Thursday, November 17, 2011

The art of the pull!

Pulling a pack of mobs or a boss is the first step of any fight. The first time you put on the shield and 1h weapon and que to tank, making sure you handle your pulls runs thru your mind more than once. For some its second nature and for others they never quite get the handle on it.

Just a few ideas to make the pull easier and help those who are worried about that contact with the mobs you are going to say hello too. This simple act is and can be the biggest issue on how others perceive you as a tank. If you don't nail it PUGs will torment you. If you don't pick up your target fast enough it can lead to a wipe and if someone can prove (on any given fight) that they can do it, you might lose your spot as the tank.

This comes from a Paladin POV and the reason why is because its what I know best. I have dabbled in Warrior and DK pulls but I'm not nearly as good or as comfortable with either of these toons to want to raid or speed pull. I would rather take the 5 extra seconds in setting up the pull with my non main toons than wipe and cost us minutes to corpse walk, buff and bio after the wipe.

First allow me to give you a tad of background on how I learned to pull. The very 1st pally I played with was tirelessly slow and methodical. He could make a 1 hour H-Botanica run into 2 hours. Learning to play in TBC ---> A L.O.T. of your success was dependant on your pull. Ave Shield (AS) was a 1.5 second cast, didn't silence and in general Pally's were not pull friendly at a distance. Now...consecrate would gather EVERYTHING up then but if you had a caster...oh my how it sucked. Til this day I'm a tad uncomfortable running and pulling with my pally because of my early play time. When Wrath came out I thought I was good at the pull. Shortly after LFG came out, I que'd with my hunter and seen a world class player pull H-UP in 258 ilvl gear pull and finish it in 8 minutes. Now as ICC gear came out and 277 ilvl gear was all the rage, this was easy. As I watched this dude pull this place with precision and grace I knew I had alot to learn. I worked at it, it took some time but after a bit I got better. Here are some tips...

This will help with bosses or trash. It might even help you when a pat gets you are you have a tab targeter who like to help speed the run up.

Pre pull things:
  • Is Rightous Fury on because you switched spec's?
  • does the healer have full or near full mana?
  • Know your enviroment, if this is your 1st time in this place DO NOT speed pull.
  • Watch you pats (caster or melee) is it a watcher who will summon more?
  • Pull the healer 1st, other casters 2nd and melee last. If you have a ranged (hunter) CC them.
  • Will pulling this set pull the next set or special mob?
  • Can LoS help you make this pull easier?
  • What is the first thing this mob does? stun, cc healer etc. Pre-pop CD.
  • Put second caster or secondary target as your focus, this makes switching fast and easy.
On pull:
  • Mark a target, let the group know who needs the DPS 1st. Mark CC's and make sure who CC's who.
  • NEVER PULL with HoR, if you do that ability is on CD, it does ZERO damage if someone pulls mob or boss off you, get top aggro until you can fix that. Its never good. just. don't. do. it.
  • Exorcism or AS from range. On Boss or Melee, Exorcism is great and allows As and hammer to be used for more snap. On casters go with AS it silences them and brings them toward you for that extra bit of space in close quarters fighting.
  • KNOW how your shield bounces, if there is more than one caster, did it them all? If not silence, CC or Rebuke on caster that is blowing you or your healer up.
  • Plan what o do before the pull in case you miss with AS or you get a pat that is too close.
Directly after pull:
  • Are all mobs on you? If not, you can HoR or RD them.
  • How fast did your primary mob die? Do you need to get extra aggro on your secondary target?
  • Do you need to lesson damage so your healer can keep you up?
  • Can something bad happen now or in the next few seconds? Have CD ready.

As you see the last of the health leaving the last mobs bar, look to the next group, pat or room.
  • Start this whole process again. Before the next set of pulls do  you need CD's to come up?
  • Does the healer need mana? If not...go.
  • If they do, wait a until what you need to come up.
I hope this helps those who need a bit of help on the pull, pull smoother. If you have any comments or questions. Let me know.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

You too can be Better.

The party  you are with deserves it!

This is in response to a wonderful post to a brilliant blog. Vosskah over at Sword and Board is a brilliant blogger, well spoken guy and just by his hints, tips and ideas he must be a hell of a tank and WoW player. Please go check out his blog and I know you'll be back after reading once.
I'd like to in a way, mirror Vosskah's  post and make suggestions to fix someone you know that could do the job better. This probably isn't for a pro tank, raid tank or tanking officer but I guess it could be.

What can you do to help your tanking?
  • Gem - Right now superior gems are a must! Mastery is KING! Put a gem in that empty SLOT!
  • Enchant - if you don't have an enchant on it, go do it.
  • Glyph - Why don't you have your glyph slots filled?
  • Spec - Learn to spec. Bad placement = unspent points. As tanks we can now add to dps, TBC is in the past. DO IT! um, most specs are cookie cutter but once you your mitigation talents....add to the group dps.
  • Gear - you have to know EVERY tank must have more than one set of gear. Switching trinkets and other types can go a long way to helping others in your group for a fight.

Those are the basics. As tanks we get an insta que, please go spend 10 minutes finding out the info on the above if you don't know it or send them to Righteous Defense, Sword and Board or, or have them email me. ----> there is a ton of great blogs to the right!

We all know every tank MUST generate threat. Even with the buff to tanking threat, you still have to work if you are outgeared by DPS. To me, if a DPS passes me I want to know why. You have to make sure your threat talents are in place. Make sure RF, Defensive Stance, Blood Presence or bear form are where they need to be. Next look to spec, (only pally) Rule of Law, Wrath of the Lightbringer and Crusade are almost a must. If you don't have them, GET THEM. If you are still getting passed in threat, you need more (as a pally, warrior or DK) Expertise, if you have to go this route, you might be playing with people that way outgear you or you need to be more aggressive.

You have to know how and WHEN to use Cool-downs. Here is a marvelous post from Mel on how and when to use cool-downs. As a pally, with trinkets and HS, we can almost have some cool down going all the time. NEWS FLASH WOG is no longer an acceptable talent cool-down at the 5 man heroic or regular raid instance. You don't need it, lose the talents and the glyph. If you need it your healers are not regular healers and don't know how to play the class. Just saying...

The one most important rule for any tank in a busy fight is preparation! (thanks Ciderhelm)
If you can answer these questions, you know you're in good shape:
  • When is the bad thing going to happen?
  • Who is the bad thing going to happen to?
  • Where is the bad thing going to happen?

Know your weaknesses, fix them. Vosskah mentioned kiting, if you are a bad kiter, go find a mob that can harm you and kite it. Any good tank needs to move, if you have issues moving work on it. Here is a great video and post about kiting. I was once a clicker, I worked hard at keybinding and button pushing. That was my biggest weakness. If one of your weaknesses is not doing something someoone tells you because your way is "fine" thats lazy and unacceptable. If you are just coming back into game or not a regular raid tank, take the advice of someone else. Give it a shot, who knows those wasted talent points you put in a worthless talent might help your raid or even that brutal heroic you are in as a pug.

Work on your strengths and make it work. I hate to DIE, omg do I hate to die. I solo tanked Arthus from P2 to the end of the fight. I was determined to kill him. I will do anything I can not to die, including not mess up two times in a row (fixing a mess up). I'm also a great chaos tank, when things go to hell,  I'm at my best. I take pride in not dying, I take pride in trying to out DPS my DPS. Sorry this was all about me but I'm just trying to give examples.

If you are unsure of these, ask someone, get some feedback. As your raid leader, tanking officer or take the advice of a blogger you trust. I'm going to be they'd bet willing to have a long conversation about how to make your runs just a bit better.