Level 64 and hating it.

You know, for as much as I adored raiding in BC, I loathed the dungeons. Hated them. There is not a single instance in Burning Crusade that I genuinely LOVED.

I hated heroics with a passion. If I was asked in guild to heal a heroic, I would laugh, as would most others who knew me.

After healing my way on my disc priest through Ramparts, Blood Furnace, Slave Pens and Underbog, it dawned on me; I have absolutely no desire to level through Auchindoun instances. None. I don’t want to go back and level through Hellfire or Zangarmarsh or Terokkar to get quests. God forbid I even consider Blade’s Edge or Netherstorm!

In the entirety of Burning Crusade, there was one zone I loved and that was Nagrand. I don’t even like all the stupid quests there, but it’s beautiful and peaceful and I know it like the back of my hand.

Combine my distaste for BC content with the UTTER FAILURE that is RAMPANT on this stupid battlegroup and you have a cranky Kurn. Seriously, tanks who don’t know how to hold threat on TWO targets at once, who don’t know what gear to wear (pally “tanks”, specced prot, wearing all holy stuff), tanks who don’t know what abilities to use (Devastate never occurred to one warrior “tank” I had) and tanks who don’t know the first thing about pulling.

There I am, in Slave Pens, about to pull the first boss. Everyone, EVERYONE knows that you wait for him to pat up the ramp and then range pull, right?


The DK “tank” I had pulled him while he was visiting with the mobs at the bottom of the ramp. So we got the whole group.

Only through exquisite, leet healz did we live. I used Pain Suppression, Prayer of Healing, Inner Focus, took a mana potion… and you know who was killing the totems when it was clear NO ONE ELSE WAS? That’s right. I was.

After the fight, I was like “Why on earth would you pull the entire group?”

“mistake,” came the reply from the tank, followed by “gotta go”.

I left the group immediately and said to myself, aloud, “Fuck this.”

So I respecced my priest shadow (no, I haven’t dropped a grand on dual spec yet) and have decided to quest through most of Nagrand until I’m at about level 68, and then SEEYA OUTLANDS, hello Northrend!

The trouble here is I hate being shadow. :P I don’t really know the rotation or whatever, but it feels like I have no abilities! Shadow Word: Pain and Devouring Plague go up, then Mind Blast, then Mind Flay and finish off if need be with Shadow Word: Death? Too easy, too boring, too dull. Shadowfiend at 66 and POM at 70 and that’s about all I’m looking forward to. ETA: Okay, interesting what they’ve done with Vampiric Touch and Vampiric Embrace. SW:P, DP, VT, MB, MF?

I would pay $25 in real money to Blizzard if it meant that I would be able to start a toon at 68.

I would pay another $25 in real money to have an unlimited ignore list. :P

Off to Nesingwary.

Yet another fail "tank".

My brother and I queued for the heroic random together, today. I was on my paladin. He was on his hunter. I was healing. He was DPSing.

We get a group, zone into Halls of Stone and I see the tank is a paladin who immediately starts buffing kings. Okay, I buff wisdom and might, even though I have crap might. The tank gives us Sanctuary. I give us kings. It’s all good.

’till the second pull.

The tank takes a crapton of damage.

Like, a CRAPTON.

I’m actually having to use Holy Light.

In general, I’m okay with this. He “only” has 36k health, buffed. That’s fine. He’s using the badge shield. That’s fine. I figure that he’s undergeared and I didn’t feel like taking the deserter debuff. He was prot, at least, using Sanctuary, had Righteous Fury up. It appeared like he was putting in the effort.

My brother says to me, over vent, after a couple more pulls “MAN, this tank sucks! How can he suck so bad?”

“Well, he’s got to be a new tank. Look at his health.”

“He’s got a 5400 gear score.”

“What? Not possible.” I don’t have the GS mod enabled on my paladin (too much lag with it on) so I figured my brother was looking at the DK.

“I’m telling you, 5400 GS.”

“On the TANK? The paladin? The paladin who’s not me?”

“Yes. The tank. The paladin.”

“Not poss…i…ble. Hang on.”

I inspect him.

Sure enough, he’s got good gear. Great gear. But it’s ret gear and arena gear. He has precisely two pieces of gear on him with defense/parry/dodge/block and those are his weapons; the tanking axe out of H HoR and the badge tanking shield.

“Why are you wearing ret gear and arena gear?” I ask in party, as I spam the paladin with Holy Light against one of the big guys.

“Who me?” asks the DK.

“No. The tank.”

“Oh,” says the DK.

“its all i have rite now” says the paladin.

“Then you shouldn’t queue up as a tank,” I reply. Then my brother and I left the group in the middle of the pull.

In retrospect, I shouldn’t have done it, but I have HAD it with idiots who don’t even make the slightest effort to be a decent tank. Had it! I am DONE with it. This guy, upon examining his armory, was specced thusly: 0/71/0. I wasn’t even aware that there WERE that many points you could spend in the prot paladin tree. His glyphs were crap. His spec is obviously crap (although he got all the good prot talents, he got nothing from ret to help with avoidance, like Parry, nor did he get Seal of Command to help with threat) and his gear was almost entirely DPS gear.

I shouldn’t have left. He was immune to critical strikes by virtue of resilience alone. And I had figured that would probably be the case. And I still left.

Why did I leave? I could have kept him up. Could have been a quick run.

I left because I don’t want to encourage people who don’t put any effort into their roles. I am exceedingly careful to NOT be a drag on any group I’m in, regardless of the role. Kurn was hit-capped before setting foot into a raid. Madrana upgraded her gear ASAP and was still holding on to some Tier 6/BT/Hyjal stuff until better stuff dropped. Lotana’s hit-capped. Katarah can heal just fine with her 4.8k GS and can even pull average DPS when she needs to as enhancement. Cayllan tanks and heals just fine, though it took a little practice and some extra gear at first (when I could NOT keep aggro from a geared, whirlwinding warrior or divine storming ret pally).

