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Posted by on Jan 25, 2014 in World of Warcraft | 0 comments

How to be a Good Tank in World of Warcraft

AKA How to Not Suck as a Tank in WoW

First, the usual credentials. I’ve been playing since 2005, and I’ve played lots of tanks. Currently, my tanks consist of a 90 Brewmaster Monk and an 85 Blood Death Knight that I’m leveling.

I also get a lot of compliments on my tanking. Constantly (“Wow, you’re an awesome tank”). People Battletag friend me to run with me later. I’ll have full groups that want to requeue with me. So I ain’t just sayin’ “I’m awesome”; I get that feedback all the time.

There, worthy credentials from random Internet person.

I’m going to tell you some things I don’t tend to see in other posts about WoW tanking. Many of them focus on raid tanking, which is nice. But a lot don’t tell you how to learn to do your job before you get to raiding. If you can’t do dungeons worth a damn, you will fail at raiding too. The more you practice early on, the better you’ll be later.

I’ll include some of the usual advice, in case you found  this post before  the others out there. If you already know the gear, stats, addons and such and just want to get on to the “actually tanking” part, go on ahead.

Before You Tank…

Play some other classes. The tank has to lead the group through the dungeon and know the fights well.  Granted, as you go up in level, knowing the fights is important for everyone. But if you haven’t played WoW before, you may not want to start with a tank. Play something else and learn the dungeons first and get a feel for the fights. If you’ve come from other MMOs and just love tanking, then you’ll probably be able to start off tanking and pick it up as you go.

That said, tanking gear can get pricey. You need higher level gear or you won’t be able to tank. And  if you’re just starting out playing World of Warcraft and don’t have any friends that can drop a pile of gold on you (Ok, that’s rare but it happens)…then you’ll have to run dungeons as DPS or make your own. Otherwise, you buy gear off the Auction House. More on gearing up below. As an FYI, your gear costs are going to get expensive as you level, not just because you may have to buy it, because you’re the tank and your job is to get beat on. You’ll have high repair bills. And you’re gonna die. A lot. Life of a tank. Death = more expensive repair bill.

Know your stat priority

Know what your class’ stat priority is.  Not all tanks use the same stats (sure, parry and stamina but other stats like agility or strength vary by class and there are other stats you’re going to need).  If you need to learn more about stat priority, check out Noxxic’s PVE Guides or Icy Veins. Excellent, in-depth guides for everything, not just tanking. Once you know your stat priority, this will help you…

Be properly geared

Get the gear with the right stats. That may sound obvious, but some people don’t know that. Also: do not expect to tank in greens after the lowest level dungeons.  If you aren’t wearing any blues after level 20, you’re gonna die (you’ll likely need them a little sooner than that even). Then you will get votekicked out of the group because you are too squishy for the healer to keep alive. Also remember, after every expansion: green is the new purple. Don’t wear epic or rare (purple or blue) gear from vanilla WoW and expect to tank in Burning Crusade dungeons (yes, I’ve seen it far too often…and those tanks die).  You can’t wear epics from BC and expect to tank Cataclysm. You can’t wear epics from Cata and expect to tank MOP (Mist of Pandaria). It’s just not gonna happen. So like I said: expect to shell out some cash, run dungeons as DPS, or make your own gear (which will take a while if you are in a hurry to level).

Heirloom gear is also great; there are many ways to get it.  You can get some from the guild vendor after your reputation is high enough with your guild. (Another reason to play another character first: that one will get the rep first, then you can have it mail heirloom gear to your tank. Although you can just level the tank and once it has the right reputation for heirlooms, you can purchase the gear.) You can learn more about heirloom gear and other places to get it here.

I should caveat this with: you’ll likely do fine if you have a few greens early on. But not all greens; you want as much non-green gear as you can get.

Addons

I’ve got a few of the usual, plus one I rarely see people using.

