Mean, but squishy. And, when do I step up to the plate?

My Death Knight is Blood Spec DPS.  And he does a good job of it.  (Recount+GearScore tell me so.)  So when I join the Looking for Dungeon queues I do so as DPS.

I’ve enjoyed the instance running since I started it at level 72 or so.  I’m now 80 and in Tier 9+.  And I’ve run every dungeon, in Heroic Mode, through the Pit of Saron.  (I’ve been to the Pit of Saron twice, and on the 2nd visit managed to free some slaves.  7/15 so far.  I have to free them all, 15 at least, to complete the quest and move on to the final 5-man instance in the game, the Halls of Reflection.  If I’m not mistaken.)  That’s to say: I’ve been around the block with my Death Knight as DPS.

Now since I’m obviously one Death Knight in the group, and the LFD tool doesn’t tend to stack multiples of the same class on purpose, I’ve very rarely partied with a tanking Death Knight.  (On an oddball run with my wife’s level 71 Death Knight, we found ourselves in the Nexus with 3 DPS Death Knights.  I kid you not.  There were more ghouls than you could shake a stick at.)  But, again, I’ve not had any experience with partying with tanking Death Knights on my Death Knight.  Once, in the Halls of Stone.  He did pretty good and I was making mental notes of how it was done.

But Cenotaph has pretty much rounded out his kit now.  You can’t accrue any meaningful amount of Badges of Frost running the daily random dungeon.  2 a day isn’t a lot.  And I got my 50 and bought a cloak with it.  To accrue enough to buy the full set of Tier 10 will take 1,234 days, or some such, and I’m not going to put myself through that.  And with the gear I have I can see all 5-man content and I’ll have to content myself in picking up the best of the 5-man content offerings on a catch-as-catch-can basis.  There *are* some upgrades yet and I look forward to getting my hands on them.

However, and the point of the topic, I am now running the random dungeons with my Level 80 Paladin.  I PvPed him into a full set of Deadly Gladiator gear, with additional Titan Forged items and a PvP ring.  He’s also got the crafted DPS gear (iLevel 200 helm & boots & titansteel destroyer) so his hit rating is heroics ready.  And so I took him into some random heroics, as DPS, where, as luck would have it, in the few runs I’ve done, I’ve mostly had Death Knights tanking.  They may look mean and have all the right plate in the right places, but dang, they sure do take a lot of damage while they’re tanking.  One was dual wielding, the other two-handing it.  The one with the two-hander did a better job of holding mobs and surviving the fights.

I’ve always maintained two sets of gear on my Paladin.  DPS (3 sets actually, full PvE Hit, PvP Resilience) and a tanking set.  (The tanking set includes iLevel 200 crafted helm, boots, and shield.  I’ve got the tourney axe as well.)  I’ve got 534 Defense in his tanking gear.  So I’m 1 point short of what Heroics will need.  Trouble is I haven’t tanked anything since the Headless Horseman last October.  Queuing him as a Tank, I’d have seconds to wait till a group popped for me.  (Not the 12-15 minutes required for DPS runs.)  I’ve got the basics down.  I’ve followed the recommended talent build.  I’ve set up the 96969 sequence and spent a bit of time on a practice dummy getting the flow of it. (In Seal of Command my mana dropped like the gas gauge on a ’71 Plymouth Roadrunner.  With Seal of Wisdom up it felt like I could continue the cycle forever.)  Anyway, being a Paladin, my heart is not in DPSing, but tanking.

How do I handle a group when I start tanking for them?  I’ve run every instance in heroic mode, as melee, so I’ve got the gist of what happens.  As a test I went into normal Utgard Keep and tanked my way solo past the entry and the burners.  I’m not some paper-thin strawman.  Do I let them know “I’m new at this, bear with me.”  ?  If I offer to let them kick me, and they do, does my dungeon cooldown start or am I free to try again immediately?  With 12 minute waits for DPS, I’d say the world needs more tanks.  I have a tanking class, and from what I can tell, Paladin’s tanking make for the smoothest runs.

And I figure I’d better get used to tanking with my Paladin before I venture into Death Knight tanking ala dual wielding Frost. (That Rimefang’s Claw that dropped for us, which I won with a 100 greed roll (earning me “Greedy”) would be a shame to waste and should be a good compliment to the slow mace that I got in the Tournament of Champions.)

Alas, there’s no practice dummies for tanking.  Only unwitting party mates that queue up and get stuck with you.


