Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Old Habits Die Hard

Monday night, Mal Katai got its 25 man raid team together to finish up with Naxx. All we had left was Plague and then Sapphiron and Kel'Thuzad.

I got a little help from our resident Ret Paladin and Guild Leader as to where the adds on the fight would spawn. That aided me greatly in picking them up and I feel like I did a much better job, though one or two still seemed to get loose.

As you walk into Noth's room, look to your right and you'll see some small piles of bones. When Noth starts blathering on about "Rise my soldiers, Rise and fight once more", look over at the piles of bone and you can actually see the adds start to come out of the bone pile.

I actually stayed alive the whole way on Heigan. I tried to a watch our Main Tank to see where he put him, but very quickly I was having to concentrate more on keeping myself alive rather than trying to pick up something from watching him.

Loatheb went pretty well. I actually picked up a Spore or two, and DPS'ed without using Righteous Fury. Mana was never an issue, and while my DPS wasn't going to win any awards every little bit helps.

Loateb dropped the Greaves of Turbulence. Under Mal Katai's loot system, you whisper the Master Looter if you are interested by saying "Main Set", "Small Upgrade", or "Offset"

Main set is your 'main' set and you can only call main set on one type of gear. If you want main set tanking gear, you have to go offset on DPS gear. Small upgrade is something for your main set, but represents only a small upgrade over what you currently have equipped.

The way it works is that whoever has the most MKP (think DKP) and wants it for a main set upgrade gets the piece. If no one wants it for a main set upgrade then it comes down to who has the most DKP out of the offset and small upgrade. At least, I think that's how it works.

I was fortunate enough to win the piece. These were an immediate upgrade over the Bolstered Legplates I had gotten in Heroic Violet Hold. My Legs were one of the weaker parts of my kit and getting these helped to sure that up. With the leg patch attached, I'm now up to 28.5k hit points and I haven't even started using Dragon's Eyes in my gear yet.

This time I got to watch Sapphiron put himself together, after missing it last time. The first attempt we lost our Main Tank, so I decided I would help out with heals. I stayed in full tanking gear, but the aura meant I pretty much had a constant flow of mana coming back to me. We don't do WWS reports for our raids so I don't know exactly how much I contributed, but I felt like I was able to provide a buffer and help out the real healers.

I still can't stand healing, but healing on one fight was certainly better than wiping again. Gatekeeper (tanking ring) dropped but I lost it to another Paladin. He was Holy last night but wants to be a Tank (and was a Tank in Burning Crusade), so he's made Tanking his main set.

Then we get to Kel'Thuzad. My mission, should I choose to accept it, was to pick up the 4 Crypt Lords that spawn around 40%, or maybe it's 45%. There are 4 possible locations for each to spawn at, about 5 seconds apart. I had at my disposal, Hand of Reckoning, Hand Mounted Pyro Rocket and Avenger's Shield.

Hand of Reckoning and the Pyro Rocket do so little threat that if I didn't get a Shield of Righteousness on the Crypt Lord immediately I'd lose it to healing aggro, and each one I picked up made seeing and picking up the next that much harder.

At one point, I used Righteous Defense to taunt one of the Crypt Lords. A moment before I hit the button,the Crypt Lord wandered into melee range and got nailed by the Main Tank's Thunderclap, so when I used Righteous Defense, the Crypt Lord was targeting our Main Tank.

Rod, tell him what he's won! Well, for using Righteous Defense when the Crypt Lord was targeting the main tank, you've won Kel'Thuzad's aggro!! Kel will now float towards our lucky offtank and ruin positioning for just about everyone in the raid. Congratulations!

I had no end of trouble getting all 4 under control before at least one would kill a healer or DPS, and even when I had all 4, I would eventually get burst down as the fight wore on.

After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, we brought in one of our Feral Druids to help out. He would pick up two and I would pick up two. We still ended up losing both myself and the Feral, but we were able to finish off Kel just in the nick of time.

Wall of Terror dropped but I lost it to what I thought was as DPS Warrior. I would later find out in a private discussion with the Loot Master that the Warrior was a Tank, but he had been asked to go DPS for the night because they had the tank spots filled.

I said nothing in the raid and waited until after the raid was over. In a private channel, I told the Master Looter that I didn't think it should have been awarded to the DPS Warrior. That's when I was informed he was a Tank.

I promised myself I wouldn't get all weird about gear in this Expansion. I made that mistake in Burning Crusade and regretted it. Yet, here I was doing it again. Old habits die hard I guess. I think part of the issue was the fact it was a shield. There's something weird about the relationship between a tank and his shield. It's that one piece of gear that defines you as a 'Tank'. I guess for melee it's the weapon, but a for tank, it's your shield.