To top all that off, I use consumables to bump up my contribution to the group. Tanking on either Madrana or Cayllan? Yeah, I’ll be using Mighty Fortitude and Guru’s Elixirs, plus appropriate buff food (40 agi for the bear, 40 hit for the paladin whose hit rating is somewhat lacking). DPSing on Kurn? Agi/Guru and Mighty Thoughts Elixirs, plus agi food. DPSing on Lotana? Spellpower and Mighty Thoughts Elixirs, plus spellpower food. Healing on Cayllan? Spirit and spellpower elixirs, plus spellpower food. Healing on Madrana? At least a Guru’s Elixir or my Flask of the North, even for random dungeons.

Basically, I work at making sure I’m doing my best, regardless of the group into which I’m placed.

Other people just don’t do that.

And yet, I’m forced to play with them if I want to jump through the hoops Blizzard has so carefully designed for us. I run my daily on Madrana every day. I’ve missed THREE days, total, since the Dungeon Finder came out and we started getting Emblems of Frost for doing the first random dungeon of the day. That is a LOT of pugging.

I don’t expect people to do as much work on their toons as I do. I don’t expect others to be as considerate of the group as I usually tend to be. But I do expect others to make a half-decent effort. 0/71/0 is not a good tanking spec. Two pieces of gear with defense on it is not good tanking gear. That isn’t even putting in the effort to look up a halfway decent spec, you know?

What I expect of people is this:

– appropriate gear for the instance level. That means a tank who is crit immune via 535+ defense or Survival of the Fittest, NOT via 100% resilience.

– appropriate spec(s) for the role(s) they have selected. That means one that, even if slightly unorthodox, helps you do your job to the best of your ability. And it means that you tank in your tank spec, heal in your heal spec and DPS in your DPS spec. Tanking in a DPS spec, healing in a DPS spec and DPSing in a tank or healing spec will make me want to throttle you.

Even on my priest, who is now 50, I have not signed up as “damage” for any dungeon thus far because I am not shadow! I do not have a dual spec on that toon and am 41 points into disc. Thus, I do not queue as shadow!

Similarly, neither of my druid’s specs are damage specs, thus I never queue up as DPS.

Hell, same for Madrana, she NEVER queues as DPS because she doesn’t have the appropriate spec OR gear.

Is it really too difficult to ask people to put in the base amount of effort? Am I really expecting too much from people who play this game? I’m not asking for tanks with 60k health to heal through my random dungeons every day. I’m asking for a tank who knows the basics of tanking.

It makes me want to get on the druid and tank the living crap out of a bunch of heroics tonight just so that people don’t lose hope in the myth of “good tanks”.

Yeah, I'm a noob.

I’ve been levelling a priest more or less “with” my brother who’s levelling a paladin. I heal him. He tanks. It works nicely, even though he’s about 4-5 levels ahead of me.

Anyways, I’m 49 now. At 48, I was overjoyed to get Prayer of Fortitude, if just for the simplicity of buffing my WHOLE GROUP at once.

I previously levelled my brother’s priest from about level 47 until 70, back in BC. So it’s not like I haven’t done what I’m doing now. I healed Sunken Temple then, I’ve healed it now. I basically know what I’m doing.

However, it turns out that, in some instances, battlegrounds are AMAZING experience. As such, I have reluctantly been queuing for WSG and AB.

Know what I’ve done for the past two days? I’ve buffed each group with Prayer of Fortitude. Individually. Because the last time I got Prayer of Fortitude, that was how it worked.

Never mind that I have a mage, who buffs the whole group at once with Arcane Brilliance. Never mind that I have a druid, who buffs the whole group at once with Gift of the Wild. Apparently, I am incapable of reconciling Prayer of Fortitude with the words “raid-wide buff”.

In other news, heroic Festergut down. 8/12 hard modes. I think I hate that fight a lot, now.

We tried heroic Sindragosa three times tonight, all attempts being epic, total, absolute failures. People didn’t realize that Frost Bombs one-shot you. They forgot about the AOE damage from Backlash. It was just sad, really.

OMG. BRD – Prison just popped for me! I LOVE BRD!


These days, I’m pugging a lot less, so I have less stories of fail, BUT…

Today. Violet Hold Heroic.

The “tank”:

Hashbrowniee from Ner’zhul.

Put him on ignore. 506 defense. No gems. NO relic (!). Didn’t even have Righteous Fury on until I told him to put it on three times.

Just a pitiful excuse for a player. I told him to respec ret and not inflict himself on others in an important role and he’s like “naw i like the instant queues”.

UGH. He got crit in the face a bunch. Good thing at least *I* knew what I was doing so I could keep his sorry ass alive.

Ignis, Trial of the Champion and failure of all kinds.

Ladies and gentlemen, the weekly quest this week on Proudmoore is for Ignis the Furnace Master. You know, one of the three bosses available after Flame Leviathan in Ulduar. Pretty easy mechanics, not a terribly difficult fight.

My buddy Majik (a DK frost tank) and my brother (on his hunter… who is now Officially Better Geared Than Kurn!) wanted to go do the weekly. Well, why not? It’s not like it’s Marrowgar.

So, on my druid, I started up a group, inviting them, then converting to raid. “LFM,” I bellowed in Trade, “Ignis the Furnace Master Must Die!” I was, of course, overwhelmed with whispers.

I got two shammy healers (the only healers who whispered, of course) and asked them if they could 2-heal it. “Yeah, sure,” they said. So I said that Majik and myself would be tanking.

One of the healers, who had whispered me previously to say they could heal and tank, whispers me to invite a friend of theirs. So I invite their friend, a warrior.

Who here sees where this is going?

Well, we fill the group, head up to Ulduar, I warn people not to talk to anyone and that I would talk to Brann Bronzebeard instead of the Lore Keeper of Norgannon, to ensure we don’t accidentally do 4-tower Flame Leviathan. :P

Surprisingly, the trash to FL goes quickly, as does the FL fight. People (including. but not limited to (!), me) interrupted Flame Jets in the siege engines and we got Shutout without issue. My brother “engineered” FL’s corpse and off we went to Ignis.

