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Thread: Comprehensive Guide to Death Knight Tanking

  1. #421
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    Quote Originally Posted by bling581 View Post
    With the increasing health pools from the ICC buff plus the increased effectiveness from Blood's self healing abilities you should be seeing yourself dip to 35% or lower less and less. This would make me question the real effectiveness of the talent.

    As a main healer this gives me a sad face. It a tank has abilities to self heal themselves on demand I would hope they're using them wisely to help with the incoming damage. That comment reminds me of a Blood tank we had back in Ulduar that wouldn't use his CD's properly and then chew out the healers for letting him die because he got roflstomped.
    The effectiveness of WotN is an automatic 15% damage reduction when we need it the most. Assuming the healer has us topped off all the time, and there's steady damage coming in, we may never need it.

    Here's the thing though, blood's self heals, as a tank, heavily depend on death strike + two diseases for an effective 15% heal (with improved death strike). Everything else for a blood tank tank is a cooldown, which means we're not using it cyclically. We're holding onto those for the times when we either know things are about to get ugly... or they already HAVE gotten ugly. Like Rune Tap.... with a 1 min cooldown when fully specced.... it's not like we're just popping it every few seconds to heal ourselves. We hold onto that as an "oh shit" button. Now, a good tank may try to keep a rhythm going with our death strike to have it delivered evenly. Even then, a tank still relies on the heals from our healer to keep us going for the long haul.

    And your statement tells me that you don't understand the blood tank. Death strike require two runes PLUS at least one disease to get any heals out of it. And we don't get any healing rom damage delivered because we're walking around in frost spec for the threat. Runes aren't always available to us. Again.... some of us try to establish a rhythm so that we HAVE some runes available and on tap when needed. But what happens if we have to throw down a death and decay to grab agg on adds? Oops. There goes our free heals.

    The way you say it..... "on demand".... makes it sound like there's not a price to be paid for our ability to heal ourselves. Our ability to heal ourselves.... or even our cooldowns.... are all tied to a resource that has a cooldown itself..... runes. That's like saying a healer can heal indefinitely. We have to make choices.... do I hold back on using my runes offensively just in case I need a DnD or Rune Tap or Pestilence so I can keep my diseases up? Do I use my rune power for rune strike for threat?... or do I save it for popping IBF or AMS?

    On the good side, we're not like paladins who "could" bottom out on mana and be in a bad spot. We're also not like warriors that need to build up rage to get rolling. The rune system is a great system, so long as the demands on it are not over it's ability to refresh itself.

    As for the blood tank in Ulduar.... I'm not certain what was the situation there. But, judging from your remarks, I'm hesitant to throw them under the bus yet for failing to use cooldowns/mitigation tools correctly. Then again, I don't get pissy with my healers. I ask them what I can do to adjust to what they're experiencing.

    EDIT: Also, don't forget, we're more like bear tanks in that we don't have shields or a block mechanic, so a blood tank may "feel" squishy compared to a pally or warrior.
    On the plus side.... we HAVE damage mit tools the bear tank doesn't have, so we can counter when we know big hits are inbound.

  2. #422
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    I play a DK and understand you can't always DS whenever you feel like it. It is the healers job 100% to keep the tank up but it's also the tanks job to help offset incoming damage, through CD's or in Blood's case self healing. I was simply responding to his comment which to me, seemed that he considered it not his job to do anything to help with the damage except rely on WotN, and the self healing had no worth. In Dark's example there's not much self healing is going to do with that many consecutive hits of that magnitude, but I disagree about it's effectiveness. Wouldn't you want to save enough runes so you could immediately DS or Rune Tap after things like Soul Reaper?

  3. #423
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    Quote Originally Posted by bling581 View Post
    As a main healer this gives me a sad face. It a tank has abilities to self heal themselves on demand I would hope they're using them wisely to help with the incoming damage. That comment reminds me of a Blood tank we had back in Ulduar that wouldn't use his CD's properly and then chew out the healers for letting him die because he got roflstomped.
    DS is nice. It's extra. It's gravy on the mashed potatoes. I use it every cooldown over more Heart Strikes even with Death Runes up on fights that have potential to kill me.
    However if you are RELYING (key word) on any sort of self healing from the Death Knight, you are doing it very very wrong.

