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Thread: Help me be a better AoE tank

  1. #1
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    Help me be a better AoE tank

    I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but I'm having trouble holding threat on packs of mobs against low DPS toons. I run with a mage often who does about 1300 DPS, and I ask the DPS to give me about 5-7 secs on group pulls before they go all out, but he still pulls threat.

    This is my armory (which doesn't show items that drop me to 25k health and 1066 BV - BV with what is shown is 866):

    The World of Warcraft Armory

    Major Glyphs: Blocking, Devastate, Revenge
    Minor Glyphs: TC, Bloodrage, Charge

    This is my rotation: Heroic Throw the Caster, back up and charge. TC, Shockwave, then Shield Slam first mob while they're stunned. Shield Block after stun wears off (to up Damage Shield damage), then Revenge -> Devastate -> HS (I pretty much press this repeatedly, since I'm never rage starved) -> TC rotation , hitting Shield Slam when it's up or when Sword and Board procs. Once the mob I'm on is at about 40% health, I tab to next in kill order and repeat.

    Is there something I'm doing wrong? If the mage were doing 2k+ DPS, I could understand, but at 1300, I don't get why he's pulling threat. I've not really tried putting Cleave in my rotation instead of HS, but is that really necessary? I also don't tab-sunder much, but I thought we could get away with that.

    What am I doing wrong?

  2. #2
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    That does seem really weird. I'm a prot warrior and as 77 I've done a lot of stuff with a really high DPS 80 mage (don't know the exact DPS) and he can't pull anything off me unless he starts doing crazy AoE. I use a very similar rotation, but sometimes I'll throw on Vigilance to make sure he doesn't pass me. If there's a specific person or class you have trouble with then I bet that would be worth consideration. Still he shouldn't be passing you...
    Maybe he's doing too much AoE or no following targets?
    I've been surprised sometimes at how some people seem competent but they really are clueless about following targets.

  3. #3
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    Cleave

    If I don't cleave and tab target around usually AOE guys pull aggro. Some people in my guild don't really care about order even though I give them a kill order they balk at it and tell me to roll pally. (No way...one word...charge).

    Anyway, so since I've been trained that people are all going to do whatever they want and not focus fire I'll usually charge in thunderclap, shockwave. I make sure to use my shield block too. Sometimes I'll use that before the shockwave so they beat on my a bit and get block threat. I always use TC and shockwave when off cooldown for the most part. In between that I'm doing devastates, concussion blow and even shield bash.

    I throw cleaves on multiple mob packs instead of heroic strike. I'll tab around and monitor threat with omen and build threat on the one that is most likely to start attacking a dps'er.

    If I want I can get my guildies to follow a kill order so I was kind of joking about that but lots of them seem to have fun hitting any mob they want. I figure it just makes me better.

    I remember pre-patch 3, it wasn't even really "tanking" heroics for me. It was pretend tanking where all I would do with high dps players is continually taunt as they pulled aggro on my rage starved warrior.

    Anyway good luck and report back if you see any improvements.
    Last edited by yhtomitn64; 01-12-2009 at 05:33 AM.

  4. #4
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    Make sure you have NPC name plates up ('V') with the aggro aura on. As soon as you see a name plate turn yellow hit that mob with all you can. Keep Shockwave and TS on CD and dump your rage with Cleave.

    Now you need to be aware of what kind of DPS you're with. If it's single target dps, then mark a target and make sure it sticks to you while TS the rest. If it AOE DPS, then they'll do the same amount of threat on every mob so you need to do the same. Tab target and hit with everything you have without staying on one target too long.

    I've noticed that us warriors are good for burst AOE threat but no so great on the long run. Maybe your AOE fights are lasting too long because of low DPS ?

  5. #5
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    So what I'm hearing is:

    - Replace HS in my rotation with Cleave
    - tab-sunder

    I'm jealous of Paladins.

