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Blue bars are important…one in particular

Here’s a little message from me, your friendly neighborhood Panzercow, to all you other tanks out there currently doing heroic PUGs:

Check your healer’s mana before you pull.

A lot of you are probably saying, “well, durrrrrr, Panzercow,” right now.  Yeah, it does seem pretty obvious, doesn’t it?  But sometimes people miss even the obvious.  When I was sixteen, I looked right at a pickup truck, didn’t “see” it, and then pulled out into an intersection directly in front of it and wound up shifting the front end of my car a foot to the right.  You’d be surprised how often the “obvious” isn’t to some people.

This got brought home to me last night.  I was on my dwarf hunter doing a random, and the Wheel of Suck came up Halls of Stone.  We had a dwarf death nugget as our tank–yes, apparently, they do actually exist!  He asked us “long or short run?”, by which I assumed he wanted to know whether we cared about Krystallus and Attack of the Fifty-Foot Tall Emo Woman.  We didn’t.

And off he went, in classic heroic PUG fashion…straight ahead, pull pull pull, no time to even loot.  Things were pretty uneventful, but as we got to the area leading up to Brann, I noticed that the healer, a holy priest, didn’t have much blue in her blue bar.  And then she said, in party chat (and obviously macroed), something like “Please do not pull, I need mana!”

He pulled.  She got a sip or two out of her Honeymint Tea, and then had to go back to healing the DK.  By the time the fight ended, she was at around 10 to 15% mana.  She said in party chat again, “Please do not pull, I need mana!”

He pulled the first two constructs in Brann’s room.

At which point, by one of those wonderful hivemind happenstances that pop up occasionally, we all just stood there and watched him die.  It did take a while, I’ll give him that.

Then we ate the wipe.

As we were heading back in, here’s what the conversation looked like:

DK tank:  wtf

me:  Healer told you twice they were out of mana and you pulled, that’s wtf

DK tank:  i don’t read chat

me:  …

Yes, you read that right, kids.  “i don’t read chat.”  Well, tell me something there, Captain Speedpull, do you look at blue bars, your healer’s in particular?  You don’t need things like, I don’t know, literacy to be able to look at your party frames and see that the healer doesn’t have much in the tank to keep your ass alive, now do you?  (Then again, considering right as we pulled Sjonnir, he typed “i ❤ wEED LOL”, there may have been another reason…)

It always amazes me that PUGs, when it comes to stuff like this, are much like the corporate world that I spend 40+ hours a week in.  There’s never time to do something right, but somehow there’s always twice as much time to do it over when it gets cocked up.  The priest would’ve been mana’d back up in twenty seconds, and we could’ve moved on with our run.  You could’ve done what PUG tanks generally seem to do in those twenty-second pauses, and randomly bounced around, or inspected everybody, or whatever.  Instead, Mr. Ants in his Pants put his blinders on, said “DAAAAAH GOTTA KEEP PULLIN’ GEORGE,” and ended up wiping us and costing us five minutes to recover and several gold in repairs.  Contrary to what some people may think nowadays, yes, it is possible to go too fast in a heroic.  This was proof.

So tanks, please.  Yes, the chances are very good that your healer will never need you to stop.  Most healers in random heroic groups nowadays never seem to run below 75% mana, ever.  Hell, it’s the healers more than anyone else that are doing the “GOGOGOGOGOGO” that annoys me so much.  But do not assume your healer can do that. You may be paired with an undergeared or inexperienced healer.  Always check before the next pull, and if your healer’s mana is low, for the love of all that’s holy, wait. A few seconds’ pause every now and then so everybody can get mana’d back up for the next frantic stretch is not going to kill you.  If everybody’s good, then pull fast and pull big.  But never, never assume.

12 responses

  1. This is especially true right at the beginning of the instance, when the healer might have absolutely no mana from having to swap specs. I don’t get tanks that don’t even make sure their healer is zoned into the instance and has a decent amount of mana before they start chain pulling like madmen.

    I zoned into Heroic Forge of Souls last night right after swapping specs (second time in a row I’ve queued tank/healer and actually gotten picked as a healer o.O ), and the tank goes zooming off while I’m still at no mana and trying to coordinate Blessings with the other Paladin in the group. Sadly, the Ret Paladin died on the second trash pull because I was distracted with trying to heal, pop my mana regen tools, and buff people all at the same time. =( Thankfully, the tank realized what happened and was kind enough to stop long enough for me to mana up and let him know I was finally ready before pulling the 3rd group.

    May 4, 2010 at 09:42

  2. Finni

    Heh, this is really funny to read this one. Last night, I healed Heroic UP and the hunter hollered at the tank to keep an eye on my mana. I guess he hadn’t realized that me, the tank, and one dps were all from the same guild and had queued together. I let him know that my mana was fine but he kept insisting that the tank slow down and give me a minute to drink. Once I stopped laughing from his chivalrous display, I explained that the 3 of us were on vent together and I was telling her when I needed to pause for mana or when I’d be using my cooldowns to regain mana.