  4. #424
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    Quote Originally Posted by bling581 View Post
    I play a DK and understand you can't always DS whenever you feel like it. It is the healers job 100% to keep the tank up but it's also the tanks job to help offset incoming damage, through CD's or in Blood's case self healing. I was simply responding to his comment which to me, seemed that he considered it not his job to do anything to help with the damage except rely on WotN, and the self healing had no worth. In Dark's example there's not much self healing is going to do with that many consecutive hits of that magnitude, but I disagree about it's effectiveness. Wouldn't you want to save enough runes so you could immediately DS or Rune Tap after things like Soul Reaper?
    People act like these are things that are central to a blood death knight. EVERY tank stacks stamina. EVERY tank has to properly use cooldowns. EVERY tank has a relatively similar cooldown set, and encounters are balanced around them. The DS heals aren't an extra cooldown, they are the equivalent of a critical block... something nice, but again, not something to add into the incoming damage / incoming heals continuum.

  5. #425
    Quote Originally Posted by Edgewalker View Post
    DS is nice. It's extra. It's gravy on the mashed potatoes. I use it every cooldown over more Heart Strikes even with Death Runes up on fights that have potential to kill me.
    However if you are RELYING (key word) on any sort of self healing from the Death Knight, you are doing it very very wrong.
    As Blood you should be. In fact pre-3.3.3, you either did or you specced another spec.
    The problem pre-3.3.3 was that Blizzard balanced a Blood DK around his selfhealing. It is a tank's goal to take less damage yet Blood was the only tree to take full damage, contrary to Frost (2% Mitigation) and Unholy (6% antimagic mitigation).

    That is...

    Where Warriors, Paladins and Druids shave X damage of some hits, Blood recovers X HP directly after the hit. There is functionally very little difference between Blocking 1500 damage and re-healing it right after a blow, except ofc if the hit would instagib you without a block (see WotN post-3.3.3 for that).

    And that is why selfhealing is (or rather was, since Blood now also takes the least damage of all three specs and retains it's selfhealing in a wise balancing act of Blizzard...) so utterly important to a Blood Tank. Without it, pre-3.3.3, it was the inferior spec. But people saw the +3% Sta and ofc went foaming at the mouth that it has to be the best one. With bad selfhealing, Frost and Unholy both were superior in sustaining damage, Unholy depending on fight ofc.

    Yes it is/was the job of the healer to keep a tank up, but in that case if you didn't selfheal, you were much better off respeccing instead of riding on the back of the healers having to pull extra healing for a tank either playing the wrong spec, or playing his spec the wrong way.


    Quote Originally Posted by bling581 View Post
    With the increasing health pools from the ICC buff plus the increased effectiveness from Blood's self healing abilities you should be seeing yourself dip to 35% or lower less and less. This would make me question the real effectiveness of the talent.
    That was the Blizzard explanation for the change too, though I consider it over the top. Yes maybe it has a lot less statistical effect than the tooltip suggests, but still like I said:
    Blood's "concept" was to take more damage than the other two specs and re-heal parts of it as a sort-of blocking mechanic. Now Blood has kept that, but also takes more damage to be killed than Frost or Unholy, so it wins on both accounts. Yippee for balance. :P
    Last edited by KnThrak; 04-02-2010 at 02:57 AM.
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  6. #426
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    It is an out-moded idea, and misrepresentation of how the system works, in my opinion, that:
    "Healers are responsible for healing you to full."

    Healers' sole job is to keep you from dying. Nothing more. Anything on top of that is gravy. Sometimes that requires keeping your health higher so the next hit doesn't kill you, but it is not their job to keep you pinned to 100% under any circumstances.

    One half of the core role of a tank (and many downplay the other half as not a concern right now because it is too easy to overpower) is to be as little a burden on the healers as is reasonable. Classically the only significant tool tanks had for that was damage reduction (through mitigation and avoidance). Blood tanks are the first tank that adds self-applied healing as a way to make the healers' job easier.

