Thursday, January 24, 2013
One of the most interesting characters to come out of Cataclysm—introduced in the Fangs of the Father rogue legendary quest chain—was Wrathion, the Black Prince. Players who do the quest chain in the Badlands can learn of his origin, and everyone can work with him in Pandaria at level 90. His story is ongoing, but I've found him to be a very unique and intriguing character. You like him, but are wary of what he isn't telling you.
It's easy to sort of let it slip your mind that he's probably only about a year old, maybe less. He's obviously an extraordinary individual, but that doesn't change the fact that he's still young (especially for a dragon), and he's been through a lot. This story I've written is both for this aspect of Wrathion, as well as many of the feelings I've had to deal with in the last couple years of my personal life.
The journey had been a long one, and he suspected he overestimated his own strength when he first embarked on the journey. After slipping aboard a few ships to make it back to the Eastern Kingdoms, he opted to fly the remaining distance to the Badlands. But his wings were not so big or so strong yet. He all but collapsed onto a still-smoldering plateau to catch his breath, his tiny body heaving with labored gasps for many minutes.
When at last he felt a bit more rested, he rolled over onto his tummy, and peered down at the scarred earth under his feet. Father, he thought, and a mixture of fury and loneliness rushed over him. He wanted a parent now. To cuddle up to, to feel safe with, to trust with his safety. But no—he had been doomed from his very conception to never have that. The unfairness of it all prompted a helpless roar of anguish, squeaky and small at first, that continued even as he changed. As he morphed, his body growing in size and form, so too did his cry, ending in a raw, pained sob, the voice of a young man.
His eyes, piercing red but tearless, looked blearily ahead.
The landscape was as dry and bleak as his heart, in that moment.
Now in the guise of a human, Wrathion pushed himself up into a standing position, and absently dusted the grit and sand from his gloves and knees. The scorching heat might have been unbearable to most, but black dragons were not affected by such things. Indeed, Wrathion had learned there had been an Obsidian Dragonshrine in Dragonblight, located at the base of a volcano whose lava still churned. Under the earth, nestled by the lava… this was where black dragons liked it best. And here was Wrathion, the only remaining black dragon, and he had never curled up in the warmth of a volcano before.
He clenched his fists, a small growl escaping his lips, before he composed himself. He knew this would be an emotional journey; it was why he dismissed his many guards before leaving. He could not let them see him like this. Still, Wrathion had hoped he was above all this. He didn’t love his father, or anyone else in his family. That was why they all had to die… right?
But there was a thin line between the mind and the heart, the logic and the instinct, that Wrathion could not overcome, and that was why he was here, instead of Pandaria. He rather preferred Pandaria to the rest of Azeroth. What he’d seen of Azeroth was war-torn, or—as the case was here—ravaged by Deathwing. The scars of the Cataclysm would not heal quickly. Even now he saw ugly, molten, black-and-red lines across the landscape, as if Deathwing had vomited his hate onto the land, destroying everything he happened to touch. It was not how the Earthwarder began, but it was how he had died, and how he would forever be remembered.
My legacy will be better than this.
Wrathion transformed again, and in his true form—a tiny black whelpling—he fluttered off, down to where his instinct tugged him. He saw a Horde settlement and opted to give it a wide berth as he flew past. His real destination lay northwest… in the Ruins of Kargath. It did not take long to arrive, and Wrathion changed back into his human form once more as he landed, surveying the scene.
Kargath had been rebuilt not too far away, but the original town had been devastated in the Cataclysm. The ruins now were a cemetery. Wrathion stepped carefully around the many tiny skeletons of whelps that littered the ground as he walked… skeletons that could easily have been his own, the skeletons of his numerous brothers and sisters he never knew. There were so many, making the path difficult, and as Wrathion spied one hidden in the sand too late, he stumbled to avoid crushing it under his feet. He put out a hand to catch his fall on what looked, out of the corner of his eye, like a ruined building.