Originally, I got All Healers Have to Die as an easy way to find healers to kill in battlegrounds. But it also works great in groups and lets you know if your healer is under attack. Because the  last thing you want is for your healer to die. I don’t see people using this addon much, but it’s awesome and I think it’s a must-have addon.

Admittedly, I just found TankPoints, GTFO, and  Threat Plates while writing this. But they look good and I’ve just grabbed them and will give them  a shot. You can tank just pre-raid dungeons without them, if you know how.

EDIT: Ok, I’ve tried the addons for a week or so now. GTFO is awesome. It makes the most obnoxious blaring sound when you’re standing in something you should’t. Great for if you just don’t notice or are tired. Threat Plates takes some getting used to, but is handy. TankPoints: haven’t even used it yet.

There are also tanking addons for each class. For example, I use CLC DK for my Death Knight tank so I know what cooldowns are about to expire (I often forget Horn of Winter and Bone Shield if I’m not reminded).

Now, on to the “actually tanking” part of the advice!

When Tanking in WoW

It is not a race

First and foremost: the dungeon is not a race. If you remember this, you’re gonna do better, thus people will like you and not votekick you. Every group  is different and some groups want to race through a dungeon. That’s fine, and in those cases go for it. But remember:

Stay with your healer

If you want to die, go ahead and run away from your healer. I’m sure you can tank those 20 dungeon trash mobs without heals. I’ve played healers longer than tanks and I’ve totally let tanks die because they were too impatient to wait for the rest of us. In the immortal words of Wil Wheaton: Don’t Be A Dick.

Stay with your team

When I’m not tanking, nothing irks me more than a tank that can’t wait for the rest of us to get to where they’re going. You’re not soloing. You’re in a group. Give your team time to get their loot, upgrade gear with new loot, get mana and heal up. Which brings me to…

Watch your healer’s mana

For the love of all things holy (heh) watch your healer’s mana. The other reason not to take off without your healer is they may need mana. Yes, they have regen gear, this doesn’t give them unlimited mana, regardless of how well-geared they are. Yes, some healers never have to stop and drink. But dungeons are for gearing up, so not all have top-level gear yet. Before running into a boss fight or a room of mobs, at the very least: check your healer’s mana bar. If it’s low and they’re just standing there, ask them if they want a drink. Odds are good they didn’t notice they were low, or they’re used to dumbass tanks that run into a room while the healer has little to no mana (because wipes are fun).

Fight while facing your team, always

Most tanks fight with their back to the team. This is stupid. Face your team. See what’s happening to them. Your job is to keep aggro off them. You can’t tell what’s happening to them with your back to them.

That said: zoom out to max distance and if you’ve got your back to a team you can still see what’s going on. There is a slider bar in the interface options that will zoom your view WAY out:  Camera > Max Camera Distance. If that’s not enough, you can type: /console cameraDistanceMaxFactor <value> (where <value> is the number you enter…try 4 and if that doesn’t work for you, fiddle with the numbers). There are also addons for this.

But sometimes, a part of a dungeon won’t let you do that and the screen gets weird…so face your team. It’s a good habit to be in. Because when you face your team you can…

Rescue your healer

If they die, you die, and the group wipes. That simple. I love watching tanks blame the healer for  a wipe when the healer was getting beat on by mobs while the tank merrily spanked another group of mobs. Way to go buddy.

Rescue your team

You and your healer alone can only do so much. While tank and heals are vital, so is DPS. Don’t be a diva. If it’s just you and healer, your healer is gonna run out of mana. And again: they die, you die, group wipe, big repair bill. Respect the DPS on your team: you need them too.

Expect to die

Another fun one: watching tanks bitch because they died. Tanks die. Cope. Your job is to take one for the team. If the group is overwhelmed and the healer can keep you alive long enough for the group to dps down a bunch of mobs or a boss, then there likely won’t be a wipe when you die. Because at this point, they’ve gotten the mobs and/or boss down to a manageable level. And that’s awesome because now you just get a rez and don’t have to do the spirit jog. Die, and be graceful about your death. It’s only game death and a repair bill. Get over it.

