Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Birth of a Tank

Over the weekend I was able to try out tanking on my paladin for the first time, and it was quite the experience. I should probably provide a little history and background information before jumping into the meat of this post.

My main is a space goat enhancement shaman whom I raid with and love dearly. I enjoy playing melee DPS, but the issue is that shamans are often overlooked for raiding if you are not spec'd resto. For whatever reason, it seems everyone hates DPS shamans unless they need heroism/bloodlust for their raid. When not running with my guild, I seem to have the roughest time PUG'ing raids or heroics on my server. Since I have no interest in healing, it didn't leave me much choice but to roll another class, so I created Grettir.

Triv and I have been leveling as a team since we rolled these alts. He's been taking care of the support role as a resto/balance druid and I'm keeping the baddies from smacking him around too much as a protection paladin. Because we have been sticking together throughout our leveling, it can seem a little slower seeing as we only play when we both have free time. Trust me: it raises his ire when I start to pull ahead in experience gained. Though, I don't think it should really be considered my fault that Blizzard has made all those lovely buckets of candy available for us players.

I'm starting to ramble… So, we finally made it to the Outlands last week and after running around grinding quests for a bit we decided to break up the monotony by putting together a PUG for Hellfire Ramparts. We picked up a warlock and a death knight right away after sending out a request for DPS, followed by another death knight shortly after. The first death knight that had joined instantly dropped out of the group once the second came in. I guess some people are afraid of competition… kids these days.

After a few minutes of waiting for other responses we decided to four-man the instance and went in to get ready. I thought it amusing to find that I was actually getting nervous at the prospect of screwing up and wiping the party. For me this was all new and exciting as I really had no idea what to expect. I had only been through this instance once or twice before when I was bored and out farming achievements on the shaman, so I didn't really remember much of it since I had sped through. Also, I started playing after Wrath had been released, so I missed out on a lot of The Burning Crusade content.

Once everyone had the appropriate buffs, it was time for me to bite the bullet and pull. I am sure the others were sitting there thinking, "WTF is this guy waiting for!?! L2Play noob!" Of course when I did muster the cojones to pull, everything went fine making my worries seemingly unfounded. As a result, this made the ol' ego inflate just a bit, and I thought to myself: Shit, this stuff is easy-peasy. You probably know where this is heading…

A few pulls later I ended up not realizing a patrol had walked in between two groups, which in turned had me pulling all the mobs, and we wiped. I felt like a total douche as I threw the obligatory "my bad" out in party chat. The warlock dropped from the party and the DK just laughed it off. We ended up pulling in a warrior the DK knew and were able to complete the instance without any more problems. Afterwards we ended up going through the instance again for gear. This time it was quick and painless with no wipes, so I started feeling pretty good about it again.

From there we headed into Blood Furnace and that turned out to be a bit tougher as I hadn't ever run the instance before. I only screwed the pooch once in there. After we downed The Maker, I ended up accidently pulling a patrol in the hall behind his room which cascaded into three or four more other mobs rushing us.

It was pretty late after we completed BF, so we called the group. They both said if we were going to be running more instances to ping them if they were on and they'd be more than happy to tag along. I thanked the two for putting up with my noobish tanking ways and was waiting for some harsh criticism, but the warrior just laughed and gave me a couple of pointers. The main suggestion was that I should learn that Righteous Defense is my friend, and the other was to watch my bubbles. The latter was completely my fault as I had just switched a key binding around for a new macro. My brain was sure that Hammer of Wrath was at that location, so I had bubbled a couple of times on accident.

Overall it was a great experience and I had loads of fun learning a new role in the game. Tanking has also taught me a few things about playing a better melee DPS as well. Every DPS should know to stay out of the fire, but seeing it from the tank's view elaborates on the why. Controlling your threat is another skill that I don't think enough people pay attention to either. When I was tanking Nazan in Ramparts the DK with us ended up pulling aggro away from me at the wrong time and was summarily roasted quite thoroughly with dragon breath. This also made me realize that I need to be aware of my threat levels to make sure I am keeping aggro well enough that DPS isn't ripping it away from me.

The instances were also a great source of experience, especially with only the four of us. I have the heirloom +exp items equipped and was almost 150% rested before we started the runs. I was getting around 1200 exp from each regular mob killed, but don't remember how much more the bosses gave, if any. We also completed Weaken the Ramparts and Heart of Rage which rewarded 25k experience each.

From those three runs, I went from level 60 with 75% to next level to level 63. Not too shabby for two to three hours of played time.


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