The journey to the dark side ain't complete, but it's slouching along

Ah, the rush of joy from the first few weeks of the new LFG!

How quickly it turns sour in the face of reality… or in this case, asshats.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love it, but I know my experiences are starting to mirror those Das Panzercow shared yesterday.

I’ve mostly been grouping with Windshadow the Druid, and that had given me a skewed perspective.

The very first couple days of 3.3, sure I did some LFG on my Paladin as DPS, but everyone and their little brother was online trying it out then.

Now, things have matured, Emblems have been won, and the self-centered attitudes of so many people are starting to come out, like stink rising off of… well, you know.

My Druid is dual-specced as Tank and Healer.

As a Tank and Healer both, I had long experience in running all Heroics that had been out successfully, frequently with guild members that had new alts. With the new LFG channel, all that happened was that in the pugs, most often there would be at least one raider that had better gear than I was used to seeing, so the runs, if anything, got faster.

Queueing up for LFG, as a Healer, I generally saw an instance pop in under two minutes, if that long. As a tank, it takes about 1 millisecond.

The longer queues would come when Cassie and I wanted to play together, and we’d group and join as Healer/DPS combo. Sometimes, it would take as long as five minutes.

Awww. Yep, I said I had a skewed perspective, right?

Switch to my Hunter. I was looking, and saw that my Hunter had 29 Conquest Emblems, and nothing at all worth buying from Conquest or Valor. Nada.

BUT… with just a few random Heroics, I could get enough Triumph to downgrade everything into an Heirloom Trinket. Still don’t have two of both Heirloom Trinkets, so hey! Cool! I could get there with just three or four random Heroics!

Yeah… welcome to the world of solo DPS queued for LFG. 15 minute to 25 minute wait times.

Damn, was I spoiled on my Druid.

So, now I can see first hand that, yes, it’s all much, much better than before, but it’s certainly not responsive equally to all roles. And really, how could it be?

If you’ll recall, my prediction prior to 3.3 was that solo DPS would be able to get a group far faster, but I never imagined that 20 minutes would seem long. I stated that I’d just be delighted if I could get a group without being online for two hours in the channel, and hell yes, that wish has been fulfilled.

I’m seeing more than just differing wait times, though. I’m seeing, as I said above, a rapid increase in asshattery. Or maybe laziness.

We could debate the RNG factor affecting what instances we get, and our suspicions that Blizzard has, ahem, weighted some to crop up more than others. But I’m sure it’s not the case. Ahem.

I’ll just throw my paranoia into the ring by saying I’ve had Utgardt Pinnacle, Halls of Lightning, Halls of Stone and OMG Oculus a LOT more often than anything else. And I still haven’t seen Culling of Strat, one of my favorites.

That’s not actually a complaint, since I like Lightning, Pinnacle and Stone. It’s just an observation, when Cassie and I see the loading screen, I believe her direct quote these days can be counted as being, “What, are you kidding me, Halls of Stone AGAIN?!?”

I tried to do my Hunter in LFG a couple days ago… I had Oculus for my first of the day, and as soon as the Tank zoned in to see where we were, he left party. Within 5 minutes of waiting for another tank, the party fell apart.

So I went and did other things.

Later that day, I went into LFG again. After my 20 minute wait, I got… Oculus again.

The new tank left the group again.

Got Azjol-Nerub after that. Two DPS both declined the group without even seeing what the instance was going to be, and when they got replaced, one of those DPS and the Tank left as soon as we zoned in.

Yes, in Azjol Nerub.

A Death Knight switched to tank spec, we re-joined LFG, got another DPS… and THAT DPS left group as soon as entering the instance. After that a Ret Pally came in and, OMG, stayed and we could run the place.

As we ran, the Tank and the Healer (a Shaman) took turns sniping bitchily at each other. The Healer kicked things off by being snarky at the tank’s gear, the tank got defensive in reply by playing the “I quit WoW for a year and only just got back so that’s why my gear sucks” card, then the Healer responded with questions concerning noobness about the tanks’s skill after so long away, then the tank would comment that at least he could tank and chew gum at the same time, etc etc ad nauseaum.

The whole run, two different people from two different servers entirely, bitching at each other. For No. Apparent. Reason.