Know your role, rotation and fights

Your job is not to top the DPS meter. I’ll say this again: your job is not to be top DPS. While tanks often are due to them needing higher level gear, it’s not required for the job. You should be spamming taunts, anything that does AOE, self-heals, and anything that will increase armor and survivability in boss fights. Your focus should be doing everything you can to hold aggro on everything and keep yourself alive. Don’t just ignore your health and assume your healer has you. Things go wrong, so watch your health and remember your self-heals. Like all classes, know your rotations. Learn what spells to keep up and when to use them.  Noxxic and Icy Veins are great for this info, as are World of Warcraft’s forums and other sites. Just make sure you’re reading a post about the latest patch rather than something from a prior expansion or patch.

Admit if you do not know a dungeon or fight

Most people are cool if you say “I’m new here”. Or as I often say: “I haven’t been here in a while and I’ve forgotten how this dungeon works” (yes, after all these years, I still forget my way around dungeons and what comes  next in some dungeons). When you admit you need a hand, you’ll get the info you need to tank effectively. People will point you the right way on the map, or give you a heads-up that a particular boss is going to fear you or will have adds. It’s cool, you don’t have to know everything all the time. At least, not until you start raiding.

Got any tank strategies? Got some tank horror stories or tales of awesome tanks? Share! I’d love to see them.

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Posted by on Jul 22, 2013 in World of Warcraft | 0 comments

World of Warcraft Auction House Secrets

Or: How to Not Suck at “World of Action House”

6 tips to help you make more gold in WoW

Ok, they aren’t so much a secrets as a little common sense and some knowledge about the game. It’s about learning to pay attention to how the auction house works, especially on your server.

Background on me:  I’ve been playing WoW off and on (mostly on) since a few months after game release. I’ve played on every type of server: low population and high pop; PVP, PVE, and RP. I’ve played all the expansions (loving MoP right now).

I’ve run battlegrounds, raided (even back in Classic, which sucked), seen all the dungeons…the works. So, I’ve been there.

I’ve tried other MMOs and other non-online games too, but I always go back to WoW.

One of my favorite parts of World of Warcraft is what I think of as World of Auction House. I admit it: I’m a business major. Business/e-Business, to be exact. So I love to sit and play “let’s make pretend money in video games” (I really need to start playing Diablo 3 so I can make actual cash off playing a video game. Talk about multitasking: making money while a playing video game! How awesome is that?!)

I see a lot of people make mistakes when it comes to the WoW AH, so let’s start with what NOT to do and go from there.

1. Don’t Spend More on AH Fees Than How Much Gold You can Make

Seriously, this one drives me nuts. I can’t sell my stuff because everyone else is selling the same item for less than what the Auction House charges! Why would anyone do that?? Oh, because I bet they didn’t notice: the Auction House takes a cut off everything you sell.

Know this; remember this: the AH charges you for every item you sell.

If everyone is selling it for less than what the AH charges, vendor the sucker. Or, save it for an alt or crafting. Or DE (disenchant) it. Something. Just don’t throw money away on AH fees.

This includes re-listing an item; if you re-list it a bunch of times and now your AH fee has stacked up to more than what  you’ve made, you just lost gold, you didn’t make any.

Also, the amount taken depends on the item itself (each item has a standard fee) and varies by how long you are selling it for:

  • 12 hours
  • 24 hours
  • 48 hours.

Naturally, the longer you put your item up, the more the AH charges. Personally, I go with 24 hours. It’s a nice mid-range and I can easily check my auctions daily, around the same time(s).

 2. Don’t Ridiculously Undersell

If everyone else is selling the same item for 15 gold, and you’re selling it for 1g, you are screwing yourself out of a lot of gold.  Don’t  undersell above and beyond what your competitors sell for.

You’re not an online business establishing a sales reputation.

Your name is lost among the thousands of other people on your server. No one will remember that “you’re that person that sells stuff cheap”. Don’t screw yourself this way.

