Tank like a girl
Jan 19 2009

My first week of heroics

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I wish I could say it’s been a hugely successful week in Kadomi-land, but I guess I’ll get there eventually. I didn’t PUG as much as I thought I would, it was mostly almost full guild-groups, as I mentioned. I managed to complete the easy heroics at least, with some blood, sweat and tears. I had a very good Nexus run with only two accidental wipes, and then a disastrous, called Violet Hold run. It makes me dread going back. The next day I grabbed a couple guildies and friends, and we ran Utgarde Keep and Nexus and it was ugly. Extremely wipetastic, so many tank-deaths, I felt like a noob again. Our healer had terrible lag in Nexus in particular and thus I went down so many times. It was a really low point in my tanking career, felt a lot like when I was an undergeared fury-spec scrub wiping the floor in Shadow Labs.

Nevertheless, I don’t give up easily, so the next day Drak’tharon Keep was the daily, I grabbed two guildies, managed to snag the PUG healer of the successful Nexus run, and had a smooth and easy run with no wipes. The Prophet kill was a bit messy, but all in all, excellent run. Some trash was so kind to drop Waistguard of the Risen Knight, which was a huge upgrade, and the final boss dropped Keystone Great-Ring. Wearing the ring and no def trinket my defense is down to 535, but that’s fine for heroics, and I am only waiting for 3.0.8 now to get fully enchanted for raiding. Today I promised to help the most-geared guildie who’s been pugging heroics and Naxx like crazy with Halls of Stone, so wish me luck.

Speaking of raiding, I just scheduled our first Sartharion/Archavon (if up) raid for the last weekend of January. Should give people some time to gear some more and get their stuff together. If we can make it happen, it looks like I’d be tanking, but that also means we might be short a healer. I’ll know more soon.

During the weekend, I mostly played my shaman, for several heroics, including one I hadn’t done on heroic, Halls of Stone. I think the tuning of the instance is like completely off. All bosses are a walk in the park, no challenge whatsoever, but the freaking Brann Bronzebeard event? Eight wipes, always at around 30 seconds til end of the event. The amount of mobs just got too insane at that point. Even in our successful try, most of the group was down, we got lucky. As a healer I felt the whole event was unbalanced. Searing Gaze starts at about 3:25 into the event, anything before that was easy to heal. There was not that much damage. Then you get Searing Gaze, people standing in it a tick too long, mobs everywhere, golems stunning you, etc. I know it’s supposedly easy-peasy tanking on the stairs, but that’s where mobs were tanked, and it still didn’t work out easily.

Speaking of the difficulty of heroics, it’s like back in TBC. The raiders are all saying ‘Yawn, heroics are caek, lol Blizzard we want more content’. The non-raiders who are just starting heroics, especially the ones with low DPS, they struggle. Blizzard recently started a poll asking which heroic is considered the most challenging, and the comments are full of ‘lol, where’s the option none’. Bothers me. But then, it’s the official forums, what to expect?

21 Responses to “My first week of heroics”

  1. ARA says:

    Dont get to discouraged, I had a few bad heroic runs as soon as I turned 80, partly because of gear, partly expecting them to be easy, partly not knowing enough about the encounters. Violet Hold really is very easy to tank once you’ve seen and done all the bosses successfully – but its a bit overwhelming at the start. You may or may not get the “easy” bosses. A lot of people have forgotten that heroics were challenging when they first hit 80. Agree about HoS – its rapidly become the shadow labs of wrath. Most people dont want to do it, and we’re all sick of wiping on the gauntlet. Which means it gets a bad rep in people’s minds, which means people dont do it, so they dont get any more practice… and so on. Oh well. I expect Blizzard to change it – make it shorter or something. Even the times we did it just find, you come away feeling it goes on just too long to be fun or challenging even.


