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You guys what to know what (one of) my pet peeve(s) is?

People who take credit for other people’s success/ability/skill. Especially when, in doing so, they negate any role that person may have played in their own good fortune.

The two things that tend to specifically happen to me along these lines are:

  1. Misdirect; and
  2. Tricks of the Trade

For those who don’t tank/rogue/hunter, what those abilities do is transfer 100% of the threat generated by the rogue/hunter to the person who has the buff (always, always, always the tank. They can put it on someone else, but if they do it’s a swift, hard, kick from the party unless they’re pretty damn quick on their “Sorry! Sorry! Misclicked!” macro).

These buffs are short duration buffs with reasonable cooldowns (not sure how long. Probably somewhere from 1-3 minutes). Generally the rogue/hunter will use them on the initial pull, allowing them to go hog wild on the mob’s backside without fear of reprisal, and giving the tank an immediate boost to threat right off the bat.*

What seems to happen in the heads of the rogues and hunters I play with, is that I absolutely, 100% need to have Misdirect or Tricks of the Trade up, or I can’t tank. Like, the world ends, and I just won’t have enough threat, and the boss is going to run rampant through the line of clothies. All of a sudden the entirety of my tanking is solely creditable to them.

They have many different ways of saying this – of taking credit for someone else’s work/skill:

  1. lololol this plce is cak wth tot
  2. I’ll put Misdirect on the tank so they don’t lose the boss on the initial pull.
  3. MD makes tanking easy
  4. Here, let me give you Tricks. It’ll help your threat.

Let me be clear. These two abilities are very clever little things, that serve a variety of purposes. Also, when you’re tank, any threat is good threat, and it’s a case of literally the more the merrier. I’m always happy to take an MD or a ToT from someone because more distance between me and the DPS is great – and more specifically, since I seem to have more trouble with rogues and hunters than any other DPS class (it’s up to you to redeem the rogues, Sam – no pressure), I’m glad there’s a temporary buff that keeps them from getting themselves killed by wailing on shit before they’re supposed to (and don’t let them fool you – they’ll do it whether or not ToT or MD is up, and I’m telling you right now they have no idea where their Feint/Vanish/Disengage/Feign Death button is). And, to be bluntly honest, tanks who are new, or still rough around the edges, will benefit immensely from it.

But the line that I’m drawing here is that whatever benefit those two abilities provide to me is a bonus – not the actual purpose of the buff. The actual purpose of the buff isn’t to increase my threat generation (because how many times do I have to tank for you assholes to prove I don’t need the help), but to lower theirs. It’s a piece of candy that means they can start DPSing right away instead of having to wait for the tank to establish aggro. And I swear to God, it takes me no time at all to establish aggro – at least not on either the warrior or the paladin.

In the two seconds it takes me to pull on the pally, I’ve thrown an Avenger’s Shield to start, then run in and bashed their heads in with SoR or HoR and dropped a consecrate. No, seriously, go to town (intelligently). I’m good. I’ve got them. With or without your threat-transfer.

In the 1.5 seconds it takes me to pull on my warrior I’ve down a Heroic Throw, charge, and a fucking Shield Bash (and probably a Heroic Strike) to their face and now I’m happily spamming my priority list. No, seriously, look at Omen. Boss isn’t going nowhere. I’ve got plenty of time between that initial pull and the DPS really ramping up to well and truly establish myself. And I don’t need a threat-transfer to do it.

Don’t throw in little comments after the fight about how much threat you gave me and how much easier it made everything.

You want to know the honest to God truth?

I didn’t notice a difference. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. I was a little higher on Omen right off the bat, and you took a little longer to get your trigger-happy ass creeping up the threat bars, that’s all. These are good, solid, benefits that have good, solid consequences, and I’m glad they’re there.

But I wouldn’t have lost the boss if I didn’t have them.

And I most certainly don’t need them to establish aggro or tank.

If I did a good job tanking, I did a good job tanking – not you. Not you for me. Not you as a pillar of my tanking strategy, without which all of the skill and practice and experience I’ve built up over the last half a freaking decade falls to ash and I am become little more than a shitty DPS.

ToT and MD don’t allow me to tank – they allow you to DPS more freely and more quickly. They increase your DPS. That’s what they’re for. They’re not for making sure I don’t lose the boss, because I can do that without your help, and I don’t appreciate you distilling my efforts down and claiming that you pushing a single button is the reason I’m able to do my job.

