Linedan takes a survey
I saw this courtesy of Tarsus over at Tanking for Dummies…this is a tank version of Miss Medicina’s healer survey, done up by Dammerung over at The Children of Wrath. It’s long, but this is a really good set of questions.
What is the name, class, and spec of your primary tank?
Linedan, 80 Tauren warrior on Feathermoon-US (RP). His spec is the old bog-standard 15/5/51 Impale/Deep Wounds cookie-cutter; supposedly 15/3/53 is the “new black” but I still have those two points in Cruelty, at least for now. I expect I’ll end up going 15/3/53 at some point soon. I also have Latisha, a 66 human prot warrior, also on Feathermoon…she has yet to actually tank anything, though.
What is your usual tanking environment?
25-man raiding–currently Trial of the Crusader and Ulduar, poking at some Ulduar hardmodes and ToGC–with The Anvil raid group on Feathermoon. We have four tanks in our core group (me, another prot warrior, prot paladin, frost DK) and we raid two nights a week, so we have a set two-week rotation where each of us gets to fill in the role of MT, OT, swing OT/DPS, and DPS (or in my case, loldeeps) for a given night. Prior to the rotation setup, I was almost always slotted as an offtank and MT’d only occasionally.
What is your favorite encounter to tank, and why?
XT-002, Iron Council, and General Vezax. They’re straight-up mano-a-mano brute-force tests of strength for the tank, and I like those. Auriaya is fun with the precise interrupt timings and fears, and I like Anub’arak as well.
What is your least favorite encounter to tank, and why?
Faction Champions in ToC may kindly go die in a mother-humping fire immediately and never come back. Nerfs or not, I positively despise that fight. Keep your badly-executed bastardized faux-PvP out of my raids, Blizzard. I also have a strong dislike for heroic Gormok, because it feels like survival in that fight is out of my hands…the RNG decides whether I avoid that 40k Impale or not and there’s damn all I can do about it except pray I anticipate it.
What do you think is the biggest strength of your class, and why?
I used to say single-target snap threat, but DKs can beat us on that, so I’ll say mobility. Nobody is more mobile than a prot warrior. Single-target threat is still our best tanking area, and we still may have the best two-second burst threat of any class, but overall, with Warbringer, we’re probably the most mobile class on any raid battlefield…ironic, considering we’re wearing the heaviest armor. Also, all warriors automatically spec 5/5 Improved Badass and 3/3 Irresistable Sexeh, which are talents not available to any other tank class.
What do you think is the biggest weakness of your class, and why?
Three things–our DPS while tanking is weak compared to other classes, especially death nuggets. Our AoE threat is weak compared to other classes, especially death nuggets. And the Heroic Strike mechanic is effed-up beyond all recognition and forces us to repeatedly and rhythmically pound a button every 1.5-2 seconds for no bloody reason whatsoever in order to keep our threat near other classes…especially death nuggets.
In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel is the best tanking assignment for you?
Anything except pure AOE tanking. Personally I kind of fall down on constant-mobility fights like a Grobbulus or a Razorscale, but other than that, I can do any single-target job you need. Main tank, pinning down adds, kiting, I can do it, and do it well. The only thing that is really out of my realm is pure AOE tanking, like Freya flower trash or rubble on Kologarn. That is the home of the paladin and the death nugget.
What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with the most?
Any class, really, as long as the player knows how to use their abilities and we know how to complement each other. We have no beartanks in our raid (sadly) so I have limited experience in working with one. Warrior/paladin is a ferocious team that complement each other very well. Warrior/death nugget can work very well together as well, especially if the DK is good at AOE tanking (as ours are).
What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with the least?
Stupid ones. Stupid death nuggets are the absolute worst, just because the DK class has a lot of abilities that can make a tank’s life a living hell if they’re misused.
What is your worst habit as a tank?
I don’t Heroic Strike enough. Yes, I’m the only guy in WoW who literally doesn’t hit “2” enough. It’s easy to forget HS spam, but not hitting it enough gimps my damage and threat output, so I have to get better at it, or I think Kadomi will fly over from Europe and kick my ass. On the flipside, I also tend to overuse Devastate–oddly enough, 3.2 made that less of a problem, since it hits so much harder now.
