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On Burnout and 10 Man Drama

I don’t really want to talk about the drama that has taken place over the last two weeks. I think everyone who has me on their twitter feed saw my whining and knew I was having quite a bad time of it.

In the eternal words of Monty Python, “I got better.”

But I am told by my officers that they hear the signs of burnout creeping in.

They do say tanks burn out faster than any other role. Maybe this is why – my silly belief that I can and should step up, take the lead, and take on responsibility for things. It’s what drove me to become a tank in the first place, and it’s the personality trait that has put me in some very unfortunate situations when I try to fix something inherently broken.


So I don’t want to talk about drama. I do, however, want to talk about burnout and 10 man raiding.

A Tale of Overcommitment: 10 Man Raiding in a 25 Man Guild

The core of the problem, to be honest, is that I am committed to both 25s and 10s. This is not a problem if you do two 25 mans and two 10 mans. If you do three 25 mans and sometimes do 10s on the side. When you start to get serious about both, that is when the trouble begins to pop up.

When the 25s suck, the 10s become more and more important.

And the 25s have really, really sucked lately. Attendance has been low and raids have been underattended or canceled; when they’re not canceled, we raid shit like TOC25 (reg) and watch all the gear get DE’d or go offspec. I know the officers have been under a lot of stress. That’s 9 hours a week of frustration for them and, frankly, for the rest of us.

No wonder we’ve all been turning to 10 mans to give us the fulfillment and the fun we expect from raiding.

The Progression / Officer 10 man

I have the great fortune to run in my guilds “officer” 10 man, although I am not one. This raid has some of the best, most committed players in the guild, and also some of my closest friends. It’s a joy to go see new content with them.

Most casual raiding guilds have a hardcore “core” of people who are more committed than the rest; in my guild, that’s largely this raid.

We raid on Fridays. We have also raided Ulduar 10 on Sundays for the last few months to get everyone Rusted Proto Drakes. With the introduction of more ICC10 wings, we have even thrown a 3rd 10 man on the schedule.

The math is scary. Three 25s and three 10s. That’s six nights of raids a week.

In other words…. too much.

An additional complication – I work until 7 on the weekdays. Working ’till 7 pm, driving 25 minutes home, I barely make invites. I am usually a little late. I often skip dinner, and if I eat I just have time to microwave something. Six days a week.

Every day of raiding has a purpose & is important to me, but after a while it has started to wear me down.

The “Second 10 man” Drama

Those who have been in this situation before – 25 man guild, progression/officer 10 man – probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

When the 25s get frustrating, and there’s a 10 man that is fabulously successful in comparison, and there’s not enough depth to truly field a second one… people start to get antsy.

We have a bigger problem than most due to an unfortunate lack of depth in my guild (see: attendance problems, recruiting). The second 10 man has been plagued by drama, poor leadership, no leadership at all, and – quite frankly – a terrible lack of tanks for six months. It has split up and reformed tens of times, and the only constant has been the unending stream of complains and cries for the “officer 10 man” to split up “for the good of the guild” to get everyone into ICC.

That in itself is another quite lengthy blog post. My guild used to have two ten mans and crippled them both to “even things out.” The officers are never going to do that. There should be enough depth to field a second ten man, and the same thing that makes the 25s suck (attendance; commitment) cripples this second raid.

How 10 Man 2 drama affects me in 10 Man 1

My point in mentioning this is that I am my guild’s second raid tank. I am geared to the teeth; just as geared as the MT/RL. I am without a doubt the best choice to both lead and MT the 2nd ten man.

I’d do it well, too, and the idea sort of appealed to me until I realized just how much I’d be giving up to leave my current 10 man raid. I came close to doing this. The fact that I did not…. really angered some people.

So that pressure has been heavy on me lately. It exploded last weekend when I made a move to help the 2nd 10 man – a good move, the best one I could make, but not the right move – and stuck myself right in the middle of the drama. It sucked.


Things have gotten better since the drama that had me all whiney on twitter last week.

For one thing, my 10 man will never raid 3 times a week again. I am adamant about that. I am not burning myself out, and I can’t handle 6 high stress raids a week on my tank. I am declining any 3rd raids that come about, and everyone understands. They have also pushed back some time slots to improve my quality of life coming home from work! \o/ All is well.