The first thing he felt was her presence, warm and comforting, even from within the confines of his egg. Everything was dark, but so long as he felt her close he knew everything would be all right. She spoke to him frequently, alternating between soft coos of how she would protect him… to angry snarls of rage, against the red dragons, the world, everything. She swore her captors would pay, and that is how he was named.
“My little Wrathion—that is to be your name,” she hissed, and he trembled within his egg at the fury and love with which she said it. “You are stronger than all the others! Those red dragons will one day know your wrath, and you will lead our kin to slaughter them for what they have done to us!”
At the time, he didn’t completely understand what she meant. He didn’t yet know what wrath was.
Not, at least, until she died.
Wrathion staggered a little at the memory, and looked up wildly. What he initially thought was a beam from some destroyed building was, in fact, a bone. A giant rib, arching towards the sky. He had to step back a few feet to take it all in, and his breathing quickened in realization. Time and scavengers had easily stripped the corpse clean, leaving the skeleton of the black dragon Nyxondra to bleach in the scorching sun. In death, his mother was pristine. Pure. Free.
Picking his way towards her head, Wrathion carefully sat in front of the enormous skull and tried to peer into her eye sockets. He tried to imagine her alive, in his mind, but he realized he never saw his mother alive. He had been in an egg the whole time. All he could imagine was what other adult black dragons looked like.
“Well, Mother,” he said, somewhat awkward, but not knowing what else to do, “I’m here, now. I wonder if you can hear me, wherever you are.”
Wrathion wasn’t sure what he thought happened after death. Many of the mortal races spoke of an afterlife. The Pandaren spoke of a bridge that spirits had to cross to go into such a realm. He kind of liked that idea, that there was a bridge of no return that separated this cruel world from the other, untainted one. Maybe now, his mother sat on the other side of that bridge to watch her only remaining child, and see what he was doing now.
But then he recalled his mother, his siblings, his father… and realized they were far from untainted. The Old Gods had corrupted Deathwing, and thus every single one of them, down to the blood. Even newborn black whelps had come into the world plagued with fury and evil in their hearts. Wrathion would have been one of them, if it had not been for a certain red dragon and her efforts…
He bit his lip, unsure. Maybe in death, the corruption goes away…?
“Mother, I… came to visit you,” he continued. “I thought I could hear you calling me. Maybe it was just me, though. Maybe I wanted to imagine you still wanted me. But I wasn’t born the child you were hoping for, I imagine. You wanted to fill me with your wrath… but I’m not that angry. Not like you were.”
Even within his egg, Wrathion knew what had happened to him and his mother. Nyxondra had been captured by the red dragon, Rheastrasza, and forced to lay eggs for an experiment. Wrathion and his siblings were experimented on, in a desperate attempt to create a black dragon free from the Old God taint that Deathwing had passed to every member of his dragonflight. Wrathion had felt the pain his siblings went through, and writhed in sadness when he felt them die. His mother’s agonized roars shook his eggshell when another one of his siblings was taken from her side, and another one died to the experiment.
Wrathion had been the only egg to successfully become purified, by some ancient titan device. In the meantime, Nyxondra had escaped, rousing her remaining children to her side and attempting to roost in the ruins here. But Rhea had her killed… and as soon as she breathed her last, Wrathion knew he was alone.
With a trembling hand, Wrathion reached out to touch the skull’s nose, petting it carefully. “Your captor is slain, Mother,” he said softly. As if somehow that would be a comfort to the skeletal dragon. Deathwing had sought out Wrathion’s egg, but Rhea had kept it hidden, sacrificing herself in the process. “Rhea was killed by Father. But I’m still here. And I don’t have to do Father’s bidding anymore.”
In a way, Wrathion was grateful to Rhea, for freeing him of taint. If she had not, Wrathion would be dead like all the other black dragons, or even out still causing pain and suffering to the mortals of the world. But her actions… enslaving his mother, tormenting her and her children before killing them… was it worth it? He couldn’t say yes, but he couldn’t say no either.
“I’m free, Mother. And so are you. It’s better to sleep like this than to suffer, isn’t it?” He continued to stroke the skeleton as he pondered the course of his short life. “I’ve had to take care of myself. I’ve had to do terrible things to remain free. But I want the world to be a better place, too. I don’t want to live in a world where war destroys everything. I saw what Father did. This world deserves better.”
