Friday, July 12, 2013

Made for the Role

All the talk about tanks and healer and damage dealers lately has me thinking a lot about the roles and the people that play them, or don't play them.

Do you believe that each person is made for a role?  As if there is a role that best suits them to play.  I am not talking about skill at playing it, anyone can become skilled at anything given enough dedication and determination, so skill at the role means nothing for this post.  Well, not nothing, but saying someone is skilled at doing something does not mean they were made to play that role.

At the beginning of last expansion we were in need of a tank, as in when are we not in need of a dependable tank, and I recruited a friend from real life to come tank as I knew she had a geared and leveled tank and she was skilled at playing it having had played once since vanilla.

As it turned out we ended up not needing her on her tank as we ended up picking up a few of them but suddenly had healers feeling the heat from the massive healer hell that the beginning of last expansion was and I went to her and asked if she had any characters that could heal.  She said she had one but it was not 85 yet.

I helped her level, taught her all I knew about healing, and geared her up as best I could through randoms, craftables and the such and in no time she was ready to heal.  Having never healed before she stepped in and was healing as if she had been doing it all her life when in fact this was the first time she had ever even attempted to heal.  Even when gearing her up she did not heal.

A few weeks later and she was ready to claim the spot as the number one healer on the team.  Her reaction was spot on, he choices always seemed well thought out, her numbers amazing.  She was a healer, she adapted completely and she adapted quick.

It was then that I got the shock of my life.  She was playing on an old system that she could not use addons on.  This means she had no custom UI, no healing addons, no DBMs, nothing.  She was doing that good at healing through natural ability only.  Wow, just wow.

She was meant for the role.  That is what I mean about being meant for the role.  You don't even try, you are just good at it.  Anyone can learn to be good at something, but to be good at something naturally means it is something you were meant to do.

Do you believe that people are meant for certain roles or certain classes?

I love being a hunter, but does that mean I am meant to be one?  And if so what spec is it that I am meant to use. 

I always played a hunter but it wasn't until MM was the spec that became the raiders choice that I actually started to become a good hunter, raiding wise.  I changed to MM and was instantly topping the charts.  All without even thinking.  I could be talking on vent, not playing attention to anything I was doing in game and it seemed that everything just fell into place.  Not only did my DPS go up but so did my raid awareness as odd as that might sound.  I guess it was because I did not need to think when playing MM so my awareness of other things seemed to be heightened.

Perhaps I was meant to play MM.  Perhaps it was just that at that stage in the game my play had just moved to the next level and it would have not mattered what spec I was playing but I tend to believe that for me when playing a hunter that MM is the spec I was made to play.

I've always believed that any decent player, any real gamer, could play any class in any spec and do well at it.  But the made to play it theory goes further than just being able to do it.  It means to be able to do it with ease, as if it were natural.

While MM seemed to be that way to me as a hunter what is there to say that I was not made to play a druid healer or a monk tank or what have you.  There are the classes and roles we like and we tend to believe that because we like them because we are made to play them because we happen to be good at them and enjoy doing it.  But that is not entirely true as I see it.  Just because you are very good at doing something and really enjoy doing it doesn't mean you were made for the role.

I think the vast majority of players never find the class and role they were meant to play.  I am not even sure I have yet and I have dabbled in every spec and class in the game at one point or another.  I just say it is the hunter that I am meant to play because I am good at it and I enjoy it and have been doing it so long.

What if I could be so much better doing something else?  What if I have not found the role for me?

What if all those people that refuse to play tanks or healers were actually made to play a tank or a healer but because they refuse to ever give it a chance they never find out.  They could be the average player, even the good player, but they would excel at doing something else because that is what they were made to do.

Every person has strengths and weaknesses and those all go into being made for a role.  It was like when I took the job as a raid leader.  A job I never waned and a job I wish I could pass off to someone else.  But I was told that it was something I would be good at.  As it turns out, while I am not some great raid leader or anything, I do have the natural tools to be one and it comes without even trying.  Managing people is a skill, just like everything else.  Would I say I was made to do that, absolutely not, but I am sure the person that gave me the job things I was.

Goes to show you that you don't even need to enjoy doing sometimes to do it well.  Sometimes it is just who you are.  And maybe they saw something in me that I never did.  In the end I understand why.  Whenever I do a raid, if I assemble it or not, if it is a pug, open raid, LFR, you name it, given time I will always end up taking control of the group while not even trying to do so.  Because in the end, that is who I am.  I am a leader by nature for as much as I despise being one.

Do you believe people are made for a role, or a class?  I do.

I just wonder how many of us never really find that place.  We never see that, while we are good at something, there might just be something we are naturally better at.  Like that warrior tank that had been playing since vanilla that is now a shaman healer.  They were a good warrior tank, but they are a better shaman healer, because that is the role they were meant to play.

I absolutely do believe that every person has something they will just excel at naturally.  But then again, I also believe that anyone can excel at anything with enough time and dedication put toward it.

Do you believe that you have found the role made for you?

I believe I have, as long as I can play an MM hunter, which sadly I can not now.  Oh well.