  2. Suvaro says:

    Thank you oh so much for this post! My main is also a prot warrior, and I first assembled a Def 540 set about two weeks ago. I’ve read a post on the forums of http://www.tankspot.com that all a warrior needs to start doing heroics was Def 535, HP & Armor of 22k each, and ~40% avoidance. I’ve tried PUGing heroic Nexus twice and both times we couldn’t get past Commander Stoutbeard. I’ve wiped on the Void Lord in *regular* Violet Halls, and I nearly wiped in the gauntlet of Culling of Strathome. I have been feeling particularly low.

    I only reached level 70 a week before WotLK dropped, so I never really got a chance to run any TBC. Knowing that an experienced raider (such as yourself) is *also* having difficulties gives me hope. Yes, I need to continue to upgrade my gear. Yes, I need to continue to improve my tanking skills. Yes, I am dependent on my fellow party members to do their jobs well. None of those obstacles are insurmountable, and I *will* one day tank a heroic instance without wiping!

    N.B. as of 13:41 EST 2009-01-19, my character is not in his tanking gear; I’m working through long quest chains to open up daily reputation quests with various factions, so I’m in my “do damage” gear (which is pretty lousy).


    admin Reply:

    Don’t stress it indeed, it will get easier. I am saying this just having come out of an extremely smooth, almost trivial H UK run, which scored me enough emblems to buy the necklace.

    Everyone posts how easy things are and how you just blow through them, and that’s just not always true. Good luck, keep me posted, I’d like to hear your success stories! :)


  3. drug says:

    A good part of the heroics are very easy. Some of them are pretty difficult. And I like it that way. If you find a good healer there are a some heroics you can tank right after hitting 80, if you have some crafted gear or some decent pieces from the AH. But other heroics are pretty challenging, and as I know how tricky they can be from a healer perspective I prefer to farm the easier heroics with my tank. Heroics that can easily be pugged are:

    Nexus, UK, Drak’Tharon, Violet Hold, Gundrak, Azjol-Nerub (if poison dispeller available) and Stratholm. And Archavon/Sartharion for 10 mans.

    Everything else I wouldn’t PuG with a totally random group. Today or tomorrow PuGs will be topic of the day on my blog, again. Actors of the play: Me, retrebution paladin and Azjol-Nerub tanking belt.

    drug´s last blog post../gquit


  4. ARA says:

    Dont forget ppl like to show off. When they say it’s easy, they often want to communicate: “its really hard and I know you are stuggling but I’m leetsauce so to me and my friends its a joke”

    2 success stories this weekend: 10 man malygos guild first kill, yeah baby! It was a total high. Some of our RLs believe in bringing the highest dps for a progression kill. I believe in bringing the people who play the best together and who trust & like each other. In some people’s eyes, we were the “b” group while the other was the “a” group – however, we conquered and they did not. Its a real vindication of my philosophy of raid organizing too. On of our long term officers who wasnt in the run prompty gquit as soon as we got the kill. No gratz, no pride swallowing. Just gquit. Weird huh? Also downed 25man Sarth with 1 drake up for the first time. Not quite as big a thrill – we had some unpleasant people on the run, and I didnt organize it – but still very satisfying.


  5. Brackarn says:

    Keep up the great writing and don’t quit on the heroics!

    I was in exactly the same position and no doubt there will be more moments like this in my tanking career.

    Heroics can be incredibly hard for various reasons but don’t be discouraged because you’re on the right track and you know it.

    Stay strong, keep at it and you know the rewards will be reaped in the end!


    Brackarn´s last blog post..I once died so hard in the Nexus…


  6. Beefbringer says:

    I’ve had a couple of heroic moments where i felt like a noob, and we have cleared half of naxx already, VH is still a pain in the backside (voidwalker boss is a ‘mare! Especially when he only targets the healer, which for us, he has every single time) felt i lost agro quite a bit too, this was solved after relaiseing my DPS were just attacking anything they felt like.
    With the heroics I feel most of its down to chance, like doing heroic OK without an offhealer, second boss always killed the healer with his beam.

    It will hopefully get better with gear (haven’t had an upgrade in a month though, my lucks really bad at the moment) same as TBC was.