What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?
Other tanks who won’t let me do my job, taunt off me, “help” me when I don’t need it. DPS who overburn on pulls and don’t let me get solid agro. And, most of all, Army of the Dead. Keep those taunt-happy little bastards away from my mobs.
Do you feel your class/spec is balanced with respect to the other tanking classes?
Generally, yeah. I wish we did more DPS while tanking, and could do more DPS in prot spec while not tanking, but in general, I think we are reasonably well-balanced against druids and paladins. Death nuggets, well…”they’re a hero class,” that’s what I keep hearing, anyway.
What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?
My eyes, my ears, and my brain. I look at logs to an extent, and glance at Omen and Recount occasionally, but for the most part, I look back and think about what I did and what went right and wrong. I talk to our raid officers and the other tanks frequently, too.
What do you think is the biggest misconception that people have with your tanking class?
There’s two–first, that we’re uber, just because we were uber in vanilla. We’re not. And second, that leveling a prot warrior is hard and painful. In the post-3.0 world, it isn’t anymore.
What do you think is the toughest thing for new players of your class to learn about tanking?
The priority system that you have to use to maximize DPS and threat. Warriors are, as far as I can tell, far and away the most complicated and active of the four tank classes. We have a veritable metric assload of abilities that we use, and we don’t have a fixed rune rotation like DKs or a “969” setup like paladins. We have to make split-second decisions based on what’s off cooldown and what’s lit up. It’s not hard to learn, but it takes some work for it to become second nature.
If someone were to evaluate your tanking ability via tools like fraps, recount, and World of Logs, what tendencies would they notice?
I tend to faceroll a bit and spam keys instead of cleanly hitting my priority system, when I get stressed. I don’t Heroic Strike enough. Sometimes I stand in Bad(tm). And when I’m DPSing, I tend to lose targets in all the flashy glittery glowy clutter of a 25-man fight. Yes, I’m extremely critical of my own performance, can you tell?
Stamina or Avoidance, and why?
Avoidance is based on the random number generator, and the RNG will screw you sooner or later. Health is always there for you. (Besides, Lin’s a Tauren wearing plate armor…how can he have a near-30% dodge rating? He’s humongous and weighs a squillion pounds.) Stamina is your tried and true friend.
Which tanking class do you understand the least?
Paladins. I’ve done beartanking back in BC, and I have a DK (though she’s blood DPS) so I sortakinda understand how they work, even if I don’t know the details of how they tank. But I’ve never gotten a paladin past level 33, and that was ret. I have no clue how fancybelves do what they do.
What addons or macros do you currently use to aid you in tanking?
Nothing too out of the ordinary. The normal stuff, of course–threat meter (Omen), DPS meter (Recount), raid assist (oRA2), and boss mods (DBM). I use ItemRack to switch gear sets quickly, and have recently started using the wonderful and versatile Satrina Buff Frames to replace Elkano’s Buff Bars. I also use Bartender4 for bars, XPerl for unitframes, ChocolateBar and Data Broker addons for a top status bar, and the old warhorse, Scrolling Combat Text. (I think it may be time for a Panzercow’s UI post very soon.)
Do you strive for a balance in tanking stats, or do you stack some higher than others, and why?
Stamina in general is my #1 priority–I’m down on health compared to our other three tanks because I’m slightly behind them in gear level, so that’s my biggest thing to catch up on. Plus, Ulduar hardmodes and ToGC are the home of the “holy crap, how much did that thing just hit for?” fight (hi Gormok), and there’s no replacement for a huge health pool as long as I can still crank out enough threat to keep the mob on me. Other than that, I try to maintain a balance, but don’t usually succeed. Right now, Lin’s under the hit cap, near the expertise cap, heavy on defense, way heavy on dodge, and light on parry. I keep an alternate set of gear that’s still crit-immune, but gives up stamina and some avoidance to load the hell out of shield block value…for those times where nothing else will do but an 11k Shield Slam across the face.