Tankadinning the Forge of Souls Trash

January 31, 2010

Since it’s the top search landing people here… might as well.

The giant skeletons are trivial to tank. They have a spell reflect that gets hilarious when you have an arcane mage in your group that’s a little too hasty about casting those purple magic missiles. This is much less amusing if you’re the healer.

For the first caster group on the hill, wait until the patrolling Bonecaster pulls up level with the stationary mob closest to you, then whang them both with Avenger’s Shield, then whack the other two with Hammer. As long as you manage to get two for the first throw, the rest of the pack are fairly easy to round up and AOE-tank. Apply this tactic to the other group later on with a patroller; this will be your only chance to actually hit more than one target with your shield during the caster pulls.

The groups of casters that are arranged in a five-point pattern are distanced so that it’s impossible to smack more than one target with your shield on the initial pull. Get the Adept if one’s in reach (they have an obnoxious heal), then go either clockwise or counter-clockwise pulling the others with whatever abilities you have. I recommend saving your Reckoning as you will need both your taunts at the ready- if you don’t have someone helpful CC’ing one of them, there will always be the one caster running out of range and thinking about blowing up the healer. The best way to handle them is to have the DPS focus fire and burn down the worst offenders as fast as possible- the Adepts and then Animators. If the rodeo lasts long enough you may get the chance to use your Captain America throw again; do this to pull in strays.

Turn the big ghosties on the last run to the Devourer away from the rest of the group as they have a frontal cone attack. This is NOT the time to chain-pull- they will buff each other if they are in range of each other, so suck up the Divine Plea cooldown and tank them individually.

Tradeoffs and Dungeonrunning

January 31, 2010

One of the primary inspirations for tank and healer rage- and healer and especially tank shortage- in random groups is the DPS. In a raid, everyone has to be on their toes and executing their roles properly in order for the group to succeed; in many of the fights I’ve been part of, the DPS have more challenging parts in the encounter than the tanks do. Good DPS debuff, dispel, move as needed, switch targets on the fly, avoid needless damage, and keep the pressure pouring on the boss at a rate sufficient to make soft and hard enrage timers. They’re every bit as important to the team as the tank and heals, even if one or two are more expendable when it comes to what determines a wipe versus a skin-of-the-teeth kill.

In most normal and heroic 5-mans, this just isn’t true. As long as the tank and the healer are decently geared and have skill, they can drag weak, underperforming, and sometimes flat-out AFK DPS through the instance. A good DPS can make those tanks and healers feel a bit warm and fuzzy, but the DPS mostly stand out to them in all the ways they can make life difficult instead of easier. Bad DPS can create an amazing number of problems for the tank and healer- and will almost invariably blame said tank or healer, loudly and with foul language, for their own failings. Bad and obnoxious tanks and healers exist, and probably make up the same relative percentage of bads and douchebags, but the absolute numbers of DPS versus tanks and healers makes the stereotype of the aggressively fail player belong firmly to DPS.

Worse than that, there are enough strong tanks and healers, and enough bad DPS, that a large number of them come to actively expect to be carried through an instance- that it’s just not something they can get away with, it’s actually the tank and healer’s JOB to pull everything and hold aggro on it no matter what happens while the DPS stand in the fire to avoid interrupting their rotation. Exacerbating this is that the only real visible measure of success for DPS, the damage meters, actively encourages play that makes the tank and healer’s life hell- by numerically rewarding pulling early, not paying attention to threat, massive AOE early and often, and tunnel vision.

The sensation of constantly being forced and expected to carry people, and being berated when we can’t or won’t, has left a lot of tanks and healers feeling pretty grouchy about the whole arrangement- as well as pretty entitled about our indispensability to the game. A DPS can afford to sleepwalk or loaf through an instance if he or she chooses, but the tank never gets that luxury. Even in heroic Utgarde Keep, which is as easymode as it gets at 80, it’s possible to wipe the group by failing to notice when something starts eating the healer, or failing to keep everything’s attention, including the ghost, during the Controller/Constructor fight. Depending on the healer’s gear and type of healer they get more leeway than the tank (Ossifer Bear in his tree guise used to slap HoTs on me and the most threat-happy DPS, then watch TV while running), he likewise faces a minimum amount of attention span and sobriety level. Meanwhile, it’s possible to be drunk off your face and autoattack as a DPS and not wipe the group.