  6. #6
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    No way. Too much fairy magicy crap for my taste with Pallys. Plus, I would rather know for sure I can keep aggro on one important target no problem and struggle at times with a mob. In my experience pretty much the only time mobs get pulled off me is when someone is messing around and not paying attention to directions. I'm not a babysitter. If you don't want to follow calls then enjoy your new friend that you just pulled off of me. One of my healers and I will let a hotshot DPS die a couple times until they decide to listen. Why should we be the only ones who pay attention and do our job?
    I agree with the different types of DPS though. Us warriors really have to be on the ball if a DPS HAS to do AoE. I've never played anything other than warrior DPS so I don't really know what kind of builds can't focus on one target very well, but it can't be that many.
    I would like to hear feedback from a serious raiding tank on what they expect of their DPS's and following targets. I have a feeling that unless you're in a 5-man PUG, not following calls isn't going to be tolerated very much.
    I just think that if I, who is obviously not the most experienced player around here, can keep stuff off of a well geared lvl 80 mage with no problems over the course of a dozen instances, you shouldn't have any issue either if you're playing with people who have a clue.
    That's my 2 cents, if it was even worth that

  7. #7
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    If I'm in a group where all the dps are AoE, I lead with heroic throw, charge, shockwave, thunderclap, demoralizing shout, shield slam one target and spam tab+cleave until the cooldown is up on thunderclap and shieldslam. I then thunderclap hit a different target with shieldslam and go back to the cleaving fun.

    In the event that I've got a melee dps, i'll mark a target for him to attack, perform my normal rotation. If the melee is on the top of my omen charts, i'll hit his target with a concussion blow before I start my initial round of cleaving, just so he's got a few seconds of safety not having to worry about pulling.

    Personally, I love AoE tanking and once you get the hang of it, you'll never want to tank any other way.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by beardtank View Post
    I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, but I'm having trouble holding threat on packs of mobs against low DPS toons. I run with a mage often who does about 1300 DPS, and I ask the DPS to give me about 5-7 secs on group pulls before they go all out, but he still pulls threat.

    This is my armory (which doesn't show items that drop me to 25k health and 1066 BV - BV with what is shown is 866):

    The World of Warcraft Armory

    Major Glyphs: Blocking, Devastate, Revenge
    Minor Glyphs: TC, Bloodrage, Charge

    This is my rotation: Heroic Throw the Caster, back up and charge. TC, Shockwave, then Shield Slam first mob while they're stunned. Shield Block after stun wears off (to up Damage Shield damage), then Revenge -> Devastate -> HS (I pretty much press this repeatedly, since I'm never rage starved) -> TC rotation , hitting Shield Slam when it's up or when Sword and Board procs. Once the mob I'm on is at about 40% health, I tab to next in kill order and repeat.

    Is there something I'm doing wrong? If the mage were doing 2k+ DPS, I could understand, but at 1300, I don't get why he's pulling threat. I've not really tried putting Cleave in my rotation instead of HS, but is that really necessary? I also don't tab-sunder much, but I thought we could get away with that.

    What am I doing wrong?
    There is no reason to focus on only one mob till it's down that low. Even using TC, SW and DS, if you're not hitting each of the mobs in front of you with something other than AoE attacks, the DPS's will take aggro off you.
    For me, the start of a pull is similar to yours, but once I have the attention of skull (yes, I mark every pull) via SS, I tab to the next mob and continue the rotation. Keep doing this until you're back to your primary target and go from there.

    That is the only problem I see. Hope this helps.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kilrum View Post
    once I have the attention of skull (yes, I mark every pull) via SS, I tab to the next mob and continue the rotation. Keep doing this until you're back to your primary target and go from there.
    When you tab to the next mob, do you just go through the rotation once before you move to another mob?

    Also, (and I mark all the pulls too unless they come as part of an event, a la Violet Hold) is there an addon or slash command that could auto mark targets? In other words, I tie it to Shield Slam, and every time a slam a mob without an icon, it gets marked with the next icon in the series?

  10. #10
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    That is a good idea, tying it to the mobs via a specific action, can prolly make a macro.

