Sunday, 5 June 2011

Tanks and the world

I’ve been playing WoW quite a bit lately. A short time ago I got a DK to 85, and while he’s ostensibly main-spec tank, I haven’t actually tanked anything in a random in any of the Cataclysm dungeons. So, dual-wield Frost second spec it is.

I also levelled up a druid, in a cat-based Feral spec, which I’ve been enjoying quite a bit. The character was originally only supposed to be a bank character (hence the name ‘Morcasha’), but then Zoe and I wanted an enchanter, and so we needed to get Morcasha to a higher level. And I just kept going, because it was fun, and because I read a post on Gevlon’s blog about skinning crocolisks in Tol Barad or something for easy money.

Bear Necessity

As I was traipsing around Twilight Highlands in the last few bars of being level 84, helping out the dwarves with their wedding (best questline ever, btw, and also Keely Dunwald is kinda cute), I decided to see what it was like being a bear. This was not entirely out of the blue: I’d done a random a few days earlier wherein the tank abandoned us at the last boss, and one of the DPS asked me to tank. I was like “lol no” (paraphrasing here), because I had no idea what I was doing in bear form. So anyway, turns out it’s not really that hard! Certainly less buttons to push than cat form, although since my UI was set up specifically for cat, it didn’t work so well for bear.

So I bought dual spec and made the second spec pure bear. And lo! I am almost indestructible when taking on normal mobs! In cat form, when levelling, taking on more than 2 mobs at once is a risky thing, as you are rather squishy and your heals barely do anything (healing for ~4K out of 75K at level 84). In bear, though, with a proper bear spec: bring it on! Obviously it’s news to nobody that a tank-specced character can survive better, but it’s surprising just how much difference a few (really a few – maybe 5 or so) talent points in different places can make; going into bear form in a spec optimised for cat DPS doesn’t really help much: sure you can get aggro better, and are slightly tougher, but you’re missing the uncritability, damage-reduction and Pulverize talents that are pretty much the point of being a bear tank.

World of Tank

Now that I have this lovely bear spec, what could I do with it? I mean, it’s not like I tank much on my DK, despite being much more familiar with tanking that class because of my experience in Lich King. Then again, it might be precisely because of that familiarity that I’m reluctant to try it: I want to try new things. Bear tanking is something I’ve never done, and I’m curious to see how it plays.

Perhaps once I get more familiar with the Cataclysm instances I will try tanking them on my DK, too. He’s certainly better-geared than the druid, and like I said, I pretty much know how to play the class already (I even levelled him in tank spec). Honestly, though, I’m not sure. Before I stopped playing WoW last year, I had a warrior tank that I really enjoyed playing, much more thank a DK. I think it was something to do with the mobility, and the variety of abilities at my disposal, and from what I’ve read and in my limited time with the spec experienced, bear is quite similar.

Speaking of tanks…

If you’ve been reading Tobold’s blog lately, you’ll notice he’s been posting a lot about World Of Tanks, a free-to-play team-based tank warfare game. I don’t know much about it beyond what I’ve read on Tobold’s blog (and the occasional Rock, Paper, Shotgun article), but it does sound interesting. I imagine it as a sort of slower-paced Counter-Strike, although that may turn out to be laughably far from the truth. No matter, it’s definitely something I’m going to look into, perhaps to the extent that I forget about WoW for another four months. I shall report back here if/when I have anything interesting to say about the game.


  1. :O I totally thought you had quit WoW forever and ever and ever! Just came on here today (as I do from time to time) to see that you've been secretly ninja-playing. Sneaky.

    Funnily enough, I've also not tanked anything in Cataclysm, despite having an 85 bear specced Kal, and blood specced DK, and a prot specced Pally! I think the main reason I haven't though is just because I don't seem to have the time these days to sit down and do many dungeons, and I'd want to learn them a bit before trying to lead a poor group of strangers around.

    I'm mainly playing a hunter at the moment, and liking it quite a bit actually.

    When did you start playing again?

  2. Honestly I don’t even really play that much – it’s not even my account, it’s Zoe’s! I just play sometimes on my lunch breaks when she’s not here. She sometimes plays the DK for herb gathering and alchemy needs; likewise the drood for skinning and enchanting.

    In fact, since I started playing World of Tanks I’ve not touched WoW at all. WoT does take up a lot of time, as it can be pretty grindy (one day I will be able to sell my T-28 ‘tank boat’ and get a proper tank… one day…) but unlike WoW the grinding is just the same as normal play, so it’s fun and ‘educating’: you get practice at the game and you also (unless you’re really bad or keep shooting your own team) earn money.

    So yeah, World of Tanks is funtimes :D

  3. You haven't played it much... and you managed to level two 85s :p

    Well, if you ever resurrect your old account be sure to give me a shout as I am back into playing my Azuremyst chars again. Ela, sadly, is not :(

    So is Zoe still raiding and stuff? Been having fond memories lately of our old Naxx runs led by the indestructible Flo. Good times.

  4. Heh well, DKs do have a bit of a head start :p Besides, I wasn’t solely responsible for the levelling, although I’ve customised the interface to such a degree now on both characters that Zoe doesn’t like playing them any more (especially not the DK where I hid the main action bars).

    Account resurrection is… unlikely, I think. I just don’t feel like I have the time any more to raid, and that and levelling are mostly the only parts of the game I enjoyed. The guild Zoe’s in seem a nice enough bunch of folks generally, but they’re not raiders, due both to lack of numbers and lack of experience. I still occasionally take them through Uludar or ICC for the lulz/lore, but only one or two of them are even remotely ready for real raids.

    That said, Zoe does raid with another guild which has been the cause of a little friction in her own guild, but it’s either that or she leaves the guild entirely, and none of them want that (she’s their best DPS, for one thing – shadow priest, would you believe?) I don’t really see a solution to be honest, bar her current guild merging with the bigger, radier one, but that was proposed a while back and nothing came of it. I think they’re mostly just happy to tootle along doing 5-mans together. Maybe one day they’ll accumulate enough players to have a crack at the raids, especially now that the current-tier instances are about to be nerfed in preparation for 4.2.

  5. If her guild aren't raiding (and aren't ready to raid) then I don't see why there should be a problem, in fact I would see it as a good thing that one of the guild is getting some experience which would help loads when they can actually get a raid together.

    Only raids I've even been close to lately are solo / duo runs with Gaara :) I barely even do normal dungeons right now :p

  6. Also, just noticed that I actually have a character on Magtheridon... level 7 Troll druid called Ezey :)