The run lasted about 12 minutes from first pull to dead Anub. Okay, maybe it was longer, but that was a seriously fast speed run, everyone had over 3k DPS, including the tank… we even accidentally pulled Hadronox before he web wrapped the stairs because the tank didn’t know any better, and we still pulled it off.

Yeah, what the hell are these two crackheads bitching about? I have no idea.

But come on.

This trend, of tanks in particular leaving the party and taking the deserter debuff if the Instance is not to their liking, is happening with an ever accelerating pace.

Welcome to the world of primadonna rockstar tanks that think that the world really does revolve around them.

Nothing in the game is serving to disabuse them of that notion, anymore. Want a run as a tank? You can get one whenever the whim strikes. Don’t like what you get? Why not leave, there’s always another one whenever the fancy takes you.

A solo DPS trying to get a group in good faith, willing to stick out a run, will wait from 10 to 20 minutes after he joins LFG.

A tank looking for a quick and easy run can get an instance immediately, see what it is, get pissy, “Aw, AN again?” and leave group, and by the time their deserter debuff times out, that DPS is just getting his first group.

I was playing with PetEmote in Dalaran yesterday, PetEmote has been updated for Patch 3.2 and I configured mine for Voytek the Spirit Bear, and while testing my emotes, I saw this said in Trade Chat:

“Enjoy the runs in LFG while you can, noobs, as soon as all the Tanks get the last of the Triumph and Frost they want, and the new bosses are unlocked in Icecrown, you’re never gonna see another tank again. They’ll be raiding with their guilds and getting Frost and you’ll be shit out of luck.”

Well, I guess all tanks raid then, right?

Because guilds need SO MANY tanks, that everyone that wants to tank gets to.

Oh, wait… raiding guilds only need two, MAYBE three tanks in a 25 person raid.

Well, I’m sure that out of 25 people, only two or three ever really want to raid anything. I’m sure.

What happens when there is a scarcity of a commodity, and there are tangible benefits to be derived from providing that commodity?

Someone identifies it and fills the need.

In this case, my simple prediction is that as tanks continue to be scarce, more people seeing long wait times as DPS will dual spec if possible, and start gearing up a tank spec. Then they will expoit the fact that tanks get instant groups, and run to their heart’s content.

Please keep in mind, I never said they’d be GOOD tanks. 🙂

As was pointed out by Panzercow, the new world order as far as most groups go, is zerg the content, ignore Crowd Control, and blame the Healer if someone dies.

I did a random last night with Cassie, I was healing, and we got Heroic ToC.

The tank was a Bear tank, and we had the Hunter, Rogue and Mage.

The Bear tank stood in the poison puddle. Never moved.

I’m healing my butt off, since I feel it is my job NOT to just keep everyone alive, but instead to keep everyone at 100%. If a single Health bar dips, I get pissed. Lose health on ME, will you! We’ll just see about that.

On a related note, I hate Warlocks. There you are, keeping everyone alive fighting the trash after Ick in Heroic Pit of Saron, the Flamewraiths are AoEing everyone and porting and the tank isn’t on them, they’re not getting interrupted, and why the hell is it that one bastards’ health keeps plummeting like a stone?

Why, the Warlock is Life Tapping to get mana back as he struggles to be leet DPS, of course. While standing in the AoE fire. That prick.

Anyway, so Heroic ToC, Bear tank is standing unmoving in the puddle of poison, just standing there. Cassie is melee DPS and she’s not able to both get on the mobs AND avoid standing in the puddle. Cassie is bitching to me about the noob tank that is too stupid to get out of the green bloody-be-damned fire, and I’m agreeing “yes dear” as I’m actually reduced to spamming Nourish on the tank to keep him alive.

The fight is over, nobody died, loot box appears.

The Bear tank asks how he’s doing tanking.

I do a /inspect, out of curiosity. His gear is a pretty solid mix of iLevel 200 epics and a few Triumph items right off my list. A Darkmoon Card: Berserking trinket seems an odd choice, but really, not bad. Certainly more than adequate for Heroic ToC.

Out of politeness, I accentuate the positive, and mention that he held aggro very well.