The giants caused a bit of havoc, but it wasn’t too bad.

The rest of the trash wasn’t too bad either — except I kept losing aggro.

I noticed, from my Grid, that the only person in range of me was a warrior. There were two warriors in the group, including the one the shammy had me invite. So I assume, as I generally do, that he’s out-threating me, because I KNOW I can’t keep aggro off a well-geared DPS warrior. So I keep taunting off of him.

But he always ends up with the damn mob!

So I mark Majik’s trash targets with the Skull and, when I see the warrior on my mob again, I say in raid “Skull”.

Warrior stays on my target, which keeps switching to the warrior, in an attempt to bash his face in.

And then, I finally, finally notice that the warrior is wearing a shield.

“… is the warrior PROT?!” I ask over Vent, to just Majik and my brother.

“I don’t know,” Maj says, “wait, yes, there’s a shield.”

Sigh. “Switch to DPS please, [warrior name]”

And yet, there he is. On the very next bloody mob I’m trying to tank. Again. I mean, seriously. I’M A FREAKING BEAR. You can’t tell that I’m a tank? Rawr?

Finally, we get the trash cleared out.

“[warrior], do you have a DPS spec?”



The shammy says in raid: “that’s why I said I could heal and tank!”

“I thought you meant you had another toon of yours who could tank,” I respond. Majik asks me in Vent if I want him to go DPS, but knowing that his DPS spec is a PVP one, I figure I’ll just go resto.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I very much LIKE having three healers in a 10-man. It’s even helpful on Ignis if a healer gets put in the Slag Pot. But my problem is that I did not do a ton of research on the group, figuring that 2 healers, 2 tanks (one of which being a DK, who not only does more damage than your average prot warrior, but has a ton of cooldowns) and six DPS is going to render the Ignis fight easy.

Take away a DPS, though, and you have a slight problem for the strategy we were going to use.

You see, I’ve done Stokin’ the Furnace. It requires burning the boss hard while the OT holds all the adds. So even with just five DPS, I figured hey, we can do it this way anyways. Everyone should be in at least T9, right? Which is better than most of the junk out of Ulduar. It’s obviously easier to tell everyone to just burn the boss than to expect anyone apart from my brother and the actual well-geared DPS warrior to switch targets to the adds.

Of course, we don’t have a “tank healer”. Which is a bunch of crap, IMHO, since I think that, if circumstances dictate, any class can “tank heal”, but I will admit that were I in there on my paladin, it would have made the fight a ton easier.

We also don’t have a healer with any defensive cooldowns. No Guardian Spirit, no Pain Suppression, no Hand of Sacrifice or Divine Sacrifice.

Still, I don’t think we have a problem.

Until we’re about at the 3 minute mark and I suddenly realize that we are NOT going to be done in four minutes. We’re sitting at about 60%.

“HERO” I type, all in caps, in a raid warning.

Heroism goes up and I start making sure Rejuvenation is on everyone in the raid, in addition to rolling Lifebloom on Maj. I keep Swiftmending either myself or him because the stacks of Strength of the Creator were just getting out of hand. I don’t remember what they were at, because I was busy healing the crap out of Maj, but he was taking TONS of damage and rotating ALL of his cooldowns, sacrificing his ghoul, everything.

Shockingly, 5m13s after we pulled, Ignis died, everyone alive.

Great healing by the shammies, really. And very good off-tanking by the OT, to be honest. I probably couldn’t have stayed up as long as he did with the same number of adds. Although, if I was going to tank, we wouldn’t have had the same number of adds, because we would have had six DPS and killed the sucker earlier. :P

So part of that is my failure for not researching the group well enough. Part of it is the warrior and the shammy’s failures for not realizing I said Maj and I were going to tank. It all just led to extra stress, which no one needs when doing a stupid weekly.

But all that pales in comparison to the priest that healed most of my Heroic Trial of the Champion yesterday. I was tanking.

We get Eadric the Pure, we down him, but the rogue dies. The hunter pointed out to the priest that they still had the Argent Lance equipped.

The following is a paraphrased reconstruction of the conversation that ensued.

Priest: so?

Hunter: So… maybe if you had your healing weapon on, the rogue wouldn’t have died.

Priest: lol no its fine, I can heal with the lance

Hunter: I think you might heal better with your real healing weapon.

Priest: we killed him didn’t we?

Hunter: That’s not the point, the point is that you might have been able to keep the rogue up with your healing weapon equipped.

Me: I’m with [hunter].

Priest: i was chatting with someone when he died

Somewhere in all of this, someone (not me) started the Black Knight event. The rest of this is, honest to God, what happened, as I’m copying from my screenshots.

The Black Knight says: I’ve come to finish my task.

Priest: i looked away and talked until he died

Hunter: so that makes it alright?

Priest: he died and i said “oh someone died hang on”

<Deadly Boss Mods> The Black Knight engaged. Good luck and have fun! :)

The Black Knight yells: This farce ends here!

King Varian Wrynn yells: Don’t just stand there; kill him!

Priest: fuck you [racial slur for a person of African descent].

Priest leaves the party.

Okay. The priest didn’t say exactly what I wrote. They ACTUALLY used the n-word. I refuse to use that term, even while quoting someone on my blog.

So, I was tanking, I slammed on the “yes, I would, in fact, like to find a replacement for the healer who just left my group” and popped every single cooldown I had — Survival Instincts, Barkskin, Frenzied Regeneration, Lifeblood, Glyph of the Indomitable.

A pally joins the group and all I can think is “please, dear God, let him see I’m in trouble and heal the crap out of me”. But he was still zoning in. I died. I ran back. Everyone else died, they all ran back.

Everyone was discussing the racist priest and I was like “Uh, didn’t the priest and the warrior in the group know each other? Same server. :P” And then the warrior left the group. We got a mage, the pally apologized for zone lag, it was all good, we all had another shot at the Black Knight and we even got I’ve Had Worse.

