Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Newbie Tanking Compendium (Levels 15-20) - Preparing for Your First Dungeon


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:

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. ( 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!

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