1-2-3? A-B-C?

May 26, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Posted in Tanking | 1 Comment
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Marked Readers:

Tanking is easy.  In fact, I’d go so far and say that main tanking is the easiest role to play in WoW today. 

What’s that? 



Well, hold on, now.  Before you set butane to flat panel, at least hear me out. 

 I’m used to tanking on Nozekrusher.  And when I’m not tanking on him, I’m healing.  Why?  Tanks and healers are in short supply.  If we don’t need one to fill out our raid, we need the other.  I very rarely get to actually, you know, DPS. 

I had such an opportunity two weeks ago and was able to take my warlock into Naxx for the first time.  Now, I know the fights backwards and forwards – especially in 10-man since that is what we mostly run.  I’m usually the one that explains the boss fights to everyone before we start.  And let me tell ya, I had my head handed to me more than once.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  I didn’t die any more than anyone else, but I was amazed at how much more I had to worry about than I ever did as a tank. 

Y’see tanks are pampered; but with very good reason.  Tanks hold the success of any group in their paws, plate encased hands, pink frilly gloves, or cold, glowing grips.  They MUST get, hold and keep aggro on the big uglies or else the rest of the raid dies.  Because of this, the entire raid focuses on keeping them alive, even the designers take this into account.  Since tanks must hold aggro, that’s pretty much all they have to worry about. 

Health?  Sure, it’s a concern, but if tanks don’t have their own dedicated healer (or two) they are at least the primary concern of the 5-man healer.  Every once in awhile I drink a pot and I do use my barkskin and frenzied regeneration regularly, but basically, tanks depend entirely on their healers to keep them alive.  They simply eat too much damage otherwise. 

Fight mechanics?  Again, tanks have to do some (EVERYONE must do the Safety Dance, after all).  But have you ever noticed how many ‘tricks’ tanks are exempted from, either specifically or because of dedicated healing?  Tanks never get webbed to the wall on Maexxna.  Tanks never get hit with the Instructor’s Jagged Knife.  And the next time the MT gets hit with a mutating injection, it’ll be the first.  To be honest, I have no idea if tanks are susceptible to the Widow’s Rain of Fire because I’ve never noticed it as a tank (my health never dropped much due to dedicated healing) or as a healer (I never had to alter my rotations or pop NS-HT or SM because of it).  On Sapphiron, I try to avoid the blizzards, but with a healer, it’s not mandatory and I’ve never been hit with Life Drain.   True, there are mechanics that are specific to the tank on many fights (kiting Grobbulous around the room, taunting the boss between the MT and OT on the Instructor, Gluth and the 4 Horsemen, etc.  But compared to all the healers and pretty boys and yes, even the off-tank need to deal with?  It’s cake. 

So the fights are incredibly simple (not easy, simple) for tanks.  Position the boss properly and hit and be healed.  Even holding aggro isn’t entirely your responsibility.  Folks assume you’re doing all you can on your side (which, if you’re a decent tank, you are) and that the pretty boys dealing the damage need to watch their own aggro and scale back as needed.  

Now, what about the other roles?  Do healers get any special treatment?  Not really.  While they generally have talents that make threat a non-issue (at least for us druids).  And most tanks are spamming swipe or cleave or whatever AOE talent they have so the occasional runner quickly gets pulled back into line.  Healers also don’t have to worry about being healed for obvious reasons (though you’d be surprised how many healers neglect themselves).  But they still have to worry about all those mechanics.  Mutating injection?  We’re running for the walls.  Web wrap?  How many times have I been the one wrapped just as the enrage hits and wipes the group because the Necrotic Poison was up?  Too many to count.  So healers aren’t exempted from those nice little quirks.  Plus we’re safety dancing (and diseased afterwards).  Plus, healers have A LOT on their plates.  They’re focused on their grid or healbot boxes (or even party frames for the old-schoolers out there).  They’re making sure their HoTs don’t expire or their big heals are cast early enough and their oh-crap cool-downs are up.

 And it’s mostly the same, believe it or not for the DPS, and especially the melee folks.  The purty boys just sit back and deal damage and hog all the glory, right?  Not quite.  Most classes (at least the ones I play) require a good amount of concentration to make sure your cooldowns are managed properly and your DoTs and shots are used to the best affect.  It’s easy to get lost in your rotation.  But you can’t let yourself do that, of course.  You are full exposed to the whims of those devious developers at Blizzard.  You simply cannot afford to stand in hurt, or to mix charges, or get caught in the locust swarm.  Those things will get you killed.  Why?  Well, you most likely don’t have huge armor and/or mitigation stats to defer damage and the healers are focused on the tank!  If you’re a warlock and you don’t move out of rain of fire (or any of the numerous ashtrays scattered throughout the game) you will die before the raid healer knows what hit you.   

 Now it’s true that there are some very challenging fights for the various tanking classes, but I think overall, with the demise of cc and improvements to AOE threat generation and such, tanking is in easy mode at the moment.  It certainly hasn’t always been this way and I’m not sure how long it will last.  And most importantly, we are still held in awe by the purty boys for our willingness to do what they cannot!  Overall, I can live with that.


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  1. […] the tank, even when I’m healing the tank.  I’d guess it’s mostly because tanks have dedicated healers and therefore don’t need ‘oh craps’ as much.  But in any event, raid heals tend to be more intuitive than a straight […]

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