Monday, April 26, 2010

Tanking in Cataclysm

This piece by Dawn Moore over at was pretty interesting. One bit of her advice from the column, and in fact, pretty much the point of the column:

Step 1: Go to the auction house.
Step 2: Buy 150-175 item level gear.
Step 3: Queue for random dungeons.
Step 4: Learn how to heal again. (Alternatively: pull out your hair.)

One of my level 80 characters is a Dwarven priest - he's, well, my healing main? My main alt? My alt main? Whatever! He's fun to play, and I've had a blast learning to heal in instances. I got him up to speed and geared out by starting off doing heroic dungeons in quest reward greens, and using the LFD tool to run heroics over... and over... and over. So I started learning how to heal very much in the way that Ms. Moore suggested, with just enough oomph to make me think, plan, and actually learn how all my abilities work.

After reading this this morning, I realized that Aeven is teaching me how to tank for Cataclysm. We've already been told by Blizzard that they want to iron out the spiky boss damage, and make it so that being at less than fully health doesn't mean instant death.

That's pretty much the definition of old-world dungeons, isn't it? I mean, here I am, with my little Dwarven dealer in death and destruction, and she's spending a good part of her fights in instances at less than full health... but it doesn't really matter too much, because she can take a beating for a while before it's critical. Even with the armor and mitigation she's got now, chances are she's not going to be on the wrong end of a one-shot killing blow from an instance boss. I can spend less time worrying about my status and more worrying about the way the fight is going.

Especially since so many more old-world dungeon bosses come with adds. I mean, I know there are bosses with adds in WotLK, but it seems like every boss in the old world has a couple of flunkys to keep things interesting. Reacting to the fight to stun or snare or taunt back an add is a whole lot more fun than just waiting for the Big Bad to start using special ability A.

The more I think of the dungeon runs I've done with Aeven, the more I think "Yeah, this is what they want it to be like in Cata." Maybe a little bit harder (ok, ok - maybe a lot harder), but a lot more loose, a lot more chaotic. More situational choices and less "this is the strat, deviate from it and die." Something that's very different from the fights we've seen in WotLK.

I'm starting to think that I'm really going to enjoy Cataclysm when it comes out.

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