Due to this, some tanks and healers quit group or grief the group at the slightest provocation, feel no compunction about dropping any instance they don’t like (after all, THEIR queue is only seconds long once the debuff is off), and generally acting like pissy prima donnas- because, after all, they deserve more. I sympathize; I’ve dealt with pretty much every flavor of asshole there is while tanking in randoms, had a bit of a meltdown in /gchat after the second fail HoR in a row*, and don’t spend a whole lot of time in really random randoms in general, because my tolerance has worn down. But, I don’t because it’s simply not fair to the strangers I group with for me to come in toting a planet-sized chip on my shoulder to begin with- *most* of the people I’ve run with are at least adequate if not downright pleasant and professional, and they don’t deserve my bullshit as a fallout.

I don’t believe I deserve more because I’m a tank, because as I see it I’m already getting more. There’s the obvious benefit of having an instant queue on hand anytime I want one that I can offer to my friends when I feel the need for my daily frosts, which is so attractive that a few idiots have tried signing on as a tank and then attempting to convince a plate DPS to tank it instead in hope their desire to get going will outweigh their rage at the line-jumper. (Fat chance.)

More than that, though, what you get in exchange for the headaches of tanking or healing- more responsibility, more blame, more expectations- is yet more extra reward. You’re more likely to get the blame for wipes, BUT you actually get the power to prevent them far beyond anything a DPS could dream of. When you’re a DPS and see things going wrong, you *might* be able to help the healer and tank out in a crucial way with a CC or dispel if the situation is just right- but the odds are your options are pretty well limited to “die, watch everyone else die, listen to the bickering”. When tanks or healers pop cooldowns, they might save the party- when DPS do it, they get somewhat higher numbers on Recount.

If you’re the tank, you have iron control over the pace of the fight and what gets fought and when- and the power to punish the impatient by refusing to taunt when they try and do it for you, and there is absolutely nothing they can do about it except try to kick you, which probably won’t work unless the party is all friends. If you’re the healer, you can refuse to save people from their own stupid, or even cease to heal people who merely irritate you with their attitude, and they are likewise helpless to do anything about it except try to kick. When I got frustrated with tanking randoms, I tried for about a day and a half to go in my DPS spec- and gave up not because I couldn’t handle the long queues, but because I hated feeling like just another space-filler.

With great responsibility comes great power- and that’s our reward, beyond badges, that the DPS just can’t have.

*the line “lol its easy see u just drop consecrate and stand here” still haunts me.

LFD, Social Contracts, and Value

January 30, 2010

Rohan of Blessing of Kings is on the blogroll for a reason, and that’s because he’s a damn good pally who posts a lot of informative and thoughtful things about both the class and the game in general, so he makes for good Warcrack blog reading. Most of the time I agree with him. (Or her, I don’t actually know.)

Gevlon of the Greedy Goblin fame did his usual thing of sparking off controversy with his other usual thing of calling out the bads and attempting to change the social atmosphere to shun bad and posting about it. Rohan tut-tutted his methods, which are rather self-defeating as well as antagonistic (in the group he talked about, he got votekicked for his pains in trying to votekick a warrior whose DPS he deemed unacceptably low), but then opined that he was basically right in making an attempt to improve the quality of play in heroic dungeons, even if his methods were both doomed to fail and socially unbecoming.

So, I find myself in the relatively infrequent position of disagreeing with Rohan, who says:

Why then is it verboten to point this out? Maybe all the people who advise you not to make a fuss are just cowards. They’re afraid of being called “mean” or “elitist”. Who cares about about other people, so long as you get your badges. Much easier to take the safe route and avoid confrontation; to laugh about a poor player in guild chat behind her back.

Surely the better path, the harder path, is not to turn a blind eye to poor players, but to help them become better ones.

The difference between Gevlon and I is what we believe are the motives. To Gevlon, bad players are “morons and slackers”, who are bad players because they choose to be bad. In my view most people want to be decent players, but a lot of them don’t really know how to be good. They don’t see the path from what they are to what they could be. Or worse, they ascribe the difference entirely to gear, which is pretty much the worst mistake you can make if you want to be a better player.