He finally let his gloved hand drop, and pushed himself back up to his feet. He realized he was trembling, even though the air was blistering hot, and he stared at his quaking hands. “I-I’m better than Father. I’m better than you,” he whispered. “You would have made me hate this world. I thought you loved me, Mother. Why would you want a life like that for me?”
The question made him pause. Wrathion blinked slowly, staring at Nyxondra’s lifeless eye sockets. Maybe… that was why she had to die, too. If she had somehow survived, she would have treated Wrathion cruelly, raising him to be a servant of Deathwing. Who knows, the black dragonflight itself might have experimented on him also. He’d heard stories of the atrocities the black dragons and their allies committed. If things didn’t happen the way they had happened, Wrathion would not be who he was today.
The hopelessness of the situation suddenly dawned upon him, overwhelming. He had to be born an orphan, the only one of his kind left, in order to be free. He had to kill the rest of his family to ensure they wouldn’t harm him or anyone else.
But worst of all… he had to spend the rest of his life never knowing that feeling of warmth and security ever again. He would never know what it was like to look into his mother’s eyes, to touch noses with her and cuddle close to her, and know he was loved. Even if Nyxondra was tainted, she was still his mother, and in her maternal instinct knew how to curl around her eggs and keep them near. Even in her insanity, she still knew how to love her eggs.
How to love him.
A scream of grief tore its way from his throat, taking even him by surprise, and in his fury he brought his clenched fist down at Nyxondra’s skull. He wanted so badly to hit her, but as his fist drew near, it slowed and simply rested to a gentle stop against the bleached bone. Tears filled his eyes, despite his best efforts to keep them back. Tears were for mortals, weren’t they?
No… tears, grief… they were for the living.
Wrathion sank to his knees again, and in doing so transformed. He shrank into his whelp form, and like a baby to its mother curled into the shade of Nyxondra’s skeleton, nuzzling close.
“I’m sorry, Mother,” he whispered, closing his eyes and pretending she was still alive, and could still hear him. “It’s better this way, isn’t it? I miss you, though. It’d be easier if I didn’t… but I do.”
His weakness appalled him, but in the end, he was still a child. An extraordinary and intelligent child, a prince of the black dragonflight… but a child nonetheless.
Surely there was no shame in a child wanting to say goodbye to his mother.
This story was written in memory of my own mother, who passed away 3 years ago. While I certainly did not have the same relationship with her as Wrathion did with Nyxondra in the story, I think my feelings about losing a mother were able to be expressed through the story well, even while I explored the character of Wrathion himself. The title of the story is taken from the quest of the same name in the Badlands, where you are asked by Rhea to slay Nyxondra.
Missing and loving you, Mommy. May all my real life achievements continue to make you proud.
Posted by Cerylia Dawnwing at 8:01 AM
Sunday, October 7, 2012
I. Classes and Specializations
II. Choosing Gear and How to Spot Upgrades
III. Abilities and How to Use Them
IV. Talents at Level 15
V. Preparing for Your First Dungeon
VI. Helpful Settings and Resources
VI. Helpful Settings and Resources
So far, this guide has covered all the basics of dungeon running and tanking. For the last section of my guide, I’ll take this opportunity to point out some useful in-game settings that may make dungeons easier for you.
1. Enemy Nameplates
When in game, push the V button to toggle enemy nameplates on/off. Look for some enemy monsters and see how they have a health bar above their heads now. You can use that to help you see where all the enemies are, and click on those nameplates to target them quickly. This can be extremely helpful, especially in a frantic battle against multiple enemies at once. The nameplates can also help you notice an enemy that would otherwise be hard to spot against the background, reducing the chance you’ll be taken by surprise.
You can adjust the behavior of enemy nameplates in game by opening the Game Menu (Esc), then going to Interface > Names. Find the section labeled “Unit Nameplates” and look at the drop-down box options. I personally prefer Overlapping Nameplates, so that the nameplates overlap one another depending on the position of the enemies. There is also Stacking Nameplates (where the nameplates stack vertically if the enemies are close together) and Spreading Nameplates (where the nameplates will scatter all over your screen in an attempt to not overlap). It is up to you which setting you prefer, but I recommend using nameplates whenever you run a dungeon.