    Blood self-healing won't be enough to do it on its own in high-end raid content, but it is a significant factor that cannot be under-sold. It can effect how many healers you need personally, and as an upshot can allow your raid to shift and compensate, either putting more healing on the raid, or letting you drop a healer for a dps more comfortably.

    All health does is give you a larger safety margin in which you can take damage without dying. I don't mean to make that sound like a small thing, it is very very important as it is the most direct way for you to not die (thereby making it easier for you to be kept alive). That said, the *only* reason that it is ok to trade so much damage reduction into health right now is because the balance of regen vs cost for healers makes it hard to *really* wear down a healer's mana. That is the only reason it is ok to be a "mana sponge/meatshield" and it is something that Blizzard has a mind to change in Clysm. So try to keep it all in perspective so you can adapt as the times change. =)

    "It's the healer's job to heal me through anything" is not a healthy or helpful attitude, especially not as a part of a team. Making the healer's job easier is the best thing we can do as a tank, in a world where threat is not as demanding (provided you have the right tools in place).
    The (Old) Book on Death Knight Tanking
    The New Testament on Death Knight Tanking
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horacio View Post
    Who f-ing divided by zero?!?

  7. #427
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satorri View Post
    "It's the healer's job to heal me through anything" is not a healthy or helpful attitude, especially not as a part of a team. Making the healer's job easier is the best thing we can do as a tank, in a world where threat is not as demanding (provided you have the right tools in place).
    Uh, nowhere am I saying that self-heals shouldn't be used or aren't helpful. However the healers better be preparing to heal you like you aren't self healing at all, and they better be doing it regularly, or you will never be successful at challenging content that hits with any degree of difficulty.

    As Blood you should be. In fact pre-3.3.3, you either did or you specced another spec.
    The problem pre-3.3.3 was that Blizzard balanced a Blood DK around his selfhealing. It is a tank's goal to take less damage yet Blood was the only tree to take full damage, contrary to Frost (2% Mitigation) and Unholy (6% antimagic mitigation).
    People specced blood because VB was the superior cooldown, especially pre-UA change. Blood had the best threat. Blood had the highest stamina modifier. The AVOIDANCE increases of frost were/are completely trivial, especially considering the unavoidable nature of the "hard" fights in ToGC. The 2% modifier to FP was nice... but again, outweighed by the other perks in the blood tree.

    I think people are misunderstanding my point. Death Strike is amazing. However it's not quantifiable, you can't plan around it, and healers don't get to slack off just because you can self-heal.

  8. #428
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    I think you've made your stance abundantly clear, over and over again. =)

    At least to me, since I've read it over and over again.
    The (Old) Book on Death Knight Tanking
    The New Testament on Death Knight Tanking
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horacio View Post
    Who f-ing divided by zero?!?

  9. #429
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satorri View Post
    I think you've made your stance abundantly clear, over and over again. =)

    At least to me, since I've read it over and over again.
    And yet we still see posts like this - "It is an out-moded idea, and misrepresentation of how the system works, in my opinion, that:
    "Healers are responsible for healing you to full.""

    Blood death knights are not the anomaly because they have DS or Rune Tap. Healers are just as responsible to heal them to full as the 3 tank classes without reliable self healing.
    Saying anything different is flat wrong unless you are tanking the most trivial of content.

  10. #430
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edgewalker View Post
    Saying anything different is flat wrong unless you are tanking the most trivial of content.
    No matter how definitely or extreme you want to make your statements, declaring your opinion does not make it fact.

    If you believe that, that's great. If others believe you, or came to that on their own, that's fine. Do you think I'm just sticking my fingers in my ears and saying "lalalalalala" because I don't agree with you?

    Maybe you could accept, even for a moment, that I might have some idea what I'm talking about, and give it thought. Or at least accept that I disagree?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edgewalker View Post
    Healers are just as responsible to heal them to full as the 3 tank classes without reliable self healing.
    If tank A takes 200k damage, healers have to heal him at least enough to keep him from hitting zero until the end of the fight.

