Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tanking and Healing Don't Follow a Guide

To keep with the currently flow here of the difficulty of roles I want to touch on the difficulty of tanking and healing as I see it. 

While in recent posts you have heard me say that I believe damage dealing to be the hardest role in the game, and I will always believe that, my saying that is based on the fact everyone that already knows how to play their class.  If all know their class well, that is when DPS becomes hardest.

The three roles, as simplified as can be, are the tank keeps aggro, the healer heals people and the damage dealer deals damage.  With those basic descriptions damage dealing is without doubt the hardest role in the game because as I have said, once a tank can do their basic job of keeping aggro they can't keep aggro more, they either have it or they don't.  Once a healer keeps everyone alive there is no such thing as being more alive, you are either alive or dead.  Once a damage dealer deals damage they have to continuously get better and do more damage.  This is why I say it is harder.  Once you know how to tank and heal your job is done.  Once you know how to deal damage your job has just started, now you need to get better at it, always.

So why are tanking and healing considered harder?

They do not follow a guide.

While you can read guides on how to tank or how to heal it is something that you need to do to actually learn.  A damage dealer can learn a rotation and go right into a fight having never once dealt damage before and do reasonable if they follow a set rotation based on a guide.  Hence the reason most people think dealing damage is easier.  In that sense, it is the easiest role in the game.  It is the most welcoming role in the game.  Anyone can do it, as long as they know the rotation to follow.

Tanking and healing are different.  There is no rotation.  Each situation is different.  The pressures that they have are unique and are directly the result of the damage dealers for the most part.  If the damage dealers are good the fight is faster and tanking and healing is easier.  If they are not, it is harder.  If they stand in bad, they make the healers job hell, if they pull off the tank they make the tanks job hell.

There is no guide that can teach tanks or healers how to deal with these situations.  You have to experience them and fail at them to learn.

It is all fine and dandy for a guide to tell you that if that feral druid pulls the pack off you to taunt it back but there is a huge difference between doing that and that actually working.  A guide can not teach you how to handle a bad DPS that pulls aggro like that.  You need to learn for yourself.

It is something that only practice can teach you.  A guide telling you to taunt is useless.

When you are learning to tank you learn to see who is the aggro whore of the group.  Who will be on the wrong target.  How you will manage keeping aggro on the X when the skull is still up and someone is just too stupid to attack the right target.  Actions.  That is what teaches you.

Same goes for healing.  When you start healing your idea is that you need to heal the tank.  In many fights with a decent crew of damage dealers behind you as a healer you will never need to heal anyone but the tank.  So reading a guide that tells you the best way to get maximum heals on the tank can help you there but lets face it, how often do you get a great group of damage dealers like that?  You will have melee that are not quite positioned correctly and get hit by breath or a cleave.  You will have ranged that have to finish their cast before moving from the bad.  You will have tanks that are so oblivious to what is going on around them that they do not notice that where they positioned the mob is making the melee stand in bad if they want to continue to deal damage.  These things, and how you handle them, can not be taught in a guide.

I wrote a post some time ago about how to teach a rotation for damage dealers.  It is basic, it is simple, but it will teach any person that wants to be a damage dealer how to best get results out of their character.  Even teaches people where to bind spells and why.  After that, the learning is all up to them.  Doing the same thing over and over but getting better at doing it all the time.  Their real learning, their real difficulty, comes after they learn how to play and learning how to play is as simple as reading about the rotation.

I don't think I could ever really write a post like that for healing or tanking.  I mean I could, give the basic ideas but nothing is ever that simple for a tank or a healer.  They have to learn by doing.  Unless they are playing with guild only they will never have the benefits of always having good damage dealers behind them to make their lives easier.

Tanking and healing is very front loaded in the learning process.  You need to learn by doing, not by reading.  I think that is the reason they are commonly considered harder.  They are hard to start off with and dealing damage is easy to start off with.  People only look at the starting off when they say tanking and healing is harder and if that is all they are talking about they are 100% right.  They are harder because you need to play to learn how to do things.  You need to experience situations to learn how to handle them.  There is no clear cut guide on how to be a good healer or a good tank.

Good healers and good tanks are not so much about how much you read as it is about how much you react.  It also needs a different type of person.  Tanking and healing are thankless jobs.  Do your job well, no one notices or even cares, do it badly and you will be called out for it.

Not everyone can be a tank or a healer.  Not everyone has the mind set for it.  Anyone can follow a rotation, that is why there are more damage dealers than anything else.  Doesn't mean they are good at it mind you, but being it is easy to start dealing damage it attracts people and look at those DPS numbers you see in randoms and it will show you, just because it attracts a lot of people doesn't mean it is easy, otherwise you would not see so many people in 372 item level of better pulling less than 18K.  Most of the times the entire crew will be under 18K.  The thing is, by the time you hit the LFR the tanks and healers should already know how to play whereas the damage dealers are just starting to learn.  That is when the difficulty curve changes, in my opinion.

Tanking and healing are hard to start.  They are unforgiving.  They have a lot of pressure attached to them and they are not for everyone.  But in the end the only true reason tanking and healing is hard at the start is because unlike damage dealers they do not follow a guide.

Makes you wonder if tanking or healing could ever really become rotations?  I doubt it for healers, there is no rotation for who will take damage and the type of heals those people will need but for tanks, with the new active mitigation model, I can surely see tanks becoming a pure rotation based role to maximize their defensive cooldown up time.  Even if tanks when into a direct rotation situation like that they will never be easy like DPS at the start.  Tanking is hard to start.  Even with a rotation.


