Above is not yet the official logo of Years Behind, the retro raiding project, but one of the ones being considered by Wargallow our fearless project leader. I call it a project and not a guild because in essence, this is an experiment. We don’t yet know how successful raiding the old world content will be, and each of us are very much active in the leadership of our respective classic guilds.
However all things seem to be rolling along nicely, with the guild finally getting a few bank tabs and a tabard depicting representing Hogger… the FIRST raid boss. Right now we are pooling resources and gathering up as many old world trappings as we can find. I’ve donated my collection of Zul’Gurub Voodoo Dolls, as well as some various faction and quest items. Getting ready for the retro raid has become one of my driving focuses while in game. I’ve prepared many times for an impending patch, but never quite in this fashion.
You can’t skimp on the tank
When I was first presented with this concept, I knew that without a doubt if possible I would want to tank it. When I raided the old world content originally it was as a hunter, and as I leveled and geared up Belghast, I tanked for anyone that would take me. However I never actually achieved many of the goals that I wanted to. I never completed tier 1 or tier 2, I never owned a Quel’Serrar, I never really tanked much more than the first few bosses in AQ40. I just feel like part of my tanking Pedigree is missing, since I have experienced all the content, but as the wrong class.
My little warrior Bobbinn, had been sitting there inactive and acting as a banker for some time. As a result her gear was in a completely horrendous state, so I knew that I would have to regear the character from the ground up. For this reason, I almost considered shifting focus to pushing up my rogue, Gloam since he was at least fully outfitted in heirloom gear. In fact I had started to run him through Blackrock Depths for gear, but in the process of doing so a sign from the random loot generator gods appeared. In the middle of the quarry in BRD, Stockade Pauldrons, which in their day were the best defensive shoulders available. Stupid as it might sound, this pretty much told me I should be working on the warrior instead.
Getting to 440
The primary goal in gearing a tank is to first get to the defense soft cap, aka the point at which you can no longer receive critical blows through normal means. I knew that this was going to be a tall order, since in classic wow we got the benefit of “classic” Anticipation, that when fully talented was worth 20 defense. This meant that in the “retroraid” world, I was going to need to make up for that loss of defense through other means. Prior to Blackwing Lair it was fairly hard to stay defense capped, as both Valor and to a lesser extent Might attempted to be “Jack of All Trades” gear sets for the warrior.
Years Behind has set the goal of raiding the content as level 60 characters, however we have NOT set the goal of raiding the content in only the gear available to us back then. What this means in practice is that there are a good number of defense enchants that are available for level 60 items, and the addition of the random “Of The Champion” type gear which on level 60 gear gives 32 Stamina, 21 Strength, and 21 Defense.
The problem with the later is that on Argent Dawn, the “champion” gear has been going for some pretty ridiculous sums ranging anywhere from 100g-200g per item. Since I live in a habitual “broke” state in game, I knew that this was not going to be an option for me. So instead I went after a favorite amongst twink tanks back in the day. Many of my friends thought I was somewhat nuts, when I carefully collected the various pieces of the Advanced Armorsmithing tome, but I knew sooner or later it would come in handy. While cost prohibitive in classic wow, with little effort I was able to craft Enchanted Thorium Breastplate, Enchanted Thorium Helm, and Enchanted Thorium Leggings which will serve as my base to build upon.
Zul’gurub used to be a hotbed for starter tanking gear, and I have a good number of friends who either enjoy ripping apart old world content or are “a-faction-ados” in need of more rep to hit exalted. As a result it has been pretty easy for me to get a few overpowered friends to clear Zul’gurub for me for gear. I’ve been cautious of gaining too much experience, so as a result I have kept Bobbinn safely out of XP range until it is boss time, only running her in long enough for the kill. These Zul’Gurub runs gave me a strong number of upgrades, to start to fill out my tanking set. After two runs I had managed to accumulate: Overlord’s Embrace, Overlord’s Onyx Band, Overlord’s Crimson Band, Bloodlord’s Defender, and my first decent tanking trinket Zandalarian Hero Badge.
