Come Cataclysm, I am a Tank, no more.
This is not some rash decision on my part. I've been debating this for several months. I'm usually a person who hems and haws over decisions, thinking and over thinking them. I'm very susceptible to paralysis by analysis. Yet, this decision hasn't been like that. Once I started thinking about it, I've only gotten more sure its the right the thing to do.
The natural question is why? Let me state my reasons.
This doesn't have anything to do with the state of Paladin Tanks right now. Paladins are great tanks. We are probably in the best state we've ever been in since launch with the possible exception of the legendary Seal of Fury days.
One change in my life has been my new job. They are much more strict on what we can do on Lunch and Breaktime on the computers. That used to be the time I could blog, surf Maintankadin, Tankspot and the other WoW sites and learn how to be better. I’m blogging in the evenings now as I find time, but I’m finding it much harder to keep up on the latest theorycraft. I’m hoping that I can get away with a little less out of game research time in a DPS or Healing role.
But what is really driving me to put down the shield is that I'm just tired. For my new readers, let me give you a little background on my Tanking career.
I started out in the 2.0 patch. This was the amazing patch that gave Paladins Avenger's Shield and a Defensive Stance Lite (in a damage reduction on Righteous Fury). We were making our first tentative steps towards becoming real Raid Tanks.
I learned the ropes in the waning days of Vanilia WoW in Upper Black Rock Spire and Zul'Gurub. I spent hours and hours grinding rep in Alterac Valley to be able to buy The Immovable Force, my first Tank shield. I stepped through the Dark Portal ready to go. I tanked through all of Burning Crusade's early 5 man content and helped lead my guild on our first successful foray into Karazhan. As a community, we fought through the misconceptions and hostility of being a Paladin tank. It was once said, with only slight exaggeration, that our very existence pissed people off. I did everything I could in my guilds to prove to people that Paladins were capable tanks. I tanked Boss after Boss that “everybody knew” I wasn't supposed to be able to tank. I did my best to show how Paladins were good choices for a Tank.
I wouldn't skimp on an enchant, gem, or even the slightest upgrade. Gold was no object. I had to be the best tank I could be. My guildies deserved no less. I may have had my limitations, but I was going to make dang sure that I was doing everything under my control to be the best tank I could be.
Then I got my big break and moved on to one of the top guilds on Altar of Storms as their Hyjal trash tank. But I wouldn't stand for that. I fought and struggled to get more and more responsibility. The night I main tanked our 4/5 clear of Hyjal was a very special night for me. Finally, just as 3.0 hit, I Flame Tanked our first Illidan kill.
I was tired of being a permanent off tank, and I was determined to not go through another expansion as 'just an offtank'. I toyed around the idea of starting my own guild, but I had no less than two guilds ready to hand me their main tank duties. I eventually chose Heroes, and then my group broke off on its own. In time, I would come to feel like I had found an in-game home in Devolve, and it wasn't long before I had taken the main tank duties in my new guild.
We owned Naxxrammus, destroyed VoA and the Black Dragonflight. We hungrily awaited Ulduar and dove in with all our might. Before long, Yogg Saron fell to our might. We cleaned up at the Crusaders Coliseum and stormed the very halls of Ice Crown Citadel. Arthas was vanquished by our might.
It was a great ride.
But somewhere along the way the constant pressure of the tanking role started to get to me. I feel like Tanks have more pressure on them than any other raid role because they’re always pivotal to the action. A tank has more ways to screw up than just about any other role. Push the wrong button at the wrong time, or failing to push the right button at the right time and it’s wipesville for your raid. More is expected of tanks than any other raider. It may not be fair; it is what it is. By the time we were done with Crusaders Coliseum, I was already thinking about putting down the shield. But one thing remained, Arthas, I had to confront Arthas, and I confront him I would. He was a boss I wanted to tank even before I installed WoW. From the moment he put Frostmourne through King Tereanas, I wanted a peice of him, to tank him, and finally at the end of Wrath, I got it.
The passion, the fire a Raiding Tank must possess had gone out. I no longer had that burning desire to be the best I could be all the time. The struggle for acceptance is over. Paladins were widely accepted as fantastic progression tanks. We had won. The naysayers, the doom and gloomers were all wrong. Paladins stood toe to toe with every other tank class in the game. There were even accusations we were overpowered as Tanks. As a spec, we had come a very long way indeed.
I've been a tank for 2 full expansions. I'm ready for something new. I informed my guild of my intentions months ago on our forums.
I’m still tanking, and I will be, right through the end of Wrath. The Ruby Sanctum yet awaits. But after that I’m done.
I plan to continue the blog. I truly enjoy writing. I never set out to have a 1000 hits a day or be a ‘voice’ in the Paladin community, whatever that means. I saw some others doing it and it looked like fun, so I gave it a try. But I'm smart enough to know that as I move away from Paladin tanking, it will mean some people won't be as interested in the blog anymore. That's understandable. There are some great Tankadin blogs on the blogsphere right now. I'll do a post on the better ones soon.
The blog will continue to chronicle Honorshammer’s journey through the end of Wrath. I’ll also be exploring my ideas for a new main in Cataclysm. I’ve never had a main other than Honors, and I’ve never alted to the extent I have in Wrath. I really don’t know what I’ll do at this point, but I’ll be sure to chronicle my thoughts here if you’d like to see them.