Dear Ghostcrawler, I Promise I’m Trying! I Really Am!   21 comments

A while back Ghostcrawler wrote a post regarding the relative difficulty of dungeons and their heroic counterparts.  He said a lot of things in that post that made me really respect him a lot more than I already did, but for the purposes of this story I want to highlight a bit of the post that has to do with group coordination – and more specifically crowd control.

Tanks, you can’t pull and AE every group in a Heroic (again, until you overgear the content). It’s a good idea to crowd control at least one target — and sometimes two. As long as you have someone with a long-duration and/or renewable crowd control and someone else with a short crowd control such as a stun or even a snare, you should be fine.

Before I get to exactly why I’m highlighting this, I want to look again to commentary that Ghostcrawler made.

This time I’d like to point you towards a post he made regarding tank threat, more specifically he talked about how sometimes when pulls go bad, it’s not always the tanks fault.  In fact, sometimes other players in the group are equally, if not more, responsible for supposed “poor” tanking.

We do want players to pay attention. We don’t think it’s too much to ask for DPS and healers to wait a couple of GCDs for the tank to get the enemy under control — we’re not asking for five stacks of Sunder Armor these days

Ok, ok!  I know that by now you are probably wondering where I am going with this!  Well, I’d like to tell you the story of the little orc that could (also known as Kitai).


I’ve been a bit slow this expansion on the alt front.  Having thought that perhaps that was because I leveled two healers back to back, I decided that I’d level up my warrior, Kitai, next.  I figured that it would be a bit of a change of pace and something different.  I had tanked my way from 70 – 80, and through all of the WotLK content, and so I was looking forward to seeing what Cataclysm tanking was like.

Now, I’m going to be honest with you all here, I’m not an exceptional tank and make no claims that I am.  I’m certainly no Xav, but I do think that I do a respectable job when I’m tanking.  I generally manage to maintain decent threat, and keep my mobs under control.  I’m always cognizant of my healers mana, I don’t usually botch a pull and I tend to use my cooldowns freely.  All in all, I’d say that I’m a decent enough tank to have when your LFD queue pops up.

When I revved up Kitai this expansion, she’d been collecting a little bit of dust.  I made the decision that I was going to try to move away from my clicking habits with her and rebound all of her keys in both her prot and fury specs to see if I could improve my performance by moving primarily to keybinds.  (So far it’s been fairly….unsuccessful :P).  The first instance that I did was a Blackrock Caverns with Brade’s priest healing me.  I was rusty – and a bit freaked out with my new “setup” and my muscle memory not used to the changes.  But we were with all guild mates, and everyone had a few laughs at my expense as we moved through the zone.

However, I became reacquainted with Kitai and, kinda like riding a bike, it all came back to me and I was again comfortable in my tanking skin (except for those pesky key binds :P).  As I am putzing around leveling at my slow pace, I am queueing into instances largely via the LFD tool.  Most of the groups are very enjoyable, most of the people are polite, and if you chat a bit they will frequently chat back.  And usually if I’m diligent about marking mobs and asking for some crowd control the group is largely accommodating.

Unfortunately, however, that’s not always the case.

I tried, GC, I really did!

I did a post awhile back when I first decided that I would try tanking, and with my experiences on tanking my very first instance.  I was new to it, it was unfamiliar to me and frankly I was pretty terrible at it.  That very first experience that I had was almost enough to turn me off of trying to tank again ever.

Since that time I’ve not only become a better tank, but I’ve also become more aggressive in my tanking as well as more assertive in the group.  If I’d like something done, I’ll politely ask for it.  If people are doing something that makes my job harder (like dpsing in blood presence, having a pet’s growl on, or simply attacking the wrong thing) I am not bashful about letting them know and politely requesting that they adjust their play.  It’s generally fairly effective.

As I move into tanking this expansion, I have the added benefit of being pretty intimately familiar with the zones.  Anything that I’m uncertain about from a tanking perspective, I have the added benefit of being able to look over my shoulder and ask Brade about it (which usually leads to him watching me and “drive”, which is frequently irritating and stressful!).  So as I queue into zones as a tank, I’m pretty comfortable and relatively confident.

As a result I am pretty aware (from experience) what things in zones require extra attention – even in normals.

This past weekend, I decided that I would give Kitai some love, and started questing in Uldum.  I also decided to do my daily instance, and queued into LFD to get a group.  My queue popped up very quickly, and I was horrified to see The Stonecore pop up – of course after I wet myself I reminded myself that it was on normal and I wouldn’t get insta-gibbed for botching up the rock dude.  I was, of course, then privately embarrassed to have wet myself and quickly changed into my big boy shorts.

