Monday, April 11, 2011

The Average Tank Am I.

There is a warrior tank in my guild that is amazing.  Remember tank switching on deathwhisper heroic where taunts did not work?  Would never have noticed it with him.  He could take aggro off someone that had a huge lead in three seconds.  How he does it I do not know.  He is, to put it simply, amazing.

Running heroics with him is like being in a car chase in a movie.  You know the type where the person is always taking the right turn at the right moment and they never get caught in a dead end or slowed down.  It seems as if he always knows what to do and even more importantly how to do it perfectly.

Do I aspire to be that good?  Of course.  Do I think I can?  Not really.

There is a reason for that as well.  I like tanking and I like the warrior mechanics of tanking but I just don't put enough time and effort into doing it.  Yeap, that is it.  I don't invest the time needed to learn to be that good.  I also don't think I would want to.

For as good as he is, his skills are basically wasted.  He never needs to use those skills in a guild run.  He could just play it simple and not have any issues in the run because he is a great tank.  He is the type of tank that can easily tank randoms by himself for the new Call to Arms but he won't.

With his skill set he tanks raids.  He tanks for guild for the run we are doing that week and pugs the other raids we do not set up for the week.  He does not need to run heroics.  Why would he?  To get gear?  Doesn't need it, he has better gear in raids.  To get valor points?  He gets those from raids too.

This is the type of tank you want with the new Call to Arms but you will never see him.

Lets down rank this warrior some to another good warrior I know. 

She has lots of experience, back to the start of the game.  She has tanked everything from MC when it was end game to Ulduar when she quit raiding.  She can hold her own.  He picks up adds like a frog catching flies.  She know all the moves she needs to make to get the job done and she can do it without thinking.

Call to Arms wants her tanking too.  Too bad she does not tank any more.  Her warrior is for guild uses only if someone is in need of a tank.  She is now a healer.  Will Call to Arms make her dust off her plate and give it a go?  Nope, she has no desire to run outside of guild.  While she is capable and she does need the gear and the valor points it is just not worth it for her.  She runs for guild because she has fun running for guild.  Running without even a pocket healer means she has no use for randoms.

Lets drop the skill level just a bit more now. 

We now have me.  A warrior that actually leveled protection.  I tanked a few here and there while leveling.  I've tanked almost all my little warrior life even if I do have an arms spec now.  I know where my tools are, I know what they all do, I know how to generate as much threat as possible and single and multi target rotations.  I just need to get better at them.  I still have to think about everything I do.

I tanked GB for the first time last night and it did not go to bad.  No wipes, only 2 trash pulls that where scary as hell but we survived and one accidental boss pull, that we downed 4 adds and the boss with at the same time.  So over all it was a good run and you could say I did a good job tanking.  While it was a guild group, which helps tons, I still feel there is a hell of a lot for me to learn.

I would not be a bad person to have in your pugs because, as shows, I might not be great but I am capable to some extent.  I am, the average tank.  I can get the job done, I can make sure there are no wipes, I can survive and lead a group. Maybe 60-70% of the tanks I have seen in randoms usually fit in this skill set, average.

Most tanks can do those things.  Most tanks are like me.  They are capable of getting the job done but they need competent people behind them to do it.  That is why in a guild group I am fine but in a random I am a baddie.

I take my time between pulls so I can think about my approach to the next pack.  That means I am bad tank.

I mark all targets for CC based on what is available. That means I am a bad tank.

At least that is how people in randoms look at it.  I do not think of myself as bad, I think of myself as unsure based on limited experience.  I have not been doing it since the dawn of time like the previous example.  I have not mastered how to handle every situation as the first example.  I am learning that.  It could take me months, it could take me years, who knows, but I am not that good yet.

I am the person they want in the Call to Arms that they might be able to get.  Someone that has something to gain from them.  I can gain gear and valor point but I can also gain experience.  That is more valuable then anything they can put in a bag.

I want that experience and would love to chain run heroics while I got better.  Instant queue is incentive enough for me.  That is all I need, to know I can get my practice whenever I decide to in a instant.  People like me that are willing will chain run heroics for the bag.

However, I am also someone that will not take advantage of it.  Sure, they will get some people in my league to do it but many won't.  Most average tanks are like me.  Average.

We know what we are capable of and even more importantly we know what everyone else is capable of.

You get your people that know how to CC, but then will not get the mobs get to you so you can grab aggro on them and start attacking.  Making life hell when there are still 4 or 5 mobs not CCed.

