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Thread: Prot Tank having issues with Heroics

  1. #1
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    Prot Tank having issues with Heroics

    Here's my toon:

    The World of Warcraft Armory

    I'm reasonably geared for Heroics and working on same with my guild. They are geared at about the same level I'm geared at. We have a Pally healer and use a Warlock, Mage and Rogue for DPS.

    We've become frustrated with running Heroics lately, most recently Old Kingdom. We wipe far too often and are stumped as a group as to what is causeing it.

    Most frustrating we are wiping on trash mobs, usually due to someone aggroing before we are ready, or accidentally picking up a second group. I think that in these situations we should be able to recover, but we aren't. I'll get back to that later.

    As the tank, my general plan is to mark the targets and work our way down the list starting with the skull, once he's dead we move on to the next. With this strategy I'm hitting skull with Devestate (up to three sunders) with shield slam, revenge and concusive blow as often as the cool downs allow. I mix this with Thunderclaps, Demo shout and Shockwave to keep the other mobs looking at me.

    Issue #1, my DPS is telling me that the standard way that PUGs are handling trash mobs is to have the DPS sit back for a few seconds while the Tank gathers threat and then to AOE them down. Is this correct?

    Issue #2, assuming the assumption in #1 is correct, I'm thinking I need to switch my approach to cycle through all the mobs to give them a devestate or shield slam and keep cycling to build threat on all mobs. Is this correct?

    Back to wipes on accidental aggro; If someone else accidentally pulls a group my standard approach is to charge 1 mob, mark him with skull, thunderclap, demo shout, and then hit mob #1, hit any mobs still not looking at me and then return to #1 with devestate, shield slam, revenge and concusive blow, throwing in periodic thunderclaps and demo shouts.

    Issue #3, Is this the correct approach? What would be a better approach?

    Most wipes, whether a boss fight or accidentally pulling two groups are happening because I die, followed by the DPS and then the healer.

    Issue #4, Does that seem like a healing problem?

    One of the group members tells me that the our healer and three DPS PUG'd a tank (who outgeared me by a tier or two) and ran Heroic COS without any issues.

    Issue #5, Does that seem to indicate that I am the problem?

    Not to be melodramatic, but this is litterally tearing our guild apart. We almost lost a member over the weekend and I figure we have about two more weeks to pull this together before we're going to dissolve as a group.

    Issue #6, How can we tell if we have a Tank, heal or DPS problem?

    I am commited to changing my gear, talent build and fighting style to get this right, but quite honestly I'm almost at a loss for what to do next and not sure if it's something that can be fixed simply by better tanking.

    My plan at this point is to PUG a few heroics and see how that works. I'm pretty shy about tanking for PUGs thoug so this is a painful course of action for me.

    Any advice is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    OK, so first, you've done the right thing by coming to Tankspot.

    First thing I'd do is respec into a more traditional Deep Wounds build: 15/3/53.

    Next, I'd read Aggathon's Prot Warrior Tanking Guide. It has a lot of great advice for you on gearing. That chest piece you're wearing, by the way, is meant for resistance tanking, to help on bosses with heavy frost damage. I would switch to a tanking chest if I were you, even if you lose some HP, because as it is now, your chest piece has almost no avoidance, which is important at your progression level. Note also that your gems don't have to match the color of the socket unless you're looking to get the socket bonus, which isn't usually worth it. At your gear level, I also wouldn't shell out the money for the epic quality gems, but rather stick with the blue quality stuff until you start getting better gear.

    Next, you should start looking at your ability usage. Shield slam always takes highest priority over everything. It's your highest single threat move. If Shield Slam is on cooldown, Revenge is your next priority. If both Revenge and Shield Slam are on Cooldown, then you may Devastate. While you're doing all of that, it's very very important to keep Heroic Strike queued up, or Cleave if it's multiple mobs. You can use Heroic Strike at the same time as the other abilities because it's not on the global cooldown.

    For multiple mobs, you can charge in, thunderclap, shield slam your "skull" target, shockwave, thunderclap again, and then continue your normal rotation as I described above, hitting Thunderclap whenever it's on cooldown. If you are tanking a lot of mobs at once and you think your healer may have trouble keeping you up, use your shield wall. Don't wait until you're in an "oh shit" situation. Anticipate the high damage and use it before the mobs hit you. Any time the mobs pose a damage threat to you, you should keep Demoralizing Shout on them. Also when you are tanking many mobs at once, as with heroic trash, use your shield block. A lot. You can nullify most of the incoming damage with that and it's on a very short cooldown.

