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.
Funny how I often only recognize a need for tank education while playing my healer. After many painful Gahz’rilla runs, it has become apparent to me that there is significant room for education here.
The Elemental Bosses are four holiday bosses associated with the pre-Cataclysm event. They’re mostly updates of vanilla bosses, with one completely new boss who appears to be a knockoff of Thunderaan. They drop item level 251 gear, i.e. gear of equivalent quality to that which drops in ICC10 normal.
All four of the elemental bosses are unlocked by the defeat of the invasions of Orgrimmar/Ironforge and Thunder Bluff/Stormwind. These happen roughly every 3 hours, and the cities of either faction will always be attacked simultaneously. If the invasion of Org/Ironforge is defeated, Flamelash and Theradras become available; if the invasion of TB/SW is defeated, Gahz’rilla and Sarsarun become available. They’re only available for about half an hour after the defeat of the invasion, but you don’t have to participate in the fight to queue for them. You can only queue for one elemental boss at once.
Plate tanking gear drops from Flamelash (Salamander Skin), Theradras (Barrier of the Earth Princess), and Gahz’rilla (Twilight Offering Bands). Melee leather, for our druid friends, drops from Sarsarun (Pulmonary Casing).
Screenshots are up!
The goal of this entry is to give you everything you need to know for base tanking competence and confidence on your first foray into a five-man dungeon, in an easily digestible format that preferably takes less than ten minutes to read. This may be too ambitious a goal. If you found parts of this guide unnecessary, or if you have trouble with something you think the guide should address, please drop me a comment so I can improve it.
The Basic Idea
As a tank, your two duties are to stay alive, and to keep enemies attacking you instead of your party. Staying alive is done mostly by your gear and your healer, but you can help out by only pulling a few enemies at a time. Keeping enemies attacking you is achieved mostly by doing damage to them. Read more…