2. Casting Bars
You may have noticed that I mentioned some of your abilities can be used to interrupt an enemy spellcaster. But how do you know when they are casting a spell? You can make it easy to see by turning on Cast Bars. Go to Game Menu > Interface > Combat. Find the section labelled “Cast Bars” and make sure both “On Targets” and “On Nameplates” is checked. You will be able to notice whenever your target or one of the enemies on the screen with a nameplate is casting something. If it has a shield-shaped icon around the spell icon, it is uninterruptable. But if it does not have this distinction, you can attempt to use one of your abilities to interrupt the spell before it completes.
3. Target of Target and Assisting
This setting should always be on no matter what kind of character you play, I think. Whenever you target a character (friendly or not), you will be able to see what they are targeting. For a tank, this can help you see if your current enemy target is focused on you (as they should be) or if they are focusing on someone else. Go to Game Menu > Interface > Combat, and make sure “Target of Target” is checked.
Along with this is the Assist function. This allows you to automatically target whatever your current target is targeting. That might sound confusing, I know! But let’s say you notice one of your party members is attacking a monster and has drawn aggro, but it’s hard to pick that monster out in the middle of the brawl. You can click on your party member’s portrait to target them, then Assist them by pushing the F key. You will immediately acquire their target as your own, allowing you to quickly start attacking that enemy and hopefully get aggro back. This is just one situation in which you might need to Assist someone. Keep in mind you can Assist both enemy and friendly targets.
4. Aggro Alerts
As a tank, knowing how much aggro you have is pretty important. Ideally you want it to be at or above 100% all the time. To make sure you always know how much aggro you have, go to Game Menu > Interface > Display. Make sure “Show Aggro Percentages” and “Play Aggro Sounds” are checked. The first setting displays a percentage on enemy targets to show much aggro you have on that target. If it’s anywhere under 100%, you’ll need to change that immediately! The second setting will make a particular sound if you gain aggro. It’s usually a warning if you are a healer or DPS, to alert you that you have pulled aggro on something, but it may be useful to you, the tank, as well. :)
Also take note of the color surrounding your portraits in combat. If you have a red glow, then you have aggro. If you are orange, then that means you are in danger of pulling aggro. Keep an eye on your friends to make sure none of them have an orange or red glow.
5. Action Bars
Eventually, you will have too many abilities for your primary action bar, or you’ll want to be able to put your buttons in different places on your screen for better organization. If you want more button space, you can toggle extra action bars.
Go to Game Menu > Interface > ActionBars, and you can play around with toggling up to 4 more action bars on your screen.
6. Focus Target
Sometimes you’ll want to keep an eye on someone, but can’t target them AND fight someone else at the same time! How can you do it? You can set that person as a focus target. This will make their portrait appear “targeted” but you won’t actually be targeting them for attack. Try playing around with the option by choosing an NPC in town and setting them as your focus target. You can right-click their portrait and choose Set Focus, or you can type /focus with them targeted. You can adjust the position of this focus target on your screen with the right-click menu options so that it won’t get in your way.
You may want to use it to keep an eye on a boss even while you’re switching targets, or perhaps use it to keep an eye on one of your party members to make sure they’re ok. It’s optional if you want to use these while tanking, but depending on your playstyle it may be quite useful to you.
7. Tab Targeting
Sometimes you just want to switch targets fast while in the middle of a fight... but clicking on each individual enemy can be difficult and a waste of time. Tab targeting can come in handy!
Just push the tab key, and your target will change to the next nearest enemy. Push it again to cycle to another nearby enemy. You can use this in a group to switch to each enemy in front of you and more easily attack each one to generate aggro.
