Tanking Basics and You. – How to become a better tank
As this is my first article I’d like to take sometime to introduce myself before we get into the swing of things. My name is Bob I’m 24 years young from the great state of New Jersey. Ive been a gamer all my life. From my early years running on the NES power pad and shooting ducks all the way to my years playing halo and spending countless nights raiding. The last few years I have mainly been playing World of Warcraft. I still play the console games and some other computer gamse but WoW is on top of the list. I’ve played every class type ( dps melee, dps caster, healer, and tank ) and my main is currently a tank. I’m here to share my love of games with you guys and offer any tips and tricks. Hope you enjoy.
Now to get to the topic at hand- Tanking in World of Warcraft. There are a some basics that I’ve put into 3 categories that will help you become/continue to be a good tank in raids.
Raid Presence of Mind
Communication is a key aspect in raids. You’re not out there by yourself there’s 24 other people out there all trying to accomplish the same goal and if you can’t communicate with them you’re in trouble.
There are 2 people ( usually) that you should always be chatting with in a raid. That’s the other 2 tanks. You can get a lot of valuable info from talking with them, whether it be there experience in a certain encounter or there spec/gear make up. Don’t be afraid to throw out some tips to you’re fellow tanks. You may know something they don’t.
Another group of people that you should keep some contact with during raids are the healers. You may be the back bone of the group but they are the glue that holds it together. Certain fights need a lot of movement and some healers may not know the path you will be using. By talking to them they can get into a better position so you don’t spike or eventually go down. Most raid leaders call out who’s healing who , so while he is explaining the rest of the fight send a quick tell to your healer and give him the skinny especially if he is a new healer to the guild or encounter.
To be a good and valuable tank you need to be a smart player. Knowledge of all aspects of each encounter can take you along way. The first role you should know is of course your own. Make sure you are aware of every last detail that involves your job in that encounter. Along with that you should know the other tanks roles in case there is a switch in assignments or the next raid week you are in that role. The more you know and the more versatile you are makes you that much more valuable to your guild.
Along with knowing the roles of the raid remembers is positioning. If you know everyone’s roles you should know where they are in the raid setting. So when you’re kiting that dragon boss and he breathes fire nobody should be getting hit besides you. As an off tank there are a lot of fights where your assignment is to just hold a group of adds away from the group. If you have good positioning technique the adds wont be pulled through or on top of the raid dps and to far away from your healers. When holding these adds its key to pay attention to the other aspects of the fight. If there is an unexpected change and the main tank goes down you should be in good enough position to quickly taunt the boss to prevent a wipe.
Pull management is another solid attribute for a tank. Aoe groups can be treaky if you are new to tanking. They key is getting max threat on the main target of the aoe pack as fast as possible. While thats going on you also need to be working on your aoe ablities. In raids its not usually to bad due to the fact that you have two other tanks helping you and spliting up the aoe pack. With some bosses the pull can be the roughest part of the fight. To become a better puller you just need to keep doing dungeons and raids. The more experience you have the better and eaiser things will become.
Alot about tanking is your actual character, ie your gear, spec, rotations… etc.
When it comes to gear the first thing you are looking to do is getting defesnse cap’d. With out being cap’d you are useless. After that you can work on gaing more stam and/or avoidance. I myself have two sets of gear. One that is stam based and another that is more avoidance based. These sets go along with my specs. With duel specs I’ve chosen to go with 2 tank specs. Gearing yourself for your spec is key. For example as a dk if you are unholy and using bone shield you want to have more avoidance then a blood tank, so you gear yourself accordingly. The best way to find out what gear is best for you is to head over to http://www.wowhead.com and do some reserach.
Knowing your class and the way it tanks is very important. All four tank classes have differnt ways of doing things. You need to be smart with your classes cooldowns. Poping thing for no good reason could hurt you a minute later when its truly needed. Each class has its “sheild wall” type ablity and should only be used when absolutly needed. Managing your cooldowns will ultimatly help your surviablity and your healers.