I am having a hard time thinking of how to politely phrase the concept, “Next time you might want to get your furry butt out of the green puddles so DPS can get it stuck in” when he says, and I kid you not…

“Oh good. And great heals! I knew you were a great healer when I saw I’d been standing in the poison and I didn’t have to move because my health wasn’t going down.”


Way to encourage them, Bear. Nicely done. Dumbass.

If I’d let him die, or even let his health hover towards the low end, maybe he would have been inspired to work more on his mobility next time, or pop his cooldowns.

But no, I kept him alive, and reinforced the idea that you can brute force things, and it’s okay. Zerg, zerg, zerg.


Please, if you have never tanked before and want to step forward and join the ranks of the new tanks, please.

Do so. Do so without regret, and without fear.

But here are some tips. Serious tips, not snarky ones.

First, if you CAN gear up from going as a different spec on LFG in Heroic, by all means do so. There is no shame in running as DPS or Heals, and rolling on tanking offset gear and using Triumph Emblems to buy tanking goodies.

Dechion, I’m talking to you. 🙂

Whatever you choose to do, when you first set out to tank, use LFG to select normal early instances, such as Nexus, Utgardt Keep, Drak’theron Keep, Gundrak and Azjol-Nerub .

Take the time to go to, say, Wowhead and look at their zone descriptions for the instances. Create little cheat sheets, one page instructions breaking down what each boss does, or tips to watch for from the trash.

As an example, have a sheet for Azjol-Nerub that details Skirmisher abilities on the first boss, so you are prepared for when it ignores you and heads for the most distant player to destroy. Or mentions on Hadronox that if you stand in his green poison cloud, your lost health is healing the boss.

When you zone into a specific chosen instance, let the rest of the group know that, regardless of your gear or the level range of the normal instance, you are there to practise your tanking skills, and ask if everyone is okay with taking it a little slower than they may be used to, to help give you a chance to learn how to do it right. Depending on the group, you may even get some folks willing to offer helpful, non-dickwad suggestions.

And above all else… practise. Be serious about getting better.

Identify the normal situations… what to do when a ranged caster doesn’t come to you, what to do when you’ve got a large group on you and you lose aggro on one mob, learn how to mark, etc. 

Take the time, if you don’t already know it, to familiarize yourself with the different options of crowd control that other classes may have.

As a Bear tank, you can’t silence distant caster mobs to force them to come to you. But you can always ask other players to use their CC, so long as you and others don’t break it. 

You can also do what I do, use an addon like CaelNameplates to see aggro on all mobs, at once without tabbing, and be ready to toss Growl/Feral Faerie Fire on ranged mobs that you see you lost aggro on. Or Feral Charge them when your current target dies. Or whatever.

My point is, if you want to learn to tank, remember you don’t HAVE to LFG a random Heroic in your new full set of Triumph gear, get a Heroic Halls of Reflection, and be left wondering what the heck to do next.

Here’s hoping that things ease out soon, we get more people inspired to tank, and happy tanking!

63 thoughts on “The journey to the dark side ain't complete, but it's slouching along

  1. I had an interesting experience yesterday in the “random dungeon thing”. It dropped me into H-HoR. Now I’ve fairly well geared, mostly 232/245 stuff (gearscore of 4850 or something like that fwiw). I’ve tanked it before, though only a time or 2. So we gave it a few shots, trying both the alcove strat, and the entry hall strat. And it wasn’t working. And then a somewhat surprising suggestion was brought up. We decided to go do something else, but as a group. There wasnt’ blame being tossed everywhere, no name-calling, nothing, just a sort of statement of “It’s not our day folks, but it’s not any one person, let’s just do something else.” And so we did, I think we then drew OK, and stomped through quite easily!
    .-= Wiredude´s last blog ..The Random Dungeon Tool and You (tankishly) =-.


  2. I started tanking on Friday and Saturday. It is possibly one of the most stressful things I have done in game. Mostly as a DK I only have a handful of things that do AoE and I am not entirely sure that I have the rotation down for stuff like the Tribunal in Halls of Stone or generally in Gundurak. Planned pulls work out ok but the adds and snap agro kick my ass. (it doesn’t help that some folks run long distance when they get an add and I have to hunt them down to pull stuff off of them.