  1. "once a tank can do their basic job of keeping aggro they can't keep aggro more, they either have it or they don't. Once a healer keeps everyone alive there is no such thing as being more alive, you are either alive or dead. Once a damage dealer deals damage they have to continuously get better and do more damage"

    Why does a DPS need to continuously do more damage, yet a healers doesn't have to put out more heals, or the tank more threat? You either do damage or you don't.

    1. Because putting out more heals will not keep people more alive. They are either alive or they are not.

      Because putting out more threat will not make you keep the mob any more. You either have aggro or you do not.

      But putting out more DPS means the fight is shorter and easier. It is the only role that gets harder the better you do it. Healing gets easier the better you are at it, tanking get easier the better you are at it.

      If a tank or healer wants to step it up and do their job as well as DPS, more power to them, as long as they make their first priority their own job first.

    2. You either hit beat the enrage timer or you dont with DPS. After you have the amount of DPS needed to down something you dont need to improve anymore. Not saying you cant improve, just you dont need to. So there is a point for DPS where you the boss dies or he doesnt.

    3. True, as long as the boss dies, you did enough. But... apparently you never raided otherwise you would know that people like to down things faster. Even more so when you do farm stuff. Just because the enrage time is 8 minutes doesn't mean you should take 8 minutes to beat it. You should beat it in 7, then 6 then 5, and sooner or later 4. You want to beat it as fast as possible.

      So fast that you might be able to go with 2 healers because it is being downed so fast the third healer is not needed any more and that extra DPS might even bring it down to 3 minutes now.

      So yes, as long as you beat the enrage timer you did your job. But you didn't do it good enough.

  2. There's another thing - feedback. In WoW style games healers and tanks get immediate feedback - if one doesn't do well enough, people's health bars go low or his/her health plummets and mobs peel. DPSers have no immediate feedback unless they install a damage meter or use a log analyzer. Thanks to the feedback, the defensive roles are intimidating at first (I can't speak for others but when I was in a real raid for the first time, after the first hour I wanted nothing but to dig a small hole and climb in it) but after becoming experienced it feels like I helped the raid, while DPS gets a "Boss's down. You did... okay... maybe not but you didn't fail completely either. I guess?" Unless they use Recount or Skada.

    @Anon, as healer you can't heal what's not hurt. Your max theoretical HPS is equal to group's DTPS; once you do that, you can't do more.

    1. You nailed it on the head there.

      Most of the time when the boss is dead people figure the tank did their job and the healer did their job but when they look at DPS, the ones at the bottom of the list always did badly, even if, for arguments sake, they did their job well enough. Thank recount for that one.

      But you are right. Tanking and healing is immediate feedback. If you try to tank and can not hold aggro, you will notice. If you try to heal and let people die, you will notice. Most likely people will say something. But if you try to DPS and do badly they tell you to get better. As there are two other DPS in a 5 man, as long as the other two are doing well, they will sometimes let it slide. No sliding for a tank or a healer.

      That is why they are hard to start. But like I said, once you got it, you got it. Once you know how to tank or heal it is easy unless the people around you make it hard on you.

      Good point to the can't heal what is not hurt. Did not think of saying that one myself.

    2. I'd say you could still get away with not doing well in raids.

      As for feedback, I meant feedback that doesn't depend on your team mates. Most people I've met do not provide good feedback - either they don't provide at all (huge majority) or they provide it with intent to insult the receiver or promote themselves - few if any have an intent to teach or help. So the primary means of receiving feedback for most players is the game itself rather than fellow players. I think this also ties to the learning curve that was mentioned in your previous post.

  3. The difficulty of DPS as a role can also be seen by observing how much effort is spent on optimizing DPS gear versus tank and healing gear. DPS players in my regular mode raid group, after receiving an upgrade, have to recalculate all their stats and reforge multiple pieces to optimize their DPS or they won't see an increase in their dps. As a player of a bear tank, I just equip it or at most reforge the new item to dodge. This difference was at its peak in the Wrath era when DPS players were juggling whether to gem for armor pen, crit rating, hit rating, et cetera, while all tanks just always put on more stamina.

    Healers, I've observed (but haven't done much healing myself), do some optimizing, but not to the same degree. The massive websites and spreadsheets are dedicated to improving DPS, not HPS or TPS.

    I think tanking in particular is looked upon as a hard role because so many tanks start learning in the worst way, by pugging 5 man dungeons. Tanking in a 10m regular raid, by comparison, is trivial. Not because of the mechanics, but because the raids are guild or other fixed groups typically, and they won't make your life hell whenever you make a mistake while learning. Plenty has been said about the attitude of random players in dungeons in response to mistakes, so I don't need to add anything else here.

    In short: I completely agree, life is so much simpler as a tank than DPS, in a group of people you know.

    1. I've always said that raid tanking was easier because of what you said. Random tanking can be hell because of the random people but raid tanking is not much of a big deal most of the time thanks to the fact that you know the people behind you and they know how to play their roles correctly (hopefully).

      You mention some fine points. There is so much more involved in DPS when you get something new. It takes me sometimes hours or days of reading and testing when I get a new piece that seems like a side grade. When I get a new piece on my bear I put it on, gem it, enchant it, and maybe reforge it and I am good to go. 99.9% of the time it is not a min/max thing when taking.

  4. My guild has only tried it once when we were blocked particularly hard (IIRC, it was when we first hit Saurfang in LK), but some harder core groups do it all the time - when you have sufficiently skilled healers, you can sometimes replace one (or two!) with a DD. If this is an option, it is a tangible benefit to having healers capable of doing more than their current raid comp requires them to do.

    1. correct - running with less than 6 (or 3) healers is a way pushing your healers

      pushing tanks is a bit harder due to mechanics - but if the healers are good enough you can go a loooong way with only one real MT.

