Five WoW accounts, one keyboard broadcaster and me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tankadin goodness

It has been a while since I did anything with Team Minion or my little wolves that would be worth mentioning. I had good times playing on my tank warrior main in raids for the most part, but I was really held back from doing something more worthwhile with the team by two things, firstly not having a control setup that includes a tank and secondly haveing a mixed keyboard hammering/mouse clicking tanking habbit that does not mix well at all with doing other things at the side.

First, I had to re-think and re-do my entire key mapping. When playing with the all squishy 1xpriest/3xwarlock/1xmage combo, I had the priest as my primary character, used Clique to heal and so forth by clicking the party portraits and used the action bars for attack spells on the warlocks and mage.

Adding a tank to that mix does not work so very well. With the tank being the puller and providing the usual focus point of a group, i.e. dps the mob the tank designated as kill target, heal the tank and so on, there is no question that the tank needs to be the primary character. I use my warrior tank as my primary character on raids, so doing anything with the way I control the character that jeopardizes that is totally out of the question. That again means that I have to rework my controls to make the healer work as secondary character.

What I did not notice when I looked for it the first time was that the keybindings in WoW list the primary and secondary action bar, then a load of other stuff and then, after three or so pages of scrolling, the remaining action bars. They are there! Which means that I can set up a non-primary action bar to sort the healing and assign key combinations to it that are most likely never going to be used by accident.

For my trial run for this concept I programmed the lowermost six programmeable buttons on my Logitech G15 with simple macros each containing only one key stroke, for example CTRL+SHIFT+J. That again is bound to Captn's action bar 4, slot 1, where the macro /cast [target=player1] greater heal is placed. The same for player2..5 and prayer of healing and rudimentary healing via a secondary character is sorted. I must say it worked amazingly well. Greater heals are mana efficient and effecive. I will play with using ALT as additional modifier in the macro to squeeze another spell in, but mostly that is what I need.

The second thing is the tanking style. A warrior needs to work for his threat on every single target. The multimob abilities are not really great, doing not much threat, bring on long or longish cooldowns or just limited to four mobs. With trash pulls of up to eight mobs that is a bit of a bother.

As it happens, I had this paladin just sitting there somewhere halfway to 70. I used to raid with him back in the Molten Core days and a paladin was actually my first WoW character. In any case, I decided to try out paladin tanking. What I read up front and what I found in practice is that a paladin makes an simply amazing tank for multiple mobs with very little attention needed. Pull, then you can mostly just hit the holy shield and consecration buttons every couple of seconds and you are good to go. It is only a question of healing how many mobs you can hold. Simply amazing and extremely useful if you have something else to do as well, such as hit the greater heal button or the nuke focus target button!

I cleared the Slave Pens when testing and then started doing the Mana Tombs. Nothing special in those places, but I still had quests open with my paladin for them. Anyway, I am reasonably happy with the result and have leveled my paladin to 70 now. I am sure the fact that I now have a control setup that accommodates the paladin and a tank that requires much less micro management will be good. I am eager to see how far I can take it.

Cheers, Captn.