The 25s saw a resurgence in interest this week. Instead of going back to wipe on Festergut again, we went to see some new fights, and ended up killing Blood Princes 25! Nothing like a new kill to excite people. Then, 23 & 24 manning Ulduar hard modes our first time seeing them – that was pretty fantastic, too! Just because we outgear them doesn’t mean it’s not fun to hit those fights.

Recruitment is good, I hear; people are awesome; I love my guild; I’m done complaining (for now, :) ).

The second 10 man will continue without dramawhores and with quality alts to fill out the ranks. It’s not the best option in the world, but it’s the only one they’ve got, and after the explosion of gquits and drama last week everyone is extremely happy to have a raid at all.

Things can only look up from here, and one thing’s for sure – I’m in it for the long haul. Carefully… but I’m here to stay.


Blood Princes: I am no Orb Whisperer

My 10 man is 10/12 now, which is close enough to the Lich King that we have moved into “focus focus power through” mode.

Unfortunately, Blood Princes and Blood Queen Lanathel decided to be assholes this week and set us back by about an hour apiece before we finally killed them, limiting our time on Sindragosa. Because Blood Princes in general frustrates me, I wanted to rant about it today.

Smack Those Balls

We don’t use a ranged tank. We use me (prot pally) instead, while the MT takes both the other two. So, basically, I run around the room collecting Dark Nuclei while keeping Keleseth as my focus, throwing Hammer of Wrath on him to keep my threat high.

Yes. I am the ball collector. This involves lots of cute comments in /raid. “Don’t ignore the balls, Halleigh!” “You’re our ball expert.” “I’m sure you’re used to chasing balls around all night.” “Don’t hit them too hard. Gently.” Mmmhmm.

Anyway. For a while, I could not figure out why I had so much fucking trouble with this. Those balls just do not stick. They float away. Uncontrollably! I can’t figure out why they leave sometimes. It can’t be healing aggro! And they die – very, very quickly. I try to load a lot of threat onto them, in case they are being ripped off me by healers, but all this does is kill them faster. I usually had 4 or 5 balls when Keleseth activated. Then, the raid came over to kick his ass, suddenly I find myself with 1 or 2, panicking.

I started to figure out what was going on.

1) It appears from looking around on the internet that they don’t really have an aggro table; they just latch onto whoever hit them last.

2) It seems like there are only a total of 6 (?) balls in the room at any given time. Instead of keeping 5 almost-dead balls on me, I began paying close attention to their HP and burning down the almost-dead ones in favor of grabbing a new, full-HP ball.

I have a feeling that when the raid came over to DPS Keleseth their splash damage was both ripping balls off me and killing them

My job was not really the problem. Seemed like we were wiping for execution problems in other places. But I was still frustrated! Silly balls, stick to me next time please!

The Story of a Pug and a Friend

This is both a pug and a friend.

I believe in pugging.

Sure, there are tons of mediocre pugs. And there are definitely a ton of pug horror stories I have had.

But for every 9 hilarious nightmare pugs, there’s a 10th great pug with the raid-geared DPS pumping out the big numbers. The super pro guild group that pugged you as their 5th for a 10 minute run. The hilariously funny group that keeps you smiling the whole time. The rare player who CC’s mobs for me in HoR. Or, my personal favorite, the new players really playing like pros or asking for help and learning quickly.

Or: the pug where you find a friend.

There have been a lot of complaints lately about pugs. With all this negativity floating around, I’d like to tell a story about when I was a noob tank (oh, the horror!!) and a friend I made through pugs who greatly influenced my wow-playing career.

My Nooby Days

About six months ago, I was both a noob tank and a noob 80 – a recipe for disaster.

Halleigh, my paladin, was my first 80. I leveled as prot past 60 with a frost mage buddy, and decided I liked the prot tree and wanted to stay prot. Little did I know this meant I was destined for tanking in the endgame. Oh god. And I quickly realized how hard this was.

Of course, being me, I refused to give up and did shittons of research. I taught myself this “96969” rotation I read about. I did hours of studying on how to gear correctly and where to find the gear I needed. I bookmarked guides for every heroic – sometimes two or three – and memorized how to tank every boss. I also refused to pug without someone on vent or skype with me who could help me out.