    If tank B takes 200k damage but heals himself for 5k damage, the healers do still need to heal him enough to keep him from hitting zero, but sometimes that 5k damage may be at the right time or in such a way that their job is a little easier.

    If tank C takes 250k damage but heals himself for 10k every time his health drops below half, he will be easier to keep alive, easier to keep from that deadly zero point.

    No one is claiming it does the job for the healers, but it is not necessarily disregarded. Just because you don't see it, or can't count on it every time does *not* mean it is not meaningful or impactful. It only takes one 5k heal at the right moment to make the difference between a wipe and a win.

    Relegate it however you want, but blanket statements do not do you justice.
    Last edited by Satorri; 04-03-2010 at 06:46 PM.
    The (Old) Book on Death Knight Tanking
    The New Testament on Death Knight Tanking
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horacio View Post
    Who f-ing divided by zero?!?

  11. #431
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    Stop taking what I am saying out of context. "Uh, nowhere am I saying that self-heals shouldn't be used or aren't helpful. However the healers better be preparing to heal you like you aren't self healing at all, and they better be doing it regularly, or you will never be successful at challenging content that hits with any degree of difficulty." That's a lot different than me ignoring the value of DS.
    Also your example had NOTHING to do with the reality of DS in a fight. Absolutely nothing. A more realistic example would be

    Tank A takes 220,000 damage over the course of the fight. At his worst damage spike he takes 89,000 damage in a 3 second span. 24,000 of the damage is magical.

    Tank B takes 256,000 damage over the course of the fight. At his worst damage spike he takes 93,000 damage in a 3 second span (13950 is absorbed by talents). Tank B heals for 45,000 damage over the course of the fight, 10,000 of the healing done is effective. 0 of the healing occurred during the damage spike. 24,000 of the damage is magical.

    Tank C takes 256,000 damage over the course of the fight. At his worst damage spike he takes 93,000 damage in a 3 second span. 22560 damage is magical.



    Relegate it however you want, but blanket statements do not do you justice.
    The only blanket statement I have made over the past few posts is that healers need to plan on keeping every tank at 100% as best they can (which they do) and that WoTN is one of the best overall tanking talents that any tank has, in any tree. You disagree about the last, which I'm not totally sure you understand the mechanics behind yet, and you somehow disagree on the first. I don't really get your angle or argument against either.
    Either way, I'm going to let it die.

  12. #432
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    I use Death Strike (and Rune Tap) to counter spikes.

    Deliberately. I assume I am not the only person to do so. Being able to respond to health dips with 20-50% of your health is a very valuable skill, and one I miss when I'm not Blood, or tanking on my DK. That is why I made the example I did. Rather than relegating it to "it's just there and you can't count on it to heal when you need it" I deliberately plan and look for ways to use it when I need it.

    It is also the only thing I can attribute with my healers feeling I am easier to heal than my warrior counterpart who is generally a better tank than I am.

    That is why I disagree with your "more realistic" display of the application of DS.
    The (Old) Book on Death Knight Tanking
    The New Testament on Death Knight Tanking
    -----------------------------------------
    Quote Originally Posted by Horacio View Post
    Who f-ing divided by zero?!?

  13. #433
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    So, after that flurry of arguments about Death Strike and whatnot, I have a rather simpler question that hopefully won't set the world ablaze with debate.

    Basically, most of you have stated, regardless of your standpoints on Winds of the North etc etc, that all tanks should stack stamina. I'm still worried about things like expertise, which used to be touted as the main method by which to avoid insta-gibs. Now, if I stack all stamina, my hit'll probably take a bit of a dive but certainly my expertise will plummet. Should I be worried about that?

    As a follow-up question, how much stamina/HP, unbuffed and still in Frost Presence, should I be around before I can reasonably PUG ICC10? My GS has been at around 5200 (way more than my warrior) but my health pool is typically much lower than other DK tanks I've come across in fights like VoA or ToC.

    Any advice?

