Once upon a time tanks and healers had a special relationship. They were both designed to be played in groups and sucked at doing anything on their own. When in groups they also had to take a lot more responsibility for everything going smoothly than the average dps, which could be a considerable burden sometimes. And of course they relied more on each other than on anyone else - if the healer died the tank would soon follow, and if the tank died the healer would soon follow. Having dpsers in the group wasn't irrelevant, but they simply didn't share that special connection.
One day Blizzard decided that healers and tanks shouldn't be quite so tedious to play solo, so they combined healing and spellpower so that healers could smite random mobs slightly faster. They were still mainly healers however, their damage didn't impress anyone and they could still get overwhelmed quite easily, so they continued to prefer not having to do things alone.
Tanks' damage was increased too, but since their reduced damage output had been a tradeoff for being nearly indestructible, they suddenly turned out to be better at killing tough mobs than even the best dps, because now they could withstand any amount of damage while dishing it out at the same time, more or less eliminating the need for assistance from anyone else.
As someone who plays all three roles at level eighty, I find it very striking that the tank is the one who's easiest to play solo and never, ever dies unless I accidentally hurl myself off a cliff. I wonder if this is part of the reason why tanks seem to become more and more uncaring as of late.
I remember a few months ago there was a sort of discussion going on among several bloggers about personality types behind different roles and who had to be the most caring. Many seemed to think that tanking was the role that required you to care the most about the rest of the group. I don't know if that was true then, but it certainly isn't true anymore now. In all the pugs I've run since the LFG change, I've once or twice run into a dps who complained about someone else not being quite as leet as them, but it's always a tank who
- completely refuses to even acknowledge the existence of the other party members. Greetings, questions, requests... he doesn't respond to any of them and might as well have the rest of the group on ignore.
- clicks "ready" on the random dungeon group popup and then drops group the moment he ports into the instance and realises that he didn't get his favourite, leaving four other people stranded. Sometimes he'll actually tank a few trash groups and then disappear without a word (see point one).
- treats the healer like complete garbage, not giving a crap about whether they have mana or are even in the same room. If called out on this, they'll say that they've got it all under control and that's what cooldowns are for. Clearly healers are obsolete and there should be an option to just run with four dps. After all, there's cooldowns!
- has an ego the size of Pangea and likes to wipe the group because he thinks that "I can solo tank this lol". Afterwards it's of course someone else's fault. I used to love heroic Azjol-Nerub for example because it's so quick, but since the introduction of the new dungeon finder I can never do it without at least one wipe on the first boss, as the tank will always go "I want achi, I just tank em all, kk", ignoring any warnings about things not being quite that easy. Only after a certain amount of wipes will he sigh and consent to do it the normal way because clearly everyone else in the group is made of fail.
I've been taking some notes about my pugs lately, and it's almost always dpsers these days who leave a positive impression. I guess that ten-minute wait in the queue is just enough to make them care at least a little about the people they run with (and whom they had to wait for).
Tanks on the other hand? They can solo better than anyone else, they are more desired for groups than anyone else, why should they give a crap about what anyone else thinks? They, more than anyone else, are given the feeling that everyone else is just there to make things a little more convenient for them, but that they could do it all on their own if they wanted to.
I have currently stopped tanking five-mans on my paladin and druid because even just being associated with this current "generation" of tanks is too embarrassing for me to bear. In pugs I spend most of the time healing, always keeping a wary eye on the tank to mentally prepare myself for the next act of dickishness that I'll have to endure to just get to the end of the instance. What happened to tanks and healers being friends?