Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Greatness is more than potential. ... You need the appropriate training.

It hasn't escaped my attention that I've repeatedly griped about my inexperience as a tank. Being as there's no substitute for practice, I made the decision to level a proper tank. My goals in that are to fully absorb the mindset of what it means to be an unabashed main tank, and to look for tools and techniques that I can analogize and emulate on Gweryc.

Enter Gwera, Dwarf paladin.

Tanking gives you wiiiiiings! 2008-03-30

Gwera is not a replacement for Gweryc, nor a successor. She is instead an experiment-within-an-experiment, a spin-off of my beloved m'unter. (If I intend to keep playing her long-term, she'll very likely end up ret, not prot.)

Why a paladin, instead of a druid or warrior? In my mind, paladins really are the class that most closely parallels the way I've learned to fight as Gweryc, and they pursue the same kind of stats. In fact, most of Gwera's attacks have been macroed to either function or simply look like Gweryc's abilities. To look at her attack buttons, you'd think she was a hunter. But there are a few abilites she has, useful for tanking, that have no direct analog on Gweryc, and those are the things I want to emulate.

Sadly, Righteous Fury is right out. There's nothing I can come up with, save the 2% Threat enchant, that increases my innate threat. But I've already taken something away from her: Righteous Defense.

I can make most arguments into semantic ones. Gwera's Righteous Defense has reminded me that my job is not to be a tank. My job is to stop other people from taking damage. Subtle, but very important, because my pet Cafall, now trained into Growl instead of Cower, is my Righteous Defense.

If I see a non-tank taking damage, I may not be able to peel off a boss and pick up a second target. I may not have time to reach the poor squishy before they die. But Cafall can. He has things I don't: Dash, a kind of pet-based Charge (especially if I can use Intimidation on the mob), and a taunt, Growl. I can use Cafall to quickly intercept and taunt a mob gone wrong, and then pull Cafall back to me, mob in tow. If you'll forgive the pun, that's Righteous. (Macro and add-on wizards, if you can figure out how to make this intercept work as a click-cast on a friendly target instead of the mob, I'll send you something nice next Valentine's Day.)

Something else I've learned was to be more aware of Paladin blessings. Sometimes a raid or party member gets a little click-happy with their buffing tools and forgets that I'm not your average hunter. So this has been added to the top of my main attack macro:

/cancelaura Greater Blessing of Salvation
/cancelaura Blessing of Salvation

Edit: looks like I could use the Damnation addon to achieve the same result, without adding to my macro.

Continuing on with the hallucination that I'm a paladin with a dog, I found the Retribution DPS gear ranking tool on MaxDPS.com to be very useful. I'm trying to collect a "ret set" in addition to my "prot set" of gear, for fights where I'm not tanking. To search on MaxDPS, I enter my numerical stats, check off Divine Strength (Lightning Reflexes), Improved Judgement (my attack cooldowns are naturally shorter than Judgement), Conviction (Humanoid Slaying/Savage Strikes), and Precision (Surefooted), allow the "Include Leather/Mail" option, and then I just ignore the plate mail that comes up.

The ret rotation MaxDPS suggests -- white damage, Seal of Command, Judgement of Command, Crusader Strike -- isn't too far off from what I do as dps: white damage, Immolation Trap, Wing Clip + attack procs (e.g., Romulo's Poison Vial), Raptor Strike. And the dps forecasts it gives are actually pretty accurate for Gweryc's numbers, so I have some trust that the items it's suggesting are worth looking at, so long as I'm careful about the value it places on strength over agility, which is why in-game I also lean on RatingBuster's assessment.


David said...

Still lovin your blog, mate! Just as an aside, I am downloading this video:
but I have not watched it yet. Supposedly this guy is a fantastic melee hunter. While not PURE melee like yourself, I thought you might be able to get some more hints from this video.

Origon said...

Since the paladin RD macro is generally
/cast [target=target,help] Righteous Defense; [target=targettarget,help] Righteous Defense

you should be able to do something simular to that by using

/target [target=target,harm] /script PetAttack (); [target=targettarget,harm] /script PetAttack ();

/cast Dash
/cast [target=target,harm] Growl; [target=targettarget,harm] Growl
/script PetPassiveMode();PetFollow();end;

Not sure if the first part about petattack is required for a pet to properly target a mob, not a hunter myself, id suggest trying it without that part first since im unsure on that.

The rest of it works like so: casts your pet's dash, checks if your target is harmful, if so, casts growl on it, if not checks if your target's target is harmful (if you have the person that pulled aggro targeted) and then uses growl on that mob. Not exactly sure what'd happen if neither target is harmful, either an invalid target message or a glowy hand (most likely invalid target). The last part sets your pet to passive and recalls him back to your side

try it out, see how it works out :)
Also, not sure if you're interested, but the boar charge skill could work for stunnable mobs as well, charge-stun, growl, recall :) then again, most raid mobs are immune to stuns and i assume you like your current pet.

Geoff said...

Have you considered a dual-wield setup for DPS purposes? Raptor Strike means an initial 2H bias that has to be overcome, but since you are finally getting industrial-grade buffs, the additional AP scaling might help counteract the rangist class structure you courageously resist.

Also, have you gotten any use out of Snake Trap? Apart from using it to soak up hits when the enemy has no threat table (e.g. Shade of Aran, Dorothee, Julianne), the snakes purportedly have a ranged physical attack; I've always wondered if they benefit from debuffs like Expose Weakness and Hunter's Mark.

Gweryc Halfhand said...

@David, thanks, I'll check that out.

@Origon, thank you! I'll play with that and see how it goes.

@Geoff, I have a Gladiator's Right Ripper and a King's Defender in the bank that I'm going to enchant and test out, actually. I'll let you guys know when I've played with that some.

As far as snake traps, I pretty much only use them when my target is immune to my fire traps.

origon said...

Just wondering Gweryc, but whats your average TPS? interesting to see just how well hunter tanking works out.

Gweryc Halfhand said...

Good question, Origon. I believe on boss fights I'm usually pushing about 500 tps. Next Kara, I'll see if I can't run WWS and find out exactly what I'm doing. The Recount addon is nice, but a full raid report would be even better, don't you think?

Kabasue said...

Ha! and here I thought your April 1st post about tanking was a fools day joke. Glad to see that I was wrong. Pally tank is probably a good choice, it requies lots of thought and buttion pressing. Thier alot more fun then warriors or the snooze fest that is druids. I digress, you must post videos of you tanking!

C. said...

Oh man! I'm so excited to see that you've made it to actually tanking things. :D

I did want to ask, since I've been debating figuring out a an offtank spec for Ansawa--what role does defense rating play in your itemization considerations? You may have already discussed this, but I've been playing around with what kind of gear I can get easily--and I have access to a bunch of +def gear as a leatherworker.

Gweryc Halfhand said...

Ansawa, I think I'll answer your question with a whole new post, since I've been thinking a lot lately about that exact subject. Short answer, defense is the single most important tanking stat, but is much harder to obtain than dodge-tank Agility or welfare-epic Resilience. The key to hunter tanking seems to be to reach uncrittable, then stack as much effective health as possible by whatever means. Leaning less on defense and more on resilience, a cheap stat allocation-wise, more means you have more points left over in your item budget for attack power, which scales directly into threat.