Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Off Tanks Be Praised! -or- A "Normal" Night's Run

We got to do some of the more traditional heroics last night. We ran the Culling of Stratholme and then Drak'Tharon, both of which are pretty easy if you are running with a good group of people. We had a few wipes, but nothing repeated or frustrating, just normal stuff that happens. I wanted to relate two events that happened last night in the course of these runs. The first of which exhibits a really good job by an off-tank (so take notes), and the second is just a funny thing that happened.

So first, off-tanks, listen up. You're probably not reading my blog since what the heck does a warlock have to say about off-tanking, but just in case, like me, you're a game mechanic affectionado, this may be of interest to you. (aside: I'm pretty sure most of my readers are game lovers rather than warlock-centric players anyways, so this is for you guys too).

In our guild, we have a wonderful DPS warrior who usually has the job of off-tanking our five man runs. Also, Fuu (as the main tank) is geared well enough and a pally to boot, so she usually doesn't have much trouble with adds and such. This usually results in a boring job for an OT, so ours spends most of the time just DPS'ing like the rest of us, and does a very good job at it. However, one service he provides that would make me bring him to any raid, any day of the week, and twice on Sundays is a great sense of game awareness.

Awareness has been talked about before, and really is the hallmark of a great player. As a raid leader, you can only do so much. What happens when you get that crazy glitch, or things aren't exactly how they're supposed to be? Hope for a good group of players with awareness. You can't put a price on it; it's an intangible. I don't care what your DPS is, if the group doesn't live, it don't matter. If you don't have awareness on your team, you're going to wipe more than you need to.

What our wonderful OT did last night was nothing that got applause, big numbers, or even necessarily the attention of the rest of the group. I, however, noticed in a big way. You see, when you do CoS there is the point in the instance where you are sandwiched between two wyrmkin spawns. Arthas is pretty much an idiot in this instance, so he really makes a tank's job hard. Fuu dropped a consecrate and shot towards the other end, pulling three of the four mobs to her. The fourth was, of course, a caster.

The little bastard stayed put and threatened to break aggro to run after our healer, a scenario all too common in even the most routine of pulls. What our OT did that made me want to hug him (in a very manly/warlocky way... maybe hug and drain some of the mana he doesn't have?) was taunt the ranged and then run to hide behind a nearby pillar. This of course caused a line of sight issue for the caster who ran at him. Seeing the caster come into the area of our MT's consecrate, he popped out and jumped back on the kill order, letting the consecrate naturally pull the mob off. We easily finished off the group, and no one was the wiser. Maybe our healer noticed an extra heal was needed, but that's probably about it. It all happened so quick and seamlessly.

I mean, I didn't have to tell him to do it, and most people would probably have missed that little tidbit, but it is the little things like that that make him a great OT. I think people often underestimate just how useful a smart off tank can be. They can make potentially hairy pulls such as these a cake walk. They can save healers and clothies alike. Don't underestimate the value of an aware OT! So thanks go out to to our wonderful OT for all the cool stuff he does. Mind you, he still put out ~2k DPS and gave me a run for my money on the charts, all the while doing the little things along the way. It's those kind of things that really make a raid leader smile, and show how much a truly "good" player brings to the table. And none of them are gonna show up in a screenshot of a damage meter.

Could we have succeeded with an "average" player? Sure, but it's the little things that save you on the tougher runs. Next time you think that "off-tanking" is for the lazy or undergeared, think again! A good off tank can make or break some pulls.

I'll be quicker on the second topic, promise. I talked longer about that than I anticipated, but it was well warranted.

The second short story was on the final boss of Drak'Tharon, the prophet. If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate case where your healer dies about 30 seconds into the fight... take heart! It is not a wipe! You can still win. We proved it last night. No, we didn't have anyone that could off heal (Warrior, 'lock, and hunter being the other people apart from shammy healer and Pally MT). I suppose, in retrospect, we could have had the warrior pick the boss up and the pally step back to heal, but we didn't do that either. Besides, Fuu had garnered enough aggro to make that route difficult at best.

You see, the nice thing about this boss is that you get periodically changed into a skeleton that can heal itself. As a 'lock, your Dots keep ticking too, meaning in skele-mode, the boss will probably run at you as aggro resets despite your DoTs still being up. This makes a nice like flip flopping of aggro between you and the MT that will let her/him heal up and you get to do some tanking. In this manner, we got through the fight. Of course, the end was when the boss ran at me in human form (the only one left up) and one-shotted me, succumbing to my DoTs immediately afterwards. But fear not, for there was a soulstoned pally FTW. I guess you could say we wiped and won at the same time. How often do you do that? :-D

Oh yeah, and I picked up a not-so-free drake after dinging exalted with WA too. All in all, a good night!



  1. Gratz on the Red Drake.

    I agree with you, playing this game (or any other games really) with people who actually pays attention and thinks for themselves increase the enjoyment factor 10 folds, YMMV.

    Tehehe, only us warlock (well to be fair so do Shadow Priest) enjoys the fact that they may have killed us but damn it our DoTs might actually still kill them, HAHAHAHA.

    <3 pally tanks, they let us have fun.

  2. lolhealz were not needed here :)

    It was rather funny because when I because human again, I would just sit there & let that beast hit on me for a bit while I healed myself & Ful's DoT's killed him Slowly

    Hey! That's why we named this blog that muahahahah!

  3. Gratz on the drake and always good to hear of good players doin' what needs to be done to fulfill their role!

    And I couldn't tell ya how many times me dying, but my DoTs killing another player shortly thereafter during PvP has made me giddy!

  4. Woot! Grats on the drake (and the boots if you picked them up)!

    We have a Hunter in our guild that does amazing stuff all the time and it always makes you feel warm and fuzzy that they're in your guild. Good, aware players make the world (of warcraft) go 'round.