  7. Tulakk says:

    Once you get the gear, heroics become a bit more manageable, but some of them are still pretty difficuly in my opinion. Right now, I think Old Kingdom and Azjol-Nerub are the hardest on heroic. Old Kingdom is just a huge pain, with bosses that have annoying phases or abilities. Still can’t beat the Herald without a couple of faceplants. And AN…I HATE Anub’Arak, he makes me grind my teeth when we face him.


  8. Sicilia says:

    Hi – let me first say I love your blog. I feel I’ve progressed the same way in my tanking: slow leveling to 80, and only now stepping foot into heroics. It’s great to read about someone in a similar situation rather than a “leet” raider.

    I’m making good progress so far: Nexus, UK, Drak’tharon don’t hold any fears for me. I don’t like VH due to the randomness of the bosses: some are scary if people aren’t familiar with them. Strangely I haven’t had a problem with Brann in HoS: one failure due to him dying, but otherwise OK. I think it was down to lucky timings on my TC and Shockwave cooldowns, plus a DK for secondary AOE aggro.

    My experience so far with heroics is that they are really stressful for healers, and that DPS really makes a difference. I now religiously armory my DPS: 3 DPSers doing 2k+ makes a massive difference, versus 1.2k which is worryingly frequent for PuGs.

    However I’m still scared of the tougher heroics. I only stepped into UP for the first time yesterday, desperate to get my sword after my GF had a lucky run with purple drops. (I’m not competitive, honest!).

    With 3 DPS doing 2k damage, we only *just* survived the Skaldi guantlet. Didn’t help that the person picking up the harpoons died before he could use them, and we had to 3-man the last 50% of the bosses life. However we the biggest achievement for me of WotLK so far. How my GF kept healing for so long, I have no idea.

    Unfortunately the sword didn’t drop, but I got a cool belt upgrade off Skaldi. Hmmmm…. lovely block value….


    admin Reply:

    I love reading about similar experiences. I agree about the 3 easy ones. And again I can only repeat that DPS really can make or break a group.

    I have my first H UP scheduled for Thursday, with my guild’s best DPS (ret paladin) and the healer with the best gear and most experience with heroics. We’ll have to pick up more DPS, and in my dreams the sword will drop the first time. ;)

    Grats about the belt, it’s on my list. I wish more stuff had SBV! :)


    Suvaro Reply:

    How do you read the “real” DPS of a character (say, a Mage or a Hunter) using wowarmory? In my own case, so much is based on proper rotation of powers that I can’t *imagine* that the raw stats tell the story. For example, wowarmory currently lists my white DPS as 301, but I’m more typically 600-800 during an instance run and can get to 1200-1400 while grinding mobs for mats in Wintergrasp. Do you just look at the “Bonus Damage” stat on casters? What about melee types?

    P.S. as of 2009-01-21 12:33 EST I’ve got my tanking gear back on. Hooray for the new gem slots on the Titansteel helm!


    admin Reply:

    You can’t really say for sure how much DPS someone will be able to provide. Using Armory you can guesstimate what they should be capable off. For casters that would be spellpower, crit, hit, for melee that would be attack power, crit, hit, etc.


  9. Tankette says:

    Heroics are no cake walk until you get a lot of epics. Even then they aren’t all easy like some like to brag. HoS for example, that Tribunal fight is still danged hard even when your all geared out. I haven’t completed it without many wipes first.

    As for the people saying the raids are too easy, I guess they probably are if you were in a guild that completed Sunwell, did Naxx at 60, did Naxx on the test server and then leveled up to 80 in 5 days. For the rest of us, Naxx has plenty of challenge and is a lot of fun. And remember that fun is what counts, not bragging about how everything is so easy look at me I’m uber.

