Thursday, December 16, 2010

Heroic Tanking With Minimal Headaches

None of us like the queues for LFD for DPS, which the last time I checked was about 35 minutes for level 85s.  This means that the hybrid classes are trying to tank or heal.  This could lead to some very good tanks, but more likely than not, there are people who have no clue how to tank.  If you are a feral tank and need some advice on how to tank, I would direct you to this prior post I made about tanking post 4.0.1.   The only thing I did not talk about is that you should be adding Thrash in your rotation as well as Swipe to help hold threat.  Beyond that, everything is the same.

Prior to being a boomkin, I was a feral tank and got very used to tanking in LFD.  However, these heroics are not the Wrath heroics.  Mechanics such as CC and LoS pulls are now needed to be able to tank effectively, something we really  haven't seen since Magister's Terrace in BC.  With the new heroics, someone in the group needs to step up and take the lead on pulls, marking, etc.  Usually, people look to the tanks to mark mobs and set the pace of the instance.  In fact, I usually expect the tank to mark, instruct, and set the pace of pulling.  So if you are a new tank in Cataclysm, let me give you a few rules to help you be a more effective tank in LFD and cause at least a few less issues when you are tanking.

1) Set the Pace - As the tank, you alone are the person who controls the flow of the instance.  You will get DPS who want you to pull faster.  However, you are the one who says if it goes faster or slower.  If they don't like it, they can drop group and wait for 35 minutes for a LFD queue.

2) Mark Mobs -  This is a skill that takes a little bit of learning.  In terms of marking a mob, it is easy in terms of how to mark mobs.  However, marking correctly is something that takes time to learn.  You have to look at your group composition and decide what CC you have possible, then mark according to what you have.  I usually mark all the CC targets and then the first kill target.  One of the addons that can help with marking is an addon called Lucky Charms.  Lucky Charms gives you a bar with all the different icons so you can click the mob then click the icon for the icon you want.

3) CC Casters First Then Melee - There is a specific reason why you choose casters first over melee and it is fairly simple.  I mentioned yesterday that you want to CC pull as much as possible.  If you CC melee instead of casters, you are gonna have CCed melee mobs in the middle of the casters you are trying to tank and kill.  If you CC casters and CC pull, melee will run right towards the person who CCed, which means you can pick them up and tank them.  However, this is also dependent on what type of CC you have.  If you only have an Entangling Roots, you CC melee first.  The other major question is how do you know who is the casters.  I would hover over the mobs with your mouse.  The ones that have mana bars are the casters.  If they don't, they are either melee or hunters.

4) Instruct on Your CC Marks - This is much easier if you are in vent with your group, but even if it is a PUG, the tank should explain where each person should be in terms of CC.  Skull is pretty much the universal sign for kill target.  Also, once you assign a CC to an icon, do not change it unless it is absolutely necessary. 

5) CC Pull When Possible - It makes getting non-CCed targets away from the CCed mobs because you are not gonna be rushing in and they are going to be coming to you, or more specifically, the person who cast the CC.

6) Be Situationally Aware - This is just a general dungeon rule for all players.  Look under you, above you and around you.  If you see something you aren't suppose to be around, move quickly.  Also, every tanking class has an interrupt now.  If you see a cast bar moving under his name bar, interrupt it just to be safe.  Also, tanks should notice patrols, commonly called PATs.  You have one of two options with PATs.  You can either move back away from the PAT or be ready to tank it.   If you notice it pre-pull, it is easier to just wait and not pull until they are gone.  Also, notice times where you have a wall around you to use to your advantage to create a line of sight (LoS) issue for the mobs.  You can have a CCer run around a corner towards you to create a LoS.  LoS should really be used when you have more casters than you have CC because this will draw them closer away from the CC.  All these things are learned in time as you get used to tanking.   

7) Know Boss Fights - Trash is one thing.  I have had very few problems with tanking trash.  However, the boss mechanics are very different from normal to heroic.  Make sure you at least know the basic strat and then you can variate the strategy to make it fit for your group.  If you do know the strat, you can explain the boss mechanics to everybody else and direct people where they need to be.

Tanking is not easy and at times is a thankless job.  However, being a good tank well help you get through each heroic instance assuming that everybody else is competent.  Take it slow and steady and you will do just fine. 

Also, just a reminder, the Header Contest is still going on.  If you have any artistic talent, you have a great opportunity to win some great prizes.

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