As I was hoping to, I ran a string of LFG heroics yesterday on my shiny new DK tank.  I took SaveTheFails with me as my healer and Protflashes as one of 3 DPS.  Despite the horror story Prot felt the need to relate to you, it was actually a positive experience overall.

For ye experienced Blood tanks out there, some questions:

  1. I hear you can do a double Blood Boil when you open up on multiple targets.  Problem is, I don’t seem to have the runes available to do that after I throw down D&D/diseases/Pestilence — I usually have to immediately blow Blood Tap in order to get the runes back to do one (not two!) Blood Boil.  Which seems…wrong, I guess.  Thoughts? 
  2. Is Blood Tap a ‘Oh shit!’ button for you, or do you use it regularly?  What do you use it for?
  3. What do you do if a party member pulls an extra group and your D&D is unavailable?  After taunting one mob and using Death Grip to grab another, the only option available to me short of blowing something like Empower Rune Weapon seems to be to use straight up melee to get the new mobs’ attention…  Is that right?
  4. Where gear is concerned, how much T9 are you wearing, and what Emblem of Triumph gear did you buy?  I’m sure buying full T9 isn’t worth it.

They say Blood is weaker on AoE threat than Frost and that’s probably true, but whatever — I want to play Blood.  The only thing that drives me nuts is how many GCDs you need to get through in order to set up threat on a group of mobs…  I suffer a small heart attack every time the DPS starts AOEing  halfway through me laying down diseases.  That’s the sort of thing that would cause me to hover over the Empower Rune Weapon/Blood Tap abilities and seriously consider wasting their CDs right then and there just so I get can a couple Blood Boils in before things get out of control. 

Threat gen on single targets seemed fine, though — even VS substantially better-geared DPS (which is not hard: I’m taking with a green weapon, for God’s sake).  That was cake.  Too bad the days of single-target DPS are long gone, and the only thing that matters now is AoE…*sigh*.

Despite that, I will not be so easily discouraged.  I specced into Corpse Explosion to ease the burden, and I have to say it’s been pretty handy!  It just doesn’t help build initial threat.  If I’m to be really, truly honest with myself, though…I specced into CE in part for flavor and in part for nostalgic reasons, so I’ll have to review how practical it really is once I’m more familiar with all my abilities.

Now.  All that being said, in the vast majority of cases where the DPS weren’t deliberately being asses, I was able to hold aggro on mob groups without issue.  I installed the Tidy Plates > Threat Plates mod to get a better view of what I have threat on VS what I don’t, and, from what I could tell when it was toggled on, everything seemed alright.  So that’s good news!

Doing heroics from the tank’s perspective was both reasonably familiar and oddly alien.  It occurred to me only partly through UK that I should be turning the dragons away from the party when I run in & engage.  Hehe…yeah.  The idea of turning the mobs around such that I am facing the party and the mobs are facing me is the weirdest thing.  As DPS, you just don’t care about that stuff (most of the time, anyway).  I also realize that I need to learn how to do certain pulls.

Luckily, despite having seen many PuGs commit all manner of tank-enraging atrocities, I didn’t get that many bad party members.  Most people were dead quiet (I can never quite decide if I like that, or if it annoys me), but fairly well-behaved.  I got zero negative comments about skill-related stuff, and I think that’s why I came away with such a positive outlook on the experience in the end.  That, and the fact that I haven’t been tanking nearly long enough to have invested any real pride in it, so I’m unlikely to get super-pissed or overly stressed beyond the usual noob-tank performance anxiety (which, BTW, has disappeared almost entirely).

I did, however, get a winner of a whisper from a Ret pally that told me that I shouldn’t be tanking ‘without Frost’.  I asked him what he meant by ‘Frost’ and quickly checked to make sure I was in Frost Presence (and I was, haha!), and his reply was something like: “frost pres, spec gear armor and u shouldnt be using a 2h”.  Very nice, LoL.  I thanked him for the advice and asked him to let me know if he detects any issues during the run.  The guy was below me on DPS and never came anywhere near me on threat…so I dunno.  Kinda hard to get upset at stuff like that!  Only other comment was the dodgy one from the pally (what is it with these pallies?  Do all the catty ones come out on Saturdays?) in VH that Prot posted about earlier.  Again — the comment was gear-related, so it didn’t really put me off.  

It was tons of fun overall, and I’m absolutely going to continue with it.  I netted a load of upgrades during our runs and even got my T9 gloves, as well as a new 245 sigil to replace my iLevel 70 one (yeah, I still had the one they give you in the DK starting area).  So I call that a win.