Hear me Roar

Bravetank finally reentered the dungeon world today after quite some time away. I decided to go into my old favourite Dire Maul – Gordok Common. I’ve been in there so many times some of the mobs no longer attack me and instead give me a little wave. I have after all been crowned their king over a hundred times. So it’s nice there. I take treats for the dogs.

The group was friendly. Someone said “Hi” so I knew we were onto a winner. And when we wiped at one point (I hadn’t given healer husband enough time to loot so was left to die at the hands of 5 angry mobs as punishment for my tanking sin) no one moaned (apart from me, to him, a lot). At one point I messed up & over pulled (a great mass of mobs came running towards us such is the range of my Avenger’s shield). I apologised & one of the dps said it was all fine. Maybe he was amazed at a tank apologising. I’ve certainly not seen it much. So a really nice group. Drama free run. Was still nervous as hell though. Why is that? Why am I still nervous when all is going well? Why am I still nervous even when running with people from the Raggy Dolls guild which was set up to support people like me?

I’ve been thinking about this and how all this nervousness actually manifests itself in panic when I’m in a dungeon. Triggers for panic in dungeons for me are as follows:-

1. I’ve lost my way & can’t find the group- immediately my heart races, I start typing abject apologies while yelling for my husband, “Come and help …no look up the dungeon your computer…no come and have a look here, is it this way, is it, IS ITTTTT? WHY DON’T YOU KNOW THE WAY?! Oh there they are – just round the corner!” It’s awful and never fails to lead to an argument between me & husband since my panic makes me a tad unreasonable and my dungeon mishaps tend to happen when he’s in the middle of doing something hugely important to him like counting his money in the bank or window shopping in the Trade District….

2. Someone implies the next stage is tricky for those who don’t know the tactics….immediate terror then. They might as well have told me that those crank calls I’ve been getting are coming from my own attic. Horror seizes me. What do they mean? I look straight at the floor – in the game not at home of course- that would be odd. Where is the bad (usually I’m in it & dead). If not I ponder the time it would take to look up the dungeon but since the game always crashes when I tab out I know that’s pointless and I can’t disturb husband when he’s fishing in the harbour…. So the panic escalates. I feel out of control and helpless. While this is going on I’m still trying to fight & top the DPS charts. Of course I’m failing at both and just running round like a lunatic flailing crazily while the rest of the group stands and stares at me.

3. Anyone abuses me whether I’m tank, healer or dpsย  – that immediately makes me feel sick, blood pumps in my ears, the whole fight & flight thing kicks in and I start playing worse than ever – normally because I’m trying to type a response at the same time. That comes out as gibberish too. Panic does not a good player or typist make.

4. I’m dead & can’t find my way back in. Sort of similar to (1) but worse because I have the shame of both having died & looking like someone lazily waiting to be ressed. So social guilt on two counts. I over explain in chat while the panic builds up. By this time the rest of the group are back in there & usually someone kindly resses me & I shamefacedly rejoin them feeling like a total failure.

And that’s the issue isn’t it. I panic when I run the risk of failing in these dungeons, or being perceived to be a failure, and that can happen often. They even say it to you in there -“You fail” they say. Such a cruel thing. Cuts me to the core even though it shouldn’t. But why am I in these situations anyway? I could never go in a dungeon until I have studied all the strategies in detail first and watched countless videos in You Tube (do they even exist for low level non heroic dungeons – must find out). I should do all the reading first, learn more about the class, dungeon & mobs & go in prepared. In essence I must be a WoW boy scout.

