I would say for about 80% of the instance runs I've done where it hasn't been an OP group running me through content, I've been tanking. I consider myself mediocre in the tanking department, but I'm improving. I look into different spec options, read blogs, think about threat generation, try to sync up with my healer to make sure we are on the same page pacing wise. I look at these things as "basic" tanking skills. I guess basically tanking comes down to being able to keep mobs beating on you and being able to take the beating they dish out. Everything else is just a tool to accomplish this. This weekend, I got a chance to see things from the OTHER side of the equation: as a healer.
I've been leveling up a druid, and I have to say I love them. I am using a slightly different feral build for leveling than I will use at 80, mostly because I have points in King of the Jungle to get a burst of energy to finish off mobs. I spent most of my time leveling in cat form, and re-specs are pretty cheap, so I can juggle the points back at 70+. I have yet to do any tanking on him, mostly because since I've hit Outlands, there are a ton of deathknights running around, although I think that may be part of the problem.
The story starts out like this: someone in general chat was looking for a healer for ramps. I've healed it already, got the achievement, we blew through it, I think it took like 40 mins. Obviously as this is my 6th character through outlands (7th if you count my alliance pally), its not like I need a ramps tutorial. However, it is easy to forget a few things. First, without outlands caliber gear, this instance can be a challenge. Second, just because its old hat to me doesn't mean thats true for everyone. Third, having a high enough level character to roll a death knight in no way means you're qualified to tank (sad but true as we will see).
Well, the first group, DK tank is marking like 3 levels into DPS, marking for sheep and sap like it's a heroic. Now everyone in the group was 60+ we really shouldn't have had a problem. However, with all the marking, the tank was taking forever, and when it came to actually holding aggro, he wasn't quite up to snuff. Warlock's felguard ended up as "tank", everyone started taking damage and long story short, group wiped.
Well, the other people elected to boot the slow, ineffective tank to try to find a new one. So we replaced the DK with another DK (and after the lock left, he was replaced with. . .ANOTHER DK!). Well, the first one who attempted to tank lost aggro, someone died, but it wasn't a group wipe, so they decided the 2nd DK should tank. we made it through 2 groups of mobs, then the 2nd DK over-pulled and wiped the group. WTF!?!?!?
I understand tanking is one of the tougher skill sets in the game, really I do. I hate to assume that people with death knights have no skill and were able to make one purely by being power-leveled through content, however things like this make it hard. Yes, I also have a death knight myself (currently level 70, just kind of sitting in northrend doing nothing), I've actually rolled a ton of them (because the starter quests are super fun), but I will confess, I've never tried to tank on one. It can't be that hard, can it? Frost presence, death and decay, drop some diseases, pestilence them around to the surrounding mobs. You're basically wearing outlands plate to start with and have all your rings and trinkets. It can't be that hard, can it?
I even thought about my own healing, but I've come to realize a few things. Druid healing, although easy and very useful, is not far and beyond other healing. Too many mobs beating on the tank will kill them, no matter what. Clothies pulling aggro will probably die, no matter what. Once the tank and the offending clothies have died, the mobs are going after the broccoli (thats what my tree reminds me of, a walking stalk of broccoli). I've pretty much got the healing to 2 hots, swiftmend if necessary (I do have the glyph), then if the tank takes big hits, I have a macro for nature's swiftness then healing touch. I've gemmed for spirit (which I've read is the best "bang for the buck" for resto druids), then spellpower. If/when I get yellow sockets, I have gems for SP and haste. Although I don't have a full set of healing gear, I think it's fairly respectable at the moment. A few points here and there shouldn't make a huge difference, at least I'd think.
Well, anyways, that was my /fail for the weekend. Although I had a lot of success, those two runs stood out. Over an hour wasted and we didn't even make it to the first boss.
Mid Afternoon Quickie
11 months ago