Friday, April 22, 2011

Cataclysm, Tanks and You

While it’s true that healers have the toughest job in Cataclysm, tanking still ranks above DPS in terms of difficulty.  Tanks are expected to know new fights inside and out, and a lot more hangs on their actions than on a hunter’s.  They have to balance three stat goals (mitigation, damage absorption and threat) as opposed to say just "agility 4tw"  They usually coordinate CC, positioning and kill orders themselves.  They have to compensate for the abundance of facerolling and ”it’s not my fault” attitudes that will always exist in the game.  It’s not an easy job, tanking, so what can we do to help?
First,  remember the basics:
  • Keep your pet under control.
  • Assist the tank or your designated Main Assist
  • MD to the tank at the beginning of every pull
  • Feign Death before you steal agro.
  • If you steal agro, it’s your fault 

Working With Tanks

Establish a basis for communication with the tank.  Unlike with healers, hunters and tanks actually have a lot to say to one-another and so it helps for us to be on the same page.   We have to know what each other’s abilities do; for example, it really helps if a tank knows that traps can be broken, that they work on almost anything, that they can be chained, that Ice Trap is actually not the same thing as Freezing Trap, etc.  Because of all this, it can be good to make sure at the start of a dungeon or raid that you and the tank understand one another.
Offer your services.   A lot of tanks don’t have a full sense of what hunters can do in terms of crowd control, kiting, threat management and dispels.  Instead of the huge asset that we can be, we’re more likely to be viewed as generic dps who hopefully won’t wipe the group due to incompetence. 
Use Misdirect is it was intended, to give tanks an opening boost on threat.  While that threat gain is nice for any pull it is particularly helpful for multi-target pulls.  The less work a tank has to do hunting down stray mobs with taunts, the more threat he generates overall and the less likely he is to lose mobs later in the fight.  A tank’s attention and time spent on taunts, Intervenes, Hand of Salv and the like cost him threat and mitigation.  The more we can do to help tanks focus on their optimal threat/mitigation rotations and positioning, the smoother things will go for the whole group or raid. 
Wait a couple seconds before you start doing damage.  It’s not going to hurt your dps and it’s going to help the tank establish a solid threat lead.   A decent threat lead for your tank lets you go all out when you do start dps and gives the tank enough breathing room to focus on mitigation.  Waiting a couple seconds also helps the tanks overcome rng.  Unlike the always hit capped hunter the tank is most likely not hitting with all their swings.  If the tank and they misses all of their opening attacks any dps who did start blasting straight away will find a boss bearing down on them.
Feign before you steal agro and stay feigned until you see your threat disappear.  Pulling a boss out of position is bad.  Getting up and resuming dps only to discover  that FD did not actually have enough time to wipe your threat is very very bad.  Omen does a nice job of displaying how much threat is buffed threat and so you can predict whether the thread fading will put you ahead of the tank. 
Once the tank has a solid threat lead they are not very likely to lose it.  You may need to watch the threat meters closely at the start of the fight you can probably stop worrying about boss threat by the middle of the fight.  This really turns out to be a big DPS boots because you no longer have to waste a precious global cool down past mid fight. 
Scrubbing Bubbles
Taking the time to work with the tanks will make you raid much more successful in the long run.  After all, Tanks work hard so we don't have to.  Yeah okay its been a while if I want to end corny I'll end corny.