Yes, I was crazy! I might have been a noob, but I was painfully aware of my inexperience and I wanted to make things as soon as possible for the DPS who got stuck with me.

My pocket healer

Through pugs, I met a shammy healer named Zalakor.

It happened without warning. We pugged a few heroics together, added each other to our friends list. He looked me up. I looked him up. Before we knew it, we were pugging together every day.

Zal was gearing an alt, and liked healing me. I was gearing a main, and desperately needed his experience. He was a very confident and solid guy who always encouraged me and taught me quite a bit. I was a very, very underconfident and terrified new tank who needed (I’ll be honest) a lot of help, love, and care.

Having him along as my pocket healer was a wonderful confidence booster. I am very hard on myself, and being a new tank is a rough job when you are new to the endgame in general and constantly faced with the prospect of being a leader in a place you don’t know.

Knowing a solid healer is behind you, supporting you ever step of the way; that’s an irreplacable feeling.

I highly recommend every new tank unsure of what they are doing obtain a pocket healer for themselves. I promise. It’s huge.

I have a feeling the situation is the same for healers – find yourself a tank you get along with, and farm farm farm with that person! It makes a huge difference to have a team in place.

My First Raid Experience

Anyways, back to my story of my healer friend Zal. Little did I know his main was a druid tank.

After we had known each other for some time, he made me a really fabulous offer – he was in the market for an off tank for his small guilds’ weekly Ulduar 10 runs, and he wanted me to do it!

Wow! I was honored and impressed. He wasn’t just being nice to me so he’d have a tank to farm with – he really thought I was good! I was quite pleased I had impressed someone much more experienced in the game than me. He always said he’d rather heal me than most of the other tanks he encountered, and that’s how I knew I was doing something right – approaching tanking with the right attitude – even when I was still desperately lacking in experience.

I was also in my raiding guild Brand New Day at this time, and although I wasn’t raiding with them yet, I had a sneaking suspicion that I was going to find myself in the OT slot soon. I was worried. I was scared. I had no raiding experience – absolutely zip – and I hate letting people down.

I wanted to learn raiding, and here was the perfect opportunity – outside of my guild – so that when I did start raiding, I’d still be a noob, but at least I would have a bit of experience!

It was perfect. I joined Zal’s 10 man Ulduar runs. And Zal and his buddies – wonderful mature adults all; two couples and several friends – taught me Ulduar.

We never got all too far in, but those runs were quite enjoyable. I paid very close attention and learned whatever I could. I also … loved it. This was the first time I really started to fall in love with raiding.

When I eventually did start raiding with my guild’s 25 mans, I was incredibly, incredibly thankful for the raid experience Zal had given me. I had a long way to go, but I had gotten my feet wet in Ulduar and at least I was familiar with the first few bosses. I went into it very green, but not quite as green as I might have been thanks to Zal and friends.

And Then, When I Was Not So Noob Anymore

I tried to keep up my U10 run with Zal as best I could, but being the OT / second tank for a 25 man guild required most of my time. Eventually I had to leave his U10 run for good. I have always had a very keen sense of responsibility and loyalty, and I was very sad to leave, but my desire to see hard modes with my guild won out. I promised all my friends I would eventually see them again on an alt, and took my pally off to bigger and better things.

Months later, here I am with a raid-capable alt. My DK is 80, geared, and pulling quite respectable DPS. The first thing I did was tell Zal I could raid with him again… and I’m looking forward to seeing my old, out-of-guild friends once more. :)

Pugging and the New LFG

I never would have met Zalakor without pugging. Making this friend had a huge impact on my wow experience and definitely colored the early days of my wow tanking experience. I specifically would probably not have met him with the new LFG system.

Don’t get me wrong, the new LFG is fantastic. I think it’s one of the greatest improvements to the game I have seen in my time playing wow, and while I am fairly new to raiding, I have a great deal of wow experience.

I love it. It makes life so – so – so much easier, and it is an incredibly powerful tool that vastly speeds up and simplifies the process of getting into a dungeon.

I am simply lamenting the passing of a system that allowed new players to get to know the people on their server, in favor of random players from their battlegroup. Gone (mostly) are the days that one recruits to one’s guild from a particularly impressive pug. Gone are the days when one felt accountable for one’s actions, fearful of pissing off people who might retaliate in trade chat or on realm forums. Gone are the days when I would recognize the names of half the guilded people I ran with.