Pointing out that a player has poor DPS is not mean. It’s a fact. If you can shame or push them into seeking out external information at Elitist Jerks or the WoW Forums, that’s pretty much the only thing which will make them better players.

Well, for one thing it’s entirely possible to be factually correct and “mean” at the same time. If I point out someone’s parade-float sized ass and I’m not their doctor or their hired nutrition coach or personal trainer, I’d still be the bitch in the situation because the size of their ass is none of my fucking business even if it is unhealthy or aesthetically unpleasant. It’s not their responsibility to provide me with an ass of pleasing proportions to gaze upon as a part of my public vista, and it would be rude, highly inappropriate, and definitely “mean” of me to call them out on their corpulence. Not my business unless they went out of their way to *make* it my business, and even then I’d probably be a lot more tactful than I just was.

Heroics, on the other hand, are a murkier area, because theoretically everyone is depending on each other to finish the instance and get their badges and loot without spending a lot of time floorgazing and racking up big repair bills. If the tank or the healer is bad, the party eats floor, and there’s relatively little that the rest of the party can do to make up for a weak link there- but a strong tank and healer and two or even one truly strong DPS can drag along weak DPS like so many tin cans on a car bumper. Thus, there are quite a few weak DPS, and quite a few strong players that are accustomed to the dragging, with varying levels of resentment about this.

First of all, it’s important to define what “weak” DPS actually is. Heroics are intended to be entry-level content, which means a forgiving bar for a DPS to contribute meaningfully- say 1-1.5k is enough, and triple digits are in the realm of “serious liability” territory. It was when the dungeons were truly new and no one had set an elite little piggy into Naxx yet, because they were the first place to go to start truly gearing up for the end-game content that sets the gamers from the nubs. Ah, but the player Gevlon tried to get votekicked was doing 1.1- enough for the content if on the low side, but well below the tank suited in blues, which to him was unacceptable. (I should note this was Halls of Lightning, not any of the new Icecrown instances, where north of 2k is generally mandatory.) So it’s sufficient DPS, it’s just also bad. The guy isn’t going to make the group wipe, but he is subpar.

I hear Gevlon described as a “libertarian” a lot, which is kind of funny to me because I usually approach life from a basically libertarian philosophy and run in those circles, and damned if I’ve ever met one as into social engineering as he is.* Heroics are entry level content, and the random queueing system has also made them lowest-common-denominator content; the implicit social contract is likewise lowest common denominator, as I have discussed before. Guilds have explicit social contracts usually laid out in the charter and policies, and that’s why we can make high demands of raiders and even fellow guildies in heroics- but the people you meet in the random system didn’t agree to that contract, just “I will provide the minimum level of performance required to complete the instance”. You can also form on-server ad-hoc social contracts by putting together a premade PUG yourself, stating your desires for an increased level of expectation. Social contracts weaken the larger and less voluntary you make the pool of people involved, which is why anarchy doesn’t work** and why the lowest common denominator can rarely be raised much without sacrificing a lot of people- which a pay-for-subscription game can’t really do. To my mind, this puts bad-but-sufficient DPS in random LFD groups in the same category as people with Macy’s Day Parade-grade asses: unfortunate and not what I prefer, but their performance as players is really none of my business unless they solicit help, so long as it meets the “sufficient” mark.

Whether or not it’s anyone’s rightful business to call out low DPS even if you do it as nicely and helpfully as possible, though, is a separate issue from the one I’m going to address next, which is that I think Rohan is making a pretty critical assumption I think is unwarranted, and changes the complexion of the issue a lot for me. To repeat from the earlier quote:

The difference between Gevlon and I is what we believe are the motives. To Gevlon, bad players are “morons and slackers”, who are bad players because they choose to be bad. In my view most people want to be decent players, but a lot of them don’t really know how to be good. They don’t see the path from what they are to what they could be. Or worse, they ascribe the difference entirely to gear, which is pretty much the worst mistake you can make if you want to be a better player.

