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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"...if someone tries to kill you, you kill 'em right back..."

Hello again!

Since I recently posted on what "not" to do or rather "how not to act" as a tank. I decided to put a post together on "how to act" or "how to tank". First off there are so many varitions to tanking depending what your doing... ie 5 man heroics, 10man raids, 25man raid...

I'm going to focus mainly on general rules, then throw in what I do, and some tips for the differences between the 5mans, 10mans, and 25mans.

Non negotiable rules

#1. Say "Hi!": to the group/raid- a simple /p hi or /raid hi goes along way even before you've started. I do this in every run, heroics, raids, doesn't matter it sets the tone for the group that I'm ready. I'm in a good mood. I want to succeed.

#2. Be prepared: Repair before all runs regardless of type. Buy buff food, buy flasks or Elixir's, before your raids. I use Flask of Stoneblood, and Dragonfin Filet, for my buffs on all my raids. For heroics I don't use any food or Elixir's. They are kind of expensive and not necessary, usually for a random heroic.

Other rules, in no particular order.

#1. know your instance/raid: Read a guide, watch a video, ask around your guild, ask your friends, ask a tank. Do anything you can to learn more about what your running. That being said some people learn by doing, like me, but there is still value in getting as much info as you can before attempting an instance/raid.

#2. Know your pulls: Pulls vary by a large amount depending on what your running. Your basic heroic trash pull is obviously much different than a 10 man raid boss. Learn about it. Ask other tanks, friends, and guildies what they do for certain pulls. Join a group as dps a few times and watch the tank, make notes about what they do. Or you can email me and I'll give you a few tips ;).

For me as a Blood DK tank a typical trash pull in a 5 man heroic goes something like this...

First pull: Say hi :P. Check to make sure I'm in the right spec, and I'm in Frost Presence. I ask if everyone is ready? 3-4 of them say yes. I say pulling and go. After that first one and all consecutive pulls I follow the same er... template, basically this

Is everyone alive?>Does the healer have over 60%`ish mana?>Does the other dps have over 50%`ish mana? If all these are yes, we go on to the next pull.

If any are No, you obviously take appropriate actions; IE wait for mana regen, rez the dead. etc...

Now checking these things should only take you a few seconds. This will not drag out your total run. Many people want very quick runs, we all do. So doing this should not take away from your pace at all. Don't waste time looking around or whatever... simply put "just go".
pull>rotation>check...pull>rotation>check... etc... get into a rhythym and you'll see things will go very smooth for your group. If any DPS has Energy, Rage, Runic Power, that is of no concern. Those classes that use these instead of mana have other ways to get them built up or gain more. We don't have to wait for them to regen like we do for mana.

My typical pull/rotation: find the caster/Ranged in the group and Death grip him to me, drop Death and Decay, Plague strike, and Icy touch my target, wait a tick, then pestilence to make sure all the MOB's in that group are in range. This is usually enough threat that I could not attack again and they would all die before anyone pulled aggro off me. But, I don't do that I tab to another target in range and hit it with a Heart strike, another target, Heart strike, Rune Strike, Death Strike or Death coil whatever I have available. I pretty much just roll this way through all the trash targets until they die.

If there is more than one caster, I'll target one caster move closer so that the second caster is in range of strangulate. Then follow my rotation and after I have dropped my pestilence I then strangulate the second caster so that he gets silenced and runs into melee range. I then tab back to a target which has diseases ticking and pestilence again so that the new caster has some ticking on it as well. Now I return to my pattern, tabbing through targets and applying threat via spells and strikes as they are available.

#3. Kill order: This is pretty standard for all pulls. Healers first, CC (if any), dps. Most trash pulls now-a-days, just get AOE'd down all together. But there are still some exceptions. And it nevers hurts to keep up your skills for new content.

#4. Track healers mana: Always check this, check it frequently, basically for trash pulls unless you have a brand new level 80 healer, anything about 60% and your good to go.

