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Thread: Warrior Tanks going Squish

  1. #1
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    Warrior Tanks going Squish

    This is a question from an RL and DK tank rather than a Warrior tank, so I've got a limited amount of visibility on some of the details of the problem, but I've been having such issues with the survivability of the warrior tanks I'm picking up in some pugs that I'm hoping someone can help me out (as my own warrior is unfortunately 10 levels and two years too low for me to do my own testing, and I really don't want to end up going 'Warrior tanks suck and I'm never taking them to raids).

    Long story short, I keep ending up with warrior tanks that look good on paper, but get crushed in situations where I or my regular tanking/RL partner (a pally tank, and don't look at us like that) aren't even cycling cooldown's that aggressively. And to top it off, most of them have aggro issues (i.e. other tanks pull off them without the use of taunt mechanics).

    I've checked the obvious things. They're def capped, but not excessively so (540-550 def generally). They've got a nice sized effective health pool (35k+ unbuffed, which is more than my non-blood 34k and change healthpool). They don't always have the combined item level that I or my pet tankadin do so they're sacrificing some avoidance to get up with our healthpool at times, but generally they're 20%+ for dodge and parry with mid-teens block. Finally I'm not seeing anything really crazy with the specs.

    Generally it's a burst thing. They take two 20k+ hits in a row and fall over (melee/impale, melee/breath, etc.). But deaths aren't limited to that, I've seen it on everything from Gormok and Ony, to Razorscale and Jaraxxus adds. Furthermore, whatever it is, isn't happening to myself or the pally. On several occasions I've had myself or the pally picking it up from an insta-gibbed warrior tank and have no significant issues (the most glaring example of this is taking three tanks to Northrend Beasts, losing a warrior tank on his first turn tanking Gormok and proceeding to 2 tank the rest of the fight which has happened a couple times now), so it's not simple a matter of sampling selection where the nights we have warrior tanks we have less capable healers than the nights we don't.

    Anyway, that's all very long, and the succinct version is:
    What possible causes should I be looking at for shorter than expected warrior lifespans that I haven't considered already?

    Some ideas I'm knocking around that if people could tell me are crazy or not are:
    My pet tankadin and myself have more damage reduction (myself being a frost dk so some talent points are going into direct DR rather than health pool, and my tankadin being a tankadin and therefor overpowered :P)
    My healers like me better (the tankadin and I are GMs/RLs, so may be more at the forefront of our healers minds, though this doesn't really explain pug behavior, or raids when I'm on one of my non-tanks)
    There's some dark art of warrior CD usage that I'm not aware of

    Also, for bonus points, if someone could explain to me the standard causes of crappy threat from seemingly correctly geared/spec'ed warrior tanks, that'd be awesome (or a rough breakdown of the percentage of threat by source for a correctly threating warrior would be especially helpful as could compare it to future parses).

    Thanks in advance for any help, or heck anyone who waded through all that text.
    Last edited by Fathom; 09-30-2009 at 07:56 AM.

  2. #2
    Warrior threat isn't bad at all, but normally I, as a warrior MT, let my paladin OT start the pulls cause I start oor and he still has mana Forgetting Vigilance or putting it on someone who isn't nuking the same target will result in lower threat.

    Also a smart use of shieldblock+trinkets, + endless keybinds, might not be on top of most pugged warrior tanks. Knowing the encounter as well as a RL does gives you an advantage in this that many other "pugged" tanks might not have.

    But when a warrior does not block, he does take bigger hits then any other tank. Spiky... and it just might be why they keep dying in your raids, your healers not used to that or not ready for such spikes. If they were more used to healing a warrior they might do better with pugs.

  3. #3
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    Well, I really couldn't tell you for sure, but myself being a warrior tank (and having run with some) it is something that they do that causes them to die. I remember running OS, and even H CoS.... I could tank anything and everything, survive and be easy on the healers mana pool. I ended up switching to DPS and the other warrior tank took over, died on the first pull. I have no clue how, gear wise he should have been fine to tank those, but nope... he died fast.

    Aside from the obscure chance of getting crit by a boss, I don't know how the warriors die so much, but I do know what you mean. The way to prevent this: monitor cooldowns, and use them like crazy! I never pop shield wall unless I know I'm gonna get hit hard repeatedly. I use enraged regeneration and last stand when my health drops drastically, I have the Repelling Charge trinket from Naxx (instant 3k HP boost) and use my Shield Block all the time when it is up. Demoralizing shout, Commanding Shout help as well. Check the warriors' glyphs too, glyphs that don't make sense will definitely make sense when you are pulling aggro/picking up the dead tanks' mob.