Now, this certainly did describe me when I was a fresh 80. I signed on as a hunter to a guild run of Eye of Eternity while still wearing mostly blue gear when Maly was progression content, and I sucked. I did about 1.4k dps, and I was painfully aware after the third wipe or so that my low DPS was a big part of why we just couldn’t get the fucking dragon down. I wasn’t the only one, or the only problem, but completely insufficient DPS was the root of the problem. I had simply had no frame of reference that different raids had degrees of difficulty, or what the basic requirements of me in each place would be. I was mortified, and I dived into research to find the best places to gear myself up piece by piece, refine my spec, and learn the nitty gritty of my shot priorities, and found an addon to give me a ding to remind me when to swap out of Aspect of the Viper when I needed to be paying attention to a lot of things at once.

Now, the key points of this little confessional are this: 1. I was already running Recount without having been asked to, because I wanted to know how I was doing, especially in relation to my teammates. 2. I did not need to be asked to do any of the follow up work, because I was already aware of how to research and where to find the information I wanted. 3. I did not need to be motivated to identify problem areas and correct them. All I *needed* was to know I was doing poorly for my level and the content I wanted to do; everything else came naturally.

I always use strategy guides and websites and seek out as much information as I possibly can when I play the game. To me, the research process itself is self-rewarding, because then I can start planning how I want to use the game mechanics and which play style to refine and which content I want to shoot for. This process is not work to me; it’s a huge part of the fun of playing the game. That’s part of my personality; I don’t do it because winning the game is terribly motivating to me, or because I care all that much if I fail, but because the process itself is the reward inherent in the game. If I find the content tedious or the game too hard or too unsuited to my strengths and weaknesses as a player, I’ll put it down and walk away without a second thought except a mental note to trade it in at Game Stop. Achievement is not my drive, exploring and using a system is. In Bartle terms, I’m an explorer- I raid because it allows me to continue exploring and because the richest content is usually in the raids. If I were more of an achiever, I’d be in a more hard-core guild, but because my secondary motivations are social, I’m happiest in a casual raiding guild.

The thing about the Bartle test is, it applies to gamers– people who are already, by definition, pretty serious about playing games. World of Warcraft has as many subscribers as it does because Blizzard has found ways to appeal to not only all four main gamer motivations, but to true casual players as well- people that aren’t exactly gamers but play Warcraft because they get fun out of it. This includes the people who see strategy guides as silly wastes of time and money, people who are playing because they get to be a bear, RAWR, people who are playing to spend time with friends or family who are into the game, and everyone else that doesn’t get the same kind of inherent rewards out of studying and applying themselves in a game that I, and the general personality types that raid and that read and write Warcraft blogs, do. And there’s nothing wrong with that– it’s their fifteen bucks a month just the same as it is mine. They’re just getting a completely different kind of value out of the game than I am- and playing like me would significantly lower the value of the experience for them.

Speaking of value, before I close out this monster (and I’m already thinking I need to do a couple of followups on related subjects when I have time), I’d like to address the notion that players who don’t want to call out bad players always must because they hate confrontation or because they don’t want to be perceived as mean or elitist. It’s just flat not true. I generally will not try to kick a player unless they’re causing wipes and even then I won’t unless I see no other way to progress- but it’s not because I fear confrontation or being seen as a hardass. (I generally have more problems coming across as more intimidating than I mean to be than being seen as a doormat.) It’s because of that value thing again: I value having an experience where I don’t have to deal with intragroup drama far more than I value getting through the instance faster.

No, it doesn’t make my heart bleed. Far from it; I have no trouble breaking my foot off in someone’s ass when they earn it. I am polite until pushed not to be not because I fear being perceived as anti-social, but because I AM anti-social- I don’t really want to interact much with anyone who’s not a friend or guildmate or anyone else I choose to spend time with. The thing about courtesy and a little bit of distance is that it doesn’t just protect you from being seen in a bad light, it forestalls all sorts of tedious emotionally charged social interactions you’d rather not have. Having an argument with four strangers, or volunteering to coach them when they never asked or wanted me to, is infinitely more emotional energy than I care to expend on my badge-running- and it is less aggravating to me to work to haul a poor group through the instance (or quit the group) than it would be to try and socially engineer them. Being polite to everybody means you can glide through public life with little disruption- it’s the grease of civilization.