Threat is somehting every tank needs to focus on. If you can’t handle your groups dps you may have an improper rotation or the way you are pulling could be flawed. When pulling you shoudl be using the biggest threat producing ablities on your action bars. Maintaing threat is just as important. Letting mobs go is a quick way to get booted from a group/raid. For example one thing I like to do when holding 2 mobs is start by using a high threat producing ablity on the target that will be dps’d first. I then move into a single target attack then into a few aoe ablities. Your few aoe ablities shoudl be enough to keep the non dps’d target on you as noboyd shoudl be hitting it, so you can focus your attacks ont the main target. At about 25% I like to switch my focus to the second target to start building a threat lead, so that when dps switchs theres no chance somebody will pull.
As a tank you should be fully enchanted with the proper tank enchants. You should also be carrying consumables and flasks with you for each raid. Dont rely on other people to drop feasts or give you flasks. Depending on your spec and gear you might need certain flasks and food.
You should have a clear interface. Nothing should block your view from whats going on in the raid. Omen threat meter is a good add-on to have to monitor your threat. Some sort of bar mod is also nice so you can move your bars to quick positions and your cooldowns will be easily viewable. Pulling out raid tabs or having an add-on like grid is a good idea aswell. The ablity to target your group memebers to either intervine, give them a buff, or help pull something off them will be handy in any raid setting.
Overall alot of becoming a good tank is trail and error. With proper research and experience you can help your guild down any boss Blizzard throws at us.
My sister and I did a video to showcase the many hairstyles on World of Warcraft. The main thing that ensued was a whole lot of debauchery and laughter. Check out the outtakes from our video here and then click the video to Subscribe!
One Saturday in March, I decided to air my getting to level 80 on World of Warcraft. Some of you attended and some of you did not. The key thing here though is that it gave me SO much insight into the type of people who watch and follow girl gamers.
People would log onto the cast and would first ask, “What is this?” The first reaction they had was one of surprise… How could people be watching a girl game? They waited a bit to see what I would do – maybe I would pause for some comedic relief or offer up some instrument playing of some sort – but I just sat there gaming… Grinding to level 80.
I met many, many interesting people that day. Those people who popped in and out all day to check on my progress and those people who popped in long enough to be a bit of a bother and to be moderated out of the channel. All in all though, it was amazing to see the outpouring of support you all had for a girl gamer.
The webcast proved to me that girl gamers really are unique in this industry but also that they are needed. We need to have a voice that speaks loudly and is opininated on games that some game developers may not think girls play. Some of you may be reading this and thinking that I am being all femininst-like and I want to clarify… I’m not a feminist. I simply want women around the world who game to be taken srsly when we have opinions.
I want to see things like high level character customization, scenery that suits both a female and male audience, girl characters that don’t just make a boy’s mind run wild but that actually look like a normal girl… You know, equality. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Lara Croft and blood elves from World of Warcraft are some of the hottest gaming characters but I would still love to see a few characters who were gorgeous AND had normal proportions (y’all know what I’m talking about…)
That being said, I do love being a part of an industry that is more male-focused and here’s why… In a group of women, I wouldn’t get away with screaming “DIE MOFO” at my monitor but when I’m around the guys, it’s cool… No one minds and in fact, they egg the behavior on. I like being able to throw down the heels, take off the earrings and just game – talking about all sorts of things I wouldn’t normally talk about.
After all that, I just want to say that I love gaming and am so glad that others do too. Awww, insert corny, “You’re such a girl” here.
Ever since I began gaming, I have found that I am not alone in my insomniac ways. Before, I was always up working on my business because in all reality… what else was there to do? I would work and work and work and find myself over time slightly frustrated that all I did was work. So, I picked up gaming again after a short six month hiatus.
Instead of reaching for The Sims 2 (my default game), I reached to World of Warcraft after a friend’s recommendation. At first I was impartial… Ya, it was all right but it wasn’t pulling on my heart strings so to speak. After time though, the WoW haze crept over me and my brain like a slow, rolling fog.
