Posts Tagged 'Instances'

Tanking with PUGs

PUGs are something that almostall players seem to run across at some point. And, if you are not a member of a guild that has at least a moderate amount of active players, a pick up group is something you will have to rely on to get yourself into an instance.

Since my deathknight turned 80 I tried to get through some of the heroic instances to improve my gear. And since I am guildless at this moment I had to get some random players together to get going. Now, it seems like I hade a little bit of luck since most groups that came together really went well but I had my share of wild folks and strangeness. Which is why I thought I might share a few thoughts about how to PUG as a tank.

Fist of all I thing that it really is necessary to know your own limitations while tanking. If there is an instance that is beyond your skill or current gear, do not try to tackle it with a random group. It will only lead to a tremendous repair bill and to frustration on your part and among the other members of the group. For me the Occulus is such an instance at this moment. I really hav no clue how the last boss fight works and before I try tanking that instance I am going to learn how the flying boss fight is going to work.

Before you start an instance make sure that the others have a basic understanding about what you are going to do. For example, if you are marking the targets, let the group know which target is to be hit first and so forth. Also make sure that the damage dealers give you the time you need to safely grab aggro. If things go real smooth with the first groups, then its time to speed things up a little bit but I think that it is important to get a feeling for the group first.

The start of an instance is also a good time to check the loot rules. If you have an enchanter it is important that only the enchanter rolls on the stuff noone needs so that shards can be created. And how or if those shards are devided should also be briefly discussed to avoid some discussions later on.

Also I found it helpful to give some pointers before every bossfight so that the others know what you are going to do and how the fight will be going. Some fights can be won in different ways and knowing which tactic is going to be used mostly helps to get through a fight more easily.

One thing I have made a habit out of is taking screenshots of the group composition if things really went well or if they really really went wrong. Since I am not that good with names I wanted to keep a reminder about which players I had fun grouping with and also about players I wanted to avoid. The friend list ia also a good tool for building a network of players to group with but I really like the screenshots. I also place a summary of the Recount window beside the portraits so I also have some basic information about damage done and dps if I want to check that as well.

I am sure that there are more tipps that should be here but that will have to do for now. So, good pug-ing everyone …

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Tanking DK in Azjol Nerub

Recently I was asked to tank Azjol’Nerub with my death knight. At level 76 I have about 20k armor and a defence rating of 477 so, even with my limited tanking experience as a death knight I thought it should not be a problem to get in there and hold aggro.

I am not really sure how the other dk tanks do it but since I am specced frost I tried to pull with my icy touch, leaving the death grip ability open to be used on casters when they do not run to me or if they decide to go after the healer.

Next was scourge strike to apply the second desease and pestilence to spread those two out to the other mobs that are beeing pulled. And now, to build some aggro on all of the mobs I used the howling blast. With frost feaver active I usually see about 2k damage on all of the mobs and usually that is enough of a head start to last me during the fight.

Personally I had a small rune problem with that rotation because I had to wait a bit until I could lay down death and decay since my runes were on cooldown. But what I did wrong here was that I should have layed down death and decay before the pull and that is an easy change that I can keep in mind when going into the next instance as a tank.

One other thing was that I was not really sure about my cooldowns for some of my abilities. Runic weapon, the ghoul, extra armor and the twenty percent damage reduction are all abilities that really can help and if you are aware of their cooldowns, they do not nescessarily have to be spared for the boss fights.

I learned some small things from this tanking encounter.

1. Know the instance

It really helps to know the instance you are tanking. Not only does it speed up the pace you can go through it but when you know when to expect more damage from mobs you can time your own cooldowns properly. And it can not hurt to know when certain mobs to special things.

2. Mark the targets

Even if your group will do a whole lot of aoe damage I found it really helpful to use the marks that the standard ui provides. For example we always mark the target that will be downed with a skull, the second one with the cross and so forth. We also have some symbols assigned for crowd control abilities so that the classes responsible for that know when to sheep, shackle or stun.

3. Talk

For me, it usually helps to ask some questions before the action starts. For example if everyone in the group has a basic understanding of how the instance works. Sometimes, players do have only limited time so making clear how fast you want to go through the instance can be helpful. You might think that this is not the job of the tank per se but keep in mind that the tank usualy sets the pace and that the tank has to react if one of the other players pulls a group because he is in a rush …

A run with two deathknights

As I am still leveling my priest to 80 I am doing quite a lot of instance runs at the moment. Some where with pickup groups and some with members of my guild. Yesterday we ran the Halls of Stone with a frost specced Deathknight tank another Deathknight who was unholy spedded as a damage dealer.

I have previously complained a bit about some of the deathknight tanks I have grouped with in the past but the only complaint that I might have this time was that healing this time was … well … a bit boring since there was not that much to do for me.

The tank layed down death and decay and then used her death grip to pull. Sometimes when there was more than one caster in the group the other deathknight also used his death grip to pull that on into the aoe as well. Since he is wearing plate and can interrupt casters, that was no problem as well.

Despite the fact that this was more a guild run I would say the difference to some of the other runs was that our tank knew what she was doing and had taken the time to assemble a decent gearset for tanking. She was not at the 540 defence cap but close enough so that the damage was mitigated very well.

To me, that proves the point that Deathknights can be very good tanks if the player puts in the effort to make it so. And with the armor pieces that can be crafted it is not that hard to get started. Sure, if you want to tank heroics and have to get over the defence cap, that takes more effort but since tanks are still in high demand I would say that it is more than worth it.

Lag issues and waiting for instances

Right now it can be a bit frustrating to play WoW sometimes. Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy the game very much and questing in Northrend is fun. But since a few weeks the lag in some zones, Dalaran and Icecrown especially, is very bad. Noone seems to have an answer to why that is and event¬†patch 3.0.8¬†did not change that at all.

Yesterday we were running Naxxramas on heroic and we had to take a break after a few tries on Thaddius. Instant spells went of with a four second delay and changing positions in time was simply not possible. I wonder if these problems are simply occuring because nowadays there are simply that much more players running the raid instances. Back in the Burning Crusade I cannot remember the lag ever beeing this bad on our realm.

The same problem seems to exist for the normal instances. Normally when we try to get into an instance we first get the message that no new instances can be started at the moment. Well, as funny as it was to see players jump against the instance entrance over and over, now I really would like to be able to play lag free and without having to wait before getting into instances again. And I think that after a month of the same trouble and problems we can expect Blizzard to come up with a solution for that.


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