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Posts Tagged ‘5-man’

4.3 5-Man Tanking Upgrades

November 17, 2011 Leave a comment

As you probably know, in patch 4.3, in addition to the Dragon Soul raid, Blizzard is releasing three new Caverns of Time-themed 5-man heroics, which will drop item level 378 gear, including a full tank set. This will give us a nice selection of gap fillers and minor upgrades for raiders, and a whole new baseline set for the non-raiders still stuck in 353 Troll gear.

As usual in any gear discussion, the rankings here are based on my own warrior’s gear set unless I state otherwise. What is an upgrade for one tank may be a downgrade for another, so please take recommendations with a grain of salt, and when in doubt, spreadsheet it out for your own character.

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Button’s Cataclysm Pre-Raid Best in Slot Lists

December 14, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve never really understood having a single “best in slot” list for tanking (or healing) gear. It makes sense for DPS, since in most cases what you need won’t change by the fight. Sure, you’ll have your occasional caster bosses or fights where you attack from the front, where melee could use more or less expertise; but generally these are fights where the raid is struggling with execution, not with DPS.

Tanks, on the other hand, have a lot to gear around. There are fights where sustained threat matters and fights where sustained threat is a joke; fights where armor and avoidance matter and fights with 100% magical damage (or nearly); fights where the most important thing is to take as few hits as possible, fights where the most important thing is to take as little damage as possible, and fights where the most important thing is to take as small of hits as possible; and of course, fights which call for X, Y or Z type of magic resistance, while gear of that resistance type is useless on most other encounters. To say that a certain gear set is best-in-slot can only really be done with reference to what it’s best at.

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In Which Lost City Brutalizes my Sanity

December 13, 2010 1 comment

For those of you just joining us, I’m going through the normal mode dungeons completely unprepared and without DBM, for the fun of learning the encounters through wiping. Please excuse any idiotic mistakes we made, because we literally don’t know any better.

Dear god they weren’t kidding when they said this was going to be harder.

OK, to be fair. We went in with 4/5 of the group undergeared according to the dungeon finder, and our one raiding DPS also underleveled. I was level 85 and nearing geared-enough-for-heroics, but Blanket (who was healing, as holy) had just dinged 84 and was drinking between most trash pulls as he became accustomed to his spells’ newly inflated costs.

We did OK until we got to High Prophet Barim, after easy kills of the first two bosses. Then we hit a wall of OOM.

First it was “OK I’m standing in Blanket’s good ground stuff WHY ISN”T IT HEALING ME OH GOD IT’S A WIPE.” Then we figured out that Blanket hadn’t been the one to put down the big bright circle, and so we should stay out of it. Next I tanked the big bird and tried to gather up the Soul Fragments too, but they kept disappearing and giving the bird health. OOM again, wipe. So then we tried DPSing the fragments down like on Bronjahm. Sorry, OOM, wipe. Try again. Again. We concluded that DPSing the fragments takes too long; kite them and burn the bird! We finally got to phase 3, but hey, OOM, wipe.

OOM, wipe.

OOM, wipe.

OOM wipe OOM wipe OOM wipe OOM wipe.

And me out of alcohol too. I could have used some. Read more…

A Little Link Love: Mo’ Content, Mo’ Problems

December 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Recently, my WoW time has been occupied with… actually playing WoW! So instead of writing a marginally insightful post cribbed from assorted influences, I’ll throw you the influences and let you sort it out.

First up we have an old old old favorite of mine by Reversion of Looking For More: Profiling Tanking and Healing: the ‘Shape’ of the Fight. I’ve been meaning to bring this excellent post up for ages, but Reversion covers it so well that I honestly don’t know what to say on the subject. It deals with the effect that kill orders, CC and doing a pull right has on multitarget fights, which makes it particularly apropos now that we’re in the expansion’s 5-man phase. Go read it! It has pretty graphs.

Speaking of the 5-mans, Pwnwear has two very useful compilations: first, how to find them, and then how to beat them. I personally am keeping to my “Go into every (normal mode) instance fresh and have fun wiping while learning the mechanics” method of instancing, but I know not everyone is crazy. By the way, Death Knights, if you’re not following Pwnwear you definitely should be.

Now, on to the theorycrafting! Rhidach has laid out his preferred (paladin) tanking enchants for the expansion at Righteous Defense. Because paladins can reasonably block cap his priorities and preferences are a little different from mine and many of yours, but nonetheless it’s a solid starting point for any tank. On the warrior side, Lujanera is working out which meta gem we should use – +armor, or +block value? The math is ongoing on this one, so if you’re a mathy kind of person, come weigh in.

Finally, while you wait for me to finally get my act together and post up my pre-raid BiS list, check out Rhidach’s pre-Heroics gear list.

Speccing for Cataclysm Five-Mans

December 3, 2010 2 comments

I strongly believe that one of the worst things that ever happened to leveling tanks was WoWpopular.com. Not just that particular site, of course, but it and all its ilk. Sites that recommend specs, glyphs, talents, even high-profile bloggers who are working on top-tier, hardmode content, and thus provide a cookie-cutter raiding spec with discussion of maybe the one or two talents they consider controversial or interesting.

The problem with this is that these are the results that Google comes up with when the level 10 nub, looking for where to spend his first talent point, searches “Best [class] tank spec.” These are the results that the DPS who doesn’t actually care about tanking finds 5 minutes before he slaps on a shield and queues for randoms with the coveted Tank Queue.

Shortly after the Frozen Throne wing was released I remember seeing a spike in obviously new warrior tanks, tanks who could barely handle H FoS, much less H ICC, maxing out Safeguard at the expense of Focused Rage, following Veneretio’s venerable example, though in most cases probably second- or third-hand. Months later, when my own guild was working on LK 10 30% easymode and I specced Safeguard for the OT utility, I got to see this phenomenon first-hand: not a month later a guildy dusted off an old warrior alt, copied my spec point for point, and complained that he was having a hard time with threat in heroic dungeons.

I was baffled. Apparently, a significant portion of the five-man tanking population completely misses the point. (Not that raid tanks are necessarily any better; just that I don’t see many of them.)

What is the point? The point is that talent trees exist for exactly one reason: customization. If you’re not looking at your talents and thinking, “How will this work when I’m using it?” you’re doing it wrong.

That’s not to say that all the discussion that goes on in the tanking community, on blogs and forums and in private conversations, isn’t valuable. Quite the contrary – do you intend to calculate each talent’s usefulness on your own? Will you catch every implication, crunch every number? Never overlook a potential gain in performance because of your prejudice against the previous version of the talent/ability? Of course not. But ultimately, all of the theorycraft in the world should only inform your choices in talents. To make the best choices, you need to also consider yourself, and the content you’re running. The question should never be, “What are the best talents for tanking class x y or z?” The question should be, “What are the best talents for me in my situation?”

On December 7th, tanks who had formerly been doing nothing but 25-man raiding, concentrating themselves on bosses bosses and more bosses, will have to shift gears all the way back down to 5-man content. Plate DPS who queued as tanks for instant heroics and let the overpowered DPS and healer carry them through instances tuned for 20k health blue-geared tanks will have to step up or stop tanking. And all of the speccing recommendations and principles to live by which we’ve used for raiding will be out the window.

So let’s practice thinking about our new priorities.

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