Can I Tank My Way To 80?   17 comments

My poor deathknight has been sitting at level 71ish for months.  Largely because I cannot get motivated for more Northrend questing, and somewhat because I’ve been occupied with other things that have caught my interest in the game.  Some if it is also because I created my deathknight so that I would have a “tank”.  I have always felt that there was some value in understanding each aspect of the game, from a personal experience.  The only problem is…I’m a shitty tank. 

Ok, perhaps that is a bit harsh.  But, in all honesty, I’m a mediocre tank at best.  I am well aware that my biggest problem as a tank is that I am largely “clicker” (mock away…just know that as you do, I’m giving you the two finger salute irl!).  But what makes me a bit of a strange clicker, is that I use my mouse to move also.  It works for me as a healer, because I have everything bound to Clique and use my mouse almost exclusively while raiding.  And on my DPS, I do have my attacks keybound so that if I have to move I can still DPS, but if I’m standing still I prefer to click.

It’s comfortable for me, and this system has worked very well…until I tried to tank.  In addition to my clicking habit, which is absolutely horrible for tanking, I find that I just don’t have the awareness and button mashing abilities to be an aggressive tank (even though I am a queen at button mashing my way through Soul Caliber!).  I also have a hard time keeping track of everything in big pulls.  I mean, I did tank a decent number of instances leveling up to this point, but I always feel so stressed.  And forget asking Brade for advice.  He goes on these lengthy, winded, BORING speeches about the how god created the (insert tank here), and I just get that glazed look on my face and start to zone out.  I need the basics!  Not an hour long summary of everything everyone over at EJ has theorycrafted!

All of that being said, I really do want to learn to be able to competently tank at least heroics.  Of course, there is that whole having to level in Northrend again thing standing in the way.  So, I thought to myself “I wonder if I could just instance my way to 80 with the new dungeon finder”.  You know, do a couple of instances here and there when I had a bit of spare time.  I can’t really think of a way to become a better tank then to, you know, tank.  I certainly won’t learn to tank grinding out quests!

I have mede up my mind!  And so shall I go forth, and make your low level instance queue times shorter!  And shortly after, I will go have my head examined 🙂

Do any other new tanks have simple tips or experiences to share to make newbie tanking easier?

17 responses to “Can I Tank My Way To 80?

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  1. I ran into a similar problem with clicking/mousing when it came to trying bear tanking heroic Violet Hold for the first time (I normally play heals). All my abilities were painstakingly keybound for maximum efficiency, and things went fine…until we got the consortium boss that requires you to kite around the room.

    It was then that I realized I couldn’t walk backwards and use abilities at the same time due to both tasks requiring the same hand. Who knew walking backwards would be so important? /facepalm

    • Eep…I’ve not really given “backwards” much of a thought yet!

      I do, however, try to set my keys up in a way that I “get”. Brade looks at it and thinks “what a mess”, but they are organized in a way my mind works. All my taunt-esque abilities grouped up, all my threat generating abilities grouped up, all my “oh shit” buttons grouped up, etc.

      He picked on me yesterday for having “mocking blow” on my tool bar (even though I *know* for a fact when our warriors have failed to pick something up and we are going through the list of what they tried he asks about it). And sure enough, we were in an instance and guess what I used (although probably improperly)…yup! Mocking Blow 😛

      Of course…I somehow managed to fail putting shield block on my bar, but we won’t talk about that here!

  2. I feel your pain. I have a bear tank that I’m -just-starting to get a feel for after dual-speccing from Boomkin. I use the default WASD to move, with camera for camera motions and clicking some things (I use Grid as my healer main)
    My guild’s tank re-bound his movement keys to ESDF (jsut moved over one) which allowed for more left-handed keys.

    I was inspired by this to bind “move Backwards” to my scroll wheel. So now I can still have my hand ready on the hotkeys for actionbars (1, 2, 3, shift+1, etc) and still move backwards while pointing at mobs and playerframes as necessary.