These days have been replaced by something better. They absolutely have.

But they are gone, and sometimes I look back and wonder if I would have had the same nooby experience with the LFG system in place.

I wonder.

Hold on before you pull, I can’t find my beer opener

My beverage of choice on raid breaks

I have a confession to make.

On raid nights, I am commonly guilty of grabbing a beer on our 9:30 break. Always accompanied by chips or pretzels, of course. (Yes, I lead quite an unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle.)

I was curious to see how many people shared my like of beer during raid. So I asked one of my favorite toys lately – my wow twitter feed!

@Anafielle: #Warcraft Twitterati, a poll: How often do you crack a beer (or your choice of alcoholic beverage) while raiding?

And the responses varied:

@NDMiko Out of three raid nights a week my average is one night for liquor.

@0ricardo0 i don’t drink, so never lol.

@gotowell not often sadly. After a progression kill is another story however ;)

@that_ghoul_ava you can’t count that high.

@synae 80% of the time

@Protadin #Warcraft On a progression raid night, never. On a drunken raid night Kara/Naxx whenever we down a boss

@Ndiayne rarely, usually only if my work day was really shitty

@Poeryth I’ve never done it, personally, that I can think of, but my guild has ‘silly’ runs specifically called “Bring Your Own Beer”

@EntropiaWOW very rarely, I never drink during a work night. But on a Friday night and I’m fuckin around I will. But that’s like once a month

@LluckyA People raid sober? #Warcraft

@goss2326 i’ll normally have one or two alcoholic beverages during a #Warcraft raid if I’m not working the next day

@Daewin every night i can raid (which lately with work has been zero :P)

Hmm…. a wide range of responses from “I’d never do that!” to “Sometimes” to “Only on joke raid nights” to my personal favorite, “People raid sober?” :)

Well, I didn’t mean get drunk. I guess it depends on how you see one beer. For some people, one beer = you’ve started drinking. For me, one beer is just a beverage. I’d pop a beer (or have a glass of wine) with dinner without giving it much more thought than “Hmm, do I feel like drinking ice tea, water, coke, or a beer with this?”

I commonly drink a beer just because I feel like having a beer and some pretzels. Whether I have work the next day, or anything else, really doesn’t affect my decision one bit.

Now, I’m a tiny girl in real life. I weigh about 110lbs – and if I drink more than one beer, alright, I’ve started to drink. I’m relaxing. I’m chilling. I’m not doing anything serious. I would never drink multiple beers during a serious raid. But one? Does one beer make a difference?

Regardless, sometimes I feel guilty. I was chatting with someone on break once and almost mentioned I grabbed a beer, and then thought better of it. I don’t intend to mention in /raid. It’s just not a great idea.

Tensions are running a little high lately. Our progression has been stagnant, attendance is lackluster, people are frustrated… In addition, we have previously had a very few problems with guildies who have been inappropriately drunk or high in the middle of very tense raids. And at least one I can name who we all very quietly thought had a bit of a drinking problem, who used to get wasted every night and say inappropriate things to people…. including one fairly high-strung offtank. Mm, I never held it against him, but it was problematic.

So I will gladly joke about getting my drinks post-raid, but I won’t be mentioning my choice of beverage while the raid is still going on.

Epic Gems, Raid Gear, and the Raider Attitude

The story I’d like today is from a few months ago and dates back to patch 3.2, when ToC was progression – but I was reminded of it when I read another blog post about raiding and the “raider attitude” towards gear, enchants, and consumables.

A Story of a Mage

One day my hard modes 10 man was short a ranged DPS, and my RL decided to bring a friend of mine, a mage.

This mage is a very close real life friend of mine who I had recently convinced to join my raiding guild. He started raiding with us and, while short on gear, impressed everyone all around. He was very smart and played well. He certainly pulled his weight DPS and RA wise, and I know my RL was pleased.

That’s why he was invited to our 10 man when we had a slot for ranged, despite the fact that he was very new. The RL knew he would be smart, target switch, and perform well regardless of gear.