To be completely honest, I actually like the itemization on Hero's Surrender better than Wall of Terror despite the item level difference.

The Master Looter ultimately did the right thing by applying the rules of our loot system fairly.

I do question if we have too many people trying to gear up to be tanks. It will dilute the tank gear that flows to the tanks. I wonder if we shouldn't designate certain people as 'Main Tanks' and only allow those people to call Main Spec on tank gear.

But I can see that approach having all kinds of issues.

If one of those 'Main Tanks' isn't able to show for whatever reason, you don't have well geared people able to sub in if you've filtered all your tank gear to a small number of people. Our guild needs to have plenty of good subs because we don't really enforce any kind of 'Thou Shalt Be Online On Raid Nights!' rule. It's one of the things I like about Mal Katai. If something comes up, you don't log on and no body gives you static about it.

Besides the need for solid subs, I have to put myself in the shoes of those people who would be told they aren't part of the 'Main Tanks' group. These are people who want to be tanks, and enjoy the Tank role. Basically, people like me. If the Guild Leader came and said I couldn't call Main Set on Tank gear because he and officers had decided I wasn't one of the The Main Tanks, I'd be upset, disappointed and probably a little angry. I've got to imagine those guys would feel the same way.

I also have to consider that I can and have been able to handle anything thrown at me thus far. A shield or a ring, as nice and as welcome as those upgrades would be, isn't keeping me from being able to do the job. In fact, I'm getting the most valuable thing out of the raid right now, the actual raid tanking spot. Granted, it's an offtank spot, but the Main Tank has better gear and has been tanking for them for a lot longer than I have. He's earned his spot.

The fear would be that one of these other guys goes to the Raid Leader and says he should get the tank spot because he now outgears me, but I don't think that's going to happen. I don't think they'd demote the current Main Tank just because I got a piece of gear that put me a little ahead of him in gear.

To take it a step further, I should probably offer to rotate out with the other guys that want to Tank. Maybe next week, I'll respec DPS and the DPS Warrior gets to tank. As for the Holy Paladin, well, to be honest, I'd rather sit than go Holy.


Josh said...

Mal Katai has a lot of tanks and tank wanna-bes...

Ken said...

Luckily I don't have that problem in my guild. We have only 2 Naxx geared tanks and one feral that's working her way up. Pretty much any tanking item I only roll against one other person.

I've even compiled fairly decent holy and ret pieces from heroics because I'm often the only plate wearer, and especially the only one who would ever possibly use healing plate. I would spec healing if my guild asked me to, but right now I'm needed as a tank and we have other healers working up.

I hope one day to have enough to do 25 man Naxx, but right now I'd settle for 10 man again, as we haven't been able to get a group together in over a week.

Crofe said...

I know exactly what you mean about Healing. I've normally run my Paladin as Tankadin while keeping a healing set semi-up to par. But the fact is that if I need to sub out because of not tanking, I'll probably do more harm as an inexperienced raid healer than I would as an inexperienced raid DPSer. Healers have much more responsibility on their shoulders in a raid then DPSers do.

Frankly, without having to do it constently, I don't trust myself to be able to heal for a raid. So I need to work on my DPS set.

Ngita said...

With lots of new dk's and holy being less attractive for many paladins, too many tanks is pretty common.

Been doing heroic naxx since november and i dont think we ever tried to 2 tank it. Allways 2 OT for the adds.

Anonymous said...

Yup, an unfortunate side effect of the great tank shortage myth. The only lack of tanks there ever was on my server was for bad PuGs. Blizzard listened to them and not only added another tank class, but gave all the existing tank classes tools to make them easier to use. So we have casters rerolling deathknights and people who didnt want to tank before because it was "too hard" rerolling tank specs.

The result; a large amount of badly geared, badly informed(People who think 540 is optional)players claiming to be tanks and competing with existing tanks for spots.

Luckily my guild has been quite sensible in not replacing existing tanks with new ones, which has shattered the illusions of a few rerollers. Ive been with my guild for a long time and raided all their progression content TBC,to be honest if I lost my spot to a new tank I'd probably hang up my shield.

BigFire said...

The adds in KT's encounter are undead. You can excorcise them. So you can shield toss and excorcise them.

Ironshield said...

Giving out tanking loot to people not in the core 'main tanking' sub group before the people in the main tanking group has it, does indeed dilute it as you say. Then again, as you say, spreading the gear diversifies your dependency on players' availability.

Honestly, I have seen far, far too many raid leaders that somehow (usually self-assumed) managed to obtain the mantle of 'Raid Leader' who simply do not have yet a strong grasp of the life-skill called 'understanding down-stream effects'. As a result, they handle or manage a situation - be it drama, promotions, or loot distro - in a fashion that initially appears to have been 'the right choice'; however, if anyone were to discuss the downstream effects of that action, they would quickly come to the conclusion that it was not the best course of action.