Although for those of you that sell stuff for 50s instead of the 2g or 7g or 10g your competitors sell for: thank you. I bought your stuff and resold it for a crap-load more gold than you made.

 3. Don’t Put Up Cheap Crap Without a Buyout Price

I see this one all the time: someone puts up an item  for a few silver, that everyone else sells for a few gold. Or they put it up for a few coppers!

Note: this isn’t eBay. No one is going to get into a bidding war over the crap you are selling. Everyone else is selling the same stuff, and anyone shopping on the AH wants it NOW.

What will happen is that people like me will bid on your stuff, and like on Tip #2, we’ll resell it for a heck of a lot more than the  lousy few silver you made. Trust me, I’m not the only one that does this. I’ve gotten used to losing bids to other people that like to do this too.

 4. Don’t Be in a Hurry to SELL NOW

So you’ve got a bunch of stuff to sell and you wanna sell it NOW. Hold on there pally (heh).  Anyway, you put up your item and it doesn’t sell. And you try again and it still doesn’t sell. So you vendor it or delete it. You may not have had to do that. I’ve noticed that all servers have a pattern as to what sells for how much at what days and times. Here are a few things to remember:

  • Mats (materials used for crafting) sell for the most during the week
  • Armor sells for the most during the week too, but you’re more likely to sell it the first time on the weekend
  • Everything sells for ridiculously less during the summer and major  holidays (November through December really sucks for selling on AH, unless you’ve stockpiled Small Eggs for the Winter Veil festival).

This is what banks/mules are for. Roll one. If you’re not sure what that is, a bank or mule character is a level 1 character that you park in a major city with an Auction House and you mail all your stuff to it (freeing up your main or other alt’s bags so you can keep questing and dungeoning). Now your mule can  put stuff in their bags, or even bank, to hold until an optimal time to sell appears. A lot of people roll a character they find the most attractive, dress it up, and then log in to do AH stuff with their sexy bank alt.

I tend to pick bank alts by the criteria of: nice to look at/newbie area is closest to major city/relation of bank to AH NPCs.

Alliance: roll a Human and go to Stormwind. The bank and AH are closest there. Not too bad to roll a dwarf and go to Ironforge either.
Horde: roll a Bloodelf and go to Silvermoon (although I prefer to jog mine to Undercity, since the bank is REALLY close to the Auction House NPCs). Horde can also get one to Orgrimmar and park them in Valley of Wisdom (Cow Town aka where all the Tauren are).

5. Buy Low, Sell High

I suspect by now, you’re seeing my strategy. Like with all business products, like buying and selling stocks: buy low, sell high. You can buy stuff other people sell cheap and resell it. You can save your items for the days when you’ll make the most off of your AH sales.

Congratulations, you’re started to grasp simple business  practices! (And this is one of the many things on my “Video Games Are Not Evil” soapbox, but that’s another post.)

6. Understand In-Game Supply and Demand

Look at you! Now you’re learning basic Economics!

During times of the year when more people are playing, stuff sells cheap because everyone and their dog is logged into the game. At other times of the year, your items will sell for more. Personally, I don’t sit on stuff for months on end (ok, except during the Thanksgiving through January holiday season).

More people play at night than during the day. That said: it’s better to put things up at night than in the morning. This is because everyone is logging  into WoW in the afternoon and evening after work and school. So if you put something up at 7am and go to work or school, by early evening everyone will undercut you. Wait until you get home from work or school, then put stuff up to sell.

And remember: if you see someone or a website saying “X item sells for Y price” remember: prices vary by server. What sells on a  low population will sell for a different price on a high pop server.

Congratulations!

You’ve made it through the basics. These are the main things to remember. Got any questions? Got any tips for others? Feel free to share them here.

(Oh, and I bet you ask if I use Auctioneer. No. I’m not a fan. You may like it. I’ve never seen any benefit from it, although some others swear by it.)

 

 

 

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