standing at the back in my sissy robe

August 3, 2009

Holy Priest Tanks Dragon!

Filed under: D'oh,Real Men Wear Purple,UR Doing It Wrong — Tamarind @ 11:32 am

Hmmm…bad choice of headline I think, since the story is much less interesting than the concept. I believe that’s what the Earl of Rochester would term imperfect enjoyment (blowing one’s load too early). Annnyway….

I ran Ramps Heroic with my guild, basically for the lulz and the practice. M’Pocket Tank was away in Cambridge so I was healing a DK tank (well, if you’re in different collegiate universities it doesn’t count, right?). He was significantly squishier than M’Pocket Tank and had made some questionable spec decisions (no toughness?!!), added to the fact that I’m so accustomed to the rhythms of healing M’Pocket Tank that learning a new tune can be a pretty fraught initially. It was one of those incremental-learning runs I find so satisfying. And in terms of the diplomatic / political aspects of running with guildies, having the guild leader with us was very helpful indeed in that I was tactics-guy and she was “please don’t do that stupid thing again” girl, which meant I didn’t have to worry about alienating people with my outrageous demands, like following kill order and letting the tank pull. We died more times than a group of 70s has any right to, but we learned and we improved and eventually we triumphed.

The final fight was … shall … we say … unorthodox.

When Nazran came down, he went straight for the healer – as is his wont – and the tank just couldn’t get him off me. I’ve no idea what he was doing, but I tried everything, fading, running towards the tank, everything. The thing is, I don’t know what you’re meant to do when you’re a healer under those circumstances. If you’re DPS, it’s obvious. You stop DPSing and hope for rescue. But it’s not like I can just stop healing. Anyway, in a state of panic, I threw up the usual protections, kept up a steady stream of healing on myself and did my damndest not to stand in fire.

And, of course, the best way to do this when he’s right in your face is to kite Nazran round in a circle. I died when he was on about 2% health, and then the DPS finished him off. And then I realised that, apart from a bit of splash damage, everybody else was absolutely fine.

I had, entirely inadvertently, tanked the drake.

Holy priest tanking! It’s gonna be the next big thing!

The DK, who’s basically the loveliest guy, apologised after. But the next time he makes me tank a boss, he’s healing, dammit.

The other thing I learned from this experience is that tanking = fucking terrifying. I’ve done a bit of tanking but at much lower levels. And maybe it’s different if you’re in a full set of spiky macho platemail but if you’re a skinny guy in a sissy robe who’d much rather be standing at the back and instead you’ve got an enormous, black, bat-winged drake right in your face spewing fire, well, yes, I found it genuinely traumatic. Bosses look considerably less scary when you’re standing behind them, some distance away and somebody else is whacking them in the face.

Disconnected update on Queen Susan’s Guardian Spirit. The glyph has helped the situation considerably but I’ve uncovered yet another problem with Guardian Spirit. Casting it makes you feel like you’ve done something. This is actually lethal. Because obviously what you need to do is keep healing. Perhaps it’s the happy little wings or something but casting GS feels so much like having solved the problem that I tend to chill out completely instead of following up. ARGH! Can I never win?



  1. Might I be so bold as to attract sirs’ attention to the Moonshroud Robe? A most fetching blue in colour, I’m sure sir will agree, and it does add that certain zomgwtfpwndbbq!! to sirs’ healing efforts. Comes with matching gloves for the dandy priest about town and all the stats a Holy Priest might desire.

    Costs a few bob, though. Luckily I have three tailors, one of them a moonshroud specialist, one a spellweave specialist and one an ebonweave specialist so all of my clothies had epic robes and gloves waiting for them to ding the magic number.

    Sirs’ mileage may, of course, vary.

    Comment by pewpewlazerz — August 3, 2009 @ 1:01 pm | Reply

    • Sir may press his nose against the window of a passing tailor but currently Sir can only aspire. Sir is a shameless casual, you see, who has let his tailor languish in the mid 60s. Sir has only himself to blame.

      For the moment Sir will have to content himself with crap he picked off the ground.

      Comment by Tamarind — August 4, 2009 @ 11:26 am | Reply

      • Then may I be so bold as to point sir in the direction of the Pimp My Mage posts on my very own blog? They have been updated to reflect the changes a few patches ago that rendered spirit not a complete waste of time and effort for a mage, and thus may as well therefore now be called “Pimp My Priest”.

        Since sir is intending to be 5-manning soon he may find it to his interest.

        Can’t help you with the hair, though.