Now, I know that this is normal.  However, there are still a handful of mobs in the zone that crowd controlling will smooth things out.  Generally people are hitting this zone just as the healers are hitting that breakpoint around level 83/84 where mana starts to be a bit more of an issue and instances can become a little more stressful.  Not only that, but I can honestly see no downside to learning good habits now, since you are going to need them in just another level or two.

So as we are buffing, I start marking up the mobs.  I mark them with the kill order that I am used to and have had much success with.  I place the skull on that dasterdly Milhouse and the star on the pesky Earthshaper.  I sprinkle around the other lucky charms, and then politely ask the mage if he could sheep the star throughout the instance.

As soon as I, the tank, asked for CC the healer became indignant.  “This is normal, you don’t need CC, hahahahaha”.  I again politely asked the mage if he would sheep – and the healer started in again “I’m an amazing healer, I can heal through all of this, just pull already”.  I again ask the mage to sheep – at which time the hunter in the group drops a trap (not on the earthshaper) and the group has been pulled.  So I charge in trying to round everything up.

And do you know what happens?!

You got it, Millhouse stuns me.  I struggle to get the pull under control, and just about that time the Earthshaper transforms and starts to AE the raid – killing the DK.  The pull finishes and the healer who “can heal anything hahahaha” then blames me for “marking the pack wrong”.

No.  No I most certainly did not.  I marked the pack correctly for how I, the tank, wanted to handle the pull.  And when I asked for the crowd control that would have prevented the disaster of the Earthshaper I was laughed at and told “no”, that I “didn’t need it”.

And so we continue through the instance with me asking to have certain targets CC’d, and being ignored and mocked by the healer who “has healed two of these packs on my main druid on heroic”.  (I will admit that I had to bite my tongue at this statement, lest I make a comment that I regret).  Pull after pull, ignored request after ignored request, we continue through the instance.

I am pretty miserable in the group, trying to pick up sometimes upwards of 6 or 7 mobs at a time, trying to keep threat on them all because DPS is just attacking whatever their heart desires.  Wishing that I could have just had some CC on that guy that has now spawned over 9 imps that didn’t get interrupted and that I now have to try to pick up.  But we are almost finished – and I want a shot at the rock guy.  (If it had been heroic, I would have failed miserably – just in case you were curious!).

And This Is Why There Are No Tanks

As we kill the last boss in the zone, I was relieved to be done.  The entire 45 minutes or so that we were in the instance was pretty awful for me, and put me in a bit of a foul mood.  The silver lining was that as my “Stonecore” achievement flashed by – the boss was looted and had a tanking weapon in her satchel.

Well, I at least thought it was a silver lining.  Until the healer rolled on the tanking weapon.  Needless to say after I picked my jaw up from the ground I was pretty unhappy about it.  And so I asked them why they would roll on a tanking weapon.  And here is the response that I received:

Now, after my comment, he did pass over the tanking weapon.  But really?  I should be hit by a bus because I wanted to do the instance cleanly and as it was meant to be done?  And even without the CC – as awful as it was – I managed to keep the pulls largely very clean and the one or two deaths that did occur I don’t feel could have been attributed to poor tanking on my part.

But what really shocked me was the group who had been complacent throughout the instance, and refused to CC when I had asked for it, wanted me to stick around for another. 

Unfortunately, I really just wasn’t up for another after the experience that I’d just had.  And let’s be clear here, it wasn’t the instance that ruined the experience for me.  It was the people.

DPS – if you wonder why you have to wait 30 minutes for an instance queue, here is your answer.  Who wants to deal with that?  And honestly, why should they? 

I’m really sorry if I let you down, Ghostcrawler, but you see I tried.  I tried to do it the “right” way – I wanted to do it the “right” way.  I wanted to grow and develop as a tank in the instances that were there for me to do just that, I really did.  But my group just laughed in my face and wouldn’t let me.  I know it’s not your fault, and I’m not trying to blame you.  But I did want to let you know that I tried.

21 responses to “Dear Ghostcrawler, I Promise I’m Trying! I Really Am!

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  1. This article is kinda moot when you blur out the names of the aholes. There is absolutely no reason to blur out those names.

    • The point of the article was not to ostracize one or two individual people, but to discuss a problem as a whole – as I am fairly confident that I am not the only tank that has had similar experiences.