FYI, the racist priest is Emisana from Khaz’goroth and the warrior was Obsession (?) from the same server. I highly recommend anyone on Bloodlust just ignore the priest right away. Terrible healer, worse person. :P

Okay, my ranting is done for now.

Note to self…

The time between about 5am and 7:30am on a Saturday morning is NOT the time for you to attempt to do any kind of random runs whatsoever.

4 (!) attempts at lowbie runs as a healer, 1 attempt at a random heroic as a DPS.

Results, 0 dungeons completed.

1) An SM Armory run where the tank was AFK to begin with for 8 minutes, then ran in, pulled the whole hallway, did NOT hit Consecration, got stunned and as I hit Dispel Magic for the stun, promptly let my face get eaten. Then the died, because I was dead. And they left group. So I did, too.

2) An SM Armory run, in progress, where I zone in and promptly see “healz hurry!” and see that a warrior, who is out of range on my Grid, is at half health. I run into the courtyard and aggro three mobs, because they hadn’t cleared the courtyard, nor informed me of such. Had I not been disc, I would have died instantly. Instead, I drag them to the group on the other side of the courtyard and down two hallways. The warrior promptly laughs at me and says “ur a girl thot ud b smarter then pullin stuff”.

… I respond with “I’m sorry, would you like me to leave?”


Uhuh. I believe you.

Two pulls later, the warlock soulstones the tank. Trying to be somewhat helpful, I mention that if they’re going to SS anyone, they ought to SS the healer.

“but hes runnin in and almost dyin”

“Actually, he’s not, because I’m healing him. And I’m getting aggro from mobs, because he’s not hitting them all and I wear cloth, so it really should be a healer who gets a soulstone.” Note that I’m not ACTUALLY asking for a soulstone. I’m just trying to point out the flaw in the logic.

“lol i where cloth too!!”

I just sigh to myself and we keep going. We get to a hallway and the tank just groups up the melee and starts hitting them, etc. Does he even TOUCH the caster? No. So I sigh again and shield the tank, and then myself, and the caster starts throwing fireballs at me.

“Aggro,” I say.

The tank does nothing.

“I have aggro from that caster,” I say.



Then the tank laughs at me and goes to get it. “lol y did u pull it???” he says.

“I didn’t pull it, you didn’t hit it. Can you please be sure to hit all the mobs in the area?”

“lol i did” comes the reply. “lol ud think the healer wuld b smarter then a grade 3er.”

I’m about to go “PARDON?” when he does this:

“<— thats me!”

… my tank was in Grade 3?

So I let them pull the entire hallway down from us and then I left. Because I’m not going to be insulted by an idiot in Grade 3, who needs to l2tank anyways. My parting words were:

“Yep. I’m smarter than someone in Grade 3. I’m smart enough to leave.”

3) A Razorfen Downs group, my first time in the instance ever, where the tank and a warlock were both ghosts and trying to FIND the instance, for about 7 minutes. The rogue then PUTS ME ON FOLLOW and afks. Seriously. He just stands there, following me. And none of us can kick him because the 15 minutes aren’t up. The tank leaves, I leave. Very weird.

4) Back to SM Armory. At least I’ve hit 35 by virtue of the last several attempted runs. “big pullz btw” says the paladin tank and charges down the hall. It was an exact duplicate of the first attempt at a random run I’d had, except this time, I didn’t touch the tank and let him die. Then the mage tries to “tank” and frost novas everything and blinks away and is like “priest run!!!”

“I don’t think so,” I said. “I think I’ll leave, instead.”

And so I left, so tired of all the idiocy.

5) I got on my hunter to do my daily random.

Heroic Halls of Reflection. I dread that loading screen as much as I do the Oculus, I swear. We do the first waves just fine. Second set of waves was okay. We’re on the second boss. And then I have aggro. WTF? Oh. THE TANK IS DEAD. Why is the tank dead? BECAUSE HE STOOD IN THE WELL OF CORRUPTION and had something like 8 stacks of it on him. Way to be, Mr. Tank. Way to be.

We wipe. I leave the group.


I hereby propose “WoW Role School”. This should be an in-game set of instances designed to help teach tanks, healers and DPS how to play their roles. I’m not talking about micromanaging which spells and abilities are used (except things like Frost Presence, Righteous Fury, Defensive Stance, Bear form) but showing people what their role truly is in a group setting.

You get, say, five of them as you level up through to 60 or so. Here’s an example of what a protection paladin would go through.

1) Level 15 (when you can queue for the LFG tool): Depending on your class/spec, you are shown how to heal, DPS or tank by virtue of a 15 minute mock dungeon run with tips. The instance would start up and you’d be given a quest. For example:

“You appear to be putting your talent points into the Protection tree, young paladin. Would you like to learn how to hold the attention of hostile creatures while your group kills them and you are healed?

– Yes, I would like to learn to tank

– No, I would prefer to learn to heal

– No, I would prefer to learn to do damage”

And then the quest would be accepted. “Hold the attention of 5 separate creatures from your fellow party members.” And they would be NPCs, NOT the morons you get in LFG, so you’d get the group focus firing, etc. Would teach about Righteous Defense.

2) Level 25 – same deal, now teaches the use of Righteous Fury, Hand of Reckoning and Consecration, for example

3) Level 35 – more elaborate pulls, LOS, casters, runners

4) Level 45 – BoSanc, some other class skills, etc

5) Level 55 – Mock up of Strat UD, need to clear down to and kill Anub’Rekhan.

And then, if you queued up for another role, you’d have to do it over again from that role’s perspective, for whatever level range you’re at.

For any veteran player, this would be easy. You could EASILY do these mock-up runs in the span of 10 minutes at most. But the people who aren’t familiar with the game/class/etc, would be required to learn some of the very basics of their class/role.

So why am I bitching about this? Haven’t there always been fail people in groups? Yes. There have been. But the level of ineptitude I have seen recently, this morning even, demonstrates two things to me.

a) It is SUPER easy for people to find groups via the dungeon finder, meaning more people are using it and more people are doing level-appropriate dungeons as they level toons.

b) More than ever before, Blizzard is forcing us to play with others in a group situation where we must rely on these total strangers (usually from other servers within our battlegroups) to perform their roles adequately.

