Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tree goes rawr

I've toyed with the idea of tanking for a long long time. I think I might have mentioned it on the blog a while back. Why? Well, I'm intrigued by the fact that its not as common to see girls tanking. It ignites the part of me that went through a phase where I was smoking cigars and shooting pool with the boys all the time (Macanudos and Montecristos FTW). Anyways, I know girls tank, but I for one have personally never really run with a female tank. Also I figured that I should better understand tanking so that I can more knowledgeably give our tanks crap when I'm healing them. :p

So I wondered, could I do it? Could I tank? I've always been quite intimidated and scared about tanking and never been able to get myself to do it... until this weekend. Yes, my tree-y friends, this tree went rawr. Fortunately I had a pretty damn good tanking set collected from all the runs where something dropped that no one else could use or DE so I figured that could buffer me from my noobishness.

I should probably do a separate post sometime on the very very basics of druid bear tanking including stats, gems, enchants, and mechanics. I had to go to a number of sources to gather everything and I don't know if it may be helpful for someone else to have it all in one place. Now I'm talking very very basics here... starting as a noob druid tank, not any complicated stat/theory-crafting. I came across some great info from my fellow feral druid bloggers out there but there was a lot of stuff that I had no clue what in the world they were talking about.

So my very first tanking experience was heroic Utgarde Keep with some guildies who I think were prepared for an amusing run. I think they came with popcorn. It actually went just fine, except for one wipe where I rushed into some mobs and also pulled the boss as well. Oops. Since that went so well, I then tanked heroic TOC! ZOMG! Though in all honesty, I don't think that the success was as much me as it was the awesome healing by Nicolause. I also tanked a bunch of normal TOC runs with some brand new 80 alts in the guild and look I am a real tank now! I haz The Black Heart!

All in all, some thoughts about my tanking weekend. I love the fact that on my druid, who has always been my main and the first character I ever ever created, I can spec a different way and feel like I'm playing a completely new toon. Its like having another alt! It was fun playing a different way.

Secondly, healing for me is pretty precise. I choose to push certain buttons because I want to cast a specific spell for a specific purpose. Tanking for me was a bit more... uh, lets just say facerolling. OMG the first heroic UK keep was total facerolling! It got better as I got more practice and figured out what I was doing and where to best place my keybindings. But whoa, tanking is a whole lot of button mashing. I recalled when Jess would talk about getting sore fingers after a tough raiding night, which I now totally understand.

Now I am still a healer at heart and while I will probably tank more for fun, no this blog will not turn into a tanking blog. But let me just say this. Yes, good tanking requires skill, but great tanking requires an awesome healer behind you (heehee... see there's my healing core!). I don't think there is any way I could have tanked heroic TOC if Nico wasn't healing me. But I found it interesting that in our run folks mentioned how I did really well tanking (and I think they were quite surprised... heh), but never gave props to the healer. I'm sure it wasn't easy for Nico to heal me. Anyways, this is an entirely separate subject though that I will rant about in a post soon.

Finally, if you've ever thought of trying to tank, trust me if I can do it, you can do it.


  1. I have played with the thought several times... what keeps me from trying it??

    Well, honestly, they are all excuses.

    1) gear--I have a hodge-podge of feral gear in the bank, un-gemmed, un-enchanted because I havent taken the time to figure out which is good for what.

    2) bag space--I carry enough gear to change to Boomkin and get my hit to where it needs to be to do that, that would mean even MORE to carry...

    3) (and probably the truest) I'm a little intimidated by it. It's kinda scary running into a mob and have the job of keeping them off everyone else in the party...

    I've got three excellent feral druids I could call on in-guild at any time for assistance and more outside of it and in the blogosphere...

    I keep telling myself ONE day I will explore the full range of druid abilities... I just keep saying today is not that day...

  2. @Kayeri: My bags are currently now carrying 3 sets of gear... resto, resto pvp, and now tanking. Its total craziness.

    And I totally felt the same way you did, being intimidated to try tanking. Try tanking on a relatively easy run with one of your feral druid friends on vent.

    Trust me! Try it! You can do it!