  2. Sadly, those of us who honestly try to be great DPS, and not complete tardbuckets, also get those 20-40min queues. =(

    • Unfortunately, that is the collateral damage to those who really make tanking miserable 😦

      Perhaps if there were a jerk filter or a “I don’t want to try” filter Azeroth would be a better place!

      I do get my own little bit of satisfaction when I’m tanking of putting unpleasant people on ignore and knowing that I’ve made their queue times that much longer, as they now have one less tank in the mix 😛

  3. Its a tough call. I now refuse to heal anyone unless we have a guild tank in the group. And tanking… forget it. A real DPSer is far and few between 😦

  4. Oh how i know that feeling. Having dps “help” by pulling for you because i’m waiting for the healer to remember to drink or having the “gogogo” idiot in the group. My personal favorite is having the one that tries to teach me how to warrior tank…
    You’re completely right. I won’t tank for pure pigs because, quite honestly, why would i put up with the aggravation? It’s question of efficiency. A guilg group clears grim batol in 45 minutes. I once was in a pure pug that had to abandon after 3 hours. Not worth it.

  5. Don’t give up hope, Beru! I’ve been healing the 85 regulars for a while now, as I’m leveling two healers simultaneously, and I just assume we’ll have no CC and that pulls will be bad. I tend to accept it because I’m of the opinion it teaches ME how to best handle my class, even in impossible, doomed situations.

    BUT, I had a Halls of Origination pug the other day, all strangers, where every pull was perfectly CC’d, often with 2, sometimes even 3! different CC methods. I couldn’t believe it. I almost wept.

    Was it the fastest? Well, probably not, but it certainly didn’t add any real length to the run. And for once, I was able to just sit back and leisurely enjoy a nice, soothing run. It was like a vacation.

    So…there’s some bad groups, it’s true. But there’s some good ones too. 🙂

    You’re much more forgiving than I am, though. If I’d had that opening experience with you, I would have zoned out and let the hunter die, and if he feigned, let the group blame him for the wipe. And the first time *I* died because of their lack of cooperation, I would have been adamant, started kicking, or dropped group.

  6. Beru,

    Just know that you rock. It is amazing how a good idea like the LFG tool can end up with such horrifying consequences.

    I admit that I haven’t pugged this expansion, other than as an alt/dps at lower levels. But on my mains, it has only been with a majority of guildies (while only pugging 1-2 people).

    I’ve a lvl 85 pally. I’ve been able to tank a couple of times with him (100% guild group), and I’ve never healed on him. I just don’t want to put my guildies through that much pain.

  7. I queued Califa up for an instance at 68, and got Durnholde. The group had already started, but was only a few pulls in. I have no idea what happened to their original tank, but the DK in the group apologized for his poor gear.

    We cleared to Thrall before forgetting we needed to set the bombs first (I zoned in outside the Keep, so I had no bombs or quests!). And as we jump down, I realize we’re 4-manning this instance, as the mage DC’d.

    But it’s not until we kick the mage, and the DK refuses to requeue in a role that I realize, NO, we’re 3-manning this instance, 2 warriors and a priest healer. We repeatedly ask the DK to pick a role or come back to the instance, and he stubbornly refuses, saying the XPS are better where he is (Borean Tundra). So we talk in /s about how we’re trying to kick him, and we can’t, because we had kicked the mage already. We continue on 3-manning the whole instance and have no real issues (thank god!), and get all the way to the pull inside the inn when suddenly the DK drops group, and we get a lock and a hunter in.

    I did say to the DK, back when we were setting the bombs, that “this is why it’s so hard to get tanks,” and the priest agreed with me.

    I can’t wait to get to 80 and tank for guildies. But pugs? Yeah, that will be few and far between.

  8. I’m with Rades, I would have left or kicked the rude healer no matter how good he claims to be.

    I always cc when I’m on my Mage, unless the tank is using the hunter and shaman for example instead. If I get one of those tanks that marks nothing, I cc something anyway and it’s up to him if he leaves it or breaks it. Can’t say I didn’t try 🙂

    I also never object to any cc the tank feels like marking, although if he’s getting 4 mobs cc’d on every pull and I’m healing I may suggest that I can handle him tanking more than one mob at a time if he wants to.

    Generally I try to be patient with newer or less experienced tanks, so they will keep trying!

  9. The attitude of people in randoms is usually pretty offputting .. which is why most of our guilds tanks and heals don’t pug as tanks and heals.