      Rauxis, chosen of CAT

    2. That is the hardest part of being a healer.

      If you do well, you could lose your job.

      Three healers seems standard now, when those three healers are all good one gets replaced with a damage dealer to make the fights faster and thus get more kills or attempts in on one night.

      It is kind of sad that the better you are, the more chance to have to lose your position.

      Like Rauxis said, it is harder to push tanks, but it can be done. I solo tanked morchock the second week of DS. I solo tanked 6 bosses before the first buff. I solo tanked 7 of the 8 now. Only one I have not solo tanked is the ship but I am thinking I could on my warrior if I had him geared up enough. But there is a limit to what can be pushed with tanks due to mechanics.

      In the end however, when healers do well and you remove one to get more DPS it is just proving that the DPS matters more. The extra healer isn't needed, the extra DPS is.

    3. My guild's tactics usually revolved around that - if we can't down it, try to use one tank.
      This is about when working through progress though, not what tank can do once he's geared.

  5. The hard part is the responsibility, the visibility and the actual role. Solo tanking in a 25-man puts slightly more pressure on you not f-ing up, ye?

    We randomly lose a dps or a healer even now with the nerf on H DS, but if it's a (the) tank and there's no brez it's a wipe. Even with a brez if solo tanking there's a good chance someone will die till you're up. You can't afford failing as a tank.

    Random example you can't be caught in Blackhorn's shockwave. Same mechanic. Apllies to all, healers, dpses, tanks. Not even a role thing. If you get caught in it as a dps, sucks, you don't dps for a bit, healer tries to keep you up. Even as healer, you hopefully count on the other one(s) to keep ppl up. But you can't get caught as a tank, you'll get destroyed as your mitigation is effectively 0. A tank's fail bears more weight even if it's the same mechanics.

    The fact that you can reach an acceptable level as a tank after a while so you don't hinder your raid doesn't mean that's it, there's nothing expected of you anymore. Yeh I expect to be harder to kill, to pull bigger dps and most of all to protect my whole raid better and better. To be on the ball every time with everything I can help out with, to throw my hands and heals every time they're needed without messing up my own priorities.

    Healer related... sure my raid is alive and it can't be more alive. Sure, you keep me up and you don't let me die. But there's much more here, I will never be fine if I see my health fluctuating oddly or if I'm kept low for prolonged periods of time. I'll never be fine if my OT is low. I'll never feel fine if you yourself are low on health.
    Say Blackhorn again, I see the silly healer like 20% life and he's running to stack for Onslaught for some reason - a couple of secons, his health is still the same, Onslaught WILL kill him, yeh I throw my LoH on him, I lose a personal cooldown but chances are the raid and I will be better off because of this.

    Do you know what it means to self heal as a protadin 1mil hp on a 25m hc Morchock? It was nerve racking. You *know*. You just know when the healer is getting better. You can't not know. Because I worry about slightly more than aggro and mechanics, apparently. The better I trust you the better I am as well... there's synergy between the tank and healer (even if you simplify it as just not overlapping abilities and cooldowns but it's more than that); you work on that, this comes with the role and takes time.

    How many paladin tanks have you seen dispelling the poison in Lost City of Tol Vir if the healer isn't capable of dispelling? People forget - tanking means protecting.

    1. I just want to tag an "I agree" on to this. A good tank is aware of more than threat, and does more than ensure everything is attacking them. Like with the silence on that lord fireball thing before Rhyolith. I always keep an eye out in case both healers get the silence so I can toss them a cleanse.

      Sometimes healers get to be superstars but not very often. I was killing heroic 10 man lich king monday night. Predictably I guess because it was old content not everyone was paying proper attention. Anyway we eventually wiped this try when he had 4.5k health left before we would have won. However, for the whole of the fight pretty much I'd solo healed it (as the other healer had died to shadowtrap at the beginning) and then we'd lost one tank and then another before we got sucked into frostmourne. We got sucked in twice as the dps wasn't great as it was just me and three other dps alive. Anyway I know it's old content but I nearly managed to do it. Our next successful try was when I asked the other healer to go dps as if I can solo heal under the previous conditions I can do the whole thing if people don't die. Anyway I felt pretty good then as old content or not the mechanics are still brutal if you ignore them. That's probably my swan song as a healer too.

      Anyway I just don't see difficulty in challenging yourself for higher numbers. As James says and I agree the visibility and responsibility of a tank stays constant whether it's farm content or not.

    2. @James

      You are talking about all the extras. The little things that move a good tank into the great tank category. I am talking the basics. Nothing you mentioned is basic. The basic for a tank is keep aggro. That is it. Nothing more. That is the description of the role.

      I am like you, I try to do all the little things. I attempt to up my DPS while tanking to help. I even spend time typing to maximize it just like I would on a damage dealer because I know it makes the fight easier while still doing my job of keeping aggro and making the healers life easier by using cooldowns when needed.

      See, the reason there is more pressure on DPS is in the numbers. Even in success you can be a failure as a damage dealer. You could have three DPS doing 100K, one of them is going to be the lower end of 100K and that one will be the worst one there. Even though they did amazing numbers, they are still the worst person in that group. All thanks to numbers.

      Yet when I tank, be it doing 9K on my warrior or 24K on my bear no one cares about my numbers. I tanked and did my job and that is all that matters.

      Those numbers, those are what makes the job of the damage dealer harder.

      Sure, I can list 101 things I have done as a tank that are way beyond just keeping aggro. Sure, doing those things makes my job a little harder. Sure, I have saved the raid or dungeon group many times making split second decisions. But in the end when the boss is dead people will never see that the tank did something exceptional like that unless they are looking over world of logs and notice it or you tell them. In the end, you did your job and they look at the numbers and whoever was lowest in DPS, that wasn't the tank of course, did the worst in the group.

