This post is something of a cathartic exercise for myself. If someone gets something out of it great, if not that’s fine too. I feel like I got it out of my system before the next pug either way.
Things every warrior tank thinks every non-tank should know.
My ability to generate threat over an extended time frame is inversely proportional to your ability to generate threat.
Huh? Ok here is what I mean, we will use a mage for this example but the same applies to rogues hunters, or anything else not a warrior or a bear druid.
As a fight commences both of us have two bars. We both have big full green health bars. Under my health bar is a big empty bar. Under your health bar is a big full blue bar. When you do dmg, it drains your blue bar. When I give or take dmg it fills my red bar. You have all the ammo you need at the start of a fight to make all kinds of threat which will pull all kinds of aggro. I don’t have much ammo to generate threat or take aggro, it takes me a minute.
The difference is that at the beginning of the fight, your threat making resource; mana, is full. You at this moment can activate whatever ability you want and instantly create tons of threat. Mine is empty. My resource, rage, fills up as I give and take dmg. Over the course of the fight I will get a lot to spend, so the longer the fight goes on the more and more threat I make.
Problem is at the beginning of the fight I have little or no rage. It takes me time to build the threat to hold aggro off of you.
So what does this mean to you? It means that if you start every pull with your biggest most evil 10 second cast fireball, it”s gonna be real tough for me to get aggro off of you with my empty rage bar.
How to apply this advice: You need to learn to pace your dps. Whether you are a mage or a rogue or a lock whatever (except hunters who feign death whenever the cooldown is up) start off the fight with lighter lower dmg attacks.
As the fight wears on rank it up to the bigger meaner stuff. You can do the same amount of dmg, but instead of front loading all of your dps (and threat) back load it.
Seriously, this is the biggest problem I see with every single DPS class in the game. Yes, I can taunt the mob off of you, but then the taunt is on cool down. What if the mob then does an aggro wipe like a knock down and it goes after you? What if it stuns me right after I taunt so I can’t build threat? You should be trying to play in such a way that you don”t ever have to see the warrior taunt outside of extenuating circumstances like aggro wipes.
When not to stun.
Ok so you have a stun button. I”m happy for you, no really I am. Stun buttons are great. You see a mob start to cast a heal or a “Level 5 Death to Tank” stun him, that”s fabulous. You see something chewing on a healer, stun them, awesome. A mob “attempts to run away in fear” go nuts stun lock them to the floor.
So why insist on stunning a mob I just pulled? Why stun the mob I just taunted? Here is what happens when you do that. When I am tanking I don’t really do dmg to make rage. My little red bar fills up when I take dmg. If you stun early in a pull I don’t get pounded on so I don”t gain threat so I don”t hold aggro, so someone like a healer or a mage is going to get the aggro. This wont usually produce a wipe, most mobs you can stun aren’t a big deal, but seriously, why make things more difficult then they need to be?
If you absolutely need a rule of thumb, wait till there are two sunders on a target before you stun it.
What to do when you get aggro.
The tank won’t always hold aggro. That”s a fact. Maybe the tank sucks, maybe he got feared, maybe he got stunned, maybe you just unleashed a cruise missile that crits the target for umpteen gazillion points before the tank had so much as an auto-attack on the mob. Whatever the reason, eventually you are going to have the mob beat on you.
If you are wearing pajamas and the mob is elite I understand the panic that sets in. You don”t want to get two shotted. I don’t want that either. So let me explain first the two things NOT to do.
Don’t nuke the thing with another cruise missile! You just pulled aggro so why go nuts trying to dps the thing to the floor before it can kill you? This isn’t a lvl 11 Defias Pillager, most likely you wont take it down in time. What you WILL do, is generate another gajillion points of threat that the tank needs to top to get it off of you. Stop hurting it. If you have a threat mitigator (cower, feint, fade, feign death) use it, if not. Just hold still for a sec. It wont be for very long, soon enough you will be sticking it full of sharp metal things or setting the mob on fire again. Just don”t make it harder for the tank to get the thing off of you.
