Monday, February 9, 2009

Tanks, Tanks, Everywhere

Last week, Mal Katai ran Naxx25 again. It was a good run, and we only ran into trouble on Thaddius, and Anub’Rekhan.

Thaddius was a simple issue of people needing to leave and the raid trying to kill him with 22 people. Then we lose 2 in the first transition. We just didn’t have enough DPS left to finish him off before the Enrage timer. We went back first thing the next raid night and one shot him.

Anub’Rekhan was also a simple issue. Our Tank on Anub got disconnected. It happens. By the way, the Tank was not yours truly. I was engaged in the middle of the room tanking the Add. It was during Locus Swarm which meant I was tangled up with an Add, and if I got close to Anub I’d be silenced and unable to generate any threat outside of Hammer of the Righteous. By the time I realized what had happened, Anub had wrecked the raid.

I’m not sure if I should use names in the blog or not. I mean the guys in Mal Katai who read the blog will pretty much figure out who I am talking about. People not in Mal Katai won’t know.

Sunday night, we brought 5 tanks: 2 Prot Warriors, 1 Prot Paladin (me!), a Feral Druid and a Prot Warrior who was speced Titan’s Grip for the night.

Before the raid ever began the Titans Grip Warrior was asking why he had to always respec for raids and never got to tank. This led to a comparison of unbuffed Hit Points between the tanks there and some discussion of tank theory.

We talked about the fact that unbuffed HP wasn’t necessarily the best guage of tank. If it was we'd have an all Druid tank corps. The TG Warrior said you should stack stamina after hitting the Defense Minimum and added, ‘just read the forums.’

One thing that I’m trying to work on both in game and in the ‘Real World’ is having Confidence without being Arrogant. Because I so wanted to reply, “Forums? Oh, you mean like where I’m a Community Author or Maintankadin where I’m a Moderator?”

But I didn’t. This guy loves Tanking just like I do.

It seems tank spots have become as competitive as DPS spots used to be. Healers are pretty guaranteed a spot as they are rarer than a nun at a frat party. With DPS, comparisons are fairly easy as you have the all powerful DPS Meter. This gives you a semi objective standard to compare DPS1 to DPS2. With Tanks, it’s a littler harder. Unbuffed HP is one of the things you can objectively ‘see’ with a Tank. I get that. At least with DPS you've got the majority of the raid spots to fill. For Tanks, it's like 3 and that's a stretch. You could probably do Naxx just fine with 2.

This whole discussion preceded the Guild Leader getting into the raid so he missed it. Our GL is a fantastic Ret Paladin. He leads or at least co-leads Raids with what I would call our Main Prot Warrior. He’s the best geared of all of Mal Katai’s tanks (although all the Plate Tanks are pretty close by this point), and has been tanking for them the longest.

I still don’t know my way around Naxx as well as the other Tanks, so I sometimes am a little hesitant on where to go. I’m still learning all the Boss fights. It was easier back in tBC. Our first night in Kara I needed to know 2 or 3 Bosses max. Now I need to know 18 or 19 in WotLK. There was also much less competition for Tank spots back then.

My main beef with Naxx is that you really don’t need 3 tanks, and for most of the night I wasn’t needed. Naxx was originally designed around the 40 man paradigm of one ‘Main Tank’ and a couple of off tanks some of whom might have even been offspec. At least until you got to 4 Horsemen and you had to go ninja tanks from a different servers with at least 4 piece Dreadnaught.

Then, every time we got up to a boss, the 2nd Prot Warrior would yell “I’m tanking!” (literally in /y). I didn’t feel like fighting over it with him, and the Main Prot Warrior seemed to want him tanking. So I picked up Adds on the fights that needed it while our Main Prot Warrior swung away with a 2her. Our Feral was amazing with his ability to Cat DPS, then jump into Bear form if something got loose.

I have to admit it was something of a relief to see this Prot Warrior go through the same “You’re too close” on Heigan that I had struggled with. I thought I was the only one who messed that up.

I didn’t complain, and I hope this post isn’t coming off as me complaining now. But I had to do my best to suppress any feeling I had of being a bit superfluous to the raid, and that’s not a feeling anyone enjoys.

