When keeping 5-mans real goes wrong

So, you’re on your alt protection paladin, ready to make that satchel run and get some Valor Points along the way. Zul’Aman comes up, and you think to yourself, this won’t be too bad. After all, you outgear the instance and you’ve tanked it dozens of times between two different characters. Unfortunately for me, I was about to find out how wrong I was about this run.

(In the interest of full disclosure, here is her armory.)

After zoning in, I met up with my group and exchanged the normal pleasantries. Everyone was from a different server, so I didn’t worry too much about people carrying someone through. As soon as people signal that they’re ready, the warlock says he has never been to this instance before. That’s OK, because you can always educate that person on the fights and what to do. Strangely enough, he turned out to be the least of my problems.

We go down the first stairway and the hunter pulls the duo that pats around. No problem, really, no one died and I wasn’t planning on a bear run anyway. We make our way up to Akil’zon, and that boss goes pretty smoothly. (Hammer of Justice is good for the Amani Kidnappers, after all.)

The trash before Nalorakk can challenge most groups, but we start off without a problem besides the Medicine Man’s totems dying too slowly. We get up to the last pull before the boss, and the hunter doesn’t seem to want to CC anything, so I just pull. I am hovering at about 50 percent HP most of the pull, and then suddenly I get stunned a couple times and drop. The healer had more than half of his mana left. It’s pulls like this one where I miss my feral tank. Berserk (and his additional gear) can make these fights a joke.

After I rez, I explain the fight to the warlock and announce the charge order. When I pull, the hunter says that he never understood the fight, so we should just burn him. Um … OK then. Nalorakk charges the hunter once, but the hunter doesn’t move closer to ensure he lives. He then takes a second charge — and dies. The healer battle-rezzes the hunter, who then dies to the same mechanic again. Dis not be lookin’ good, mon, I think to myself. The boss eventually dies, so we move on.

We round the corner to the Flame Caster/Guardian/Dragonhawk packs. Because the hunter can’t nuke a scout, we get Reinforcements on the first real pull. We down everything, to which the hunter says, “gj”. We move on to the pack with the scout on the hill and the hunter shoots him but again fails to kill him, pulling Reinforcements along with the entire pack of casters and other deathly trouble.

OK, I say to myself, it’s time to move on from this hell. Upon leaving group, several things go through my mind:

  • Could I have assisted the group any more, maybe with some additional CC?
  • Could I have explained things a bit better, even though no one but the warlock spoke up?
  • Why did I even queue for this in the first place?
  • When will I feel as comfortable tanking these on my paladin as I do on my bear?
  • Why did the Raiders lose today?

I figured out that I can make up for people’s shortcomings somewhat on my bear, but not so much on my paladin. What I’m not sure of is whether I will ever be able to do so. Is it a lack of practice? Is it class design? I kind of doubt it’s the latter, because I see exceptional paladin tanks rip these instances apart all the time. Maybe I’m not meant to play a plate tank, though I did tank a lot on my DK in Wrath.

In 10-mans, I don’t feel comfortable tanking on my paladin, either. I wonder if there is just something about it that doesn’t mesh well with my playstyle. Have you ever felt this way about an alt of yours, or do you have equally safe playing any of them at a high level?

In the meantime, I am going to mourn the Silver and Black’s 1-1 record and throw some buffalo wings in the trash.

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