Friday, May 1, 2009

Triumph of the Dual-Tank

So a while back, I posted up my intentions for Dual-Specs. My actual point distributions have changed a little bit since then, but I've kept the same general structure.

Present Protection Threat-Spec:

Present Protection Mitigation-Spec:

The magic for these is largely in the glyphs. With the threat spec, I'm dishing out Cleaves onto masses of trash, and the Devastate glyph really helps for building quick burst potential (Emalon adds, anyone?). Meanwhile, having 2min cooldowns on both Shield Wall and Last Stand is amazing - I'm able to be under some form of additional protection for virtually all of a boss's effective attack time.

At present, I'm hot-swapping between the two specs at least once a day, up to about 10 times during a single raid night. Razorscale Trash? Threat spec. MT for Ignis? Mitigation spec. Kologarn OT? Threat Spec. Caster & Runemaster tank for the Assembly of Iron? Mitigation spec. I swap, and swap, and swap again....

The most laborious part of this spec-swapping is swapping gear with it. Especially with the upgrades in Ulduar (I've had a very fortunate week), I keep needing to reassess which pieces I can swap in and out without risking crit-vulnerability, insufficient hit/expertise, or insufficient dodge/parry (after all, even my mitigation spec has to be able to push out some numbers to keep up with the DPS).

That being said, the increased flexibility in my gear has really been one of the best parts of the whole 3.1 experience. Having a defense trinket on hand means I can run with a couple of DPS Plate pieces on, and full Tank Plate gear presently removes my need for a defense trinket - the subsequent stamina benefit, even with my crappy engineering trinket, is substantial. It's hard to manage all the gear, and certainly takes some time to sort through, but I think the benefits have already paid for themselves: enough mitigation (in Frost Resist gear) to solo-tank Hodir, and enough threat to hold Freya's adds (aside from the detonators) while kiting them. I have all of the tools for this flexibility at my disposal as necessary.

Now, do I miss having the potential to be a Fury Warrior? Not really. Titan's Grip is a fun talent, and looks badass, but I just hate pulling from the loot pool to get that part of my set up to par. Perhaps I'm putting a bit more strain on available tanking pieces, but enough of my pieces serve in both sets that I don't think it's nearly as substantial as needing to construct a whole secondary set. I don't want to get rofl'ed at for wearing my threat-tank cloak in my Fury spec because I have no alternatives on hand. Moreover, facerolling on a Fury Warrior is not what I signed up for: tanking is my prerogative.

More to come on the raiding experience at the end of the raid week, but I'll say this for now:
  • It's a great feeling to see everyone in the guild in Ulduar during raid time. Every single member, making full raids.
  • It's a great feeling to start a raid on time, if not early, every raid night. Every single member understands and respects the time the other raiders are putting in to make progression work.
  • It's a great feeling to clear more in a single night of raiding than I was able to do in two or three raid nights in the past. It's amazing what effective communication and actively listening to instructions can do to overcome learning curves.
  • It's a great feeling to push my tanking to the limit, pressing to clear brand-new content for which there are no hand-holding guides available. Needing to improvise and spring every trick I have to get the job done is exhilarating, and the subsequent success is truly rewarding.
So yeah, it doesn't suck entirely. It's actually kinda tremendous. Now I just need to keep up and make sure I earn my spot to continue raiding.

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