Since the advent of the so-called Holy Trinity of MMOs there has always been a slant towards Tanks as being the heroes of our gaming lives. Afterall, without a tank the group would go nowhere, almost as critical therefore is the Healer whose primary responsibility is keeping that chap alive.
When I first started off playing WoW and got to the maximum level I was a Priest. I went around healing dungeons and eventually raids. The original group we started with on Argent Dawn was friends and we managed to pick a tank, dps and healer without any prompting whatsoever. This allowed us to level together through dungeons and we 3 manned a lot of the content on the way to Outland, the end game content at the time.
Through this experience I then took my Priest through Northrend and this toon was my first 80. I had the Shaman that would become my main still there but once again took up my healing reigns. Therefore I’d link to think that I am well-versed in the stresses that are placed on a player in a dungeon environment from this point of view. My Shaman is focussed around DPS (although I currently have a Resto off-spec but want to see what Enhancement is like once I finish collecting the pieces for it) and it is much more relaxing (in general) than trying to keep people alive, especially people who seem oblivious to damaging effects that they are standing in.
I’ve done the healing game, I’ve done the DPSing from range, therefore the only real things left to me are the melee DPS and tanking. I did do some tanking in Wrath. I created a Death Knight and tanked through all the normal dungeons until they threw in the major changes to Death Knights just before Cataclysm. I never therefore did any Heroics.
I’d done some tanking on other characters over the years, I had a feral Druid once and done some Pally stuff with friends again before Cataclysm. I made a post when the new 4.0 patch hit about a new character I’d created, the amazingly witty named Hotplate, a Blood Elf warrior that I was going to tank with. She is now sitting pretty at level 19 after a couple of nights of questing and dungeon running and therefore I thought I’d put down some of my experiences with the tanking side of the game, things I have come across during the higher level shenanigans of my Death Knight as well as the lower level antics of the warrior.
With my main being a DPS character now I’d like to think I have a handle on that side of things, therefore with tanking I should be able to prepare for the DPS, however, tanking seems to put you in a different mindset and on LFD when not with guildies you seem less likely to put up with having to deal with crap from anyone. I’ve noticed this from others as well as in part myself. So, what is it that drives these tanks to such distraction?
Marking mobs – somewhat of a lost art, even in our post Wrath-AOE everything world. Crowd Control is a skill that can be used effectively when properly coordinated. These days we have things like hex/sheep pulling back to the fore, always at the tanks request of course. Just grabbing all the mobs together and trying to AOE them down is not the always viable tactic it used to be. CCing just one mob can make a pull significantly easier for all parties involved. However, what really irks me when I am tanking is that if I take the time to mark mobs (not always necessary in lower end dungeons) you can bet your ass that at least one of the DPS (normally a Hunter by coincidence) will pick whatever they want. I follow the generally accepted international convention of Skull for the first mob and then X if we need to mark a second mob. Yet, time after time, at least one of the DPS will go for the other mob rather than the quite clearly labelled skull.
This behaviour means I am getting less likely to try to put aggro on that mob and hopefully it will go chew on the guy shooting it, unfortunately in low-end stuff the mobs are pretty easily soloed anyway, especially for the aforementioned Hunter.
Am I going too slow for you? – The frenetic pace demanded by some LFD participants towards the end of Wrath is well documented. I’ve been in numerous instances where one of the DPS, normally a caster in this instance, is spamming GOGOGO!!!! into the party chat. While this can pretty much be ignored for the most part what really gets my goat (or Draenei I suppose) is the retards that take it upon themselves to pull the next group of mobs. I had a very special snowflake of a Hunter in my last Wailing Caverns group that would do this every single pull. I told him that I didn’t want him pulling and would start living by the rule “You spank it, you tank it.” However, a Hunter can easily topple the mobs in that place so even though I stopped taunting stuff off him it was killed pretty easily. Pulling before the tank is ready (who is also watching the Healer’s mana bar) is asking for trouble that can easily be avoided.
AGGRO!! – My tanking at the moment is done on my Warrior, I’ve also done the Bear tanking too. At my level my Warrior can’t do a charge into battle, I don’t have the ranged pulls that Paladins do for instance, I have to wade on in an spank stuff. While being a tank means that I am watching the mana/focus levels of my Healer and DPS to make sure we can get through a fight the reverse doesn’t seem to be true. Utilising rage normally means that for the first pull of the dungeon or after a boss is downed we’ve rested and I don’t have a store of rage. The way I build it is to be hit or hit things myself, however, the rest of the group seems blissfully unaware of this concept and I imagine that many of the people I come across are not playing their first character either. Yet, time after time, I go in to try to grab the mobs and so the DPS unleash all hell like if they waited for a few seconds the world would end. Normally this means one mob going for the Hunter as he ignores the skull and various other scuttlings if someone has decided to AOE everything. This means I am getting less rage and have less chance of rounding things up quickly, I have not been called a bad tank because of this but can imagine people thinking that as I obviously have no control over the pull, despite this being the DPS not giving the time required to generate the rage. I am sure this will be less of an issue as I get higher and can generate more rage more quickly but it annoys me that I have 0 Rage in my bar and the rest of the group still go bats*** crazy on the mobs as soon as I hit one. Would it kill you to wait? Probably not but then you might lose precious DPS on that Recount monitor you are glued to…
And finally just a shout out to a very special snowflake I had the joy of being in a group with for a RFC run. This was our healer, when you first come across the Troggs there are a couple of pulls you do before taking on Oggleflint, the first boss. Our healer decided it would be funny to run in, pull the whole lot and then leave the dungeon!
I don’t care who you are and how funny you think this is, wiping a group like that just makes you an asshole! No ifs, no buts, it is not funny. People generally use LFD for a quick run to get loots and improve their level, they don’t want to deal with that kind of asshatishness at all. Would your guild accept that if you did it in a raid? No, so get over yourself and treat the other people in your group with the respect you’d want to be treated with yourself.
If we each followed that advice we’d make LFD a much nicer place to reside and more tanks might join in. As it is I can see why tanks are somewhat of a mythical creature due to their necessity but lack of desire to deal with all the crap that can be flung their way. I’ll stick with it because the gameplay is rewarding but I can imagine myself less and less willing to put if with crap during my relaxation time when I choose to do a thankless job where I have to do a lot more than when I button mash on my Shaman!