  14. #434
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    Do you have an armory? Rather than focus on "required" numbers, it would be easier to see and critique what you are currently using.

  15. #435
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satorri View Post
    I deliberately plan and look for ways to use it when I need it.
    I'm pretty sure every tank does. I also don't know how you qualify "better" tank. Gear is 3/4ths of the game.

  16. #436
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edgewalker View Post
    I'm pretty sure every tank does. I also don't know how you qualify "better" tank. Gear is 3/4ths of the game.
    Well, how can anyone possibly make a statement about this? You believe it to be one way, and you seem unwilling to be open to other opinions. I disagree. However, even if gear was 3/4s of the game, I would argue that that last 1/4 is a big enough value to allow for noticeable differences in tanking skill.

    In any case, I take from Satorri's posts that he is simply putting the Warrior tank on-par with himself, or saying that he might have a bit more experience. He's not in any way seeming to suggest that the other Tank outplays him. Nor, in fact, does he necessarily argue with your point. Perhaps the other tank is better geared, and yet his healers feel that he (the less geared DK) is easier to heal.

    Numbers aren't everything, even if they are the absolute in what happens in a game. Subjective experience accounts for something. From the posts you've made, it would seem like trivial content for you would be ICC 10 normal, but it's not trivial content for others, they aren't at the same level of progress. My experience from those levels, from the perspective of a healer, is that some tanks are easier to heal than others. I can't always point out why, but I do know it makes a difference in how I heal and who I place my Beacon on. When I notice that a Tank can reliably keep themselves from dying to spikes for a period of time, I feel safer tossing out a heal to a raid member that needs it, etc... should another healer have picked it up so that I didn't have to? Probably. Perhaps the damage the DPS took was avoidable. Either doesn't change the fact that they took that damage and that moment I knew I could toss my heal on them so that they didn't die and neither did the tank can be the difference between success and a wipe.

    When you run with a better, more organized and geared crowd, you don't always run into those situations. But plenty of us do. Healers notice when some tanks self-heal or manage CDs better than others. They are "easier to heal" and that means that we don't have to spend every second of the encounter keeping them up to 100%. It means that as long as they aren't severely low, the healer might actually be able to feel confident tossing out a heal to someone else before getting back to them.

  17. #437
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayKannon View Post
    Now, if I stack all stamina, my hit'll probably take a bit of a dive but certainly my expertise will plummet. Should I be worried about that?

    As a follow-up question, how much stamina/HP, unbuffed and still in Frost Presence, should I be around before I can reasonably PUG ICC10? My GS has been at around 5200 (way more than my warrior) but my health pool is typically much lower than other DK tanks I've come across in fights like VoA or ToC.
    Don't be too concerned with Hit/Expertise for the sake of threat, they will be threat values, but you can do fine threat without paying either much mind. Assuming you are sitting barely at the soft cap, you will notice an expertise drop pretty seriously in terms of reliability. You will notice more dodges/parries if you are usually paying attention to whether or not your strikes connect. You can drop the hit and not quite notice as easily (especially since the same rating will only be half the increase in chance not to hit on melee swings).

    Make the decisions for yourself, figure out how much you value your various bits. The only way to figure out how it feels is to just do it and try. I know it can be expensive and usually a gem here or there is a small enough change you won't notice, but you can play with trinkets for a bigger change with no cost, and see how it feels to trade stats around.

    My opinion for a minimum health value to start ICC? I have seen tanks get away with as little as 35k unbuffed health in ICC10 (for tanks who don't stack pure stam, mind you). At your gear level, depending on spec, I'd assume you can easily hit a reasonable minimum without socketing pure stam.

    @Lulia
    I think tanks in general forget a lot of the things they do that are second nature. They don't get highlighted for value but can be a very big deal. I've recently been walking a close friend through tanking for the first time ever. She's played the game for a few years, but she never tried tanking before so she's very raw on the topic, as much as she hangs around with me. There is a lot of meaningful choices and moves we make in the meta game, the realm beyond spells and gear choices in the game world, movement, positioning, target priorities and sequences, judgment calls on what you're hitting, when, and with what. And gear setup is a meaningful part of the game, but it is only a piece.

