Monday, August 8, 2016

The Tanks' Dilemma

You ever read something and identify with it -- like the person was telling you your own story. This  happened to me reading the comments on the Officer's Quarter post "The repentant quitter and the wandering officer" on Blizzard Watch.

User Fyresparxx said this:

Guild searching often makes me feel like a hooker. (Am I allowed to say that?) I want a mythic tank slot more than anything else. Those slots are really hard to come by. Which often makes me consider what I'm willing to do to get one. I've raided with guilds I actively dislike. I've put up with abusive environments and rampant guild drama. I've tolerated corrupt leadership. I consider joining guilds I know for a fact that I won't enjoy. But I want that tank slot. It's like a drug. I need it and I'll do just about anything to get it. 

I would say I feel more like a mercenary. I've never had any ambitions of being a Mythic raider, but I understand the craving for a tank spot all too well. I wouldn't call it a drug, but a choice. The Tank role happens to be the one I like the best, but the math works against me. If I wanted to heal, there are 4-6 spots in each raid. If I loved to DPS, well, you can always use another DPS, but whether it's a 10 or 30 man raid, there are two and only two tank spots. Two tanks, to be exact. And ixnay on the wishing for more tank spots. That's all. Two. Uno, dos. No substitutions, exchanges or refunds.

I think there is going to be tremendous social pressure on Tankadins, Brewmasters, and Guardians early on in the expansion. There are going to be a legion of new Demon Hunter tanks (see what I did there?). Demon Hunters, Warriors and DKs don't have a healing spec. With all specs (and dimensions and realities) open to us, I can see the following scenario happening with some regularity. The Avenger's assemble, err, I mean the raid assembles, and lo and behold, we're short a healer. We've got three capable tanks: a Brewmaster, a Vengeance Demon Hunter and a Protection Warrior. The Prot Warrior and the Vengeance Demon Hutner can't do anything but tank or DPS. The Brewmaster, though, can switch to Mistweaver and be our missing healer. Maybe he doesn't have his artifact leveled up, but with more gear than ever workable for multiple specs, a lesser healer is still better than no healer at all.

It puts the Brewmaster in an unenviable position. Either he goes Mistweaver or we don't raid tonight. Maybe he goes along with it for one night, but then it happens again. How many times does it happen before he's no longer a Brewmaster, but a Mistweaver, or before he starts casually looking through the Recruitment forums?


Laura Hardgrave said...

I totally understand that viewpoint too. I've been in the same boat time and time again. My issue is that I love to tank, but unless I'm tanking for a group I'm already at least partially familiar with and/or a group with a couple friends in it, my social anxiety goes through the roof which makes tanking for mythic difficulty raids, etc., fairly rough.

I still love everything about tanking, though, that's what's fairly ironic. I love the challenge of learning the most difficult content in the game, I love having those "oh shit" moments that end up resulting in a victory, I love protecting others.

I've been lucky enough to mostly always be able to find a raid group that will take me on as a tank despite my anxiety issues. For HFC I was part of a group where I was the 3rd wheel/backup tank, but mostly focused on DPSing. There were times where I definitely wished I was tanking full time, but I still had fun, and I got to tank a few progression kills anyways due to one of our tanks having to quit. Soo, it ended up working out well.

Tanks have it rough though. I kind of miss the days of TBC where you sometimes needed more than 2 tanks, but at the same time, having all those 1-tank fights was annoying, too.

If you want a 100% tank spot, I think it's best to just be honest about that upfront, and look for a guild that seems to fit your goals, playstyle, etc. It may take some time, but you'll find something out there. Look for guilds needing tanks, too. Most of the "bleeding edge" progression guilds won't ever have tank openings, of course, but if you look at the more middle-of-the-pack guilds, you'll find they randomly recruit/trial new tanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Honors - I don't think the release of demon hunters will make a significant different to the number of tanks. Blizz released DKs, who can only tank or dps, and it was still painful finding a tank. Then they released monks who can tank, heal and dps, and it was still painful finding a tank. I notice that Blizz hasn't released a single new class that can only dps, or in fact a new class that can range dps at all, and still the vast majority of people only want to dps. I think it comes down to the fact that some people like (or at least put up with) tanking, and they'll do it on whatever class they switch to, while others similarly won't tank no matter if the class can do it or not.
I think the better solution would be for Blizz to make the standard raid 4-6 tanks, same as healers, so there was less responsibility and pressure on each individual tank. That way more people might give it a try. As it is, there is a very steep barrier to entry for tanks - you have to do it right, from the start, or you get abused and thrown out. No wonder few people manage to (or want to) break in to tanking.