Aluminum Armor and Heirloom Expectations

I think I’m going about my baby tanking warrior in the wrong way.

How can it be wrong?

I mean, I haven’t logged on to him for a bit now, not since I replaced all his gear after the holiday-induced leveling spurt.

And that’s what is wrong.

I look at him on the character selection screen.

He looks back at me.

And I wuss out.

What started as a “just need to get my glyph bitch up to the next level for his herbalism” project turned into a rather enjoyable experience. I wanted to run around solo, not bother anyone with my complete failness of ret pally.

But questing in Outland really hasn’t changed much since it was released so the dungeons made a nice break to the drudgery.

I have no heirloom gear on him. Hell, I headed out with a leather helm. On a ret pally. Yeah, it was that bad.

So I queued up.

And didn’t do too bad. Sometimes I even did well.

To boot, I wasn’t even nervous about it.

I look at him on the character selection screen.

He looks back at me.

And I don’t flinch.

I have a secret project at the moment. I’m running a new DK on a new server. There are few who know of my identity and they have been sworn to secrecy.

Again, leveling in BC zones just doesn’t sound that appealing. I want to fly around, pick flowers, beat on rocks, and kill things every 10-20 minutes when the queue pops for a DPS.

Being on a new server, and too cheap to mule crap over, I’m in the DK starter blues with a couple upgrades I’ve managed to snag from repeated runs of Ramps or Slave Pens.

Even with a completely fucked up rotation (more of that on another day), I’m doing well. Not always the top of the meters, but never the bottom. I’m even getting the hang of that melee thing, something I might be able to transfer to my paladin.

I look at him on the character selection screen.

He looks back at me.

And I jump right in.

So I was thinking about this, why I feel so nervous on my tanking warrior and feel no issue on my DPS toons?

I mean, yeah, it’s a new role for me, but I’m decked in full heirlooms! I’ve got a shield without intellect on it! I should be rocking the joint!

Memories of leveling Selwyn well up; of being terrified that I would fail – fully decked out in heirlooms, with the best enchants, the best gems. Leveling Selwyn was almost painful for me. Zone in to a group. Four strangers. Which one would die? Would it be my fault? What if they were too stupid and I couldn’t save them?

Selwyn was eventually saved by have a group of supportive friends band together to be my pocket group. (Most people look for a pocket healer, I needed a whole freaking group).

But I don’t want to do that with my tanking. When I healed my friends, I could yell at them to quit doing stupid things and they would usually stop standing in fire. When I started healing random people again, there was no yelling (other than at the computer screen) and they continued to stand in fire. Those are the types of people I’m going to end up tanking for, I want to be prepared.

I should be prepared, in my shiny heirlooms, with their pretty stats. I mean, I walk in to a dungeon and people see the telltale gear and go, “Hey, this guy’s in heirlooms! That means he knows what the fuck he’s doing!”

But I don’t. (I’m not a guy either, but I can understand the assumption.)

And I think that’s where the root of my problem is.

With the heirlooms comes the expectation that the player has a clue. That they know where to go in a dungeon they haven’t seen in 2+ years and certainly not since Cata “simplified” it. That they have 3 other tanks in progression raiding and know what to do when the mage goes off and pulls one pack while the hunter has tab targeted to a different group and the rogue has gone afk and the healer has no mana… *flail*.

With my other characters, in their quest greens and occasional boss blue, there are no expectations. The rest of the party looks at me and assumes that I’m a complete and utter noob. They might be pleasantly surprised to see me not be a total jackass or they might not even notice I’m there.

I’m wondering if it would actually be easier on me to tank by stripping off the heirlooms … what do you guys think? Am I crazy?

33 comments on “Aluminum Armor and Heirloom Expectations

  1. Leit says:

    I have a completely different response to seeing heirlooms. Until the player proves otherwise, heirlooms on a levelling character means that they are going to overpull (ahead of the tank if they’re dps), ignore mechanics and blame the other party members should anything go wrong.

    As a complete altoholic, I level a lot of characters. So far, the prejudice is rarely wrong.

    That said… have you considered the magic of transmog? It’s easy enough to mog your gear to quest greens, and nowadays a lot of them are pretty attractive as well. It won’t stand up to an /inspect, but it does help with the initial impression.

    Last point – have you considered that perhaps you just don’t like rage? This may be projection here, but I’ve found rage to be the clumsiest failure of a resource system ever to burden a low-level tank. It’s designed so that if you lose control it will literally cascade as you flail about trying to generate enough resources to do anything and regain control, especially at lower levels where your toolbox is kinda small.


    • Leit says:

      Rage seems like such an elegant design! It really does… until you’re stuck without it when you desperately need some, and the unstable equilibrium kidney-punches you good and hard. Over and over again. Possible I just can’t play hate tanks properly, though.