    It sounds like you're dying first, which either means you're taking too much damage, or the healer isn't healing well enough, or both. If you take the gearing suggestions in Aggathon's Thread, and work on your own survivability cooldowns, then in all likelihood, your death will not be your own fault. Just keep at it.

    Oh, and it may be "the norm" in PuGs to group up and AoE all trash packs, but your dps should modify their playing style to match what you're doing with your tanking. If you're marking targets, it's their responsibility to follow those marks. It helps a ton for new tanks when the dps know how to single target and don't just go into AoE fest at the first sign of trash.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    4
    Well, what you write sounds most likely like a concentration problem.

    I don't really see a problem with your gear. I think I already ran random Naxx raids with this kind of gear.

    When I do heroics I will post some comments before I start:
    A) I pull, no one else except I tell them to.
    B) Kill order is: Skull -> Cross -> Nipple (after that you have so few dmg incoming and such an agro lead that it doesn't matter anymore)
    C) Finder can keep it. That applies for Agro too. Meaning: You pull stuff I will try to get it off you. I might not be fast enough so don't complain when you die.

    Let your healer know you are the person that keeps the party alive. Sacrificing the tank for a DPS leads to a wipe. he needs to understand that.

    Your assumption is half correct: In pugs people will often aoe the hell out of stuff. And usually they don't wait a couple of seconds. Having said that I hated it then and I like it now because it makes for faster dungeon runs.

    Now I must say I play a Tankadin at the moment so I am a little off on the Warrior rotations but I played one until Wrath and what I did was:

    No Charge! Let the mobs come to you. Use LoS. It helps with picking them up. (here comes the finder / keeper thing to count - usually dps will nuke before the mobs are even on you - remind them, if one does it repeatedly let him die repeatedly)
    Use your Shockwave - it is full of awesome! In a normal pull it will stick the mobs to you for a while and in an accidental pull it will save lives as they won't eat your dps. It will also allow you to position yourself better in relation to the stuff you are tanking - especially with the pathing issues we are having right now.

    If the pug tank outgeared you and everything was fine it might be a two sided problem. It can be the healer (when you don't receive enough healing for the dmg you take) and it might be a tank problem (when you take more dmg than he can heal). Just make sure you minimize the incoming damage as much as possible (shield block, demo shout, thunderclap, trinkets). I stopped a while back using CC but if you need it, assign a symbol in your pre first pull speech like (Moon = sheep) and whenever stick the moon on something your mage sheeps it (or whatever cc you have).

    Don't worry, go and pug tank. The good thing is: the invites are instant and usually tanks won't get votekicked. And get yourself a thick skin - you need it as a tank. Not only in pickup groups.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    My initial take on this is that you got some overanxious/trigger happy DPS in your groups. Being a Prot Warrior, we typically draw the first of the blame unless it's blatenly obvious that it's someone else's fault.

    But, that little opinion aside, I'll get down to your questions.

    Issues 1 & 2: Yes, typically the DPS needs to hold off a few seconds while you draw aggro. Typically I like to go in with charge, thunderclap, and then start my usual rotation of Shield Slam, Devistate, Revenge, Cleave, etc, etc, etc (while cycling through targets with Tab). Always start off with Shield Slam because that is probably your highest threat generator right there and with Sword and Board, Devistate and Revenge both will have a chance to produce it multiple times.

    Issue 3: Demoralizing Shout, IMO, is not that great of an attention getter. Taunt and Mocking Blow is usually better while cycling through targets. Failing that, pop Challenging Shout (which I like to keep on cooldown for just such an occasion) to get everyone's attention.

    Issue 4: Healing Problem? Yes and No here. Without being there to see what's going on, I really can't say either way for sure what's happening. I hate to state the obvious, but, healer's responsibility is to keep you alive first and everyone else second.

    Issue 5: This is not really an indicator that you are the problem. I've seen high tiered Tanks blow a raid or two and I've seen low tiered Tanks handle aggro with the best of them. That, and everyone is entitled to an off day. I had issues one day with H ToC and couldn't tank the champions to save my ever-loving soul. LOL.

    Issue 6: Again, can't really tell without actually being there. I will say that being in a guild should be more about a friendly atmospehere than about finger pointing or having blame-a-thons about who's a problem duing groups and/or raids.

    A problem in a guild should be something like personality conflicts, ninja looters, Guild Bank Thieves, or something like that. A problem should not be "so-and-so isn't pulling their weight as a healer/tank/dps/gnome/troll/whatever". Running Guild Heroics and Raids should be a growing and learning experience for everyone. It shouldn't be about completion or acheivements (although they are nice perks).