At the suggestion of a guild member I accepted the offer to do a run through on AQ20 as well, and the result of it were a few more pieces of gear. The biggest of them was Buru’s Skull Fragment. This was a shield that eluded me on Belghast in classical wow. Each time it dropped, there was always someone along on a main, that I passed it to, or another alt with better dice. So I have to admit, that I was borderline giddy when it dropped. In addition this I managed to pick up Polished Obsidian Pauldrons, which in theory was a downgrade from my Stockade Pauldrons. However if you notice, the new shoulders are a level 60 item, meaning they are eligible for Heavy Knothide Armor Kit… which in turn makes the item a net gain overall. Last gem from AQ20, was the Head of Ossirian the Unscarred which netted a pretty nice tanking neck: Pendant of the Shifting Sands.
Gear: The Outfitting
Now that I had managed to amass a good number of tanking items my focus shifted to looking into the various enchants that were available for me. Like I said in a subheading above, you can’t skimp on the tank. All the other raid members can show up to our first Molten Core outing wearing whatever the hell they could mash together, but in order for us to have a successful run you have to have a solidly geared main tank. Looking down through the various slots, here is a list of the enchants that I compiled for a 60 retro tank.
- Head: Presence of Might – This is the default old world head enchant, obtainable with some hassle at friendly with Zandalar.
- Shoulders: Heavy Knothide Armor Kit – one of the few enchants available that actually gives us any real benefit. The other option for elemental resistance fights is Chromatic Mantle of the Dawn from revered with Argent Dawn.
- Back: Enchant Cloak – Steelweave – your best tanking option, and its available on any item you could be wearing since its lvl 35 and above.
- Chest: Enchant Chest – Defense – considering we are at a defense debt I am pretty much stacking it on every slot available. When I get a lvl 60 chest will upgrade to Enchant Chest – Greater Defense.
- Wrist: Enchant Bracer – Major Defense – once again defense is the winner. This is a rareish enchant, as it was farmed out in Netherstorm.
- Hands: Scroll of Enchant Gloves – Threat – This is my current goal, but Scroll of Enchant Gloves – Major Strength and Scroll of Enchant Gloves – Superior Agility both seem like solid options as well.
- Legs: Clefthide Leg Armor – Currently the best enchant available to me, but when I get lvl 60 legs will upgrade to Nethercleft Leg Armor.
- Feet: Enchant Boots – Fortitude – Can never have too much stamina, another good option is Enchant Boots – Boar’s Speed but its a rarer enchant.
- Shield: Enchant Shield – Major Stamina – again going with the stamina route. If you are concerned about threat Thorium Shield Spike is a viable option as well.
- Weapon: Enchant Weapon – Mongoose – expensive but well worth it, king of tanking enchants. Another very solid option would be Enchant Weapon – Crusader as it will heal and buff your strength.
With a Roadmap in place this gave me a shopping list of what to obtain. I managed to pick up two Primal Hakkari Idol during my ZG runs, and after some scrounging a couple of Punctured Voodoo Doll. For most players that will be the most difficult of the enchants, the rest rely mostly on older enchanting materials and should be fairly reasonable. For me, as an enchanter I had the majority of it ratholed away.
One of my big regrets as a tank is that I never actually got to tank with my Quel’Serrar when it mattered. I managed to get my Foror’s Compendium of Dragon Slaying a few months before Wrath came out, and while I used it on a few guild Karazhan runs, I never really got to enjoy the sheer awesome power of the weapon. So as I stared down the barrel of another 60s tank, I knew without a doubt I had to obtain another Foror’s book. After several weeks of nightly Dire Maul runs prior to raid time, and checking both the Alliance and Horde auction houses, I gathered up the required insanity points to post on the Argent Dawn forums.
I’ve been a known entity on the forums for years, and for the most part the organization of our retro raid has been held entirely there. So I thought maybe someone had a book collecting dust in their vault and would take pity on me. Surprisingly, after several days and a few bumps the thread hit paydirt. Trynd from House of Arathor, posted saying he had one that he had been holding onto for awhile, which he out of an amazing act of kindness just mailed to me free gratis. I had never met the man before, but I have to say he is one of me heroes now.
Last night I managed to accomplish the goal of forging Quel’Serrar for the second time. I am pretty pumped about tanking the old world dungeons with this truly epic weapon. It does however crack me up exactly how oversized it is on a gnome female. My friend commented last night, that they need to add a sparks animation as it drags the ground while slung to your hip. I do remember how cool the gnome animations were with the big blade, so looking forward to bringing it down swiftly with a twirling flourish on the baddies.