      See, the pressure for DPS is up front. The pressure on tanks, at least me when I am tanking, are pressures I put on myself and no one will ever notice that my hitting my shield wall saved the raid at one point unless I point it out. But they will notice that one DPS that did 18K when everyone else was over 30K.

    3. @Taitrina ncis

      You are confusing responsibility with difficulty. They are two different things.

      Tanks and healers have more responsibility in any setting, there is absolutely no argument there. That does not mean it is more difficult.

      How many tanks and healers have done any given fight to a successful ending? Maybe hundreds of thousands.

      How many damage dealers have done any given fight to a successful ending, and for damage dealers that means doing the best you can do? Look at world of logs and see that the appropriate answer is none. Ever. (unless they cheesed the fight)

      That is difficulty. Doing your job to the best it can be done. For damage dealers there is a number on that. That is what makes it more difficult. Even if you got the boss down and down fast, if you did not do what you are capable of doing, you did badly.

      If your gear stays you are capable of 50K DPS and do 45K you did good, you did not do your job perfect.

      If the tank did their job and the healer did their job, even if not even close to perfectly, but enough to get it done, they did great.

      That is what I mean by difficulty. It is not difficult to do what needs to be done to get the job done as a tank or a healer or even as a damage dealer.

      It is difficult to do what needs to get done and doing it as well as you should be all thanks to a number being hung on it that shows everyone you could have done better. That is difficult.

      I know from personal experience that I have never once did my job as a damage dealer perfect. If I get over 80% of my potential on every fight I think I did well. But I can do better. I've ranked on world of logs, but I could do better. I have to keep working to get better. No matter how much time, effort, study and practice I have put in I have never been perfect. Damage dealing is insanely difficulty to do well.

      I have however healed and tanked everything that I DPSed and while I think I could have done them better, there is no number hanging on them to tell me I should have done better. So I am content in the fact I did them well enough to get it done.

      It is that number, the "what you should be doing" that you have hanging over your head that makes damage dealing more difficult.

      If DPS is so easy then how come I have never done perfect with all the effort I put in?

      If DPS is so easy then how come I have never seen one person do perfect?

      If DPS is so easy how come the majority of the players can barely pull even 50% of their potential?

      If DPS is so easy, how come there are so many people so bad at it?

    4. How do you measure perfect? How does a healer do perfect? or a tank? or a DPS? Whats perfect?

    5. From my point of view you're confusing difficulty with personal challenge.

      You do your best on every fight. That is your best and ok your class can theoretically reach higher numbers than that. So if you can you find guides, you alter your rotation slightly, you reforge a little differently or something. Then you do the fight again and you do better (or worse if the changes don't work out) but you're still doing your best.

      I don't see the difficulty in that. I guess though by my metric of looking at things encounters lose their difficulty once they're on farm. Once you can do an encounter you do it, there's no more difficulty there. If you want to mix it up and challenge yourself on certain aspects go ahead, but to me that just doesn't make it difficult.

      You saying that I'm confusing responsibility with difficulty but I think you're doing the same. As I understand it you're saying that if a dps does less than their theoretical maximum, or is the one on the bottom of the dps meter then they should have done better. Either you're putting the pressure on yourself or your team is. That pressure only exists if you let it, because if you did your best then that's all that matters. No-one can ask more from you than your best.

      No-one is perfect. We do what we can and unless you're on a world first team then you aren't going to be playing at that level where you reach the maximum possible dps.

      Any difficulty really in my point of view is in the encounter. Once the encounter is comfortably beaten any further 'difficulty' is purely self induced. Therefore I suppose it's applicable to any role. It is what you make of it.

    6. @ Anon.

      Lets take one fight to explain perfect.

      Mal in BWD, because it has two different tank roles in it as well.

      Perfect Tank: Holds aggro like a fly caught in fly paper allowing DPS to put out their maximum damage without worry about taking aggro. Maybe, if tasked with it, interrupt the arcane thing. (this is the easiest job in the game without a doubt, even tanks will tell you that, raid boss tanking is a joke and I am looking forward to active mitigation to make it more exciting maybe)

      Perfect Off Tank: Picks up all adds and makes sure they keep aggro on them all and do not lose any while kiting them to healer aggro and then holds them during the green phase when DPS burns them. (this is my favorite type of taking, I love being the off tank for stuff like this, this actually takes a lot more skill then holding the boss)

      Perfect Healer: Keeps people healed. Maybe, just maybe, in an extreme case of bad group make up they might be asked to dispel the healing buff on him. But I have never seen any healer ever need to do that being there is always some DPS that is capable, a mage usually spell steals it.

      Perfect DPS: Tasked with dispeling, tasked with interrupting, tasked with target switching and of course the standard follow mechanics that all roles must do to some extent, except tanks most of the time because people do the stacking on them so they do not need to move. Add to that, they have to put out the maximum damage that their gear, class and spec says is possible. So if they are capable of doing 20K if they execute perfectly on a fight like that, they should be doing 20K on a fight like that. Anything less means they need to work to get better.

      Now, you tell me who has the harder job?

      From hardest to easiest:

      Off Tank

    7. Taitrina ncis

      I am not confusing difficulty with personal challenge. Yes, I do take it as a personal challenge to be the best I can be when I DPS but that is my job. My job as a damage dealer is to be the best I can be.

      If is difficult. Look at the numbers people do. Honestly. Stop thinking like a tank or a healer defending their roles and the challenges they face. Yes, they have their own challenges, but think of it objectively. Look at it from a pure skill standpoint and you will see it how it truly is.

