And This Is Why There Are No Tanks…   44 comments

When Kitai hit 70, after much encouragement from our resident prot warrior, I decided that if I had enough gold on her after purchasing my epic flight I would dual spec her prot.  As the level came, I got her all the “cobalt” tanking gear crafted, added up my defense and hit the dual spec button.  My first reaction was “OH GOD WHY ARE THERE SO MANY BUTTONS?!?!”.  And then, panic.  I was positive that I had just flushed my 1,000 gold down the drain and that I was never going to tank on this toon.  I mean, I had more than two full bars of “useful” buttons.

Again with some encouragement from Even, who said “just thunderclap lots and shockwave, you’ll be fine” (p.s. he lied!), I took a deep breath and decided to take the plunge.  I gathered up some moral support to go with me, namely a healer from my guild that was leveling another healer, and one of Brade’s alts…and armed with my new shield and matching gear, I bravely queued us in the dungeon finder system.  And so thus began my adventure in The Nexus.

Upon zoning in, I told everyone in the group that this was my very first time tanking, and that I apologized in advance if it was a little bit sketchy.  I also asked everyone that if they pulled agro, to please come up to me…and if I don’t get it off of you to please say something, because I may have likely missed it.  Luckily the first few pulls in the nexus aren’t too taxing and I was largely able to get my feet wet nice and slowly.

Then came what ended up being the pull from hell.  Using my bow, I pulled up a group of 3 mobs in that area with the ice cubed people.  Of course, my “moral support” started out his very first spell, chain lightening, the second I pull.  What does this mean?  It means that the two mobs that aren’t to me yet have threat on Brade, and I have no rage as I struggle to get them under control.  Of course, as if this isn’t enough of a panic for me, my “moral support” decides it would be best to knock those mobs back…right into another pack.  So here I am, no rage, no fucking clue what I’m doing, 6 mobs running around, and the deathtard in my group spamming his death and decay/pestilence button blindly oblivious to what is actually occurring around him.

Only my healer was good enough that nobody died.

The deathknight starts in on me.  “God you are fucking terrible, can you even hold agro on anything”.  I again reminded him of my disclaimer at the start of the instance and flat out told him if he didn’t like it, he could leave.  He took me up on that offer.  The two remaining people were my moral support and a hunter.  I apologized and everyone, including the hunter told me not to worry about it, with my healer even pointing out that nobody even died.  But, I still felt guilty.  Sometimes people will do stupid things, and I am supposed to be able to counter that stupidity to an extent.  I actually felt pretty bad about it, and if I hadn’t of had the foresight to have brought my moral support with me, I might have lost any tanking nerve I had then and there.  Then again, on my third pull EVER I think I probably should be given a little bit of bloody slack.  So, we seek out another DPS and keep trucking along.

Our group is filled with another DK, this one level 63 (oof), but I remember vigilance!  I again go through the whole “Hi, I’m just learning how this works” bit, and he is like “cool” and we go on our way.  Each pull I did better.  Each pull I figured something new out.  Each pull I became more confident in what I was doing.  I did struggle with the caster boss, and we wiped twice as I tried to figure out how to handle the mage split (hello beru, I am your charge button, I can be used in combat and will get you from one place to another very quickly).  This new deathknight was supportive, never treated me poorly because I stumbled, and even offered to tank the boss if I wanted.  But, I wanted to learn, so for we came up with an earth elemental solution that bought me the time I needed to stumble around and do what I needed to do.

I managed all of the larger dragon pulls after that almost never losing agro on anything, and we successfully completely the rest of the instance without a hitch.  Well…almost!  But this one wasn’t my fault ;)  We had an “I forgot to jump” incident with our DPS on Keristraza, but came back the next time and finished her out.  Of course we joked about my fail tanking abilities later, and my healers need for therapy after…but truth be told, it really wasn’t so bad.

After that first run, I did a couple more, doing two all alone through the dungeon finder (and holy cow does that sucker pop fast when you are a tank!).  With each instance I became more comfortable in my tank skin, and made fewer errors.  I decided that warrior tanking was kind of like playing “Simon”.  In between thunderclap and shockwave and cleave I just hit tab and click whatever is all lit up!  And even though it seems a bit more complicated, I actually think I far prefer it to my DK.  I like the idea of actively smacking shit around to get its attention.  And I’m even getting ballsy enough to try incorporating things like shield bash for silencing casters and spell reflect.

