Mar 28, 2009

Tanking tips

Hello again,

After the tanking issues with heroic strike was brought back in the spotlight over at Tobold's blogspot it feels fitting do a writeup on things you can do yourself to relieve your fingers and your poor keyboards, and perhaps also up your performance a bit as well.

The first and most important thing you can do to help keeping up with regular tank moves and continuous heroic strike spam, is to remap your keybinds. There is no golden rule on how exactly it should be done, we all have our preferences but a good start is to keybind as much as possible to the keys around your WASD movement keys (assuming you use those). Cram in as much as you can and think about which abilities you use the most (HS, Shield Slam, Revenge, Devastate, Thunder Clap and Shockwave for me, for example), you want those in easy and comfortable reach.

Once that is done, consider what more abilities you also use on a regular basis, perhaps Cleave and medium cooldown abilities such as shield block, last stand and such. Often you have short time to react when the need arises for them, so get those keybound as well. It goes much faster than taking your eyes off the battles to mouseclick Shield Wall or Challenging Shout. Shift, Alt and CTRL modifiers are great for these. Once everything is set, practice. For me at least it can take quite some time for my fingers to get used to new binds. :)



The other big thing that can save you a lot of stress, and in some cases free up some key binds is to get sorted with some macros. At the risk of losing cred with the super hardcore tanks out there who shun macros like the devil, here are some that are very useful to me.

Edit: All these macros use #showtooltip, to get ability tooltips when you mouseover the macro icons and to make cooldowns display properly. For this to with you will need to select the first icon available for the macro, the red question mark. When you start using the macro the icon will change to the skill specified and display things proper.

Charge/Intercept + Victory Rush:
#Showtooltip Charge
/cast Charge
/cast Victory Rush
More a general use macro, most of us keep charge and intercept in easy reach, but using this you can combine them and remove victory rush from your bar, freeing a slot up. The beauty of this macro is that despite having two so different abilities macroed together, they will never conflict, either you charge if you are in the appropriate range, or if you're in melee and hit it, it will attempt Victory Rush. Swap Charge in line 1 and 2 with Intercept if you want to set one up for intercept as well. (Edit: Just make sure you have the mob you want to hit targetted for Victory Rush, and not a mob in the next trash group! ;) )

Shield Slam/Devastate/Revenge + Start Attack:
#Showtooltip Shield Slam
/cast Shield Slam
/startattack
Get rid of that Attack icon finally, if you haven't already. Very simple macro that makes sure your autoattack is on, useful when the mob you had targetted just died and turned your autoattack off and you start on the next one in the pack. If you don't have enough rage to cast shield slam, it will still make sure your white hits are running, getting you rage again. I've set up Shield Slam, Devastate and Revenge all to also do /startattack. Again, to make this work with Devastate and revenge, just swap the skill names in line 1 and 2.

Shield Slam/Devastate/Revenge + Heroic Strike + Start Attack:
#Showtooltip Shield Slam
/cast Shield Slam
/cast Heroic Strike
/startattack
Same as above, but with heroic strikes thrown in as well. Use this with care please. There are some fights where you are drowning in 100 rage non stop such as Patchwerk in Naxxramas, Malygos and also Sartharion with extra drakes. On those fights, setting yourself up with this macro will save your fingers a lot of strain. In most other cases you will not be swimming in rage and using this macro then will leave your rage at 0. Heroic Strike should only be used when you are sure you can do it in combination with your other regular moves, otherwise you will lose a lot of aggro instead of getting more. On my tank I have those macros ready in the interface for it, and replace my shield slam/devastate/revenge buttons with this modified one for those select boss fights.
 (Obsolete, don't do this in Cataclysm, seriously)

Shield Block + Blood Frenzy:
#showtooltip Shield Block
/cast Shield Block
/cast Blood Frenzy (or other beneficial ability that doesn't trigger GCD)

/use [name of useable trinket here]Before I made that macro I kept forgetting to use Blood Frenzy all the time. Now if its off cooldown, it goes off with the shield block, adding an extra bit of oomph. Same with the last line. (For example, at time of editing this I'm tanking with a mastery trinket that has a /use for 20 sec extra str). I'd never remember to use either of those without some help like this, I know, I'm weak. :)



One more thing that is a popular choice for reducing stress around keeping up heroic strike spamming, is the option to bind /cast heroic strike to your mouse wheel. Roll that thing and it'll cast heroic strike 4-5 times per second, the downside and the reason I don't use this myself is that I can't zoom my view then, using the wheel for that is just too convenient and quite often I have to change the zoom level to keep a clear view of what's going on. (Again, outdated, don't do this)


Added by Raeli, not tested:
Mousewheel down Heroic Strike:
#show Heroic Strike
/cast !Heroic Strike
/run if UnitExists("target")==nil or not UnitIsEnemy("player", "target") then CameraZoomIn(1) end

Mousewheel up Heroic Strike:
#show Heroic Strike
/cast !Heroic Strike
/run if UnitExists("target")==nil or not UnitIsEnemy("player", "target") then CameraZoomOut(1) end

This was what I had to offer for now, as always comments are welcome, in particular if you happen to have other genious tips to offer that I've missed completely. :)

Tank safe!


4 comments:

Raeli said...

shoudnt it be

Shield Slam/Devastate/Revenge + Heroic Strike + Start Attack:
#Showtooltip Shield Slam
/cast Shield Slam
/cast !Heroic Strike
/startattack

so you dont cancel HS while smashing this key?

Raeli said...

for MW down:

#show Heroic Strike
/cast !Heroic Strike
/run if UnitExists("target")==nil or not UnitIsEnemy("player", "target") then CameraZoomIn(1) end

and MW up:

#show Heroic Strike
/cast !Heroic Strike
/run if UnitExists("target")==nil or not UnitIsEnemy("player", "target") then CameraZoomOut(1) end

should do the trick for MW HS spamming if you dont have a hostile mob targeted (not tested).

Vads said...

Hi Raeli!

I'm almost 100% sure doubletapping heroic strike and cleave doesnt cancel it mate. After a short dig..

http://wowwebstats.com/ikuxqjcmag6nm?s=263328-309384&a=x3c22e2

This is wws from me maintanking patchwerk using the hs macros as theyre posted here. 6 white swing, rest all HS's. :)

Occeleta said...

I been a mousewheel user for a long time now. And also like having access to quick camera zooms. I changed zoom actions to ALT + Mousewheel.