Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | April 12, 2010

The Nerf We Deserve,

…and why we should be asking for it.

That’s right. Sooner or later, we have a major nerf coming. It might not happen this expansion, but sooner or later it’ll hit. But fear not friends, because this is a nerf that may open the greatest opportunities to Tenacity pets since resilience scaling.

Avoidance: Reduces the damage your pet takes from creature area of effect attacks by an additional 90%.

This ability that was instituted to help keep DPS pets alive during raids also serves as a huge strength for Tenacity tanking. In fact its too good. With a 90% reduction to AoE damage recieved, plus 185 resistance to all schools with Improved Gift of the Wild, our pets absorb AoE damage as though it was never there. Remember what happened after a voidwalker tanked Sartharion 3D? Developers are always on the look out for ways that players can exploit game mechanics and they rarely (if ever) make the same mistake twice.

With this in mind if developers wish to prevent pets from being excellent tanks for challenging content and any of that content relies on AoE as a major part of that challenge, they need to ensure in other ways that pets are not excellent tanks. Is it any wonder why our threat is sub-par and our taunt doesn’t function on raid bosses?

Take for example Sindragosa. The major threat of tank survival in tanking Sindragosa is her Frost Breath which deals a very large amount of frost damage and is further amplified by Mystic Buffet during phase three of the encounter. These two abilities together form a type of enrage timer as eventually the Frost Breath will 1-shot the tank, or alternatively forces tank switches to allow the debuff to reset.

With over 250 frost resistance just from passive resistance, Frost Resistance Aura and its scaling off the hunter, plus 90% reduction of all AoE damage and further 15% reduction if talented for spell resistance, a pet could shrug off what would be a relentless bombardment for any other tank. If a pet could produce the threat to keep up with a buffed, geared and competent DPS in ICC 25 content they’d be by far the best tank for the job.

But they can’t by design. That’s how Blizzard prevents us from using our furry friends to bypass the mechanics of some of the game’s most challenging encounters. As long as tenacity pets get a 90% reduction to AoE damage received there’s no way that pets could possibly get any additional threat or a real taunt without breaking many PvE encounters.

Here’s to hoping for a massive nerf, that when the 4.0 PTR comes out tenacity pets will no longer have Avoidance.

Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | April 8, 2010

Pet Feat: Icecrown Citadel 25 – Lord Marrowgar (MT)

Who: Durante of Hydraxis (US)
Pet: Bubbles (Gorilla)

Last night my guild Redemption didn’t have enough of its main raiders on to do hardmode progression, so our GM Lonawne (who’s had to suffer through my constant whining and pleading for the last few months) put together an alt-ICC 25 run so that I could finally get a crack at tanking.

The fight was done with 10% Hellscream’s Warsong buffing HP, damage, and healing by 10%.  For the fight Bubbles was above 55.5k HP without a food buff, pet food buff, or elixirs (which I completely forgot.

Bubbles was able to solo tank the fight since either Marrowgar doesn’t register pets as a valid target for the attack and therefore never casts it, or it counts as an AoE attack which pets get a 90% reduction for.  I had been looking forward to tanking it so I could see for myself, but unfortunately I never checked Recount for the data after the fight.  Positioning was very simple; I pulled the boss with Eyes of the Beast to get an accurate position without risking getting myself Saber Lashed, the set his stay point.  This enabled me to put my pet on passive just before the end of Bone Storm bringing him back into position.

A huge thanks to Redemption for allowing me to attempt this, and especially Lonawne for making the executive decision and putting the group together for me.

Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | April 7, 2010

A Long Overdue Return

Video and post in progress. A huge thanks to my guild Redemption of Hydraxis.

Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | February 9, 2010

Guild Requests Pet; Hunter Shocked

Last tuesday, the day after my first time pet-tanking a heroic in WotLK, a healer in guild asked if anyone needed the daily random. I joined him and soon we had a full guild run. Much to my surprise the healer, who had been DPS in the previous day’s run, had assembled a group with four DPS knowing I was in the group. “The DK can queue as tank and Durante will tank” he said much to my surprise.

We got Heroic Forge of Souls for our random and it went pretty smoothly. I had a few bad pulls from trying to keep the pace up and pulling too quickly and learned quickly that its unwise to start a three or four mob pull when Bad Attitude, Bestial Wrath and Misdirect are all on cooldown.