You get the people that will tell you that you suck because you want CC.

You get the people that will ignore the skull and end up hitting the caster I just silenced to make come to me because they read some retard on the forums that said always target the tanks target.

You will get people that don't know a kill order.

You will get people that will not move from the bad under their feet when I move because it is under us or even worse, yell at me for moving the boss around when I am trying to get out of the crap burning our boots off.

You will get healers that don't know how to time the big heals for the big hits and suddenly I am left blowing cooldowns I should not have needed to and then I do not have them when I do need them.

You will get healers that will say, you are tanking too much damage, even with 80% total avoidance.

You will get DPS that won't interrupt because it might lower their DPS 0.01% for the fight.

You will get a lot of people that make your life hell, people that are not like guild groups.  These are people that basically want you to carry them.  Out of 4 random people you will always have at least 1 of them in a random except for the extremely rare occasion where you have been blessed by the gods with 4 decent players.

Last night when I ran GB only 3 of us where on vent, the other 2 where not.  When the boss accidentally pulled with 4 trash mobs nothing needed to be said.  It was a clean attack plan.  They knew how to handle it, what to do and the kill order even if there was now a boss involved.  That is why we did not wipe.  Try that in a random.  I dare you.

Blizzard needs to understand that the reason I don't tank randoms, and maybe people like me don't tank randoms, is because of the people that are in them.  Giving me a bag isn't going to change anything.

Lets take the down one rank further.

Now we have the tank just below me.  Someone that has a tank spec and might even have some tank gear.  Maybe on a rare occasion they might have tanked for some friends but they are really not good at it.  They usually know that, that is why they will always stress it is their off spec.  They would be fine for a little here and there but not for anything serious tanking wise.

These are the people that will be suckered in by the gifts most likely.  Some of these people will take the trail by fire and come out being fantastic tanks.  Some of them will get burnt out from the stress of random people and just go back to being DPS/heals.  The remaining ones will just swear off tanking forever.  Basically an I quit unless it is just all my friends.  See, that was once me, I am now in the just friends mode and upped my skill level a tiny bit to move into the average range of tanks.

Now lets go to the bottom of the barrel.

This is where most of the tanks will come from.  Cats with a new bear offspec.  Fury Warriors picking up a one hander and a shield. Both thinking their DPS gear should be fine as long as they have the spec.  That is assuming that they even try to use the right spec.

Any class that has a tanking spec will be open to people that never once read an article on tanking wanting to tank.  Not even for the instant queue but because now they can get all types of goodies from doing it they are willing to give it a shot.

Over time some of these people might actually become good tanks.  After a few horrible outings they might go look it up on the forums and realize that there is a reason tank gear has dodge, parry and block on it.  Most however, will not.

Most of these bottom of the barrel tanks will continue to queue up.  They will figure, they have instant queue and if they get kicked they will just queue again. 

Sooner or later they will come across a group that is so good that everything dies so fast they will not notice they suck.  Maybe they will get lucky and come in on the last boss and bosses are where tanking gets to be really easy.  Every tanking class can hold single target threat without even thinking.

If things do not work, instant queue again.  Sooner or later they will get a group to carry them or a group that has no choice but to take them because they kicked the last tank for being horrible.

Being there is no accountability for peoples actions any more with the LFD system people will not care if someone on a server they never even heard of is laughing at their gear or spec or ability.  They won't care about being laughed at because when it all comes around full circle you might have laughed at the tank but the tank is riding around on that mount you have now tried for 213 days straight and don't have yet.

They got rewarded for being bad but persistent when they kept trying until they found a group willing to carry them.

I am jealous when I say, I don't think I will ever be as good as Mr. Speed Racer Tank.

I am glad to say, I have not tanked for 5 years just to give it up like Ms. Vanilla Tank..

I am happy to say, at the end of the day I am just average and am have fun tanking and learning.

I am relieved to say, I have passed the learning curve and do not have to start learning now like Mr. Beginner Tank.

I am proud to say, I will not pimp myself out for a bag of gifts just because I can spec tank like Mr. Bottomfeeder Tank.

In the end, I am happy to say I am an average tank.  Sure, I might not be great but at least I admit it.  Get ready for the influx of tanks that are average, at best, thinking they are gods gift to the game.

You asked for shorter queue times DPS.  Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

I can just picture my little warrior walking around with a button that reads... proud to be average.

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