But that’s a problem. Because that’s exactly who I am in real life (well girl scout, and not actually a scout- can’t do knots). I am usually well prepared, organised and a bit of a control freak (all gasp in shock and simultaneously send messages of sympathy to my husband). I’ve talked about this before. I want to be different in game. I want to be more daring & impetuous. I want to be able to go in these dungeons, mess up, learn from it & then succeed. I want to be Alanis Morrisette in more than just my hair length. I want to be her in “You Learn” & not spend all my play hours researching, researching & researching & never doing.ย  I’m a reflective person but it can go too far – I over analyse the fun out of everything (ask husband how many times I pause a film while we’re watching it to discuss and analyse – a 2 hour film normally takes us 5 hours over 3 nights and I make him write a paper afterwards). The researcher in me (I have a PhD in the 1st century church in Antioch) never stops but I wanted to be different in WoW. I used to give presentations on my subject & I’d over prepare – always. I’d be away at a conference & everyone else would be out having fun & I’d be rewriting my paper, doing extra research in case any awkward unexpected questions came up. I wanted to know everything inside out & backwards. And I never needed to. They never asked those questions. Their knowledge of my subject was much less than mine so their questions were simpler – nice to answer, fun even. But I had sucked all the fun out of it by then and was a nervous wreck. It’s always been the same.

So how can I somehow tap into my wilder side in WoW? Tips please? Susan Jeffers famously said Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. I try doing that but the panic kicks in and ruins it all . So what’s my strategy? Haven’t got one today. I’m defaulting to type. Terema my Ret Paladin is almost 85. About 12 bars to go. My intentions today are to research Stonecore & Vortex Pinnacle in detail so I can go in there and do them repeatedly, expertly and successfully. I will be the most prepared Ret paladin the world has ever seen. That way I can control it all and avoid the fear and panic.

I never ever change.


28 thoughts on “Hear me Roar

  1. I love your honesty I do think Achloryn’s right – it’s about not caring what people think. However, that’s easier said then done when you DO care about what people think. I’m like that too.

    When I’m calm and rational (HA!) and people are waiting on me, I try to remind myself that when I’m in their shoes, waiting on others, I’m not angry or impatient. So the people waiting on me now shouldn’t be either. And if they are, well then, most likely they are not my friends and what they think isn’t of value. Of course, this too is ‘easily said than done’ ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yes I know if I was waiting I’d be fine & wouldn’t mind at all but my experience in dungeons is that most people aren’t really like that unforunately. Had a terrible time again this afternoon after writing the post – honestly think my ret pally is just going to solo forever! Easier!

  2. Aww, I think it’s admirable you do your research for your dps toon! Kudos to you!

    I think sometimes panic can come, for me, from overthinking things or focusing on all the little things I do wrong. Usually it’s something that isn’t even that big of a deal, like “oh I didn’t get three sunders up, or I forgot to demo shout, I am terrible!” (yay for new Weak Auras) Focus more on the positive and pat yourself on the back for improving! And don’t worry about getting lost in classic dungeons. They are terribly maze-like and it happens to us all more than we care to admit, haha!

    1. The research does not help though ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Today for example I got totally overwhelmed in melee with all the stuff happening on screen & couldn’t see where I was & who I was meant to be hitting! That doesn’t help the panic either. And like you- I focus on the negatives. Glad to hear other people get lost in the old dungeons though! I’m a total fan of Maps for Tanks!!

  3. This sounds so much like me. Except I flat out refuse to “research” before a dungeon – I’m opposed to that entirely and get stubborn. Ruins the game experience IMO.

    Unfortunately I still panic and get anxious and expect myself to do everything perfectly and if not -know- it, then to immediately learn it.

    So if you find the answer please let me know!

    1. No answers yet!! Had bad time in two dungeons this afternoon because I felt so useless. I’m just not as good as other people & if there’s a mistake to be made I’ll make it! And if there’s a new mistake to be invented I’m your person to do it. It’s a talent of sorts!

