Monday, January 4, 2010

Site has moved!

Tankharder has moved!

Visit the new site, with an updated layout (and new DK tanking guide!) HERE!

Monday, November 30, 2009

In the News: Shadowmourne, Legendary 2h Axe

For those of you haven't been keeping up with MMO-Champion and the spoilers for the next patch, here's what you need to know about the next legendary weapon: Shadowmourne, a 2h axe for Ret Pallies, Fury/Arms Warriors, and DKs of every spec.

How to obtain Shadowmourne

Step 1: Reach 'friendly' status with the Ashen Verdict, the new reputation faction in ICC. From this point you can obtain the quest "The Sacred and the Corrupt", in which you will be tasked with the following:

*Obtain Light's Justice, Arthas' old warhammer, from the Frostmourne cavern in Dragonblight (bring friends. Although I'm not sure of the details, I know you do meet with resistance.)

*Combine Light's Justice with 25 (!) Primordial Saronite (the new crafting reagent in ICC, dropping from bosses and trash at random. They can also be purchased with 23 Emblems of Frost a piece.) and a quest item from 2 bosses in ICC: Rotface and Festergut (only on 25-man).

The reward for getting that far into the questline is Shadow's Edge, a beast of a weapon in it's own right. Shadow's Edge will eventually upgrade into Shadowmourne.

Step 2: Obtain Quest items from Professor Putricide, Queen Lana'thel, and Sindragosa (only on 25-man and in that order, this step represents three seperate quests). These 3 bosses are 'end bosses' for their wings. Even in normal mode, they have a limited number of attempts available for the raid before they despawn. On top of this, getting the quest items from each requires special steps to be taken during the boss fights.

Step 3: Obtain 60 Fragments of the Frozen Throne. These fragments, much like the fragment's of Valan'yr and other legendaries before it, are held by bosses in (25-player only) ICC. It is, however, unknown whether they will be lootable by only one person, like previous legendaries, or will be obtainable by anyone with the quest, as the item is listed as a 'quest item'. This can only be completed on 25-man.

An interesting note: unlike the shards associated with previous legendaries, these quest items are Epic in quality and not Legendary, lending credibility to the idea that they will, in fact, be sure-fire drops for anyone with the quest.

Step 4: Slay 1000 (yes, one thousand) of the Lich King's servants (trash and bosses) with Shadow's Edge. This can be completed on 10 and 25 player.

The 5th step is currently un-released on the PTR, but will involve killing Arthas, to be sure. After completing all these steps, the player is rewarded with Shadowmourne, which replaces Shadow's Edge.

This is a remarkably different step in regards to legendaries, and I hope it proves to be the same for the future. Blizzard's goal with Shadowmourne was to eliminate a lot of the RNG problems that were encountered with Vala'nyr and other legendaries, and instead add a very epic questline packed with lore.

Many are assuming that the Shards of the Frozen Throne will be treated like a normal quest item, and anyone on the questline will be able to obtain them. It's also assumed, a little less commonly, that the shards will be guaranteed drops off those bosses (or perhaps guaranteed in hard mode and random in reg). This is due A) to the sheer amount of shards needed to complete the weapon (Vala'nyr was, I believe, 40?) and B) Blizzard's stated intent to eliminate RNG issues with legendaries.

Thanks to Boubouille at mmo-champion, where most of this information was discovered. And good luck to everyone vying for this axe come the release of 3.3

Friday, November 27, 2009

Under construction

Sorry for the awful text layout of the previous posts. I'm still trying to make things look a bit better (found a nifty, free, WoW template until I can get one of my own.), start posting better content, and find a way to get readers here. In the meantime, if you did somehow manage to find this blog, keep coming back. It will get better, I promise :)

As far as content goes, I have planned a few different types of content:

Tanking guides - posted weekly, every Tuesday.

News Posts - talking about current goings-on in the WoW world. posted as news comes. Obviously will be more common when nearing a new patch.

Personal Blogging - documenting my own personal escapades in (and out) of the World of Warcraft. Posted weekly, every Friday, with occasional extra posts as I feel like.

and finally...

The Blue Pages - A collection of important Blue Posts from the previous week. Posted every Sunday.

