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 Bolshka's Tanking for Arms Spec

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AZURITE
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PostSubject: Bolshka's Tanking for Arms Spec   Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:19 am

Bolshka's post:

I had the unmitigated honor of tanking Steam Vaults yesterday morning, putting my skills as a Warrior to the test. Overall the experience was stellar, I actually held aggro over a nuke-happy Mage and Warlock combo. Very Happy

Afterwards I consulted a brilliant Warrior fellow as to my performance and asked for some advice for tanking tuned to my spec. This guy has tanked just about every instance in the game, from Ragefire to Naxx to Karazahn. He knows his shits, yo.

Read up for good nuggets of tanking wisdom, I found it to be EXCELLENT advice.


Last edited by AZURITE on Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Regarding "Threat"   Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:20 am

A quick guide to threat:

a) Defensive stance has a 10% bonus to threat for all moves, plus 10% less damage taken. Battle and berserker stance have a 10% subtraction to threat making a 20% difference all in all, this is why you don't tank in those stances ever except for mocking blow, zerker rage or intercept. Battle stance takes 10% more damage than defensive, and berserker takes 20% more.
b) Approximate order of threat from moves: (highest to lowest)

* Shield slam (Prot only)
* Disarm
* Revenge
* Devastate (Prot only, varies in strength depending on how many sunders are up)
* Sunder armor
* Thunderclap (net aggro over 4 targets is very high, individual target aggro is middling)
* Heroic strike
* Shield bash
* 'low threat' moves of little aggro use - mortal strike, bloodthirst, whirlwind, cleave. (these only give threat for damage done, no bonus modifiers)
* Moves that give small incremental amounts of threat - demo shout, battle and commanding shout (shouts need to buff your party to generate threat), bloodrage.

c) How taunt works:

Taunt gives you 3 seconds of 'guaranteed' focus from the target, and gives you threat equal to that of the current highest threat party/raid member. However, if you do not generate more threat than that party member within the 3 seconds then the mob's focus will return to the party member. You should therefore always have a little bit of rage before taunting so you can immediately sunder/heroic strike or revenge to get back above your party's aggro. Same applies for mocking blow and challenging shout except they have longer durations and cooldowns than taunt.

For this reason two tanks should never taunt off each other unless it's for some kind of formal tank rotation. Tank 1 may have built up a big aggro lead but the 2nd tank will have no more aggro than tank 1 when he taunts so aggro will then becomes fragile and healers get confused.

d) How dps pull aggro off you:

Mobs don't immediately peel off you the moment a party member exceeds you in threat, instead there is a threshold amount above you. If you install KLH threatmeter you'll see this in action. Melee characters have something like a 5% grace amount and ranged/healers have about 15%. For this reason it can be hard to get aggro back without taunting, and if the mob is immune to taunt, they may die before you can get it back. Let them, and they'll soon get the message Wink But seriously, they do need to lay off and use whatever aggro dumps they have if they pull aggro because getting mobs back is not trivial.


Last edited by AZURITE on Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Gaining Threat   Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:21 am

Gaining threat

To begin a pull, you need rage. You can either get this by charging or using bloodrage. Charging used to be a good way of doing trash pulls in the old days, but the way instances are designed now with lots of fearing mobs and long corridors means mostly you'll want to pull mobs back and tank them in a safe spot, so bloodrage and shoot your primary target. This'll also allow the crowd controllers to grab their mobs before you start hitting things. Demo shout to get a little bit of aggro on them without endangering CC and keep moving back till you're away from any sheeps/seduces/traps and then thunderclap. You should be in defensive stance for all of this, except if you've got fearing mobs, in which case pull in berserker stance, wait for the mobs to get to you, zerker rage and switch quickly to defensive (mobs almost always fear within the first 10 seconds of getting to you).

For bosses, it's usually possible to charge in. Charge in, thunderclap, then switch to defensive immediately and begin your tanking rotation.


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PostSubject: Holding Threat   Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:21 am

Holding threat
You'll want to develop a tanking rotation, adding or omitting certain moves depending on the nature of what you're tanking.

The basic tanking rotation for arms is shield block -> revenge -> sunder x2. Repeat ad nauseum.

Shield block should guarantee you block, dodge or parry the next melee from the mob, this will allow you to revenge. Revenge is your highest threat move as an arms warrior so you want to use it whenever it's up. Sunder comes next as it is your next highest threat move, and it also increases your rage gain and physical damage done by the party. Fit it in when revenge and shield block are on cooldown.


Last edited by AZURITE on Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Multiple Mobs   Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:21 am

When you're tanking multiple mobs

Thunderclap first, then keep thunderclapping when its available. It'll keep enough aggro on your non-primary targets to keep them off the healer, plus it'll keep the amount of damage you're taking manageable to the healer. As long as dps focus fire your primary target you shouldn't have aggro problems. Also demo shout occasionally for the same reason.