And this attitude shows itself in other places. I rant about MD and ToT because they’re a sore spot and I’m constantly bashing my head against them. But it happens a lot on the DPS side, too.

A couple nights ago layteknight was in a raid on her AFF Lock, and there was a Destro Lock in the party. Naturally, she was riding high on the DPS metres, sitting pretty in the number one spot. Now, of course no one links the DPS metres unless they’re at the top, and layte’s not the type of person who feels the need to link them to prove she’s awesome. She knows she’s awesome, and honestly, she knows all the other DPS have Recount too. They can see who’s at the top.

That’s why they’re not linking the metres, after all.

So SaveTheFails, being SaveTheFails, links them on her behalf, since it pisses us off that people will link them at the end of every boss fight if they’re at the top, but otherwise “forget” to – so any bullshit about using the metres to improve their DPS or analyze anything is just that – bullshit. It’s a means of waving around various masculine body parts in an attempt to…I don’t know. Alpha male the room or something?

And oh my God, as Recount spams the chat window the excuses start flying. “It’s because I was on the adds.” “This raid favours locks.” “I just changed specs so I’m still rusty.” And so on and so forth ad nauseum.

Never does anyone say, “hey, nice job, layte. Killer DPS, grats on topping” because…they’re asshats, I guess. Anyway, through all this prattle, the Destro lock pops up with:

“You’re welcome.”

As though he is solely responsible for her DPS. I guess he’d been throwing Curse of Elements around on the mobs during the raid, and somehow this one buff – that provides as much benefit (if not more) to him and the mages/shaman as to layte – is the only reason she topped the metres.

Nevermind that she’s good at what she does.

Nevermind that she plays the most difficult spec in probably the whole game and plays it flawlessly.

Nevermind that she spends obscene amounts of time trying to optimize her gear and spec and rotation.

Nevermind that the buff in question applies to all casters equally and therefore even without it, they all would have been sitting in the same position relative to each other anyway, and layte still would have been at the top.

He pressed one button, one time. He did it to increase his own DPS, and if the raid’s damage went up overall, hey. That’s a bonus!

But because of that one button, all of layte’s work and skill and knowledge gets distilled down and he takes credit for the whole shebang. With two little words.

Not “Grats, layte!”

But “You’re welcome.”

How about next time I’m in a raid, I take credit for all the melee DPS’ damage. After all, I’m dropping sunders like candy as part of my button smashing. Obviously that single buff is the only reason they’re doing as well as they’re doing, right?

Oh, and hey. While I’m at it, I dropped a Feast at the start of the fight. Shit, that benefits casters too, doesn’t it? So all of their DPS is obviously mine as well. They’d never be able to do that much if it weren’t for the buff I gave them.

Healers too. That Feast buff is powerful, man. Full credit to me for their epic heals. 35 spell power is a lot, man. A lot. Plus, I mean, if it weren’t for Demo shout they’d never be able to heal through the bosses damage. It’s critical, man. They’d better be grateful I’m here or they’d never be able to do anything.

All you bitches had better be grateful, man. I’m carrying this raid. If it weren’t for me, you’d be nothing. You couldn’t even raid. You need my sunders and my feasts and my thunderclap and Demo shout. If you didn’t have me, you’d never be able to do anything. Everybody knows that your knowledge of your class and your skill and your reaction time mean jack in the face of my buff to your AP, SP, and STA.

Fear my Feasts, you noobs! Without them you are nothing.


*UPDATE FOR CLARIFICATION: Samuel Tempus has written a response and clarification of the way Tricks of the Trade actually works (and I believe it’s described in the comments as well). I should have equipped the post with a disclaimer – I am not a rogue. He actually is. I’m willing to bet he knows more about it than me (but don’t tell him I said so). It’s apparently a more useful ability than I gave it credit for, and I’m intrigued by the idea of trading it with another rogue – very clever tactic. But I maintain that I don’t need it to tank. ^^


…and my boss said: “play around with it and figure out how it works.”

So…I did!

So, as I’ve probably made abundantly clear by now, I like to tank. I have a lot of tanks. I have at least one of each of the four types, and all of them I’ve played into Northrend (two of them I’ve played/raided with at 80).

