View Full Forums : Tanking Woes...

07-22-2008, 08:12 PM
Hiyo Gurus,

I apologize for the really long post. So after playing WoW on and off for a long time and randomly twinking out in a few brackets, I finally dinged 70 a couple of weeks ago. I spent the first weekend working on my epic flight form quest (which is really, really awesome, though the 5k gold it cost made me almost cry when I hit 'train'). I had a bunch of honor from twinking out in 59s so I went and bought most of my S2 gear with that. I've been told that I'm not supposed to really be doing PvE in my PvP gear, but I feel that my S2 epics are way better than any of the blues I got from doing instances.

Anyway, that's the gear I currently have, though for tanking I have two of the +170 armor ring from Durnhold and a +40 stamina, + something defense rating necklace. Anyway, I work a night shift so I'm not on to join any raiding guilds so this last weekend I started doing more instances and Sunday started pugging Heroics.

The first Heroic I tried was Ramparts. It was an utter nightmare. The thing that bothered me is that I didn't feel terribly undergeared since some of our DPS was in blues/greens but I hadn't been to ramparts in a couple of months and completely forgot all the pulls. My group was pretty patient and we did eventually finish it after many, many wipes. Then my friend wanted to run regular Mechanar.

I'd never been there before and it was like 4:30am by the time we got a group together. I warned of this. We wiped twice before the first boss, and the rogue in our group flipped out. I admit the second wipe was most definitely my fault as I pulled badly and grabbed a second group that I hadn't even realized was there (I couldn't see them from where I was standing). However the irritation towards me was pretty evident and a bit scary.

The problem I have is that I am only ever generally wanted as a tank. I have not been to half of these instances before. I have run a couple with my friend as a healer because I had a decent healing set but I realized after I never really paid attention to the pulls. So I've been trying pretty hard lately, but I still screw up. The thing is basically any wipe that's happened is generally blamed on me, whether or not I agree with it.

TL;DR - I seem to fail at tanking. I am a n00b. People get angry.

So I have some questions for the veterans. Is there some magical way to know about the way I'm supposed to pull every group? Like exactly how far, the LoS, along with any pats that might be nearby. Also the way I'm supposed to deal with CC. My groups the past couple of days have been marvelously bad with CC, so I find myself dying quite fast to three mobs smacking at me when the mage doesn't sheep. Am I really that undergeared? I'm going to work hard on my CE rep so I can get earthwarden but for now I just feel like I die so fast if our CC fails. Is there a trick to this? I do alright when the CC is good but otherwise it just becomes a nightmare. Yet my groups always seem to get mad at only me about it.

Also how does one tackle instances they've never been to before? Am I supposed to be doing research or something before I tank these places? I had always thought it was an experience thing but it seems there is very little forgiveness for mistakes. Last night I had a good natured group but we spent 4.5 hours in Hellfire Citadel between Ramparts and Blood Furnace. They even fired me as a tank during the middle of blood furnace and got a warrior while I DPSed (I did notice that didn't stop our constant wipes though as our hunter hated to CC).

Anyway, any help you can give would be great. I know I'm still pretty bad and make a lot of mistakes but I just feel like it's getting so pointless to the fact that I am half tempted to respec to resto because I find healing MUCH less trouble. Also where does one actually get epic PvE gear?

07-22-2008, 09:20 PM
I feel your pain. I levelled balance and resto, and just started playing around with feral. People in general are not patient and usually not very nice when they just want to farm something and not just play.

The best solution I've come up with is to run with friends that will help you learn, and don't be too hard on yourself. Run instances as DPS whenever possible to learn the pulls. Did I mention don't be too hard on yourself?

07-23-2008, 04:01 AM
Hello new druid !
Welcome to our druid grove :>

TL;DR - I seem to fail at tanking. I am a n00b. People get angry

Owh, poor druid.. :< Don't worry, we will try to halp :>

Tanking an instance is as much about leadership as it is about actually doing the tanking.
You mentioned that you had a lot of problems with CC. When I want my group to CC targets, I mark them with an icon. I also use the Skull icon to show them which target to dps next; if you practice for a little while it becomes like having another bear ability;

0 mana cost, 10,000 yard range, can be used while stunned, feared, or dead. Places a skull over the enemy's head. Deals 48939024890 damage every 1 sec.

So to demonstrate what I mean, here is what I would typically set out at the start of an instance:

Hunter: hehe yea totally
Mage: table up
Rogue: back
Me: aight dudes
Me: kill skull first
Me: sheep Star
Me: sap moon

<at this point I have set out what the icons for the CC targets will be. Now every pack we come to, I simply put stars and moons on the mobs I don't want to have to deal with until the end, and Skull the one I'll be mangling first>

If you go into the key bindings (by pressing Escape and choosing Key Bindings from the menu) and scroll way down, there is a section that allows you to assign a shortcut key to "Assign Skull to target". There's one for star and moon and the others as well, of course. I have Skull set to CTRL-middle-click but you could use something else if you prefer, like R or ` (tilde - the key next to 1).

So in this way without even needing to speak in party chat (and thus sit around not doing any fighting), you can quickly assign targets to each pack you come to. No chance of confusion, or that someone is dyslexic and picked the wrong target to CC. This method of instantly planning the pulls has proven to be very effective in the past for me.

Also, when the Skull dies, I normally set another skull on the next mob immedietely. That tells the dps which target it is "safe" for them to hit without pulling aggro from you, and it helps to make the aggro a lot more predictable for you as a tank.

Also with regards to exploring new instances - if you really want to you can go and check out the boss's abilities on or whichever site you prefer, but there isn't any clear formula about mob adding distances, you just have to gauge it as best as you can.

