Tanks Can Meme Too

I’ll admit it, I was lazy — when the healer meme went flying I sat on the sidelines thinking — I don’t consider myself enough of a healer yet.  I have 4 days played on my shaman so far.  She hasn’t been past the keepers in Ulduar yet — there’s just not enough healing experience there to start poking my brain about healing goodness.  And the priest, I mean, Zala is 80, but she was just an alt — she did pretty well for her content, but in no way at all was she decked, experienced, or even given alot of screen time.

However, tanks… I feel authoritative about tanks.  I played Lyre from BC through Ulduar — I’ve seen alot of tanking changes in that time, and I have no problem saying that while I didn’t get too see the awesome AD changes take place, I’m still comfortable being a spouting voice on a “why tankage?”

I found the link from Bosspally who found it originally at whatisboom.  I really enjoyed reading their responses — where are our DK’s, Druid and Warrior brothers and sisters?  C’mon now!

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary tank?

Lyre, Paladin, 0/53/18

What is your primary tanking environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)

Currently none :P Ulduar progression 10-man.  Naxx (etc.) progression 25-man

What is your favorite tankng spell for your class and why?

Shield of Righteousness.  Although a latecomer to the paladin tank arsenal, I just cannot tell you how pleased I was with this ability.  When add tanking it’s great for giving a good punch of threat to an errant target, when standing in front of the boss its a steady part of our diet, and it is even useful in PvP when a DK doesn’t read your health plate before death gripping you into their embrace and taking a shield in the face.  Epic.

What tanking spell do you use least for your class and why?

Hand of Freedom.  When I originally picked up this spell I labeled it under PvP use and just have never gotten it through my thick skull that it does have limited application in other settings as well.  When I last played Lyre, this was on my scrollover “extra” skills bar, and I tended to forget it even existed.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your tanking class and why?

Even mitigation — paladin tanks don’t have scary spiky waves of incoming damage because they are built to mitigate damage rather than avoid it.  Unless it’s a spellcaster, and then we’re SoL.

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your tanking class and why?

The only thing I ever feel that I’m missing is a snap aggro ability for multiple mobs.  Consecration is a great tool… but it’s a dot.  A mob has to run into it and STAND STILL or the full effects are not terribly efficient — generally a healer casting is enough to pull a mob out of my pack if they hit the ticks wrong.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best tanking assignment for you?

It honestly depends on the fight.  With a physical damage boss paladins are great — if loads of physical adds, again, I’d want to be tanking those.  I prefer add tanking personally — you get to see and enjoy more of the fight than staring at the boss’ crotch and sidling left or right BUT on some bosses it is to the advantage of the raid to be standing in front of the boss.

What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with most and why?

Personally, my favorite combination for 10-man raiding is paladin and DK (this is assuming I’m one of the tanks ^^)  This provides you a good physical damage main tank and an excellent magic mitigation main tank.

What tanking class do you enjoy tanking with least and why?

Stacking paladin tanks sucks.  Hard.  I would rather pair up with any other tanking class than another paladin — you don’t gain anything extra.  Other than that, I’m perfectly happy with a druid, warrior or DK.

What is your worst habit as a tank?

Pull more mobs!  I’m a pretty headstrong tank — I have a tendency to push my raid to the edge in terms of time and resource management because I don’t give them the leisure to sit and med unless the raid as a whole is down.  I know, it’s not fair — I have been scolded by dps and healers alike, but it is definitely one of my faults that I can’t seem to shake.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while tanking?

When someone squeals “I have adds.”  To me, this is like saying “Heal me!”  It is infuriating and pretty damn obvious.  If I’m an add tank, my whole attention is focused on relieving the raid of their adds, trust me, I’m getting to you ASAP, but we have cooldowns on our abilities too.

Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other tanks?

For the longest time I thought “fat chance.”  Now, I’m feeling well loved and satisfied.  Ok, maybe not 100% satisfied, but I’m so damn pleased that I don’t have to pick up a spellpower mace and evaluate how that affects my 102.4% cap that I don’t even dare to complain.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a tank?

It depends on my role — if I’m playing the MT, I base it on:

1) Did I live — while you may choose to take this as solely the healer’s domain, in fact it’s mine too.  I have to make sure that my effective health, mitigation, and cooldown use all align in their proper place to make sure my healing team CAN keep me up.  If I’m totally wonkers on any of those things the most epic healer alive can’t make a difference.

2) Threat — As a MT, I want to make sure my threat is a step above my entire raid — if my dps team has to stop in order to not pull hate, I’m doing my rotation incorrectly, geared to far into mitigation, or am not prepared for the content.  If I can’t hold threat without extreme measure for my dps team, then I am failing in my job as the tank.

Add Duty

1) Did I live — I know same question different day.  Add tank sets are usually a bit different for paladins than their MT set.  I can still do the same evaluation for different stats on this type of gear — I also tend to look at how much healing I needed.  If my healing team is bleeding themselves dry healing me over the MT or the raid in general, I’m doing it wrong.

2) Did my team live — Add tank duty requires you to save the raid from nasty monsters AND do something with them that does not interfere with the raid killing the big monster.  If I’m having errant monsters run around, or general disarray in healing or dps due to my adds being lose I need to tighten up my game.

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your class?

Paladins are great add tanks. Not all paladins are good add tanks — good tanks are good add tanks.  There is no magic formula (or spell — if I hear one more person say “just drop a con, it’ll get ‘em”) that makes mobs hate paladins more than other tanks.  This is not BC.  ALL tanks can tank bosses, and ALL tanks are capable of being add tanks.  Whether YOUR paladin/warrior/dk/druid tank is any good at it, well, that really depends on the tank, doesn’t it?

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new tanks of your class to learn?

I’d have to say spec OR gearing properly.  I don’t know how many times I’ve seen all protection paladins running around town and groaned.  That tells me you are missing an important part of your class — the rotation.  While not a big deal if you are a dedicated add tank, rotation is very important to keeping and maintaining a good head of threat on your team.  Same with gear.  I’ve seen all stam and zero mitigation, I’ve seen spellpower tanks (yes, they still abound for some reason), I’ve seen pure mitigation and zero stam.  The variety and confusion of many is endless.

Effective Health or Avoidance and why?

Depends on the job.  If you’re putting me in front of a boss, I’m going to go effective health in current content because of the massive power that bosses throw behind their punches.  Paladins are not avoidance tanks — I don’t think they ever will be — we’re made to mitigate most of our damage through shields, and I don’t think pure avoidance will ever be the proper response for this question.  However, you may see a balancing act between EH and avoidance coming soon if I’m reading the changes to bosses that Blizzard is proposing aright.

What tanking class do you feel you understand least?

Druids — I have never played a badger, I don’t understand the whole “I tank with my face mentality.”

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in tanking?

Raid frame (grid) that is capable of showing aggro and clique for fast taunting.  I would most likely use a mouseover macro if I played a different type of tank, but since I can taunt directly off players this works great.  That is probably my only “tank-centric” needed add-on :)

Do you strive primarily for balance between your tanking stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?

I balance until I hit certain minimums, and then I start stacking the effective health barometer.  When I left Lyre, whatever hit you found on your gear was fine, so I would actually need to cap it with some changes to our abilities since I’ve changed over.  Soft expertise cap has been reached, and I think that is sufficient for a tank.  I still try to reach 102.4 mitigation (with holy shield active) because I think that is still one of the greatest assets of playing a paladin tank.  After I’ve reached all those, I tend to stack stam (with a dodge/stam as needed for meta loving).

Pass this on to your favorite brain damaged tank!

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