In my first unsupported instance (UK), I’m feeling decent about my tanking.  I’ve worked out this wonky clicking/keybind moving thingie that is working pretty well for me.  Oh, and before I forget to mention, I always check to make sure my healer is with me and has mana for the pull (ahem).  So we do the entire instance without anyone pulling anything off of me (I was really excited about that) and no deaths.

And then we get to that guy at the end.  Now, I know that I have to strafe away from him when he does that roar thingie.  I struggle at the strafing, and inadvertently ran out of the wrong thing, which meant the boss followed me instead of staying put.  I then struggle a bit trying to reposition him so that he’s not facing the rest of the group.  In all of this, I miss the part where I actually am supposed to run away (oops :(), but it’s ok!  All my cooldowns are available so I hit last stand, shield wall and a health pot to buy the healer some time to save me.  And yes…I fully recognized that was exactly what the healer was doing, saving my ass.  Apparently at some point in all that panic I also failed to move from a whirlwind.  (Um…am I supposed to move from that?  I don’t think Brade ever does, so I guess that’s just how I know the instance :().

Somehow in all of this, the rogue dies to the whirlwind that I didn’t move from.  (Because my failing to move from the big shiny axe prevented his moving from it, amirite?).  The boss was almost dead and so we finish the instance with just the one death, the rogue.  That’s right, the ENTIRE instance and only ONE death at the very end.  For my third instance ever, I’d say that’s not too bad!

Of course the rogue disagrees and there is a “wow…wtf” in party chat, followed by something along the lines of “don’t you know anything, you aren’t supposed to face him at the raid, and you  killed me in the whirlwind because you didn’t move”.  I did politely point out to the rogue that considering he was the only death the entire instance, I really didn’t think it went to badly.  Then I left the group.

But, I got to thinking.  No fucking wonder there is a tank shortage.  If all tanks are treated with the same shitty attitude that I got for ONE mistake, even when I gave fair warning that I was just learning how to tank, who in their right mind would want to tank?  It’s stressful, and it requires a good deal of attention.  Hell, I have TWO BARS of buttons that I’m supposed to be using.  You have, what? 5..at most?  And even then, there is a good chance that you aren’t even paying attention to what is going on, and expect me to make sure that you stay alive.

Everyone has to learn.  This includes tanks.  Unfortunately when a tank makes a mistake, its a lot more obvious than when you, mr. dps, make a mistake.  But guess what?!  Mistakes happen.  I sure didn’t start telling you what a shitty player you were when you weren’t attacking the proper mob.  I didn’t yell at you when you pulled threat from me because you weren’t paying attention.  Why?  Because you are learning too.

As a healer I thought I had a pretty raw deal at times, but I think tanks are probably getting is just as raw.

So you, Mr. DPS, next time you are in your 30 minute queue and wondering why there aren’t more tanks, perhaps what you really should be asking yourself is if you’ve hugged your tank today.  It doesn’t take elite end game bosses that hit the bejuses out of you to kill a tank.  No siree, all it takes is that one person, in that one nexus run at level 70, where a tank is trying to blossom and learn, to kill a tank.  Just something to keep in mind.

Posted January 12, 2010 by Beruthiel in /rant, Alt-aholic!, Beru is trying to tank!, Kitai

44 responses to “And This Is Why There Are No Tanks…

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  1. Amen! I tend to be harsh on tanks, despite having been one, and live with one. After reading this I will concede that there is a breaking point on the abuse and maintain that as long as I didn’t die, the tank did his/her job.

  2. This…is why I rarely bear outside of raids. This…and rage starvation due to overgearing.

  3. BERU TANK! <3

    Tanking can be more stressful than healing :) I love my tanks!

    • Love is a strong word for me this early in the relationship! But, so far, in my limited experienc, I’m enjoying warrior tanking. I like it oodles more than my DK as a tank. My DK may just end up as DPS :)

      I’m going to keep at it and see how it goes.