    For example; My guild on Kirin Tor wiped on Heigan in a Naxx10 run because one of our tanks was demonstrating something to me to help me tank and accidently aggroed him. Another example is when my wife (who's a Hunter) used disengage from the Lava Elementals to fly backwards UP the stairs in H HoL and ended up aggroing both of the mobs up there before we could mow down all of the elementals. Heck, I got overzealous on a H CoS run one time and ended up aggroing the whole gauntlet and blowing a timed run for some guildies.

    I could go on forever on examples from just my guild alone. . The point is that the guild shouldn't self destruct because of a few wipes because someone is new to 80, or learning a new class, or needs some pointers, or whatever. Guilds should be helping everone else out where they need it and they should be patient and understanding if someone is having problems and needs a hand from time to time.

    Alright, I'll get off the proverbial soap box now. I hope that this helps ya.
    "Incoming Fire has the right of way"
    -Murphy's 18th Law of Combat

  5. #5
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    Sep 2009
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    1,900
    Reev saved me some typing. If you mark and someone AoE's, let them die. The marks aren't there because you like the colors. It's still your job to tank, but Heroic does not equate to AoE fest. When you are not overgeared as a tank, you need to make sure that you pull only as much damage as the healer can heal, and that your dps takes down targets in the right order. It is give and take with everyone, and although they may do "more" dps with their AoE, it doesn't help the group.

    Watch where you position mobs, pay attention to patrols, and use your cooldowns to survive. DPS tends to smarten up when you let a mob that isn't next on the kill order eat them. If they AoE and die when there is marks, it's their fault. If they pull the marked target off of you, it's your fault. If a pat comes in and wipes the group because you didn't pick it up/notice it.... it is your fault I hate to say it. You gotta pay attention to mob positioning and know the instances.
    RNGesus - Saving you unreliably since BC.
    http://i689.photobucket.com/albums/v...ellvarsig3.jpg

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Thanks to everyone for the input. I should have come here a long time ago.

    I think I see now that the underlying problem might be that the individual goals of the members of my guild are inexpressed and in disagreement. For now, I've decided to foster a guild discussion about what are individual and group goals should be.

    I plan to make some of changes to my tanking as recomended as well, I just don't expect that to solve the underlying problems.

    It is great to get advice from other tanks!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Another thing that may be on your shoulders here is party members pulling other groups.

    As a tank, its up to you to pull a group and position them where your dps won't need to worry about aggroing patrols or nearby groups. This is a key element of situational awareness and as a tank, you should always assume your party members are going to be inattentive about accidental aggro and plan accordingly.

    As a warrior tank, most pulls in heroics consist of heroic throw to a caster, charge my primary target, shield slam, wait a few heartbeats for the mobs to gather around, thunderclap, step back, shockwave and start to tab-sunder while keeping TC and Shockwave on cooldown. Rarely do critters come off of me unless its due to a very well geared dps not paying attention.

    You've also got some issues with your build that if fixed, would help with your aggro. You don't have deep wounds, an ability that will help quite a bit with your threat. Its like a consecration effect in that in many cases, your thunderclap will leave bleed effects on mobs, keeping them stuck to you. Glyphs also need some work. Devastate is a better glyph for threat. Glyph of cleaving would help you as well for heroics.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    226
    Issue #1, my DPS is telling me that the standard way that PUGs are handling trash mobs is to have the DPS sit back for a few seconds while the Tank gathers threat and then to AOE them down. Is this correct?

    The standard heroic group has T9 gear. You guys are not the standard, so you can't perform the same way. They need to slow down some, so you survive the place, gear up, and most importantly learn how to play your classes more effectively.

    Issue #2, assuming the assumption in #1 is correct, I'm thinking I need to switch my approach to cycle through all the mobs to give them a devestate or shield slam and keep cycling to build threat on all mobs. Is this correct?

    Back to wipes on accidental aggro; If someone else accidentally pulls a group my standard approach is to charge 1 mob, mark him with skull, thunderclap, demo shout, and then hit mob #1, hit any mobs still not looking at me and then return to #1 with devestate, shield slam, revenge and concusive blow, throwing in periodic thunderclaps and demo shouts.

    If a DPS pulls an extra pack, no matter what the group does a wipe is that DPS' fault. Nobody elses.

    Issue #3, Is this the correct approach? What would be a better approach?

    Most wipes, whether a boss fight or accidentally pulling two groups are happening because I die, followed by the DPS and then the healer.

    See below for some tips.

    Issue #4, Does that seem like a healing problem?

    One of the group members tells me that the our healer and three DPS PUG'd a tank (who outgeared me by a tier or two) and ran Heroic COS without any issues.

    Generally if the tank dies it's the healer's fault...unless you get a second pack. At that point blame lies on whoever pulled the extra pack.