Alternatively, if some of the mobs have low hitpoints, or low damage, you can elect for one of the dps to offtank them and burn them down while you hold the harder hitting ones. This could be a rogue stunlocking and evasion tanking, a hunter or warlock pet-tanking, a druid beartanking or a shaman/pally doing their thing. In this case you can start sundering each of the mobs in turn to get more solid aggro than thunderclap will allow.


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PostSubject: Rage   Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:22 am

When you've got a lot of rage to spare

Start heroic striking. HS is a reasonably high threat move and it's off the global cooldown so it won't interfere with your primary tanking rotation. Keybind it and hit it every 3 seconds or so.

When you're rage starved

This means you're not getting hit very hard. Battleshout to up your damage, and stop shield blocking, thunderclapping and demo shouting to up the damage you're taking. use revenge when its available but otherwise rely on sunder for threat. If you're tanking really weak mobs you *are* allowed to switch to a 2-hander or dual weild to increase your threat, damage and rage gain. This is something I do a lot in places like Black Morass and Botanica where there are weak-hitting mobs that require a lot of dps to kill.


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PostSubject: Healing Bosses/Aggro Dump   Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:22 am

When you're fighting a healing boss

Mortal strike is godly for this, but it's fairly low threat and high rage cost so only use it once every 10 seconds to keep the debuff up.

When you're fighting mobs that dump aggro

This is the greatest of annoyances. Sometimes you can get your dps and healers to stand close to you so you can just taunt them back straight away. Sometimes that's too dangerous. A good technique is to assist the mob (target it and press 'F' or whatever your assist bind is, this will give you the mob's target) and then intervene (I keybind this to 'I'), and then taunt. Your dps need to stop firing when this happens, make sure they comply.


Last edited by AZURITE on Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:36 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Fearing mobs/Exceptions/bindings   Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:22 am

When you're fighting mobs that fear

Most mobs that have a fear do so on a regular interval, such as the felguards in shadow labyrinth. If you can judge the first fear correctly (usually within the first 10 seconds of them getting to you, but watch for any fear emotes they may do before they reach you, this means you need to delay longer) you can get into a good pattern of switching to berzerker stance and zerker raging every 30 seconds and being able to just stand there and tank and never get feared. (first boss in shadow lab seems to do his fear after he does his green goo rather than in the 1st 10 sec, usually, though he's a bit unpredictable.)

Exceptions to this are the horrible mobs in slave pens. Guesswork is your only hope there. Guesswork isn't actually such a bad technique though. zerker rage being 10sec out of every 30, you've got a 1 in 3 chance of catching any fear that a boss or mob does if you just do it every time the cooldown is up.

I have Battle, Defensive and Berserker stance bound to Q, E and R respectively for easy switching. It's the 'special action bar 1, 2, 3' in the key bindings section.


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PostSubject: Keeping Aggro/Hard Hitting Melee   Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:23 am

When you want to keep aggro on something you can't hit

You can't do this for long, but if you need to buy time at the beginning of a pull before, say, your mage can counterspell a caster mob that's standing too close to other mobs for you to go and hit, you can spam battleshout with whatever rage you have to keep a little bit of threat, and should out-aggro one or two small heals to keep your healer from eating a pyroblast. It won't last long, but it can buy a few seconds which may be all your mage or shaman needs to get that mob over to you. Bloodrage also generates a small amount of threat.

But in this situation it's usually far better for you to just run round a corner to make the mob chase you for line-of-sight. There are situations where that's impossible though.

Very hard hitting melee mobs

The standard tanking rotation works for this, you've just got to be religious in keeping shield block up over all other priorities, as well as making sure thunderclap and demo shout are always up, and you keep commanding shout on yourself. (i.e. prioritising mitigation over threat - ask your dps to be lighter on). If the mob is disarmable, you can use this in creative ways. If it has no special abilities, just disarm whenever the cooldown is up to relieve your healer. If it has a mortal strike, disarm after the strike to allow your healer to catch up with their reduced heals. If the mob has a periodic or % enrage, save it for that.


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PostSubject: Tanking Casters   Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:23 am

Tanking Casters
Working spell reflect into a tanking rotation is currently difficult as it's on the global cooldown, but it's glorious when it happens. The animation alone is priceless (shiny shield! ping pong fireball!). After the next patch it'll be off the global cooldown and therefore can almost be used as a replacement for shield block for casters, the rage cost being the only constraint, and the fact it doesn't help your aggro, just your mitigation.

If the caster also has a melee, then the standard tanking rotation is probably best for aggro. If the caster has a very weak or no melee then you'll take no more damage with a 2-hander than with a shield, so it may be worth dps-tanking. You'll lose shield bash and spell reflect, you need to weigh up the pros and cons of the damage you'll take as a result.


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PostSubject: Re: Bolshka's Tanking for Arms Spec   Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:25 am

Kaylind's response:
I read but still confused somewhat.
Sifot went in to Deadmines
I do not think she did to good
But I had one person say she did alright
That confused me even more

They ask for tank and then run in ahead of the tank
And then blame the tank if they get hit
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PostSubject: Re: Bolshka's Tanking for Arms Spec   Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:27 am

Bolshka's reply to Kaylind:

As main tank you typically call the shots on how the pulls are made, where people will stand, and when people should turn on/off the DPS. It's key to know the instance like the back of your hand.