We did exceptionally well in ToGC 10 – in fact, I believe that was our first Anub 10 hard mode kill. He went home with a bunch of new gear, including a heroic 245 weapon. Now, that might not be impressive anymore. However, this was back in 3.2, and my guild doesn’t raid ToGC25. So, ToGC10 gear was the best & most impressive stuff anyone in my guild was wearing. He was pretty pleased to pick up all the gear, and was extremely thankful and loved coming along with us.

After The Raid

Several days later, at a 25 man raid, I inspected my friend to admire & compliment his new gear. That’s when I saw this:

Please ignore the crappy screenshot, and note the gems.

He’d gemmed the staff and much of his new gear with non-epic gems. /cry.

I whispered him and told him he should put epic gems in his gear, and he said something that threw me for a loop.


… what?

Why Epic Gem when the not-Epic gems are “good enough”?

His argument: the epic gems are so expensive, the non epic gems are almost as good, and he was in the top 10 on dps in our 25 mans – so clearly he wasn’t doing anything wrong!

I was about as nice as I could be, and I didn’t try to have a fight with him about it, but somehow it turned into one anyways. He is one of those very confident people who has trouble admitting that he’s wrong, and I usually let things go if I find myself faced with someone like this – especially when it’s a friend.

But in this case, I was so thrown off by the difference in our attitudes towards gearing that I just couldn’t wrap my mind around his argument. He wasn’t short on money, after all, and he was turning into one of our more promising raiders. I wanted him to wear the very best because that’s just what raiders do.

The conversation ended when he got really defensive, and the discussion somehow morphed from “I think you should use epic gems if you intend to raid” to “You take wow too seriously, chill out.” And that’s a conversation I dropped, right away.

That staff is still gemmed with non-epic gems. He doesn’t raid anymore, but I pulled that screenshot off the Armory today for this blog. I guess I never convinced him.

The Aftermath

This is a situation where I was torn between my dislike of conflict- especially with a friend- and my devotion to the game and to doing things right.

As a friend, I started to feel crappy right about when he got very defensive. As a raider, though, I was shocked beyond belief that he had raided with us for a while and yet felt so differently than I did about gearing for raids.

We aren’t a progression guild. We are a casual guild with a core of hardcore players. But that makes it even more important for the players who do know what they are doing to bring their very best to every raid – the right gear for the job, the right spec, the right gems and enchants and consumables. I thought this was just a baseline given.

I was so stunned to see someone – just as new as I am (we were leveling partners and leveled to 80 together) – have such a vastly different attitude towards gear.

Getting something wrong or forgetting something isn’t the same as simply not bothering to do it in the first place! And then, arguing it’s not necessary to optimize because things are fine the way they are…


Disappointing Proc Rate on the Ashen Verdict Tank Ring

My beloved ring … and no, I’m not exalted yet, I haven’t farmed that much rep!

I guess I expected too much out of my Ashen Band of Unmatched Courage ring proc. Now that I’ve got the revered version, the proc rate seems to be a lot lower than I expected.

After seeing @Protadin talk about his ring on twitter, I took a look at my own combat logs to see how often mine (and my MT’s) was proccing. Appeared to be much lower than I expected; every 1-3 minutes depending on how much I was being hit by things. Hmm.

Luckily there are people at Maintankadin and Tankspot who have looked into this before and done more extensive testing than my unofficial “search my combat logs and make assumptions based on encounters” approach. The ring appears to have a 2 or 3% proc rate with a 60 second ICD.

From a Maintankadin thread:

Definitely a 60-second ICD with an average time to proc of 0.08 minutes or 4.55 seconds when I had an average of 6.6 hits incoming per second. (21,705 hits over 55 minutes) … at a glance, it looks to me like the 3% proc rate listed on Wowhead is accurate.

Bonus links to a Tankspot thread where it is discussed, and another Tankspot thread.

I guess I set my expectations too high. I remember taking a look at the ring and drooling over the armor proc, imagining having a mini version of The Black Heart in a ring slot. Remember how often that baby used to proc? Back in the day? I loved that trinket.

But honestly, thinking about the ring as a whole, there’s really no reason to be disappointed. The ring has great stats (hit!! HIT!!!!), and with my raid’s less than speedy ICC 25 progression, my gear is not getting upgraded as quickly as I’d like. It was really fantastic to have fairly quick access to a nice ring like this from rep. The proc is really just the icing on the cake; even without it, I’d be happily wearing it. I don’t have access to enough gear to be really picky.

