Circle of Tanking

Because I actually have some free time I feel like writing about WoW in, and because I wasn’t active when the first one went around. Nabbing from lonomonkey, because that’s where I saw it first and bloggers that update every two months don’t tend to get tagged in these things.

1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary tank?

Jujutan, paladin, 0/31/10.

2. What is your primary group tanking environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)

10-man raids. I’ve never played at all in a 25-man as a tank, I do as few 5 mans as I can get away with unless it’s “drunken fun with guildies” ballpit time, and the less said about me and PvP, the better.

3. What is your favorite cooldown for your class and why?

RRRRRAAAAAAIIIIIDWAAAAALL. Divine Guardian fits very nicely into my desire to feel like a physical barrier between the raid and the pain. Hand of Protection also falls into this niche; these two cooldowns are the reason I will probably never follow through on my musings to switch my main to my warrior or DK. No matter how much more fun I find the tanking mechanics on those two, I can never give up being able to save my healer with a bubble.

4. What tanking CD do you use least for your class and why?

As a broad rule I’m *always* looking for an unlit cooldown, but I’d say Lay On Hands. The only time it generally occurs to me to use it is as part of a planned rotation in a painful burn phase; my muscle memory “ohgod don’t die” button is Ardent Defender. I really should use Guardian of Ancient Kings more for the same basic reasons, too. My favorites are the short-term cooldowns I can rotate to create an overall mitigation effect.

5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your tanking class and why?

The fact that we have many of the tools a healer does, since many paladin healing tools are baseline and we don’t have to tank shapeshifted like bears do. Word of Glory (that can be used on anyone, not just me!), holy radiance, hand of protection… it shames me that it didn’t occur to me until just now that I can bind Hand of Sacrifice into my VuhDo settings and help out my co-tank with that and divine protection when he has Beth’tilac… seriously though, our toolbox is awesomesauce with kittens on top.

6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your class and why?

We are notso hotso on snap threat without hitting a couple of cooldowns, and for the first time since I started playing a protection paladin I feel kinda weak on AoE threat compared to some of the other tanking classes. Granted this could just be me; my build and gearing and glyphing grabs all the survivability I can get and only makes concessions to threat with what’s left over. Vengeance means only the first 15 seconds of a boss pull really matter, but those 15 seconds can get too interesting for my taste at times. Seriously though, protection paladins are in a very strong place right now and have been for awhile.

Now, if you asked me what I thought the worst aspects of the class were rather than our weaknesses… our rotation is still boring as hell even if it is better than it was in Wrath. Our mastery is the most boring thing ever to bore compared to the other three tank masteries, and it appears it gives Ghostcrawler heartburn in the bargain. There isn’t a ton of variation in valid talent builds; for the most part we have good talents and bad ones. We do get some wiggle room in whether to tune for threat or survivability, but we don’t have as much functional and stylistic choice as warriors and death knights get.

7. In a raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best tanking assignment for you?

I are main tank, put me on the boss, please. I’m not rigid about this, though; my co-tank and I trade MT and offtanking duties depending on our class strengths and weaknesses relative to the encounter. He’s a bear, so his strengths are not mine and vice versa.

8. What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with most and why?

I agree with lonomonkey from the other side- death knights complement my class amazingly well. Sorry to my bear bros that I’ve tanked with most often, especially given my DK partner was a bit of an ass, but mechanically speaking it’s true.

9. What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with least and why?

Is there any tank or healer answering this survey that’s not saying “another of my own class, diversity brings the best advantage?” I know I’m not going to disagree. Aside from the sheer mechanical reality that it’s best to have two toolboxes rather than an overlapping duplicate, it also keeps me from getting pointlessly competitive.

10. What is your worst habit as a tank?

I need to mind my own damn business. For pretty much all of Wrath and about the first half of tier 11, plus heroics, I got used to watching the whole party or raid as though I were a healer. The back half and all of Firelands I’ve experienced so far have forced me to dial my focus in more because I had none to spare, and it’s just freaking needless for the ground tank to be having anxiety attacks about the health pools of people on the web during Beth’tilac.

11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?

I’m a tank. Doesn’t that make me definitionally a control freak? Probably the easiest way is people failing to be psychic and realizing exactly where I mean to tank a pull and opening up/charging in before I have them where I want them. I HAVE ARRANGED THE MONSTERS JUST SO, DO NOT DISTURB MY FENG SHUI!

13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?

I analyze the healing taken logs in World of Logs a lot to evaluate what talents/strategies are working and what’s not, which is how I wound up as the only consistent Seal of Insight paladin tank I know of and came to love glyphed word of glory/filled-out-rule of law/guarded by the light. (I meant it when I said I put survivability way over threat.)

I’m lucky enough to have been healed by the same druid for about two years now, so I rely heavily on his input for how easy I am to heal or whether a change was meaningful or not. We both spend a lot of time tinkering and comparing results. Having the guy on my back be almost always the same guy also helps a lot when it comes to evaluating how spiky and bit the damage I’m taking is.

14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your tanking class?

That we’re EZmode. After taking 3/4 of the tanking classes to 85 and one to around 50 I do think paladin tanking is the easiest to learn if you’re just learning how to tank period, but it takes just as much intelligence and work to play a protection paladin well as it does any of the other classes. If you don’t use the toolbox to its fullest extent, we can be squishy.

15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new tanks of your class to learn?

To realize that we’re not just pink warriors. There’s a ton we can do to help the healers and pallies that don’t do it are depressingly common. It’s a big toolbox and it takes time and experience to realize its full potential.

16. So, how about that whole vengeance mechanic, eh?

W/e. I guess it made hit and expertise meaningless to me but beyond that I don’t really care. I’d rather be spending my focus on living than fighting the DPS for threat over the bulk of the fight anyway.

17. Stamina, Combat Table Coverage, or total Damage Reduction?

CTC. I exist first to make healing me at all as unnecessary as I can, and second to make the damage I take very smooth. For a paladin, CTC is the most direct route to this goal. ARE there still any raiding tanks that stack stamina? “HI! I’M A MANA SPONGE!”

18. What tanking class do you feel you understand least?

Bears. Despite tanking WITH them more than any other class, I’ve actually PLAYED them the least. I mean haste on gear and crit as a survival stat lol wtf? It turns what I know about plate tanks on its ear.

19. What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in tanking?

I’m an addon addict. The ones I use specifically for tanking, specifically for this class: Hear Kitty to remove my need for a holy power display. Tidy Plates/Threat plates, because following a nameplate to a healer is a lot easier than following a cat-sized red mob on a red background when your camera is zoomed out to outer space. VuhDo, for my big library of helpful spells and to help me track debuffs and raid cooldowns. (Used to be Grid, but I lost my temper and patience after the last time a patch broke it and its many plugins.) These are the three I couldn’t live without, but I’ve also got Quartz, OmniCC, Power Auras, BigWigs AND DBM, Shadowed Unit Frames, and and and…

As for macros, I’ve got one to cast and cancel my bubble, and one to Captain America worshipping players during Cho’gall. That’s actually about it.

20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your tanking stats (stam, mastery, avoidance), or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?

I try to stack mastery, but not as much as I theoretically could if I started reforging ALL my avoidance stats to it. I’m not close enough to being able to block-cap to make that valuable. Also it offends my sense of order.


One Response to Circle of Tanking

  1. lonomonkey says:

    Even if you post every 2 months, it was still an enjoyable read. Glad you joined in.

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