    I’ve only tried this for two days now, and it is HARD to break my habit, but it’s starting to seem a bit easier, and definitely less panicky when trying ot use abilities and scrambling all across my keyboard to move again. Maybe something like this would work for you, since you are already used to movement with the mouse. (how did you backup currently? down arrow, or S key? Or something entirely else?)

    • make that first part “WASD to move and MOUSE for camera and clicking”
      WTB Comment edit. pst.

    • Hrm, I might look into utilizing my mouse wheel! The bottom line, mostly, is that anything I do is going to seem ackward at first, I think, until I get used to it.

      Right now…um…I don’t think I “back up” really, hah! As a healer, I don’t really have to face my target, so I just spin my mouse and run in the direction I’d like to go. I guess if I do need to back up I probably use my down arrow in combination with my mouse.

      • I recommend using WQES to move, in combination with right-mouse for turning. Avoid those A and D keys altogether, and strafe sideways (Q and E keys) instead of turn-first-then-run-forwards. You won’t have to bind anything to anything this way.

        To practice this method, strafe in circles around something as fast as you can, while using your right-mouse so you’re always facing the object. Duelling as a melee is good practice too, because ideally you will be staying behind your enemy even while they try to turn to face you.

        Not easy to get the hang of, of course, but once you do you’ll never look back. Even walking backwards is slower than turning sideways and strafing away!

        Best of luck!

  3. I leveled my Paladin from 1-80 entirely as prot. I tanked most non heroic 5 mans at the appropriate level. It’s really not that bad.

    • I truly believe that paladin tanking isn’t “that bad”. 696 -> Agro on everything! Perhaps I should have gone with the paladin tank for my first adventure at it, but my paladin has always been Holy 🙂 Her off-spec is ret, which I actually also enjoy.

      Unfortunately the two tanks that I have right now are a DK, which I’m miserable at, and now my warrior (which I am kind of enjoying more than I want to admit!). I’m going to give it a fair chance though, before writing it off completely!

  4. It was actually warrior tanking, which made me keybind nearly all important abilities. As soon as I felt comfortable with tanking, I adapted all keybinds to my other toons. Even as a healer I feel like this has improved my game a lot.

    What helps me a lot in mobile fights, is having a good bunch of my abilities bound to mouse buttons (<3 5 button mouse), which helps a lot with strafing + generating aggro.

    Tanking 5 mans is basically all about knowing the pull, especially if there are casters/range in the group, marking a skull and know your highest AoE threat rotation.

    • I did actually dual spec my warrior this weekend, and tanked a couple of instances. I’ve got a draft post about it, but the sort of cliff’s notes version is that I actually like the warrior tanking a lot better than I did the DK (which is strange, right? DK tanking is supposed to be ez-mode, no?). I struggled a little bit in my first instance, but I had a few guildmates with me for support and did offer a full “Hi, I’m a newb tank” disclaimer at the start of the instance 🙂

  5. Veneretio, of tankingtips wrote a quite excellent post on this subject. He used to be a ‘clicker’ too. I highly recomend reading his post at

  6. I’m afraid this is totally unrelated to your post but! it might be useful although possibly a bit late. I saw your comment on life in group 5 about a set up guide for PAC, and even me – total incompetent with technology to the point my pocket tank has taken to just doing my ui FOR me in the past – managed it.

    I’ve got it set up to show me less than 80% mana in a big swooshy red rune, whether innervate is availabe in a pretty purple rune round my feet, and then 4 other icons – a big green leaf, a big red leaf, a cross (christian cross, not x) and blue text denoting whether wild growth, natures swiftness, rebirth and swiftmend are available – I jiggle them about depending on my setting as I like them right next to my party frames rather than hovering above my own character.

    I found Dreambounds and in particular Tree Bark Jackets posts about PAC really, really helpful when setting my own up.

    • I actually set up Power Auras on Friday night for a test. One of my guildmates helped me with it, I may do a post up about it later in the week after I’ve gotten more play time with it 🙂

  7. Get a Nostromo!! 🙂

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