      Reminds me, need to do a follow-up on my bear post. Some of the advice there is terrible when you get a bit higher and actually have a toolbox. The good news: it gets better. >.<


  2. repgrind says:

    I have the same issue, really, except mine is a paladin. He’s around level 30, so I’ve managed to make it through a few dungeons, obviously. I can run around and toss my shield with wild abandon as long as I’m solo, but the thought of tanking for a group of strangers freezes me right up with fear … and then when I do, I get Gnomeregan with a bunch of noobs who’ve never played Alliance so they don’t have a clue where to go and they can’t figure out the parachute mechanic even when I show them where to pick one up.

    WHY is this so different from healing? I could easily give him a holy offspec, buy him some gear, and be off to the races. But I am sort of determined to get over this fear and level as a tank … someday. ;)


    • Leit says:

      There are two spots that I know of with parachutes… at the entrance, go slightly right and you’ll see what looks like a toolbox next to the edge. Right-clicking it gives you a consumable parachute in your inventory. Using the parachute in midair gives you a slow fall effect.

      Next spot is at the “electric justice” mecha-tank boss. Near his punchcard terminal there’s another toolbox. Works the same way.

      They were added in when the instance was refreshed for cata. Before then most groups I saw would just jump down anyway. At least this way the healer has to clean up less street pizza when someone can’t navigate ledges/aim for the giant gear.


  3. Devee says:

    I don’t think I even notice what heirlooms look like, but I really don’t play alts much.I made a DK and tried tanking a bit, but other than, I only play my main (at least more than holiday bosses and the such).

    Tanking isn’t just a new role, it’s the role that usually leads, right? I’m nervous about the idea of tanking. To be fair, I’ve only DPS’d a few times either. How could I possibly play a role in which I couldn’t keep myself alive?

    Still, in Outland dungeons doesn’t everyone assume there are going to be a lot of idiot DKs? The expectation for tanks is so low there that maybe that DK stereotype will blend over to paladins too?


    • Devee says:

      I’d just say up front that you’re not super familiar with the dungeon and that you’re new to the role. I always do that, and I usually have to go through a few groups before people stick around. It’ll be a great experience when you find a group that’s willing to run with you, right?


    • Leit says:

      Hasn’t been updated since Capital Gardens, but it’ll get you into the level range that you’re more familiar with.


  4. Arvash says:

    I say screw them all, go balls deep and pull EVERYTHING! lol

    Seriously though, as long as you know your class and all the tools you’re given, you’ll be fine. Sure, you’re gonna have your dumbps and your faealers, but use it as a test…can you still save the group? To me, if I can get through the fail and be the last one standing or the boss is ded, then it was worth it. If not, well, you can always pull a Slice. Oh, and not every group is fail, you’ll get some good ones too. Practice makes perfect, soon your abilities and CDs will come naturally to you and you’ll be tanking like a pro. Funny thing is, I’m the opposite with healing; I get nervous especially when sheit hits the fan and wished that I was tanking at that moment instead.

    Main reason why I went tank? I did it all for the insta-que……and the nookie.


    • repgrind says:

      See, I’m that way with healing. The more people fuck up and I manage to save their asses and prevent a wipe, the more fun I am having. I guess that’s why I love healing you, because I know the two of us CAN pull everything and live to talk about it.

      So, what … you got SO MUCH nookie that you can’t take any more, and that’s why your Sith went Marauder? :p


    • Leit says:

      Biggest reason not to tank: other players. It’s like PvP, except you aren’t allowed to kill the fsckers.


  5. zarigar says:

    zomg…*runs off to transmog ugly heirloom helm*


  6. Darraxus says:

    What zarigar just said.

    Get some ugly as low level gear off the AH. Transmog your heirlooms into that. PROFIT!


  7. SirFWALGMan says:

    I get nervous tanking cata dungeons even though I do well and outlevel them. I just got sick of people in WolK with all there “Huurry up” “Fail Tank” Whatever else they had to say. Tanking the leveling instance though is so easy.. I mean with herilooms I can tank half of it with my mage.. It’s just not an issue.. you barely have to do anything…


  8. Madbadger says:

    You just need to make sure you have a magic feather of Noobness on you at all times to lower your expectations, and you will stop freezing up.


    • Madbadger says:

      Hmm. Maybe also a macro that says ‘I am still learning to tank. I am not yet skilled enough to save people from their own stupidity. If this upsets you, perhaps you should drop group and find a tank that is able and willing to do so. Good luck 8-)’


  9. Tirael says:

    Man, if only someone who has played a warrior tank for 7 years, and the other 3 tank classes for 2-3 years, didn’t live in the same house as you. That would make things so easy.


  10. I had the same problem when I started tanking on my paladin. My solution: do it late at night when I’m too tired to give a fuck.


  11. Darraxus says:

    What level is your Warrior exactly? I have a rogue in Wrath content who would be happy to run with your Warrior from time to time.


  12. Darraxus says:

    Keep a couple of things in mind.

    The instances are all incredibly easy and….all of the instances have nice shiny maps with boss and quest locations pinned on them!

    Nothing to worry about.


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