More on the Leveling Tank

I’m going to quote liberally from Tam’s post here.  I think Tam said it all better than I can to begin with, but I’m going to chime in anyway.  Because I have nothing else good to post.  :P

I’m not putting on my Dumbing It Down For the Casuals hat, or getting elitist about the virtues of things being hard, but overgearing everything – as one currently does what with heirlooms and the ability shift associated with tacking 20 more levels onto the end of a game – does make you incredibly complacent. …The sad thing is, I suspect I could get quite a long way without really knowing all that much about tanking.

The other day I remember thinking a tank was rather squishy, inspected him at the end of the run and realised he was nowhere near def-cap and wearing just about the worst itemized set of ungemmed blues and purples I had ever seen. I know skill is not about gear but wearing the right gear, even if it’s not the best gear, is some kind of indicator.

…Heirlooms compensate a bit at this level but I have no idea from what dank hole of ineptitude the average pre-80 Northrend tank has crawled. And it’s all such banal failure as well – stupid things like massively over-pulling, not controlling the mobs at all, getting knocked back into other mobs, pulling when I’m on a mana break. I resent these wipes because they’re completely unnecessary.

The difference is, I suppose, that nobody is geared enough to compensate, so we’re expected to play like we know what the hell we’re doing. And I can’t work out if it’s laziness, a genuine failure to adapt from running heroics at 80 in ICC gear, or the fact that nobody has really had to learn how to do their bloody job because they could previously rely on rolling over stuff with heirlooms and AoE!lol.

That’s it, in a nutshell.  That is why I am not healing pugs on my druid right now.  I step into a pug and am effectively slapped in the face with failure more often than not, from tanks who have LOLed through Outlands.  That in an of itself is not a terrible thing–every one of us gets a rude awakening now and again and have to tighten up your skills (see: me, tanking heroics on my warrior).  I love helping people.  If you’re clueless but nice, I’ll do everything I can to make your life easier.  But so many of these fresh into Northrend tanks are outwardly hostile for reasons that escape me. 

 This game is an MMO.  That means there’s OTHER PEOPLE playing with you.  That means that maybe, maybe, you should extend some small amount of effort in playing with the OTHER PEOPLE so that you don’t make the entire experience SUCK.  Why the fuck should you need a GUIDE to tell you that you should not pull while your healer is drinking?  Or that if you die when you pull two groups, you should only pull one?  Common sense, anybody?  Consideration?  Situational awareness?  Bueller?

How about not doing a job you don’t have adequete gear for?  I leveled as a tank, on multiple toons.  One of them even treated it as her secondary spec  (see: druid).  There is tanking gear out there.  There are greens of the Champion.  There is, in other words, no real excuse for being a paladin and tanking with SP leather.  AND pulling while I’m drinking.  AND standing in the bosses Casting of Supreme Ouch.  I’ve tanked UK when undergeared, it was no fucking joke when Wrath came out and is probably no fucking joke even now. 

Go suck it up in the DPS queue until you have the gear, okay?  Skill comes with practice, but it’s much easier to learn when you’re not at high risk of dying.  Tanking is gear dependent.  Please stop trying to escape this fact at the cost of others.  Or in the very least…say something in the start and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be surprised.

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  1. #1 by Pindleskin on August 4, 2010 - 3:48 pm