So yeah... stay tuned :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Being a Better Tank - Part 3

How to be a better tank, part 3
Personal Growth

So we’ve talked about raid awareness and we’ve talked about the importance of communication, my last bit of advice on how to be a better tank, for now, is a bit about what you can do with your character to improve your performance as a tank.

Again, since this is not meant as an introductory guide to tanking, I’m going to assume you know the basics: your ability rotations, minimum gearing requirements (540 defense, etc.), and defensive cooldown use. Here are a few more detailed pointers on how to tweak your performance.

Gear choices: Any tank worth his salt is going to have more than one set of gear. I keep my core gear set, which generally consists of a balance between avoidance, effective health, and threat. Then I switch things out depending on the fight. Know what fights you’re going to be
coming up against and plan accordingly. This means having your resist gear ready (Try it on. Make sure you’ve got it gemmed/enchanted to where you still meet all the minimums. The worst thing ever is to show up and say ‘I’ve got my Frost resist set!’ only to die because you take back-to-back crits.).
The biggest thing overlooked by tanks, in regards to gear, is threat. I frequently replace one or both of my trinkets with DPS trinkets (Victor’s call works very well for this) for added threat. Also, having alternate pieces of gear gemmed for strength instead of dodge or stamina, for
instance, can help tremendously in threat. A good way to look at it is this: You can never have too much threat. Buffing your health pool to where you’re nearly 40k without buffs in a fight where 30k HP would have been sufficient, and then having such low threat output that your DPS is constantly threat capped is just plain foolish. So if you’ve got enough health/avoidance, buff your threat.

Know your abilities: Any character with half a brain is going to know the basics of their class. Skill priorities, rotations, gear minimums, etc. When trying to rise above the crowd, you should revisit your spellbook and take a good look at what you’re not using and see where
it could be used to increase your advantage. Also, look at alternate uses for spells you already to utilize.
I’ll use Deathknights as an example:

Blood Tap – Blood tap is basically a free mover every minute, and should never have a cost in health thanks to the glyph (I prefer this glyph to glyph of pestilence for this reason.). Blood tap is especially an asset to Blood specced DKs, as it allows for a free Heart Strike, which is your number 1 threat move. This is one of the easiest abilities to overlook.

Anti-Magic Shell ­– AMS sees frequent use at mitigation incoming magic damage, but most tanks will never use this ability in fights that are primarily physical damage, yet AMS has another use that is quite handy. While under the effects of AMS, damage taken returns runic power, which typically results in a full RP bar free of charge. This is extremely useful on the initial pull, when you still need to establish a threat lead but are left
waiting for your runes to cooldown.

Raise Dead/Death Pact – My favorite combo. In a fight where you can anticipate a high amount of incoming damage, but don’t want to use a defensive cooldown, cast raise dead and use your ghouls for a bit of extra damage until you need the extra heal, at which time you can use
death pact for a very nice heal.

Those are just a few examples (I plan on detailing easily-overlooked spells in a future post), but you get the general idea.

Talents: Know your spec. (duh!) Frequently re-evaluate it. Are you really utilizing all the talents you’ve purchased? If not, is there anything you can switch them out for that you might better make use of? Don’t overlook talents in trees other than your primary spec. Just like with gear, evaluate whether you need threat or survivability and make your choices accordingly.