I don’t mind carrying weak players in heroics as long as they fulfill the basics required because they never signed on or agreed to anything more, and I don’t give a damn why they’re weak because neither the content nor their likely reaction to my obtrusive interest- interest that would assume they’re just like me, or that they suck as players or people if they’re not- warrants it. When and if they want to raid with me, and sign on to that contract of expectations, I’ll mentor or stomp ass as is necessary- but the people in LFD aren’t asking to and many would be affronted or confused that I assumed they’d even ever want to.

*Also, no true Scotsman would ever drink English whiskey. Trufax.
**In the usual blog circles I’m in, saying this would be like staring into a mirror and saying “Candyman” five times. Surely it’s safe on a Warcraft blog, though- right?

Be This Guy, Not That Guy

January 27, 2010

Much is made of gear and spec, and these are indeed very important factors for a raider. If you just don’t have the gear or your spec lacks core talents (or you’re using your PvP spec to raid with, which is a no-no as a rule), you’re not going to be able to perform effectively. But when it comes to actually sitting down with nine or 24 other people and getting the raid done, the raid leaders want more than just the very best-geared player; we actually have to work with you, and in that sense intangibles start to matter a lot. When it comes to picking who gets to go to the first crack at the progression content, the best-geared player isn’t even the most desirable choice compared to these factors. Everyone knows attendance and coming fully stocked with consumables and fully repaired are important and appreciated, but there are other things.

Be the guy who helps the raid leaders understand why a wipe happened. I don’t really hold it against you if you got healer tunnel vision and stood in the fire; I just want to know why we all died and where it started to fall apart so we can work on that in the next go. If you tell me what killed you even if it was your own fault, I appreciate it a lot.

Don’t be the guy who is functionally mute except when asked a direct question. This is technically not a huge raid sin, but it’s not helping us out either (including helping lower the tension and frustration levels after wipes), and it’s the above guy that’s going to get noticed and get mentally slotted into a particular spot in a raid role in the raid leader’s head.

Be the guy that is thinking about the way the way the fight works and ways that certain problematic mechanics could be dealt with. When brainstorming is going on after a wipe, even if you are undergeared, having ideas and volunteering to do other things than sit there and spam your rotation will get you noticed and appreciated.

Don’t be the guy who tries to take over the raid leader’s job. Offered ideas are good, but reacting to wipes by trying to completely redo the strategy, or take over fight explanations, is not. Trust me, even if the RL WAS completely clueless, this will irritate even if all your ideas are adopted- worst of all, it confuses the hell out of the rest of the raid, who now no longer have any real idea whose directions they need to follow. This applies to Vent, too- keep the channel clear when the fight is in progress.

Be the guy who’s making a visible effort to polish up the character they raid with. So much good gear can now be obtained on a player’s non-raid time that this kind of thing will really stand out; if you hate PUGing, make an effort to initiate heroic runs or a special effort to be available for guild random runs at peak playtimes.

Don’t be the guy who gears up the character and spec they raid with exclusively through raid drops. Regardless of how casual the guild is, believe me, this will be noticed- and even if we write the officers out of the picture, the rest of the raid probably has most of the same tools they do, and they will resent being forced to work harder in raid to make up for what they see as your disproportionate lack of effort. It’s also a really bad idea to be committed to powerlevelling your significant other (or similarly engrossed in something that will in no way benefit your performance) during raids or heroic runs specifically aimed at helping undergeared members. Doing all these things is fine in a casual guild- as long as you’re not expecting a consistent raid spot at the same time.

Be the guy who treats disagreements, grudges, worries, and other potential sources of drama as though his guildmates were co-workers rather than as if they were drinking buddies. Joking and teasing and friendship are all things we hope to get out of the guild experience- but anything that could potentially cause ugliness is best conducted in private channels, and preferably to the officers you trust most before it emerges in /gchat, /ra, Vent, or whispers to others.