        Comment by pewpewlazerz — August 5, 2009 @ 12:20 am

  2. In PVP priests always tank. You’re the first target they run to, and CC, and the first target they try to take out. Funny enough we seem to be frigging good at it too!

    Oh, and I never find tanking too bad, but since my tank is undergeared compared to some dps, they can quite regularly expect to pull agro when they go full out. But hey, I can easily blame that on others ;p

    Comment by Shy — August 3, 2009 @ 1:02 pm | Reply

    • I have to admit, I’m a total PvP wuss. I’ve never done, I don’t have much desire to try it and I’d probably just cower in a corner 🙂

      I think it was just the sudden shock of going from standing at the back in the a sissy robe, well out of the way of fire and dragonface and then suddenly having it *right there*.

      Comment by Tamarind — August 4, 2009 @ 11:36 am | Reply

      • Shy doth speak the truth! A priest in a Battleground is nothing more than a Rogue and Warrior magnet. Towards the end of Burning Crusade I was being asked to swap to my priest, Aluriel, for the Felmyst fight in Sunwell Plateau. This was for two reasons, first because the dumbass fight mechanics practically demanded that you have a minimum of three priests for dispelling or you were going to fail hard. Secondly because my main is a mage and mages in Sunwell were a joke.

        *ahem* Touchy subject.

        Well anyway, Aluriel had the best gear Karazahn could provide, but there’s a hell of a gap between Kara and Sunwell, so in order to get the requisite amount of health I needed to survive the fight I went into Battlegrounds and started grinding tokens and honour for the very sexy-looking Season Two gear.


        This was of course before dual specs and I was already forking over 100g a week in respecs for what was just an alt to switch between Shadow for raiding and Holy for instances. There was NO chance I was going to be able to afford to spec Discipline for pvp as well, and let me assure you, a Holy Priest in any Battleground other than Alterac Valley has a life expectancy measured in seconds.
        Every Warrior and Rogue in visible range has you charged, intercepted, hamstrung, poisoned, crippled, stunned and Mortal Struck before you can say “lolwut?” You can’t fear the warriors and the second you try to cast anything with a casting time greater than nothing you get your entire Holy tree locked out by all those interrupts Blizzard were kind enough to remove from the global cooldown.

        If you must pvp as a priest, for the sake of your sanity, spec Discipline and at the very least get yourself some of the crafted blue pvp gear. Or only ever pvp with a premade group on whom you can rely to look after your dainty Holy ass. Or both.

        Comment by pewpewlazerz — August 4, 2009 @ 3:01 pm

      • I can promise that I have utterly intention of PvPing at all, let alone as a priest.

        Comment by Tamarind — August 4, 2009 @ 6:02 pm

  3. Actually, while we’re on the subject of clothies tanking, speaking as a Mage, my favourite two fights in Burning Crusade were High King Maulgar in Gruuls’ Lair and the Illidari Council in Black Temple for precisely because I had to mage-tank them. Immense fun exactly because I wasn’t standing at the back in my sissy robe for a change.

    Maulgar in particular was a serious case of fresh pants for table four, please. One of his adds, an Ogre Mage called Krosh Firehand, had a number of “interesting” abilities that made him impossible for a melee class to tank. Cheif amongst them was a really annoying 8k Blastwave + Knockback that he did if anyone went anywhere near him, i.e. close enough to tank him. Then he had a habit of chucking around 9k fireballs and covering himself with a spellshield that reduced magic damage by 75%.

    Spellshield huh? Hmm.. can’t mages do spellsteal?

    Yeah, that was a fun fight.

    Comment by pewpewlazerz — August 3, 2009 @ 1:16 pm | Reply

    • My mage was one of my last-to-the-table characters in BC so I only got to tank for the Maulgar fight once but it was seriously awesome.

      The first attempt didn’t go so well. The tanks pulled, I let loose my opening nuke and then Krosh walked over to me and punched me in the face. As I crumpled to the ground I was sputtering “He can’t do that!” in shock.

      I forget the reason he did that but my shock at his audacity in coming over to squish me with his bare hands is still fresh in my mind!