Keep in mind that it’s not always a very accurate way to target. You may cycle back to an enemy you already targeted previously, or it may try to target something nowhere near you. Be mindful of what you are targeting as you use tab. :)
These are just a few settings and options that may make things easier for you in-game. Read through some of the other settings and options under the Interface menu to see if there is anything else useful you may want to toggle or adjust.
Optional Macros, Keybindings, and Addons
This section will briefly cover some more advanced settings you can use to make tanking easier. At this level, you may not need to use any macros, keybindings, or addons. Try it the standard way first to see how it feels. If it feels like something is missing or if it seems awkward or difficult to perform some ability, you may find use in macros, keybindings, and addons!
Macros are essentially a bit of script code that you personally create to make your own custom buttons. By doing so, you can make some actions even more simple to perform.
For example, let’s recall my suggestion for letting the party you’re in know that you are a new tank. If you don’t want to have to quickly type that every time you get into a new dungeon, you could create a macro for it (illustrated in the above screenshot).
To make the macro, go to Game Menu > Macros, then click the New button on the bottom. You’ll be prompted to type a name for the macro, and choose an icon. You can call it whatever you like and pick whatever icon you want. After choosing Okay, put your cursor in the empty space where it says "Enter Macro Commands" and type the following:
/p Hi everyone! I am new to tanking, so please be patient with me. Thanks!
As you can see, it looks like a bit of programming code! And that’s basically what it is. It uses the same command as typing in party chat, plus the text, but now you’ve put it into a button form. Now click Save, then drag the icon of your new macro onto your action bar. From that point forward, you can use the macro like any other spell out of your Spellbook and you will automatically say that phrase in party chat. That’s convenient, right? :)
I’m not going to go into a listing of useful macros here, as that’s probably a bit too much. The point of this example is to give you a taste of what macros could be used for. If you are interested in learning more about how to make your own macros, you can start by visiting the UI and Macros forum: http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/1011693/
If you search for useful macros online, be sure to check if they’re compatible with the latest patch, as some macros may be broken and out-of-date.
Keybindings are, as the name suggests, a way for you to bind abilities/actions to one of your keyboard buttons. You can then use that key as a shortcut to cast the spell, instead of having to click on it.
Your basic action bar already has some default keybindings (you can click on the abilities, or you can push the number keys to activate them). But if you want to keybind other keys... you will need to use the keybinding menu.
Go to Game Menu > Key Bindings, then check the “Character Specific Key Bindings” box at the top of the window (otherwise all your keybindings will be applied to every single one of your characters, and you may not necessarily want that). From this window you can bind all kinds of actions to a key, and look up what the default bindings are.
Let’s say I want to bind my ability Charge on my warrior, to the T key. First, I’ll need it to be placed on an action bar. I’ll set it to the Right Action Bar that I’ve toggled on. Next, I’ll go to the Key Bindings menu, and find the section that contains the Right Action Bar bindings. I’ll find the corresponding button I put Charge at, and then click that slot. I then push T and... ta-da~ That button is now bound to T.
If you make a mistake or want to reset everything to default, there’s a Reset to Default button at the bottom of the window as well.
Keybindings are largely personal, and you can customize everything from your movement keys to your targeting keys.
Like keybindings, addons are very personal choices. Some people don’t use addons at all, some use a few, while others use dozens or even hundreds of addons to customize their game. Addons are safe to use as long as you get them from a trusted source. Such sources include Curse.com and WowInterface.com.
I won’t list a ton of addons and tell you to use them, but I’ll briefly mention a few you might find use for. As a tank, you may find it helpful to have an addon that modifies your nameplates (making them more useful or informative than the standard ones), or a threat meter to see who has aggro. It all depends on your personal preferences. I don’t really use any particular addons for tanking, myself; but other players do.
You may also find use in UI changing addons, if the default one is not to your liking or you would like to be able to keybind abilities easier. Again, it’s all up to what you feel comfortable with!
The following are SUGGESTED addons; none of these are required, and I do NOT recommend you rush out and download all of them at once. Read them to see if they sound like something you would like, then try them one at a time to see if you like them. Also, there are other addons that can do the same thing as the suggested addons named here; search around and see which ones you prefer.