  1. As I came up the ranks as a Ret pali I always had a Prot spec for levelling since he never ever died. When failtanks dropped groups which happened frequently I was usually asked if I had a tank spec. Almost every one of those times we ended up 4-manning the rest without ever getting a new tank and the response was always the same: dude! give up dps and go tank! They say that because my dps has always been bad, like so bad that Blizz offers to pay ME to play. There was even a time in the wild when I found a player getting trounced by wildlife so i rounded them all up, stole aggro and soloed a dozen creatures to save him. Turns out he was in a big guild and offered me a tank position on the spot. My problem is this: I cannot do it. I Q up and always cancel. I am terrified of tanking (not while I am doing it) and I cannot get over it. I don't like being the leader. I hate the spotlight. What is wrong with me?

    1. I have to remember that one "your DPS is so bad, does blizzard pay you to play?". That is funny.

      Nothing is wrong with you. You seem like that is your natural skill. But even if you have the skill to play it you do not have the mind set.

      Like I said in the post and many times before. Skill can be learned, you can become better at DPS.

      With everything in game there is a mindset that is connected to it and you need to be of a certain mindset to do it. Tanking and healing more so as they are not as straight forward.

      Perhaps if you found a guild you were comfortable with you could or world start tanking for them and them only. That is usually the only people I tank for. But I can understand not wanting to be in the spotlight. It needs a certain mind set to do it and you either have it or you don't. It can't be taught. But people do change. Maybe some day on your own terms you might.

  2. Not sure about class/spec. But role, yes. Where role is tank, heals, melee dps and ranged dps.

    I've tried all several times. Some I even enjoy doing on different chars. But out of all, only tank speaks to me in the way it meshes with my personality.

    It's something as stupid as getting in front of someone else when a pack of dogs come running and start barking. It's not that I'm some kind of brave, it's just that I'd rather protect. I wish people would never get hurt.

    I know it's just pixels, but... they're all 'MY healers', 'MY dpses', 'MY offtank'. I am responsible for them.
    You may think a healer is close, but it's not. Healer comes in after the damage is already done. Even disc, half the time. It's like mother soothing a child after he fell off off a tree and hurt his leg. I'd rather be there and catch him before something bad happens.

    Well. It's kind of hard to put it to words.

    And my class... it could be any type of class. But paladin... hand of sacrifice, divine sacrifice, divine intervention. Paladin was designed to be about sacrificing himself to protect. If I could do that in real life, I would. I hate it when people cry or are sad or anything bad happens to them. As clichee as it sounds, I'd take the pain upon me if it meant my loved ones would suffer less.

    I consider myself... as slightly better than average. I am not this amazing tank, I just want to do it, to get better. And I genuinely care about my raid, about protecting those pixels. I want people to feel safe when I tank for them.

    Game-wise... specs change all the time. My paladin doesn't play like it used to play 6 years ago. But the idea is still there. I still protect.

    (OK, I know this was pretty lame, you can stop laughing now...)

    1. If I had to say what class fits me most as a real person in my real life a paladin would be it for the reasons you said. It fits me well.

      I still only really tank for people I know. On rare occasion I will have some new people with me while tanking but I would rather not. I like tanking and do feel a bit like you do with it, but I do not feel that "my healer" or "my DPS" mentality in a random setting. They are just tools to me accomplishing something I want to do. Perhaps that is why I do not tank alone.

    2. I'm rather 'possesive' like that, if you wish. They're all my raid, my team, my group, my raid leader, mine, mine, mine. Even in random group. If I avoid some mobs, I always stay close and make sure everyone passed safely, ready to pick up mobs if someone pulls. Healer or dps pulls, I don't yell at people to let me pull, I see it as I have to save them and I should've been one step ahead anyway. I think I'm more protective over strangers like that than with my own team, who should know better.

    3. That is the sign of a good tank. I learned that early on from a warrior that basically taught me everything I needed to know when I started tanking.

      Whenever there were mobs somewhere, even if there was zero chance of pulling them, he would stand there and wait for everyone to pass safely.

      I asked him why, he said, it is my job to keep everyone safe and if an accidental pull happens I am better off being right here than having to come back to save everyone.

      When I tank I do the same exact thing and one day I had someone ask me why I do that and I said, because it is my job as a tank to make sure everyone passes safely.

      One generation of tanks passes the information to the next. Oddly, doing randoms and such, I would say the tank that do that are a very tiny percentage. I often see people getting ripped apart in dungeons because the tank did not do their job and let everyone pass first.

    4. In a RL life example, I had always been taught to make sure someone I'm dropping off makes it inside the building, whether a house or a business. Since my daughter doesn't drive, I didn't realize she noticed that I do so until she mentioned a friend's surprise at her insistence on waiting for another friend to get in the house before driving off. Caring for the safety of others is important whether in the virtual world or "meatspace."

    5. Great analogy.

      I do the same thing when I drop someone off. I wait until they get inside before I leave. It never even occurred to me that the two are the same really but you are so right.

  3. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    I picked you to be the raid leader because I had belief in your ability to do the job. Of course I knew you had never done that job before, but I considered things very carefully before I made my decision.

