Tanking Irritants? Tanks Are Irritating

I read this post today from Can Tank Will Travel. I would love to find a tank like that. No, really, I would probably pay gold to have a tank like that when Stormshaper zones into her latest instance.

Do they even exist? I have to ask because I simply have never seen anyone do anything like that. Not at all.

One thing I want Blizzard to change in Cataclysm is the ability for parties to absolutely blast through heroics without any thought. This is not fun and it’s led to the current state of PuGs and the tanks that “lead” parties through them.

What you get is this:

The “Speed” run.
The tank zones into the instance, doesn’t even look around or acknowledge the party, wait for buffs or any of that. He steams into the first mob he sees, aggro’s it and then instantly runs to the second mob with the rest of the group trailing behind him trying to take down the mobs that are following all over.

Now – this can work – if your healer is bang on the money. However, if your healer isn’t quite up there in terms of full tier 9/10, perfect trinket usage and mana management, it all turns to shit pretty damned quick as the healer runs out of mana, the tank runs out of heals and the weight of numbers overpowers everyone.

A variation on this theme is the “Speed” run where the tank thinks he’s much better than he really is.

A case in point, last night, Stormshaper zoned into Utgarde Keep – the entry level WoTLK heroic. Our tank zoned in and ran straight for the first two guards atop the stairs, running past them, he aggro’d the mobs by the giant anvils – but his threat was for shit. He didn’t use Death and Decay once. Instead he spent his time running around and around and around trying to round up the mobs who were all over the healer. The sheer weight of DPS blitzed them down. As we went through the room with the proto-drakes and their handlers – he did the same thing. Drakes came from everywhere as they flung party members far and wide.

Stormshaper died on the small mob of three that are just through the doors before the first boss. She was beating up the tank’s target, then cast chain lightning on five stacks of Windfury. This caused the other two mobs to turn around and smash her down while the tank single-targetted the one mob of the three.

His response “LOL! U SUK!”
I asked him about his aoe threat – “LOL! HIT MY TARGET NUB”
So I show him I was hitting his target, it was my AOE talent that caused the other two to smash me to pieces.
His response “LOL!”
I say “What about Death and Decay?”
“COOLDOWN NUB”
“What about Obliterate? Dark Command?”
“STFU NUB! HIT WHAT I HIT OR LEAVE”
So, rather sarcastically, I said – well if you are a single-target tank, would you like us to sheep the square and frost trap circle? You’ll have to use markings to achieve that.

All the way through the instance, he aggro’d more and more mobs with limited threat generation. I moved Omen to the centre of the screen and ended up casting from range so that I could protect the healer while he ran around like a chicken with no head, simply aggro’ing things to attack us the party rather than him the focus of the threat. Even on the final boss, he never taunted once, however he did cast Army of the Dead and had the boss spinning round and round which was interesting when he did his Dark Smash attacks.

Stormshaper also hit another variation on this – the speed run where we aggro no bosses at all unless we can’t avoid them.

Zoning into Drak’Tharon Keep, the tank sped into the instance, aggro’d everything running past mobs chaining them behind him, the DPS is incredibly high so everything falls down very quickly. Trollgore is taken out in seconds. The tank then runs right past Novos The Summoner, activating his battle but proceeds through to the room with the bats – all the zombies that spawn to protect Novos run in – so they need to go down as well – so we kill all the mobs, but not the boss! Then we run down past King Dred, taking out the trash, but not doing the boss here – before finally up the stairs, more and more trash – does the tank stop for mana? What do you think?

Straight up to the last boss, Prophet Tharon’Ja, he takes a while as everyone is out of, or low on mana. As soon as boss goes down, tank zones out – no loot, no thanks, nothing.

This is a fundamental flaw in the reward system available through the dungeon finder.

People are absolutely abusing the gear levels they have achieved through farming badges making an absolute mockery of the game.

The WoTLK heroics are now an unfortunate obstacle on the way to getting more badges rather than a test for people who want to run the instances. There is no challenge to the dungeons at all. Using, or mis-using the random dungeon finder in this way, people are blasting through content, as they single-mindedly farm emblems. And if you are guilty in any way of slowing them down, you are kicked without a second thought.

Stopping for mana breaks? I had a tank tell me “Mana is for the weak”. Seriously.

I pointed out that mana is what helps the healer keep his arse alive – to which he replied – I don’t need a healer or DPS to do this.

The other side of the speed run is the undergeared, poorly researched tank who has decided that rather than wait 20 minutes for a random dungeon as DPS, he can simply switch stances or move into frost spec and he’s away. So the tank will aggro a mob and die in seconds because he has no mitigation talents. That’s just painful and unfair to the other players he’s burdened with his own laziness and/or ignorance.

One thing Blizzard could do to try and remedy this situation is remove the Emblems Of Frost from the daily random heroic because this would make heroics less attractive to over-geared players who are running the heroic for those emblems and nothing else.

Removing the emblems of frost would kill off a lot of over-geared players abusing the random dungeon finder, and the other players in the group as they speed their way to the two badges they want. This would leave heroics for people who need gear from the dungeon, or from the emblems that you get from the dungeons. If you are stunningly overgeared for the content, then you don’t do it. There aren’t many groups of 80’s blasting through Burning Crusade heroics, because the rewards aren’t relevant to them any more.

(Not to say these “imba” players couldn’t learn a bit about how the game used to be when it was tough – bring back the Burning Crusade heroics scaled up to today’s gear levels, that would dent a few out of control ego’s).

Removing the emblems of frost wouldn’t make the wait for groups over-long. At every level of the game Stormshaper has managed to find a group in a reasonable timeframe. However, that’s a reasonable time frame for me. Someone else who wants badges and wants them now, might find a 10-15 minute wait intolerable.

The emblems of frost/triumph/valor/whatever currency has worked to a degree because people can get gear very, very easily compared to Burning Crusade, but the level of the gear that’s freely available has made a mockery of the heroic dungeons, and with the random dungeon finder in full swing, it has turned the game into little more than a random dungeon chain, day after day after day.

It has got to the point now where a player doesn’t need to do quests, doesn’t need to see content. None of that is relevant any more. All a player needs to do is spend 15-20 minutes blasting though a heroic that they’re obviously not interested in and care little about so that they can accrue emblems and buy higher iLevel gear and if anyone is guilty of adding precious seconds to the time spent doing these annoying heroics, then they meet with volleys of abuse along the way.

That in my experience is the game today.

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