  4. Very well said. Tanks and healers get the blamed for everything. When people do not wait for the tank to get some aggro, they let loose on the dps and wonder why they went splat.

    While I heal, my husband tanks and I don’t take any bs when someone blames us. If you don’t like it, feel free to hop back into that queue! I thought about tanking, even did so some as a Druid in BC.. it’s just not something that appeals to me these days.

    You sound like you’re doing a great job. My Warrior never moves from whirlwind, I can heal him fine through it. If the dps don’t move, it’s their fault.

    • Tanks do have a certain “my way or the highway” power in the LFG tool :) I don’t think I have gotten enough stripes to swing that yet though! So, I try to be very patient.

      Also, if there is something for a certain fight that I know will help me, I try to remember to convey that to my group so they can help me help myself.

      As a whole, the lower level groups are a lot more chatty than the higher level groups. Probably beause they aren’t there just for badges!

  5. Kirstimah i hope you are a healer or you have no right to say that :P Kitai, keep it up… did you know you can use the second charge skill also in defensive stance? That makes 3 charges at your disposal which you can put into a single macro (check tankingtips.com). For a chilled out trash-tanking experience (warriors arent made for trash..) you might wanna try improving your cleave with skills and glyph so you hit 3 mobs and crit a lot from the talent, spamming 1 button then is enough for tanking a whole instance (assuming you have a thunder-cleave macro) =) good luck and have a lot of fun, theres nothing like a warrior tanks mobility and diversity of tools when you have settled for the controls and macros. btw when chaos breaks lose like in that episode you descriped… mass-taunt, shieldblock up, Tclap and then cleave the hell out of everything, youve got 6 seconds to take control of every mob running around your group.

    • Kirstimah is indeed a healer :)

      I haven’t quite advanced to the stage of macros yet, I will have to check that tankingtips site out. I do think I am running the cleave glyph, though. Part of my problem with cleave is that I’m using the 1h heirloom to tank with, as it’s the only 1h I had at the time, and it has a 2.8 speed on it. Makes cleave soooooo slow to execute, since it’s based from my white hits. It is in my rotation for the trash packs, but I’m pretty sure that 50% of the time it’s not going off because I’ve switched targets before my weapons swings!

      Need a faster tanking weapon ASAP!

  6. It’s never a bad idea to bring along a “moral support.” Pay it forward and coach a baby healer!

    • Yes, moral support is good! That first instance I felt like that kid that is supposed to run out onto the field but is too scared and needs a shove from the coach to get his cleats on the grass.

  7. I haven’t played a tank, but having played a healer in MMOs for the best part of 10 years, I can sympathize. The thing that I’ve always liked about it, is that although you get a larger part of the blame than is usually warranted if things go wrong, you also generally get a larger part of the credit when things go right!

  8. Unless that moral support is Brade! I’m still emotionally scarred from the last heroic I ran with him!

  9. I’ve had similar experiences on my warrior that I’m levelling. No one has been outright abusive when I do something wrong, but boy, it’s like people try to make tanking the instance as stressful as possible.

    The tank’s shot an arrow at a group of mobs? Let’s cast Chain Lightning and Hurricane before they reach her! Whee! What do you mean you need the mobs to hit you to get rage?

    Who does the melee dps target? The one with 0 sunders that I haven’t had a chance to hit yet.

    Best thing to do is relax and realise that if people are being stupid and not listening no matter how many times you ask them to attack your target, it’s not your fault. I have to admit, seeing those players die because of their own incompetence does bring a bit of an evil smile to my face. :)

    • hah! I just assume nobody is going to attack the right shit, and try to build threat on everything so it doesn’t matter. One of the best pieces of advice I got from Even was to pick up the glyph that sunders nearby targets. By the time I get around to each mob, everything has sunders stacking on it :)

      When I can, I try to go with the “charge and get in there first” tactic to avoid eager DPS pulling stuff. I still struggle with packs with mutliple casters though!

  10. Woot Beru! Ya, there are a lot of buttons in tanking. I just faceroll them all.

    But seriously, I would never ever go into the LFG system as a tank solo, even though I’ve tanked some of our raids. I prefer to take along a healer that I know for moral support and so that I know I’m in good hands.

