There’s no reason to believe pet tanking won’t be viable in Mists of Pandaria. Hunters have always faced challenges with tanking, and this expansion will be no different, but the outlook remains hopeful for instance tanking and eventually raid tanking.
Questions or suggestions can always be emailed to me at Arthwhu@yahoo.com
- Pets still take the largest heals in the game (+50% all heals) unless I missed a large buff to a tanking class.
- Pets all but ignore all AoE damage, making AoE abilities non-factors in our tanking.
- Pet’s health pools remain relatively low compared to average tanks. This makes healing windows tighter, and the margin for error smaller.
- Low armor totals (compared to tank classes) mean that pets take large amounts of physical/melee damage.
- Kiting remains a problem without a clear solution. The “Move To” ability is not a reliable substitute.
- Threat. Pets can be dodged when attacking from the front, despite our usual hit and expertise caps. But we also got a boost to our AoE threat, and single target threat was manageable in Cata, so even a slight nerf to pet threat should be viable against all but the most elite (or stupid) dps. This will need to be monitored once we’re into the content more fully.
As such, our ideal encounter is a stationary single-target boss that is largely magic or AoE damage. Bosses are rarely so convenient, so we’ll frequently be utilizing our pets’ strengths while simultaneously having to account for their weaknesses.
Healing Your Pet
I recommend a Power Aura for your Mend Pet (or some similar notification) to keep uptime at near 100% when needed, and macroing at least one of your defensive cooldowns to it (Cower or Shell Shield). Technically we don’t want to stack the two defensive cooldowns (50% reduction and 40% doesn’t equal 90% in this case, it equals 70%, so there’s some mitigation lost if we stack). However, if you’re new to tanking and want as little downtime on the two as possible, feel free to macro them both together so that you aren’t forgetting to cast them. I use two different macros and alternate between them every 10 seconds. Technically even that isn’t fully optimized for cooldown uptime, but manual control over the abilities can get dicey in the middle of a fight, even for experienced players.
Mend Pet is significant. Keep it up whenever it can help your healer, especially when it means they can ignore your pet for a while to keep the group alive.
Strategies and Tips:
- Always remember that your pet comes first, both survivability and threat. Way before personal dps. Don’t keep a dps’ers mentality when tanking – it’s a different ballgame.
- Use CC like it’s your job in instances. Even with the new AoE ability Beast Cleave, you will not hold a whole group off of facerolling dps. I could never hold more than 2 mobs consistently at the same time, so that’s a good rule of thumb.
- Make a simple /petattack macro (you can attach it to pet abilities like Kill Command or Blink Strike) so that you can quickly send your pet to a new target. If multiple targets are up and not CC’d, switch targets frequently to help ensure top aggro.
- Let your healers know that fast, smaller heals are better for your pet. And absorbs are best. Due to the large heals our pets take, and their small-ish health pools, large, slow heals will result in a lot of overheals. Good healers will be able to make use of this information.
- It’s important to start small. If you’ve never tanked, tank low-level instances, run your friends’ alts through easier content, etc. Not only does it give you experience and confidence, but it gets your guildmates and friends used to the idea of you tanking. A group that believes in your ability (or one that doesn’t) is a surprisingly strong factor in success.
- Many boss fights are close to tank & spanks. The hardest (i.e. most skillful) tanking you’ll do will be in instances on tricky trash pulls. Never underestimate trash pulls, and use them to hone your skills, since tanking is a very different beast than dps.
Goals and Outlook
This is speculative, but I think our armor totals are going to start making raid tanking less of a possibility than it has been in the past. We’ll likely need to outgear the content by at least a tier before attempting most bosses. Past expansions have had a way of proving my skepticism wrong though, which is great, so hopefully I’m wrong again.
Instance tanking shouldn’t go anywhere, and if anything will be stronger in MoP than in past expansions. Shortly after MoP drops, I expect to be tanking instances (and heroics) regularly.
Stay tuned for more tanking guides on the various aspects of our class. And once they’re all finished, you’ll be able to find them on the main WHU guide page (similar to what exists currently at the top of the page for Cata).