    As for aggro issues: Either the DPS hit it too hard too fast, or you have a bad tank. I've run with several tanks (warriors) that I can't pull aggro off of in Prot spec! If you have a good tank that knows what he/she is doing, you will never be able to pull aggro off of them. Rotations usually involve a whole lot of thunder clap, devastate, revenge, shield slam, cleave/heroic strike, demoralizing shout, and concussion blow/shockwave (not in that order).

    Playing a warrior is not easy, and they don't have as many cooldowns as DK's, as much EH/avoidance as Tankadins, or health/armor as Druids. What they do have is chain stuns, shouts, silences, etc. that will cut down on damage when used properly. In a raid our guild usually runs 2 warrior tanks and either a DK or Tankadin in a 25 man, never had any issues with aggro or dying. Some of our DK's/ranged are doing 8.5k DPS too.... so I'd say if aggro is being pulled off the tank, you have a bad one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garbid View Post
    But when a warrior does not block, he does take bigger hits then any other tank. Spiky... and it just might be why they keep dying in your raids, your healers not used to that or not ready for such spikes. If they were more used to healing a warrior they might do better with pugs.
    Well, they are used to a pally tank, shouldn't that have similar block/non-blocked strike damage spikes? (honest question from someone who doesn't wear a shield)

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    Also, for the record, I'm not saying that Warrior threat is bad in general

    I've had a couple warrior tanks that held threat like they'd insulted the boss's mother, but I've had a few that make me feel like I need to ask the dps to softpedal it in a way I've never worried about DK or Pally tanks. What I was wondering was how I should look at their threat to figure out what I should tell the bad ones to do to correct it. Specifically, if someone knew of the top of their head how much threat came from what abilities, e.g. for me as a frost tank, my threat comes from RS, then FS and Obliterate, then minor contributions from Melee, IT, BS, diseases, etc. I'd imagine it goes something like Shield Slam, Revenge, Heroic Strike, Devastate, etc. for warrior tank but I'm not sure enough to start yelling at people

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    Warrior block mechanics are (from what I have read) better than the Tankadin block mechanics. The abilities they can get (shield specialization) helps them out a lot.

    Usually rotation priority for a single target warrior is Devastate, Shield Slam, Thunder Clap, Demoralizing shout, Heroic Strike, Revenge, Disarm (where applicable). Shield slam is a solid 7K threat (as I recall... there are a lot of threads on it), Devastate (when glyphed) is two stacks of sunder armor and the recent buff gave it a lot more damage (and hence) a lot more threat. Devastate and Revenge will proc Shield Slam, so it's kind of important to hit those often to refresh sunders and proc shield slam. Shouts generate aggro, and with the warriors Damage Shield ability they generate threat from getting hit. I will also (if applicable) open up with a battle charge for a rage boost that doesn't require a hit to my hp.
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    Undergeared tanks that your healers don't trust will always die. Some key information you've left out is what your Armor levels are like as well as what healers are being used. What you see as a "small" item ilevel difference could be massive especially in terms of Armor which going hand in hand with Health is going to lessen the frequency of burst damage kills.

    Outside of the missing variables probably the biggest offender is lack of Demoralizing Shout. Some Warriors aren't great at keeping it up and it makes a massive difference as to how much damage they'll take.

    Ultimately, I suspect that your healers are either not of the same quality that the ones healing you usually are or they're complacent when healing pugs. I've experienced both phenomenon numerous times.

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    I think you probably have answered your own question, in your original post. When you discussed the "spiky" damage, that set off an alarm for me, that possibly it could be the types of heals that are incoming. Perhaps a discussion with your healers would illuminate. As a warrior tank, I tend to like the sweet Hots of druidic goodness, especially just before a charge, when my rage has not kicked in yet (sorry, I don't know names of spells from various other classes--hopefully, you get the idea, though). A continuous flow of healing, like a totemic presence, is also wonderful...a good base from which to keep me topped-off. I'm told that Hunter misdirects are helpful, too, in some cases...also, you might try to remind the Warr to use his Vigilance--if he's pug, then let him know who has the most deeps, or who is most likely to "jump the gun" on the dps meter.