      If DPS is so easy how come so many are so bad at it?

      It is not a personal challenge, it is playing your role correctly. If your job is to do damage, and your gear says you can do 40K and you are doing 20K you are doing badly. Very badly.

      It is not a personal challenge to want to get it up. It is your job to get better at playing your class and do what you are supposed to do. So many can't, because it is not easy like everyone seems to think it is.

      If the tank only held aggro 50% of the time are they doing their job?

      If a healer only healed 50% of the damage are they doing their job?

      So why are you saying it is acceptable for a damage dealer to 50% of their job?

      Being the fact most damage dealers work at 50% of their potential means it is difficult. If it were not difficult then most people would be doing at or near the best they can do.

      It is a personal challenge for me to try to push from 90% of my potential to 100%. That little bit is timing and movement that comes with practice and extreme skill. A solid internet connection helps a lot too. If you have a bad connection there is nothing you can do, your DPS will remain crap no matter how hard you try.

      But getting to that 90% is the difficult part. That is why so few can get there. Because it is not easy. That last 10% is insanely difficult. Heck, even if most could get to 80% of their potential it would be amazing, but they can't. Because it is not as easy as you are making it out to be.

      Doing at least 80% of your potential is not a personal challenge. It is the job of the damage dealers, and most fail at it.

    8. I shouldn't argue with you on your blog and this will be my last comment on this subject. Sorry if I've gone on a bit. I'm trying to make my point and I guess I don't think I've explained it properly yet. Assuming equal gear and stats here and I'll pull some numbers out of the air.

      The best player in the world say I don't know a mage puts out 40k. That is the maximum possible dps that can be squeezed out of that class.

      The mage in my guild does his absolute best and puts out 30k. Has he failed? Is he not doing his job? If I'm understanding you right that's what you're saying. You're saying that he's not playing his role correctly as the maximum possible is 40k and he's not there.

      I just don't agree with that at all. Somebody's potential is personal. Say we have two mages in the guild, same stats and gear and one does 33k and one does 30k. Did they both do their best? If yes then they both fulfilled their potential. You can't ask more from somebody than their best.

      I'm not saying that people shouldn't strive to improve themselves, and I'm not saying that that's not difficult. What I'm saying is that it's a highly personal thing. If you kill the boss, even if you don't kill the boss, if everyone did their best then I don't care whether they 'should' have done better. They did the best they could do so they did do their jobs. Not everyone is the same and so not everyone can put out the same numbers.

      I'm not saying that it's acceptable to fail. I'm saying that it's acceptable to be less than perfect. No-one is perfect and if you do your best then that is good enough. Yes it might only be 70% of what is theoretically possible to obtain. However that 70% is someone's 100% and I don't see that as failure.

      The best are the best for a reason and that's why they manage the maximum potential. The best wouldn't be the best though if everybody managed what they did. The rest of us, well the good players who care, do our best. We learn all the time and maybe one day we'll manage 95% of what's possible, when all the stars align and everything goes right.

      I just, I guess I don't have that competitive edge. I have to accept that my numbers are my numbers. I can try and make them better but I'm never going to be one of the best players in the world, I'm never going to put out the maximum number possible. In all honesty I don't even know or care what the theoretical maximum dps is for anything. If I compared myself like that, knowing that I'd never match up however hard I tried, well that's very depressing. I just can't play like that.

      TLDR: I guess actually what I'm saying is that I disagree, with you saying that the dps are failing, if they don't perform maximum possible dps. I think I got off topic there but I still think difficulty is self imposed. It is what you make of it and what you personally find stressful.

    9. Argue away. I do not mind a difference of opinion, we all have our own.

      Doesn't mean we both can't try to get the other to see our point of view. ;)

      Now to reply.

      To the mage in your guild, they are doing the best they can. No one can fault them for that. However, there is room for them to improve. So they can do better. Their potential is 40K, their skill level (or connection) brings them to 30K.

      While they are doing fine doing 30K, that is still 25% from top which is reasonable but not great. Stat wise they would still be considered a good player because even being with 25% is hard for a damage dealer because of how difficult it is. But it is irresponsible to say they can not do better. They can, they are just not good enough at it yet. In time they might be, just not now.

      All I ever ask from the raiders I have is to do the best you can do. Then it is an issue of if the best you can do is acceptable for the content we are doing. We have a few players that can only do 15K. For normals, that is fine, not good but fine, but I will not bring them on heroics. Not even on a carry. Just flat out, they are not good enough for that.

      It is also acceptable to be less then perfect. Heck, In my years playing I've only met one person that I could even consider as close to perfect. The sims say he can do 30K and he does 33K. He is amazing, but there are people better than him.

      I am no where even close to perfect myself, never claimed to be. But I know I can do better and I try to do better, that is all I ask of other people.

      See, that is why I say it is difficult. The most difficult. Because it is not easy to get to those numbers, you just said so yourself.

      I am not competitive either. I am not in a heroic guild. I have no designs to be in one. I don't mind moving slowly and progressing slowly in a raid with lesser geared or skilled players, it makes it more exciting when we down the boss. But I do try to be the best I can be. Not because I am competitive but because I feel if you are going to do something, do it right.

      Doing 20K DPS when you can do 40K is not doing it right.

      I am not saying they are failing so much. I am saying they are not succeeding, because DPSing is difficult.

      See, that is the difference. I am not saying they are bad players, I am saying the role is the most difficult to play well.

      When did this turn into people with lower DPS are bad players? It is about DPS being difficult and you and most others here trying to say it isn't.