I’m not asking for people to be the best tanks, healers or DPS in the entire world, really. I’m asking for tanks to make sure they hit the mobs so that healers don’t get aggro when casting a shield. I’m asking for healers who know enough to WAIT to cast that shield/heal when the tank is doing anything like a gauntlet or just a big group. I’m asking for DPS who don’t put the healer ON FOLLOW and then AFK!

Is it our choice to use, or not use, the Dungeon Finder tool? Yes. But I believe that since Blizzard has encouraged us to use it in a multitude of ways, from Emblems of Frost and extra Emblems of Triumph to extra experience and Satchels of Helpful Goods, then they’ve got a responsibility to ensure that the tool is populated by people who won’t make you want to throw your computer out the window and cancel your damn subscription.

Just sayin’.

Kurn's Dungeon Basics

I’m levelling a priest. (I know, shoot me.) I’m levelling with my brother, who’s levelling a paladin. I’m disc, he’s prot. We’re primarily doing it through the random dungeon finder.

As such, I feel compelled to write up a quick guide to some very basic concepts of running dungeons, particularly at low levels.

1) Understanding Threat.

Threat, also known as aggro, is a good thing to have if you’re the tank and a bad thing to have if you’re anyone else.

What IS threat? What IS aggro?

It’s the attention you get from enemy mobs that makes them want to rip your face off and then stomp on it for good measure. As such, it’s highly recommended that the person in a 5-man group that tries to gain threat from enemy mobs be the “tank”.

A “tank” is named such because they are supposed to be large, intimidating and heavily-armored. Like, you know, a tank. In the World of Warcraft, you have four classes who can perform this role. They are: warriors, druids, paladins and death knights. For the purposes of this guide, I won’t discuss the death knights. I assume (perhaps mistakenly!) that if people can get to level 55 in this game, they have a basic idea of the tank/healer/DPS/aggro dynamic.

Warriors typically drop their talent points into their protection tree if they’re planning to tank and will probably wear a shield. You’ll want to see a druid shift to bear form to tank. A paladin will also be putting points into their protection tree if they want to tank, also putting on a shield.

Your tank is basically a distraction. They’re the ones who are supposed to use their various abilities to make themselves appear to be the largest threat those mobs are facing at any given moment. They wear heavy armor and have abilities that are very dangerous-seeming, plus have special talents and abilities to prevent all that insane damage from splatting them into next Tuesday. In reality, it’s the DPS (damage dealers) who are the largest threat, because they’re the ones dealing all the damage. Meanwhile, the healer is healing the tank so the tank can continue to generate threat. In an ideal situation, only the tank is taking damage so that the healer can heal through the encounter with ease, while the DPS attack the mob or mobs and deal a lot of damage.

So, are we clear on this? Tank grabs mob’s attention -> DPS deals damage on mob while mob is focusing on tank -> Healer heals tank and DPS/themselves if needed.

The trouble with this situation is that, for the game to be a challenge, threat is EASY to produce through damage and a little more difficult to produce for a tank. The tanks need to smack the mobs around a little bit in order to generate enough aggro from them to ensure that the damage dealers can do their jobs and go to town.

Here’s the catch: If the tank runs around near the mobs but DOES NOT hit them, this is called a “facepull”. That means that the tank has gained the attention of the mobs by physically approaching them, but the tank has not used any abilities to generate threat.

If a facepull occurs, ANYTHING the party does to EITHER the tank OR the mobs will result in that individual “pulling aggro”, which means becoming the most hated person by those mobs.


Anything. So long as it’s to the tank or to one of the mobs. Or to each other, if you’re already in combat by virtue of being close enough to the action.

So if I’m the healer of the group and the tank runs up to a mob and just STANDS there, getting beat on, if I heal him, I start looking threatening and the mob will go “HOLY CRAP, look at THAT person!!!” and come charging at me, with the intention of ripping my face off and stomping on it.

Similarly, if I’m a DPS and I start hitting the mob before the tank has had adequate time to generate aggro on it, the mob will go “Who the hell just hit me in the face?!” and then, you guessed it, it will then come charging at me, with the intention of repaying the favour.

Thus, to prevent your face getting smashed in, wait for the tank to establish aggro. This should only take a few seconds, but may take longer if more than one mob has been pulled.

“So what do I do if I pull aggro, even though I’m sure I won’t because I’m reading this awesome guide by you, Kurn!”

Glad you asked! Rather than run away from the mob and trying to hide in a bush, somewhere, you should run TOWARDS the tank. Yes, even if it means running through the mob who is trying to give you a mouthful of Chiclets. This means that the tank will be in range of the mob to hit them and pull them OFF of you. (Hunters, feign death. Rogues, vanish. Night elves can also Shadowmeld temporarily and priests can Fade, but don’t expect miracles.)

Some tanks are better at holding aggro on groups of mobs than others. In particular, paladins dropping Consecrate are amazing at it, although druids can abuse Swipe and that’s also pretty good. Death Knights are moderately better than warriors, but are still unable to generate the same kind of constant area-of-effect (AOE) aggro that paladins and druids do very easily. Warriors, well, they have a few tricks up their sleeves and a good warrior won’t have a problem with holding aggro on several mobs, but do be sure to give them a few seconds before you start in on things.

Related to this concept is the gauntlet mechanic.

There aren’t too many gauntlets in the game and I think the first one we really encounter in dungeons is in Shattered Halls, a level 70 instance in Hellfire Peninsula, but there are a couple of spots in level 80 dungeons/heroics where this mechanic comes into play.

What is a gauntlet?

A gauntlet is a section of an instance where mobs never stop spawning, so the way to get through it is to have the tank barrel down the hall or whatever it is, run all the way to the end, hold aggro on all of them and then AOE everything down.

