Monday, March 29, 2010

Ragefire Chasm, or How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love Aggro

So, I was interested in running Aeven through the Deadmines, if you recall. Before diving into the depths of the LFD tool, though, I wanted to make sure that she was up to the task.

Now, I figure that anyone hitting an entry-level dungeon is probably either going to have a couple of quest greens, or maybe some pieces of heirloom gear. However you slice it, they're going to have some stat bonuses that Aeven won't. Aside from trying to play as intelligently as possible, I decided that before Aeven stepped foot into her first dungeon, I'd make sure she had the best enchantments and potions she could get.

So, first task: enchantments. A few minutes work, and Aeven had a handful of scrolls sitting in her mailbox. Major Health (+100) for her chest piece, Resistance (+3) for her cloak, Superior Stamina (+9) on her bracers, and Greater Strength (+7) on her gloves. Oh, and Minor Stamina (+1) on her boots. No weapons enchantment yet, though I did include a couple of barrels of Minor Wizard Oil.

Next task: potions. I actually already had a bunch of low-level potions sitting in the bank from leveling alchemy, so this was just a matter of tossing whatever was there into the mail. That ended up including some Minor Rejuvenation potions, both Weak and Strong Troll's Blood Elixir, some Elixir of Lion's Strength, and a bunch of random mana and healing potions.

Woohoo! Geared up and ready for trouble. Well, I could queue up for Deadmines, but the LFD tool has worked well for my level 80 characters. Let's see what picking a random dungeon gets Aeven, then... especially since at this level, she can honestly queue as tank, healer and dps! And the RNG says...

Ragefire Chasm.

And Ragefire Chasm.

Oh, and Ragefire Chasm.

Followed by Ragefire chasm.

Topped off with Ragefire Chasm.

Yep. This is what came up from doing random dungeons. Five times in a row.

On the plus side, it really let me learn a bit about tanking, which I'm new to. Running the same dungeon repeatedly let me experiment a bit and figure out what the deal was with pulling, and taunting, and the like. I even got a little "Oh, snap, no you don't!" sort of rush the first time that a mob peeled off of me to head for the mage, and I taunted him back on to me. Skada says I managed to pull about 26 dps, which put me in a solid 3rd place, which is OK for a tank, right? Especially since I ended up soaking 75% of the damage from those runs. At least I was doing more damage than the shammy's searing totem.

Overall, it was a lot of fun - I pretty much managed to keep aggro, unless we pulled more than 3 mobs. Or the mage unloaded to early. Or the healer coughed. After the first two runs, I dinged 16, so I was able to haul myself off to the paladin trainer in Ironforge and pick up some new tricks. Retribution Aura, Righteous Defense, Righteous Fury and Hand of Reckoning made tanking so much easier. Once I had all those abilities in my toolbox, keeping aggro was a whole different story. Unless the healer coughed. Sigh...

Obviously, I need to work more on my aggro management. I do well enough if everything goes right, but if things start getting away from me, watch out. In the first run, there was one pull that went south, though the priest and I managed to stay standing and finish off the mobs... so redemptions and resurrections all around, and we were good to go again.

A couple of lessons learned from my tanking debut:
  • Overgeared rogues can effectively tank, and will if you let them.
  • Hunters that "helpfully" pull the next mob for you should themselves be shot.
  • Hunters that lay down traps for the mobs you're pulling? Priceless.
  • Mages that remember to sheep things? Twice as priceless.
  • Five RFC runs == enough XP for two levels. Joy!
Finally, gear - or refusal thereof. Refusing to equip a green pair of pants was one thing, but for doing the dungeon randoms, I got five pieces of blue mail, one from each of the Satchel of Helpful Goods given as part of the random dungeon rewards. I think I was 35th level or so on my first character before I even saw a blue item drop, let alone something I could actually use. The blues were all belts, variations on the Earthbound Girdle - of the Champion, of Strength, of Stamina, and two of the Soldier. Ended up being worth about half a gold all told when vendored.

Next up: Deadmines! Or not, depending on whether or not the RNG hates me that day :-/

All vendored, as were the two pairs of Crystalline Cuffs I won on a greed roll. The Staunch Hammer of Power went to the AH.


  1. You won't start getting DM until you're level 18 or so. And even then, you'll probably get more WC :P

    My lock got BFD at 16 though, so there's hope... But generally, until level 20 or so, it's a LOT of RFC over and over again unless you queue for something specific.

  2. I managed to get Wailing Caverns last night from the RNG, then queued up specifically for Deadmines. Took longer (a few minutes instead of a few seconds :-), but I ended up as the level 17 tank for a level 20-25 party. Now, *that* was interesting! We only wiped once, when we inadvertently pulled Captain Greenskin and his adds just before Van Cleef.

    I'm actually starting to rethink my decision to go retribution. While it looks like my dps with common gear is pitiful, I've got plenty of tools for getting and holding aggro. Long term, I may switch to a primarily protection spec to allow me to continue tanking later.