If they move ahead of you, that's a big no-no in my book. The only exception might be a stealthed Rogue or Druid for scouting purposes.

This doesn't mean you'll always be the BOSS OF EVERYONE in any group, but if you're expected to hold aggro on 5+ mobs they better damn well listen.

Let them run ahead and if they get jumped? Let THEM tank it. See how well that goes for 'em! Good luck, Priest-tank! Very Happy

It's that kind of thing that made me quit doing PUGs a long time ago. I may have to wait forever for an opening with the guild or my raiding contacts, but it's worth it to have a coordinated team.

You might could get some practice tanking in with the guild on a trash-run through an easy instance. We normally treat lower level instances (BRD *coughcoughlaugh*) like a joke, but folk like John, Bart, and me can be serious every once in a while.
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PostSubject: Re: Bolshka's Tanking for Arms Spec   Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:30 am

Kilshevex's reply to Kaylind:

They ask for tank and then run in ahead of the tank
And then blame the tank if they get hit


If they run in front of the tank, they take what they get. You have to start beating on the thing before they do ANYTHING, so you get the aggro. That requires you doing it some damage, and depending on your spec, that can take a little bit. (They should try a Pally tank..yeesh!)

Honestly, I agree with Bolsh. Knowing the instance is key... you know who the big bosses are, and what they do. Strategy is what you need to do to get that thing taken down. Each new group of mobs requires a new strategy generally.

An example:
In Deadmines, the Ogre in front of the door. You, as the warrior, will charge him. This should get the two arrow shooter's attention.

You have the option of throwing down a shout so those two will come pay attention to you, OR, having the other members of your party take him on while you beat on the big guy, and your healer heals everyone. Always keep the aggro off your healer. They go down, you go down, so pay special attention to them and have the healer yell if they get beat on.

You can always go over and do some dam to the two watchers too, before the others jump in, so you have all three paying attention to you. A crit or a high threat spell is always going to yank agg off, and they just have to stop crying when they get hit. It HAPPENS. (Doing the rogue thing ought to have taught you that by now, sometimes they just WANT to eat your face..warrior beating on them or no.)

The healer has to keep up with that damage, and you can toss down shouts to get them to focus back on you again. That and those other suggestions of Bolsh's friend's up there. It takes practice, of course, and you can only learn by keeping at it.

"Good" or "Not so Good" is not really a great way of critiquing someone about their performance. Maybe try asking the group you ran with: "Do you think we should've slammed the Ogre with an AoE first?" or such questions like that, to get a feel for what they were looking for. Whatever way it goes, you're the meat for that sammich. And what you have to try to do the most is just keep those mobs looking at you. It's hard, but can be done.

Make sure the first thing you always say as a tank is :"Stay behind me til I say GO"

Then you should be having an easier time of it. Even rogues and druids should stay back unless for scouting or til the warrior has the agg. Period.

Lastly, make certain you guys have a plan before you go in for how to deal with situations. That way, no one's coming off going "Gah, the healer kept throwing Melt Face and I kept having to chase the mobs!" Or "Gah, the warrior wasn't doing enough damage so our AoE's kept pulling the mobs!" or whateverexcuse here. It's teamwork, and you gotta think and act like a team for it to come off.

Oh yeah, and make sure you don't run with a healer who's too busy playing with his wand to heal;)

*snicker* Tanking is the top spot, and makes you have the most responsibility, so generally get a feel for what they're expecting and what you want out of the instance before you even step foot inside.
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PostSubject: Re: Bolshka's Tanking for Arms Spec   Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:31 am

Bolshka's reply:
Amen to everything the purdy lady just said. In her Deadmines scenario, I'd charge in on the Ogre, run left and then right to nab the attention of the archers... once I had all three on me I'd drop a Demo Shout and a Thunder Clap... That's enough threat to keep you good for a couple heals.

Tanking is hectic work!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Bolshka's Tanking for Arms Spec   Wed Jul 30, 2008 3:36 pm

Cool keep working on her and getting her leveled will work on some different spec and see what works
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PostSubject: Re: Bolshka's Tanking for Arms Spec   Wed Jul 30, 2008 9:19 pm

Tanking with Warriors is about to be MUCH easier. With the advent of WOTLK you'll find most of the main abilities will be available regardless of spec. Prot is still the spec of choice for tanking, but your Arms/Fury Warriors can finally dish out some threat!
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PostSubject: Re: Bolshka's Tanking for Arms Spec   Thu Jul 31, 2008 1:19 pm

Hehehe, Shows when I made my original statement....
Quote :
That requires you doing it some damage, and depending on your spec, that can take a little bit. (They should try a Pally tank..yeesh!)

PRE BC! *gasp* It's more like that for warriors now, poor things.
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