Notable gauntlets in WOTLK dungeons:

– the trash for Skadi in Utgarde Pinnacle
– the trash towards the Scourgelord in Pit of Saron (the tunnel)

I don’t think this is technically a gauntlet, but you can treat the trash between the first and second bosses in Halls of Lightning (Slags) as such.

The trouble with a gauntlet is that the tank is running through, so they are NOT building threat. That means that a healer should NOT cast a heal, DPS should NOT damage mobs and NO ONE should be ahead of the tank. (Pre-shielding a tank with Power Word: Shield or Sacred Shield or Earth Shield is fine, though. But no hots!)

Ideally, the tank will have either Retribution Aura (from any paladin in the group) or Thorns (from any druid in the group) on them to better build aggro as they’re being beaten on, but those aren’t always available, so, in general, you’re looking at a whole hallway of facepulling. When the tank gets into position, they’ll start generating aggro and then the healer can start healing and the DPS can start damage. It is IMPERATIVE that, unless the tank is literally about to die, a healer not heal the tank. Let them get low. Under 50% is when I begin to worry. The panic sets in at about 30%. But do your best to not cast before they get to that point, or else six mobs are going to peel off the tank and splat you into the wall.

I should also note that if you want to be conservative (and there’s nothing wrong with that), you can agree to stop about midway through the gauntlet, AOE things down there and then move to the end and AOE things down there as well. This is a particularly good plan if the healer is new to the role, the tank is new to the role, if they’re unsure about the instance or if either is undergeared for the content.

Cooldowns like Pain Suppression, Guardian Spirit, Hand of Sacrifice and Lay on Hands are things that healers can cast on the tank as well, right at the end, to help stabilize the tank before they start healing. Tanks can also use their own cooldowns, like Divine Protection, Shield Wall, Last Stand, Enraged Regeneration, Barkskin, Survival Instincts, Frenzied Regeneration, Icebound Fortitude, Anti-magic Shell, Anti-magic Zone and the like.

2) Casters and How to Move Them.

Ever been standing there, halfway down a hallway in Scarlet Monastery or something and had a caster just shooting at you the whole time? But if the group gets too close to that caster, they might pull another group or another patrol? Of course you have. Everyone has.

Ever wonder what to do about it? Wonder no longer.

Long story short: Line of Sight (LOS) around a nearby obstacle or pull as far back as you can so they come to you at least a little bit.

These are the basics that people in my recent low-level pugs have emphatically not mastered. I don’t think most of them are even aware of these concepts. Thus, a post.

(As an aside, I was on my priest and shielded a bear who insisted on collecting the entire room Interrogator Vishas is in and was chided by a rogue or a shaman for doing so because it would prevent rage generation. Hah, WoWWiki says that: “As of Patch 3.1, [Power Word: Shield] will still allow warriors and druids to generate rage from damage absorbed.” Yay me for not being fail! And yes, I will be careful not to shield my brother too much when he gets Spiritual Attunement.)

Whew. Okay, Holy How-To #4 coming this week, I swear. Stupid healing meters…

Quick update.

First of all, I AM working on my third Holy How-To post. It’s long. There are many screenshots and links. But I am definitely working on it!

Secondly, I’ve seen some serious fail lately. The latest morons:

– An 80 fury warrior, specced with Titan’s Grip… using one 2H weapon. And nothing else in his other hand. Sadly, I’ve forgotten his name.

Holymeatbag, an 80 holy paladin, specced 68/3/0 and STILL managed to miss out maxing out Holy Power (3/5) and Holy Guidance (1/5). I may be a little squishy yet, but dude wasn’t keeping Beacon on anyone or shielding me or anything of the sort in Heroic TOC. As such, I died on Paletress. And if I hadn’t used my abundance of cooldowns (my trinket for extra dodge, a healthstone, a healing potion, Survival Instincts, Lifeblood, Frenzied Regeneration and Barkskin!), I would have died again after the wipe. I got H TOC again as a random later in the evening and was healed just fine by the resto shammy. Highly recommend you all ignore this guy.

In positive news, for once, my guild got 25-man Blood Queen Lana’thel on Monday night. HIGHLY recommend that the RL get and use the following mod:

BloodQueen at WoWInterface

We also one-shotted Valithria and, although I dropped my stacks once, it was only once! I got a lot better at making sure I got a stack just before the portal phase ended.

In news with my druid/my brother’s hunter/our friend’s DK…

My druid has 2/5 T9 resto but still has better feral gear, haha. My brother’s hunter is practically as well-geared as Kurn is, which depresses me to no end. He’s got 4/5 T9 (232), the Crusader’s Dragonscale Breastplate and Bracers (thanks to me), the True-aim Rifle out of H TOC, the staff from regular FoS, a Darkmoon Card: Greatness (90 agi, obviously) that I made for him, the 245 ilvl badge ring… Seriously. It makes me sad. Especially because tomorrow, he’ll be giving me a primordial saronite and I’ll craft him Rock-Steady Treads. :(

Our DK buddy has 1/5 T9 (shoulders!) and a 245 sigil, which he was very happy to get, haha. His gear is still pretty low, but he’s at 540 defense and 22k health unbuffed. With some consumables and the random dungeon buff, he gets about 30-31k buffed. His dodge and parry are still pretty low, but I imagine that’ll improve as he gets his other tier pieces.

I’m getting a lot of practice on the druid, both healing and tanking. My Swipe is actually holding aggro and my mana pool and regen are sustaining me fairly well, to the point where I rarely need to drink and can even keep innervating my brother’s hunter.

I was thinking about why I like my druid, earlier tonight. I mean, it’s a tree and it’s a bear. I fit the two most sought-after roles in the game and I’m not horrible at them. I think the utility is really what I enjoy about the toon. I can tank and heal on Madrana too, of course, but I think I really enjoy bear tanking as compared to pally tanking. I think I prefer pally healing to druid healing, but there’s a certain elegance to druid healing that’s lacking on the paladin. I can brute force heal darn near anything on my pally. But I actually have to make decisions on my druid while healing that will have repercussions over the next few seconds, as the health builds up slowly.

