Posts Tagged ‘warrior’

The tank is the leader of the party. The big cheese, the head honcho, el presidente…

Some of you are disagreeing already, assuming more than one person is reading this. To fully explain that statement we should take a glance at the nature of leadership and then put it in the context of WOW. Webster.com defines leadership as something a leader does…  yeah that helps. It defines a leader as someone who leads… hah. But further down it says that it means someone who ‘has commanding authority or influence’. Right, so tanks have authority. Hah! No really, they do. It is just a limited kind. It is limited in EXACTLY the same way all authority everywhere is. You get authority as people give it to you. In politics they sometimes call it a ‘mandate’. Like if the big issue in an election was ‘fix XYZ’ then the person that wins is said to have a broad mandate to do things about that issue.

Now think about a club. Let’s say you are the president of a card playing club. What authority do you have? Well you can decide what day you are going to play cards on. And people will go with that decision unless you pick a bad one. So you get to pick any day that works for the majority…. Ok.

And you can spend the membership dues on new cards. You have total authority there. You can buy ones with the checkered pattern on the back or ones with pictures from a gift shop some place. But you can’t buy a new car with the money. You can also decide who brings the snacks each week. But you can’t order one person to buy pizza every week. Your authority has a narrow river bed it flows down. You can do what you want inside those narrow banks, but if you try to splash your authority out of those narrow banks the other people just laugh and ignore you, or leave the club, or kick you out for embezzling the dues money. It is a voluntary organization and the leadership you wield has only the power to motivate people along lines they have implicitly agreed to in advance. And you have the responsibility to, within those confined channels of authority, make decisions and lead in ways that further what the people signed up for. In the case of a card playing club those things are playing cards on regular schedule and having fun.

Pugs are like this. Tanks have the authority that the other people give them. It comes with the responsibility to help make the run go well. You can give orders and make demands based on things they will think are reasonable. But within those bounds of reasonableness you have full command. If you say ‘I am going to pull this group LOS to this corner here’. That is a 100% reasonable statement. It is also an implied command for everyone to support that action. If some moron messes the pull up you have a mandate to complain to that person. The other members, assuming they are reasonable, and assuming you don’t take it so far you are ‘spoiling their fun’, will support you complaining to that player and telling him to not mess up your LOS pulls. It is this pact of peer pressure that gives the tank the mandate to give instructions that will further the group’s aims (finishing the run, getting loot).

For the good of the group the Tank MUST speak up and communicate if something is going wrong. It is the responsibility that goes with that authority. If a hunter left his pet on growl it is well within the mandate of the tank’s authority to say something about that. To a point. He/she can’t throw a hissyfit over it any more than the members of a card game club would be ok with the president flipping out over bad shuffling. They might be ok with some gentle remedial shuffling instructions or advice, but not with a full blown tantrum.

It is not ok for the leader to let something important slide. If some moron is pulling without you and you don’t say something about it you are failing as a leader. The other guy is making the mistake but it is YOUR duty to speak up and try to fix the problem. That is leadership. If the problem is fixed, everyone wins. But there is a fine line here. If the DPS is all impatient, and you stop the whole run to give them a lecture about impatience you are more likely to get a vote-kick than you are to get a smoother run. One of the things a leader has to do is make the most of the resources at hand. A manager can’t fire everyone who works for them for bad performance. Instead they must assign people to tasks that fit their ability, get them training where they need it, and fire people only as a last resort.

For example if the hunter can’t figure out how to turn off his pet and absolutely insists on picking a target you are not primarying you can point them toward a caster mob, even mark it for them. This is taking a bad situation, an uncooperative DPSer with bad skills, and assigning them to a task they ARE capable of doing. This also saves your sanity as a tank. Plus it helps the other person learn a skill and play style that is useful for groups. If the DK insists on gripping and pulling stuff, you might just let him tank that target. It gives you one less mob to tank and hopefully he takes enough damage to die in shrieking agony. But don’t be passive aggressive about it. If you just drop a mob and don’t say anything everyone assumes you are a bad tank. If you tell the dps ‘you yank it you tank it’ then they know you are making a stand on bad behavior and they can either correct it or tank their own mob. Again, stopping everything and throwing a hissyfit over either of these examples would only piss off the whole group. But even short of that there are active steps that can be taken to either fix or harness the behavior.