  3. My drood can tank and kitty pew pew equally as well. I love dpsing (as I tank for guild raids, its nice to relax) but if I want to get quick random hc’s – its tank all the way.

    One thing I will say, I don’t leave if I dont like the instance – “I pays my money, I takes my chance”


  4. Hint to DPSers: There are only so many experienced tanks. In order to reduce your wait time for a tank, you will need to encourage NEW tanks. Which means being willing to help them along, explain how the fight should go, and not be jerk. If you only except highly skilled, highly geared tanks, you will be waiting a long time for them, and paying through the nose in one form or another.

    I have just started tanking, and with great trepidation put myself into the dungeon finder as a tank. I explained to the group that I was new to tanking and had not been in this particular instance. There was some grousing, but once we got started, the bad guys died, we lived; no wipes, no deaths even. A tank encouraged.


  5. I would really like to see a comparison of people’s new LFG experience compared across Factions and PVE v. PVP battlegroups. I have not had a bad experience yet, although I always tank and I am in all 245 gear (ok I use Black Heart but who doesn’t? LOL.). Maybe I’m Horde prejudiced but from the p.o.v. of bloggers I know are Alliance as opposed to Horde I have seen more horror stories from the Alliance puggers. Addidionally I hear the worst from those I know are on PVE servers. Would be interesting to find out just how anecdotal this is.


  6. I guess what surprises me the most is the number of hybrid melee/tank players that only queue as DPS. I mean, every time you join a group with 1 tank, 1 dps warrior and 1 dps DK (so, like 90% of PuG groups, right?) that’s 2 players who refuse to tank. Because if they had been willing they’d be off forming their own groups.

    I don’t really understand it because yes, my main spec is DPS, and my offspec is Discipline but I don’t mind healing 99% of the PuGs that I queue. It’s a good opportunity to stay fresh at playing my offspec. Plus I just enjoy playing my Priest in any spec really.

    I see a lot of tanks (and DPS for that matter) automatically leave if it’s Oculus or Old Kingdom. Why? Once the group has been queued the system is going to force 5 people to complete it and keep subbing in more and more people until it’s completed. By leaving you’re just inflicting the very next person with that instance. Just suck it up and run it?

    The other thing that occured to me after speaking to a mate of mine (Prot/Ret Pally) who has a daily routine: H ToC (for the tanking neck) and H FoS (for the tanking shoes?) and then the random heroic. Those first 2 groups? He *picked* that “random” instance for those other people. As a (rare) tank the system has no difficulty matching up 3 DPS and a healer to complete the run that he has designated.

    I can’t help but wonder if we’ll see the instances with excellent tanking drops coming up over and over again using the “random” system. Remember how easy it was to find a tank for your H UP run at the start of Wrath? They were all after that sword…


  7. I must say that I have rapidly become tired of healing. I might now queue for one or two randoms then yearn for the other things I enjoy… unfortunately Blizzard has decided that we must choose one activity.. no matter how long the wait.

    As for healing people in the BAD… I heal them to a point… but this game isn’t about torturing myself.

    If someone is stupid, they get stupid heals.
    If someone is good they get good heals.

    Yes I often heal players pets in preference to the players… the pets can’t know any better.

    These days I seem to be faced with:
    Instance instance runs on the Shaman as healer
    Long waits on the Shaman and Mage as DPS
    Long waits for Battlegrounds
    Long waits for Raids

    I pug, so I just have to wear it I guess… Blizzard is pushing the guild culture, but I prefer to play with my disparate group of friends and PuGs… but the oid that is LFG/LFR/BGQ is killing my desire right now.
    .-= Gnomeaggedon´s last blog ..For Christmas, All I Want is to be a Gnome Mage =-.