    But to answer the question, no, I only move off to the next target after I use a major threat move. Shield slam is primary for me, the concussion blow, then heroic strike, and devestate.

    After a while, you'll be able to comofortably move on to the next target knowing that there is little chance of aggro being pulled from you.

    No matter what, though, relying solely on AoE to keep mobs glued to you simply won't work, especially as you tank harder content.

  11. #11
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    Tabbing through the mobs is pretty crucial. Thunderclap alone is still just enough to keep them near you, you have to use our bigger threat building abilities as you cycle through the mobs to really have them stick against heavy AOE/healing.

    When you say he pulls aggro, what do you mean exactly? It's somewhat common for mobs to target the person 2nd or 3rd on their threat list briefly and chuck something at them, or just give them the finger etc. Now if the mob stops and runs at him, then that's pulling aggro. Again, really depends on the context and to an extent what your mage buddy is doing.

  12. #12
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    Maybe you recently respecced, but I really can't comment on your AOE threat if you're specced Arms warrior right now. : /

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blacklac View Post
    Maybe you recently respecced, but I really can't comment on your AOE threat if you're specced Arms warrior right now. : /
    Haha, I was just screwing around. My tank spec is the same 15/5/51 spec that everyone is using.

    Looks like the problem is that I was expecting TC, Shockwave, Damage Shield and the occasional tab-sunder to keep the mobs on me, but I need to tab and whack em with Shield Slam or Revenge instead.

    Thanks, though.

  14. #14
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    I used to have the same problem. After reading numerous forums, and hours and hours of practice, I came up with this. First for me Glyph of Sunder is a must, it applys sunder to a nearby target. Sometimes I charge but if I do pull, I mark kill order, then pull skull, for casters, you can LOS pull them around a corner, as they run at me, I Devastate the first to reach me, then when the others get close, TC, run through the group of mobs to turn their backs to the group, Shockwave them all, then tab Devastate all around to keep up multiple sunders on all mobs, throw in a TC and DS as well as a cleave and they are all yours. Then hit Revenge and SS along as you tab through, Just keep that up till they are all down. Itll soon be second nature. Once in a while a DPS will pull one off me, just Taunt him or let them handle it depending on how many times it has happened. I read and article on that very subject, sometimes you just gotta let em die a few times to get the point. Omen is available to all, if they choose not to use it, or ignore it, this is not your concern. Generally if someone pulls one off, they can handle the mob. As of WotLK, I am surprised at how many players dont even use omen, or know what it is, lol.
    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by arrenger; 01-05-2010 at 12:57 PM. Reason: Forgot to add pertinent info

  15. #15
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    Perhaps we're overlooking some basics?