#5. Positioning: Simple, when in doubt turn the MOB's away from the raid/group. Or always turn them away. On trash pulls this is not always madatory but it's good practice and to get in the habit of doing it. I do it anyway on all pulls. I run through the MOB's after they get to me usually I do this after i drop DnD, and during my plague strike and Icy Touch hits.

#6. Rotation: As about its pretty much the same DG, DnD, PS, IT, Pest, HS/RS/DC/DS... repeat
I even use DnD on single target pulls for trash and boss pulls. It lays down huge threat and pulling adds is not a risk or a problem.

#7. Threat: There no reason to hold back laying down threat. There is no excuse for not laying down as much threat as you can. For these reasons I use all my threat abilities all the time not matter the pull, trash or boss. Why not? are you waiting for something?... a rainy day maybe?... it's not like you can save it up or something. You have taunts if things go awry. So plain and simple throw down, everytime. Use DnD on single targets.

#8. Pace: Keep things moving. Don't waste time, unless it's new content, you've seen it all before. So get your butt movin'! Pull>kill>check>go>repeat.

Other info which are not rules but good to know

Confidence: Show this by knowing how to pull, and doing it. If it's your first time tanking say that out loud to the group. most groups will not have a problem with this and give you some slack for some foul ups your bound to do in your first time. Respect your group/raid members. Show this by staying quiet when they are acting like fools. ;) This is about actions more than words. Let them speak for you.
Cocky: There is a fine line between cocky and jerk. Cocky is fine when mixed with humor and most people will "get" that. But if your acting serious and cocky then it comes off as jerk. Keep it to a minimum also. This isn't so much what you say but how you go about your job as tank.
Fun: Simply put have fun. This is still a game. Laugh off mistakes, mix ups.
Attitude: Have a good one. Say "Hi" to your group/raid this will really help smooth over the run as a whole and lighten things up for everyone there.

Stick to doing your job as tank, let others do theirs. Don't get bossy, or rude, and you'll find many more fun, and successful runs. You'll also find others clamoring to get you to tank for them, as they will know what your about. That you are good, and fun to play with.

Feel free to email me with questions, or you can make comments with your questions. I'll answer them best I can as time permits.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"...what's in a name..."

ok... ok... I get it I need a better blog name :P. I'll decide on one by this weekend. I have been thinking about this anyway... so look for the new name soon.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, April 19, 2010

"...what not to do..."

After spending 4 days in wow withdrawal from not having my computer up and running I finally got in some play time.

I'd like to share with you one of my "adventures" since then. Normally I don't like to complain or say anything about other tanks cause I know that one time I slip up someone will be sure to point it out.

Although I don't mess up when I'm tanking, really! Go ask anyone... :P

I should have known given his name "insaneclown" that this tank was not going to be good. Oh the tank was geared and all but his style was, horrid, his attitude arrogant and he was a "Jerk" plain and simple. I can handle the childish name calling and banter that goes on sometimes during the Randoms using the dungeon tool. But this was something beyond er... belief.

The following events actually took place...

I was leveling my alt mage upon, entering the dungeon I see lvl 80 dk tank among others and we are in OC (Occulus). I just finished loading the dungeon and I see the tank already engaged with the first whelps. The healer and 2 dps hadn't even zoned in yet. I'm thinking 'ok, um, oh well' so I proceed to do my thing 'Arcane Power, blizzard, blizzard', hey I'm a mage right...?

Anyway, they others are finally zoned in and the tank keeps moving he doesn't wait at all, for buffs or mana. Someone says wait up a sec and the tanks reply "I wait for no man" he keeps going loses aggro and I die and another dps dies. We run back in, he's still going, he does not wait for us to heal up/buff up... more whelps, more aggro, I die again.

I'm thinking WTH is he doing? How is he not holding aggro? I'm only level 78 with no gear and he was lvl 80 and geared? I run back in, the tank is up on the platform already fighting the first boss? It was only him and the healer and one DPS, up there. Me and the other dps are running back in.