    I already knew you over prepared for every encounter. I knew that you were able to communicate. I wasn't sure if you would be able to combine those two elements into being an effective raid lead. Your opinions do tend to come across as the final pronouncements of a hanging judge quite often. It takes a strong personality to stand up to you in such situations, but I also knew that would be a good thing in a raid lead.

    As you will recall, your selection as raid lead came at a time when our guild was undergoing a rebirth. In short, our raid team got raided of our main two tanks and an important hybrid, which left us way short of personnel. At my suggestion, we all left our alts in our guild and took our mains to a 25 man raiding guild. That was fine for a little while but that guild leader acted irresponsibly and soon that promising group of folks crashed and burned. At that point, I decided I was taking my main back to our guild and I gathered in as many of my guildies as possible when I did so. You were one of those and one who I counted on to make a success of our guild’s rebirth. You did not let me down on that.

    As the guild leader, my responsibility was to ensure our officers did their jobs so I would not have to do it for them. In that regard, I never had any doubt that all I had to do was give you the job and let you have room to figure out how to do it. You will note that over the period of time I was guild leader (both times) that I was always willing to let the person doing the job do the job with minimal supervision from me. Now that never meant that I didn’t follow up quietly and double-check everything, but it was very seldom my judgement was so far off in picking my officers that I had to do much more than that.

    So in short, you got picked to be the raid lead for us because (a) I had faith in your ability to grow into the role, (b) you were a rock of stability in a time of guild turmoil and therefore could be counted on to try, and (c) you were there. Of the three reasons, I suspect that (c) is as important as either (a) or (b). That is the way life works quite often, simply showing up is enough of a reason.

    1. All the strong personalities we have had in guild usually end up clashing with me, not in an adversarial type of way, just a difference of opinion way, and they tend to leave soon after. I could easily chalk that up as someone I did wrong but just the same I could chalk it up to something I did right by always giving the appearance that I am in charge and I take the success and failures on my shoulders just the same.

      I do have a my way or the highway approach to things even if I never have come out and said that.

      They call that success by not failing. When things crumble the one that comes out on top is the one that didn't fail and just keep moving forward. What has been and always will be me. In game and in real life I am about as stable as they come. Well, except mentally. :P

    2. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

      LOL, yea, I can say I have seen that in you as a raid leader. Yet at the same time, I notice also your willingness to maintain our guild's tradition of doing things our own way. We never have had a perfectly balanced raid team, but we sure have had a lot of success with some very odd combinations of class types.

      It has always been a tradition of flexibility in our guild cause we never have a perfect mix, usually not even close to it. All of our raid leads have built on that rather than moan about the lack of perfection, and you have maintained that guild tradition quite well (of necessity I know).

    3. I am not perfect by any means so I can not demand it from anyone else. However I do demand that people try. Try has always been a huge thing with me.

      I would rather take someone lower down the ability list if they show they have awareness and skill. It is an easy tradition to keep up with.

    4. This sort of reminds me of my second raiding guild. GM had moved to a 25m guild, left an alt as GM and made my ex (Rig) raid leader. Rig told me it was unclear as to why the GM had chosen the way she did. But Rig was amazing as Raid Leader. Something I've never seen in other raid leaders: nothing would ever make Rig angry. My current raid leader for example is really charismatic, just like Rig, but he's so angry all the time, it makes you stress when you shouldn't, so progress feels like work when it's not. I much more preferred Rig's calm fun-focused raid leading than any other.
      What I mean to say... other people may see some qualities in us that we may not see ourselves.

    5. I am usually the calm type you mention and that works well for a casual guild. It also works well, or I would like to believe, from a respect standpoint.

      I do not tell at people, I explain to them. I do not treat people like shit, I explain what I do.

      So when all is said and done and I do yell at something. Everyone is so silent you could hear a pin drop.

      When someone is angry and yells all the time it loses weight if you catch my drift.

  4. Although my role in the game since Cata has been overall a tank, with my DK and paladin, I feel I'm more in the "support group" role. I still tank for guild people I know, just not LFRs.

    Anyways, I think if I had to pick a class or 2 for my support role, I'd say my DK in frost spec and my resto druid. With the druid, I love the hots they give out, efflorescence looks cool, and this sounds weird, but I love the sound that wild growth and tranq dish out. I also enjoy how they are more focused on group healing, so in turn I help more people out.

    Same goes to my DK. I love howling blast and DnD. It's like crack to me. I enjoy being at melee so this makes it even better. I love the sound of DnD. Army of the dead is fun to use, when used appropriately. Same with death grip. Just a fun class. Blood spec is a close 2nd, but I'm just burned out from tanking, although it's fun to solo old content on him.

    So those are the 2 roles/classes that I fit into more so than others.

    1. You might fit into them, but are they natural. Kind of like how I believe a paladin fits me on a personal level but a hunter in MM spec is a natural for me.

      Do the abilities just seem to flow with them, as if you were good at it the second you started it. A natural if you will. Some people are just naturals at roles or classes.

      I love my hunter and I feel I am a natural at playing it and filling the role, but it is quite possible that my true class/role might be something else and I would excel there.

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    1. That really does sound like hunter mentality.