3.08 and Tanking confidence

So patch 3.08 finally arrived, along with a plethora of bugs including the disabling of Wintergrasp. Fortunately for Alliance on our server, this results in us permanently having the Wintergrasp buff 😛

I finally managed to make my Weakness Spectralizers on my feral druid, they are a pretty good upgrade over my previous headgear for both cat and bear. Unfortunately, I’m going to gem and enchant for tanking since that’s my main purpose (/facerolling as ret is more fun than dpsing as cat) so it won’t end up as nice for cat dps as my previous headgear. The patch also saw the removal of armor from non-leather pieces getting the bearform multiplier, so I bid farewell to my ancient and abused Badge of Tenacity from countless Shartuul runs and am now wearing my Commendation of Kael’thas full-time. Also finally equipped Titanium Earthguard Ring which I had made a while ago since the quested armor ring I was wearing became much worse. However, Handwraps of Preserved History was nerfed so hard that even despite these upgrades I ended up with quite a bit less health than before, though I gained some armor as well.

Our guild managed to scrape together 10 people (surprisingly, we have TOO MANY shaman healers) to do OS. We zoned in… and wiped on the first group.

Honor’s Code wrote about his first VoA run where he got 1-shot by a trash mob, and the feelings of worry that he felt after that. I think I, and most other people that play tanks (and probably healers also), can relate to that. There’s a niggling feeling of “damn am I wearing cat gear?” or “did I forget to put on earthliving weapon?”. This feeling of worry got even worse later on when I was tanking one of the sub-bosses and just dropped dead during a portal phase while Yannie was spamming heals on me.

It wasn’t the first time we had done OS, so we were all very surprised. I’m not sure if the last patch buffed OS, but mobs seemed to be hitting much harder. I also realised that I no longer had the Protector of the Pack buff when I turned to bear form. I’m not sure if the recent changes (PoTP now gives flat damage reduction instead of depending on the number of players in the group) means there is no longer a visible buff. The other warrior tank in the group seemed to be taking massive damage as well, and our two shaman healers were hard pressed to keep everyone alive.

We also wiped a few times on Sartharion as people seemed to be getting hit by lava waves a lot and a ton of fire elementals were spawning (I read somewhere that they spawn when people get hit, but not too sure about this). However we eventually managed to get him down and nothing of interest dropped.

By this point in time I was suffering from what Honor’s called a crisis in confidence. I wasn’t sure if it was something I was doing that was causing the group to have such problems. Fortunately, VoA was easy as usual though the other resto shaman had a similar crisis in confidence during trash clearing since the warrior tank took huge damage after the +300% physical damage debuff was put on him. He was wondering why he couldn’t seem to keep the tank up :).

I had similar feelings after repeatedly wiping on the 3-pull before the first boss of heroic Azjol-Nerub with a pug group a few weeks ago. We had just completed some other heroic, and we thought the group was ok, even if a little low on dps. But we kept failing to even reach the 3rd group, and it was a constant nightmare to tank them due to having to kill the skirmisher fast while watching for the shadowcaster. It was really demoralising and I kept worrying what I was doing wrong and how I could improve.

Even though it was kind of a stressful feeling, I think every player does need to go through this crisis in confidence once in a while. I think as people we should never assume that what we are doing is perfect and blame failures on the group/Blizzard/your class. We need to fail once in a while so we can think about what happened. Sometimes tanking can be made exponentially harder by undisciplined DPS who AoE packs indiscriminately. Sometimes its really the tank’s mistake (like those times when a pack spawns in Violet Hold and I have 0 rage and forget to pop enrage and spam swipe wondering why they are running all over O.o). This stands out more for tanks and healers rather than dps since a tank or healer failing normally means a wipe, whereas most dps wouldn’t even know that they are below the tank in damage as long as bosses die.

But you can’t learn unless you realise you need to learn, hence such worrying is probably for a good cause. It did push me to finally spend the emblems to buy my T7 chest and gloves to compensate for my nerfed health >.<

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