Another noob looking for advice

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Another noob looking for advice

Postby sycopat » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:14 am

Hello there! :)

To cut to the quick, I suck at tanking, and am looking for advice, particularly on the skills a tank should have, and how I should go about practising them. A wall of text is about to follow, so if you don’t feel like tailoring your reply to my specific situation, you can probably stop here, as even general advice is welcome. (And yes, I have been reading the basic training guides on this site :P )

To give it more detail, I dinged my first 80 fairly recently, a dual spec prot/ret paladin. I want him to be a tank and have been trying to get him up to speed.

To this end, since 80 (And occasionally beforehand) I’ve been running normal dungeons as a tank in order to get used to the feel of it, learn the basics of tanking, practise my rotation, learn dungeon layouts and get some gear.

At this point I’m comfortable running up to ToC and FoS. For some reason I haven’t gotten into PoS (or HoR) yet, so can’t say how well I’d do.

Gearwise, heres my armoury link: ... n=Daemonis There are a few improvements I could make. The shoulders dropped today and I’m not quite exalted with Hodir yet anyway, my trinkets suck but most good improvements at this point seem to be from emblems or heroics so I think I’m doing okay. (25k health, 541 defence, 22k armour, sum of dodge/parry/block = 47.5%) Not ICC raid worthy, but heroics should be doable by all accounts.

Except that they’re not. Tried Drak’Tharon today, failed miserably to reach even the first boss. This is an instance I have done, and tanked, on normal with worse gear. In hindsight there were a couple of mistakes I made that over-gearing allows me to get away with in normal dungeons, and in a way it’s good to see these mistakes as once I’m aware of them I can make the effort to avoid them in future. The main points it brought home for me were a)use my cooldowns the second I feel uncomfortable. Checking to confirm it takes time, and two minutes isn’t that long. b) don’t forget all my abilities: I know I can use Holy wrath to stun undead, and do so in FoS, it never occurred to me to do the same thing today. c) If one mob in a room runs straight for the healer and I don’t catch him, move my camera, not my feet before taunting.

So in a way it was a positive experience, it highlights to me that my issues are issues of skill. However, it also highlighted that the skill of others and my gear are carrying me through normal dungeons almost too effectively, and I’m not really learning anything from them (Although there are still some dungeon layouts and boss fight mechanics I’m not 100% on)

That’s my story anyway.

Now, trying to find ways to address these issues, I think I have a few options:

a) Get back on the horse: Keep trying heroics until I improve or quit.
Pros: Probably the quickest way. I succeed or “die”
Cons: Constant failure might kill all enthusiasm for the game, farming gold for repair bills may make it take longer than it sounds, also may get me a reputation as being a bad tank.

b) Learn to ride ponies properly before trying on warhorses: Go back to normal dungeons, but with a more focused approach. Select an instance, read up on it, run it five times, give the heroic mode a go. If I succeed, move on to the next one and repeat.
Pros: Probably the most balanced approach. Has an inbuilt “Am I ready to move on?” check.
Cons: Not sure I can trust this method to “test” my abilities adequately.

c) Level an alt, as a tank, through the dungeon finder.
Pros: learning from the bottom up will give me the greatest possible grounding in tanking.
Cons: Not sure if I’m ready to level an alt. Also not sure how transferable skill sets are between tanks.

I’m thinking I’m going to go for option b at the minute, I like my paladin, and more practise and confidence may be all I really need, and should it fail options a and c remain as fallback options.

These plans are all well and good, but no plan survives contact with the enemy and everyone tells me I’m my own worst one, so a bit of constructive criticism and outside opinion would be welcome in case there’s something super-obvious I’ve missed completely.

Thank you! :D
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Re: Another noob looking for advice

Postby bldavis » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:32 am

i would suggest b)

esp if you have patient guildies, pref one that ahs a tnak and can walk you through the fights, how to pull packs, how to LoS, stuff like that.

the biggest pet peeve is when i try to help someone after they asked me for it, and then they tell me im wrong, so if you have someone like that in your guild, dont argue and try to gleen as much knowledge as you can.

as far as practicing rotation, training dummies work great!

