Lil’ Tank Getting Bigger

I finally managed to get my little warrior to Outland, just in time for my birthday (it was last Sunday – the 27th) and he’s been growing by leaps and bounds since then.

Highlights from the weekend include:

Level 60: so at last update he was 56 and although now he’s sitting at 63, the “big news” level is 60. Can’t wait to get to Northrend.

Basic Flight: My dwarf looks so natural sitting atop his golden griffin. It almost makes me wish I had a  lightning hammer to toss at people.

Tanking My First Outland Instance: I was all prepared for a horrible flop. Like every reasonable tank, I went into the dungeon finder expecting everything to go horribly and for it to be all my fault. I’d been fretting over tanking Ramparts (I know, I know, you don’t have to tell me) all weekend, but I buffed up before logging out for work, with the understanding that no matter what, I would tank the Ramparts when I got home. I was still feeling a bit unsure about it all, so I recruited a fellow Tiger to dust off his year-since-abandoned-DK to accompany me. Things went pretty well. I had some minor threat issues on aoe pulls, especially the initial group pull after the bridge at the start (the pat had a little help aggroing on us from a stray deathcoil, though whether it was fired by the warlock or my DK friend I don’t know). At any rate, I used my AOE taunt and every other aoe ability I could think of and regained aggro on everything eventually. It was only a few seconds, but it felt like an absolute eternity mashing the buttons and willing the flashing red portraits to go away. After that pull, things went better (either because the dps adjusted or because I was working extra hard to prevent a recurrence). At any rate, after that, despite some of the usual random-pug shenanigans (dps-pulls, face-pulls, aoe-the-incoming pat, etc.) I managed to pick up and hold all the incoming enemies well enough that I was pleased with the run and with myself. If anybody had any complaints with my tanking, they kept it to themselves, and I even got a compliment, so all in all I’ll call this one a win.

All of that “practice” that my sister has been putting me through is obviously paying off. (That is to say, something about leveling together makes us behave like we’re the remaining two finalists in some sort of “pull extra adds like a jackass” contest.) Picking up incoming adds and maintaining group threat is starting to become second nature to me. My skill with quick-targeting, taunting, and tabbing through groups has definitely improved since the great tanking experiment began. Believe it or not, timid as I am I also have more confidence than when I started. I don’t know how much I will ever embrace the tanking role, but I’m reaching the point where I know that I could do it if wanted/needed. I’m thinking that once I reach Northrend (where I actually know what to expect in the dungeons) I’ll be able to just queue up and go. That’s the plan, anyway.

On the one hand, it’s nice to be developing some independence  and confidence as a tank. On the other hand, it makes me miss leveling with my sister. Unlike my bear, this has been a solo toon, and I miss the security of having a healer at my back that I know I can trust. Also, voice communication is really nice in an instant-adjustment and continuous communication sort of way. No need to worry about mana usage or group speed or pull size – all can be monitored and adjusted on-the-fly. And an extra set of eyes and a friendly face never hurt anything either.

Still, the warrior is leveling quickly and going well. With only 5 levels left to Northrend I think I can probably get there by the weekend, even with a fairly full week with somewhat limited playtime.

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