Make use of the community: This is the best advice I think could be given to someone wanting to improve their play. You’ll notice I don’t go into to much detail on which talents to take, or what gear to choose. I instead just talk about mindset and philosophy in choosing these talents.I could go into detail on theorycraft, but the simple fact is there are those out there who are much more knowledgeable than me when it comes to this kind of stuff. This game has become more than just the game itself, it’s an entire community, and there are websites and blogs out there that handle this kind of thing in depth. If you’re serious about
being a good player, check out these websites and blogs and use the
resources they provide for you.
The community is huge and there are many many more resources out
there than I’m familiar with, but here are the websites I frequent. (Chances are, you’re already semi-familiar with these if you’ve stumbled upon my obscure little blog): (This site offers up-to date compilations of blue posts, especially when it concerns future patches. This is the best way I know to stay abreast of changes within
the game. Also, one of the best WoW comics is found here.) (a Community site specifically for tanks. Keep an eye for out for a fantastic guide on blood tanking written by community member Satorri. Of note at tankspot is their Project Marmot videos, which are comprehensive video guides of nearly every fight in the game, complete with useful commentary.) (Formerly known as WoW insider. A collection of blogs over anything from humor to class-specific theorycraft. Also has information on upcoming changes and, more importantly, commentary on these changes) (The place to go for theorycrafting. Be prepared for threads with 100+ pages with in-depth discussion on theory regarding talent specs, gear choices, ability
rotations, and anything in between. Not for the faint of heart, but this site provides some of the most in-depth information out there.) (Best when trying to find information on items without logging into the game, wowhead also has an open comments tab for every item. Mostly this is used to say ‘lol
hunter weapon’, but sometimes you can find some neat bits of info from other players here.) (Use at your own risk. This website evaluates any character you can find based on their armory, and then gives them a ‘gear score’ based on the item level of their gear and the gems/enchants they use on them (taking talent spec into account). Remember, that gear isn’t everything and even the best geared idiot is still, in fact, an idiot. Likewise, there are some fantastic players that just don’t have the best gear.)

Again, all information contained in this ‘guide’ is my own opinion based on observations from my experience tanking. I don’t presume to offer a comprehensive, be-all, end-all, guide for tanks, and this is very likely incomplete. However, I hope this helps at least some of you, and again, thanks for reading!

Blogspot note: I've lately been blogging on (Link). It seems easier to get readers there, and I've actually got several posts there that have not been posted here. I'm past the wedding, and so I have a bit more time each week to work on blogging, and so I want to go a bit further. My biggest problem is finding a good site to host my blog, and publicizing it for views. If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to leave them in a comment on this site.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Guide to being a better tank: Part 2

Part 2: Communication

First things first: get Ventrilo. Too many people I’ve run with recently don’t use it. (these are usually the same type of people who base everything solely on gearscore, which is dangerous.) Vent is a must for most raiding, in fact, I still use it on most ‘easy’ T7 raids.
The role of tank naturally tends toward leadership. In fact, this section could be titled ‘leadership’ instead of ‘communication’. Tanks are in a prime role to guide the raid through to victory. If you aren’t comfortable with stepping up and taking leadership, you probably won’t ever be considered a stellar tank. Tanks often are aware, or at least should be, of what is going on the raid at all times (see lesson #1, awareness), and are therefore in the best position to identify why a wipe happened, and communicate to the raid what needs to change to avoid that in future attempts. Learn to recognize these things and communicate them concisely with the team, offering solutions to whatever problems that may have arisen.
Communication with DPS is of course important (when to back off and give you time to get a better threat advantage, or when to push DPS as you have a large threat lead, etc.), but by far the bulk of your communication during the raid will be (or should be) with your healers. Healers need to know what you need to stay alive, and when. This largely comes down to healing assignments, making sure you have a wide enough variety of healers to deal with the situation (need more HoTs? Grab a druid, etc.)
It’s also imperative let your healers know when you’re going to use any of your defensive cooldowns, preferably before you use them. (I won’t be covering the basics of using your cooldowns, as that is information I’m assuming you know.) Announcing when you’re going to use your cooldowns due to excessive incoming damage allows your healers to be prepared to handle the situation accordingly, keeping you alive. Building, again, on our first lesson of awareness, when you see the raid start to take too much damage, you can pop a cooldown and advise one or more of your healers to focus on the raid. This is also applicable when one of your healers is low on mana and needs a bit of a regen break.
Communication during the fight is imperative, but the most important time to communicate is before the fight. Before the pull your team needs to know what to expect, and more than just positioning. The raid needs to know at what percent to pop heroism/offensive cooldowns, at what points in the fight you plan on using your defensive cooldowns, what spells need to be kicked and who needs to be doing the kicking, where to stand, where and when to move to, healing assignments, DPS priorities on fights with multiple targets, and any other information that may be special to that raid (dealing with the constructs on Ignis, for example).
It should go without saying, but all of the above is useless is you, as the tank, don’t know the fight. Use the resources at your disposal to make sure your knowledge of the fight is such that you can tell anyone in the raid what their job is. Especially in PUG situations, you may just end up having to explain bits of the fight to members of your raid.
A raid with a well-organized strategy is much more likely to succeed, especially in PUGs where the members aren’t used to each-other’s methods, but here’s the kicker: Your job isn’t just to communicate this information concisely, it needs to be done quickly as well. This is especially true when considering wipe-recovery. The more downtime pre-pull, the more likely it is that your raid will lose interest.
So there you have it, lesson number two of my guide to become a better tank. All information contained here is of course, my own opinion, and very likely incomplete, but hopefully it helps some of you out there.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Guide to Better Tanking: Part 1