    10. @Grumpy, your Maloriak example was a bad one to prove your point because there was a limit on how much raid DPS you should do there. Pushing him to the final phase before two green phases (sorry if I got the color wrong but it's the 'AoE the adds' one) was a bad thing because it complicated the encounter too much.

      It is possible you can push him in a single green phase now but it wasn't really a viable option when it was current.

      I would rate DPS on the same level or slightly easier as healers in the encounter.

      The point of their argument is you subject DPS to a harder requirement than tanks or healers - this has shown on Maloriak which requires you to moderate your raid DPS. As far as I understand it, your point is that it's impossible to find requirements which to hold the tanks/healers against. (I don't quite agree - harder, maybe, but not impossible.)

    11. Lemme think... Maloriak. I was tanking those aberrations. And the black sludge ones. Kite. Keeping aggro without being in their melee range was fun. Keep alive when loads of mobs - bloody do something, paladin and don't let them touch you! And I was breaking the ice blocks. Tank on boss was interrupting arcane. That one dps, the elemental shaman was using purge. I think he may have been the one following the RL calling out to do interrupts on aberrations on when we chose not to release them. I also recall healing through it was pretty harsh, needed cooldowns for every red phase and needed to really be on the ball with the healing debuff on the tank, don't recall what else they had to do but there was so much damage.

      And switching targets? :))

      Quite not sure how healer is almost at the bottom there and dps is at the top for what's harder /confused I'd switch them around.

  6. I don't view difficulty and expectations as the same thing. Yes there is always the onus on dps to increase their numbers. However, that is all the pressure that there is. True on an encounter like first stab at Ultraxion which is a dps race if a dps dies then it's a wipe, as they need every spit of dps to beat the enrage timer. However, encounters like that are rare. Most of the time a dps or even two can die and an encounter can still be beaten. If a healer or tank goes down it's much more likely to be a wipe.

    Tanking isn't all about keeping threat. That might have been true back in the days of tank and spank fights. However, fights are so much more than that these days. Tanks have to keep themselves alive as if they don't blow those cooldowns correctly then not even amazing healers can help them. Think madness and the spike. On occasion I messed up my timing and hit the cd too early and it expired and so I died. Tanks have to pick up adds sometimes spread out over a large area and being aggroed by dps or healers inadvertently. Think Rhyolith with the little adds. Then there's all the positioning requirements of a fight like Nefarian. You get it wrong and people get tail swiped, however you can't keep the tail on the edge or they'll get breathed on. Then there's those adds you can't kill them and you can't tank them or they'll kill you, you have to kite them, but you can't kite them consistently as you have to keep them behind Nefarian or they'll get breathed on.

    Healing isn't all about keeping people alive though I would agree that it's a lot easier than tanking. As a healer you do tend to stand at the back away from most of the troublesome mechanics. All you have to do is watch your range so you can cover everyone, or everyone you're supposed to. As a healer it's difficult to explain the fight to someone else as you don't have to pay attention to 90% of the tactics. Hmm actually from one soon to be ex-raid healer I think healing might be the easiest role. Once you have an encounter on farm it becomes stupidly easy. Dps can strive for higher numbers, tanks work to minimise the work healers have to do. Our tank wears dps gear now for tanking Dragon Soul though he is a death knight. There's always room for improvement on both tank and dps. However if no-one dies, no-one was in danger of dying, you didn't run out of mana. Well what is there healers can do?

    Practice makes healing a hell of a lot easier and yes I suppose it makes tanking easier too, but it also makes dps easier. You get a smoother rotation when you know the fight as you get smoother at moving around.

    Maybe it's just me but I don't feel the same responsibility when I'm running a raid as dps. There's always other dps there to pick up the slack should I mess up (though obviously I endeavour not to do that) and yes it is fun to top the meters, or beat your best dps score or whatever. However, if you're in a good group, and bear in mind I hardly ever pug, then apart from some good natured competition over top spot no-one says a word about dps. In all honesty I wouldn't want to play in a group where someone took my best effort and said it wasn't good enough. It's the best that I can do and that is good enough for me.

    1. Ok pesky character limit I know I wrote a super long comment. I'm getting to the TLDR.

      Do I feel a little embarrassed if I'm bottom of the dps meter? You bet yeah. I feel the same if I'm bottom of the healing meter. However, you have to bear in mind other factors like what's the gap between you and the person above you? Is your gear the same level as everyone elses? How much practice does everyone else have in relation to you? For me the last time I healed Dragon Soul I was bottom of the healing meter, something I wasn't used to. I was filling in on the main team as the regular person wasn't there, I hadn't healed in nearly two months and this group had started to clear 6/8 heroic. So with that in mind I think I did ok, even killed Zon'ozz on hc which I'd not done before. Then just the other day a friend asked me to come dps Sinestra as they were one short. I'd never even dreamed of doing that encounter before but found and read tactics in lightspeed time. The rest of this group were all Savior's of Azeroth where my poor druid is half in LFR gear, a couple of HoT pieces and Fandral's staff from normal Firelands, 380 ilevel and no higher. I considered it a personal achievement that I drew level with the warrior (who was the other melee dps) most of the time. I also mostly beat the tanks at dps. We kept wiping before hitting phase 2 but I was very happy that none of the wipes were my fault. With the quick wipes it wasn't the best example of dps but I held my own in a group a lot better geared and more experienced than me. I couldn't have done the same as a tank or a healer, then the wipes would have been my fault.

      TL.DR: Super long comment sorry. Basically I don't agree with you. Practice makes an encounter easier for everyone. Tanking and healing are hardest when it's new. Healing becomes the easiest role when you know an encounter. There's always room for improvement for tanks and dps. However, tanks still have to respond to things in a way that sometimes no practice can help with. So I'll settle for when an encounter is on farm dps and tanks have equal difficulty. However, I don't think challenging yourself for higher numbers really equates to difficulty.