Brekkie:Tanks are like shitty DPS. And healers are like REALLY distracted DPS
Amirya:Why yes, your penis is longer than his because you hit 30k dps in the first 10 seconds. But guess what? That raid boss has a dick bigger than your ego.
Flex:I don't make mistakes. I execute carefully planned strategic group wipes.
Levie:(in /g) It's weird, I have a collar and I dont know where I got it from, Worgen are kinky!
Levie:Drunk Lev goes and does what he pleases just to annoy sober Lev.
Sagara:You see, you need to *spread* the bun before you insert the hot dog.
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Re: Another noob looking for advice

Postby omegavx » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:54 am

What ever you decide, don't get discouraged.

I find it odd that you commented on having no issue with ToC and FoS, but yet something like Drak'Tharon could give you trouble. Honestly FoS is one of the most annoying instances for pulling as a tank. I found it to provide the best training aswell. I personally went with your option 'A' when I was learning to tank. I did use the Dummies to help solidify my rotation, which as a tankadin is a joke. I have had the fortune to tank as one of each of the 4 possible classes. Remember that it doesn't necessarily hinge on the tank or the healer, sloppy DPS can make you look just as bad as poor skills can.

Keep at it. I did, and it's the most rewarding job I took up in WoW. Good luck to you. =)
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Re: Another noob looking for advice

Postby Shoju » Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:32 pm

Run heroics. Run them when you wipe. Run them when you can, run them often.

There is very little that you are going to learn by overgearing something in a 5 man.
If you want practive on how to wrangle adds, start soloing TBC dungeons. You will learn how to pull, you will learn how to watch for pats, and you will learn how to quickly get things under control, because if you don't, you die. There is no one to heal you, help you, and cover for you when you make a mistake.

learn where your cooldowns are. Learn where your taunts are. If you aren't comfortable with where these are start looking into better hotkeys. Try to move things around until you find a place where they feel comfortable.

TBC dungeons will also allow you to practice 969, tell you when you can go full bore, and when you need to hold back a little. With no incoming heals, you can tell how Sanc and DP work, and will get you in the hang of using those.

Don't back down to normal Wotlk stuff. Solo TBC dungeons or run heroics. this is the way to learn. Make sure that your dps is aware that you are still gearing, otherwise, overzealous DPS will make things a nightmare for you.

Once you feel comfortable with your abilities, start challenging yourself. Push yourself to do more difficult things. Very few people started tanking and got it right the first time. bad tanks become great tanks when they have the desire to be a good tank, and work at it.

Don't get discouraged. Don't feel that you are hopeless. You came here, that is a step in the right direction. Now, learn what you can, apply it, and find the tricks.
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Re: Another noob looking for advice

Postby golfinguy » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:40 pm

I was tossed into the deep end when I dual-spec'd prot. The guy that got me into the game is a real good friend of mine, so I had him and his guildies (now my guildies as well) to give me no end of grief about being a fail-tank. :P . But they also did not bail on me. While having fun at my expense they were equally patient with my learning.

The guild MT (warrior) helped me get gear and learn the instances once in a while. The rest I had to learn on my own as we had no other pally tanks at the time. By finding this site much earlier in the process than I did - you already have a big advantage.

I would go back to normal dungeons for a bit - and get some of the gear upgrades available there as well. Farm ToC until you get the Black Heart (which is better than anything you'll find in a heroic) and such, look for other upgrades as well. Then go right back to heroics.

I'm guessing you're wiping due to an inability to hold aggro over the group. To help with that, re-spec into the 'cookie-cutter' spec Theck spent so much effort modeling and testing. You're close right now, but missing a few helpful talents. Get the Sense Undead minor glyph - and then 'sense undead'.

Also, one of the things that took me a while to realize... The Guarded by the Light affect on Divine Plea. Again, I was not reading sites like this at the time and was oblivious to such details. Hit DP before the pull... and keep pulling to maintain it. Which is why you can get out of some of the threatless talents you are currently taking to maintain mana.

Don't give up.
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Re: Another noob looking for advice

Postby Chasey » Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:06 pm

some great advice for you or any newer tank in this tread. Funny how you see these treads from newer tanks that are a bit undergeared. Tanking and tanking w/a pally is not the face roll everyone says, it takes some getting used to.