I learned over time that playing online, late at night, isn’t something you need to do or have to do alone… Quite the opposite. Most of the people I’ve met play from 10pm – 4am and they are happy doing this… I’ve spent many a Saturday night playing until the break of day on Sunday. When my life doesn’t have things going on it that require my primary attention, there’s nothing like a gaming marathon to set the world right.
I wonder why so many insomniacs turn to gaming… Or, is it that the games make people have insomnia? I know when I get into a game, being tired is not an option. I don’t feel it… just like I don’t feel thirsty or hungry either! It’s a bad cycle that I think needs to be looked at. Sometimes we get too enveloped in a game that we forget that the minutes, hours and days are passing before us.
I think gaming gives people a reason and a need to stay awake. With a game like World of Warcraft, there is so much to do and so many social events happening (an instance for example with everyone on vent is a very social thing) that I think people experience that euphoria that most of us get when we are with people who share similar interests to us. It makes us feel validated.
Another thing I’d love to know is the demographic layout of a game like World of Warcraft… Is it primarily kids in school? People with jobs? Self-employed people? Older people who don’t work? It’s interesting to me to not only play WoW for the sake of playing WoW but to also analyze people and their rituals and preferences around this game.
It’s pretty clear to me after playing this game for seven months now that for many, this isn’t just a game. This is a lifestyle and you have to have the lifestyle that supports the play level you are looking to reach. For some of you it might be just casual play (like me) and for others it manifests in the form of crazy raiding schedules and guild events. Whatever your style of play though, don’t forget that there is also sleep and food and in-person human interaction and events going on in RL (real life) too. Keep a healthy balance and both worlds will appreciate you that much more.
For those of you who play often and do specific things inside of WoW (raiding, instances, questing, gathering, etc.) there are really great add-ons that you can get to make your life easier. I often get asked which add-ons I use so I wanted to outline those here and explain what they do so that you can get a sense for what I use inside of WoW.
Add-On #1: Bartender
Bartender is simply amazing for customizing your action bars in-game. You can put them wherever you like, adjust the size of them, add bars you couldn’t see before and so much more. It has allowed me to put my portals and teleports up on the main screen all the time (as a mage) and not have to shift-click to them.
Add-On #2: Recount
Recount is great if you want to know how much DPS (deeps) you do in your group or on your own. You can set it up to track all of your DPS for a set amount of time and then you can do a recount on it. It’ll rank you against everyone else in your party and you can also broadcast the info out via raid or party chat. This becomes particularly helpful when you are trying to place higher DPS’ers in various groups or have them burn bosses faster. Plus there is something sexy about knowing that you place high in DPS… It just feels good!
Add-On #3: Quest Helper
Quest Helper, also known as QH, is by far the MUST-HAVE add-on for WoW. I don’t know how people could quest without it… Seriously. It would be like questing on Lord of the Rings Online. Warhammer Online figured this out by doing the nice pink area around or near what you need for the quest but Quest Helper has taken WoW to a whole new level.
What the add-on does is shows you where on the screen the items you need to gather are and the bosses you need to kill as it relates to open quests in your quest log. You can always turn it off too but once you have it, you’ll never go back. Think about driving across the country, in a country you’ve never been before blindfolded and without a map.
Add-On #4: Deadly Boss Mods
This add-on, otherwise known as DBM in the WoW community, helps you determine different unique abilities that bosses in WoW have. It also shows you when their buffs and debuffs spawn and how long until they disappear. Very cool in terms of knowing when to counterspell, mass dispel, etc. your target – specifically in raid groups.
Add-On #5: Auctioneer
If you place stuff on the AH to sell, you need this add-on. It will help you with pricing, availability, rarity of an item and so much more. It’ll also track your auctions over time showing you past posted prices, how to under price your competition and how many auctions just like yours exist. Very helpful to someone like myself as I’ve earned over 3,000 gold just from the auction house alone! My highest auction was 80 gold so you can see how many items I had to sell to get there!
What do you use in your World of Warcraft experience? What have you found to be helpful and what was a total waste of time?