It’s just useful to be aware of how low the proc rate is so I know what to expect.

Putricide: Riding the Abomination!

The Professor Putricide encounter is another one of those boss fights that makes me really love my job as off-tank.

I’m sure there’s a wealth of information out there on Abomination Riding techniques, but I thought I’d make some notes for the benefit of other off-tanks looking for more information.

Before The Fight

Watch the Tankspot video on Abomination Control. It’s always invaluable to see someone else do what you’ll be doing, and with limited attempts in place, you’ll want to see someone else do your job before you have to hop in and do it.

At the start of the fight, run over to Putricide’s table, click it, and run back to the raid – don’t be alarmed that you don’t transform immediately. You get a debuff that ticks down for a few seconds before you turn into an Abomination.

Slime Pools

As the abomination, your job is to sit in the slime pools that Putricide tosses out, 2 at a time, and drink them up. Your 1 key finger might ache at the end of 10 tries. I was spamming that key so hard, and mine sure did.

You want to drink each pool up until it is gone. This SHOULD give you enough Slime Power to use your Regurgitated Ooze ability when you need it, but you can drink the second pool slowly if you want to stock up a bit on Slime Power. You need to always have 50 slime power available for your next job.

Keep an eye on the whole room and make sure you know where both puddles are. Very rarely, two slime pools will spawn on top of each other and will act like one pool as you drink them up. This can leave you short on slime power if you’re not careful, so keep an eye out and drink with caution.

Unstable Experiments

Putricide casts Unstable Experiment regularly on a timer, spawning one of 2 types of adds which the whole raid will DPS down as fast as possible. Your job is to use your Regurgitated Ooze ability (the 2 key) to slow these adds. This ability takes 50 slime power (half your bar) and has a huge range.

Yes! You get to vomit on things! ENJOY IT! :D

Each add spawns, casts something, and then zooms across the room at a raid member. The timing of your slow is important– you don’t want to slow them too early and waste it, but more importantly, you don’t want to be late and let the add will zoom across the room. Definitely better to be early.

What worked best for me: add spawns, I immediately target it and watch its cast bar. I hit Regurgitated Ooze near the end of its cast.

I also found (on 10m) that even if I got cute with eating slime and stocked up on slime power, I really only had enough slime power to slow each add once. I hope one slow per add is all a raid should need. If I slowed twice, I screwed myself for the next add no matter how slowly I drank up slime.

Down Time

If you are on the ball about eating slime pools, you’ll probably have some down time after eating one set of slime pools and before the next set spawns.

You can use this time to lay some DPS on the adds or the boss. Go hit something, and spam your “3” attack (Mutated Slash). I generally DPSed adds if they were up because they really needed to go down fast.

The Abomination hits very hard. I was shocked to find, perusing the combat logs, that my Abom accounted for a large percentage of the DPS on each add. On 10m my Abomination was doing 7k with Mutated Slash and about 5k melee. I believe he does signifigantly more on 25m.

And That’s It!

Controlling the abom was a bit confusing for me at first but made perfect sense after several attempts.

Some notes. I believe a hotfix was implemented over the weekend that stopped slime pools from expanding during the phase transitions (when everyone is stunned for a while). Thank goodness – that was a huge pain the first time we saw this fight and led to slime pools so big they simply couldn’t be removed.

I also suspect that a hotfix was implemented that made the Unstable Experiments alternate regularly between green and orange – all the strats I read say that they spawn randomly after the first green one, but after 10 full attempts we noticed they were alternating perfectly. Perhaps this is unique to the 10man, perhaps there was a hotfix enabled.

Final Notes

I was really pleased in general with how interesting the whole Plagueworks wing has been – between tanks turning off RF to DPS, slime kiting, and Abomination riding, the second wing of ICC has been one of my favorite raid experiences in my admittedly small range of experiences in Wow.

Putricide is possibly the craziest one of all. Riding the Abomination is weird, fun, and a vitally important job! So enjoy it, off tanks, it’s our moment in the spotlight.

About The Author

Tankadin Errant is a blog written by Anafielle, a paladin tank on Drenden - US Alliance side. (Armory)

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