    First- alot of posts are talking about cleave and hs as if they're part of the warriors rotation, but there's a huge difference between cleave/hs and all the other moves in a warrior's arsenel.
    Cleave/hs are melee moves while the rest of a warriors moves are physical dmg moves. This means that cleave/hs are on their own rotation. I say this just because it seems overlooked. This means that you can constantly spam cleave or hs- while you continue to use other moves not based off of melée swing timers! So if you didn't realize this, this alone will make a huge overall threat difference. Spam cleave all the time on trash, be sure to have the glyph and when you switch targets always go 2 either direction for max efficiency.
    Second- as far as rotation goes, it's 101 and a fail not to pop shield block right away! A good trick is to pop it during your charge! Don't waste time poping it in front of mobs when you should've already cleaved and clapped!
    After that I say rotation is opinion. It is my opinion that devestate is inefficient when it comes to trash, cleave and clap. Get the glyphs, resonating power for clap, the minor clap glyph is solid as well. The clap is very efficent aggro! Spam it! Devestate bosses, I say AFTER you run your rotation. Spam hs and the clap, ss, concussive blow, revenge everytime it's up, shockwave everytime it's up....
    Third- talents. Dmg equals threat to some extent- so the more your doing the better you'll keep aggro! Improved disarm, +10%dmg while active, do it, fantastic for initial threat against bosses! Improved defensive stance! Your a tank! It'll be up all the time! Improved cleave in the fury tree. +5% crit and the armor/atkpwr skill, top left fury tree are a must. Look at the prot tree and how many talents add plus crit to certain moves- such as the clap. Another 5% added to the 15% bonus is huge! You'll have 35% crit with the clap on all targets! Crits=more threat! Atkpwr=consistent threat, you choose your balance.
    Fourth- and this is huge and also of a basic nature. Cleave and hs are swing timer based. Therefore a faster weapon is advantageous. My opinion is a swing speed between 1.80 and 2.40. This gets you more threat consistently AND generates more rage! Which in turn generates more threat!
    Fifth- some small temporary upgrades always help when your at those lvls where permanent enchants just aren't worth the gold. Temp upgrades such as shield spikes and sharpening stones for weapons. Cheap and effective! And if your gear isn't cutting it you can always buy cheap craftable sets off the ah.
    Tanking is all about being efficient.
    Speaking of being efficient- the whole reason I'm a big supporter of spamming thunderclap is because with talents and glyphs it only costs 8 rage! Saving you 12 rage off its original cost per use which may then be spent on other moves. Such as cleave. Think if you just used the clap 5 times per pull your saving 60rage, which in turn could be 4 cleaves.
    Another note, get recount to see how much your missing. Uglybbtoo mentioned that below and your clap could be suffering, lol.
    Lastley but perhaps most importantly is keeping control of your group and communication. I normally tell all my groups to wait for the clap. Even I charge in and clap right away, using these methods I still won't lose aggro under the heaviest aoe.
    Try it out, you won't be disappointed.
    Last edited by kazajhodo; 01-18-2010 at 10:49 PM. Reason: Additional information.

  16. #16
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    Just a little perspective..

    When I ran some TBC heroics on my 70 warrior (H Shattered Halls), I was doing about 850-950 DPS on average, peaking at about 1300 DPS, with about 30-40% of my damage being off cleave. If said mage is doing 1300 DPS, there is no way he should pull off you if he is in fact waiting 5-7 seconds, and I'm assuming you are no longer 70.

    A well placed TC and Shockwave should secure aggro in most cases, and you nail it down with tab-cleaves. And contrary to the previous post, having glyphed devastate, I use it all the time to get the free HS, as sometimes I don't get enough rage from my other moves or incoming damage. I find if that happens, popping shield block helps, as the 5 rage on block works out more than the incoming damage rage from unblocked hits.

    Where I do lose aggro is if one or two mobs don't get hit by my aoe (namely casters). At 70, there's no heroic throw to bring casters to you, so it gets tough, so I keep an eye out. You on the other hand need to see if you are missing some mobs with your aoe. Note, there is a Thunderclap minor glyph to extend the range by 2 yards.

  17. #17
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    His hit is 110 ... fine for single target tanking always going to be a problem with aoe tanking.

    Ps:Try putting some chants on alot of your gear
    ** Remember Warcraft players fail in directions you never thought possible.

  18. #18
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    you NEED glyph of cleaving, iv never heard of anyone trying to AoE tank without it. you also need to tab devastates and cleaves around, not doing so would be like tanking without your shield.

    if you find its difficult to tabb and cleave+devastate you could just do what i do, assign devastate to your Q key (right next to tabb) and cleave to [mouse wheel up]. - this part is just me its not something you need to do

  19. #19
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    I'd also suggest opening with Shockwave -- this way you can hit all of the targets and generate threat before they go after your DPS.

  20. #20
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    Great advice, since my last post Ive had to change my AoE rotation, my opening tactics are the same, however due to the fast pace and very high DPS of the group in Heroics, I now use Tab, Devastate, Cleave, Tab, Dev, Cleave, using TC and SW when ready. Id like to follow your advice on Glyph of Cleave, but which one should I replace. I currently use Glyph of Devastate, Sunder, and Blocking. Thx in advance,

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