There’s something that has been niggling in the back of my head for the last few months. For a long time I assumed it was just me, until people I greatly respect in the WoW community came forward and pretty much said what I’ve been thinking for ages. For those of you that missed it, I’ll link both videos from Preach below.
Preach: The future of Tanking http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ibz0CJGvfdo
Preach: The Future of Tanking discussion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnGgUNNiPZU
A lot of what Preach has had to say is very true, but there is a particular facet of it that I want to focus on today. Tanking fatigue and the general community attitude to Tanks.
My Prot pally has seen all kinds of action over the past 4 years, from occasional off tanking in Wrath to LFR guild runs in Mists. While my main is a holy priest, I’ve always spent a lot more time on my prot pally than any of my other alts as I’ve always had a soft spot for him as a tank. As a result I’ve spent countless hours watching live streams and reading guides to become better. Learning LoS pulls, studying fights and researching mobs that need to be interrupted/silenced etc. I’ve researched it all.
I’ve always prided myself on striving to be the best tank possible, to make the the jobs of both the healers and dps in the group easier. But lately, I’ve found myself dreading the time I need to spend on my tank. It’s not the character, I can still do dailies, run old world raids and enjoy every minute of any solo content as a tanking character. But when it comes to group content, I do sometimes want to cry.
Here’s my issue, there is relatively little reason to tank right now. The majority of the contemporary content favors healers and dps.
In LFR, you need 17 dps and healers pretty much get a quicker queue by default.
5-mans, any plate dps can throw on a stance and “tank” while the healer over heals his butt off.
Scenarios are generally slower as a tank as you can’t do as much dps and most don’t require you to hold off massive waves of mobs
There are so many tanking alts out there that it is difficult to find a reasonably progressed raid (read at least cleared MSV and some HoF) that needs a regular tank as opposed to a pug.
Please keep in mind that I am generalizing a little here and that the above situations may not apply to your particular realm. These are simply my opinions and perceptions so please don’t take offense.
This wouldn’t be too much of an issue if the current content that requires a tank wasn’t just plain ridiculous. 5-mans have been out geared for ages at this point. LFR is pretty much just a face roll once people learn the fights and understand what mechanics can just be ignored.
It almost feels like Blizzard has been trying to get more tanks for content for the last few years, then decided that the entire endeavor was pointless and started making content that didn’t require good tanks. And please do note I say “good” tanks here.
The issue that I’ve been struggling with for a while now has to do with trying to be a “good” tank and coming under siege from players for doing so. I recently ran a LFR for MSV, as my raid team had stopped farming MSV and I still needed the get an epic shield from the spirit kings. The run was humorous at best and I think I split the raids’ opinion with my attempts at following mechanics. I had to confess that I had not run MSV LFR for a few months to the raid and when I explained why I was kiting adds or pulling mobs off platforms I received one of 3 responses.
WTF L2P. Just tank!
Aww you’re trying to tank properly, how cute.
Oh…you’re trying to do this correctly are you…well what happens if I switch to blood presence or Tricks of the trade/misdirect to that healer or the worst…the pally healer that kept casting BoP on me
No matter what I would do I was pretty much belittled or my job became harder because I was trying to do things the way I’d done for so long. Adds died just as fast, healers had to heal less as I popped CDs when required and the dps were given the opportunity to get big numbers as I silenced casters, and pulled them in a group so everyone could just AoE. But none of this was acknowledged.
Gone are the days of recognizing the difference between a mediocre, good and great tank. Early Cata was an awesome time for good and great healers and tanks as most of the 5 mans and raids hinged on having these. You needed to have an awareness about you in order to survive mechanics. It wasn’t as simple as Drop AoE and the mobs will stay on you, you had to watch who was attacking what mob, consider if you should taunt that add now, or establish more threat on these adds first. You also had to think if there was anything you could silence to make this pack die faster.
But now, it’s pointless. There are times that if I’m in a 5-man and a dk switches to blood presence, I can’t catch him with threat, even with taunts, CDs and reducing his threat, it’s a struggle. When a dps can “tank” a boss or a trash pack and does not die because the healer out gears all this content and is over healing his butt off. Nothing is more discouraging than when someone does this and proves that you are worthless. The time you’ve put in to master your class, the guides, the videos, the theorycrafting is worth absolutely zip because in the end good tanks are no longer needed.
Probably the biggest revelation I’ve learnt from Preachs’ video was that the top guilds in the world were no longer recruiting tanks and it was revealed in the second video, that it was because they had difficulty finding “good” tanks. It saddens me to learn that the role I fill in WoW is changing so much, and not for the better. For every tank out there that wants to be the very best, there are countless more that only rolled that spec because it was a faster queue. Good tanks are a dying breed, but given the rapidly diminishing tanking requirements of the current content, I can understand why.
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