I still think we’ve got way too many tanks and wannabe Tanks in MK right now. But I sure wouldn’t want to be the one to have to say “You can stay a Tank, but you can’t.” I'm also sure I wouldn't want to be the one told, 'but you can't'.

It did turn out to be a pretty good night. I managed to snag some Emblems and even got some drops. I received Heritage. I have it as the third best Tanking neck behind Boundless Ambition off KT and the neck from the Heroic Eye of Eternity Quest. I’m only 9 Emblems away from the Ground Stompers (Best In Slot boots), and I snagged my T7 Legs.

Maybe most important of all, I got a promotion from Veteran to MK Core. This is something I’ve coveted, but I haven’t asked for. When the Officers were ready, they’d give it to me, and now they have. It tells me I'm slowly earning their trust again.

After we cleared all the wings, we headed for Saph and KT. The Raid Leader (Ret Paladin) stated we had too much melee. I want to say we had at least 10 melees between tanks and melee dps. But for that entire melee group we didn’t have any Rogues. So the Guild Leader asked for volunteers to step out so he could get a Rogue in. He didn’t want the Dagger to drop off KT and have no one who could use it.

I determined that I didn’t have enough DKP to win Wall of Terror if it dropped, so I volunteered to step out. Best case for me was for the Shield to drop and for the 2nd Warrior to win it. Then I’d be the only one without a Shield upgrade and could make a pretty good case for getting Heroes Surrender off Patch. I actually like the stats a little better than Wall of Terror. Both are great shields, but I think WoT has a little bit of a trophy appeal. (“Hey look at me, I killed KT!”)

Sure I could have used the additional Emblems, the Head tier token or the tanking Axe, but I had already gotten two epics out of the run. I think I did okay.

I have no idea if those positive actions will help me land Tanking spots in the future, but we’ll see how it goes. I’m still getting invites as Prot for Raids. That’s the important thing.

I’m hoping Ulduar has more fights that really need 3 tanks. I’d love to see something along the lines of Fathom Lord, or Bloodboil, where your tanks have to really work together.


Darraxus said...

I love tanking so much, but there seems to be a glut of tanks. In BC we usually brought 4 tanks to encounters. Now it is usually 3, and more people tanking to boot.

Anonymous said...

I have seen more than a handful of people from my guild "move on" to other guilds, like we have accomplished the end game or something. The only way to make sure you keep getting your spot is to have good raid attendance and come prepared, with both consumables and knowledge. Personally, I raid as ret, but we have already lost two tanks (with those spots being harder to get then any other) and am hoping my chance comes to get in as a full time raid tank soon.

Wankster of Magtheridon

Occeleta said...

I wanna start tanking soon but i'm pretty much waiting for dual specs for just this reason. Getting into raids as a tank won't be so easy against the already established and seasoned tanks.

Ngita said...

Its funny how you post mirrors this weeks shenigans. We ran a 20 man Mains naxx for achievement with 3 tanks and the main tank was constantly at the pally tank for stealing his mobs. Killed kt, with no rogues and dagger dropped:( Then we ran a alt naxx 25 with way too much melee including 4 ret pallies and 4 dps/tank dk's which went fine till kt when 12 melee was blatantly way too much, Frost blasted tank 3 times before we called it.

Anonymous said...

There's just a glut of tanks right now. This same kind of situation is why I went Ret a month ago. It's harder to get 5-man groups now, but it is waaaaaaaay easier to get 25s. As you say, there are more DPS spots than anything else. The tank slots are usually the most contested and/or locked down.

And - as you also said - DPS is where it is easiest to rate your players. Even if there's way more than there needs to be, there isn't way more *strong* DPS than is needed - excellent DPS is in demand. Last night I did an OS25 with a fairly serious raiding guild (their rules are far, far more serious than my guild's). Doing Sarth +1 drake I was running 3rd in DPS until a bunch of loose adds jumped me.

And DPS is more relaxing. I focus hard to maximize my rotation, but I don't feel nearly the pressure that I do when I'm tanking.

Don't get me wrong, I love tanking, a lot, but DPSing has been good to me.


world of warcraft guilds said...

As I see it it's all down to mudflation. The whole idea that any tank class should be able to tank any mob, and any class in general should be able to do great damage. The only reason healing is not as competitive is that its not easy to give new classes the ability to heal. Healer classes are pretty much still the same as when WoW initially launched.