    2. You could read the response to the last two posts and it would fit well.

      I will add something here however.

      When I tank I try to do all the little things, as well as try to get my DPS as high as I can, while still doing my job. When the fight is over, I might have felt I could have done better, but I did my job well because the fight is over and we won.

      When I heal it is the same as tanking. I might have a feeling I could have done better and I do love the excitement of healing because no fight is ever the same, but when I look at a boss dead and everyone alive, I feel I did my job well enough.

      When I DPS I do my damage, and all the little things as a damage dealer that do not equal damage that I am required to do, and when the boss falls I look at my numbers and know I could have done better.

      That is where the difficulty is.

      When the job is done, the tank did well.
      When the job is done, the healer did well.
      When the job is done, the damage dealer could have done better.

      Doesn't matter if 50K was not needed, if I am capable of that, I should be doing that or I am not doing as well as I should.

    3. Then the same could be said about the healer... If you only heal 25k HPS, you know the full potential of your class in that gear is around 35kHPS, you know you could have done better.

    4. @ Anon.

      False. A healer can only heal as much damage as goes out. Sure, you CAN heal 35K per second theoretically but if only 25K per second damage is going out, or in a raid the other healer is getting to them before you, you CAN NOT reach your potential and still be doing fantastic.

      A healer does not have to be the best his class can be to do well. A damage dealer does have to be the best his class can be to do well.

      So no, you are absolutely wrong. Healers are only held to numbers when there is a failure. If people are dying and they see 25K HPS they might say something but if everyone is alive and well they won't care because it does not matter. If there was nothing more to heal, you could not heal more. Numbers do not matter nearly as much for healers during a successful encounter. Not even close.

    5. Sorry, boss is down? We all did well.

      And it's very rare that I do a fight and I think of myself - I did well. Actually, I think never. I recap all of my mistakes or things I didn't do and I think I should've done. Funny thing is - I had this exact talk with my raid leader yesterday. He was telling me I'll never be satisfied with what I'm doing because I always find something to nitpick. But doesn't everyone? People who care about their performance will care no matter what role they do.

    6. That is the same with me. One time on ultraxion I got 7 fading lights, it was insane, and I still managed to do 39K when my max DPS at the time based on my gear was 39600.

      So doing 39 with those 7 FLs was actually pretty damn good. But for some reason I still looked at it as I could have done better.

      I rationalized it as I got an usually high amount of explosive shot procs and that is the only reason my DPS was so good. To me, I did not do as well as I could have. To anyone else they might have said I was as close to perfect as you can get. I would never see it that way.

      Tanking, healing or dealing damage I can always find fault in what I did and I try to use that to learn from. Like I said, I don't strive to be the best in the game, but I do strive to be the best I can be.

  7. Look. If the tank's basic role is to keep aggro, the dps's role is to get through the fight without hitting enrage. That's it. Seriously.

    That's the role. Your *role* is not about being best. Just like you point out mine isn't about being as good as I can as a tank either. If you're gonna say your role is actually about outputting maximum damage possible then mine is to do all those little things I mentioned as well.
    "If DPS is so easy how come so many are so bad at it?" you keep saying this. Because most people who don't want responsibility dps? Because most players who don't care to improve their play dps? Because it's apparently more fun to see big numbers and thus most people pick dps. And being so many it's bound to be true that a LOT of them will be bad at it... I'm probably one of those rare cases of tanks who started out as tanks and kept being a tank. Most have tried dps first or even heal. Most have learned what it means to tank, have seen encounters form a different pov when they started tanking and have chosen to be that, the tank.

    You know, I don't check out dps numbers on randoms unless something feels really off, like a fight that doesn't seem to end. For me if we finish the dungeon / raid, you did your role, ye?

    Now... the numbers. Yes, that is a fact. The numbers being there are a constant pressure. And I thank to god I chose to be a tank so I have no idea what it means to *compete* every bloody fight. I compete only with the other tank on dps and that's usually slightly irrelevant since we have different uptimes, different roles. I mostly compare with other paladin tanks in other guilds just so I can brag to myself that I'm doing better than they are, dpsing more, self healing more, having better uptime on whatver etc. But true, the raid doesn't really notice these things. It's personal satisfaction and I strive towards perfection. Which I may be very far off but that's not the point.
    We have this warlock. I've been comparing him to graphs and he's ranking, he's very good for his spec. Yet he's being constantly reminded by our raid that he is our lowest dps. And he does get so overly happy when he reaches top positions. Now is he failing? Is his job harder? He's doing almost to perfection compared to other locks but he's still lower than our rogue or hunter...
    For me, he's doing a hell of a job. I don't know if anyone can say he's not doing his role properly.

    Nef (BWD). Our first kill. I remember the hunter throwing out a trap to help me at one point with the adds in last phase. I remember the elemental shaman throwing out healing rain. I remember the holy priest keeping me up through what seemed the impossible, felt I could sit in fire with my back at the adds and he'd still heal me through it. But mostly, the one dps who was rounding up the adds in phase one. I think that defines hard. Not the fact that they had to compete with eachother on dps numbers. With the risk of coming across as someone who's overinflating her ego, I think my role was harder that that warlock' role who had to listent to the Raid leader what to hit and when and dps hard.

