On Learning to Love Off-Tanking


I was on Ashwalker tonight, again, having a great night of level 70 PvP, again, when Alterac Valley comes up. I love Alterac Valley in its current form, though I’d love to see it become even better and return to its former glory.

I liked AV when I first encountered it on Cynwise, as a warlock. Hitting it on Cynwulf as a level 59 DK twink gave me a new part of the game – tanking the zerg with as many warmasters up as I could. This was back before the nerf bat had ever been waved towards the DK, when you could flip over to Frost Presence and pretty much be totally invulnerable.

Things are different now. I enjoy AV on Ash, and for much the same reasons as ‘wulf – being a Prot Warrior in a BG which requires a tank is pretty much guaranteed to make for 5 minutes or so of running and then waiting, then a minute of ferocious tanking, and then it’s either over or it’s time to go rez, PvP, and see how things really turn out.

Tonight, there were three tanks down in FWV, so the other two started posturing about who was going to tank Drek. I sized it up, realized it wasn’t worth getting into, and dropped:

/bg I’ll get the wolves and warmasters. 

I immediately got a whisper back from a shammy saying, “I got you then.”

Aw, yeah. Sweet, sweet shammy lovin’.

So in I went as the off-tank with all four towers up. I’ve not actually been able to tank Drek+4 at level 70, though I did several times in the 50s and 60s – I’m not sure if this is because of my healing team, Drek’s buffs, my tanking, or what. Normally I revel in being the MT, of saying I HAVE THIS, RAWR.

But saying, no, you guys figure it out, I’ll take the adds, get the job done on the big guy – it felt pretty good. It solved the problem in /bg, but it also solved the problem in Drek’s room – if all the tanks fight over the boss, the adds are going to wipe out everyone.

Tanking the warmasters was interesting. I thought the wolves were going to pack more of a punch, but they went down pretty quickly. Three of the four warmasters vanished about 15 seconds in, as their towers went down, but Iceblood stayed doggedly with me. I didn’t really have a good strategy, other than keep it away from whirlwinding other people, so I’d be like… excuse me, coming through … mind the angry orc, please … excuse me … make way, whirlwinding boss here … make way please!

(People stand where they want in Drek’s room. It never bugged me so much – until tonight.)

It seemed like it took forever to take down Drek tonight, as the Iceblood Warmaster chased me all over the room. All DPS was on the blind guy who should be in a wheelchair, as it should be.

But when he did go down, it was a surprisingly satisfying victory.

I could get used to this.



3/4 tonight in the 70 bracket, with Flurry and Drop It Now!, 4 cap of EotS, successful defense of Strand, and an AV zerg. It was a nice cure for my earlier PvP blahs.

I am not missing the endgame at all right now. BGs filled with competent players? Quick gearups with no threat of a grind to keep it up to date every few months? Enough abilities to have the class function as designed, but not be overwhelming?


I may never get another profession over 450.


Filed under Cynwise's Field Notes

8 responses to “On Learning to Love Off-Tanking

  1. Lara

    Competent players in battlegrounds? Yes, please! Where do I sign up for that?I’ve run into a few now and then, but generally speaking the further we get from WSG, the less together the groups seem to be. Rogues on the healers. QQ in /bg. Complete lack of graveyard control. Fighting in the road. Dogs and cats, living together, MASS HYSTERIA.Anyway, yeah, so if you have some magic potion that lets you find groups with competent players, please, I beg you, share the recipe.

  2. Poneria

    So…how do you get into the twink BGs? Y’know, when you don’t have any twink gear to begin with? Is it just like getting into PvP with nothing but PvE gear (you die a LOT and life is FRUSTRATING until you get more gear)?

  3. Cynwise of Stormwind

    @lara: While it’s not all sunshine and roses, the level 70-74 xp-off bracket has had some of the best BG pvp I’ve seen in a while. People doing sensible things. Not always winning doing them – there are times you get outplayed, sometimes embarrassingly so – but the 70 twink bracket is very, very good.Multiple people calling out incs. Actual human conversation between nodes in AB. Folks noticing that nodes are not defended and GOING BACK TO THEM.It would be madness if it weren’t so wonderful. Screw the endgame, I’m staying back in BC.

  4. Cynwise of Stormwind

    @pon: One of the great appeals to the 70 twink bracket is that it’s a lot easier to get into than some of the earlier ones. You need about 1500-2000 honor to step into a full (and I mean FULL) set of Brutal PvP gear at level 70. It’s really cheap. Just spend time from 60-70 leveling in the BGs and it’s no sweat.I probably did 6-7 of the levels from 60-70 and had 2700 honor when I dinged 70. Enchants and gems do make a difference, but you can work on them once you start playing and have the gear. I have just gotten my JC up to the level where Ash can equip Dragon Eyes; have to decide if I’m dropping Skinning for Engineering next. With the lower levels, it used to be more unforgiving if you weren’t really well geared upon entry, but standards have relaxed of late. You never really needed to be in BiS gear to enter (and play well), but if you showed up with less than 1k HP at 19 you were going to die a lot. 

  5. Lara

    Aha! The “xp-off” is the part I should have realized.The only time I played with xp off was in the 10-14 bracket. I meant to do it after that, but I never really felt like it — I guess it makes sense that people who are committed enough to turn off xp are going to be a bit more with it about communicating, too.Interestingly, the 80-84 bracket has not been as brutal as I’d expected. The win/loss ratio is still about 50/50 for all the battlegrounds I’ve played except Strand of the Ancients (wherein I have played now 21 and won 6). I’m just hoping that having a full head of JP and Honor when I reach 85 will allow me to get into gear good enough that I won’t make a complete embarrassment of myself. :)That, and I suppose I should be farming leather.

  6. Cynwise of Stormwind

    Check your prices on the crafted gear – for the cloth pieces, they tend to sell WAY under mat cost as tailors use them to skill up. I liked the 80-84 bracket on Cynwise, but being in full Wrathful helped. The only real problem was IoC, where the bosses were tuned too hard. Cynwulf got creamed in his cata greens, which is part of my dislike of them as PvP gear. That extra damage hurts. I should change the tagline of GTG: Screw the XP, I’m here for PvP. 🙂

  7. Lara

    I haven’t found much in the way of leather gear, though I’ll keep checking. Her LW is high enough that I could probably just grind them out myself and save the cash.I decided not to use the Wrathful gear, except the weapons, which I used till the stuff from dungeons got substantially better (though she’s still got the throwing ax, because there are apparently no good thrown weapons anywhere in Cataclysm prior to level 85, or else I”m just very unlucky!)The other stuff, though, I skipped. As much as I’d like to have resilience, I decided I’d be better off just saving the points for 85. 🙂

  8. Cynwise of Stormwind

    I don’t blame you for skipping the Wrathful armor; it’s way too expensive for leveling. I know why Blizzard kept the prices high – so folks can’t have an easy way to skip cata questing and gearing – but it sucks for PvPers.