Blood Tanking – First Impressions

So fresh on the news that DK’s would be getting a dedicated tanking tree, and that tree happened to be my favorite tree (blood), I decided to make the leap and make my DK a tank.  Which I swore I would never do.  I had run with far too many Fail DK’s to ever want to try and do it myself.  But like the complexity of the blood tree (or rather, the rotation), so I decided to take the plunge.  Here are my first impressions:

  • OMG there are too many buttons.  The rotation for a blood tank and a blood DPS is virtually the same – except you have to add all the tanking fun stuff into the mix, like taunts, DnD (which as blood DPS, you never use).  I still have not got things set up the way that I want them, but I don’t really know where I DO want them, so they are sitting on my (unmodified) action bars just grouped up right now.  As I get more experience ill fill them where its easiest to access them.
  • I love the *choices* that I have in the talent tree.  Its a bit more…  colorful.  As ret, you have a mandatory makeup, with 3 or 4 extra to go where you want them.  Instead, with blood, there are a few mandatory talents (and the basic setup is very similar to blood DPS), but by and large when you get them in, it becomes a choice – do I take blood worms?  Do I take extra plague duration?  Do I take DRW for the increased single target threat?  There are not enough points to pick them all up, and that is what makes it so darned fun.  I have respecced to tweak my spec now 4 times.  And it is FUN.  This is the kind of decision making that I want for ret in cataclysm, NOT the ret cookie cutter 0/0/56 +5 (or whatever, I just pulled that out of the air).   I want to be making decisions on those last +5 as to what would better suit my playstyle…
  • Defense cap is just as big of a pain in the ass as hit cap, except there are no racials that give you an extra 1% – its all gear and enchants baby.
  • I never realized what a PAIN IN THE ASS it is when I pull aggro.  To all the tanks, I am sorry.  That is one thing I do not like about the Blood Tank setup.  There is one taunt (not counting death grip).  And it is targeted on the mobs (which are inherently difficult to target because they are running all over the dammed place), rather than on the player pulling aggro.  The few times that I ret-tanked older instances, I used the pally taunt, which is centered on the player , which I can easily click BECAUSE THEY ARE DISPLAYED IN THE UI.  I would like to have that for this setup.
  • I am not noticing the huge spike damage that other DK Tanks suffer from.  I haven’t raided yet, so that may be it.  But If I am vigilant about my rotation, the whole advantage of the Blood tree is all the passive healing I do to myself.  So maybe its just my passive healing that is helping out on the spike damage.
  • I have 3 DPS pieces that have yet to be replaced, and I am in almost all blues (save the 2 pieces of ToC gear I crafted myself).  But the DPS pieces are all + Agil that help out dodge, so not so bad there.  and I am off to naxx tonight to test out my tanking skills in a raid setting.  I might be a bit of a slowdown on my group, but I think it will teach me a ton about tanking.
3 Responses to “Blood Tanking – First Impressions”
  1. zelmaru says:

    Have you tried TidyFrames? It makes mobs easier to click on, and it will also show you which one (by way of a border) that you’ve lost agro on. Macro your taunt in with /s “don’t pull aggro, moron.”

    (A target=targettarget macro to use with the raid/group frames wouldn’t work because it assumes that the player is targeting the stray mob, but actually the player pulling agro is probably aoe-ing with reckless abandon while watching TV.)

  2. Firespirit says:

    It was a total coincidence that I posted this comment on the same day that Bear Butt also did his tanking suggestions, suggesting exactly that.

    I might just look into it, thanks Zelmaru!

  3. zelmaru says:

    I should add that “tidy plates” can work “in reverse” when you’re not tanking. You can see which mob has decided to focus its attention on you and gnaw your face off.

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