If you find an addon you like, be sure to check if it’s compatible with the latest patch, as some addons may be out-of-date. Out-of-date addons MAY be able to still work in-game (check the "Load Out of Date Addons" button on the Addons window from the character select screen), but you would have to test that yourself to find out.
If you have any addon suggestions that would be useful for a new, LOW LEVEL tank just starting out, please let me know and I will add them here if I think they are appropriate for the guide.
UI/Keybinds (change up your UI or how it works!):
Nameplates (modifies the look of nameplates and the information they provide):
- Tidy Plates
- Threat Plates (must be used in conjunction with Tidy Plates)
Cooldown/Proc (helps remind you of timings on buffs, procs, cooldowns, and such):
- Power Auras
Unit Frames (modifies look of party/raid frames):
- Shadowed Unit Frames
- WoW forums
- New Player Help and Guides
- UI and Macros
- Class Forums
- Tanking Forum
Dungeon and Tanking Guides
- Maps For Tanks
- Wowpedia dungeon articles
Thank you for reading the guide, and I hope it has been able to help you out! Any comments/suggestions/contributions are welcome.
Special thanks to all the people who critiqued, made suggestions, and contributed ideas and screenshots to the guide! There are so many of you who helped me, and I really appreciate all of it. /hugs
Nearly all the characters that are named or appear in the screenshots used belong either to me or one of my guildies. Other players unknown to me who appear in the screenshots have had their names removed.
I. Classes and Specializations
II. Choosing Gear and How to Spot Upgrades
III. Abilities and How to Use Them
IV. Talents at Level 15
V. Preparing for Your First Dungeon
VI. Helpful Settings and Resources
V. Preparing for Your First Dungeon
In this section, I will explain how to prepare yourself for queuing up for a dungeon, what to do once you get into a dungeon, and other various tips and tricks that may help you as a tank! Essentially, all the things that didn’t fit into the rest of the guide. ^^
Before You Queue
All right, so you finally opened up the Dungeon Finder tool at level 15, and think you have made enough levels to be ready for your first dungeon. How to prepare?
First off, depending on your class, tanking may be easier or harder at level 15 due to lack of certain abilities. I would say that paladins and monks probably would have an easier time tanking right off the bat; warriors might be more challenging to tank with until level 20 (when they learn Thunder Clap, their first AoE ability), and druids will be challenging to tank with until you hit level 22 (when they learn Swipe, their first AoE ability). The classes are balanced at end-game, but not at very low levels. Still, I would not discourage you from tanking at low levels because of this. Just keep this in mind when considering when to queue for your first dungeon.
Some people feel more comfortable by prepping for a dungeon before they ever enter it. If you are this kind of person, I recommend you read up on the dungeons a little before you enter them. At level 15, your first dungeons will probably be Ragefire Chasm or Deadmines. If you queue a little later (around level 20), you’re likely to get into longer instances such as Shadowfang Keep and Wailing Caverns. For a complete list of when instances are available, by level: http://www.wowpedia.org/World_of_Warcraft_instances_by_level
There is an in-game resource for many of the dungeons that you can read to learn about each of the bosses, and what loot they drop. (It also has neat lore descriptions for many of the dungeons/bosses as well!) This resource is the Dungeon Journal; below is a screenshot that shows what kind of information the journal provides. While the descriptions for the bosses at this level may be more complicated than the encounter itself actually is, this is where you can look to see what abilities you’ll want to watch out for.
Another great resource for researching a dungeon (as well as providing handy maps so you don’t lose your way!) is Maps For Tanks by Liala. (http://mapsfortanks.com/the-maps/) Though not every dungeon is featured yet, it does cover all the ones relevant to you at this level. Note that Ragefire Chasm is not up-to-date (the instance was recently changed with the 5.0.4 patch), but the Deadmines, Shadowfang Keep, and Wailing Caverns guides are still relevant.
Though some people are contemplative, other people just want to jump into the action and start tanking! Good for you! The best way to learn how to tank is to just do it. :D
Prior to queuing, you can eat a food that provides a well-fed buff, if you have any yet. You can also use an elixir or buff scroll (from Alchemy or Inscription, respectively). At this young level, such preparations are not necessary, but can only help. And at end-game, you WILL want to use every buff and advantage you can get to do the best you possibly can!
