Way of the Paladin Part 4: Why do bad tanks Exist? Because of you, Ass-hat!

I reached level 15, grabbed my class quest, and then forgot to finish it before heading into my first Dungeon Satasha.

Which is where I made two very bad mistakes.

The first was that I used the Duty Finder to get into the dungeon. Normally the duty finder is an excellent tool to get groups for dungeons that you need to get done, because it will slap together a group for you across all the servers from all the people willing to do that dungeon, or even high levels doing their low level roulettes and so on, who will be level synced down. This is fine, and nine times out of ten you will get a good group. That last bit was the one that sadly didn’t happen for me for my first run into the dungeons.

The second mistake was telling the group that I was a new Tank, trying to learn. This would not be a problem with a good group, with this group? It was a stupid mistake to make.

As your first tanking experience, after you have warned the group this is your first time tanking, and are trying to learn, and are taking the time to mark targets, having the whole group do AOE attacks and AOE healing is far less than helpful. Having them then turn round and call you a noob and moan constantly about your tanking, with such lovely comments as “Why don’t you learn to fucking tank you fucking useless noob” is not helpful. Especially when you TOLD them you were first time there and trying to learn.

That group sucked, I got us through the dungeon as fast as possible and decided not to bother queuing again without at least one FC member. Luckily my FC leader, who is also one of our Main Tanks offered to teach me how to do it all properly.

So we queued for Satasha, and in we went. This time we had only a random healer and one DPS, and I made a note to put markers on the enemies in the order I was intending to build aggro on.

Why the random archer was DPSing the other enemies, and insisting on pulling we didn’t know. He got kicked from the group by the healer who was tired of healing him.

Once this happened it got WAY easier to tank, as our new DPS was following the marks, and my FC Leader was happily shouting suggestions to me.

Tanking involves grabbing all the monsters attention, and then making sure they are so cross with you they don’t go off whacking other people with their weapons. As I was targetting and numbering the mobs my usual rotation was Fast Blade – Savage blade -Fast Blade – Savage blade – FLASH, then swap to the next monster on my list. The two fast blade/savage blade combos build quite nice aggro on the critters, and then flash is used to build a bit of aggro on everything.

At this level… holding aggro is hard work. I hadn’t handed in my class quest (oops) so didn’t have Shield lob available, which is the standard opener, as you would Shield Lob the first target as you close, and then Flash once you reach the group. This aggros the whole group and puts a big chunk on your first target, such that once you have reached the first Flash, no one who isn’t trolling you could rip aggro from you. Without shield lob however I was usually forced to do one rotation then flash another rotation then flash again and go on from there.

Satasha is actually fairly straight forward to tank once you have a group that doesn’t suck, there are a couple of times where groups of adds spawn and you need to quickly gather them up (Flash – Flash then continue rotation) but for the most part it’s static groups that you can number up and then attack in a careful and considered manner.

The second time through was much more pleasant and by the time we got to Denn the Orca Toothed I had somewhat found my feet. In this fight you tank the main boss, but also look out for adds coming from the bubbling springs around the arena. If the others in the group are really on the ball you don’t have many adds spawning to pick up, but we got a few during our run. As it was a combination of tab swapping and Double-Flash seemed to work to pick them mostly up, and given they aren’t very strong the ones I didn’t catch didn’t cause much trouble. Handily I also picked up some nice gear, and because both of these runs were Low Level roulettes.

By the time I’d done a couple of runs through Satasha, I actually got the option to do Tam-Tara Deepcroft. While Satasha is the starting dungeon, Tam-Tara is not actually much different, lots of groups of mobs that have to be gathered up, their aggro kept while others DPS them and try not to lose them.

There are a few pulls (groups that all come together) in the dungeon though that are a bit of a pain. Usually you can plan for these however by marking one enemy to be nuked down while you actually tank the others, with the intention of the nuke target dying before it can do too much damage to the rest of the group. Using tanking cooldowns helps with this as during that period the healer will need to heal two people, and the less they have to do for you the better. As it was my guild leader was playing on her Monk class, who although a DPS class are pretty “tanky” so this method worked pretty well. Popping my damage mitigation and my healing boost cooldowns meant that I took less damage, and one healing spell would top me back off pretty handily.

Again though Tam Tara has the issue that it relys on the DPS actually following the marks you set. It fast became obvious that our first dps wasn’t, but he very quickly learned as whenever he pulled aggro fighting the wrong mob I let him fight it and the healer didn’t bother healing him. Normal people would learn from this, he took the Rage-Quit route, but handily our replacement was helpful, giving pointers on tanking which is very good.

The final boss in Tam Tara is another exercise in group pickups as he occasionally spawns vast groups of mobs. However until then you only have one target so the best plan is to hit the boss occasionally using Riot Blade to rebuild mana so when they monster group did turn up you could Flash a couple of times to grab them all.

The minor issue was that it turned out that trying to Shield Bash him to stun him while he did his big killy spell didnt work, prompting me to make a slightly less than tanky sound and then flee before getting hit by it. Eventually however he fell and we received gear and in my case I reached level 20!

Next however… The Run from 20 to 30.

2 Responses to “Way of the Paladin Part 4: Why do bad tanks Exist? Because of you, Ass-hat!”

  1. I started tanking for the first time yesterday and it went horribly. Your post has however given me inspiration.

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