The interesting thing about tank leadership is that you don’t have to do anything more than what you do… most of the time. Moving ahead from group to group, picking your targets, marking where needed, checking on the healer’s mana before a boss, throwing your cooldowns when needed, taunting mobs where they need to be, moving the melee tangle out of the fire, all these are what a tank should be doing anyway. But they are also all leading a group.

My dad once told me being a leader was keeping management off the back of his people so that they could get their jobs done. Things like helping them get their payroll problem straightened out with headquarters, or handling the annoying customer so they can get back to the register. Those are things a manager does to enable his or her people to get the real job done. In the case of a tank you are doing exactly the same thing. You are there to do anything you can to let the dpsers kill things. That is it. You goal is to line up packs of creatures for them to kill. Your goal is also to do it at a rate where the healer can keep up. In this way you are warding off the obstacles in that person’s way also. That is your job. But if one of the DPS is doing something that threatens the whole it is also your job to try, within the bounds of your authority mandate, to fix the problem.

If the rogue over behind the boss is standing in the fire then you can tell him to move, or you can shift the boss and force him to move. But you can’t do nothing and then sneer when he dies. That is not leadership and that is not your job. You forced him to have to decide between being in good back stab position and being safe and he chose wrong. Or he just did not notice, but YOU did. If a leader notices his people making a design mistake, or even flipping their burgers wrong, but does nothing about it, then they are all at fault and the group as a whole fails. But the leader is at fault most of all. It is only after the leader has done what he can to help the others fix the problem that the responsibility for the failure moves to solely rest on the ‘underlings’.

There are a lot of bad leaders out there. Most people just want to get along. So they say nothing and the group muddles along, or fails and re-forms. And often no learning happens. There are a lot of variables in a failed group and many people can’t see/admit what they did wrong to cause, or help cause the problem.

Anyway I think I have wondered off tanking and into advice giving in general so I will wrap this post up.

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As mentioned in this post leveling as a duo is a lot of fun. But not all duos are created equal. I am going to talk for the next few posts about each class and what they bring (or don’t bring) to a leveling pair.

Warriors are one of the two classes, with death knights, that every race can be. This makes them a sort of default or baseline. It is not too complicated a class for a new player to learn, hence it is one certainly worth considering in a duo.

As we all no doubt know a Warrior is a melee mail/plate wearer. They are also one of the four tank classes. I mean of course end game tank classes. Several other classes are viable for leveling tanking.
The warrior brings several things to a duo.

Solid Sustained DPS
The Warrior runs off of rage. Because of these they never have to stop to drink and recharge. In fact, since rage drains away over time, they do better by simply charging fight to fight with reckless abandon. This helps a duo by keeping your dps from dropping to zero (as might happen when a dual caster pair goes OOM).

Even if not tank specced a warrior is pretty rugged. By changing to their defensive stance and equipping a shield they can trade dps for durability. Also, as a tanking class, they have several ‘oh crap’ cooldowns that make them even more durable for a short period of time. These features bring to a duo the ability to survive situations that might kill a softer pair.

Taunts & threat control
Even when not specced as a pure tank, warriors have abilities to generate extra threat on command. They can also perform taunts which instantly put them at the top of a mob’s threat list. This is very handy in a duo to pull beasties off the softer classes.

Moderate stuns

Warriors have no real crowd control but they do have a few abilities that that can stun or slow a target. This is sometimes handy for stopping a runner, or lowering the incoming damage.

Charge and light duty pulling
Warriors have several abilities that charge at a target at high speed. They also have the ability to shoot ranged weapons. This gives them a few options for starting fights or getting into them fast. Many classes have similar things but this is something that they add to a leveling pair so it is worth mentioning.

So what do all those things mean when combined with specific other classes? Let’s run down them.