Don’t run for the hills! I am a bit baffled as to where this gut reaction comes from. When you were lvl 40 did you outrun a bear or something? I don’t think you did. Do you think if you run far enough you will drop aggro? In an instance an elite mob will not drop aggro until you are dead or until you have left the instance. Running won’t keep the mob from chewing on your keester the whole time you run around, really it won’t. The mob runs the exact same speed you do. Guess who else runs the exact same speed you do. That’s right, me!
So if train A leaves Pheonix at 5:10 a.m. Pacific time headed east at 45 miles per hour, and Train B leaves San Diego at 5:10 a.m. Pacific time headed east at 45 miles per hour, at what point does train B catch up to Train A? That”s right! Never! So when train A dies in a monstrous fireball or twisted metal and diesel fuel, it is probably even going to blame train B for not saving it.
You need to run TOWARD the tank, at the very least hold still.
Ok Pally OT, bear OT or other Warr OT, when should you taunt off of me?
Um, really close to never. Why on earth are you taunting off of me? Are you trying to prove a point? Are you trying to demonstrate that you can tank as well as me? Great for you! You have tank buttons too. Now I have to burn my taunt to pull the mob back off of you so you don”t die, or so the healer doesn”t waste mana on you. Now my taunt is in cool down if I need it.
The only time you should taunt off the main tank is if I ask you to. When will that happen? Only if the healer dies and I need to bandage, or if it’s a fight that requires a tank rotation. That’s it.
Now of course there are times when things are confusing, something is chewing on the healer and you are trying to save the day and I taunt and then you do too. That”s fine, you did the right thing in saving the healer, don”t beat yourself up about it, you don’t need to apologize to me for it either. I saw what happened, I”m 4% smarter than I look.
When should you bubble me?
I hope this is a priest asking this, I really don’t need divine intervention thanks. If you bubble me I don’t get threat from taking damage. Don’t bubble me before a pull. Don’t bubble me early in a pull. If my bar is mostly red, sure if you think I need the extra mitigation and there isn”t time for a real heal, bubble me.
Don’t BOP me please, it’s a fantastic way to kill healers.
Sometimes we aren’t going to fight the mob out where it is standing. Some times I will even shoot the mob and then duck behind a corner. This is not the universal “unleash your mana wielding ranged casting might” signal. What probably happened is I saw a little blue bar under the mob out there; I want him to come to me so I shot him, then broke line of sight. If you shoot him, guess what, he will stand right where he is and shoot back. Then I have to go out there and risk pulling the whole room to get him off of you unless you figure out how to duck behind corners too, that is assuming that the Moonkin and the Hunter standing next to you didn’t just take your cue and unload their blue wad all over the mob you just launched WWIII on.
We pull 3 mobs on accident. You can sheep or seduce or scattershot or whatever. That’s a fabulous idea. Don’t sheep the thing I am beating on! You know what will happen? It will break and I will already have another move queued up behind the move that broke the sheep which will break the next sheep you are trying to do since you didn”t change targets. You might not be familiar with the “F” key. Click me, then click “F”, now you are targeted on my target, so target something else, anything else and sheep that.
Multi mob pull
Ok so we just got more than we can handle and I am tanking 3 mobs with no offtank. Attack my target would you? I only have so much rage to spread around. If you start shooting something that I am not concentrating on your going to pull aggro, then I have to decide whether I let you die, or whether I go pull it off of you and risk letting the rest of the party die while they keep attacking the thing I was attacking. The “F” key works great for this too.
The off tanks target
Just because I am the main tank does not mean that my target is the most important target to kill. In fact, often it is the opposite. I am the main tank because I take the best beating. The Hunters wind serpent that is tanking that other orc over there wont hold up as well as me. His target needs to die first. My target should be the last one to die. Those other tanks aren’t built to take the abuse I do, help them out. I will be ok, I have all kinds of squishies watching my back. Seriously, go fight the other guy”s target.