Kind of like drinking with your friends at a party before driving home on a dark old-oak-tree-lined, winding mountain street covered in black ice.

So I think it depends on the delicate balance that your raid leader is trying to maintain. If tanking loot is going to a 'tank' (who respecced or not is irrelevant), if it is truly in support of the guild objectives, it is only going to a 'tank' that is actually performing/going to perform tanking in serious for the guild. If it is someone that is just dabbling, unless all of the tanks have that gear already, they should not ever get the gear - even if it is only a small upgrade to the serious tanks they should get it.

As a raid leader, it should come down to first what helps your raid support the guild objectives and then secondly meeting people's fun factor -- not the other way around.

Having said that - if all the 'tanks' in the raid (including the re-specced dps ones) are considered to be players that are viable or 'going on viable' confirmed tanks - its a good idea for the guild to gear them up equally so that the raids go smoothly (sucks when the OT is way under-geared compared to the MT) and so that the uber geared one doth not leaveth to another guildeth.

Anonymous said...


Whos talking about loot? If you read my original post properly you'll see that im attributing the sudden rise in competition for raid spots to the increase in the number of tanks.

Look at the typical 25 man composition 2-3 tanks, 5-6 healers and the rest DPS. It doesnt take a maths degree to work out that if people within a guild reroll to the role that is required in fewest numbers then there will be people who wont get spots.

Why should someone who has decided to respec, after they made it easy, get a spot over someone who has been doing the job well in the past? Aint broke dont fix it.

Anonymous said...

I am starting to run into some of this on our runs. There is 2 10 man nax groups in our guild at the moment, which equates to 4 tanks, all of whom i know. But it seems on tank drops, I get people saying, oh i tank for the guild, can I roll on that? It seems that if they repsec once for Heroic or even that, they see themselves as a tank.

Tanking is in sort of a bad spot currently in my opinion. Right now you have true tanks who did it before and know what they are doing, and you have the ones that are now interested in it via Death Knight or because of some other reason i haven't found yet. There is a gluttony of tanks now it seems, but still only a handful of good ones, which I think was the case the whole time.

Good tanks are selective on their pugs, just as healers are, it tends to cost us the most money for our effort and therefore are picky on what we choose to run. If blizzard wants to make pugs go easier on finding good tanks, take away repair bills to the tanking class. That way all you would be losing is your time, not 50 gold.

Anonymous said...

Honors - it seems to me that the issues you described are endemic to casual raiding guilds.

Lately my guild, also a casual raiding guild filled with adults with real-life scheduling conflicts, has had many, many more tanks than needed - at least, for raids. We generally need extra healers and DPSers to fill a 25-man, but we don't have room for all the tanks who want to go.

I think you thought through the loot situation very well - better than you have in the past, if I may say so. There is no reason to value the tank who won't go healing over the tank who will when it comes to loot distribution - quite the opposite. Ironshield quite rightly brings up the downstream effects of decisions. The "tank" who is willing to respec Holy for the good of the raid and the guild is far, far more valuable than the tank who won't, so his reward needs to be equal or greater. This incentivizes sacrificing one's preferences to the guild's needs. If a tank went Holy for a night to make the run happen and then got shut out of loot, he'd feel like an idiot on many levels - the time, the gold, and mostly that he would selflessly do something he didn't want to for a group of people who were completely ungrateful about it, and who gave him less consideration than someone who was inflexible.

Don't get me wrong, I won't respec Holy either. I did go Ret full-time, though.

Admittedly, there's got to be a better way than having 5 or 6 people rolling on tank loot in a 3-tank raid, but those better ways are probably only found in more hardcore raiding guilds with set rosters and demanding raiding schedules. I think at your stage of life and mine, those kinds of guilds are not really an option if we want to retain happy relationships with our wives and families. :)

Good hunting out there!


Tego said...

Wow, I cant even imagine loot working like that. this coming from a dedicated tank who respeced holy for a good portion of BC to raid, the entire raid knew i wanted to tank and would sanp up anything the MT's didnt take but I never got something one of them wanted, it would be horrid to take that from the raid, better the tank = better the raid. eventually we lost a tank to attrition and I entered that set, with what i had from leftovers. and we did fine. Though it works for your guild so i guess thats all that counts

Darraxus said...

If tanking is their main spec I dont see it as too much of a problem. I have been pugging all of my raids lately due to the fact that we have so many tanks in guild. I have even run into problems pugging due to the fact that everyone needs more heals and *gasp/ DPS.