    One of the few pugs Ive done since Cata was with a guild tank .. we both went in and got SFK with a Paladin and a priest who had just decided to try tanking and healing. It was their first heroic in those roles and to be honest ours as dps. The 3rd dps had done sfk a number of times and guided us step by step and we did the whole run without a single wipe and I think only 1 death. But to be honest this was a rare run where everyone had fun, listened and behaved as thinking people .. most often there is usually someone who has to cause problems which makes things go worse or puts off tanks & heals from doing dungeons with randoms.

    Until we are geared as we were at the end of Wrath Queue times for dps will remain fairly high because until that time comes you can’t cover for those who do the wrong thing and you can’t be bothered eatign the blame.

  10. I feel your pain, sir, I truly do. I was tanking on my Paladin when Cata hit, with all its strange changes to play style and dungeon speed. I would call for DPS to be on target and to CC appropriately and would receive similar responses. The difference was that I was with 2 other people, so when we had someone who was badly behaved, we just kicked them. Now, of course, Blizz has made that harder (thanks Blizz – well played), and anyway I started leveling a new toon.

    Keep sticking through it; go with only guild groups, do whatever it takes, but don’t let jerks push you out of doing something you like.

  11. I feel in control while healing in pugs as I know what I am doing and am confident at it but when I tried to learn to tank I just wilted under the aggression from the assholes in lfd.

    So scratch one tank.

  12. What a terrible group. You should have kicked the healer or left for a better one. I can’t believe you suffered through the whole instance with that. 😦

    • Although, to be fair, I’ve very seldom seen anyone be that douchebaggy to the tank, especially h 5 mans. (And I’ve seen quite a few arrogant, bad-mannered tanks who never got called on it.) This is because the DPS queue is 45 minutes and the healer queue is 9 minutes. Nobody wants to wait more after that. (The DPS anyway.)

  13. I used to love tanking and had 3 tanking specced characters back in Wrath, but I haven’t tanked once in Cataclysm because the general attitude in PUGs frigthen me.

    Lately I’ve been leveling a Paladin healer and I’m starting to do some PUGs on her, but even when I as the healer suggest CC because the mobs hit hard on the bigger packs people either ignore me or .. well, actually they mainly just ignore me.

    And that’s the tanks ignoring me for the most part and just charging ahead.

    I think we all (healer, dps, tank) need to get better at using CC and remember that we’re not in Wrath anymore and we’re also not on our Heroic geared 85s who probably can do the instance on HC without CC.

    That’s another thing I don’t quite understand. Sure, with a full guild group we CAN do Heroics without CC – but do you really save that much time on it? You generally don’t kill things faster with AoE (unless you have the few classes who still do good AoE) and you save the healer’s mana so they don’t have to drink if less things are beating on the tank.

    I’m starting to feel scared about healing too now, but I think I just need to keep pushing forward and try. Maybe eventually I’ll dare to try tanking again as well. For now, after a few bad experiences, I’d prefer healing tanks from the guild.

  14. It reminds me of when I did Stonecore some week ago on my lowbie dk. I always make sure the healer is ready for the first pull, because if I don’t I get yelled at for pulling too fast. The mage gets restless and ninjapulls, mobs are everywhere, healer goes oom. So for the next pull I yet again wait for the healer to be ready. Mage ninja pulls again, this time we wipe because the healer had no mana. I thought everyone would lash out on the mage, but no. I get the blame. Needless to say I didn’t stay very long in that group.

  15. I couldn’t agree more with you post…

    Tank queues and is abused one to many times by random idiots; Tank becomes cynical and jaded, then stops using the LFD system to queue with PUGs, instead choose to only run with people they trust (friends and guildmates).

    At least this is what happened with me.

  16. The story of many tanks really Beruthiel, sad to hear you made such a lousy experience yourself. the self-entitlement and arrogance some people are displaying in randoms, is still baffling me, even though I wrote a lenghty post myself of why I hate healing PuGs myself. it’s just hard to understand what’s going on in these minds and unfortunately they ruin it for everyone else. tanks stay away from bad pugs – pugs get even worse because there are no tanks, and so forth.

    I still think the whole LFG tool was the worst decision they ever made, long-term speaking.

  17. Pingback: The Return of the Link Round Up! « Me, Myself… And All Of Them

  18. If anything, LFD has helped guilds grow stronger. I’m hearing from all ends that people prefer to run with guildmates and refuse to do a completely random pug. I’m not sure that was the intention of the tool, but it’s something positive you can get from it.

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