Thursday, May 1, 2008

It will be an uphill fight to the end, and would we have it otherwise?

A few nights ago, a couple of my guildmates and I went out to test various sets of gear against Durn the Hungerer. My tests were to examine the differences between Gorehowl (GH) and Gladiator's Right Ripper (GRR) + King's Defender (KD) for tanking, and Gorehowl versus Gladiator's Right Ripper + Guile of Khoraazi (GK) for non-aggro dps.

For tanking, Gorehowl (enchanted with Mongoose) came out on top. The effective health provided by the large chunk of agility and stamina couldn't be matched by the GRR+KD setup. The unenchanted GRR+KD setup was a superior dps combination, though, offering 310 dps to GH's 320. Following down this path, there are clear upgrades. Trollbane would be the next step.

For dps (non-tanking), dual-wielding was the winner. I found that my enchanted Gorehowl and the unenchanted GRR+GK did the same 265 dps. (For these tests, I only did melee damage. No traps, no pet, no bombs, etc.)

What made dual-wielding so strong? The major contributing factor seems to be the fact that white damage constitutes so much of my dps. GH has a 3.6 weapon speed, and my +hit is low since I've spent so much of my item budget on mitigation. If I miss on a white strike or a Raptor Strike, I've seriously hurt my threat. With dual-wield, I seldom stop attacking, which naturally raises my dps.

Why am I looking at all this again? True story: a chain mail dps belt dropped in Kara, and when someone raised the question of why it was offered to a ret paladin instead of me, the loot master said, 'Oh yeah... I forget Gweryc's a hunter.' While my ego swelled like a balloon at that, it actually presents a problem. I'm good enough right now that I'm asked to main tank, not off-tank, but my tps isn't scaling with my mitigation, so I'm not convinced I can MT beyond Kara because of that. I've already felt the pain, tanking Heroic Magisters' Terrace. It's great to be a damage sponge, but with my tps being low, I just can't MT the way I'd like to. (Blizzard, please, I beg you, give me a taunt via an Engineering trinket!)

Besides which, I enjoy innovation, and I've gotten the tanking thing down well enough that it doesn't feel so much like a creative endeavour as it does my job. I'm a tank now, I know what I'm doing in that role, full stop. And you know what? I'm desperately tempted to shoot my gun -- because it would change everything. It could only improve my performance in my chosen roles. Open up with Distracting Shots to lock aggro, go ranged dps when I'm not the MT and actually get into Tier 5/6 content... but if I do that, I've broken the project of playing a melee-only hunter, and that's unacceptable.

So what's the plan? I'm choosing to fight a different uphill battle, one with what appears to be a lesser slope. I am, once again, revisiting a pure dps role. No, I'm not giving up on tanking! I still want to take down Prince Melchazzar, and I promise when I do, there will be video. I'll continue to play Gwera, looking for tanking tricks I might mash up in the blender and spoon-feed to my baby Gweryc. But as I continue on exploring tanking by proxy, I'm going to take advantage of being in a raiding guild and collect some dps loot, and see what I can do. Thanks to Nerglish, the landscape has changed since I tried this last. Many more avenues are open to me now, and I really ought to make the most of that.

My minimum dps goal before trying to leave Karazhan is 700. It's funny. I'm looking at this now, thinking to myself, 'It sounds difficult, but I think I can do it...' A perfect echo of my thoughts as I first typed the name 'Gweryc' into the character creation screen.


David said...

Right on man. Great stuff. Good luck to you and continued success!

Anonymous said...

I love your spirit man, keep going.
Btw have you ever visited , think you perhaps can get some useful from there.

Anonymous said...

I'm just going to say it.

You wont be able to tank past Kara, i.e. ZA or any 25man. The damage mitigation not to mention the sheer fact you have no taunt and would literally need people dpsing at a speed at which the 10min enrage will be reached and would cause the raid more hardship then actual fun. Engineering will not be receiving a taunt, this would make alot of classes viable for "part tanks" and with a 5th tanking class on the way with the new expansion why would blizz introduce it? Your fighting a lost cause my friend. Someday you may be able to tank into 25mans but it wont be in this expansion,

Gweryc Halfhand said...

You misunderstand me, Anonymous. I'm not fighting any cause at all. I'm screwing around to see what I can get away with as a melee hunter. I never intended to be a tank of any kind. That just happened to be the thing I found that I could do well.

I suspect you're right about me not being able to *main tank* past Kara, which is why I'm trying out a dps role now. But if I can unburden myself of the expectation that I can continue main tanking and get back to the business of holding something's attention while I'm left alone to deal with it until a tank wants to pick it up from me, that, I know I can do past Kara.

Just remember -- the project isn't about being uber dps, an awesome tank, or anything else. I just want to see what I can get away with, trying to be inventive with my gimpy character I love so much.

Sonea said...

Have been reading your blog for a while (since I found the link from Hammer of grammar a long time ago) and have enjoyed reading about Hunter tanking immensely.

Keep trying is all I can say, you might be slightly more confident knowing that a Rogue Main Tannked all of Mother Shahraz and P1 of Illidan (source,rogue_tanks_mother_shahraz_from_100_to_0/)

I know rogue and hunter mechanics are quite different but it's worth knowing that someone else is tanking successfully on characters that weren't meant to tank!

Origon said...

Just out of curiousity Gweryc, did the macro for pet "taunt" work at all? interesting to see how thats been working out for you

Anonymous said...

I applaud your inventiveness Halfhand. I found a link to your blog on the hammer some months ago. it seems you've come along way since then. Had to dig your blog out again to link it to a hunter on my own server. seems he has a similar idea, despite been ridiculed by the rest of the server for Daring to become a hunter tank.

Keep going. /salute
Mephala Blackthrone, Darkmoon Faire EU.