Noob Tank

So my pally has been level 70 for a few days. I have dumped a lot of gold into him to get him geared to tank, replacing al most every piece of gear I had when I was 69. By yesterday, my defense was up to 480 and total avoidance (with Holy Shield) was about 85%. About 11.5k health and 11.5k armor, unbuffed. I’m not ready for the big stuff yet, but I’m close.

However, I have done very little actual tanking. I have only tanked 2 or 3 instance runs in Outland.

Surprise! Yesterday my guild wanted to do the first couple of bosses in lower Karazhan, and they invited me to come tank. It was a mix of a bunch of alts with a few of our regular raiders.

Results: mixed

We did get Attumen and Moroes down. However, we were too slow getting to Attumen due to a wipe on the way (my fault) and my overly conservative strategy since I was figuring out my own capabilities. So we had to wait out the respawns and reclear.

Things I need to figure out…

  1. The big difference I have to get used to… is aggro range. As a rogue I am in stealth between fights. I can wander around anywhere, often peeking around corners to find pats and such. As the pally tank, I tried to get into position to mark targets and here they come running at me, unmarked. Before anyone shouts NOOB! you should try playing a rogue. Aggro is a complete non-issue when you are always in stealth. It took me a while to figure out the aggro range on the Kara mobs.
  2. I am still learning my abilities. I generally use my Avenger’s Shield to pull for the high initial threat, but sometimes that grabs too many adds (which happened in Moroes’ room – 2nd wipe that was my fault). Someone whispered me and asked why I wasn’t pulling with Exorcism. Duh! Undead! /headslap
  3. When double tanking Moroes, I would get gouged and he switched to the druid off-tank, as planned. When gouge wore off, I had trouble getting aggro back again. He’s immune to taunt, of course. So the druid basically became the main tank while I tried to catch up to her threat.

The personal issue I have was rating my own performance. As a DPS, I have the damage meter to tell me if I did well or poorly. Not that I have to be #1 on the meter, but I can compare my numbers to past runs and see if I improved. As a tank I have… nothing, really. Yes, I caused a couple of wipes. But when I was tanking, was I generating enough threat? Should I take the blame for every death? I don’t know. I have no feel for it. How do I know if it was a “good” run?

P.S. – I did get the Crimson Girdle of the Indomitable… that put me over the magic 490 defense.


3 Responses to “Noob Tank”

  1. June 25, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Still look on the Recount meters, just not to your bar. You’re in a guild, so you should have at least a general idea of how many DPS or damage people should do on a run. If they do less than normal, that could be because they have to hold back because of threat issues.

    Stupid wipes don’t count if you’re learning 🙂

    Oh, and if you have a hunter, you could ask him to Misdirect Moroes to you after a vanish, though it has a 2 minute cooldown.

  2. June 26, 2008 at 7:52 am

    There are several things I look at to measure my tanking performance:
    – As Saithir said, generating enough threat that your DPS doesn’t have too hold off “too much” is high on the list. How much of a lead do you have on Omen?
    – Crushing blows on bosses. Pallies (and Warriors) shouldn’t be taking “too many” crushing blows from most bosses. Try uploading a combat log to WWS (free account will work) to get a count for each boss fight, and use that as a benchmark. You will probably have more than you think at the start – I didn’t believe the numbers the first time I checked them – but work getting that number close to zero will help in the long run.
    – Pacing. Often times the tank sets the pace, and learning to keep things moving at a reasonable pace is hard. Very hard. Give yourself time to get this down, but do try to pay attention to it.
    – Skill rotation. This is another stat thing, but based on cooldowns I know how many times I *think* I’m using abilities (or at least the ratios between abilities.) Using WWS and/or Recount you can track your actual usage. Are you really using you highest threat abilities as often as you think? (Length of fight)/(cooldown time) is always greater than actual usage, but by how much? Are you prioritizing the right abilities?

    None of these are as easy to track as DPS, nor quite as cut-and-dry. Knowledge of the fight and the situation are required to interpret the results, but these are where I’d start.

  3. 3 Jon
    June 26, 2008 at 11:58 am

    Avenger’s Shield is great for pulling entire groups that you want to tank yourself. It can even be used alongside CC now as it won’t break a CC’d target unless they’re targeted directly.

    The downside is the uncertainty of which targets the shield is going to bounce to. This can be problematic in situations where you are expecting your OT to get aggro or maybe a hunter to pick a mob up for trapping.

    Fortunately, Paladin’s have an easier time learning to tank and pull in Karazhan thanks to the ace up our sleeve known as exorcism. Almost all the mobs in Kara are undead (save for a few bosses: Maiden, Opera, and Netherspite) so use this spell liberally. Use it for pulls instead of AS for more control. Add it to your rotation on bosses to bump your TPS and don’t forget that you can switch to your secondary target and quickly cast it before switching back (or use a focus macro) for that extra threat boost you might need to stay ahead of your DPS for when the first mob goes down.

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