Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Balthazario is... Starting Over

Or at least, an odd, Aussie-enshrined simulacrum of him is.

I've mentioned him a bit, and Gnomeaggedon has hinted about him as well, but yeah, Balth MkII is now officially levelling and running LFG.

As a Tank.

True, a level 18 DPS Pally & a level 18 Tank Pally are very very (very) similar, but in this instance, intent is everything. Did I roll a toon on Aman'Thul with the intent of levelling up? Nope. BUT, Kattastrophe suggested a while back, that an "easier" way to learn tanking would be to roll a new Pally and learn the "proper" way.




And it's an interesting approach, and one that seems to be working for me. Why is that?

For starters, I play a Ret as my main. This means I've spent the last ~9 months learning to run and whack things in the deadliest way possible. All my spells, gear, and (mostly) all my experience is slanted in this way. (the only caveat here is that Katt & I *did* run as a duo for many many months, her doing the healy/DPS role and me doing the tanky/DPS role - which means I like to do LoS, kite, CC, etc)

What this means is that with the "real" Balth, even though I have a fully geared (at least at a basic level) and fully specced tank spec, I really can't play it all that well.

Big Bear Butt did a pretty interesting comparison between a Druid tank and a Pally tank, and what he describes as normal rotationis, well, rather complicated, as he says HERE. True, the class can tank VERY effectively, but trying to pick it up at max level, is a wee bit of a challenge. (for me at least)

The big reasons for this are...

- Basic tanking, at it's most fundamental level, is a completely different animal from DPS. The situational awareness, focus and style is completely different.

- Attack Rotation and abilities are dramatically different. There are a few cross overs, but they are more the exception than the rule.

So far, I am doing OK. There's hardly any spell rotation, and if you're doing things right, (and none else is being an absolute COMPLETE idiot) you should have no problems.

A couple things of note though:

- 1 - Even though you can join LFD at level 15, don't even THINK about Pally tanking at that level. I was cautious and just entered as DPS for our first LFG, and try as I might, I never once was able to even come close to pulling aggro off the level 15 warrior. Why? see #2.

- 2 -Righteous Fury (aggro/threat boost) and Hand of Reckoning (taunt) are learned at level 16. (you get Righteous Defense at 14, but without these other 2, it's just not possible to really tank) On a single target with any normal group composition, I doubt any toon could pull aggro off you. In fights with 3+ mobs (especially if they are ranged and not grouped) you can lose aggro pretty easily, BUT, with your 2 taunts, regaining it shouldn't be TOO hard.

- 3 - I miss Consecration. (and Divine Storm, but as Prot, I'll never have that) On generic trash, I don't have any AoE attack that can help me keep multiple mobs on me. I have to constantly cycle through the mobs. (I get this at level 20) Not horrible, but a pain.

Overall, tanking at this level is pretty darned easy. Since I only have 1 spell (Judgement) I don't have to try to maintain any rotation (and look at the keyboard) so I am able to keep a REALLY good eye on the group, and look for stray mobs. I can only hope that as I level, the 96969 rotation becomes easy enough that I don't NEED to eyeball the keyboard, so I can continue to watch things.

The biggest thing is just learning to keep situational awareness "active". It's a needed skill for DPS and healers, but if they DO lose it, it's rarely wipe inducing. If you zone out as a tank, get ready for a repair bill...

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