Hello, my tanking compadres.
You know how we’re always talking about getting aggro, holding aggro, managing pulls and working with DPS and healers to get groups running smoothly?
We’re always talking about that kind of stuff around here.
As tanks, we worry about how to get aggro on big groups of mobs, how to hold them all successfully, and generally do our part to reduce the stress levels of the team.
Now, I don’t have any figures to support this, but I think most of you that I know through the website tank because we enjoy that intense feeling of being a valuable member of a team when you tank and do it well. You get some warm fuzzies from your friends.
Plus, we like pain. We eat it like candy.
I’m sure a lot of the tanks you see out there in the wild chose that role for faster queue times, but I bet they’re outnumbered by the people that started to tank because somebody had to do it, and they were willing to assume the responsibility and try.
If you’re visiting this blog, chances are decent you actually give a shit about being a good tank, regardless of why you started doing it.
We tank because we care.
It harshes our mellow when somebody is lying dead on the floor during the pull. It especially torques us off when, for whatever reason, the healer has something chewing their face.
See, that is what I see in the comments on this and other blogs, but when I’m in actual pugs with other tanks and DPS, that’s not quite the case.
People who play as tanks are people too, and are just as liable to do the same screwed up stuff.
I decided to get a different point of view. I went sniffing for a conversation that was really representative of the attitudes I see in the real world.
I found what I was looking for at the MMO Champion forums.
There was a thread that started out innocently enough. The question posed was, how do you as the tank handle DPS players that pull for you, without being a dick or causing problems for the rest of the group?
That’s a pretty nice topic for a blog post, I was interested in seeing what came out of it. After all, there were NINETEEN pages of replies, there must be some good stuff in there, right?
The range of replies covered such insightful thoughts as;
Do your job right.
Lol 5 mans is srs bsns.
I never have problems as a tank, so you must suck.
Teach them a lesson and let them die.
DPS have to wait for groups longer than tanks, so stfu and pull faster. (Basically, different versions of “it’s your fault if I pull for you”)
Your job is to protect the party, regardless of what the party does. So deal with it.
If you play a tank, I’d seriously recommend reading the thread. At the very least, it provides lots of examples of the kind of people that are really out there, and how they think.
Before you think that the purpose of this post is to scare new tanks off, let me get to the point.
If you tank in random groups a lot, regardless of how fast you move or how much chain pulling you do, there will come a time when a player pulls for you.
Why? Because they’re bored. Or they’re a dick.
Or maybe because no matter what you do, some people are never satisfied, because it’s not what they’re doing now that is important, it is how long this will take so they can do another one.
Each thing I do I rush through so I can do something else. Pursuit, by Stephen Dobyns.
It doesn’t matter. How do you handle it?
My opinion on this and any other behavior issues in groups these days, is to ask if it’s causing a problem.
If someone in your group is doing something or saying something that pisses you or someone else off, it doesn’t matter if you are the only one feeling the anger or frustration. When you’re playing a video game, the only frustration you should feel is what comes when you fail to beat a mob (or other player in PvP). You get enough crap in the real world, you don’t need to deal with it in the game too.
Your group is supposed to be a team working together, even if only for 10 minutes. If someone can’t rein in their assholish tendencies for 10 minutes so that the group runs smoothly, that’s not a sign that you suck, the healer sucks, or of suckitude in general. It just means you’ve got an immature ass in the group.
The question you need to ask yourself is; is it bothering you enough to drop group?
How you react is what makes the game.
Me, I don’t take the shit. I tell them to play it straight or find someone else. I’ve got plenty of characters, if people can’t act like a mature adult for 10 minutes, I don’t waste my time with them, I just move on to a different character until the debuff timer goes away. Life is too short to screw around.
I don’t even worry about the rest of the team, because I know when I drop group they’re at the head of queue for a replacement. The next solo tank to come along is going to fill their group, and more power to ‘em.
Maybe you’re not quite at that level yet. Maybe you prefer to follow the “you pull it, you tank it” rule. In that case, just make sure you take a second to talk with the healer in a whisper, find out how they feel about it. You’re not making things any easier on the group if you let the pulling DPS tank something, and the healer refuses to give up and let them die. If the pulling DPS can wipe aggro or misdirect it, then all you’re doing is giving everyone else a headache.
Maybe you don’t really care how people act in groups. After all, one boff they’re off, and you never have to see them again, so why waste your time by dropping group now? Just check with the healer, see if they care healing one real tank and one fail tank in the same run, and if you’re both overgeared anyway, go for it.
And there is one other things to keep in mind. Maybe you are being more cautious than you have to be.
There is a lot to be said for pulling at a rate you are comfortable with, but who says you play WoW to be comfortable?
It’s good to push yourself, to see what you’re capable of. The wild card in your group is always going to be the healer, so why not whisper and ask them if they feel good with the idea of you pushing your pulls and seeing how fast you can go? If the healer says they’re just learning, then take it easy. If they say “Lol I raid Rag Hard Modes, go for it”, then wtf… go for it! Have fun, pull to your hearts content, go nuts. If you die from having too much on you and the healer couldn’t keep up, then I guess next time people won’t complain as much if you mark for CC.
Just remember, you don’t have to take shit from anyone, but you don’t have to draw a line in the sand everytime someone acts the tool. No need to get confrontational, if someone pulls for you, it’s up to you to decide how to respond.
A simplistic “pull faster” or “I never have a problem” just shows the person doesn’t know what they’re talking about, because every random group is going to have different gear and skill levels. All it takes is to get a brand new healer with minimal mana who keeps stopping to drink, and it’s not going to take long before you’re pulling a group when the healer is sitting out of range and out of mana.
What are you going to do, yell at the healer for being new? That might work once looking for raid comes out, but that is what five mans and gear levels are for. Part of being a good team player is actually trying to work within the capabilities of the team.
I will advise you as the tank to always check with your healer as soon as the group forms. Just a quick “Hey, I’m well geared and know the fights (or aren’t and don’t as appropriate), you mind if I push the pace” will tell you where you’re at and how to proceed from there.
If you like to go with “You pull it, you tank it”, then make sure the healer is on board with that plan. Some healers will just heal them too, and if you’re winning anyway, well, why not? I’ve been playing a Paladin alt as a tank up through the levels, and sometimes the DPS pulls other groups while I’m still on one, and hey… if they live because of their heirlooms, well, so what? Go for it.
Whatever, it all comes down to remembering you don’t have to take shit from anyone… but if you honestly don’t care what they do and it doesn’t bother you, and you and your healer can handle it, then why not just roll with it?
The one point I saw that is true is that it’s not your job to teach someone else the right way to play. They know not to pull for you, if they pulled that shit on a boss fight in a raid they’d be booted and they know it. But they have no respect for you or the content they’re doing, because ZA/ZG is ‘srs bsns’.
No, don’t take action with the intent of educating them.
I prefer to think of them dying while you watch as being more along the lines of letting nature take her course.
I just wish there was an effective /popcorn emote in the game, where a little red and white striped bag appeared and you tossed a few kernals while watching and giggling.