    Issue #5, Does that seem to indicate that I am the problem?

    Not to be melodramatic, but this is litterally tearing our guild apart. We almost lost a member over the weekend and I figure we have about two more weeks to pull this together before we're going to dissolve as a group.

    They sound like a bunch of 12 year olds. Have they come up with any solutions to the problem? Tried to help each other by reading up on each other's classes? A successful guild works together as a team, and by one strengthening another, build a stronger team as a whole. A team is not about 'I want gear. You suck. I'm impatient'.

    Issue #6, How can we tell if we have a Tank, heal or DPS problem?

    Here's the typical mantra:

    If the tank dies, it's the healer's fault.
    If the healer dies, it's the tank's fault.
    If the DPS dies, it's the DPS' fault.

    ========================================

    I ran H OK for about a billion years trying for those damn epic bracers. I finally got them to drop last week. lol Except I have had my 232 bracers from 10m ToC beasts for awhile now. =(

    Anyway, H OK, IMO, is one of the roughest heroics in WotLK. It's got tightly packed trash reminicent of old BC heroics. Here's how I handle packs that are close together (ICC raid has quite a few tight trash packs):

    - TELL YOUR DPS TO WAIT UNTIL THEY SEE A SHOCKWAVE!

    - Target the caster (alcolyte, disciple, ... the clothie)
    - Use heroic throw (make sure to talent gag order, so this silences the caster)
    - RUN AWAY - lol yep, run in the opposite direction
    --- This will pull the whole group, and eventually get the casters out of cast range
    --- If you can, this is a great time to LOS the pack (line of sight - basically run around a corner or use some large object/angle so they can't 'see' you), which will make the casters come to you in melee range
    - Charge back in to get into range and build some rage
    - Strafe all over back and forth, up and down - This will cause the mobs to do a jiggly dance that really packs them in close as they try and converge on you
    --- All the mobs will pretty much be in a huge pile right on top of each other and you now
    - TClap
    - Queue a cleave
    - Start walking backward to get the pack into your cone of area for Shockwave
    - Shockwave
    - Tab target and SS/Devistate/Conc blow, etc
    - TClap and Shockwave on every cooldown

    That should easily get that pack in order.

    If I can charge in without drawing agg from other trash packs, I'll generally:

    - Charge in on the caster
    - Shield bash (with gag order this guy is now silenced)
    - Move over to the bulk of the pack
    - TClap
    - If 1 caster is still not with the group, heroic throw him (silenced, he'll run right for me)
    - Back up to line up mobs
    - Shockwave

    Few more tips:

    1. Make sure to keep mobs facing your front. If they're hitting you from the back you lose your avoidance and block. This will really cut into your survivability. You should be perfectly positioned with all mobs in front after a shockwave, due to you lining them all up for the frontal blast. (you can move around during the shockwave to get perfect positioning, while the mobs are stunned)

    2. Use mods to get more information on where the problem mobs are:

    Once you've pulled the pack and done the above rotation to set up threat, getting better info on which mobs are getting their ass kicked the most (meaning the ones you need to add more threat to) will help immensely.

    2a. Get a target-of-target frame. Not sure if the bliz UI has one, but I use IceHud. Having a target of target will allow you to tab through mobs and see who the mob is targeting for a quick TAUNT to snap back aggro and throw a shield slam/heroic strike...other spam - Build some aggro.

    IceHUD - Addons - Curse

    2b. Get Omen if you don't already have it. While tab targeting, Omen will show you how you stand on the threat stack. If you tab to a mob where someone is creeping up close to you, take some time and lay into that mob to build up more lead.

    Omen Threat Meter - Addons - Curse

    2c. Get aloft. This add on will allow you to see threat levels on the mob health bars you can turn on over their heads by pushing 'v' I think it is (or ctrl v or something). I have mine set to RED border if I DO NOT have aggro. This allows me to quickly click this mob's floating health bar (targeting it) and taunt/lay down some threat. It also shows me a YELLOW border on mobs where someone is creeping up on me in threat. If all the other mobs are fine, I'll click this guy and bash his face in a bit.

    Aloft - Addons - Curse

    Your DPS should know not to lay into mobs until you've at least layed down the TClap, but preferrably the Shockwave. As always, be ready for a mob to run off and want to eat someone's face. I usually just click these guy's nameplate (above head health bar) and hit taunt. They'll run right back. If it's a caster, I might have to heroic throw his ass for a silence so he'll run back to me, or (if HT is on CD) charge over and shield bash him, and then run him back to the pack.