The basic rules for tanking apply across the board (don’t let anyone tell you different, and yes, I have had people try to tell me different):

  1. Make every NPC in the room hate you with the heat of a thousand, fiery suns.
  2. Make sure the monsters are facing away from the raid/group (your raid/group will often be unhelpful, here. Some of them like standing in front. It’s their job to not stand there, but if they’re not going to do it, you’re going to die too, so suck it up and move).
  3. Make sure your defences are sufficient to be taking whatever damage the instance/raid can dole out (that means hitting your caps).
  4. Never get out of your healer’s line of sight. Never. Not just because you’ll die. That’s no more fun for the healer than when your DPS pull for you and make it impossible for you to tank. They’re here because they want to heal you. Help them out.

But that’s about where the similarities end. Each class seems to have its own rhythm. I’m not necessarily talking about mechanics here – there are plenty of blogs, forum posts, articles, and various other examinations of which classes excel at which encounters. I find myself siding with Blizz more often than not on this one – bring the player, not the class. Don’t much care if a DK has stronger AoE threat; if he can’t pick up pats when they come in, or keep the warlock from pulling, I’d rather have the warrior who knows what she’s doing, even if her AoE threat is weaker.

Failing that, I’d take DPS that prioritize Omen over Recount, but hey. Some dreams were just never meant to come true.

What I mean when I say rhythm is how they feel. How they play. This is an inherently subjective topic – it’ll be different for me than other people. Or at the very least, the degree of enjoyment derived from one rhythm versus another will vary from player to player.

I was originally going to go through all four classes in this post, but then I realized I’d already hit an unwieldy length with just the first two, and that I need to think a little more about the last two since I give them less play time. So, for today I’ll stick with my two 80s – the ones I’ve played into the end-game and therefore am a little better positioned to comment on. The other two I’ll save for another post.

The Warrior

Let’s start with my current obsession – the warrior. It’s been a long, long time since I played the warrior in any kind of dedicated fashion – in fact, I practically ignored the class all the way through Burning Crusade. I was levelling a bear and a pally at the time, so my attention was there. And I stuck with the pally into Wrath. But, sooner or later the siren call could not be ignored. I went back to my character list and there she was. Sitting there all lonely, her lips turned down in a pout, her eyes accusing me of abandoning her, betraying just how deeply she’d been wounded by my betrayal. “I was your first tank – your first real, serious character,” she said. “How could you ditch me just because they finally let you play paladins on the Horde? Was it the hair? The glowy eyes? What was it? And…I mean…a bear? You replaced me with a bear?”

Oh the guilt! I got down on my knees and begged her forgiveness, and together we ventured back into Northrend.

It was like picking up an instrument you haven’t played in years. After a few clumsy trips and awkward stumbles, your fingers suddenly start finding the right combos and chords, almost as though no time has passed in between. The class had changed greatly in the intervening period and I had to go through a brief fit of research to make sure I’d accounted for all the adjustments, but once I’d reconciled the new with the old, it was music.

That has little to do with the warrior though – that’s the magic of your home-class. The one you never leave for long. The one you compare every other class in the game to. Mine, evidently, is warrior. Ironically it was the last class I tried because I didn’t think I’d like it. Ha, oh ha, how it amuses.

So…what was I talking about?

Right, tanking rhythm.

The warrior’s rhythm, if I may use a word I remember only vaguely from my halcyon days of piano lessons (I was…hmm…7- or 8-years-old I believe), is a staccato. At least, my keyboard makes it sound as though I am playing one. If you’re wondering what my mistells look like when I open the chat window by mistake while I’m tanking:


Half the key presses above won’t actually do anything. I’m pre-empting the GCD or am startled by an unexpected proc or praying Revenge’s CD comes off before the proc disappears and is wasted. Basically I’m spamming Devastate unless something else lights up – anything else, really. The mouse is moving in the background, hitting other abilities with longer CDs.

One of the changes I referred to earlier was that when I left the warrior, Devastate was The Big Deal. Woe unto you if you neglected to push Devastate. Woe and ruin! You were single-handedly wiping your raid.

When I came back to it, Devastate was something less than meh. It is now a filler button. Only pressed when absolutely nothing else on your toolbars is available (and, you know, for Sword and Board). I can live with that. We have a raid member who likes to sum up my contribution to the raid as “yay! Sunder armour!” So I like to do it as infrequently as possible, because last time I checked, Sunder Armour is not the extent of my contribution and I am loathe to do anything to help Mr. Stacking-the-DPS-Metres-Is-Helpful-(to-me). Also known as Mr. Too-Good-To-Get-Out-Of-The-Bad. Also voted Most Likely to Get Yelled At Over Vent.