    Amen. I’m one of those that puts his all into gear no matter how skilled I am with the class I’m leveling. If I know I’m not strong enough to tank an instance, I do quests for gear or visit the AH to compensate. If I know my healing’s a bit low for an instance, I make sure to tell the tank to take it easy and not pull the world and expect him to survive in his green leather spell gear. I just wish others would realise the same and treat their gear, and fellow partymembers, with respect. Skill can take you only so far, after that it’s up to how much of a hit you can take or how big and fast your heals can go out – usually a combination of both.
    WoW’s about the trinity – tank, dps and healing. If the trinity fails at one of these, it usually fails as a whole. If your party keeps failing, maybe it’s time to have a look at what you could do better.
    I leveled my tank as a tank from 70 to 80 and healers loved me for it. My warrior’s 70 Tier tanking gear kept me and my party happy right up to the first 80 heroics, complemented with anything that was remotely better. My priest did not fare as well, topping out his healing at about level 75, and rather than bringing down the group I stayed shadow until I could collect enough gear to keep everyone alive with confidence (if the tank was half-decent anyway)
    With gear comes confidence, with confidence comes smooth dungeon running and better gear. As long as the confidence doesn’t turn into a god-complex and you overshoot your limitations, you’ll be far more likely to earn a pat on the back from your fellow randoms. We all want our dungeons to end with a “Nice job” instead of a “WTF”.
    Ok, stopping the ramble before my comment turns out longer than the post. Nice post by the way, wish the right people would actually read it and learn from it :)

  2. #2 by failadult on August 4, 2010 - 4:06 pm

    I agree. I hadn’t leveled (as) a tank since my pally when Wrath first came out. Recently I started a DK to tank. I lol’ed through Outlands, and like you said, got to UK with a mix of BC tanking blues, and greens with Wrath stam gems in them. After getting rofl-stomped the first few times, I realized maybe it wasn’t the healer, it might be me. I queue’d up a few times as dps, finished some dungeon quests for tank gear, bought some starter BS pieces on the AH, and went back into a dungeon more confident and tanked no problem.
    I like to think I also read up on new classes (and already knew about tanking details) so I was at least prepared. I wish others took the time as well

  3. #3 by Aqul on August 4, 2010 - 6:06 pm

    This rather hit home for me. Currently I’m leveling a Disc Priest through the lfd system (lvl 67 currently). Let me say that with heirlooms and vuhdo bubbles are way OP in 5-mans. However I feel guilty. Not because I can lolz bubble heal but because said bubble+flash heal+shiny penace with a little bit of skill can heal a lot of stupid. Which…. makes me feel like an enabler.
    Dumb DPS/Tank is STILL standing in poison… here’s a bubble until I can type get out of bad! … the still don’t move flash heal flash heal, oh finally moved because the tank pulled the next group. I feel like I’m telling them at times, it’s okay to not have awareness or to stand in the bad/green/fire cause uber heals will get you through.
    I’ve actually gotten to the point that on certain bosses I’ll say you do x, stand in/near x you will die. But then of course they get mad at me for letting them die. *sigh*
    As for tanks… ones that don’t even pay attention to healer mana still boggle my mind… seriously. Had a squishy pally last night in The Botanica chain pulling, needless to say after suggesting a few ways he could make it better and even explaining WHY he kept dying (dude… sp gear = not def capped) I left without finishing.
    So here I be, bad enabling healer… I feel I should let people die more often. O.O

  4. #4 by Askevar on August 4, 2010 - 6:19 pm

    Let me put it this way… I leveled a dk to 80 on another server where I had no resources. I already had a dk tank and wanted a dps dk. They dinged 80 on 7/15/10. They now have over a 5100 gear score [not that gear score is all or anything really lol]. She is almost always top of random dps meter and often keeps up with ICC geared dps. I’m by no means perfect at playing her but I geared her solely by queuing as dps.

  5. #5 by Sealskjaers on August 4, 2010 - 9:54 pm

    I recently started tanking on my 80 warrior. I have mostly blue gear (def capped though) and less hp than most plate dps but I haven’t had a problem so far. All I do is use a macro at the start of each random dungeon that says “hi I’m fairly new to tanking so please be patient with me”. It is amazing how helpful and patient people can be if you are upfront about your abilities (or lack thereof) from the start of a run.

  6. #6 by Nzete on August 4, 2010 - 10:36 pm

    Northrend requires the cobalt tanking gear for plate tanks. Period. I did my dungeons with full cobalt (and/or the blue upgrades) instead of heirloom shoulders and chest. You feel all secure and protected in your nice cobalt, and dungeons go so much better.

    Funny, that just might be the perspective of “my main is a healer” “my alts will tank decently or not at all.”