If you're not sure about a pull, one really good trick is to go into cat form and stealth, then wander in and take a proper look. :>

Finally with regards to your gear, you are absolutely right to use your season 2 gear instead of the blues you've collected from non-heroic instances. Once you've been doing heroics for a while you may start to see some drops that will prove useful, and the heroic badges you can collect from these runs will also help you to buy awesome gear - some of which may well be an upgrade from season 2.

Finally can I recommend trying Heroic Slave Pens as your first heroic instance? I have completed every heroic instance in the game and I firmly believe heroic slave pens to be the very easiest of them.

Hope this helps :>


07-23-2008, 03:37 PM
That was a LOT of very useful information from Annikk (as usual). Here's my .02

When i was new to an instance, or if there's an instance i haven't been in for a very long time (or long enoug to forget, anyways) i would say something to the group explaining that i didn't know the pulls, and if someone else could please mark, i would appreciate it. Someone else usually steps up to the plate at that point. It only takes like 2 or so runs to learn kill order.

I beleive there's also an addon ("mobinfo" maybe?) that gives information on mobs, and to which class they're similiar. That can be really helpful if you're marking unfamiliar mobs. As a general rule of thumb i mark to sheep the casters.

I'd also suggest a macro along the lines of:
"/p Skull=kill, X=sap, Square=trap, and moon=sheep. Kill order goes skull, sap, trap, and sheep."
Then you click one button and say that in party chat without having to type it over and over again. The miscellaneous pulls that require more marks can be dealt with individually, like by sleep pulling that 6 pull in SP after the second boss. Just say something like "I'll hibernate triangle, kill him before X"

07-23-2008, 04:33 PM
Thank you all so much for your advice. =)

Well the thing is, I *do* mark. And I *do* explain at the start of the instance what my marks mean. If there are two mages, I assign one of them a mark specifically to sheep. There was one wipe in Blood Furnace where there was a three pull. I marked one for sheep, one for trap. I pulled expecting a sheep and a trap, but instead had three mobs whaling on me and died rather fast. *Then* I see a sheep but then it was a little late and we wiped. I didn't think that was my fault but after that they said they wanted a new tank and asked me to DPS so that's when I started wondering if I was just really undergeared and was supposed to be able to live through 3 mobs hitting me for 1.8k-2.4k per hit.

On the bright side, I did PuG SLabs and Steamvaults (both regular) last night for the first time as a tank and it went rather well, with 0 wipes in both. Steamvaults went actually quite fast and we finished it in about 40 minutes, though I had two mages for sheeping and I had run the instance before and sorta remembered some things and did a quick read on WoW wiki to note which mobs feared.

I think when I get home tonight I'll try and run heroic SP and see how it goes. Though I'm thinking I might want to run regular first as it's been a while since I did SP. =/

07-24-2008, 08:12 AM
I pulled expecting a sheep and a trap, but instead had three mobs whaling on me and died rather fast. *Then* I see a sheep but then it was a little late and we wiped. I didn't think that was my fault but after that they said they wanted a new tank and asked me to DPS so that's when I started wondering if I was just really undergeared and was supposed to be able to live through 3 mobs hitting me for 1.8k-2.4k per hit.

Absolutely not you shouldn't be expected to tank on that basis, it's why Mages can sheep, hunters can trap, 'locks can fear and so on. I'm no expert on tanking or tanking gear, but given the nature of PvP I'd have thought that S2 PvP gear was more than sufficient to tank at least the lower level heroics.

If people aren't doing their job properly when you're doing the pull perhaps consider making the mage sheep pull to start the fight and then grab the aggro off the remaining mob(s). It can be a bit sneaky but it deflects the blame off you if it goes wrong. mob 1 is sheeped, the skull is being tanked by you and, oops, the huntard didn't do his job so the mage is dead or the hunter if he isn't a total retard is kiting/re-trapping the spare mob. It also gives you some peace of mind that you're not going to get hit by everything and then get blamed for it when the group wipes.

On our realm Tanks in 5 man Pugs are like gold dust. If you've got a terrible group giving you grief [and it's not your fault] despite everything else, consider dropping out, they need you an awful lot more than you need them. Obviously some element of care is needed here that you don't get a reputation for HSing at the first sign of it not going well but this is supposed to be a game and fun with it. I'll sit in a pug and endure wipe after wipe, especially where new guys are concerned if the atmosphere is ok but at the point people start flinging poo I'm out of there.

07-24-2008, 04:33 PM
Ah, okay good to know. Well I did Heroic Underbog yesterday and while we had this one part after the first boss where we wiped like 3 times in a row on trash, we managed to get our act together and finish quite well (we had absolutely no wipes on bosses, just trash). It also gave me a little bit more faith in hunters finally. They were fairly patient and didn't mind when I asked to be able to stealth ahead for a couple of minutes to take a look (it'd been ages since I'd been to UB). I also told them to give a shout if their traps broke and they had issues.

Oddly the Hellfire group I had done with where they finally replaced me weren't too awful and name calling. It's not like they kicked me. To be honest, I don't really get mad when we wipe on other people's faults. I feel bad when we wipe when it's my fault but some of our in UB were because of accidental aggros by people so other than that it went fine.

Thanks so much for everyone's help though. =) I feel a lot more confident. ( '_')b Next on my list is Slave Pens!

07-25-2008, 04:23 AM
Nellie is right - a good bear druid that takes care with pulls and works to try to make sure the group's experience in the instance is a good one, is a rare and precious thing. Sometimes wipes just happen, but if the group sees you are making an effort they will be a lot more forgiving.

If you start doing a lot of heroic instances you will very rapidly build up a reputation and soon won't be able to move without bumping into a group begging you to tank.

Let us know how you get on :>