    Generally, I would agree that gear setup is a significant part of tanking, but with cooldowns getting shortened, most tanks are shifting to a more active survival role (on top of the threat game, and the positioning/orienting, etc). Blood has always been a lot of fun to me beyond that because you have so many tools to be actively involved in your own survival. Rune Tap can fit into so many cracks so well and really act as spike protection. If you find a good rhythm you can time DS into swing speeds and blunt the size of the hits taken. Mark of Blood is a tricky one but it can do some really cool things to blunt raid damage as much as it can soften a tank beating, especially against breath weapons and tanking packs.

    Old-hat tanks get into a space. It's all familiar, it's all instinctual, so they stop paying attention to a lot of the things they are actually doing and all they see is the RNG and the healers. Not generally a bad thing since the game isn't likely testing them to grow in response to the challenges more than a week, maybe two on new content, if that. After dpsing and healing ICC I feel like Tanks short of got the short end of the stick on this last tier, since there isn't a lot of interesting/new tanking challenges. There's a lot of raid obstacle course where the tank gets to just hang out in their spot and tank the boss.
    The (Old) Book on Death Knight Tanking
    The New Testament on Death Knight Tanking
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horacio View Post
    Who f-ing divided by zero?!?

  18. #438
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    @JayKannon

    I have tanked up to and including the Blood Princes on my DK (assuming you do Plague wing before Blood that is) with a mere 36k hp. I went the elusive DW-Gemmed for avoidance-Honors slot bonuses route. Kind of like being the red headed step child of DK tanking, but I figure if Ron's getting some tail there's hope for us all.

    Knowing the encounters, when to utilize cooldowns, and respecting your healers to keep you alive without too much difficulty is a much bigger key to early ICC tanking than just, "Me, meatshield. Me take punch to face" and hoping for the best. Play smart, know which cooldown to use and you'll do fine and have fun.

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    For tanking ICC? I personally went in with 33-34k. I also had great healers. I'm a JC, which helps (nice fat stam gems). My expertise was not topped out, but hit was.

    I think realistically, 32k is the bottom edge. If you're going in with less, ouch. If you're going in with that, I hope that you have great def to counter/balance it. It depends on your group composition, buffs, and the tolerance of the people you run in with. Really.... depends LARGELY on that last bit. I've seen people recently asking for 2900+ GS (wow-heroes) for ToGC. My eyes kinda did this O_O These guys were asking for a VERY WELL GEARED TANK (t10 equivalent set) to do content that was released PRIOR to t10 sets. When I saw that, I asked myself "what's in this for the tank?". Hope the group was at least offering to pay for repairs or giving the tank dibs on any upgrades (if any). I found it somewhat ....distressing.

    Here's the thing though, realistically, how well geared can you be as a tank going into ICC without ANY t10 gear or ICC drops? A full fat stack of t9 plus drops from ToC and the ICC heroics is still going to land you in the 2500 GS range (wow-heroes). That SHOULD put you at about 33k-34k health. Please, realize that, without running ICC, there's only going to be so much you can do. You WILL hit a "ceiling".

    By the way..... one small note: your gear score as a blood/unholy tank dragging around a 2H weapon.... is likely going to be lower than equivalent warrior/pally. Big reason: NO SHIELD. You lose out on that gear score stick. Have fun convincing people that you're really on par with that tank with 100-200 points more than you. Oh, and with a warrior.... add in any ranged weapon stat stick they may be toting.

  20. #440
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lilithium View Post
    @JayKannon
    Knowing the encounters, when to utilize cooldowns, and respecting your healers to keep you alive without too much difficulty is a much bigger key to early ICC tanking than just, "Me, meatshield. Me take punch to face" and hoping for the best. Play smart, know which cooldown to use and you'll do fine and have fun.
    Sorry. This just had me laughing my ass off. "Me. Meatshield. Me take punch to face."

    In all seriousness.... dead on. A clueless tank who isn't using their tools correctly..... will always be trumped by a lesser-geared tank that plays well.

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