  7. #7 by LolDrood on August 5, 2010 - 3:03 am

    I have noticed a marked decrease in the quality of groups these past few weeks. What I worry about is what’s going to happen in Cat, when they’re unleashed on a whole new world of pain and wipes.
    I was running some normals with a 74 nub guildie, who was duel specced as a tank warrior. He was running around in several 65~ blues, some mail, and a spell power cape. >< After some runs, I made him a full suit of cobalt plate and that blue tank shield, and he sent most of it back to me. Aieee.
    Also, dear Blizz: tanks like weapons to. Craftable tank weapons, plz.

  8. #8 by DiscGrace on August 5, 2010 - 9:13 am

    I’m in the process of leveling a second disc priest (because I’m crazy that’s why) and just started into the northrend randoms. After lol-ing my way through heroics for so long on my main, it is both disturbing and fun in a very masochistic way to have to blow all my cooldowns and use every possible trick just to get a tank through UK trash. I wish more tanks would take the time to fix their gear before they start on the northrend dungeons, but at least the whole experience is keeping me on my toes.

  9. #9 by Nzete on August 6, 2010 - 11:16 am

    My baby pally has been to UK twice and Nexus once now after setting foot in the frozen north. Tanks with and without the cobalt set are night and day. Seriously, if plate tanks don’t have the cobalt set, it is painful beyond belief. If the plate tank does, the run is fabulously smooth. Maybe a nice little “must have cobalt or gear from heroics in BC to queue as tank”… I know… only in my best dreams.

  10. #10 by Lique on August 6, 2010 - 3:27 pm

    I liked: “my main is a healer” “my alts will tank decently or not at all.” I am a main healer and it took me a while to learn to heal decently in vanilla. I picked up a DK tank in WotLK to see if I could. I fared decently well at being a tank given some advice from my husband (our guild main tank). I tanked through all regular and all heroics and I didn’t think I was the best tank ever, but I felt pretty good about my tanking. I could manage raid bosses in Ulduar when my guild went, but when I ran up against Halls of Reflection, I failed horribly. I once tanked all the way through because of a super good healer who commented that I should learn to tank. I then ran it with guildies and a good healer a few times and could not manage it. My husband’s alt tank was there, so we finished out the run with him tanking. Despite his help, I couldn’t get the rotation down for the gauntlet. That was the point at which my tanking experiment ostensibly died. I like to heal, I like to dps, but I don’t care enough about tanking to get as good at it as it requires sometimes. Many other tanks (who love to tank) should learn to do it right if at all.

  11. #11 by Xunair on August 6, 2010 - 5:12 pm

    The reason is really simple.

    Blizzard (and more to the point activision) has delibrately targetted a younger and younger audience. Many of the social skills we expect – tolerance etc are not properly developed.

    Teenagers aren’t great at asking for help.

    I mostly tank so I don’t take any notice. My tanks can do any heroic with a healer and not bother with the dps – they are there so I get my frosts (random queue) otherwise I no longer care if they are alive or dead, afk or just dribblingly stupid.

    On dps toons I play normally – if the tank is hopeless I just go on follow and afk. Or log out and play Dragon Age.

  12. #12 by Linedan on August 8, 2010 - 2:53 pm

    I’m leveling my second prot warrior Latisha through Northrend right now (she’s 2/3 of the way through 77) and I’ve been careful to make sure that she’s geared appropriately–after all, my main’s been doing this for a couple years now. One thing I find interesting is that I get the same dead silence whether I do a good job or a bad job. A few months ago, people in normal 70s instances were more polite and chatty than in 80 heroics (by a mile). Now, it’s the same. Nothing but dead silence, not even a “thank you” or “nice job” at the end when nobody dies. Then again, I shouldn’t expect getting fawned over for just doing the normal competent job that the group expects.

  13. #13 by Echo on August 13, 2010 - 5:23 am

    I welcome shitty geared tanks. It’s too easy healing these days, and it makes the runs more interesting.

    I can go afk with my druid on follow on the tank and just press WG, rejuv and lifebloom at random while I watch tv.

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