What non-tanks need to know: CC

Dangfool/Kallixta from the Blog Azeroth shared topics created this thread, and its darn topical to me:

It was a little change and we’ve had some time to adjust. What’s life like now that Tanks need not worry as much about threat? What should tanks be aware now they have one less thing to stay aware of? What bad habits have DPS been freed to pick up?

While the change to threat is the obvious inspiration for this topic, it could just as easily be “What non-tanks need to know about tanking?”/”What tanks need to know about non-tanks?” We’ve never had that as a shared topic either.

The TLDR version of this post is:

  • Crowd Control is critical to a successful run – this has not changed since day one, and the threat change has nothing to do with it.
  • Interrupts are not optional. Dps need to do them, and so does the Tank. ZG is a bastard if nobody uses interrupts on trash and bosses.
  • If you don’t understand the fight script / mechanics, then ask beforehand. There is only shame on you if you ask afterwards, or don’t ask at all.
  • If you can’t do more than 7k or better dps on a single target, non-moving fight then do not sign up. You’re not ready. By comparison I’m wearing a jumble of gear that is basically similar to tier 11, and I can do 8-9k as the tank. You had better be able to keep up with me.

It resonates as the Tanking change has made Tanking better for threat but had no affect on the overall skill in the LFD community. It even looks like some dps have taken the stance that as Tanking is now easier then the fights are easier. No! The threat change means that it is much harder to pull threat, but all other constraints and limitations still apply.

I Tank the ZA/ZGs regularly to try to cap my valor points each week. Typically this means spending 45 minutes to 1.5 hours in a single run, hammering my way through the instance. Often I’ll do these back to back, as I get a few nights a week to play, and I don’t want to “waste” them on other activity when I have Valor to earn. This provides me with a wealth of experience on what it is like as a Tank in the LFD system.

For example recently I tried to complete ZA three times.

Group One:

  • The first Shaman healer left straight away, and I suspect he/she didn’t want to run ZA. The second Priest healer stayed until I left.
  • One of the dps (Warrior) insisted on pulling, and wiped us on two occasions. He was kicked, just after the first boss.
  • Nobody killed the Scouts, even when they had a Skull icon over them.
  • The Mage dps did not want to CC, and had to be told every time.
  • I quit after the 4th wipe, which due to battle res was my 5th death. We didn’t successfully kill the 2nd boss. Apparently a key fault was mine for not gathering up all the small birds, although I was regularly dying due to the amount of damage from the same birds…I’d say they we not being dps’ed at all.

Group Two:

  • We started in ZA again, with two Hunters from the same server, but different guilds. They were clearly friends, and both hated to trap. One didn’t seem to understand the idea or a re-trap at all. The other was slow, but generally polite.
  • The Hunters left just before the 3rd boss, both quit without explanation. They were replaced by a Mage and Hunter from different servers, who also didn’t know how to CC properly.
  • That team also had a Rogue who didn’t like to sap or interrupt, and just responded with “Lol” when asked. I decided early that he was a waste of oxygen, but was at least more useful than the Paladin dps who stood in front of the bosses next to me and did less than 5000 dps.
  • I quit just after the 3rd boss when the dps started insulting the healer. Now the healer was doing an average job, but to my read was busy keeping the fire-standers alive more than herself, so perhaps not valid criticism.
  • So many deaths.

Group Three:

  • Polite. Everyone said hello when we started.
  • I joked about having a metal head suited only to tanking, and the healer (priest) thought I was cake to heal and we started a casual banter through the rest of the run. Even when we had the odd death, it was ok as the mood was lightened.
  • The dps Shaman and Mage used CC regularly, with the Mage never being needed to be told. The Shaman was not as good, but got better as we went.
  • We lost a Warrior to a disconnect, but gained a DK who was basically the same. Both did what they should have, and despite them having average dps (~10k) they were still useful.
  • We completed the run after a long time, but we finished. Even the otherwise silent players said thanks at the end, and I would contemplate recruiting that healer if she was not on another server.

Now I know that a few examples do not create a rule, but the disparity of attitudes seems to be present in almost every session I sit down to play in.

What needs to change:

  • Crowd Control is critical to a successful run – this has not changed since day one, and the threat change has nothing to do with it. If your class can CC then you must learn when to use it, how best to use it, and how to reapply mid battle.
  • Interrupt the casters, mobs, bosses…etc.
  • Don’t be told every time to do it. Just use it and assume it’s needed.
  • Don’t face pull through moving, stay aware.
  • Don’t pull if its not your role. A tank may ask for a Mind Control or other affect that starts a fight, but nobody should ever take it upon themselves to start a fight when they’re not the tank. You just look like an idiot when some or all the group wipes.
  • Ask for help if you need it.