Remember this is a game, if you wipe, rez and go back in. I can say, slow the pulls down a tad, make sure you are in control of all mobs. If one gets away get it back, I know sounds simple right but thats how you start out. Gaining aggro and holding it.

If you have a tank you respect or know well, have him dps for you, get on vent and pull by pull asking him for tips/tricks/advice. So many times I'm healing or dps'n I would love to say to the tank, "if you did this it would be easier" but I don't unless asked.

Enjoy tanking and "just do it"
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Re: Another noob looking for advice

Postby Koatanga » Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:03 pm

I know you say you've been reading here, but mate you gotta read harder.

Your spec is not a good one for tanking, particularly with a lower gear level. Go to a 0/53/18 build with Crusader and Pursuit of Justice.

Why? Crusader, because the more threat you do, the fewer DPS will pull off of you and the easier tanking becomes. Pursuit of Justice because you can get to the next pull faster than most, which gives you a little bit more time to hit them before your DPS starts in, which gives you a threat lead, which mean fewer DPS pull off you and tanking is easier.

If all you had to do was run up to a group and DPS it, life would be a piece of cake. As long as you don't lose threat, running in and DPSing is all you have to do as a tank.

I would swap the points you have in Seals of the Pure to Reckoning, because the synergy between Reckoning and Seal of Command is a beautiful thing. I'd probably more your Imp HoJ points there, too.

You have a lot of blues, so you took Divinity thinking it would help you stay alive (understandable), but in reality it doesn't do you any good. It doesn't prevent damage; it just heals you more which won't be a problem unless your healer is also a new 80.

As for Benediction, see the various posts about pulling more mobs if you really need more mana. Use Divine Plea all the time, and keep it up by pulling groups quickly.

As for the mechanics of it all, your best bet is you get yourself something like VuhDo, Healbot, or Clique so you can use Righteous Defense quickly with a mouse-click. I have RD on right-click and Hand of Protection on left-click. If someone pulls aggro, a quick click on them means I get it back.

Zoom your camera back enough to see your party, so you can see if anyone is being stupid.

Otherwise, dive in and do some tanking. It's the only way to learn.

Oh, do yourself a favour and get some more BoE epic gear. It's a heck of a lot better than the some of those level 70's blues.
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Re: Another noob looking for advice

Postby sycopat » Fri Jun 04, 2010 11:10 am

Hi folks,

First off, thanks for all the replies, they've been very helpful and I've taken a lot of it onboard, getting the glyph of sense undead, rejigging my spec (Going to be paying more attention to it too) and keeping an eye on the AH for more gear (although Breastplate of the White Knight is a bit out of my price range at 6k, and I haven't seen anything else for sale that I don't already now have, or outclass) I've also been messing with camera distance and addons, picking up threat plates, clique and grid so far as well as adjusting some of my keybindings to make my cooldowns a lot more accessible and logical (I think just about everything I'll use in combat is bound to 1,2,3,4,q,e,r,f, or a modifier+ those keys, the core 969 abilities and most common alternatives are centered on 2,3,4,q,e so I never have to make awkward leaps)

Targeting encounters to learn seems to be going okay, cleared Heroic Violet Hold yesterday after doing a bit of research and a quick (and boring) normal run through.
I understand it's not much to clear whats (according to wowwiki) considered the easiest Heroic in the game, but it's a confidence boost to be able to say I held aggro for most of it, and was able to regain it nice and quickly when I lost it, despite some pretty high DPS.

I'm sticking with it anyway, going to keep trying and pushing myself. The buzz from successfully tanking a hard fight is too good not to. :D
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Re: Another noob looking for advice

Postby Koatanga » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:20 pm

I like the spec a lot better. The only thing I don't like is that you still have DS/DG, which really only makes sense to use if you are bubbled, which you can't do in a 5-man without getting everyone else eaten. Seriously consider tossing those points into reckoning, which is a great 5-man ability in combination with SoC.

I can understand it for a raid off-tank, but you didn't take Vindication over in the Ret tree which is an important raid talent. That leaves your build sort of in between a 5-man tank and a raid off-tank. I think you should spec for one or the other.

