar aggro, not sitting there Rage starved, waiting to be hit or do the hitting to get more back.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of suggestions, but since you state you are successfully tanking Heroic HoR 50% of the time BEFORE today’s nerf, I have to say that this should be more than enough to see you through.
And on the subject of Heroic Halls of Reflection… I was working on a post. Then, today, out of nowhere as far as I was concerned, they nerfed the ghost waves in HoR. I’m gonna have to check my notes, as Riff would say.
I’m sure you already know about Line of Sighting them into one of the boss alcoves, and also know that the biggest key to each wave is having your group hide in the corner, and YOUR being ready to pound out instant AoE threat to overcome the inevitable Healer aggro since the healer is glowing like a sun trying to top everyone off while you hide there. And the second biggest is communicating beforehand a simple CC strategy, so that, say, the Hunter knows to toss a ranged Ice Arrow at the most distant mob, and YOU know he’s gonna do it so you don’t work at getting within it’s range to aggro it.
Anyway, thank you for the very nice letter, Stratus, and thank you for the kind words. Take care, and enjoy today’s patch!