  4. I tend to play a ret pally – solo :). But I remember going into SFK at L18(?), dieing, and feeling incredibly small and useless. If memory serves it was the first dungeon this character had ever been in so he/she had nothing to ‘whack a mole’ with but I still felt I was letting the side down even though the PUG was basically supportive.
    What I do now is run my higher level ret pally solo through the dungeon first to scout it out so my lower level alt. isn’t such a dweeb. (Much thanks to “Maps for Tanks”)

    1. Yes I’m going to be a ret pally soloer too. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll get my reps up with dailys, get an awesome collection of mounts and explore the world. I don’t need to parade my incompetencies before the world! It’s just too humiliating. I hate Stonecore & Vortex Pinnacle. Decided today! Grumble grumble grumble ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I like the solo scout thing though- that’s what my mage does for Bravetank & it did help me. I also love Maps for Tanks as well!!

      1. Nice. Never even thought of that.

        If you haven’t seen it already, check out the tanking 101 series at

        It has a lot of general tips (and some specific ones) about tanking, and is what I read before I started tanking a lot.

        As a higher level toon going through those low dungeons, you can pull without worrying about death. Just don’t kill stuff too fast. See what casts, what fears, what comes to you, and what runs away to get more stuff (if anything).

        At least that will help for non-Cataclysm dungeons.
        As a CC-class you can even test out CC immunity by trying to CC stuff – although at lower levels it’s hard to know whether people will cooperate with your CC marks.

        Personally, I have Skull/CC marks hotkeyed to f1, f2, etc.



      2. Thanks for this as well. Will look at that tanking 101 series – not seen that before. That’ll be brilliant. And hotkeying the Skull etc marks is a great idea. Thank you.

  5. in my guild, i tank dungeons for people and will even explain my pulls to new tanks.

    do you not have anyone like that in your guild?

    blizzard allowed cross-realm real-id friends to group together for dungeons. email me (or have your husband email me) if you are interested and i can walk you through a couple dungeons.



    1. That sounds good. Will email you. My problem on my server is that it’s only me and husband in the guild (sad sacks I know). On the Bravetank server there’s a couple of other lovely people as well and hopefully more will join but I’d have to transfer Terema over & I don’t want to do that at the momnent. I want her to stay on the server she started on. I should just join a good supportive guild I know.

    2. I’m interested in learning…..my email is included. I want to be a better tank and stopped for some of the reasons listed here. People can be so cruel and not understanding especially when they had to start just like me.

      Do I need vent?
      Do I need a headset? Which one you recommend?

      Just a few questions to start off with….

      1. Lee,

        I don’t plan to post my email address in a comment here, but you can contact me on the Lightbringer-US server by creating a low level character there and sending me an in-game mail.

        If you send me your battle.net email address I can add you as a real-id friend.

        Also, yes, Ventrilo would be very useful for discussing pulls and such.
        If your computer has speakers then you don’t need a headset.
        It helps to have a microphone too, but even if you don’t you can just type what you want to say.

        I bought a logitech gaming headset years ago but it squeezes my ears and hurts, so I can’t really recommend it.



      2. I can see Potatoe has responded to your specific questions and that’s great – I’m no expert at any of this!!! All I wanted to say though is it’s great you want to learn. If you play on a EU server by any chance join Defias Brotherood & the Raggy Dolls guild if you like. Then I’ll come in with you as dps or healer while you tank & I absolutely promise you there woul be no cruelty, meanness, hostility at all. Just help and support and all of us learning from each other.

  6. This sounds so much like me, except you’re brave enough to try. I also wouldn’t dream of entering a dungeon without researching all the possible pitfalls and I found all the research intimidated me into not trying at all.

    Fear of “letting down the team” seems to be my major concern although I don’t expect it of others, I just wish I could leave the real me behind when I log in, she really sucks the fun out of things, lol.

    1. It’s so hard isn’t it. Who’d have thought a game would be stressful. That’s what I honestly can’t get over. But I suppose it’s not the game. If everyone else on it were npcs we wouldn’t be stressed would we. I never get stressed in the Sims (though I get upset when one of them dies!) It’s people that make it stressful.

  7. The lower level stuff is meant to be fun and I think letting people know (with a smile and a cheer) that it’s your first time in a dungeon but you’ll do your best will generally generate some good will and camaraderie and you might find someone who knows it and will talk you through it.