A great heroic for you to run to get a good handle on tank mechanics is Culling of Stratholme. There are lots of group pulls where your DPS is going to do nothing but AoE which will challenge your threat (if they are geared) and give you some taunt practice. In the gauntlet, try to pull as fast as you possibly can, tanking only the elites. This will help your situational awareness.

You won't be amazing at it at first, but if a training exercise is easy then it's not much of a training exercise, is it? Once you get used to it, it's quite fun. Then you get bored with it and never want to see it again, but that's another kettle of fish.
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Re: Another noob looking for advice

Postby Chicken » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:28 pm

Koatanga wrote: The only thing I don't like is that you still have DS/DG, which really only makes sense to use if you are bubbled
That really isn't true, whether it's needed in a 5-man is something else, but it's really something you can use easily and which helps out a lot without bubbling. I use it all the time in 25-man ICC to help out while tanking; and the damage my party takes in the encounters I use it on is likely higher than anything you'll ever encounter in a 5-man. And if you are worried about the damage you can always combine it with Divine Protection instead.
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Re: Another noob looking for advice

Postby Levantine » Sat Jun 05, 2010 3:45 am

Or you could cancel the misdirection part of the spell and have a 20% raidwall for 6 seconds, you know, like most endgame tanks are doing.
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Re: Another noob looking for advice

Postby Gamingdevil » Sat Jun 05, 2010 6:22 am

Koatanga wrote:I like the spec a lot better. The only thing I don't like is that you still have DS/DG, which really only makes sense to use if you are bubbled, which you can't do in a 5-man without getting everyone else eaten.

This is wrong. Divine Guardian is a separate buff that gets triggered once you activate Divine Sacrifice. Cancelling one does not cancel the other and thus, if you're afraid of getting gibbed from the damage redirection, you can always just cancel DS and get 6s of damage reduction for the entire raid.
If it is weak, kill it before it gets stronger. If it is strong, weaken it.
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Re: Another noob looking for advice

Postby sycopat » Sun Jun 06, 2010 2:52 am

I think Koatanga may have a point in that its of fairly limited use for a beginning tank, who won't be stepping foot in ICC for a while, there are a few uses but for my specific situation it may be more useful to have extra threat via Reckoning.

Certainly, I haven't found myself using it a whole pile, so I'm going to respec out of it and see if it makes a difference
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Re: Another noob looking for advice

Postby Arjuna » Mon Jun 07, 2010 1:10 am

Get the addons "TidyPlates" and "ThreatPlates", then you can immediately see what mob it is that you don't have threat on and can taunt back.

They are extremely useful when tanking multiple mobs!
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Re: Another noob looking for advice

Postby theckhd » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:25 am

Koatanga wrote:The only thing I don't like is that you still have DS/DG, which really only makes sense to use if you are bubbled, which you can't do in a 5-man without getting everyone else eaten. Seriously consider tossing those points into reckoning, which is a great 5-man ability in combination with SoC.

Pet peeve time. Every time someone says DS/DG aren't main-tank abilities, Theck kills a kitten. Please, won't somebody think of the kittens.

That said, if you're speccing just for heroic clears, you probably will get more mileage out of Reckoning for the extra SoComm damage. But if you're going to do any T9+ raiding, DS/DG is definitely worth it.

theckhd wrote:
exiledknight wrote:he also reccomended switching to reckoning being a MT since its almost never you use Dsac

This is terrible advice, as well as a pet peeve of mine. The fact that he's recommending dropping Dsac because "it's not a MT ability" would be enough for me to ignore any other advice he gives you in the future. It means he completely misunderstands both how the ability works and how strong it is in progression situations.

Dsac has gotten me more progression kills than any other ability in my arsenal. I pop it almost every fight. Some fights I coordinate it with the other paladins to cover predictable damage spikes, others I use it to ease pressure on the healers whenever things look dicey. Either way, it is an incredibly powerful raid-wide cooldown that can often make the difference between success and failure.

If the ability read "Reduces damage taken by all members of the raid by 20% for 6 seconds," would you take it? Because that's what it does with an appropriate /cancelaura macro.
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