Rogue + Warrior
The rogue warrior combo puts out plenty of damage. The pair has very high DPS on singles targets but is very limited on AOE. They have good ability to control when and where a fight takes place and a moderate ability to survive an ‘oh crap’ situation. ‘Oh Crap’ can be anything from someone getting aggro who did not plan to, someone going OOM, someone dying suddenly, or accidentally aggroing extra mobs.
Because this pair IS going to take some damage and has no healing at all it is highly recommended that one or both partners level their cooking and first aid. Having one be an alchemist might be a good idea too.

Hunter + Warrior
This group also has high damage. They also have two options for tanking. There are other things the hunter brings but I will cover those in a ‘hunter pairs’ post later. This group will have moderate AOE and very high single target damage. This group has a lot of aggro control and very good ability to survive ‘oh crap’ situations.
They still have no healing, unless the pet is doing all the tanking, which is viable. But it is still recommended that one or both do cooking or first aid.

Mage + Warrior

Very high damage until the mage is out of mana. The warrior’s presence, if they know how to tank, allows the mage to go hog wild with dps. This means this group has good burst damage but their sustained damage is a bit less. This is a very complimentary pair as the mage brings a lot of tricks and the warrior lets him survive (hopefully) using those tricks. This group has a lot of good options in ‘of crap’ situations.
Still no healing but the mage brings magic food so that helps offset the damage the warrior is tanking and keeps  you grinding longer. The mage has to drink a lot so the warrior might get bored but the Warrior can protect a mage that is OOM.

Warlock + Warrior

This combo is similar to the mage and hunter combos. Good DPS, other tanking options, and extra tricks for certain situations. There is also decent AOE at higher levels. I know less about ‘locks than other classes so I can’t elaborate much here.
Food/healing is still a problem so one of you needs to take cooking or first aid.

Priest + Warrior

Heals! A healer + warrior combo can outlast a lot of situations. Durability with this pair is very high. Bubbles and dual fears also mean it can survive a lot of ‘oh crap’ situations. However, based on spec the better the heals and tanking the lower the dps, and mana eventually runs out. So, while this pair can survive a lot, when they over reach and go down, they go down hard. This pair will have to die a few times to learn their limitations. The warrior will have to learn to pace things so they don’t die when the priest runs dry.
This group will have lower DPS than other groups. Offsetting this drawback will be instance running. Having a dedicated tank and healer means this pair can get into an instance any time and be almost guaranteed a successful run (once the two players learn effective tanking and healing).

Shaman + Warrior

This is a pretty solid combo. The Shammy brings a nice spread of buffs, many that are good for melee combat, and totems that can be adapted for the situation at hand. This  plus healing gives the pair very good ability to survive unexpected situations. This is a pair that can be either specced for extreme durability or solid damage output, depending on play style.

Druid + Warrior

This pair is much like the Shaman/Warrior one. Very good damage, high adaptability, and some nice buffs. Differences in spec can also make this group range from a dual dps pair to a tank/healer pair, or some hybrid in between.

Pally + Warrior

This pair is again, like the previous two. Lots of tankability with some heals. Many options, especially at 40 with dual spec. Nice buffs and the potential for either aoe or burst damage.

NOTE: for all three of these pairs you should consider if you want the warrior or the pally/druid/sham to ‘tank’. Also with all three pairs figuring out how much you plan to level through LFG will play a big role in how you want to spec them out.

Warrior + Warrior

This pair is somewhat more limited. Specced right this can be a very high single, or few, target dps pair. Very high single dps, and with dual charges you could go mob to mob at an insane rate. However with no healing this group can’t do the ‘round them up and kill them 10 at a time’ tactics that groups with a lot of AOE can. However, since a warrior is not that great with AOE threat you might not want to do that with any warrior pairing anyway.

If one of you specs tanking you could level with a lot of LFG. Alternately, quest grinding, once you get your pacing down, will go pretty fast. Bring a lot of food, and learn First Aid!

In later installments I will go through each of the other classes and what they bring to a pairing. Naturally I have not tried most of these pairs! Please chime in with your own experiences.

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