Mahler's guide to being a better tank.

Lesson #1: Awareness

In many encounters, the difference between being a so-so tank and being a fantastic tank is situational awareness (this is where, in my opinion, the skill of any raider is tested, but much more so with tanking.) A tank who is aware not only of himself, but of the raid as a whole, is in a better position than any other member of the raid to ensure a succesful run.

When considering awareness in any encounter, there are a couple of key points to remember:

  • The Enemy: Most tanks are aware of their own target, abilities that might be used against them, incomming phase changes, that sort of thing. Where a tank can learn to excel is by being aware not only of your own target, but any other targets in the raid. For instance, let's say your Off-Tank is supposed to grab 4 adds while you grab the main boss, but on the pull your off-tank only manages to pick up 3 of the 4 adds. By being aware of the raid as a whole, and not simply focused on your target, you would be able to pick up the 4th add and hold it just long enough for your OT to nab it. This avoids the add from running rampart throughout the raid, whacking on healers and squishy DPS, which could potentially cause a wipe.
  • Positioning: Let's face it: Unless you have the luxury of running with a regular group and have a team who are miraculously self-aware, you're going to have people who 'stand in the fire.'. You're going to have times where the melee DPS gets too excited about being on top of the meters that they don't notice the overload about to happen, or you'll have healers who get tunnel vision and stand in flaming cinders. A mediocre tank would worry only about his own positioning (and by god, if you don't know where you're supposed to be, go read up the fight before trying to tank it.). A better tank would make sure he/she knew where his teammates where. Watching out for those healers (or those DPS) and reminding them in vent when they're in the fire could save your ass in the long run.
  • The Future: The most important part of tank awareness. If you're 30 seconds into a fight, you should already be anticipating what will be happening at the 1 minute mark. If Onyxia is hovering at 45%, your mind should already be preparing for her to land for phase 3, making sure you're good on HP, your whelps are getting taken care of, and that you're ready to get into the right position. It means watching the HP on those adds with Emalon and knowing that, because of the overzealous DPS, one of them is going to die and spawn an add, which you need to be prepared to pick up along with the other add which will spawn to replace the overcharged add you guys are about to kill. It means being ready for the soft enrage at 30%. Surprises will always, inevitably, happen. But being caught by surprise can throw you off for the rest of the encounter, and make your tanking experience more like trying desperately to keep ahold of a bucking bull. Preparedness for these eventuailites allows you to recognize and eliminate them, before they becomae a bigger problem.

Friday, October 30, 2009


So... I set out to start a blog and then I don't update it forever. Such is the craziness of my impending marriage. But, no offense to WoW, I'd much rather focus on my future-wife than a video game.

That being said... I'm still here, and still planning on blogging away. Today's topic: Quel'Delar

I was cruising mmo-champion today and I saw this post, and immediately got pretty excited.

You see, I'm one of those people who will never see heroic/hard modes. Hell, I don't really get to see 25-mans very often. My raiding life consists of VoA/Onyxia PUGs, and the occasional ToC 10man runs on non-raid nights with my guildmates. One thing I miss is 5-mans that are difficult, 5-mans that aren't viewed as 'gimme' instances (like Trial of the champion and it's 'lolepics'.)

I *hope*, sincerely hope, that the Quel'delar questline is what I'm thinking it is: an epic questline with an equally epic weapon reward for every class/spec, that doesn't require top of the line raiding. I'm not wanting something easy to get, heavens no. I'm wanting something to work for, something to have a bit of prestige along with it, without having to raid the 25-man content that I know I won't be able to.

So, here's hoping!

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