Called Up to the Big Show

You want me to what?!

I wasn’t quite sure how to respond whenever our raid leader, asked me if I was willing to tank for the 10 man progression group. I wasn’t even sure he meant to ask me at first. The regular off-tank wasn’t going to be able to make it to the raid on Friday, and I had to give it some thought before just blurting out an answer. I’d tanked Mogushan Vaults, and Terrace of Endless Springs, but Throne of Thunder was an entirely different beast. This was current, pre-nerf content. I accepted.

 

Big Show

Pre-game Preparation

This was my shot, I’ve been called up to the Big Show. This is a term minor league baseball players use for being recruited to a major league team. This was how I felt about being asked to tank. Our 10-man team had made remarkable progress in Throne of Thunder. I wasn’t sure how I would measure up to the rest of the raid. I have been constantly grinding Looking for Raid, world bosses, heroic scenarios, and anything else I could do that might yield an upgrade. Our raid team usually requires a minimum ilvl (item level) of 500 for ToT. I was at 498. Our raid leader assured me it probably wouldn’t be an issue. I immediately started studying the fights. I watched the videos multiple times, and read over the different abilities related to each encounter. I didn’t focus so much on the strategies, because I wasn’t sure how our team handled each fight, I didn’t want to learn a fight one way, only to find out we do it another. I also sat down with our raid leader, who is also a Protection Paladin, and got answers to some questions I had regarding Paladin tanking in general. As I told him, I know what buttons to push, but at times I’m not sure why I’m pushing them.

 ToT Entrance

Show Time

It was time to see if all my preparation was going to pay off. Raid invites started going out as I was finishing up some re-forging and gemming I hadn’t had a chance to do yet. Before long I was standing inside the entrance to ToT, looking at the first pack of trash. I’d been here before, but that was in a Raid Finder group, and I was Retribution specced that time. Very little time was spent looking at the trash mobs, because as soon as everyone had their food buff and flasks activated, the raid leader started pulling. I just followed along, and pulled my assigned target when instructed too. On the second trash pull, I pulled the wrong mob and died. I was off to a grand start. One of our druid healers battle-ressed me before I had even fully hit the ground it seemed. Nobody said a word about me dying, and I was relieved, but still embarrassed as hell. Who dies on trash?! I went on to die a second time, when the main tank was showing me how to pull the mobs on the wind-walk (my name for the walkway where the wind constantly tries to blow you off). I failed to get out of the way of the blue circle Spirit Guardian thing, and promptly got ejected over the side to my death. Everyone got a good laugh, and I was told it’s a rite of passage to die on that pull.

 

The Fall of Jin’Rokh the Breaker

                From what I had learned, this fight would be fairly straight forward. The raid leader’s explanation confirmed this thought. He would pull first, and point Jin’Rokh in the direction he wanted. Whichever of us was thrown first, would immediately taunt once the stun wore off, and move him into the next position. Rinse, and repeat from a tanking perspective. We also rotated our Devotion Aura cooldowns to help mitigate the raid-wide magic damage. In what seemed like the blink of an eye, we one-shotted him, and I managed to do everything I was supposed to do without failing at anything. The hard part was still to come.

Horridon – Adds a plenty

                This was the boss I was really worried about. My major stumbling block has been add control. I can move out of things, I can reposition bosses, but once the adds show up, I turn into the Derp Knight. Horridon, as you may know, has 4 waves of adds. As a tank, it was my responsibility to manage two of those four waves of adds when it came time. The result was, frustrating, at least for me. It took us a total of 4 (maybe 5) pulls to actually down Horridon and his army of trolls. I was responsible for the initial pull on Horridon, and then tanking the adds on the second and fourth doors. My first attempt on adds wasn’t pretty. The elite trolls were all over the place and nothing I was doing seemed to round them up.

Dinomancer

I’m in yer raid. Killing yer doodz!

I did a little better on the second attempt, but my third try was horrible. I felt like I’d forgotten everything I knew about tanking. I had adds on the other tank, the healers, basically everyone but me. On the fourth attempt I finally got it together and managed to keep my adds where I wanted them, for the most part. I did end up dying, but that was due to poor CD management (a.k.a. I paniced), but Horridon went down anyway.

Calling the Raid

                We made a few attempts on the Council of Elders, but ultimately called the raid because a member had a severe thunderstorm rolling in, and had to turn off their PC. We experimented with different tank assignments on the Elders, and were making good progress on the fight. I’m fairly confident that we’ll get it in one or two pulls when we return. As for me, I’m going to do some more homework. Don’t forget to thank the healers, and as always; Respwan responsibly.

Origin of a Blood Knight

I am Anthies. I am a Paladin. I am a Blood Elf. This is the most awesome combination of things in the known universe. Seriously. If you were looking for the most awesome combination of things in the known universe, you found it. No need to thank me.

Formula

 

Ok, I might be exaggerating a little. I’m actually fairly mediocre, much to my dismay. I have been playing World of Warcraft for almost 9 years (I think?). I started right after the patch that added the original Naxxramas in Vanilla. We just called it WoW back then, I’m old school like that.

I began my career as a WoW player as a Hunter, a Night Elf Hunter at that. I was young and naive, and I didn’t know any better. I played my Hunter right up until Mists was released. I got him to 90, and even did a little raiding on him before I decided that I didn’t really like all the changes that had been made to the class. It was time for a change.

My first ever max-level alt was a Human Paladin, named Anthies. I had a lot of fun leveling him and pretending I could tank. I decided to play a Paladin again, a Blood Elf this time. I considered transferring my old pally, but with all the changes brought on by Mists, I decided leveling a new one was the way to go.  This was the beginning of the end, of this story. Didn’t mean to frighten you there…

I gathered all my heirloom gear, mailed it to my newly created Blood Elf Paladin, and off I went into the world. I created a Blood Elf because I was fascinated by their lore, and the process by which they were able to become paladins in the first place. (I’ll most likely discuss this in a future post) The first 15 levels went by rather quickly, and the next 45 almost as quickly, it seemed. I chose Protection as my first specialization and leveled exclusively through the Dungeon Finder until I reached level 60. I switched to Retribution and quested my way through Outlands, Northrend and the Cataclysm zones. I arrived on the Mist shrouded shores of Pandaria about 2 weeks after creating this character. The next 5 levels felt like they took centuries to complete. However, I persevered, and with the support of my guildmates in <Advent Immortal> I reached level 90. This is the only other character I have reached level 90 with, and for good reason.

I wanted to be a tank, but I was afraid to tank random groups. I was worried that I would mess up and that the other people in the group would get pissed off at me, or vote-kick me, or any number of other unpleasant things. I would run dungeons as Ret spec and hope that tank gear dropped that I could loot. This is not a very effective method of gearing out a particular spec, in case you were wondering. My wife finally talked me into tanking heroics with her healing, and we would bring as many guildmates as we could. Eventually, I grew more and more comfortable with my abilities as a tank. I still try to run with guildmates as often as I can, but that is only because I prefer their company to the silent LFD groups I often end up in.

So this is the path I am on now. I am learning how to raid tank, and having more fun with WoW than I have since Burning Crusade. This is largely in part to my guild <Advent Immortal>, and I owe them quite a bit of thanks. They’ve been there every step of the way, and offered nothing but support and encouragement, as well as the title of this blog. Also, if it weren’t for my wife reminding me that I’m too hard on myself, I’d probably still be running around in my Ret spec, pretending to be a tank, but never actually doing so. So there you have it, my long-winded, yet humble beginnings.