All in all it was a pretty unremarkable run with one exception. It was the first time someone had requested I tank a run for them as a serious tank, not just a novelty. While I’m sure I’m not the first person here to reach that status, it is a great personal benchmark.

For all those who’ve had aspirations of pet tanking, post in the comments how far along are you’ve come in gaining the acceptance of your peers as a genuine tank. Unsuccessful in begging for groups or reluctance acceptance? Being able to put together your own groups, or having groups ask you to come tank for them?

Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | February 6, 2010

Pet Feat: Halls of Reflection – Heroic (MT)

Another pet feat from Dnysopheus of Nagrand, known here at BigRedRhino as Doug. Heroic Halls of Reflection was the last 5-man not yet tanked by a hunter pet and represented our most difficult 5-man tanking challenge by far. The combination of large groups of mobs with powerful abilities and their relentless pace makes this place a nightmare for even traditional tanks even with their powerful AoE, short cooldown taunts, and myriad of utility and mitigation abilities.

With a healthy dose of experience, skill, and group coordination they were able to clear the instance on their first attempt, something I was unable to do on my prot paladin. Due to the length of Doug’s post I’ll take excerpts from his original post which is available here on our forum for anyone who wants the full story, along with a great number of screenshots.

The tactic we used was to have the healer on top of the centerpiece, two corners were designated for cc and the remaining two were my responsibility…

The tactic we used was to have the healer on top of the centerpiece, two corners were designated for cc and the remaining two were my responsibility. Even with one dps down though we often had to wait between waves so time was not an issue, it is just the last one or two waves that are the really tough to control…

The boss ended up been a drawn out three man affair, but nothing presented any problems, I was eventually pressing my cowers and shell shield just so they wouldn’t feel neglected…

For the next boss I forgot to take a screen shot I am afraid. Nothing much to report here except that when the ghosts spawn you have to have your MD ready, I didn’t even see the little guys but TS managed to pick them up well enough in any case, that is until Titankus decided that a Bladestorm was in order…

Aside from that though there is nothing much to report on this boss, just tank and spank and have your MD-Volley ready to go.

Next was the gauntlet. We had opted for the chasing strategy by default, I was ready to go after Jaina but all the dps had clambered up the ledge already so I followed. One thing to note is that you must go around when coming back out: I managed to find the crevasse and had to jump my way out poste haste to pick up the first wave

Here again it might as well have been made for pet tanking, since the mobs don’t arrive all at once, allowing you to get a couple of growls off before you absolutely HAVE to target swap. Between MD, Explosive and Distracting shot Chain heal the whole thing was over without any major drama.

A hearty congratulations is in order. Good hunting.

Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | February 4, 2010

The Advent of the Wrathful Pet

A new arena season has arrived, and with it a brand new set of PvP gear. Those of you whom frequent the forums may already know that I’m a huge proponent of PvP gear for pet tanking for its unrivaled amounts of stamina, healthy doses of attack power, and large number of gem slots. Lets look at a comparison of the new Wrathful gear vs. the previous season’s Relentless. This comparison assumes PvP gear in every slot using the lower tier weapons with the exception of Brewfest Trinkets. All items are fully gemmed and enchanted for maximum stamina.

All in all the new Wrathful gear provides a fairly substantial increase over the previous season’s gear, with more than 600 more RAP for increased threat, 4-5k more HP for survivability and .5% armor for mitigation. While .5% doesn’t seem like a noticeable amount of first, but it is a reduction of 1.3% damage taken compared to Relentless gear. Finally the hit rating provided by the Wrathful amulet, cloak, and Relentless season’s ring combined with a Biznick’s scope will bring us over hit cap without having to lose any stamina or attack power gems or enchants.

The two best things about the new Wrathful gear isn’t just the stats though. The first one is that some of it is incredibly easy to obtain. The wrist, cloak, neck and ring can all be purchased with honor without any arena rating whatsoever. When you consider the fact that they are best in slot for stamina (except for actual tanking pieces, which provide no AP) and provide similar amounts of RAP as all but the highest level PvE pieces.

The second benefit is that these pieces provide almost as much stamina as the frost resist gear while providing more than one thousand additional RAP. Even a stamina junkie like myself can’t resist giving up 42 stamina to gain 1151 RAP. Now that we’re able to completely replace frost resist gear, our maximum possible HP gear will also be some of our best possible threat gear, greatly simplifying some of our gearing decisions.

Now all there is to do is hit those Battlefields. Only 200,000 honor for all four ratingless pieces.

Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | February 1, 2010

My Secret Shame

Over the last course of the last fourteen months of Wrath of the Lich King, I had pet-tanked a grand total of zero level 80 heroics. Zero. Every time I tell someone this they say “That can’t possibly be right, did you tank X?” and I must tell them no, I did not. I did a bunch of heroics at 70, right after tenacity pets came out, and I tanked a handful of 5-mans while leveling to 80, but once I hit 80 Bubbles when into the stable and only came back out at raid time. It seems strange, but there’s reasoning to the madness.

Once I got to 80, PvP gear composed about half of my pet tanking set. When you’re trying to stay competitive in arena, you can’t be running around with Austere Earthsiege Diamonds in your helm. With all the gems and enchants, it would have cost 1-2k gold to make everything tanking appropriate and to then redo it for PvP afterward.

The second issue was about how pets scale in a raid environment. Pets receive more benefit through buffs than a normal player does via scaling from the hunter. Because of this, I was afraid that what was a moderate difference between a traditional tank and a pet tank in a raid setting would be a huge different in a heroic setting. If my heroic run ended up being a wipefest, I’d see my opportunity to tank raids fly out the window.

I finally decided today to take the opportunity of this two week break between arena seasons to tank my first WotLK heroic. I grabbed the croc I leveled for testing last week, replaced my Bright Dragon’s Eyes with Solid ones, grabbed my four others and queued for a random heroic. After thanking god we didn’t get handed Halls of Reflection as our random, we proceeded to clear Violet Hold in short order virtually without incident.

What should we take from this? Don’t let yourself be intimidated by these heroics. If you have Furious Gladiator or T9 from badges, you can probably throw some AP and stamina gems in there as needed, grab your buff scrolls and drums, and put together a heroic of almost any composition and find success. In fact, there’s no time like the present; if your guild is anything like mine, there’s always four or five DPS sitting around looking for a tank to make their daily LFG queue to pop instantly, take that as your opportunity start your new tanking career.

Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | January 21, 2010

Pet Feat: Trial of the Crusader 10 – The Twin Val’kyr (MT)

I’ve recently stumbled across the work of Arthemystia, a fellow pet tanking enthusiast who’s the in house pet tanking columnist writing over at Warcraft Hunters Union, one of the more well known mainstream hunter sites.

Yesterday he posted an article in which he details his recent tanking of Lord Jaraxxus and The Twin Val’kyr. I won’t post be posting any details here since its on another blog and I don’t want to encroach on her writing, so hit the link to check it out yourselves.

Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | January 21, 2010

Pet Feat: Trial of the Crusader 10 – Lord Jaraxxus (MT)

I’ve recently stumbled across the work of Arthemystia, a fellow pet tanking enthusiast who’s the in house pet tanking columnist writing over at Warcraft Hunters Union, one of the more well known mainstream hunter sites.

Yesterday he posted an article in which he details his recent tanking of Lord Jaraxxus and The Twin Val’kyr. I won’t post be posting any details here since its on another blog and I don’t want to encroach on her writing, so hit the link to check it out yourselves.

Posted by: TheLastDeadMouse | January 21, 2010

Pet Feat: Naxxramas 10 – Sapphiron (MT)

This one was originally submitted by Darkynhalvos back just before the new year by emailing to Ihlos, when then sent it to me a week ago. While Ihlos is on his sabbatical anyone wanting to contact the blog should use the Durante contact info I sneaked up on the on the contact page which is checked twice a week. On a personal note, the nice clear pet damage in display is definitely tempting me to finally bite the bullet and get the real scrolling combat text instead of using the built in version.

Who: Darkynhalvos of Whisperwind (80)
Pet: Sherman (80 bear)
Group: Northern Express raid
Boss: Sapphiron, Naxx 10

Details: Roughly 2-3 months ago, my friend and I convinced the other people in our guild run of 10-man Naxx to let me try tanking Sapphiron, after I showed him the video of Durante doing it with Bubbles in 25-man. Wasn’t too difficult, considering pets can be uncrittable. Biggest hit Sherman took was about 8k. Fully buffed he had 35,671 hp. DPS had to watch threat at the start of the fight, held their attacks until 10-15 secs after the fight started, in part because I was the only hunter (only MD). DPS was able to let loose as usual after Sapph was about half dead.

Big thanks to Durante and Bubbles for the video that inspired me to try this, hopefully I can get my guild to let me try tanking more often.

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