    Tankette´s last blog post..Malygos


    admin Reply:

    I am actually proud that when I tanked H HoS yesterday, we only wiped once at Tribunal of Ages. It was messy, but we got it in two tries. Go me! :)

    It’s the fun that matters, yes, I am just really tired of the bragging. I wasted some time reading the EU Raids and Dungeons forum today, and it’s just one bragfest. If people ask questions about certain bosses, it’s all easy peasy? Heroic Loken? Everyone stay in, the healer got it. Heroic Mage-Lord Urom? Healer got it, just burn him. Etc etc.


    Tulakk Reply:

    Honestly, if you have a shaman healer, Loken is fairly easy with a ‘stay in and burn him’ strategy. Nature res totem makes his nova pretty wimpy, but you still need good DPS to burn him down quickly. As for Urom, his arcane explosion is what bugs me, I hate having to interrupt my priorities just to run behind a wall. -.-


  10. Alaphrei says:

    I had a really painful run of Azjol’Nerub due to low DPS on the last boss (we were getting overwhelmed by adds and the healer would die). It got better when I stopped really trying to DPS things and just swore myself to protect the healer XD;

    With my “heroic dream team” as I like to call them, I don’t think anything has been particularly challenging, unless it is a boss that is decidedly anti-melee (since my heroic dream team consists of a protection warrior, arms warrior, combat rogue, feral druid, and resto shammy). At least our healer is a good one for those though :)

    I haven’t done Old Kingdom or Oculus yet but I’ve done all the others. I would say my worst heroic experience hands down was that one in Azjol’Nerub though. Alternatively though, that was also one of the fastest instance runs when I had my dream team with me, so… in the end I guess it can be hard to say :)


  11. Davo says:

    I’ve had very similar experiences. Starting out heroics were all tough because we weren’t too well geared, yes everybody keeps saying how very easy they are even though they were were with me we were wiping on some of them… why all the bragging?

    One thing I’ve noticed, you can be as geared as you like and it certainly gets easier as you go, but dps makes a big difference. I’ve waltzed through UP because everything died too quickly to be a bother then the next day had a wipefest in Nexus we had to call because the dps just couldn’t burn through telestra’s phases quickly enough.

    Totally agree about Halls of Stone, that one event is way out on the difficulty range where the others are fine. Trying to control all those mobs as a prot warrior is very stressful. Finally managed it the other day and now that I’ve got the achievement, I’m never going back!


    admin Reply:

    I will probably go back eventually to get the Brann achievement, but only with super DPS. I keep repeating myself, but DPS really can make or break a group. I recently pugged H UK, and top DPS was a mage with 1.3k DPS, who did 100k more damage than I did. The others were below 1k damage. Longest Prince Keleseth fight ever.

    Heroics are getting easier now, I can’t complain too much at all.


  12. Kanye says:

    As so many have said, dps really is important now, especially as everyone expects to AOE tank and kill the trash. I’m a healer who has picked up some really nice upgrades in the last couple of weeks so I’ve gone from heroics being one long, stressful experience to, well, frankly a little bit boring sometimes! Last night, after breezing though UK so easily that I spent a lot of time adding to the dps, I went into Violet Hold (with a different group). Suddenly everything was a struggle – the last boss kill came down to 3 of us left alive with about 2k health each.

    So I looked over the stats – and saw the hunter had contributed 600 dps and was using a gun which is a quest reward from Borean Tundra.

    Moral of the story – it gets easier as you gear up but don’t get complacent!


  13. Bulliwyf says:

    Hey, I know this is a late response, but I suppose better late than never at all.
    Dont get frustrated by the heroics. One day, its going to be so hard that you are wiping on it every other pull. Then you will get a few pieces of gear and then be complaining about being rage starved if that silly CC’er that you depended on before the upgrades continues to CC. I was wearing almost the exact same gear as you are (except I refused to make the titansteel stuff – i felt like it was the cheap way out as a BS >..<

    Bulliwyf, Blackwing Lair


    admin Reply:

    Thank you! It’s already gotten a lot easier, and we missed our CoS timed run by a minute. I run H UP every day, and some days everything seems incredibly easy now.


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