In a case of good news / bad news — I can’t really blame my tanking performance on gear any more. Not so much at least. I’ve been incredibly fortunate. I have never been this lucky in gearing a tank before in the entire history forever and ever amen in my tanking life. Do you know how many weeks upon weeks I ran Utgarde Keep hunting down the Red Sword of Courage??

If you do — please don’t tell me. I have tried my level best to forget. (Clearly rather unsuccessfully as it still haunts me.)

I was given good cause to believe this trend was going to continue at first though. Yesterday, I gasped in delight at seeing an ilvl 440 weapon cache available as the Proudmoore emissary reward. I hopped to those world quests with a vigour and glee I would typically reserve for the final quest hand-in that I know will ding my first character to the new maximum level at the launch of an expansion. The mental equivalent of dancing a jig was certainly occurring. Especially given I had just been scouring through Atlas Loot looking to find what I might have to subject myself to to gain a weapon upgrade.

A few short quests later and I was the proud owner of a new… Wait… What?

A SHIELD? WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?

A blasted shield. And just imagine for a moment that at the time of receiving this shield I did not have a 430 epic in the weapon slot. Oh no. I had a 390 green. My last of the gear granted by boosting the character.

I had a 415 shield, so don’t get me wrong. This was still absolutely an upgrade. (And quite a hefty one at that.) It just wasn’t the weapon I had been promised. And before anyone starts — yes I can see the logic of a shield falling into this category… Sort of. The off-hand slot when used at all is typically for weapons of some description.

But it still took me by surprise. Mostly, I think, because I had not too long ago been perusing the auction house looking for potential upgrades. And you know what category shields don’t fall under on the auction house? Weapons. That’s where. They class as armor. Very sensible.

In any case — as the image above spoils, I did get a weapon that same night from a Temple of Sethraliss Mythic 0 run. This was my warm up for the night, and only the second dungeon run I’d done on this character since boost ever. Even so — it was markedly smoother than the first. While I hadn’t been tanking anything since the earlier run — I had been running through the quest line for the legendary cape all over again, as prot, specifically to get used to my binds.

And it helped. I still have a long way to go in smoothing out my play — recognising when my big CD’s are necessary to save my healer unnecessary grief in particular. But the three issues I noted last time are for the most part gone. I ditched my bad Revenge habit in a big way.

With the confidence boost of Sethraliss going smoothly behind me — we escalated (slightly) to a Mythic+ run. Only a +2, granted, but hey. Mechagon: Junkyard +2 felt like no-joke to me at the time.

I’m still not comfortable enough to be grabbing screenshots as we go. I might actually remember to do so next time.

My next learnings are likely to come with general familiarity — but the big one now is pull size / speed improvements. I’m a rather conservative puller at the moment. We still managed to get a +2 key upgrade on our timed run, but it’s a far cry off our best time in there with our more experienced tank.

But hey — the fear of doing it is subsiding just through getting in there and doing it. :)