      Comment by Shayzani — August 3, 2009 @ 6:33 pm | Reply

      • I remember on one pull, the Hunter was getting ready to Misdirect Maulgar onto the Main Tank then switch to his job of tanking the Ogre Shaman. I started the pull with a Pyroblast in Kroshs’ face and ran in to follow up with a Fireblast in case the Pyro was resisted. Hunter then forgets to Misdirect, Main Tank runs in to grab Maulgar and somehow misses. I’ve just triggered Kroshs’ Blastwave so he’s nicely rooted, but theres two tons of irate Ogre King now bearing down on me being chased by a frantic Prot Warrior as I spellsteal Kroshs’ Spellshield and start spamming Scorch.
        Maulgar reaches me.
        Maulgar swings.
        Sissy mage DODGES!
        Main Tank taunts him.
        I start breathing again.
        Raid leader yells at all the dps running for the exit to get their asses back into the fight.
        I place an order for a fresh pair of pants.

        Comment by pewpewlazerz — August 3, 2009 @ 10:37 pm

      • There’s definitely something rather startling about getting punched in the face, especially when you’re so used to keeping everything at a safe, hygienic distance 🙂

        Comment by Tamarind — August 4, 2009 @ 11:39 am

      • And oh my God, what a fantastic story 🙂

        Comment by Tamarind — August 4, 2009 @ 11:41 am

    • Great story! Those spectacular almost-wipes are the most memorable thing in the game, I swear, followed by equally spectacular actual wipes. Rarely do I remember a smooth kill unless it’s a first.

      … now I miss that Maulgar fight.

      And, shame on that cowardly DPS crowd! They should all be made to tank, so they learn to take one for the team as needed and fight to the last hitpoint. Rawr!

      Comment by Feralan — August 4, 2009 @ 11:01 am | Reply

    • That sounds like an awesome fight 🙂

      Just for the turnabout.

      So, do the warriors stand at the back in their sissy platemail?

      Comment by Tamarind — August 4, 2009 @ 11:37 am | Reply

  4. Re: The Disconnected Update

    This is exactly my problem with Guardian Spirit. I know it’s ridiculous, but the first few times I used it, I actually stopped healing the tank entirely because if it didn’t proc than I’d just gone and been a ninny and wasted Guardian Spirit. (And apparently in my mind there was nothing, not even a dead tank, worse than wasting that proc.) The idiocy of that thought process is still sinking in for me. Thankfully I never lost a tank due to this wacky plan, but I still have trouble following up on healing once I’ve put those little wings on someone. Maybe it’s the mage in me (mmmm…Hot Streak!), but I really need to see those procs…

    Comment by Taz — August 3, 2009 @ 1:44 pm | Reply

    • I’m so glad the endless neurotic tangles I get myself into with Guardian Spirit aren’t just me 🙂

      Guardian Spirit has got to be the most counter-intuitive spell ever. I’m exactly the same. I feel like I’ve wasted it if it doesn’t proc but, actually, you’re much better off taking advantage of the 40% extra healing power. And once I’ve given somebody wings, like you, I’ll be found polishing my nails at the back having “done” my healing.

      Gah! 🙂

      Comment by Tamarind — August 4, 2009 @ 11:47 am | Reply

  5. Dear sissy-robe-wearing-priest,

    do you have any idea what it means allways looking in some ugly-faced-plate-wearing-tanks?

    noooo, not a fine view at all.

    so i decided to look at your pretty robe, it looks nice though.

    and i don’t mind that you killed me in the end, i respawn very fast…but psht, little secret of our’s okay?

    Thanks for the nice view,
    your Nazan

    Comment by Nimayne — August 3, 2009 @ 1:48 pm | Reply

    • Dear Nazran

      I didn’t know you cared. Next time, though, I would prefer some flowers, roses maybe. Or how about chocolates? Please don’t burn me to a crisp. Even though I have now learned it is your way of showing affection it still hurts a lot, and frightens me.

      Yours tentatively,

      Comment by Tamarind — August 3, 2009 @ 9:32 pm | Reply

  6. […] Naxx, we cleared construct wing (and yes, Tam, having Patchwerk beating on your face is a bit intimidating, even in lots of spiky metal armor, and even though the tank soaking the hateful strikes (which […]

    Pingback by The More, the Merrier « Fel Deeds Awake! — August 3, 2009 @ 2:40 pm | Reply

  7. I seriously hope that Nazan was only down on the ground for less than eight seconds otherwise that tank has some ‘splaining to do.

    Comment by Shayzani — August 3, 2009 @ 6:34 pm | Reply

    • I was too busy putting out the fires in my sissy robe to demand said explanation. It was pretty much a tankfail.

      Well, I’ve learned my lesson. Next time M’Pocket Tank goes to Cambridge I’ll be a good and healer and grind my mining or something.

      Comment by Tamarind — August 3, 2009 @ 9:29 pm | Reply

  8. Having played a tank more years then I like to admit….I am sick looking at boss crotch every raid. Thus I became a mage, I have to tell you Robes alot more room to breathe.