    As for threat, only time I have trouble with that is if not given a few seconds to start--generally I call for at least a "count to six" before unleashing damage...or, I just simply say, "Watch for me to jump up and down, before you pew-pew!"

    Bear in mind, I'm not a raiding tank, yet, other than OS, and a bit of NAXX. However, I think if you keep these couple of things in mind, it should fare better. Barring just having a bad tank, or a good tank, on a bad night, I don't think there's anything all that wrong with the class doing the job.

    As for your question about pally spike damage...I'm not sure, but I've OT'd with a pally tank quite a bit, and he tends to talk to himself, rather harshly, when he forgets to cast certain spells, before a pull...maybe that's some kind of mitigation to the spike damage?
    -"Just like a buzzin' fly, I come into your life, I'll float away, like honey in the sun..."--Tim Buckley

  9. #9
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    On the pull I always Hand of Sacrifice the MT no matter who it is so the healers have a little more time to get positioned and the tank doesnt die due to positioning and spotty heals.
    The only thing better than being able to tank, is realizing that you no longer need to prove that you can.


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    Note: You've got me thinking about healers, now, so I'm going to be asking some of my favorite ones how they keep me up, including my Priest, Druid, and Pally healer. If I'm illuminated, I'll get back to ya...
    -"Just like a buzzin' fly, I come into your life, I'll float away, like honey in the sun..."--Tim Buckley

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by veneretio View Post
    Undergeared tanks that your healers don't trust will always die. Some key information you've left out is what your Armor levels are like as well as what healers are being used. What you see as a "small" item ilevel difference could be massive especially in terms of Armor which going hand in hand with Health is going to lessen the frequency of burst damage kills.

    Outside of the missing variables probably the biggest offender is lack of Demoralizing Shout. Some Warriors aren't great at keeping it up and it makes a massive difference as to how much damage they'll take.

    Ultimately, I suspect that your healers are either not of the same quality that the ones healing you usually are or they're complacent when healing pugs. I've experienced both phenomenon numerous times.
    To clarify the armor question I've seen these issues with tanks with <1% of DR from armor difference from me. I'd be surprised if Armor was the culprit.

    The reason I'm mostly discounting healers from my reasoning is that I've seen the difference not only within the same raid, but sometimes within the same attempt. I singled out Gormok in the original post primarily because the fight is maddeningly effective at highlighting my recent issues with warrior tanks. The same healers that had the warrior fall over on them, seem to have no particular issues keeping myself or the pally up even though it means we've gone from a 3-tank impale rotation to a 2-tank one. (Though behavior differences between healing me/the pally and healing warriors is indeed something I'm still worrying about).

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MellvarTank View Post
    Warrior block mechanics are (from what I have read) better than the Tankadin block mechanics. The abilities they can get (shield specialization) helps them out a lot.

    Usually rotation priority for a single target warrior is Devastate, Shield Slam, Thunder Clap, Demoralizing shout, Heroic Strike, Revenge, Disarm (where applicable). Shield slam is a solid 7K threat (as I recall... there are a lot of threads on it), Devastate (when glyphed) is two stacks of sunder armor and the recent buff gave it a lot more damage (and hence) a lot more threat. Devastate and Revenge will proc Shield Slam, so it's kind of important to hit those often to refresh sunders and proc shield slam. Shouts generate aggro, and with the warriors Damage Shield ability they generate threat from getting hit. I will also (if applicable) open up with a battle charge for a rage boost that doesn't require a hit to my hp.
    Are you playing the same game I am? Firstly, warrior and paladin tanking mechanics are different. Most would consider paladin blocking better, since paladins can block 100% of attacks that are not avoided. Warriors, by contrast, only block a portion of the hits, but have a 60% chance per block to block twice as much. While this probably ends up being a wash in terms of the total amount of damage blocked, it means that warrior damage is not as consistent as paladin damage taken.

    In regards to your rotation, I wouldn't agree with that. There isn't a "rotation" for warriors as much as a priority system. The priority I'd use is keep Heroic Strike queued all the time, shield slam when available, revenge is next priority, followed by devastate. That's for an infinite rage scenario. For non-infinite rage scenarios, the instant strikes should take priority over heroic strike. For AoE packs, Thunderclap and Shockwave should take priority over all. Some people like using cleave a lot on those as well, but I find tab shield slam/devastate/revenge works fine to hold threat for me.