    I remember in the dim and distant past of my first leveling experience, when I hit TBC on my bear and froze solid – but then, slowly began to work up the nerve to tank those (horribly difficult) dungeons.

    We wiped a lot but no body rage quit or anything. Finding friends to run with is the best thing, though, you can all sit in vent, have a laugh about it and remember that you’re having fun with friends in a video game and not sitting in a job review. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Have you run across Maps for Tanks? (We featured it on the Melting Pot a while ago.) Very useful resource for low-level dungeons.

    As for learning to be less prepared – one technique I use with actors who are overly tense about their lines is to instruct them to do a reading “wrong”. Deliberately wrong – wrong intentions, not thinking about their subtext, whatever. Wrong.

    Perhaps you could try something similar whilst tanking? Pick a ‘toon, maybe even with a friendly group, and deliberately do the run wrong – don’t research, chain-pull, charge in, etc.

    That might well help you get over your fear of being under-prepared, by trying it and seeing that it’s not as bad as it looks.

    I’ve featured this post as part of our post-Blizzcon roundup – I always enjoy how honest your posts are. I know a lot of people have similar experiences, and it’s great to read someone honest enough to write about them.

    1. Yes I love Maps for Tanks but Bravetank is slightly ahead of the dungeons covered there at the moment and my Ret Pally is at the Cataclysm dungeons stage. But once it’s complete I will constantly have it open! I really like that idea about doing things deliberately wrong- it really is about approaching the fear & even embracing it! Thought about that today not in relaton to WoW though but something else in work. I was thinking what if they think this, that etc. and then remembered your comment & thought well what if you deliberately made them think this, think that- how bad would it really be. Didn’t do it but helped me get some perspective. Thanks for featuring the post . That’s great!

  9. I was like you once, a complete soloer. I would only play dps too (only hunters actually) because a tank or a healer would have been way too much responsibility for me. Then my guild began dragging me off to dungeons. Then I rolled a baby tank to level with guildies. Now here I am throwing myself into random dungeons as all three of the roles, and even doing the same things in raids.

    I come from a 4-H background and I really believe in their motto: “Learn to do by doing.” It’ll be hard but the more tanking experience you get under your belt, the better you’ll get and the easier it’ll become. And having even just one person taking the plunge with you helps immensely. They don’t necessarily have to be your healer, just having someone you trust and can talk things through with will help you keep your cool. I’m lucky enough to have a boyfriend who loves to roll alts with me and since he’s Mr. Loremaster and I’m Miss Forgetful, he often guides me in the right direction in dungeons.

    I’ve come across several people who were nervous about tanking and what I did was throw them into the role and helped guide them through it, giving gentle corrections where I could. The best is to begin with an all-friend group if possible, even if it’s just two or three of you (which you can honestly get away with in low level dungeons). Once they seem to get the hang of it, I like to test them out a bit by having someone act like a bad dps or healer. That way they can figure out what to do in a bad situation without worrying about a rude pugger ripping into them. I’d offer to help you out myself but unfortunately I play Horde and you’re a filthy Alliance (I kid ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

    You could even try asking on your server for an experience player on an alt to help you out. You’d get them faster queues in exchange for the lessons. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you. That’s really helpful. I will try that server call out suggestion – that sounds good. It’s great that you’ve gone from only playing hunter dps to doing everything. That’s impressive!

  10. As a fellow control freak (paladin is an excellent class choice for us control freaks) and tank, I feel your pain. I see you’re already familiar with Tank Maps and have been pointed to Reversion’s tanking 101 series, but you may also like Vossakh’s stuff at Sword and Board– he has a basic tanking guide including types of pulls, and cheat sheets for each of the Cataclysm dungeons that I relied on heavily when I was learning those.