    As far as people leaving the guild...do they not know you're new to tanking? Tanking is not something you just 'know' how to do correctly. It takes quite a bit of reading, trying new things, and experience out to get to the point where you're friggin' insane. DPS on the other hand IS friggin easy. And a DPS will be the first to tell you how easy tanking is...as they sit in their DPS role. lol

    The only person you need to protect is the healer. If a DPS rips agg, especially if you have marks up, it's their fault. Tell them to check Omen and learn to play the game. You don't DPS according to what an ICC geared tank is doing in heroics; you DPS according to what YOUR tank is doing in heroics. A mature player knows that.

    Also, are your players impatient? That's not really a great sign. Impatient raiders suck, so maybe weed them out before you get to raiding. lol
    Last edited by nethervoid; 12-23-2009 at 11:30 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Irwin PA
    Posts
    15
    First off, your gear looks alright, not great, but alright. Adequate for what you're trying to do. If I could make one suggestion though, you might do better to swap to a faster weapon than the one you're using now. I tried that weapon back when I first hit 80, and it didn't work nearly as well for me as the one I got as a reward for the Ragemane's Flipper quest from Zul' Drak.
    Spec-wise, I'll agree with the others, and say a Deep Wounds build is probably the way to go, it works very well for me.
    Another thing to remember is that sometimes certain runs are just tougher for certain groups or tanks. I know for me personally OK is one that I had a ton of trouble with the first time I tanked it, despite already having some raid tanking experience. There are alot of pats, and quite a few caster mobs. In my opinion, alot of what you need is confidence, and practice. For me that meant alot of running H-UK, H-VH, and H-CotS (yes, I find that instance one of the easier ones for a warrior tank). Some like H-Nexus as well. I would try and focus on a few that you know and can tank well, get a few badges, and upgrade your gear, and they cycle spirals quite quickly. Also, know when to say enough is enough, and not keep bashing your head against a wall, all that will do is frustrate you. If things aren't going well, go tank a run somewhere that you do well, it'll help build confidence for you.
    I can personally testify that reading here, as well as at TankingTips.com, and using what you're learning can make a big difference. If you're willing to put in a little work, and sometimes just take your lumps, you can progress fairly fast. My warrior dinged 80 in mid-october, last night I was tanking Lord Marrowgar. Keep a good attitude, learn how to use all of the tools in a warriors toolbox, and practice, practice, practice.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    ca
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    76
    Like everyone else I think your gear is "ok" for heroics. I would drop the +hit gems and throw in some +stam. Your talents are also off, go with a deep wounds build and threat will not be a prob. Run H-UP for the Red Sword of Courage that will be a better up grade currently. Your chest piece is not bad for heroics but also doesn't offer much in mitigation.

    Dont worry about Gear Scores which to me it is just a number if you dont show some skill to justify the gear, i.e I ran a H UK and the tank was in full T9 but couldn't hold aggro on the trash. When I run as DPS and the tank doesn't mark I will focus on the tank and hit which ever target he has.

    When I mark I tell everyone in group that if you pull it you tank it, my first order of business is to keep the healer alive, with out a healer and/or tank it will be a wipe, you can lose dps and the fight will just last a lil longer.

    And like in RL practice practice practice, you will be amazed at how much easier tanking will seem once you get a rotation down and know which abilities will help keep everyone alive.

    Study tankspot there is A LOT of great information here and if you chose to use it towards your toons then you will improve by leaps and bounds.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    4
    Thanks again to everyone for the advice. I have a list of improvements I plan to put in place.

    I think things aren't going to work out for my guild. We have a couple DPSers who are Puging constantly and outpacing the rest of the guild. One of them appears to be sporting a bit a superority complex which is ten kinds of iritaing since it's the same person who the rest of the guild carried for months.

    I figure I can get the same stress and assistance from PUGing until I find another guild.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    4
    Hang in there is all I can say. You might be making things hard on yourself by not hanging out as sub par dps in pugs to see how overgeared tanks are doing it, if you haven't done that yet. I hit 80 on the 24th, and I can already tank any heroic with no problem up to HFoS (i have tanked it, but wiped on devourer 3 times) You can check my armory here. I tanked from 55 or so on up to 79, but had to eat humble pie and play as arms and sit in queues until I finally had enough badges to get t9 gear and collect other various pieces. I then read everything and gemmed/enchanted as much as I am able (on gear i'm going to keep a bit, not the crap I need to swap asap). I just kept using the same strats I've always used to tank and they work for me. In the 5 mans, just make it clear that dps assist you. Marking casters is the only thing I do if anything.

    Now, I want to go do 10 man naxx, but, nobody wants a noob tank in their pug for that, so, back to dps I shall go I guess...

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