About Kinless

Gamer. Engineer. Lived lots of places.
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8 Responses to Mean, but squishy. And, when do I step up to the plate?

  1. Don’t use seal of wisdom in heroics. Stick with vengeance for bosses and command on trash (if you have it talented). Using blessing of sanctuary restores mana every time you avoid or block an attack so you won’t have any mana issues when something is actually attacking you back assuming you also keep up divine plea. At the very least you taking damage and getting healed will also restore mana.

  2. Kinless says:

    Yep. I’ve set up my bars so I have four seals visible: Vengeance, Command, Wisdom, and Light (old habit I guess).

    I read in the forums where Seal of Command on trash was like “cotton candy on a dark chocolate stick.” I do have Command talented, going the Prot+Ret approach.

    I’m also using Power Auras so hopefully Divine Plea remains hugely noticeable.

  3. dorgol says:

    I recently swapped my warrior’s 2nd spec to Protection – but I hadn’t tanked anything on him since level 60 Stratholme. However, thanks to lucky drops (Rimefang, Ick’s Thumb, shoulders, gloves, belt, boots) and emblems (head, chest, legs, ring) I’m at the heroic Def cap and have 28 / 29k HPs. I’m still using DPS bracers and a DPS trinket (damn normal ToC), but I figured “what the hell”.

    As my first test run I intentionally set myself up for Heroic UK. I knew the basics, but wasn’t really comfortable with my keybinds yet. I did an OK job, but according to recount I only took about 55% of the overall damage. I never once mentioned that I was new to tanking, and no one ever asked.

    I went back to town, redid my spec and keybinds slightly (better AOE threat, more intuitive ability placement). Oh, and I actually did my glyphs… 🙂

    That was Saturday evening.

    I’ve done two or three heroics since, and things are working pretty smoothly. I’m far from perfect – I forget to use Shield Block and Shield Bash – but my Threat and survivability are good enough. I did a Heroic UP run where I took 90% of the overall damage, so I’d say it’s better.

    I never mention I’m a new tank. People don’t ask. I haven’t even had anyone call me out on missing two gems and a few enchants. I did, however, voluntarily remove myself from Heroic Halls of Reflection since I just don’t trust myself well enough to pick up the waves in the beginning.

    All this with one caveat – I’ve already tanked every heroic as a Protection Paladin. I already know the pulls, which target needs to die first, and all the boss abilities. Some of these you will know as DPS, but some of it you will have to learn as you go.

  4. Jacob says:

    If you’re new at tanking, probably the two things you’ll need to learn are situational awareness and snap threat.

    Situational awareness is keeping an eye out for nearby monsters, so if a patrol walks into aggro range you are not suprised, you already saw them and already have a plan for how to pick them up.

    Snap threat is hitting an enemy hard quickly, so it focuses on you before your party starts unloading on it.

    For practice, I’d suggest queuing up for some of the classic level-80 dungeons: Halls of Lightning, Utgarde Pinnacle, Culling of Stratholme. Practice them a few times. Once you feel comfortable in those, queue up for “random normal dungeon” or “random heroic dungeon”.

    You can try to warn your group “I’m a new tank, please go slow on DPS and give me time to get threat”… but they may not listen. :-/

  5. Ratshag says:

    Queueuing up fer the normals is a good plan fer starting out. One, folks there will be a lot more patient if ya tell’em yer new at it. Two, if ya got some epics the DF may put ya in ToC, where ya gets a shot at the Uber Tanking Trinket of Awesome, plus other goodies.

  6. Kinless says:

    Uber sounds uber. Yeah, not all normals are normal.

  7. Kinless says:

    Good advice Jacob. But I do blame my 2nd run, in Forge of Souls of all places (random ftw?), on half the DPS not knowing the devourer of souls fight and dying, annoying the other half of the DPS and healer and them dropping group. At least I picked up some nice DPS pants off the Godfather.

  8. Joel says:

    For one, you don’t “handle” a group when you tank for them. In my experience, if you tank even *slightly* below perfection, they will rip you apart. It’s a thankless job, so just push ahead anyways cuz everyone knows it has to be done.

    Two, yes, you are free to try again immediately after getting kicked.

    My heart has been on being a tankadin since level 10 on my main… no matter how hard I try, dps will always give me shit no matter what. Just because their job is easy doesn’t mean they can ridicule you for choosing the most difficult task, but they do anyways. Don’t take any bullshit, and be thankful to the people who help you constructively.

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