The healer of course has no chance to rez us because the tank keeps going and is always in combat! Again someone asks him to slow down just a bit. I mean we all want a speed run yeah that's great. The tank says "If anyone can't keep up that's their problem, this is how I tank". QQ What? Really? Did he actually just say that? OMG is this guy for real?

So we get our drakes and fly and finish the sentinel things, the tank takes off to the boss platform he lands and engages the boss some of us are still flying over there. as I land the tank is fighting the boss no healer in sight, and I realize after I dismount I have aggro'd 3 blue drakes from around the platform. Needless to say I die in 1 second from drake fire, the healer dies from drake fire, the other dps dies from drake fire. The tank is appears totally oblivious to this.

Well at this point I'd had enough and apparently so did everyone else cause when i did vote kick the tank it passed in 2 seconds, and he was out. I didn't really care that I didn't get the run finished and nobody waited around for the queue to find another tank.

so... Long story longer...Do "not" be an "Insaneclown" if you want to be a good tank.

Again, for those who might not understand...

Do "not" be an "Insaneclown" if you want to be a good tank.

Thanks for reading.


Friday, April 16, 2010

" name is Nexdominus, people call me Nexdominus"...


Just a really quick post today. If you'd like to give a listen, I was a guest on a podcast a few weeks back called "this is outcasted". You can find it here listen in to episode 34 "Queens of the round table, and 1 knight". You can also find them on Itunes. Don't forget to leave a review! More tanking goodness to come, soon...

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Death Knight changes for Cataclysm

Hello again!

First and foremost, apologies, for this being so late, from my twitter you'll know that I had computer issues all weekend, and up through today. On to the good stuff...

So Blizzard posted the Death Knight changes for cataclysm, and overall things look pretty good. however it does seem to me that most of these changes are for PVP more so than PVE.

  • What I really want to know is when, according to their information, bone shield moves over to the blood tree what am I going to lose?

  • What other talents are changing/moving/going away, what is replacing them?

  • Will I be able to 2Hand solo dps, on the rare occasion I dps somewhere, or will I have to dual wield/have a pet consistently out?

These are the questions I want answered.

Lets go over each change:

Outbreak (level 81): Outbreak infects the target with both Frost Fever and Blood Plague at no rune cost. This ability allows death knights to apply diseases quickly when they are switching targets or when their diseases have been dispelled.

Outbreak looks great being able to refresh and apply diseases without using a rune, my guess is there will be a 1minute CD on this. Seems like good usage in PVP and PVE. I'm thinking of a rotation like this when I'm tanking: (DND, OB(outbreak), Pestilence) for AOE and (OB(outbreak), Strikes) for Single target. This looks great for DK tanking.

Necrotic Strike (level 83): Necrotic Strike is a new attack that deals weapon damage and applies a debuff that absorbs an amount of healing based on the damage done. For context, imagine that the death knight can choose between doing 8,000 damage outright with a certain ability, or dealing 6,000 damage and absorbing 4,000 points in incoming heals with Necrotic Strike -- the burst is smaller, but a larger overall amount of healing would be required to bring the target back to full health. This ability is meant to bring back some of the old flavor from when death knights could dispel heal-over-time (HoT) effects. It also gives the class a bit more PvP utility without simply replicating a Mortal Strike-style effect.

Necrotic strike appears to be purely a PVP usage strike. I really don't see any use for this in PVE. As a PVP strike this is going to be used at every possible chance, I foresee DK's spamming this in PVP, depending on cost, and CD etc... Not so good here for tanking.

Dark Simulacrum (level 85): The death knight strikes a target, applying a debuff that allows the death knight to copy the opponent's next spell cast and unleash it. Unlike Spell Reflection, Dark Simulacrum does not cancel the incoming spell. In general, if you can't reflect an ability, you won't be able to copy it either.