That’s completely opposed to pally healing, where I strive to keep everyone topped off at all times, rather than letting Wild Growth heal most people up, because I don’t have much in the way of “set-it-and-forget-it” heals on the pally. I guess that druid healing challenges me a bit more than paladin healing in terms of healing intelligently. Pally healing is characterized for me by long periods of casting the same spell, followed by frantic button mashing to get buffs up, then more of the same.

Anyways. I do still have lots to say about pally stuff, so stay tuned for Holy How-To number 3. :)

… and one day, ICC raid strats. :P

Kurn's Q&A #7

Okay, another week’s worth of search terms to comb through! Some interesting variety this week, although Valithria Dreamwalker, Toravon the Ice Watcher and Rotface and Mutated Infection/Cleansing still top most of the results.

1) “emerald vigor” power word: shield

I do believe that yes, you should cast PW:S (if you’re disc and are the designated priest to cast it on the dragon) while you have stacks of Emerald Vigor on you.

Emerald Vigor, as you can see, increases healing done by 10%. Then, to keep up Renewed Hope and Borrowed Time, you should cast a shield. While the shield won’t be absorbed by damage on the dragon (pretty sure she doesn’t take damage) While the damage Dreamwalker takes throughout the encounter is minimal compared to what you’ll have to heal (173k in a 25m parse that I saw), your crit is increased by virtue of the Weakened Soul debuff on her. So for no other reason than that, you should cast PW:S. If you have a second as you’re running around to find another portal, cast PW:S on your tanks and some of the DPS if there’s no other disc priest doing so. I would imagine that the absorption would be huge with a bunch of stacks of Emerald Vigor, but since EV doesn’t HAVE a combat log entry, I’m not sure. If you’re a holy priest, avoid using PW:S if there’s a disc priest around, particularly if the disc priest is going into portals.

2) can you use di and divine protection

I actually tried something like this about four years ago. I tried bubbling and then casting Divine Intervention on another paladin. I died, despite Divine Shield. So no, DI will kill you, no matter what.

… although, I am now curious to see if a pally with Guardian Spirit on them would live through a DI. I am doubtful.

3) combine meta gems

Nope, can’t do it. Meta sockets are only found in your helm. So unless you grow another head (and helm spot on your character sheet), you cannot combine two (or more) meta gems. Sorry!

4) configure grid toravon frostbite

Easy as pie.

Right click on your Grid icon. Status. Auras. Add New Debuff. Type in Frostbite and hit Enter. Colour doesn’t matter, priority of 90 is okay. Make sure Frostbite has a tick next to Enable.

Then right click on your Grid icon again. Frame. Center Icon. Debuff: Frostbite should have a tick next to it. Then you’ll see Frostbite in the center of your Grid square on any targets who have it, and you’ll see a number if there’s 2 or more stacks, as well.

More on configuring Grid can be found over this way, which was a little site I set up for my healers in the guild I was in on Bronzebeard.

5) does hand of protection remove mark of the champion

Nothing, not even death, will remove Mark of the Champion. Hand of Protection will, however, stop all incoming Mark of the Champion damage on the target for 10 seconds. But then it’ll start up again. It’s handy if you need to hit Divine Plea and don’t have an offset available.

6) does leader of the pack stack with abominable might

Yes. Leader of the Pack adds 5% chance to crit for melee and ranged. Abominable Might gives 10% attack power. Thus, they stack. The things that don’t stack are the buffs that give the same type of buff.

So LotP does not stack with Rampage, because both give the same 5% crit.

Similarly, Abominable Might, Unleashed Rage and Trueshot Aura do not stack with each other, because all three are giving 10% attack power.

A great way to see what does/doesn’t stack is at MMO-Champion’s Raid Composition Tool. I’m not altogether sure if that’s up to date, but when all the buffs were being changed to stack/not stack/etc, that was a really valuable tool for me.

7) emerald vigor combat log

Drives me crazy, too, that there’s no combat log entry. Go post on the official forums about it!

8) how come i cant hold aggro on a job as a druid tank?

Having done some tanking this week at 80 on the druid, I often felt like I do on my paladin when I tank and forget to turn on Righteous Fury. Everyone was pulling off of me, including my snot-nosed brother. ;)

I realized that the reason why is because my Swipe‘s threat is increased by attack power. And my attack power was, quite simply, crap, since I had just dinged 80. There’s no way my little swipe could out-threat a warrior’s whirlwind if he’s in ICC 25 gear. Or even TOC gear, haha. So I was patient and got a bunch of badges, upgraded some gear and now I can hold aggro better. But it’s still not perfect, because I’m still undergeared.

Something that helps, too, is Glyph of Maul, so on smaller groups, I’ll try to weave in some Mauls in between the swipes.

9) what coloured gems go into a yellow socket

First of all, 10 points of awesomeness to you, anonymous visitor, for spelling coloured with a U. :) I hail you, my fellow member of the Commonwealth.

Secondly, gems work just like the colour wheel does.

Blue gems + Red gems = Purple gems, meaning Purple can fit in both red and blue sockets and work towards activating the socket bonus, AND counts as both a red AND a blue for meta gem requirements.

Blue gems + Yellow gems = Green gems, meaning Green can fit in both yellow and blue sockets and work towards activating the socket bonus, AND counts as both a yellow AND a blue for meta gem requirements.

Yellow gems + Red gems = Orange gems, meaning Orange can fit in both red and yellow sockets and work towards activating the socket bonus, AND counts as both a red AND a yellow for meta gem requirements.

So, what will fit into a yellow socket and work towards the socket bonus? Yellow gems, orange gems and green gems. :)

10) valithria dreamwalker with grid

Sorry, she doesn’t show up on Grid. :( Here’s what I tend to do.

Special bonus #11: wyvern sting halls of reflection

Okay, a) I love you for wanting to crowd control. b) I love you more for wanting to crowd control in Halls of Reflection.

