Tank Circle (Don’t Say It, I Know What You’re Thinking…)
So Orv decided to rally the Twitterati Tanks in opposition to the Twitter Healer population, and present the Circle of Tanking to the masses. This brave Paladin decided to tag me right from the start, so here’s my submission of the newest tanking meme!
1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary tank?
Razíel, Blood Elf Paladin, 0/31/10
2. What is your primary group tanking environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
I am one of two tanks in Tsu Tain Guu Faitaa‘s (Drenden-US) raid team. When I’m not raiding, I’m usually running 5-mans for the guild or putting myself through PuG hell for satchels.
3. What is your favorite cooldown for your class and why?
Hmm…part of me wants to say Holy Shield, just because of the changes to it in 4.2, but I also really like the capability of Guardian of Ancient Kings. Chaining it along with Divine Protection and Ardent Defender (if necessary), can really help reduce the stress on healers when you’re getting your face beat in due to a boss enrage mechanic.
4. What tanking CD do you use least for your class and why?
I actually use the majority of my CDs! I don’t consider it a tanking CD, but I never use Hand of Salvation on my DPS! Usually because I’m trying to keep up with all my other keybinds, and I’ve already assigned Hand of Protection and Hand of Freedom to Healbot.
5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your tanking class and why?
I’ve got to agree with Orv on this one. The great thing about Paladins is their toolkit. We have so many things at our disposal; raid walls, damage reducers, “oh shit” heals, etc. The fact that I can take care of myself and help my healers out makes me a very happy tank–if I can reduce my healer’s stress by utilizing my cooldowns when things get hairy, then I’m a happy player!
6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your tanking class and why?
Again I have to agree with Orv–the lack of a gap closer can be frustrating. Especially when I need to get somewhere quickly and the person I need to assist is too far away for Righteous Defense . When I play my alt Warrior, I love charge! When I come back to my Paladin, I have to remember that I have to run my little belf butt over to the mob (or Avenger’s Shield) to say hi!
7. In a raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best tanking assignment for you?
Adds, adds, and more adds! With my large amount of block, being able to mitigate a lot of incoming damage is very nice, and my healers always have nice things to say about healing me! I’ve been slowly working on piecing together an avoidance set, but I like being able to handle ALL THE MOBS.
8. What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with most and why?
Much to the sadness of my Paladin brethren, I love tanking alongside a warrior. I think between the two classes, we can handle anything that comes at us. With my self-healing capabilities, a warrior’s gap closers, and all the effective cooldowns we have available to us, I think that we work well together. It’s something about 2 shield toting buddies running at a dreggin that keeps it fun!
9. What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with least and why?
I have a vague understanding of Death Knight tanking, from tanking my only geared alt Blood for grins (questing, no instancing so far). I don’t understand bear tanks at all. I know nothing about their coolddowns and I’m not sure what they can bring to the table that works well with what I have to offer. Same deal with Death Knights.
10. What is your worst habit as a tank?
I jump. A LOT. I jump for no reason at all. I jump when I tank, I jump when I wait for a pull. It may be part of the race, but it drives people batty. I also either go all out on CDs, or I completely forget about them because I’m so focused on something else (avoiding fire, grabbing adds, etc).
11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?
People’s lack of awareness. I’m usually told that I am a very aware tank–I have a large expanse of monitor space (30″ of flatscreen goodness) to see what’s going on in the game (which is why all my recordings have everyone looking REALLY TINY), and when I see people not observing their surroundings, running into bad, getting too close to someone, etc., it frustrates me. I make it a goal to bring my A game each time I’m running with others. When other people don’t want to put forth that effort for the team, it bothers me. I realize there’s a lot going on for everyone, but being aware of your surroundings can be the difference between a wipe and a kill.
12. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other tanks for tanking?
I think Paladins and Warriors play well together. I think that Death Knights are still lacking some of the abilities that Paladins and Warriors have (AoE taunt anyone?), and bears could also be in a weird situation, but as I mentioned earlier, I know zilch about bear tanking. I wish that Blizzard had done a better job of addressing tank concerns in their Ask the Devs Tank discussion–I think that Death Knights really got screwed there–they had some very valid concerns that needed to be addressed, and they were basically ignored.
13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?
I use my guildies as my primary tool. We have some incredible DPS that can keep me on the edge of my seat at the beginning of a pull. If I can stay ahead of them and push some serious threat, then I know I’m performing well. I keep an eye on my threat via Omen and use it to let me know if I need to push harder. I also spend time looking over every World of Logs report from our fights to see if there were any moments I took spike damage, if there was any trending that I could find looking over attempts or past kills. I look to see what killed me, how much healing I was requiring from our healers, etc. A tank is only as good as the knowledge they have!
