The Latisha Experiment, Update #3
I’ll admit, I’ve been slack about reporting on the progress of the Latisha Experiment–my attempt to use my own So You Want To Be A Prot Warrior guides to level a Prot warrior all the way from 1 to 80. That’s largely because I’ve been slack about leveling her in the first place. Latisha, sad to say, is not yet 80. She is 75, but on the upside, she’s a veteran of the Wrathgate, is mostly done with Dragonblight outside of a couple of the dragonshrines and group quests that I’m not worrying about for now due to lack of help, and best of all, is getting xp at a solid clip from a mixture of questing and random dungeons.
Now, this is where I admit I’ve disregarded my own advice in her spec, just a little. I’ve swapped her spec to be more like Linedan’s…x/3/53 instead of the x/5/51 I originally stated in the SYWTBAPW guides. See, as I was leveling her, I skipped Vigilance, because I started her before the LFD system, and she didn’t get many chances to tank. Likewise, it was quicker through the old world and Outland to just quest and grind along. But now in her 70s in Northrend, she can take advantage of the near-instant queue times that even normal-dungeon tanks get. So I decided to tweak her spec to be more “tanky” as opposed to “grindy”. This involved dropping the two points out of Cruelty in the Fury tree, picking up Vigilance, and basically setting her Prot side up to be a carbon copy of Linedan, who is himself fairly cookie-cutter. There really isn’t that much difference performance-wise between 15/5/51 and 15/3/53 Prot specs right now, but the two extra points over in the Prot tree allow for a little flexibility–in my case, that usually means two more points into Shield Specialization. Right now, she is 10/3/53, with her last five talent points going to fill out Impale and Deep Wounds in Arms. I also picked up a Glyph of Cleaving in her second major slot, which is a big help in tanking instances.
Gear-wise, she’s better than I expected she’d be at this point. She’s got a few pieces to swap back and forth for questing versus tanking. With her “tank” set in place, she’s got 464 defense at level 75, reasonable avoidance, and about 14.5k health. So far, it’s been enough to tank any normal instance up through Drak’theron Keep without too much trouble. I’ve actually been surprised by how well she can hold agro with a level-appropriate group against even large groups of trash. Having a few years of experience on another Prot warrior helps, of course, but she is proving to be a very competent tank. I just make sure I go back to the AH every so often and keep an eye out for crafted pieces like cobalt, or later on, saronite.
Tanking normal random PUGs is refreshing, in a way. I rarely tank heroic PUGs on Linedan anymore. I use them to practice his Fury spec…and quite honestly, after raid tanking two or three nights a week, I’m happily content to find something to do around the house during the 13-15 minute wait as DPS, and then just merrily roflcowpter my way through an instance as Fury. Tanking heroics, at this stage in the game where Lin needs nothing more than Frost badges, is just usually not worth dealing with the durpdurp. But Latisha has to tank…I haven’t bought dual-spec on her yet, and don’t plan to right away, since I save her money for prowling for upgrades on the AH.
So we know heroic PUGs are all about the “gogogogogo,” where nobody talks, tanks pull before everybody’s zoned in, any thought of strategy or skill goes out the window and it’s a straight-up bulldoze toward the end boss at the highest possible speed so everybody gets their two frost badges and gets on with their lives, right? Well, normal PUGs can be a totally different animal. I’m on my seventh character over level 70, so I have a bad case of “been there done that”–and I’m surprised at the number of people in normal PUGs who are setting foot inside Utgarde Keep or the Nexus for the very first time ever. People actually talk. They apologize when they make a mistake instead of screaming at somebody else. They make jokes and are even *gasp* social. Pacing is slower. There is occasionally even…wait for it…crowd control. Running Drak’theron Keep with a 75 tank and four 74s in the party is a far cry from steamrolling it with five 80s in T9 or T10 gear, that’s for sure. And I really like it.
Of course, sometimes she does get groups like the one with the two level 80 death nuggets who would’ve had no trouble running it on heroic. (Tanking for DKs doing 3k dps, at level 75…not fun.) Or the one with the 74 rogue who did 250 dps for the entire run because she was alternately working up her gun skill and her sword skill…and attacking mobs from the front while doing it. But for every one of those, there’s been at least one where everybody is pleasant, we move at a nice steady pace, nobody loses their cookies when we wipe, and we have a fun time doing the instances the way Blizzard intended them to be done originally. It really is a nice change from the typical heroic PUG.
I’ve had people tell me I must be crazy for leveling a second Prot warrior. Why? I have a character who, while she doesn’t kill things at breakneck speed, kills them quickly enough to quest efficiently, has tremendous survivability, gets into randoms almost instantly, has a fairly interesting backstory even though I haven’t had a chance to RP much with her yet, and, best of all, uses a playstyle that I’m already fairly good at. Yeah. I’m crazy. Like a fox, baby.