  13. #13
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    First off, here are the differences I have noticed when tanking with all 4 types:

    Paladins and DKs have a lot of passive or near-passive abilities. Paladins just need to keep up 969 rotations using the appropriate skills for single target/AoE, and given proper gear there's nothing more to it. DKs need a bit more skill.

    Druids are the most simplistic due to a lack of buttons to push, it's basically Swipe/Maul/Keep up bleeds, use CDs on damage spikes, but beyond that, it's be geared and eat the damage. Of all the tanks, basing your decision to take somebody along on a tank's gear alone has the highest chance of suceeding with a bear, there's very little skill involved. To a lesser degree, blood tanks just eat damage too, and as long as they keep self healing up, they are golden.

    Warrior tanks by far earn my respect. They just have too many buttons to push, which makes them really great if they can manage it all, but it also means they are highly skill dependant. You can have all the gear in the world, but if they push only 2-3 buttons, your raid is screwed (unlike say a paladin or Druid).

    Paladins and Frost DKs are the closest to warriors in my opinion. Between paladins and warriors, paladins have greater uptime on block with no talents to up their block, while warriors have better blocks at a cost of lower uptime. So if they forget to keep up Shield Block on CD it's a huge survival handicap.

    To answer the original post, keeping up all the mitigations (TC, Demo Shout, Shield Block, stuns etc.) is their #1 priority, review combat logs to look for gaps. As for CDs, every tank now has the same number of CDs (two + racials + Trinkets), so that is a common across the board. The only thing is, warriors may be so busy pushing "Warrior only" buttons they sometimes forget to hit their CDs (or pushing a CD in the midst of other buttons affects their TPS, etc.).

    For threat, review Thecks' work. Warriors need to start stacking str, but everybody is too busy stacking stam to do so.

  14. #14
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    As a warrior tank myself, here's a few things I can suggest that *might* be causing your warrior tanks trouble.

    They may not be keeping thunderclap on cooldown. Its NOT just for aoe tanking, the attack speed debuff is a very useful increase to survivability no matter the situation.

    They may, as mentioned, not keep Demoralizing and Commanding shouts up. The debuff and etra 2k and some change health make a big difference.

    If they're inexperienced, they may turn their backs to the boss and run when trying to reposition him, giving the boss a couple clear shots at them with no chance to avoid. This almost always leaves the warrior as a splat stain on the floor.

    If your healers are used to healing you and your pally OT, they may not be prepared for the spiky amounts of damage a warrior tank takes. I have no experience running with DK tanks, as none of my current raid team plays a DK and the only DK tank in my guild rerolled a druid to heal, but I understand that the damage intake is much smoother for pallies than warriors. That being said, if it was a healer problem, and your healers are any good, they'd adjust after a couple wipes and things would go easier. I ended up leaving a VoA pug with myself and another warrior tanks just last night because the healers lacked the ability (and to be perfectly clear, these were healers in full Ulduar 25 gear, so there was no gear issue)to heal us through the meteor punches. I'm sure quite a bit had to do with them not adjusting to the way warriors take damage.


    If its a fight with a lot of magical damage, he should be hitting spell reflect whenever he sees that boss about to cast something nasty at him. If there's a nasty, interruptable spell the boss uses (KT's Frostbolt, Jaraxxus' Fel Fireball) he needs to be using shield bash to keep that spell from going off. A warrior has to use every spell in his arsenal to be effective. If they don't, they tend to go spat.


    Now, for threat...there's a few things they could be doing wrong. Low hit, and low expertise make a huge difference in threat, as I'm sure you know.

    The big mistakes I've personally made, and I think a lot of warriors make, is not keeping heroic strike spam up, and not prioritizing their skills correctly.

    Like I mentioned before, not keeping shouts and thunder clap up makes a big difference in how much damage they'll take. If he's not keeping shockwave and concussion blow on cooldown as well as the normal Shield Slam > Revenge > Devastate priority, that's less threat as well. If they dont keep shield block on cooldown, they miss the damage reduction and the increased threat/damage from shield slam. My guess is its probably a mix of several issues.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Reev View Post
    Are you playing the same game I am? Firstly, warrior and paladin tanking mechanics are different. Most would consider paladin blocking better, since paladins can block 100% of attacks that are not avoided. Warriors, by contrast, only block a portion of the hits, but have a 60% chance per block to block twice as much. While this probably ends up being a wash in terms of the total amount of damage blocked, it means that warrior damage is not as consistent as paladin damage taken.