Dark Simulacrum again here is another PVP focused strike. This seems like it will see little use as there is no consistency here, on one use you might get a polymorph, the next a huge arcane missile crit. This is a make or break option and I think it is very situational at best. Only really good PVP'ers who use a mod to see the incoming spell will make good use of this utility strike. Again not so good here for tanking. Unless I can copy a bosses huge damage spell and bounce it back at him.


Rune system changes

On first read through these changes my reaction was... huh? /scratches head

I agree with what blizz says about runes sitting idle that Dk's are losing out on potential damage output/threat. Runes not spent can be wasted, and latency can have an effect on play. I'm not exactly sure how the sequential filling of runes is going to play out, I guess we won't know until we can get in on the beta PTR and try it out.

Blizzard talks about reducing rune costs? um.... how can you reduce the cost of a strike that only uses one rune? make it only use half a rune? wtf?... That too me sounds ludicrous. I don't see this happening. However I can see some strikes that use 2 runes now reduced to one, and also some strikes that use a rune perhaps reduced to use runic power instead.

As a tank so far we have one spell we like, one strike we won't use, and one strike that could possibly see use depending on if it can be used in PVE on boss fights, and we have a new rune system that requires much more explanation/testing.


Talent Changes

I admit I will miss the variety Dk's brought with so many options to their trees and specs. As far as blood being the tanking tree, most raiding DK tanks I think are using blood now and have been for quite some time. Tanking with blood has always seemed the best fit for me and so I don't for see any problems myself in this change.


Mastery Passive Talent tree Bonus

Since blood is the tanking tree to be, I will focus on those Mastery changes.

Damage Reduction: Who doesn't love this? Damage reduction is always good for a DK tank.

Healing Absorption: Again a great bonus to DK tanks. "Helloooo Nurse!" Spam those Death Strikes.

Vengeance: Stacking attack power buff. It will be interesting to see if this stacks with Horn of winter, and other AP bonuses. I'm also curious to see how this works with Vampiric Blood. This should help with threat although I've never had an issue with threat while tanking.


I'm excited for all the new changes even though some are not so great in the specific area of tanking. I'm looking forward to more information from Blizzard. Tanking as a Death Knight certainly looks challenging and fun for the expansion.

Thanks for reading


Friday, April 9, 2010

"...a good week..."

I was going to post on the DK changes for Cataclysm, but I'm going to hold that post for next time. After I get a chance to think on it.

On a normal week I get to do ICC10 about one night possibly 2 if the raid decides to go back and finish, or push further into the Citadel. Last week was a very welcome change to the "norm"...

-Monday night I was able to finish up and ICC10 from the previous week.
-Tuesday night we did ICC25.
-Wednesday night started a new ICC10.
-Thursday night more ICC10.

Friday night I played some alts and other stuff. Also on all of those days I was able to get in my daily random heroic. A pretty awesome week overall, and I enjoyed every bit of it. I got a real sense of accomplishment and satisfaction out of WOW that week. I'm looking forward to the next time I get to do something like that. It is just this kind of thing that keeps me playing WOW, loving it and coming back for more. A week like this is rare and I like to take full advantage when I get the opportunity.

Did i mention I tanked all of those ICC's and Heroics. I noticed that this time I wasn't missing any taunts. Also it didn't seem like I was losing out much with my health being slightly lower. The healers didn't mention anything about after I asked them about healing me. They said it was the same as usual.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, April 5, 2010

"...wait up guys, I fell on my keys..."

I myself have been hacked, no i wasn't buying gold or any of that. I have never bought gold, nor has anyone I play with, that i know of...

About 3 months ago is when it happened. One typical evening when I logged in I realized I was missing quite a lot of items, all my gold, and my guild was spam pst'ing me about what was going on, as several big ticket items were missing from the bank. Luckily my guild at the time was with RL friends and family so I was able to clear things up with them in just a few phone calls.

