Today's post is brought to you by Mr. Harry Belafonte, who has been shaking booties around the world for over 40 years. Jump in the line!
"She's a Hurricane in all Kinds of Weather"
There's all kinds of Warrior tanks in World of Warcraft, but there two types that people either love or want to rip their hair out: The stand and fight type, and the run in circles type. In my experience, Warrior tanks and Bears tend to be the stand and fight types. I've seen Warrior tanks that run around like the proverbial chickens with their heads cut off, though. Weirdos.
Regardless of what kind of tank ya are, you have to be able to move. Many Warrior tanks might tend to like their mobs all lined up in nice neat little semi-circles for killin', but it usually doesn't work that way. Ya gotta move it.
So follow along with Mr Bellafonte in the background while we talk about how to shake your booty, Warrior style. :D
"You Jump in the Saddle Hold on to the Bridle!"
Positioning. It's one of the very first things and tank needs to learn. Positioning makes your job way easier, and sets consistency for the DPS who will be taking the bad guys down. It also protects the ranged casters and, of course, your favorite person in the whole world at that moment: Your Healer.
It starts with the initial pull. Whether you pull from range, have a misdirect, LoS pull, charge, or just go with the old fashioned face pull, you gotta get the mobs where they need to be for proper disposal.
A quick run down of our "jump in the saddle" options and how they affect a tank's moves. We'll save fine points of pulling for a later post.
Ranged Pull - You use your ranged weapon, or Heroic Throw, to hit a mob and hope the whole pack follows along. You stand where you are and let them come to you. As long as everyone in your party stands perfectly still and doesn't so much as hiccup, the mobs will line up on you and you can start beating on them.
Misdirect - You get where you want the mobs to be, but another player (a Hunter) pulls the mobs, then Misdirects them to you. Then you grab 'em. A more advanced option, granted, but useful on occasion, particularly when you need to be in a certain spot before the pull and getting there could be problematic with a mob train on you.
LoS (Line of Sight) Pull - You taunt or shoot a mob, then run like crazy around a corner. The mobs follow you around the corner and into your awaiting blood thirsty party members who dispatch the mobs in a disorderly fashion. It's a real shame mobs can't emote surprise. I call this the Tom & Jerry pull. :) Of course, the main reason for this is to deny LoS to ranged mobs forcing them to come to you.
Charge - You select a mob and charge it. Mobs will generally gather around you nicely. The benefit is you start with additional Rage and can organize things and establish aggro quickly.
Face Pull - You run up to a mob and smack him with something large and heavy. All other mobs jump on you. Usually chaos ensues. This is usually done by accident when a tank breaks a mob's aggro circle. Oops. You cover the mistake by announcing, quickly, /rw Face Pull! and insisting you "meant to do that."
Plenty of pluses and minuses to each pull type. What's important to understand, as far as how you move around the fight, is where the mobs will start out on each fight. The pull you use will set up the initial positioning. This takes a little practice.
A good pull will alleviate a lot of the necessity of running around the fight on trash pulls. On a boss pull, it puts the boss in the correct position for DPS to get in behind it easily, keeps the boss pointed away from the healer, and puts you in a position to grab adds quickly.
"Rock Your Body, Child!"
First step, after the pull, is to move the mobs properly. This should be like a well timed conga line. Two skills you need right off the bat: running sideways and back stepping.
The default for sideways running (sometimes called strafing, I believe /shrug) is to use the Q and E keys. You can set those to whatever is most comfortable. But do it. And practice it. You need to be able to do your primary threat moves and run sideways at the same time.
Why? Good question. Running sideways allows you to turn with your mouse, keeping the target in front of you. Turning your back on elite mobs or a boss is a Very Bad Thing. There are certainly times when you're going to have to do it, of course. But when you can, side run and circle around, keeping your side or front toward the mob(s).
Back stepping is as simple as pressing the S key (default). You need to do this to draw the mobs into formation, back up a step to use Shockwave, and to nudge the mobs a little bit further away from those pats that are coming up on you. You'll also use both these skills to make sure you're in LoS of your healer, of course. No LoS = No Heals. No Heals = Dead Tank. Sad. /cry
Combine the two techniques with mouse turning to face and position as you please. You do mouse turn, right? Well, if not, that makes three things ya need to learn to do.
"When She Wind Up She Bottom She Go Like a Rocket!"
I always prefer, if possible, to run through the mobs or boss and have them turn with me. Then I don't have to worry about where the DPS is, since they'll be facing the butt-side anyhow. In most cases, it also takes the healer out of any direct attack. The second benefit is that, god forbid, any pats come upon us, they'll either aggro on me, or they'll have to run past me, making it easy to grab 'em as they go by.