    So props to you for going in solo!

    • Oh god all the buttons.

      I had a little 68 healer in a UK I ran last night who commented “you are the only tank that I’ve grouped with that waits to make sure I have mana and am with you before you pull”. I giggled a little bit and told him that I have 4 healers at 80. “aaaahhhhh, that explains it”.

      I’m sure once I start trying to step into heroics, or even some of the upper level normal instances, I’ll be a bit hesitant to go without a pocket healer, at least until I get a touch of gear and become a little more comfortable.

  11. It wasn’t that bad. If people stayed near my damn tremor totem it would’ve been a non-issue!

    • Your tremor totem wouldn’t have fixed Brade’s itchy trigger finger! ;)

      Of course, you could go give yourself the big head and tell me “you know, the tank is only as good as the healer keeping them alive”! (I’d probably tell you “damn right!”). In the interest of making sure your head fits through the instance doors though, I’ll just state you did a respectable job :)

  12. I get a bad rap.

  13. This is one of the things I love about being a healer. I can’t melee to save my life, so tanking is sort of out of the question… but one thing I CAN do is heal, and heal well.

    The power of being a healer is that you can make up for a lot of fail in a group – and you can really help a newbie tank out if he or she is struggling! A lot of my LFG heroic experiences have involved new tanks (because so many folks are switching to tank to get a faster queue), and I hear the “I warn you beforehand, I’m new to this…” disclaimer a lot. And no matter how much the tank struggles, if he/she is polite and courteous, then I will stick up for them, and give them as much encouragement as possible.

    Tanks and healers have a special gooey bond…

  14. I enjoyed reading your article Beruthiel. After returning from a year break, I was just getting acclimated back into things. PUG’s can be brutal. I think because the roles of healers and tanks are so prevalent, when we goof up, it affects everyone and is very obvious.

    I’ve been in PUG’s where the tank is out dps’ing others. The players that had the lack of dps for whatever reason wasn’t a hinderance compared to me running out of mana or the tank losing aggro.

    Kudos to you for sharing your story. I’m glad that you are persevering through this. Your story makes me want to try bear tanking sometime :)

    All the best,
    Delthune

    • Good Luck to you! I hope that you enjoy your time back :)

      Really I feel that PuGs that are arrogant and/or rude epitomize the whole internet annonimity factor. I’ve added more people to my ignore list as a tank than anyone else!

  15. Woo hoo – congratulations, and I’m sorry for the dickish folks who are the inevitable detritus of the Sanity Tap. You’re probably a healer’s dream tank, to be honest, I nearly die of joy any time a random tank acknowledges I exist :)

    But, yes, I’d hate to be a tank in LFG – way too much pressure, way too much shit.

    • The sanity tap is drained on occasion :) But largely, when people are doing foolish things I have a whole “here are the ground rules while I am tanking” speech in which I fully educate people on how rage = threat, and how letting mobs hit me = rage. It has been doing the trick…for the most part.

  16. Well most tanks have that many situational and oh shit buttons, but usually there’s only a half dozen you regularly mash when mobs are entertained. Warrior tanking is, however, one of the hardest to learn and master. Not like paladin or DK tanking which can be quite simple depending on the situation.

    It is stressful at first regardless of the class. Hell my first “real” tanking situation on my DK was when 3 so called tanks dropped group in a row and I said “ok, I’ve not tanked on this toon in a long time, I have enough gear to do it but be gentle with me and we’ll get through this without losing anyone. Which we did but the healer was imba (whatever that means) and we went slow enough that I could figure out what was working and what wasn’t.

    Not soon after I got a couple more lower T9 pieces and decided to do it full time and haven’t looked back since.