If you have any health potions at all (created by Alchemy, or sometimes found randomly as drops/rewards), drag the icon to a place on your action bar somewhere. If there’s an emergency, you can click it to use the health potion and heal yourself a little. You can only use one potion per battle.
Make sure you are in the right stance and have the right buffs up. If you’re a warrior, make sure you’re in Defensive Stance. As a paladin, you’ll want to check that Righteous Fury and Seal of Command are active. Druids will want to be in bear form, though you can wait to change into a bear until after you get into the dungeon (initial transformation into a bear generates 10 rage, so you can use it right before your very first pull to ensure you start the fight with rage. Refrain from changing out of it frequently after that, though, so you don’t lose the rage you have built up!). Monks will want to be in the Stance of the Sturdy Ox.
When you finally think you’re ready, open up the Dungeon Finder tool (I key). It should be set to queue for Random Classic Dungeons. It will show you that you can receive a satchel (with a random piece of gear in it) and some extra gold/experience for doing a random dungeon (as opposed to choosing a specific dungeon). If you’d like to do a specific dungeon, though (missing out on the extra rewards), you can click on the dropdown box and choose Specific Dungeons. Then you can check the dungeon(s) you want to get into.
At the top of the window, there are 4 checkboxes that you can select; you must select at least one role before you can push the Join Queue button. The icons for the first three should be familiar, because they are the role icons! You have the tank, healer, and DPS icons. (Some icons may be non-selectable depending on your class; for example, a warrior cannot choose the healing role because warriors cannot heal.) You can check more than one if your class is capable of performing that role, and you will be assigned whichever role your random group needs. Since you’re specced as a tank, you’ll want to just check off the tank box to show you want to tank.
The fourth box is the dungeon guide role, where you will have a special little flag next to your name that shows you are an experienced player and are able to give guidance to this group if needed. This is an optional role, and no one actually has to choose it for a group to form. (In fact, players probably won’t even take notice of who’s the dungeon guide anyway.) Just leave it unchecked for now.
I should probably explain a bit about how the Dungeon Finder tool works. When you hit that Join Queue button, the system will work to match you up with other players of the appropriate level and faction who are also in queue, from all different servers. It will put you in a group with four other players: a tank, a healer, and 3 DPS. It will also try to put together a diverse team if at all possible (so you don’t get a group of all paladins, for example--though it’s still possible if those are the only available players). Once it puts together a group, a box will pop up on your screen letting you know the group is ready, and you can then Accept to be teleported to the dungeon and join your group. You usually will get a new dungeon run, though you may be entered into a dungeon already in progress if someone left the last group mid-dungeon.
You don’t have to use the Dungeon Finder alone, either. You can join with friends if you are partied together. Consider gathering some friends/guildies at your level if possible and queuing together; it’s more relaxing to tank a dungeon when you have friends at your back who won’t get angry if you make a mistake. If you have enough friends, you can even queue with a full party and not have any strangers in your dungeon group. :)
Once you’re ready to begin, hit Find Group and wait. To check your queue status, you can mouse over the small green eye icon that will be next to your minimap; you can check how long you’ve been waiting, and the estimated time it will take to get into a group if data is available. As a tank, you will likely not have to wait very long at all before your dungeon is ready!
Entering the Dungeon
After you accept your queue when it pops up, you’ll be teleported to the dungeon. If ever you need to teleport out to where you were before, or back into the dungeon again, you can right-click on the little green icon by your minimap and choose the option to teleport. (This is also a neat trick you can use at the end of an instance to get back to the entrance quickly, if you need to turn in quests near the entrance.) This only works if you are still grouped up with your party.
When you enter a dungeon for the first time, you will probably be at the entrance of the dungeon (the entrance portal should be behind you), standing with the other members of the party. This is where people usually give group buffs and prep for the dungeon, but at your level no one will probably have any group buffs quite yet.