    For me, what helped were:

    1. Addons that gave me lots of the information I needed at a glance. Tidy Plates and Threat Plates, debuff trackers, HealersHaveToDie, an absorb tracker (much less relevant if you don’t play a blood death knight or tank for a disc priest). Even if I’m under a cloud of spell effects, having a lot of the information I need somewhere on my screen helps. GTFO would help with fire-standing too.

    2. Putting a lot of work into making sure all my movement keys, including strafe, are within very easy finger reach. There’s a lot of ways to accomplish this, but the way I have is that it’s all done by mouse- I turn and move forward the normal way, the back up button is button 5 on the mouse, and my scroll wheel tilts and left and right tilt are bound to left and right strafe. Being able to move easily takes a lot of anxiety out of melee in general and tanking in particular.

    3. Practice practice practice practice ad infinitum. The more solid my basic skills got, the easier it was to recover from mistakes, and the more confidence I had in myself. Having that confidence in my fundamentals makes it a lot easier to blow off abusive puggers. It also gives me the confidence to just freaking drop group the second someone starts giving me ill treatment- I do not pay my subscription fee to be verbally abused by strangers. This doesn’t really help you now, but it may help to know it does get better. At this point I’ve got my main prot pally, a prot warrior I pug raids with at the same level, a heroics-geared blood DK, and a feral bear druid at level 64- it’s gotten easier and easier each time. It might actually benefit you to go back through the dungeons you already HAVE internalized on a new tanking class to strengthen your fundamentals more, though that might be a lot more work than you want to do. ๐Ÿ™‚ I kind of wish I’d done feral bear first or at least second; the moveset stays so simple for so long it gives you less to learn/worry about, but the limited ranged tools force you to fully learn and internalize the art of pulling. The high baked-in mitigation and easy AoE threat from swipe make the learning curve forgiving.

    4. Alcohol in moderate amounts and death metal in immoderate amounts, for lowbie pug dungeons. This is probably just me, but the alcohol takes the tense edge off and the music gives me an aggressive rhythm, good for confidence.

    Chin up and shield forward!

    1. Thank you so much for this. That’s really great. Particularly all the add ons which I’m just off to get!I I can’t do the mouse turning – I know I know – it means I might as well give up! But I am doing the practice. I’ve found the fact I’ve not been doing any questing has been holding me back a bit- if I only play Bravetank when I’m in a dungeon I’m never really spending time really getting to learn what she can/can’t do,. So I’m going to try to have a bit more balanced approach to things. Thanks again for taking the time to give such good advice. Much appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. I learned my mouse turning and smooth strafing by running speed laps around Orgrimmar until I could do it like a Parkour runner. Delete Orgrimmar and insert any similarly multilevel Ally city that may apply. Perhaps that Draeni monstrosity.

        That said, keyboard turning isn’t the end of the world the way it’s often made out to be; my partner in raid tanking keyboard turns, and he’s so good at his job I would NEVER have noticed if we hadn’t been comparing notes one day on how we have our keybindings set up. He has no issue in 5-mans either, and as a feral bear it’s not like movement and positioning are less relevant to him. It’s just that’s the way he’s been moving in games for years and by now he’s very very good at it.

        One other thing that really helps me when I’m on my paladin; click-casting for Righteous Defense and Hand of Protection. I use VuhDo, but it can just as easily be done with mouseover macros or Clique + any raid frames including the default Blizzard ones; if I can mouse over someone with aggro and click-taunt off up to three mobs, or put them in a bubble, it helps a lot when I’m trying to save a situation gone bad. Paladins don’t have an AoE taunt or mocking blow, and trying to pick up a pull gone messy can be tougher for us. Plus bubbling the healer feels badass. I SAEV YOU LITTLE SQUISHY MAN!

      2. Glad to hear keyboard turning isn’t the end of the world – most of the things I’ve read suggest it is one of the worsr things to admit….ever! I really like that click casting idea – I always panic when I need to use those abilities – I go blind to where they are on my action bar – so that would really help me!

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