So, with the warrior, it’s sort of like whack a mole. You watch your toolbars waiting for buttons to light up, CDs to come off, and keep up a steady thwacking of the Devastate button so that no GCD is wasted. You keep in mind your priority list to maximize threat in the event two or more buttons are available at the same time. But from that point forward your goal is to keep everything on CD. It’s not a class that’s easy to play asleep.

While you’re watching your toolbars like a hawk, of course, you also need to be watching your health, your healers, the adds, your target, the ground under your feet, and any of another half-dozen things simultaneously. It all requires a reaction from you – immediate and sharp. If you need to be on your defensive CDs, you need to be on them fast, and you need to be on the right one at the right time. If you need to get out of the bad, you need to do it while still watching your toolbars and pressing your buttons, or the aggro monkeys are going to do their thing and monkey your aggro.

The warrior is an As Soon As Possible class. All buttons must be pressed, in order of their priority, As Soon As Possible, or it all dissolves into fail, and it doesn’t matter what else is going on at the time. The class should be labelled “Must be able to multi-task”.

The Paladin

The pally is probably my second-favourite tanking class – not because of mechanics, but more because of whimsy. Of all the tanking classes available, this one is most in line with what I see in my head when I picture that mythical tank archetype. The warrior is a close second, but a warrior can also be many other archetypes, where a pally – no matter what spec they are – by definition fits the bill (and, in truth, the pally is the only class (off the top of my head) in which every single spec is attractive to me. I hate DPSing generally, but I did enjoy Ret when I played it. Haven’t tried Holy yet, but I’m dual-specced into it and it is a shiny gem I stare at longingly, wanting so bad to try it. But I am a big, gigantor coward when it comes to healing).

As far as rhythm goes, with apologies to all the pally tanks out there, I honestly find it really boring. I played this class forever – it’s one of my raid tanks. I enjoyed it, truly and honestly. It’s fun in its own way. But I was not exactly put out when I returned to the warrior.

The pally’s tanking mistell looks like this:


Do you see how neat and orderly that is? There’s not even mouse action going on in the back. On the warrior, there’s mouse action. There’s mouse action because there are too many things to press and not enough fingers to hit them all. Even while I’m mistelling that line of 2s, 3s, and 4s, the mouse is going in the back, slapping my longer CD stuff, spamming Heroic Strike, and hovering over Shield Wall. On the pally, it sits over the Orange-shield-thing (the one that’s like Divine Shield, but reduces damage taken by 50% and doesn’t monkey my aggro). And…that’s it really. Sometimes it clicks on Healbot in order to cleanse (because God forbid one of our 600 hybrid DPS with all the dispels in the world do it) or Righteous Defence someone’s ass, but that’s really about it.

This is how you pally tank:


Sometimes you can switch up the order of the numbers – for those who aren’t versed in pally tanking, your rotation (a true rotation, not a priority list) goes:

6 second CD ability – 9 second CD ability – 6 second – 9 second – 6 second – 9 second.

As long as you have a single point (no more, no less) in Improved Judgments in the Ret tree, you will never waste a GCD, and never not have a button to press. As long as you follow that rotation, the threat is plentiful, includes AoE, and makes it deliriously difficult for anyone, yourself included, to monkey your aggro. This is a class – on boss fights involving no adds and no moving, anyway – you could play while asleep. And, to be honest, that has an attraction all its own.

The rhythm is monotonous, but not unpleasant. It’s steady, stable, and straightforward. It’s easy on your keyboard. You can frantically smash your keys if you want, but you don’t need to and it won’t do anything. You can watch the CDs come off and hit the button at the exact right time. Because you’re working from a true rotation, with no random procs, you always know what you’re pressing next. It leaves your eyes free to watch adds, to watch the floor. I’m quicker to taunt on the pally because I can afford to be extra vigilant elsewhere, since my toolbar requires less of my attention.

