This is going to be a very hard post to make.
I’ve been avoiding facing it for a while now, but I owe it myself to stay on target here. I started the blog by talking about Bear Tanking, and when something this drastic happens, it’s time I say so.
I’ve lost that Bear Tank feeling.
That’s not just a whimsical pop culture reference, it’s the closest I can come to the truth of what has happened to me.
A core belief of mine is that everyone has their own preferences in playstyle.
It could be as broad as melee versus ranged, or as narrow as instant attacks versus slow cast times, and anything in between. Visual feel, lots of buttons available to always have something to pop, fewer controls and lots of dead time to watch surroundings, everyone wants something unique to them.
There are raw numbers, which determine a baseline potential for a class. And then there is that amazing feeling, when you just “get” something, as if you and the class were meant to be as one that take you beyond numbers (or bring you to where those numbers say you can be).
It’s not just good class design, although that has a lot to do with it. Every class out there will have someone who, when they try it, find a second skin they pull on and become one.
For me, right from the beginning the Bear Tank was The One. The class that, when I pop Bear form, it’s instinctive, natural. Everything made absolute sense and went from being mechanics or buttons to press and instead became an obvious way of life.
Bear Tanking was as natural as bouncing.
What has happened to me is that as the mechanics have changed over the years, the class numbers may have improved in effectiveness or balance, but the class stopped being a perfect fit.
The fur felt a little tight around the wrists. I started feeling lower back pain from the new posture. Whatever you want to call it.
It didn’t happen all at once, but the addition of Active Mitigation has taken it the rest of the way. It’s no longer just a bit of a bad fit, now I just don’t have fun as a Bear tank in a real content group.
I can still Bear Tank, but I feel no joy at the thought. Not anymore.
And I HATE HAVING LOST THAT JOY.
That’s what it’s come down to. I no longer tank naturally or instinctively. It is a struggle for me now, to incorporate Active Mitigation in an intelligent way into all of the other changes, and still maintain spacial awareness of where the party and the mobs are so I can grab and maintain threat.
Perhaps I am simply not capable of playing at that level anymore. Maybe the problem lies entirely within my range of ability.
As a Bear Tank, or as any tank for that matter, when I manuever into the pull, I know where the bad guys are, where all entrances into the area are in case of new adds, I know where the rest of the party is and where they are moving to in relation to everything else, I know how much threat I have applied to whom, and who needs more, who is next on my priority list, and what to anticipate.
I find that, in adding Active Mitigation into the mix as buttons that I need to hit in different priority sequences, which can take some or all of my generated Rage away from my threat generating attacks… I can no longer keep all of it going all the time.
It’s a stupid analogy, but it’s true. There are too many balls in the air for me to juggle, and stuff gets dropped. What do I lose track of the most? Dodging, Frenzied Regenerating, and balancing charges/cooldowns against Rage volume timing.
I could learn it. I could force myself to just get out there as a Bear and solo groups in the Summit and try and try and try. I’m sure that, after a while, it would get better.
But I don’t know that I want to. It’s just not… it’s no longer fun for me to be a Bear. And while I know I could attain the skill level I expect out of myself, that’s not the same as finding that sense of joy, or that magical conenction to the class.
I don’t have that feeling that I once cherished, that sense that I was totally in tune with the environment and could have the time to look around me and see the bad guys and grab them before they ate someone’s face off, and see when someone is pulling and swap targets and taunt it off, and all the other little things that need me to be paying attention to the environment instead of my cooldown timers.
It sucks. I miss it. I really do.
I know that, just as I have lost that Bear Tank feeling, others will have found the changes bring the class more in line with their ideal. There is a balance in these things, and somewhere out there are new Bear Tanks that feel like the class has finally ‘clicked’ with something within and they are rocking the charts and their groups.
I wish them well.
For now, the only class I am playing since the changes that really has that perfect fit for me is Beartrap, my Beastmaster Hunter.
I haven’t wanted to admit it, but Beartrap the Hunter has become my new main.
I leveled my Druid to max first, and I focused on my Druid for everything up to now, but I have to admit it to myself. I don’t want to play my Druid in groups anymore. It feels… wrong.
So, my level 85 (now 87) Hunter is my new main, and not my level 90 Druid.
It’s sad, and in admitting this to myself and to you, I feel like I’m letting everyone down. As if I have a responsibility to be the Bear Booster until the end of time. BBB can’t ever not be in love with Bear Tanking.
I’m still in love with being a Bear Tank. It’s just that the Bear Tanks I am in love with are no longer the Bear Tanks I’ve got.
What I’m hoping is that in time the class will change and evolve in a new and different way, and bring it to a new place that gels with me again.
Never say never.
Until then, I will remain a big bear butt, but that butt will have a Hunter running along behind me, pretending she’s in charge.
I don’t know what else to say, except,