Tanks But No Tanks
So my last post was about how healers seem to be burning out with the latest intensity of raids, to a lesser degree heroics. Others pointed out that some of it was a result of tanks and DPS standing in the bad and making healers’ jobs that much harder.
Well there is another problem besides healers, and that is a tank shortage. Why is there a shortage, what is keeping people from tanking. Has Blizzard put too much on the shoulders of tanks?
First off if you are a tank, what are the perks, well for starters instant queues to any heroic you want. Getting paid gold to run people through heroics, or sell your instant queue status. It can certainly be quite rewarding from that aspect.
However talking with several tanks, both in guild, out of guild from friends in other guilds and servers, along with cold calling some on PUG tanks I have run with there are several reasons why tanking is just not that appealing.
It seems many PUGs expect the tank to know everything about an instance or raid. No one thinks this might be new for the tank and they are going into an encounter and learning it the first time as well. Also many tanks I talked to were kicked from a group if they didn’t immediately understand all the mechanics. Its this type of treatment that actually led 1 tank I talked to, to ponder switching to a DPS role instead as they didn’t want the responsibility of being the “know it all. My first time tanking I didn’t realize the mechanics of the first boss of heroic Grim Batol and was kicked from the group, even though before pulling I asked whats the strategy, and was told to just pull. Obviously I was dealing with a genius, but still.
Now one could make the argument that tanks should go into an encounter being prepared, now for raids yeah I can understand it but for a new tank getting into dungeons and heroics there is no need for a tank to be fully aware. Learning through experience should be fine. Even for raids just have a high level understanding of fight mechanics first should be fine. I always feel learning by doing has been the most productive.
Another reason folks don’t want to tank, is tanking is very much a leadership role. Many look to the tank to lead the group, whether they know the mechanics or not. Where people ask where do we go, what do we do, what do you need us to do. Sure where is the responsibility on DPS and healers to know what they need to do, but the reality is many do not. Especially in a PUG scenario if a tank is in a group and the rest feel they tank is too green with regards to leadership, the PUG is almost sure to fail. The tank is usually the one who marks crowd control targets, instructs folks how to control mobs. If he doesn’t know what crowd control can handle what mobs, the tank usually catches flak for not having a complete understanding of the other classes. Its an extra burden that the tank needs to know their own class, others, and needs to be a leader.
Especially in LFD, the reason why people wait so long for a tank is because many tanks even with 4.0.6 buff to the Luck of the Draw, many tanks refuse to run a PUG because of the low chance of success, which compounds the queue times for other roles. So is 15% going to fix the queue times? No, because the good tanks just don’t want the hassle. So instead what I have seen is tanks selling instant queues, then bailing. Or even worse people claiming to be tanks just to get a quick queue time. Its these types of shenanigans that real tanks just don’t want to put up with. Who can blame them.
So mostly tanks stick with their guildies or close friends and stay far away from PUG heroics using the LFD tool. On one hand you can blame Blizzard for making heroics very difficult and making LFD null and void, on the other hand you can blame other roles for not knowing how to play.
What other reasons have kept tanks away from LFD, or even Warcraft in general, as tanks have always been sought after, even when heroics were easy mode in Wrath. Has Blizzard not made tanking as alluring as other classes? What can be done to bring about a larger portion of tanks, what kind of incentives if any should be offered?