    In regards to your rotation, I wouldn't agree with that. There isn't a "rotation" for warriors as much as a priority system. The priority I'd use is keep Heroic Strike queued all the time, shield slam when available, revenge is next priority, followed by devastate. That's for an infinite rage scenario. For non-infinite rage scenarios, the instant strikes should take priority over heroic strike. For AoE packs, Thunderclap and Shockwave should take priority over all. Some people like using cleave a lot on those as well, but I find tab shield slam/devastate/revenge works fine to hold threat for me.
    To answer your question: Yes, I am playing the same game.

    In regards to "rotation" I said rotation PRIORITY, not rotation. I always go on priority, not a defined rotation as the actual rotation will change based on the fight.

    You come off as condescending, you should maybe consider re-phrasing your posts. Advice is more readily taken when you don't post things like "Are you playing the same game I am?".
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    Well, it wasn't intended to come off as condescending, only very surprised. For someone who writes reasonably well and says he got the information from reading, I was just very surprised to see information that ran very contradictory to everything I had ever read or experienced, on these forums or elsewhere. I apologize if it came off as rude or condescending.

    As for "rotation priority," you're right, you said priority. I think if you're going to be giving an ability priority to people though, it helps to give them a little more specific info. A very new warrior reading your post might read that and conclude that heroic strike is a very low priority, whereas in fact it is a huge portion of our threat.

    I still disagree with you, but I'll try to remain more civil about it.

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    Why hasn't anyone mentioned Ardent defender here?

    Ardent Defender - Spell - World of Warcraft

    This plays a big part in Paladins tanking this guy and avoiding an inst-gib. Gormokk is in short a pain in the arse, I regularly die on Gormokk simply because shit seems to land all at the same time. An example of this was that on Heroic Beast 25 man last night I got Impaled for 30k + a melee swing of 23k + an impale DoT of 12k all within the space of 0.05 seconds. Lame thing is, is that the other tanks don't get the same happening to them . No matter how good your healers are, if this happens, you are screwed.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhyseh View Post
    Why hasn't anyone mentioned Ardent defender here?

    Ardent Defender - Spell - World of Warcraft

    This plays a big part in Paladins tanking this guy and avoiding an inst-gib. Gormokk is in short a pain in the arse, I regularly die on Gormokk simply because shit seems to land all at the same time. An example of this was that on Heroic Beast 25 man last night I got Impaled for 30k + a melee swing of 23k + an impale DoT of 12k all within the space of 0.05 seconds. Lame thing is, is that the other tanks don't get the same happening to them . No matter how good your healers are, if this happens, you are screwed.
    same thing happens too all tanks, difference is that druids tend to have enough hp that they will survive(though not always, depends on gear and a bit of luck- i have seen our druid get instagibbed on this fight multiple times though doesnt happen anymore as he uses c/d's)
    pallies ardent defender saves them... worst case u will see them proc ad and not even understand y and just keep healing them.

    really you just learn to time ur cds towards the end of the fight and you will get through fine.

    the only reason you may notice this more with warriors is because they have lowest EH compared to other tanks currently and hence are more gear/skill dependant.

  19. #19
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    Oh yeah CD timing is the way around it, but this will still happen from time to time i.e. when an OT dc's lol.

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    Yeah sometimes you see just too much damage in too short a time for anyone to react or save you; one time on sarth+1 we finished off the drake just to see the add tank go down, and the whelps/elementals convegege on the pally MT healer(he has RF up just so adds always go to him), my drake was down so a quick charge, shockwave, challengeing shout, and it would be fine.

    shockwave has a 4 second stun.

    most mobs have a shorter melee swing time than 4 seconds

    i was 43shotted the moment stun wore off.


    but back on topic warriors are very random in their incoming DPS, when the goings good they will take less damage than other tanks. when its bad they take more. it requires clever use of abilities to really shine, not clipping shield blocks with disarms or stuns, the (de)buffs you can keep up 100% of the time need to be up 100% of the time, the ones you can't should probably be used on cooldown unless you need to save them for some sort of special ability (like shield block for when the twins go duel-wield) which means your warrior needs to know the fight.

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