Sadly, I do believe that undead mobs are immune to Wyvern Sting. :( That said, undead can be frozen with Freezing Arrow or Freezing Trap. Go forth, my fellow hunter, and CC! :)

I don't know why I'm still surprised…

… at the utter insanity of pugs.

I mean, I don’t even have words to express my dismay at the ridiculousness of some people.

In the last, oh, two days, the following things have happened:

– I was tanking a Heroic Violet Hold on my druid and the healer left after the first boss. WHAT THE HELL IS THAT ABOUT?! Oddly, we managed to get to the second boss without a healer (holy crap, do I love being able to heal myself after combat), but then we wiped. But… SERIOUSLY. If you are a healer or a tank and you leave your group in an instance with timed portions, like Violet Hold or Halls of Reflection, YOU HAVE SIGNED A DEATH WARRANT FOR YOUR WHOLE GROUP.

– Speaking of Halls of Reflection, I was healing on my druid, with my brother on his hunter, and we queued for regular HoR, to finish off the quest chain. We did the first boss. The tank leaves. Just… leaves. No one had died, there hadn’t been a wipe, I was keeping everyone alive and it was going smoothly! And he just LEFT.

Thinking quickly, I instruct the ret paladin to cast DI on the DPS warrior, tell my brother to feign and I shadowmeld.

Does the paladin cast DI? No. Does he even know what a DI is? My guess is no. So the three of us died (because the Phantom Mage’s Flamestrike broke my shadowmeld). The warrior and paladin left the group after the wipe, leaving my brother and I agog at the stupidity.

– I was tanking a Heroic Halls of Lightning, in the middle of the first boss, when I realize that the priest is almost oom. It was shortly after the first boss went down that I saw the priest was in shadowform. Not a big deal, right? Well, my group consisted of me, two rogues and a hunter. So the priest was ostensibly the healer. Now, I’m not geared. I know I’m not geared. My swipe can’t out-threat a geared DK’s D&D or a geared warrior’s Whirlwind. And I’m a little squishy, to be honest. I don’t have a crapton of health, my dodge rating is kind of low and my armor is only awesome because I bought Glyph of Indomitability. So I was like “uh. Why are you in shadowform?”

“healing is boring, ima dps and heal at the same time”

… so I left. True, he kept us up during the first boss and he COULD have been leet enough to pull it off and keep us all alive, but I really, REALLY didn’t want to find out.

– So I went and queued for a random heroic again, this time with my brother on his hunter and my RL friend on her priest. We got Heroic Violet Hold. First portal opens up.

Warie, of Kil’jaeden, I reason, is either a victim of the stupid dual spec bug, which will not update spell/ability ranks on your inactive spec when you train, or he has not trained. I usually have RankWatch active ever since someone whispered me saying that my shaman was using Chain Heal 4 instead of 6. At which point I realized I had been doing so for about two months. I was ashamed but I was seriously grateful for RankWatch’s notification. So I keep RW on, most of the time. (My 5 channel is a channel for RL friends to chat in, so my RL friend the priest and my brother and I were all in it and chatting.)

I mean, really, train. 19g per spell on a druid is not cheap, let me tell you. But if you’re not trained and using max-rank abilities (there are some exceptions, but I don’t believe DKs have any of them), then you’re being a moron. Or a dick.

So the guy just got his epic flight. Good for him. I’m not sure how he made his money, but certainly it would have been easier for him to grind mobs (if he did that at all) or instances if he was using max rank spells, no? My RL friend wisely puts him on ignore. Apart from anything else, this guy’s English hurts my eyes. “i no”. Gah.

This is what damage looked like after two portals. My brother, who dinged 80 a week ago, is right up there with a fairly geared shadow priest. And I’m almost putting out another 50% of the damage done by the idiot DK. And I’m a scrubby TANK.

So what does my RL friend do? She does exactly what I left the HHoL group for; she swaps to shadow spec to help out on DPS while still healing me, because we were going to be behind on portals. It was actually close for a couple of pulls there. But at least she was doing it because the fail DK wasn’t doing any real damage. My brother was putting out 1k DPS when he was 75. This guy is using abilities from level 67 (Obliterate 2, D&D 2).

– Then today, I got Oculus as my daily random on Madrana. As a tank. Of course. :P I had, bar none, the weirdest person in my group. Ever. His name was Xamot and he was from Sen’jin. How weird? Allow me to pull out the screenshots.

So I left. I put them both on ignore, too. It’s a shame, because I was going to talk about how I’m invested in my character, in my skills, how I’ve practiced to hone those skills and THAT is why I don’t like vehicle fights. Vehicle fights just rob you of your class abilities, they render all knowledge about your class useless, they just mean that you need to know what your vehicle can do and how you should do so most efficiently.

– Then, I saw a VOA going on. Since I’d missed my guild running it on Wednesday, I thought hey, I’ll go. They’re looking for a holy paladin, after all. Now, I do have the GearScore addon. I use it on Kurn and my other toons, but not on Madrana. Madrana raids with the guild, does one daily every day and that’s about it. I don’t care about GS in general, so I don’t care what Madrana’s GS is. So I don’t have it enabled on her.

And I get no response. Nothing. At all. I’m like… seriously? So I think a minute and decide to link the Toravon 25 achievement and then figure that my Plagueworks achievement ought to be enough.

I cannot believe that someone wouldn’t invite me to VOA on my PALADIN, who likely has a better gearscore than 90% of the server, until I linked the Toravon achievement and the Plagueworks achievement. It’s just mind-boggling to me.

– Then, the universe clearly decided to make it up to me, as my mage failed to complete Heroic Halls of Reflection yet again.


They’re going for 12.5k on the AH on my server. So I don’t know if I should sell it or give it to Kurn or give it to Madrana or give it to my brother. My mage, shammy and druid do not need such an epic weapon. I should probably sell it, give it to Kurn or to my brother. Madrana will get a better weapon eventually. Kurn likely will not. My brother likely will not. But I could definitely use 10k+ gold to help offset the cost of outfitting my brother and I in non-sucky gear. Decisions, decisions!