    Comment by theerivs — August 3, 2009 @ 7:17 pm | Reply

    • Hey healers don’t even get the variety of boss crotch. They just get to see some green bars going up and down.

      Comment by Tamarind — August 3, 2009 @ 9:26 pm | Reply

  9. You got stuck with a tank that does not understand the concept of threat.

    Doing damage to boss does not equal threat.

    Such tanks should be fired…


    Comment by Daniel — August 3, 2009 @ 8:29 pm | Reply

    • To be fair, he was a self-confessed noob tank, very much learning on the job. And he’s very nice and very willing to learn so better that than mere stubborn idiocy. Thank God for M’Pocket Tank, though. The only person FIRED on that run was me =P

      Comment by Tamarind — August 3, 2009 @ 9:25 pm | Reply

  10. i say it’s a new tradition: all priest raids.

    Tam tanks, hires other robes to stand in the back.

    Comment by lantanasham — August 3, 2009 @ 10:26 pm | Reply

    • Hehe. Actually a disc priest could probably take a reasonable shot at it 😉

      Comment by Tamarind — August 4, 2009 @ 11:49 am | Reply

  11. On my last shaman a year or so ago, during a Sunken Temple run, we had this warrior who had absolutely no idea how to tank. Honestly, the mage ended up tanking most of the instance, simply because he would pull aggro the instant he so much as looked at the mobs sideways.

    By the time we got to the green dragon area, I’d slapped on a shield and was frost-shock tanking most of the mobs in an effort to keep the mage from dying for the 432nd time. I was doing a hell of a lot better than that sorry excuse for a plate-wearer too. I was impressed at that mage’s patience.

    Comment by Kiryn — August 3, 2009 @ 11:39 pm | Reply

    • I’ve had such “tanks”. Totally clueless, but too dense or arrogant to admit as much and, Elune forbid, ask for help. Would make their you-know-what fall off, I guess. But maybe I am just cynical and some of them are too embarrassed to speak up … I wish people would learn there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help and advice. That goes both for the person in need of aid, and the people around him. Bashing and flaming and ego-wanking at the expense of that person is really disgusting behavior.

      My latest example of a completely unsuited “tank” was a spectacularly failed Utgarde Keep trip with my hunter. I don’t remember why, but we wiped badly at the first boss due to a glaring absence of teamwork. The tank, who was hardly stellar, left without a word. Then the DPS warrior said he would tank — as full Arms spec, with a two-hander, and in mostly green low-sixties gear, not a single piece of which had one lonely point of defense on it. I calmly told him what “tanking” means and what he needs for that, then left for greener pastures. Honestly, I do not mind wiping as a new tank or healer learns their job. I am happy to help as I can in word and deed. But if they don’t have a single clue what to do and don’t even have the decency to admit it, I’m out of there.

      Tanking is not something you can do just because you happen to wear plate.

      Comment by Feralan — August 4, 2009 @ 11:16 am | Reply

      • Yes indeed. What really annoys and bewilders is me that you can get people with no clue how to tank in the 70s. I mean, what the hell? How did they get there? Have they just face-rolled instances thus far or just blundered through unchallenged by other players? Gah!

        Comment by Tamarind — August 4, 2009 @ 12:02 pm

      • Unfortunately, to the relatively new WoW players (and yes, there are certainly players who have made it 70 levels and could still be considered “new”), sometimes “plate-wearing” and “tanking” do, in fact, seem indistinguishable. I know from experience – my first character was a warrior who I thought could potentially be a “tank” largely because I had no idea what “tanking” actually was. I was an arms warrior (sort of), because for the longest time I didn’t realize there were other tabs in the talent specs. I wielded a two-handed axe because I thought it looked cool. I was probably routinely laughed at as I strolled through major cities.

        Me warrior. Me in plate. Me stand up to big boss. This was the extent of my understanding from levels 1-60. My partner-in-crime, who had rolled a priest, was similarly clueless. He would occasionally heal but mostly threw dps around like it was the end days. Together we were an appalling team of WoW ignorance. And we made it to level 60! Without too much difficulty!

        So I say it is totally possible. Especially if you are alone (or in a pair) and have no one to tell you how the game is actually played, being a Tank With No Clue at 70 isn’t a stretch at all. This is even more amplified if you don’t generally group with others.