    Tanks for sure should keep an eye on the healer’s mana bar, and apparently read party chat like in your case. That’s a new one for me! I’m never shy if I’m healing a tank I don’t know, I always let them know in /w what my threshold is for mana when the instance begins. If they don’t follow it, I’ll mention something in party chat and that usually takes care of it. When I was just starting out healing heroics, I was a bit paranoid about having enough mana regen to keep up with all the Gogogogogoogogogog stuff but I’m in a place now where my mana isn’t a problem.

    May 4, 2010 at 10:44

  3. Amen.

    One of the last times I ran an instance as a Holy Spec Pally was (ironically enough) Halls of Stone. I was the absolute minimum level to pick it up, and I struggled with the tank not letting me replenish mana. This continued up and through Krystallus, and the tank was in such a hurry that he wouldn’t even let me unfreeze from Krystallus’ AOE before he was off pulling again. He finally dropped on us, but I’ve never forgotten that experience.

    You have to be able to trust your tank and vice versa.

    May 4, 2010 at 15:52

  4. markkemp

    Some of these tanks are going to have big problems when it comes time to tank in Cataclysm. This AOE and gogogo tanking behaviour is starting to become ingrained.

    As a healer, usually hanging back a bit at the rear, I barely get time to loot and skin (on occasion) before the next pull is underway – one tank told me ‘looting was overrated’…

    Would love to see current heroics bumped up a notch (if only in mob/boss +dmg and +hp terms) before Cataclysm – especially if Blizzard say nothing about it and surprise everyone…

    May 4, 2010 at 18:20

    • Would love to see current heroics bumped up a notch (if only in mob/boss +dmg and +hp terms) before Cataclysm – especially if Blizzard say nothing about it and surprise everyone…

      I would love to see this happen.

      In fact, what I’d like to see is that Blizz checks the party’s gear when you port into an instance and have the software adjust the instance accordingly. No more overpowered romps through Azjol-Nerub, that’s for certain.

      May 4, 2010 at 21:51

      • markkemp

        +1 to that Redbeard – good idea.

        May 4, 2010 at 23:57

  5. Soulrift

    “There’s never time to do something right, but somehow there’s always twice as much time to do it over when it gets cocked up.”


    In fact, our guild charter includes a very similar (but inverse) statement.

    May 4, 2010 at 19:16

  6. Hastore

    Last night the wonders of the ‘Random’ tool picked HoS for me… as usual 😉 – now, my tank’s well geared, but the rest of the group screamed ‘gogogogogo’ (including the one who had just switched spec and wasn’t bothering to drink). I decided to oblige their oh-so-polite request – on a side note the rest of the group was roughly geared for Naxx 25 – and then was shouted at by the boomkin, who didn’t have any mana after his Hurricane spam on the lone giants. Go PuGs 😀

    On a side note, I totally agree that a system to scale heroics with the group’s gear would be awesome, would pull tanks and DPS out of their ‘Is there more than one? AoE it’ chain pulls and stuff that has become so commonplace in heroics (and indeed Naxx when you venture in there, strictly only for the weekly of course).

    May 5, 2010 at 05:19

  7. Tam

    There is enough ‘gah’ in the universe to contain my response to you DK tank.

    Doesn’t … read … chat.

    Just gah!

    May 5, 2010 at 10:35

  8. Sanderth

    I’ve only once gotten tunnel vision bad enough that I failed to keep an eye on my healer’s mana bar. Fortunately when they do happen to shout “mana,” I read chat often enough to stop. The hazard here seems mostly that as a tank I often overgear content enough that my main goal is getting through as quickly as possible; you focus so much on speed you start to forget everything else. Haste makes waste, I suppose the old saying goes.

    The “i ❤ wEED LOL" comment made my day. It's about as memorable as my healer in one CoS run telling us all how awesome playing WoW on mushrooms is and telling us to try it before switching to Shadow spec. Hurray for group members talking about their drug use at awkward moments!

    May 5, 2010 at 12:00

  9. I’m often tempted to ignore party chat due to people spamming recount, people telling me to GO, pull more, etc.

    The one thing that always, always jumps out at me? Any variation on “mana”.

    Though I did manage to screw it up when I just shrugged my shoulders and hit the gas after a healer started whining at me to pull more… next indication I had there was a problem was when he was yelling “WAY TO PULL WHEN I HAVE NO MANA ASS”. Hadn’t been watching the blue bar anymore. Should have been.

    May 5, 2010 at 22:28

  10. Doldrums

    Your comment about how there isn’t enough time to do something right, but there’s enough time to run back and try again after doing it wrong, while valuable, what I understand of the situation is this: People are impatient. When the healer is getting mana, this particular tank had nothing to do. He was bored, and wanted to pull. Now, even when that causes a wipe, what does one do after wiping? The whole group runs back. That is doing something. So, better to run back to the instance, then run back to your previous location, than to sit around and minimize the time of the run.

    Stupid for time management, but eerily logical for the impatient.

    June 24, 2010 at 01:50

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