Tanking an instance the... old fashioned way, is one thing. You know what I mean, DPS wait for 3 sunders etc etc.
Tanking an instance when the 3 DPS are having a DPS race... is quite another experience!
So, last night I did 3 runs of Violet Hold and 2 of Gun'Drak. Total repair cost for the night? Approximately 3 gold! That's right I didn't die once!
On the second VH run, the DPS shaman, the DPS pally and the DPS mage started to get a bit over confident. They had really being going at it hammer and tong on the previous run with no problems, and had started talking themselves up.
"Oh I did more damage", "Yeah but look at my DPS", "Oh but you have better aoe", "But I did top damage on the final boss" etc etc. You get the picture.
The holy priest and I were watching this happen, slightly concerned about how it could end.
The priest knew what was up and had no trouble healing an uncrittable tank who knows how to use his defensive cooldowns, (lv 75 with 521 defense? Somebody say mitigation?)... so we figured we should be ok, even if all the excitable DPSers managed to get themselves killed...
Or if we let them die ;)
The stage was set.
The race was on!
For once it was a race I was content -not- to win. That's right, people are starting to out-DPS me when I'm tanking. About damn time too! Something isn't quite right when the tank is also top DPS... (but that's another story about death knights being OP)
Right from the get go the guys were employing underhanded tactics to pump up their numbers... Like jumping right into the trash at the start and blasting the heck out of everything while we are buffing, afking, and generally getting ready to start the instance.
This was going to be interesting.
Mage vs shaman vs retadin. All of these have the potential for monster DPS. Each of them was a skilled player. They were all 2 levels higher than the tank. We had just completed a flawless run of this instance and everyone was on top of their game.
We all run in, and the guys are spanking all of that inconsequential trash at the start trying to get some numbers up before they all get zapped.
(FYI, violet hold is similar to the black morass. Portals, spawns, blah blah. When the event starts giant pink LAZERS zap all the trash in the room, so there is really no need to kill it all first.)
Then the portal spawns a mob and it is ON for young and old. I'm in there throwing down a death and decay and over my left shoulder shoots a fireball, while over my right shoulder the shaman launches a chain lighting. or something. Something that pissed the mob off bigtime is what it was!
A quick taunt and that mob back under control , then I hardly had time to get my diseases up before the mob died.
These shenannigans continued until the portals start spawning packs of mobs. Now my work was really cut out for me maintaining aggro, thankfully these guys had no issues selecting my target and focusing it, but AoE was the order of the day so I had to start tabbing spamming to build as much threat on all mobs as possible, in amongst a hail of blizzards, lightings, and whatever it is that pallys do. Frequently mobs would get loose, and my taunt and death grip keys really got a work out.
Bosses came and went, but the DPS race was the main attraction here.
After 2 bosses, the pally and shaman were neck and neck, but the mage was falling behind.
For shame! Mages gotta be resprazentin'! gnome sain?
Trash talking between trash pulls was friendly, however, it was clear nobody was going to let up until it was all said and done, and the ground was littered with an array of bloodied corpses.
Now my little intellectually-superior, dress-wearing, fireball-sligning mage had to do something drastic if he was going to stay in the race, so he started taking some... risks.
The kind of risks you don't take unless you have faith that your tank WON'T let you die...
Lucky for him I was treating this run as a challenge, and keeping the excitable DPS kids safe from harm was my duty.
So... a portal spawns a pack of 4 mobs. I am going through my pre-pull ritual, where I blow my horn of winter, blood tap to get a death rune up, pop bone shield, then lay down a death and decay...
I get as far as blood tap when my skinny friend blinks past me! What the HELL is he doing?
Snap! he blasts the pack with a well placed Cone of Cold.
Crackle! arcane explosion while staying JUST out of reach of the hapless mobs.
Pop! a frost nova roots them all neatly in place, right where I am just about to cast my death and decay.
Next thing I know my screen is a mess of blizzards, chain lightings, consecrations, the works. By the time the mobs are free they are all more interested in me than the mage, who has escaped completely unscathed and is happily burning down the pack with the other DPSers.
Violet hold has a tendency to get a little boring at times, as there is so much waiting between pulls and after bosses. Not this time! I was on my toes the whole run with my new found tanking skills being put to the test on each pull, the DPSers were clearly giving it everything the had, only the priest complained about it being boring as there wasn't much work for him to do!
... and in the end?
The shaman just edged out the pally, tipping over 1600 DPS overall with the most damage. Closely followed by the retadin on 1550ish, and the ballsy mage coming in third with a lowly 1480 DPS.
My 1310 looked weak by comparison!
Afterwards we all added each other to friends, and headed over to smash our way through Gun'Drak a couple of times. Thankfully I got a bit of a rest there as the guys weren't being quite so excessively competitive anymore. Once again no troubles, no wipes, no deaths even, no arguments, no stupidity, just solid teamwork, understanding and reliability from all sides.
I remarked to the healer that he hadn't even scared me once in all the runs, which was true, I don't think I dipped under 10k HP at all. Naturally I spoke too soon causing the lag monster to hit and the healer nearly disconnected a few times.
To his credit he managed to keep me up even though he could hardly see what was happening, I spammed a few cooldowns and death strikes as required to make up the additional healing, and all was well.
So why was I happy to taunt mobs off frenzied damage dealers who weren't giving me a chance to build aggro? Why, exactly, didn't I let anyone die?
Well, I had to think about this one for a bit, and ask myself the question, and I think I have the answer.
Not only were these guys skilled players, pro even, but they were clearly having a DPS race, which is something I can relate to. Also, they weren't pulling aggro by doing stupid shit, just by doing insane damage from the word go... even from the words "ready.. set..." without the go!
Even when the mage went overboard, he still managed to present me with a pack of snared mobs right at my feet and then get away to safety. He knew I could pick them up, and he knew I wouldn't let him die.
In the end I think it was all about understanding. We knew each other's limits and were content to push them. It was fun, it was challenging, and contrary to my last post, I will NOT let you die if you aren't being stupid.
Provided I'm in a good mood.
Did I mention I picked up all the tank gear from Violet Hold?
Yeah, I was totally in a good mood :)