        To be fair to your unsuitable DPS tank, he may have honestly been clueless and just trying to help out the group. To be fair to the perfectly legitimate cynicism you feel, he might also have been an idiot who didn’t want to accept that he couldn’t tank. But remember that the former category does exist out there. 🙂

        Comment by wildgrowth — August 4, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

    • Unfortunately a lot of tanks just don’t have a clue what it means to tank. They think it’s going up at the front and attacking the mobs, rather than actually managing aggro on *all* the mobs. Sigh! Sometimes I wonder if it’s the terminology. Tank is not exactly an accurate descriptor is it? Tank suggests armoured killing machine. Whereas actually the job of a tank is to get hit in the face for the team…

      Comment by Tamarind — August 4, 2009 @ 11:53 am | Reply

      • I know genuinely clueless but perfectly sweet people exist, and just need a friendly word and some advice to become reliable players and good company. 🙂 Hell, I’m not “leet” or “hardcore” or a min-maxer or someone who jumpss ship after one or two wipes if the group isn’t totally hopeless or obnoxious. But in this case I drew the line because it was not a particularly pleasant PUG, and that poor warrior simply, literally wasn’t equipped for the job. He didn’t even have a shield. We actually did try the first boss before I left (call it a certain morbid fascination on my part) and he died in about four seconds, I hadn’t even started shooting yet when he hit the floor. It really felt like a futile case, so I politely told him (again) that if he does want to try tanking, he needs a shield, some tanking-oriented gear, and some reading up on how tanking works because you can’t explain that in five minutes in a PUG.

        If it had been one of those rare pleasant, relaxed PUGs and if the poor guy had actually owned a shield and one-handed weapon, I would have tried. I’ve coached three PUG newbie tanks before, it can be a pleasure if you see them try and start to get the hang of it. But in this case, the warrior might as well have offered to heal.

        Comment by Feralan — August 4, 2009 @ 10:01 pm

      • Oops, that was supposed to be in reply to wildgrwoth.

        Comment by Feralan — August 4, 2009 @ 10:01 pm

  12. The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was in Zul’farrak. I’d given up on my hunter and was levelling the lovely Calli, who is now my Fire Mage main, and was in a PuG for ZF. The group consisted of some pretty nice folks, except the “tank” was a two-handed Axe-waving moron who refused to equip a shield and thought that his “1337 dps” alone would be enough to hold aggro. Newsflash, at level 40, there is no healer in this universe who’s going to keep an Arms Warrior in Beserker Stance without a shield alive when he’s being beat on by four Sandstalker trolls. And you hold exactly zero aggro when you’re dead.

    A tank has two jobs, and two jobs only.
    1. Hold aggro.
    2. Not die.
    End of chat.

    Nowhere in the above list does it say anything about doing 1337 mad dps. As a consequence of the endless procession of clueless, arrogant dicktards who somehow ended up “tanking” in instance groups as I was levelling Calli, I resolved that my warrior alt was going to do it “properly”, and I levelled him to 60 as Protection all the way.

    In retrospect, that was a massive overreaction on my part, as all you need to tank a 1-50 instance as a Warrior was a shield, a one-hander and the will to try. The Protection tree really sucked back then, more than 15 points in it was a waste of talents. Questing was painfully slow, but on the bright side, I never once got my ass kicked from an instance group for being yet another clueless dps warrior with delusions of tanking.

    Comment by pewpewlazerz — August 4, 2009 @ 3:17 pm | Reply

    • To be fair, the concept of “tanking” is probably hard to grasp for a real newbie. It’s 1) not exaactly intuitive or logical, and 2) runs contrary to a DPS playstyle which is what everyone does when questing. We hit stuff hard to make it die before we do. Also, what’s “aggro”? I hit stuff and you (the healer) don’t, so why should the monsters suddenly decide to eat you? And how could it by my fault? Unless you’re a hunter (yes, the often maligned “huntard” class is actually the best way to learn about aggro and how NOT to pull it) it’s all really odd for a newbie who hasn’t read up on things before they enter a group for the first time.

      None of this means the newbie player is stupid, of course. And when one really thinks about it, it is a bit weird that monsters would pound on that tincan who does crap-all damage to them when there’s a mage standing in the back AoEing the living hell out of them three times over. The mage hurts them way more, and is also easily disposed of, unlike the tincan. I love tanking, but it is a somewhat silly concept. 🙂

      Of course, arrogant twits like your “1337 dps” warrior are a different kettle of fish. Probably capable of learning like any newbie, but not worth it in terms of time and energy and patience spent trying to beat the basics into his skull (and the leetspeak out, while we’re at it).

      Comment by Feralan — August 4, 2009 @ 10:21 pm | Reply

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