Any tank is challenging, but I would heartily recommend the paladin to people interested in trying tanking to see if it’s for them. It’s not a deeply customizable play style, and it has less choice in the heat of the moment than most of the other classes, but it’s a steady, stable one, and it’s a forgiving class with a lot of utility. Once you learn your rotation, you can take the time to learn how to manage your defensive CDs, how to position mobs, when and how to taunt – the softer skills that differentiate good tanks from bad. Because less focus on the basics is required, it’s a solid class to learn the advanced techniques with – or to use the advanced techniques. I will admit there are times on the warrior I find myself wishing I was a pally so I could deal with X just a bit quicker than I could otherwise when I can’t afford to miss a shield slam proc.

The pally is an All In Due Time, class. Things happen when they happen, at predictable intervals, and as long as you’re sensitive to the timing, it’s easily managed. The Pally is in control, provides time to think, and room to react.

Next Time, on Aggro Management: Druids and Death Knights and me sucking, oh my!

Tank to PuG:

What the tank says What the tank means What the PuG hears
Let me pull, please. :)* Pull before I’m ready again and I’m going to start getting really cheap with my taunts. gogogogogogogogogogogogo
Kill order is Skull – Cross – Square I would like you to kill the skull first, then the cross, then the square. If you can AoE – DOITDOITDOITNOW!!!1!!1!11

If you can’t AoE, kill the unmarked one, then the square, then the cross, then the skull.

Make sure to attack the web/frost tomb/snake wrap to free other party members. Why am I even talking? I know none of you are even going to notice the web/frost tomb/snake wrap. God I hope the healer doesn’t get it. Scream like a little girl if you get webbed/frozen/wrapped, but do not respond to the screams if it’s not you.

Especially don’t help the healer. They can heal through it.

If the tank gets webbed/frozen/wrapped, DPS harder because she’s not doing any threat right now so you have to make up for it.




If you can’t AoE, attack anything except the one I’m on. This will help me a lot because stuff will die faster and your DPS will be so awesome because you have a mob all to yourself and I would love you so much.

Oh no, my screen! It has frozen! Fuck this and fuck you.


lolololololol im not imba enuf 2 play w/u guys
Thanks for the group. DIAF. OMG U R SO 1337 I LUV U SO MUCH I WISH I WUZ AS UBR AS U R!

* Don’t be fooled by the smiley face. It’s a lie. If they have to tell you this, they’re not smiling. Tanks don’t smile.
**This is an archaic reference to a mechanic that has become unfortunately irrelevant to this game. Most PuGs these days won’t even know the acronym and I am not being the least bit sarcastic.

PuG to Tank

What the PuG says What the PuG means What the Tank hears
gogogogogogogo I am ready when you are. Actually I’m ready before you are. Actually, I’m ready now. Pull or I will. You do not want to party with me. I pull. I can’t understand a kill order or what it’s for. I like to AoE irresponsibly and misdirect on the healer and run into the boss before anyone’s ready then blame the tank when we die.

Bail. Bail now while you still can.

Link GS and achievements My gear score is 32, and I have achieved nothing in game or out. Mostly I am looking for a boost from higher geared, more experienced people.

In exchange, I will make the next thirty minutes of your life a living Hell.

I’m going to bend you over and do unpleasant things to you for the next thirty minutes, while I ride you to free badges and epics.
lololololololololololol oops I pulled the pat and the group behind it and the one on the side, and I am intelligent enough to realize that maybe I shouldn’t have, it’s just we all look so funny, lying here on the floor lifeless. What’s your repair bill at now, tank? 30g? 40?

LoL, hilarious.

I want you to kill me. I really do. Why else would I be this annoying? Please, put me out of everyone’s misery.

You could do it.

Just snap my neck. No one needs to know.

WTF? Only 40K HP? Noob, lrn to play! My big brother’s totally a raider. He did that yogurt-siren guy. I know all about raiding and tanking too. I totally do. You should listen to me. I’m smart and OP and awesome. I don’t know how to count and have no idea what I’m talking about.
Just heal through it. I don’t want to press any buttons that aren’t listed as part of my rotation on this website I read that tells me how to make the numbers on recount go up. That includes paltry things like cleanse, and sheep, and W, A, S, or D.

Those are the duties of a healing bitch. Do I look like a healing bitch? No. I am DPS, and I don’t give a damn about your “dispelling” and “cc” and “not standing in fire”.

I am a douche. Vote kick me.
Can I need for off-spec? I have already clicked need. Hope you’re a high roller, mother fucker.
Dibs on [EPIC X] off the second boss. I am in here for one thing and one thing only. I am ditching after the second boss whether he drops my shit or not.