  8. I have had generally very good experiences with the new dungeon finder. I have a hunter and 2 healers (druid and holy priest), and I like being able to get groups quick. I also like to be able to PUG and get my emblems right away, and then be free to help friends or guildies later on. Before I would sometimes try to wait for someone to do my daily – and then miss out on my emblems if they didn’t show.
    The groups I have been with have *mostly* been quick and efficient and surprisingly polite. Sometimes I’ll queue up specifcally for one of the new ones, especially on one of my healers. One time, I got put into a pug FoS group with a tank that had worryingly little hp – but my worry was unfounded; we went on to do PoS and HoR together and it went quite well. Another time I queued up for HOR on my priest and got a druid tank who was a bit unhappy about getting it for his random, but was willing to give it a try, and it went quite well (no wipes… a DK died once but the tank was able to brez between add waves). Even my hunter has gotten overwhelmingly decent groups.
    Then again, I have gotten some bad ones. I’ve had plenty of people bail on Oculus (not just random people – friends and guildies too). And I had one group where we only had to pug the tank. The tank tried to pull everything and promptly died. And then he refused to accept a rez. We found you can’t kick people who are dead. He was obviously waiting for us to give up and leave group, so he could replace us and avoid having to wait for the dungeon finder debuff. Well, we weren’t going to let him do that – we just left the dungeon and went off and did out dailies – leaving him to lie there dead – until our 15 min debuff was off, and then we dropped group, reformed, and did our random.


  9. this whole badges in heroic seemed like a good idea initially tome, but i started running and getting geared, but i never really get a chance to run the any instance that i have missed by not being in a raiding guild. i have never seen any boss after fereya in uldar ( hard modes not a chance). what i think is much better idea is to remove the raid locks for instance that are not latest so people like me can actually run those and get badges. that atleast a challange todo. and if u get a bad group u wont be locked for the week so u can run it as much as u want but would not as easy as running a few heroics and getting geared.
    if billizard really want every one to c the end game content in think this is the best way to do it…. just my .02


  10. They should add a new feature:

    If someone bails out, the remaining party should vote if the culprit ‘defected’. If the majority of the party answer ‘Yes’… then the culprit should prevented from doing raids/instances for an hour or two (timer does not exhaust if they log). It should also put an icon below their name “Defector”… what the hell… and an “A” on their forehead (and the ‘A’ is not for adultry).


  11. Good and interesting post (comments too!).

    I’ve have a Pit of Saron experience where we get to a boss (first or second) and people will bail; I think they are trying for a certain piece of gear. Very frustrating.

    I was healing as a tree in the Halls of Reflection. We cleared the spirits and then boss ran up to me and one-shotted me. Wipe. We begin again and this time it’s different. We wipe fast. Some one asks “what happened?” The tanks says, “I decided to pull the mage away for you guys.” Silence. I ask, “is this new?” and the tank quits on the spot. Group dissolves.

    As to randomness. I’ve only ran Old Kingdom once to get the achievement and have never been sent there. I’ve run UK and HV a lot because I like them; I’m sent there a lot in random mode. I ran UP last night with a friend and the next morning that was my random.

    I guess my gear is okay; I get sent to the Halls of Reflection on heroic. I’ve only finished it once; early on with a good group. Now, people quit fast or we are not quite strong enough. I hope to get a few new pieces, maybe I can power heal them through the tough ones.

    I heal through a lot of rock star tanks. One might pull every dragon and handler in H UK, another might run down the first corridor in Nexus pulling them along. I think my greatest frustration is the mobs left behind or come back to attack us when the tank is out of range. That being said: there are some extremely kind and generous people playing as well, tanks included!


  12. Thank you for the link love, BBB!

    I too have noticed the jerk quotient slowly beginning to climb. The commenter above who referenced the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory is spot on IMO. You’ll never see them again, they’ll never see you again, so they can be all the douchebag they can be.

    OTOH, gear is no guarantee of l33tness. My main Linedan is dripping in 245s and there’s very little I haven’t been able to tank with my friends…and I still haven’t gotten a group all the way through heroic HoR. Had a priest bail on me and three guildies last night after repeated wipes around the 8th wave on the first guys (Toot and Puddle? Statler and Waldorf?), and couldn’t get another group of friends through the end gauntlet. Something tells me there’s a lot of “rockstar” tanks (which I’m not, btw–I’ve been avoiding tanking randoms for fear of looking like a failtank) that are going to get a wake-up call if they do HoR. That place is brutal on a warrior tank, and I imagine on a bear as well.
    .-= Linedan´s last blog ..LFD: Looking For D-Bags =-.


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