It is not a revolutionary concept to think that people should know what their role is, and do it without complaint. Further I have more respect for people who are less skilled or unsure, but will ask a question than those who will proceed regardless and just make a mess.

Asking questions and making mistakes is how some people (like myself) learn. I respect it. Staying silent just gives the impression that you are OK, and don’t want or need advice. If you are silent in a group I assume that you will be quick, efficient, and not screw-up too much.

Happy fighting, and may all your LFDs be graceful, educational, and error free.

DK CC utility not addressed in p4.1

The lack of CC for feral Druids, Death knights, and Fury Warriors is known – and I’m a keen supporter of adding some sort of CC utility to these classes. Lichbourne on WoW Insider reported today that we’re seeing a fix in a roundabout way, in patch 4.1 a change to the dungeon finder which will stop these classes being combined in random groups.

The random dungeon finder will now attempt to put DPSers of the same armor class in separate groups. This means that in theory, nevermore shall a fury warrior and an unholy death knight end up in the same random dungeon run. Sure, you may get a feral cat and an unholy death knight, but the cat has Hibernate, and in theory, your third DPSer will be someone like a shaman or a mage, who actually does have crowd control options that work on most stuff you’ll come across in your average heroic dungeon.

Source: Lichborne: Blizzard tackles death knight DPS utility in patch 4.1

That is total rubbish in terms of a change to assist with intelligent selection of a 5 man group. For randoms it might make it slightly better, but for all other groups its unchanged. So we have a change here that helps to take part of the symptom away; not address the core problem.

  • What will this do to the queue times for these classes?
  • How it is anticipated this would help non-random groups, like Guild runs?
  • Why is adding a small form of CC to these classes so wrong?

This is however a good idea anyway, and a nice change to the random group engine that I think is ok. It would be just as poor to see three clothy dps and a clothie healer in a random group too.

Gone will be the days of getting a group at level 61 that contains four death knights and a druid. For those runs the CC was just the prudent and over use of Deathgrip between the DKs, until the mobs became so dizzy they just threw-up on the floor rather than fight. Fun times, great memories.

I hope the CC aspect of the game continues to be thought about, and we see a further change of some sort along the way.

As a suggestion how about an affect called Ice Tomb?

  • Affect: Encases the targeted creature in a solid tomb of ice which melts. Damaging the tomb decreases the duration of the tomb.
  • Duration: 30 seconds, 1 minute with a glyph.
  • Cooldown: One use per combat would be better than nothing, but once per 10 minutes would also be fine so that it is not usable in arena.

Happy killing everyone.

From Death Knight to Hunter

After a little angst and wonder at the new Cataclysm expansion, I’ve decided that playing a Death Knight with basically no crowd control has only a small role in raids. As the guild is flush with Tanks, has plenty of melee, and I prefer DPS most of the time – a change was in order.

So I’ve started mucking about in a somewhat serious way with another character. I am pleased to introduce Agmundur, a recently morphed Worgen Hunter.

headshot of Agmundur

He's a little bit country, but then the choices of hair were dreadful.

Now he look harmless enough, and certainly well matched with all the heirloom gear and the Ironforge kit. But don’t be fooled as his real appearance is a tad more intimidating.

Agmunder as a Worgen

I'll huff and I'll...grrrr

Somehow I think Worgen were designed to appeal to the violent, strange, and somewhat feral side of human nature.

And I think the model designers got it pretty close to perfect. In fact they nailed it.ump shots, md, traps, feign, etc are all new to me.

Cockroach, Tankadummy, and Huntard walk into a bar…

As a follow-up to his post, my response, and now BRK has put together a great explanation of how to combine a Hunter and a Paladin Tank with crowd control. My hats off folks; he used diagrams.

As an aside I went looking for Cockroach images and it seems that there is an Australian cockroach that makes all the others seem a tad piss-weak. The image here is of the Australian Rhinoceros Cockroach, which looks to be one mean son-of-a-bitch. As an Australian Pally Tank I will now adopt this proudly.

Back to BRK’s wisdom:

The bizarre thing is this: Tankadins who prefer to ignore CC and tankadins who don’t understand CC perform pulls in exactly the same manner. Isn’t that freaky?

Go read it. Its darn good.

Pally terms used so far: Cockroach, Tankadummy, Pallywhacker. LOL. Don’t forget Threatmachine (sung to James Brown’s Sex Machine), Rhino, Armadillo; and something I got called on a PuG a few days ago: Threat-Whore (not untrue).

Paladin Tanks and Crowd Control

The BRK has a post about using crowd control with a Paladin Tank, and while I posted my response over there, I feel it should also be made public in my own blog too.

He presents a reader email who is asking about Paladin Tanks who like to use CC like traps, etc. The community response is just annoying, and demonstrates why so many people keep using the phrase Huntard. Continue reading