An Ex-Gnome Tank's World


January 10th, 2009 Posted in Burning Crusade, Dungeons, Wrath of the Lich King

I remember my first time tanking a level 70 instance – it was Shadow Labyrinth. This was Shadow Labyrinth pre-nerf, of course. Pulls were very tightly spaced, with a mere split-second between a good and a bad pull, particularly when entering the second and third boss’s rooms. Each pack had a number of different creatures with different abilities, and it was very necessary to work out which ones to CC, which to kill first, and so on. Admittedy it was less necessary to bother with crowd control as time went on and we got better gear, but crowdcontrol was never really something that went away. Witness the huge pulls in parts of the Shattered Halls.

It struck me recently that I’ve not seen a single trash pull in any of the Lich King instances where crowd control has been anything other than a nice, and entirely optional,¬†bonus. Hell, a combination of improved warrior AoE threat and the smaller pulls means that the vast majority of the time everyone just lets rip with whatever area of effect spells they can muster and wait for the pack to die.

The challenge of working out a decent strategy for big pulls given the resources available to me is one I’m missing a great deal. The only thing that comes close, so far as I can see, is the Obsidian Sanctum encounter when running with one or more of the optional drakes up.¬†Unfortunately, that is an order of magnitude harder than working out which things to kill first in a trash pull ever has been (and rightly so). There doesn’t seem to be anything between the two, not really.

Where will the next generation of raiders learn to tune their strategies? I suspect Ulduar will be a brick wall for a great many people because it will be the first time that it’s really no longer possible to brute-force an encounter. I can already imagine the cries for the instance to be nerfed and it’s a shame, because the learning curve at the moment just doesn’t seem quite right.

  1. 6 Responses to “Strategisin’”

  2. By Phil on Jan 10, 2009

    Make sure you post this on the official forums when people start QQing ;)

  3. By Tankette on Jan 12, 2009

    I still have nightmares about Shadow Labs. I tanked it after turning 70 to get my Kara attunement. I tanked it 3 more times that week to help my son and his friends get their Kara attunements. Each run was no less than 4 hours. I never went back, not even when I was decked out in T5 and badge gear.

    But thinking about it some, I ended up not needing much CC, if any, in the TBC 5 mans after I was well geared. The only reason to use CC was to keep mobs off the healer, not because I couldn’t handle the incoming damage from all the mobs. Pally tanks never had that problem. Warrior tanks got that problem fixed when they made TClap have more threat. I think that warriors being able to hold threat better in multi mob situations is more the difference between TBC 5 mans and WoTLK 5 mans than just that WoTLK 5 mans are too easy.

    Raids are another story. I don’t remember ever grabbing a bunch of mobs and using aoe dps when we ran SSC or TK, lol. You had to plan every pull and often the trash cause more wipes than bosses. I am sure our guild will be able to adapt to tougher instances when they get added. I think many of the PUG raids will fail though.

  4. By mavfin on Jan 13, 2009

    Intro content is intro content. If the QQers don’t want to adapt and get better, this is all they get to play, and frankly, this is about all some of them can handle. I mean, we even now see tanks that can’t handle *normal* trash pulls w/o CC.

    I really don’t think they’ll nerf Ulduar unless it’s totally got off-the-wall pieces, and I’d bet against that.

  5. By Namthe on Jan 13, 2009

    I didn’t say they’s nerf Uduar, just that it would be a brick wall for many people.

    Karazhan was intro content, but it was harder than Naxx is now. When Zul’Aman came out, it was very difficult for those guilds who cleared Kara every week and a lot just couldn’t cope with the ramp-up in difficulty. This is the sort of thing I’m talking about here.

  6. By Hawksong/Mojin on Jan 13, 2009

    The closest I’ve come to a difficult pull in 5-man instances in Wrath is Heroic Old Kingdom. In the area with the cultists, just after the second boss, I suddenly start having LBRS flashbacks. Because there are four or five groups of mobs plus three patrols, and at least half of the mobs are casters, it takes a bit of planning to pull. Even then, it’s not nearly as hard as the groups of multitude of Dark Iron dwarves in Blackrock Depths. The problem comes from not LOS pulling up the steps or someone failing to follow the kill order.

    Personally, I don’t mind the easy content until it comes time to raid. Part of me thought that was the whole purpose of getting keyed or attuned in vanilla WoW: if your group could do BRD as many times as it took to get keyed for Onyxia, you were skilled enough to fight Onyxia.

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