Don’t be the guy who vents his frustrations on his teammates when wipes occur, or that uses addons like Failboat to call people out in public on things like standing in the fire, or that calls everything and everyone he doesn’t like “gay”, or the guy that hits on or makes otherwise persistent sexual comments to his female guildies. Don’t be the girl who tries to use the presumed exoticness of being a gamer girl to try and manipulate other guildies (and especially the officers), or throw tantrums and expect them to be any more tolerated than they would be from a male player. Trust me, ladies: we’re not that rare, and chances are everyone is entirely over your possessing boobs.

In short: make the impression you make on your teammates be of the guy that makes everyone’s life a little easier from time to time, and doesn’t carelessly make it harder, and you will go far just about wherever you go.

Nosing Around In ICC

January 26, 2010

Marrowgar down, some hilarious figuring out of trash pulls (dear Stingray, the time to inform us of a sparkly trap is not *after* the giant skeletons have spawned), then kersplat on Deathwhisper which we could only attempt twice because our hunter had to leave for work.

We really had no business being there given more than half of us are still realistically only ToC geared, so it was nice to at least smoosh Mr. Skull and Bones. We’ll come back and own the place in a few weeks.

I have a longer post in draft, but after cooldown dancing and chasing Deathwhisper adds hither and yon I am now a flatadin.


January 22, 2010

I don’t know what it is, but it always seems like some guilds have issues attracting and keeping certain roles and/or classes. They’re always starved for tanks and some plate DPS-at-heart has to grumpily climb into a defense-capped suit every week in order to get the raid done, or they have to chronically thump the bushes for healers. Goodness knows when I browse the realm forums and look at what guilds are recruiting for what just to keep up to date, it seems like a dramatic proportion of them are looking for trees, resto shamans, holy priests, healadins, or something, anything defense-capped with a high armor score to get hit in the face for the team.

This is not Reprisal’s issue. Right now we have enough people who really would prefer to tank and *more* than enough people who are healers at heart or ONLY healers to form a second ten-man team, something which I would really like to do just so we can have happy raiders doing what they prefer to do. (Also, it’s really difficult to keep people motivated to be as geared as possible for the raid when they’re not using the spec they most enjoy playing with.)

What we lack is DPS, enough that we sometimes have to stretch to fill the ten-man team we have now, never mind a second one- AND two of our core, reliable DPS were tanks in previous lives who are doing the DPS thing now in part because they got sick of always being the one stuck with the role. So, we have a grand total of four people that are DPS, only DPS, and are doing it because that’s the role they enjoy most in the game- and two of them suffer from chronic scheduling problems due to work issues.

I sympathize, I really do. I retired my hunter because I was most thoroughly bored with him and with ranged DPS in general, and my offspec is Ret rather than Holy only because that’s the role that actually needs to be filled if a fight only requires the one tank. Ossifer Bear is regretfully retiring his tree spec in favor of kitty or boomkin (he hasn’t decided yet) for the same reason.

There must be SOMEthing about Reprisal’s guild culture that attracts and keeps the personality types that are most satisfied guarding or mending the raid rather than kicking the shit out of the boss, but damned if I could say what it is. In the meantime, my frickin’ kingdom for a DPS shaman- we want bloodlust!

What You May Not Know About Tankadins

January 20, 2010

Inspired by Phelps and aimed at the people I wind up in randoms with, here’s a few things about Paladin tanks that may not be apparent from the outside yet are important to know if you’re trying to work with one.

1. Paladins are fantastic at generating AoE threat- under certain conditions. Those conditions are: we must be able to stand still, we must be able to maneuver mobs in front of us, and there must not be more than an upper limit of about 5. If these conditions are met, you Icecrown-geared mages and warlocks can rain down all the pain you want and I’ll still have a comfortable lead over you on the threat meter; if not, I might as well have my sword stuffed where the sun don’t shine, because some of them ARE going to go back to the line and have themselves some cloth burritos.