    1. The more I write... the more I think this hard thing comes from personal perception. My role is to keep aggro and survive. Healer role is to keep people alive. Dps role is to kill stuff fast enough to not hit enrage or soft enrage as it is (healer mana). Those are basic. And from that approach I still think healing is hardest. Because you never know what's to come, even on fights you've done 30 times. Readapting in their ability usage. No rotation, no nothing. Tanks sometimes need to readapt as well, something ran away, throw your shield out of 'rotation' to bring it to you, taunt that mob etc, that's why they come in second for me. While dpses don't usually need to readapt their rotatation when from 32nd time on a boss to 33rd time on a boss or w/e.
      That's it if I want to keep it to basics. But all the roles are more than that...

    2. It is a perspective thing.

      When I tank if I have everyone behind me doing well. A great healer and some super damage dealers, I could fall asleep tanking and still do my job.

      When I heal, if I have a good tank that uses their cooldowns and damage dealers that are so perceptive that they move from the bad before the bad even lands, my job is easy.

      As a damage dealer if the tank holds aggro like a champ then I know I will never have to worry about aggro and can blow cooldowns at the start in hopes of getting them a second time. If I have a healer that is on the ball and always keeping me topped off I never have to worry about bandaging myself to help them out. If the other DPS are rocking it I know that there is less pressure on me to put out all the numbers by myself.

      When everyone is the group is good... all roles are easy.

      When people in the group are bad... all roles are hard.

      That is why I do not tank randoms. Random people do not know about letting me round things up first. As soon as I make one step forward they are all attacking and I have to try to round up mobs all over the place and it make tanking hell. It is too hard. That is not difficulty, that is annoyance and I refuse to do it. But people being bad behind me make it hard.

      Same if a healer is bad and I have to keep thinking that my cooldowns are the only way I can stay alive, it changes the way I approach things and that could end up causing a wipe instead of saving me like it should.

      As a healer, with a squishy tank you have to spend all your time on them and the DPS could die to the unavoidable AoE adding pressure that isn't needed.

      With bad DPS that do not move or move to damn slow you have to make the choice of letting someone die or trying to save them and maybe losing the tank. More pressure that is not needed.

      As a damage dealer you are usually the most prepared for a bad group. I can not tell you the number of bosses I have soloed on my hunter this expansion in randoms. 100s easily. But that doesn't change the fact that when you see a rogue doing 5K and a warrior doing 3K when the minimum requirements of the dungeon is 8K per you know you are stuck in the position of if I do not do 16K we are all going to die.

      Or if you have a bad healer that has mana issues it creates an enrage timer that you might not be able to beat even if everyone was doing 20K.

      Or a tank that can not keep aggro for anything, you have to throttle back your DPS as not to pull and that in turn makes the fight last longer and possible could lead to a wipe.

      Everyone had their own issues to deal with. The problem is what we perceive those issues to be.

      More -->

    3. When I tank, I am like you. I do everything I can from all aspects, but that is because I do not trust anyone else to do them.

      Same when I heal and why I like to heal randoms as a shaman. I can heal, DPS, off tank, CC, interrupt, purge, slow and so much more. It allows me to do things because others can't.

      When I am a damage dealer, unless it is my hunter, I feel weak. I am at the mercy of the tank and healer. If they suck, the run sucks. So I need to be better than good just to offset that and it adds a lot of pressure. On my hunter I don't care most of the time.

      Had a tank in a VP bitch at me for taking aggro from him and not using misdirect when he pulled. I said I use MD every pull and am always attacking his target, I will slow down on DPS if he is having aggro issues. He said, I am not having aggro issues, you are just a baddie.

      So we get to the boss and I tell the healer and the other 2 DPS, along with the tank, stand back and watch what a baddie can do. I soloed the boss, looked to the tank and said, you are right, I suck.

      On my hunter I feel confident because I know I can do things. Not so much on other DPS.

      Being I am so good on my hunter I expect others to be that way and I know it is hard. That is why I see DPS as being hard. It was not easy for me to get good at it. It took years and I am still learning every day. I am not even close to being great yet. Not by a long shot.

      But that is where I see the difficulty as DPS from coming from. You can play forever and things will still be hard.

      For me tanking was easier to learn. Healing was easier to learn. I feel I am a good tank already and a good healer already. Not great, but good. And that good is enough to get people though heroic content so it is good enough. But as a damage dealer, I never feel like I am doing all I can.

      Now, to something you mentioned. Healing. Healing could be considered the hardest job because it is the one job you are really at the mercy of everyone else. Bad tank, you do bad. Bad damage dealers, you do bad. Even good players, you could do bad.

      But that is my joy from healing when I heal. I love that I never know what to expect. It is a challenge sometimes and like I was telling someone in my guild the other day, healing is the most exciting role in the entire game.

      Why is healing the most exciting role? Simple. You never fight the same fight twice.

      As a tank you learn the fight, that is what the fight is. Each time you do it you do the same fight and try to get better at it.

      As a damage dealer you learn the fight, that is what the fight is. Each time you do it you do the same fight and maybe have to deal with a random thing that could or could not target you, but it is still the same thing over and over.

      As a healer every time you do the fight it is different. Same in style and what to expect. The big cooldown moment will always be the same. The heavy tank heal moment will always be the same. But who takes damage will always be different. You do not know who you will need to heal before a fight. Could be the rogue getting hit by all the unavoidable damage this time, the hunter next time, the shaman the time after. It might hit all three one fight and one then next. I could hit you, it could even hit the tank or off tank. The fight is always new when you are a healer. That is why, for excitement purposes, healing is the most exciting role in the game. Hands down, no doubt. In my opinion of course.

      But it comes back to what you said. It is all about perspective. How I just described healing I said it was exciting, to someone else they could say the same exact thing and say that is what makes it difficult.

      Perspective. That is exactly what makes our opinion our opinions.