14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your tanking class?
A lot of people look back at Paladins in Wrath and think “2 button wonders” who could generate HUGE amounts of threat and basically AFK. And you know what? I was a lazy tank in Wrath. Threat on a Paladin was incredible. The running joke was that I was going through my “max threat” rotation with one hand and checking my email on my laptop. I was regularly zoned out while tanking, and it didn’t require much effort in Wrath. With the changes in Cataclysm, we do need to work to generate threat and KEEP it. I have to intelligently use my skills to stay ahead of the DPS threat curve. While Paladins may have been AFK and WIN tanks, we do have to work and earn our threat like Warriors, Druids, and Death Knights currently do. People haven’t caught up with this sometimes :)
15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new tanks of your class to learn?
Learning how to quickly and efficiently generate threat, and how to use their cooldowns, and to REMEMBER their cooldowns. Nothing is more frustrating for me than when I am not on my Paladin and I have a Paladin as my tank, and they don’t know how to use what they’ve got. I’ve had Tankadins who do nothing but Judge and Crusader Strike. I’ve had tanks who have a boss at 1%, haven’t used a single CD, and ask me “what?” when I’m frantically typing in chat “LoH! USE LOH!” while I lay on the floor with the rest of the party.
Please please PLEASE take time to study the spells in your spellbook. Take the time to do some reading on various websites (Rhidach writes a great and easy to understand Tankadin weekly column on WoW Insider if you don’t want to get deep into the numbers), take time to learn about what gear you should be using (Int gloves, Agi rings, and DW Blood DKs are just SOME of the things I’ve been told about in LFD lately). There’s a wealth of knowledge out there just waiting to be looked at!
16. So, how about that whole vengeance mechanic, eh?
It’s great when it kicks in, but raiding with a Frost DK, a Boomkin, and some crazy Hunter DPS? The rockiest part of a fight is the first pull and trying to push as much threat out as possible so I can beat them in the race to the top. Once Vengeance is active and I’ve got a good stack of it, I’m good and able to focus on other things, but I describe each pull as “balls to the wall” due to our DPS!
17. Stamina, Combat Table Coverage, or total Damage Reduction?
CTC baby! The fact that I’ve almost capped (and will definitely cap this Tier) the table with coverage makes me a happy camper. I like when my healers say “You are so easy to heal”–it makes me feel like I’m making their lives easier–and everyone knows, you want to keep the healers happy. If the healers aren’t happy, your raid is dying! You never want to have a healer who hates healing you–because then they aren’t having fun and you’re stressing about the hits that you’re going to take. If I don’t have to worry about my healer’s stress, then I’m able to focus on my task at hand.
18. What tanking class do you feel you understand least?
Bears–if you want to talk Bear to me, I will give you a very confused expression. I just don’t understand Druids all that well. I’ve been an awful Cat, a better Boomkin, and a decent tree in a past life. I never got Bears in all my WoW years.
19. What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in tanking?
I use an overall formatted UI called RealUI, which addresses a lot of the visibility concerns that I normally have. The addons I use while tanking are as follows: HealBot, TidyPlates, Omen, Recount, DBM, and RSA.
I use a couple macros while tanking, but not many!
For pushing debuffs off:
/cancelaura Divine Shield
/cast Divine Shield
For absorbing my cotank’s incoming damage (great on Shannox!):
/cast [@focus] Hand of Sacrifice
Cho’gall interrupt fun (why yes, I top the meters!):
/cast Avenger’s Shield
All the macros came from a blog post that Rhidach had done on WI a while back. They get regular use!
20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your tanking stats (stam, mastery, avoidance), or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
I’m a Mastery junkie, which has pushed me over 61% block (which isn’t bad considering I JUST started raiding again when 4.2 hit). I focus first on Mastery, and then work to balance my avoidance stats out due to diminishing returns. The fact that healing me has been described as Cruise Control Healing by my healers is comforting–they aren’t worried about me suddenly losing a large chunk of my health and having to go into panic mode to keep me up. I think my focus on Mastery has benefits for myself and my healers, and happy healers result in an alive tank!
Even though I’m a dirty Horde Paladin according to Vosskah, I’m going to tag him as the next tank that I want to see participate in this Circle of Tanking!
Thanks for reading!