If I’m using Seal of Command, which I usually do in heroics and when tanking trash packs, then I have four threat-generating abilities that affect more than one mob; avenger’s shield, consecrate, hammer of the righteous, and shield of righteousness. Consecrate makes for a lovely DoT tick affecting all mobs in its area, BUT I can only lay that glowy gold down in one particular spot; if I can make mobs come to me or round them up and then choose my spot, it’s very helpful. If I can’t do either of those things, it’s nearly worthless if the DPS isn’t focus firing. (Note to Halls of Reflection DPS: it is also NOT A TAUNT, god dammit.) Hammer of the Righteous generates fabulous spike threat- BUT it only hits five targets if I have it glyphed, four if I don’t, and ONLY targets in front of me that are sufficiently close to one another. Avenger’s shield also generates great spike threat and can hit more than one target AND will silence most casters for a few seconds- BUT they have to be, again, in front of me, and the targets have to be close enough to each other to catch the bounce. Shield of Righteousness, if SoC is on, acts like a holy cleave; but again, only on mobs that are in front of me, close to each other and to me, and it has an upper limit of about the same small number of targets. I also have no true AoE taunts, only Righteous Defense- which affects three mobs maximum.

Under the right conditions, I am a righteous holy threat generating machine and DPS needn’t worry about passing me on that meter. Outside of them, a warrior or bear that can generate threat on mobs that are chasing him with AoE abilities that affect all mobs and work on targets not in front of him has a significant leg up on me, because all I’ve really got on them while I’m trying to run over and pick up the next caster is my sheer force of personality. This is why my co-tank Ossifer Bear tanks the Onyxian Whelps, while I go play with the infernals during Jaraxxus. And the caster five-groups in Forge of Souls appear to have been deliberately designed to thwart cocky Paladins.

2. My threat depends on holy damage, not on strict damage done or a baked-in threat bonus mechanic like Defensive Stance or Frost Presence. This means two things: one, if I am out of mana, I am out of threat, and I’m all of a sudden significantly behind any of the DPS in ways to generate it beyond taunts, and two, my abilities to maintain high levels of threat actually depend on two innocuous-looking talents buried in the Protection tree and not on anything intrinsic to my wearing a Devotion aura and a shield.

Holy spell damage normally depends on spell power, which does not come on tanking plate. The talent Touched By the Light turns a stat that DOES come on tanking plate and is otherwise pretty useless to us- strength- into spell power. Protection paladins that aren’t thinking carefully about how their threat mechanics actually work, and aren’t using a cookie-cutter build, sometimes skip this talent, because hey, what does a tank need with spell power? Others may take it too far and start gemming for spell power without realizing that all the strength that comes on their gear is more than sufficient. Either are common newbie-tankadin mistakes.

The second talent, Spiritual Attunement, is one that my life would be easier if all healers were familiar with. Our spells are pretty mana-intensive, and since we have puny mana pools, this can create problems; tankadins rely on a very high refresh rate from multiple sources. Judgement of Wisdom returns mana on hit once the target has been judged, Divine Plea returns a percentage of our mana per second when active and is refreshed when we’re meleeing stuff, and Spiritual Attunement turns the healing done to us into mana regeneration. The Divine Plea mechanic is why tankadins in heroics tend to try and chain-pull, trying to keep it ticking when otherwise it has an irritatingly long cooldown. The other two sources are why tankadins have a harder and harder time doing their job in heroics the better their gear gets; targets start to die too fast for Judgement of Wisdom to help much, and the tank takes so little damage that healers with good, mana-efficient healer habits do very little healing to them.

So healers: if you’re running with a Paladin tank dripping in T9 in a heroic, especially if mobs are awkwardly spaced so as to make chain-pulling difficult, overheal him. Healing done when we are full doesn’t count, but overheals when we’re only a little down do. This makes the difference between tank mana starvation and wipes or long breaks to drink, and the kind of fast, brutal experience you signed on for.

3. You know that bouncy Captain America shield throw we do? The one that silences casters? The silence only lasts for a few seconds, and it’s on kind of a long cooldown. DPS and healers in the Halls of Reflection, if you see a mage standing off out of the way merrily zapping away, and the tankadin hasn’t shut it up and hauled it in, chances are he can’t without dragging the rest out of the consecrate. If you have a silencing ability or a Death Grip up, help a tank out- once in range we can pick it up and nail it down pretty quick.

4. Warrior DPS envy is matched only by Paladin toolkit envy. All those interrupts and zipping-around things and disarms and whatnot you do? I wish I could do that, srsly. All I get to do is bubble clothies.