Charge and Warbringer are your friends for moving. Warrior tanks are the most mobile of tanks because of these abilities and the ability called Intervene. A Warrior tank can literally zoom around a fight and be right where they're needed. Don't forget to use all of your cc breaks, as well. Knowing how and when to use those can, literally, save the day.
The game really likes to throw things at tanks. Throw backs, stuns, aggro resets, caster spawns, multiple adds from all directions. It's nice when you can stand and fight in a hallway, but the most important fights almost always take place in a nice big open room with evil critters spread out in odd positions. You'll use Warbringer to get to another part of the fight quickly. And then reposition.
Intervene is for getting to someone in trouble quickly. Punch it, go like a rocket, taunt and reposition. All those mobs you were holding are gonna follow you, albeit a bit slower than you were going.
Wait! Friday, ya said "reposition" twice now!?! Yah. After you move your body around, ya gotta get everything back in order. That's where our first two skills, side running and back stepping, come in handy yet again. If you Intervene a mob on your healer, ya gotta pull said mobs away from the healer. The healer can't be casting inside melee range (generates way more threat). Now, one would hope they would move back out of range. Hope in one hand, and pee in the other. See which gets full faster.
In most cases, the healer simply can't (or won't) move. If they run, they'll aggro more mobs, move out of range, or break LoS to you and the rest of the group. All very Bad Things. You're gonna have to haul the mobs with you.
Just drag the mobs out of range so your healer can start doing his job again. Side run toward the previous group, then back step them into position along with their naughty friend. Once you're organized, everyone can get back to work.
"She Go Up in the Air Come Down In Slow Motion"
In the middle of a fight, when something goes wrong, it goes really wrong. Being able to move properly is the single most important skill a tank can have. Ya gotta go where you're needed, not where you want to be. There's even times where you won't be able to stand still at all! The horror!
You might have to run around in circles, rapidly Thunderclap'n away to snap aggro on multiple spawns. Can anyone say Halls of Stone. Gah! Other times, you MUST move or die. Jump on the Line for the Loken fight, for example, and walk him. Or running behind a pillar for Ingvar's Dark Smash. If you can't mouse turn and walk backwards and fight at the same time, you're toast.
There's plenty of times where you're tossed in the air and it seems like it takes forever to come down. Most of the time you'll just plant against a wall. Good positioning. But there's plenty of fights where that's just not gonna happen. Charge back in! Reposition.
Things to keep in mind while positioning/repositioning:
- If you can put your back to a wall, do. This prevents knock back attacks and keeps you in the action. In addition, if there's shite on the floor you can just side run along the wall to get out of it. (Don't gospel this, btw. If it makes more sense to fight in the open, then fight in the open!)
- Try to turn the mobs so that the butt-side faces your healer. This makes it easier for your DPS to get into position. It keeps any forward shootin' nasty crap from hitting your healer. It makes it easy to tell when someone else pulls aggro. If you see ass*, there's a problem.
- Macro intervene with a target and taunt/shield slam. When someone other than the tank has aggro, they should stop hitting the mob so that they don't override the tank's taunt. And if that's ever occurred while you're tanking, then congratulations, you're the first. When DPS or a healer starts getting hit, they tend to panic and start doing all kinds of crazy threat generating things. So be ready when you equalize threat to pile it on, fight and reposition at the same time. Macros is helpers.
- Use Warbringer. Constantly. All the times. Burn it till it hurts.
- Little steps backwards or to the side can dramatically change how the mobs line up. A step backward can spread 'em out, for example, so that they are easier to target. A little side step or two can pull the boss over enough to keep the healer from taking a shot in the melon. Little things matter.
- Don't be afraid to move. Walk right through other mobs and players to get to the one that's the problem. They'll follow you. No worries.
- Turn your graphics down. I know it ain't as purdy, and it bugs me too, but when you've got huge piles of FX going off, it's hard to see where everything is. To position properly you must be able to see. Turn it down and save pretty for those long, slow flights over the Fjord.
- Communicate. Tell your group how you pull. If you change, due to circumstances, tell them what you're doing. Macro "/rw Tank Repositioning!" and blast it when you need to rearrange the furniture.
* I fully understand and sympathize with the fact that, on some mobs, it's hard to tell the difference. Being a tank isn't easy.
Being able to move is one of a Warrior tank's best weapons. Learn it. Shake your tank booty and dance with the biggest, baddest bosses. Being skilled at moving and positioning properly takes practice, but it's a skill that will get you farther and be ginormously appreciated by everyone you group with.
'mon tanks! I believe you! Jump on the line! Rock your body in time! :D