I like to start a dungeon by emoting hi (type /hi). You may also want to quickly type in party chat (/p) that you are a new tank and ask the group to please be patient. Some other players might not care, but many players will be more understanding of mistakes or be more patient if they know you are new.
Take a quick look around; there should be some NPCs up ahead that will have dungeon quests available for you. (Ragefire Chasm will have quests for Horde only, so no quests for Alliance players there.) Grab all the quests that are available. Some quests you will turn in to an NPC at the end of the dungeon after beating the last boss, or you may have to return to the entrance to speak to the NPC again. Other quests will complete as you progress through the dungeon, requiring you to click on the completed quest icon that appears on the right side of your screen and accept the next step.
Once you have all that taken care of, you can begin the dungeon. As the tank, you’ll usually be expected to lead the way, since you are in charge of the pulls. Along with mentioning you are new, you may want to ask your party members to help guide you in the right direction. Keep an eye on where everyone is moving, and follow their lead.
Now... ideally, a dungeon will progress according to your pace. You’re the tank, and you lead the way. The healer and DPS will follow you and only attack when you start the fight. That’s how it should work... but in reality, other players won’t always do this. These low-level dungeons are pretty simple for a veteran player, and many low-level characters are actually experienced players leveling up a new character. They may not be very patient and just want to get through the dungeon fast. If you are not going fast enough for their tastes, they may just run ahead and attack the enemies without you. Some people are not interested in helping new players like you learn, and just want to blow through the dungeon as fast as possible so they can leave.
This may result in an unpleasant or unsatisfying dungeon experience for you. Unfortunately, it’s the luck of the draw when you use the Dungeon Finder tool. You may also run into rude players who will insult you for being too slow, or--if you happen to fail spectacularly on a pull--berate you for being a “bad tank.” This is another lesson you will learn as a tank--you’ll need to grow a thick skin and not take such things to heart. Gamers can be whiny people when things don’t go their way. xD As you get more comfortable with tanking, you’ll eventually learn how not to take any crap from wayward players in your group. But that comes with experience. :) Don’t be scared! Interacting with other players is part of the game, and you will get good experiences and bad experiences alike.
As you progress through a dungeon, there will be uncommon (green) quality or higher items that will drop. When you or another member of the party loot a body and find this item, a little box will pop up asking you to roll on it. The name and icon of the item will be displayed (allowing you to look at the stats and compare them to your current item by hovering over the icon). There will be 2 (sometimes 3) buttons to click.
- The white die icon means “Need.” Only click this button if the item is an upgrade and something you will make use of. Need has the highest priority rolls and trump any Greed or Disenchant rolls. Don’t abuse this just to get lots of treasure, or your group may get angry with you. Besides, that’s just greedy. :P
- The yellow coin icon means “Greed.” If you’re not going to use the item that drops, you can just click this button to get a chance at winning the item for treasure’s sake. You can later trade or sell the item after the dungeon. This roll is trumped by anyone who rolls Need. If no one rolls Need, then you will compete against everyone else who rolls Greed or Disenchant.
- The purple icon remaining (if it is lit up) means “Disenchant.” It only is available if there is a player with the Enchanting profession in your party who is capable of disenchanting the item. This means that the item will be destroyed and turned into a dust, essence, or shard which is then used for enchants. If you’d rather have such materials than the item itself, you can click this. (Some people prefer the materials, as they may be more valuable to sell on the Auction House than the item itself.) It shares the same priority as Greed roll and will be trumped by Need rolls.
- If you don’t want the item at all, you can always click the red icon to pass on it.
For the most part, you should click Need if the item is an upgrade for your character (has better stats). Otherwise, click Greed. :)
Don’t be discouraged if the dungeon doesn’t go perfectly. Review this guide again if you had any trouble figuring out your abilities, and use the tips and resources I have listed if you were confused in other ways. If you made a mistake in your dungeon, remember what you did and be ready for that situation again the next time you run that dungeon. Remember, practice makes perfect!
At this point, all I can say is “just get out there and tank!”
For some helpful tips, tricks, and settings to make your tanking smoother, check out the last part of my guide!