    • One thing that I have gotten good at is not hesitating to use my “oh shit” buttons! I have found it is better to pop last stand than let the group wipe, especially in PuGs where one or two wipes will lead to the group falling apart :)

    • Pally tanking may be easy, though I’m still learning, so I can’t say. I don’t have a DK, let alone a DK tank, but my feeling so far, is that it’s gotta be the hardest, simply because I see SO many DK tanks that are struggling. (well geared DKs) When I see that we have a DK tank, I will immediately start throttling back my DPS. (plus giving them a 5 second head start)

      I don’t think I’ve seen ANY Pally or Warrior tanks truly struggle in the PuGs I’ve run (well, except for me lol) Not sure why that is…

      (Bear tanks are more hit-or-miss)

      Regardless, I will only tank a couple of “chosen” heroics (CoS and VH) and only with a pocket healer. I just don’t know the fights well enough. I *am* working my way through the regular dungeons, just so I have the chance to learn how things work…

      Thus far, I haven’t had too much grief, some really good healers, and mostly uneventful. (thank goodness!)

  17. I have read so many similar posts on so many blogs in the past month, with very few comments that are as rude as the DPS that yelled at you. It seems the ignorant and impatient don’t frequent places of reason and logic.

    But I think you are right, it’s other players who are a factor in people not wanting to tank. The rude and ignorant have nobody to blame but themselves. But then if they had the ability to look outside of themselves and their own arrogance (which they don’t) there wouldn’t be a problem in the first place. Vicious cycle.

  18. Good for you. It’s very stressful learning to warrior tank, but it’s worth it, imo. Whenever possible, run with people you know so you can try things and not be rushed. You want people who will laugh when there is a wipe.

    • I am up to 75 now, and have tanked all instances at my level save Gundrak so far. I’m getting better at it, but I’m also getting a little more comfortable letting people know when they are doing something that is making it harder for me to do my job.

      I have also decided that there is a special place in hell for paladins that like to live on their consecrate button before I have control of the mobs in a large pull. I had a paladin in VH (where I was perpetually rage starved :() that would consecrate before things even spawned. I politely asked him not to do so, but he ignored me. So I just made it a game to pick up the mobs and then drag them out of his consecrate everytime he dropped it >=) Hope that helped your dps there buddy!

  19. Ended up here via a link on the Righteous Orbs site and your story really struck a cord with me. I’ve tanked, healed and dpsed longer than I can specify and I recognise myself in your story. Recently dinged my death knight to 80 using the lfg to tank. I even had guildies drag my tanking ass through the icc 5mans on normal (when I was 79) and God was that an experience.

    Keep going, you’ll find tanking more rewarding once you start beating the foulmouthed dps on the meters as well as when your healers start telling you they’re dpsing because they have nothing to heal.

    You sound like a healers dream really, My main holydin prays every day to get a tank who’s polite in the way you appear to have been in your story. Maybe one day I’ll run in to you, but if not I’ll settle for reassuring any new tanks I come across.

  20. This is a great post–its been so long since I was a noob tank (2005 in WoW, 5 years of tanking in EQ before that) that I think to myself, doing this crap for the first time must suck–but as always the imagination fails.

    When ever I pop last stand I hit our 30% regen skill (who’s name I never remember–frenzied regen). And while popping cool downs, I try not to stack Last Stand and Shield Wall at the same time–things have to be really bad for that to be happening.

    Funnily enough, as my 70 warrior alt (as opposed to Guthammer, my 80 warrior main) I keep on forgetting to move out of that big hit. I have no clue what that rogue was talking about on the whirlwinds.

    And if you have anything to add, I just posted something at my blog about becoming a tank–I would love your insights.

  21. I’m harsh on one tank, me. Others I will judge based on the entire run, and where I think it’s appropriate give some advice on how to improve. To be honest it shouldn’t need to be said that if the DPS pulls they should run to the tank, it’s rule#1. Get to the tank, stop attacking what you’ve been hitting, pop whatever aggro dumps you have and leg it as soon as you’ve lost aggro.

  22. This also struck a cord with me. I tried tanking with my DK. The abuse I received finally came to be too much. I threw on a couple DPS pieces, switched to my DPS/levelling spec and started going to town as a DPS. I’ve been getting much better drops and haven’t really had any problems. I’ll have to agree that tanking is the most thankless experience I’ve ever had.

  23. Beru I found your Blog :) As for as holding aggro in a 5-man ..do what I do let them die and find another PUG :)

  24. Pingback: focus ffs « Righteous Orbs

  25. Pingback: Dear Ghostcrawler, I Promise I’m Trying! I Really Am! « Falling Leaves and Wings

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