I immediately logged a ticket with the GM's in game, checked my email, responded to Blizz's authentication requests, and went to the account management page and changed my password. The communication from Blizz at first was generic, blah blah blah your account is being sold, against the terms of service blah blah blah, etc...

I never got to speak to a GM in game but i did get an in-game mail from them saying that some account manager was handling the issue. After 2 days i received an email from said account manager, explaining they were still investigating the account.

4 more days after that I logged in and found an in-game mail from the account manager handling the problem with a message saying I had receive a full restore. All the items I was missing, along with all my gold, and all my frost and other emblems were returned, and all the guild bank items were returned to the guild bank. I was never offered that alternative option that Blizz has recently talked about instead of replacing full accounts.

Needless to say I bought an authenticator within the week after i got hacked and applied it to my account, immediately upon arrival.

Speaking from experience be careful out there everyone, and go buy an authenticator. I consider myself unlucky to have gotten hacked and very lucky to get a full restore.

Thanks for reading.


P.S. I have my suspicions about how this happened but I'm going to go ahead and keep those to myself for right now. :P

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Glyphing for Taunt

Hello again,

During my time as a tank I have never had an issue with threat, or feeling like i wasn't mitigating enough damage, or not being able to taunt off a boss from the other tank. But recently that changed.

Earlier this week I was running an ICC10, and tanking as usual. When i noticed my taunts were missing, and missing, and missing. Luckily this did not cause a wipe as it could have in many other boss encounters. So I went in search of what could be causing this so suddenly. I never had that problem before.

After sometime I came to find my hit rating was quite low, and the reason for that is I had recently acquired my second T10.1 piece and replaced my T9 leaving me very low on hit rating. So now i had 2 piece bonus for T9 and T10. But my hit rating was low, down around 200 only which is quite low for a DK, 292 being the cap for DK's.

I gem and enchant mostly for stamina, and defense, when necessary I gem dodge or parry to match the slot color, and if it makes sense to get that +6 stamina for matching the color. I only have one gem for hit. Normally that would get enough hit rating. But it looks like in this transitional phase between T9 and T10 it leaves the DK tank a little low on hit rating.

My answer to this problem comes in a little item called "Glyph of Dark Command". I replaced my "Glyph of Rune Strike", with the glyph of dark command, I also added another hit gem, and now I have no issues getting a taunt to land. For a moment I thought my threat might suffer too much from changing out, but it has not, although it is slightly lower than before.

Having to do this feels a bit like its mandatory, to use a glyph of taunt. In a way that's true and then that only leaves me with 2 major glyph slots. This however appears only temporary. As I acquire more T10 pieces, my hit rating should return to it's previous levels and I in turn will then be able to replace my taunt glyph with a more suitable choice.

Thanks for Reading


Friday, April 2, 2010

“ ‘scuse me while I whip this out”…

I've never written a blog before, and your probably wondering why I am writing this? I'll answer that promptly! About a year ago, for personal reasons which i won't go into now, I started a daily journal. I began to realize then that I really liked writing. I also really love playing WOW, so what better way to do both than to blog right?... RIGHT?!!!

Why did I start now? Well I've been thinking about starting something like this for many months now and I guess it just took some inspiration from some other blogger's. Also it's springtime here in the upper midwest and something about that just makes a person feel alive or reawakened.

I've played WOW since the original (i dislike when people call it vanilla) so about 4 years now, my main character was a mage, but when WOTLK came out I switched to play a Death Knight. I wanted to tank and the thought of leveling up from 1 again was too daunting. Oh I had several alts but none of the tanking ilk.

I love playing my Death Knight and rarely miss playing my mage or my many alts. You might be thinking "zomg DK noob is fail" as for myself that's about as far from the truth as you can get. I pride myself on my play and ability to tank as a DK and I love proving people wrong.

Currently I'm playing on Burning Blade US, Horde side. My previous characters are on a different server Alliance side. I'm Blood spec DK tank, and I'll be focusing many posts around that topic, and wow in general.

Thanks for reading.