  3. I played a warrior for a couple years. I loved tanking, it was the side bull crap. Like taking charge, and sometimes babysitting others that led to my tank burn out.

  4. If you ever get tired of tanking, or realize it's not for you, you should totally tweek the tank set into a kitteh set. =^-^=

    I went tank, and after a few Naxx 25 runs... I don't think it's for me, but now I've gotten kitty set Arp 2.0 put together, it's back to DPS for me.

  5. Yeah Mikata is all about the kitty.

  6. @ River - I too have heard of "tank burnout" ... but I've heard that it's similar to "healer burnout." My boyfriend has gone through tank burnout recently. Playing two main-spec dps toons with healing offspecs, I couldn't imagine having to heal full-time - I had to heal for a total of five levels or so on my priest and got tired of it after the first level. :-P

    But Keredria, if you are a tree4life and haven't experienced healer burnout, then you may very well love tanking as much, once you get settled in and taunting/pulling/charging/rawring becomes second nature.

    I do hear what Kayeri is saying, though - WTB bigger bags! And this is coming from a priest with the biggest bags you can get - I carry around different healing and dps trinkets for different situations, plus the two different gear sets. Combined with everything else in my bags (OI! in-progress quest items, flasks, potions, buff foods, etc.), I usually have at MAX 9 available spaces. A good 25 spaces or so is probably filled with just gear.

  7. The Tree Goddess gives me far and away too much credit. I have healed fully geared tanks that made me more nervous than I was while healing her (which is to say very little). She did an excellent job, all... do not allow her to convince you otherwise.

  8. Oh my god, congratulations. I'm shocked (I didn't think anything would make you surrender your leaves) but so impressed.

    Also the best PUGed tanks I've ever ran with have always had at least some, if not lots, of prior healing experience. They never do the things that make healers cry because it's almost like they're looking at the run from two directions at once - how to tank it well, and how to make life as easy as possible for the healer.

    Yep, I love healing resto-classes-turned-tank :)

    I tank a bit a lower levels and, damn, yeah, you're right about the button mashing. Makes me heartily glad to retire to my sissy robe, where I can stand at the back and maybe press 2-3 buttons :)

  9. @River: Oh but I like to take charge. Just ask Jess or any of my guildies. I've often said that I was a healer with a tank mentality. :)

    @Mikata: I think I've tried kitty once. It seemed hard. The whole having to be behind the mob... what?

    @D: Yeah... we need a bigger backpack, definitely.

    @Nico: Say all you want Nico, but a great healer can cover up a not so great tank.

    @Tam: I know, can you believe it! Me! Tanking! Here's the other part of this. Perhaps understanding tanking better will make me a better healer.

  10. Well, Keredria, you pushed me over the edge... that feral gear is now gemmed and enchanted, I have filled in the holes, and as soon as I acquire a 2nd ring and trinket in that direction, I will attempt tanking.

    I respecced my offspec from boomkin to tank this morning, using BBB's helpful guide, although I have yet to get my glyphs. I will be setting up the toolbar per his instructions too, and with luck, get my first practice run this weekend.

    My husband the prot pally is HIGHLY entertained but very enthusiastic about this venture, my guild leader thinks its hilarious and I havent dared to tell anyone else except the feral druid who will be my in-guild consultant... :)

    I have played WoW nearly 3 years now as a healing druid with an acquaintance of boomkin (once dual spec was out)... Yeah, I'm scared, but exhilirated, too...
    I'll let you know how it goes. :)

  11. @Kayeri: Yay! Show them that trees can go rawr just fine. I can't wait to hear about it.

    My guildies were also quite amused about the thought of me tanking until I did it and showed them I could do just fine. Must be something about females playing resto druids?

  12. "...healing for me is pretty precise. I choose to push certain buttons because I want to cast a specific spell for a specific purpose. Tanking for me was a bit more... uh, lets just say facerolling."

    Well, (good) tanking is _precise_ facerolling thank you very much. ;)

    But seriously...didn't you think that after over two years of watching me doin my thang you'd pick some of it up quite easily?