The tank, my enemy?

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?


  1. It is unfortunate to see this kind of approach to tanking appear a lot, yet even I've met some "less than ideal" tanks on the many alt runs i've done on my resto druid and hunter. And I do not approve at all.
    However, I believe that the cause could be the large number of different tanks with different aspirations who either always wanted to be big in tanking but never got the chance to get in good guilds because of the difficulty involved in becoming a raid tank in a guild, tank in offspec, are gearing up from scratch or etc. The number of the good and experienced tanks who resort to PUGs I believe are relatively low, and those who do PUG for daily frost emblems might not fall into the friendly category.
    Plus whereas before people would demand 30k tanks for a daily hc, today anyone with roughly an average 200ilvl gearset can just join the queue and get a spot in 6 seconds wait time and that might too serve to inflate some people's ego.

  2. Since WotLK eliminated a lot of aggro-struggling for tanks, they aren't the most caring class anymore like you point out. It's the healer who's now in top-caring position. Once the tanks has grabbed the mobs correctly he just undergoes a spank rotation without having to care for anything, just some stray mob if dps is high and started before tank could grab firmly the mobs. Other than that tanking has become more boring, while healing can be very stressing if the tank is not overgeared, specially in new instances where there's a lot of splahs damage or tricks like Mirrored Soul or Overlord's Brand.
    So I should point to my last entry because your post complements it perfectly.

  3. Its true, tanks are by and large complete jackasses nowadays.

    Regardless, this tank at least will always be your friend!

  4. I've run across a couple of tanks that have absolutely no idea of what they are doing (likely because they have run solo up until patch 3.3), but at the other hand, some of the best players I've run across in the LFG-tool are tanks. Pally tanks mostly to be excact. Of the kind that doesn't get a dent in their shiny armor no matter how many mobs they pull.

    I love 'em!

    Me being able to 4k hps them might help a bit, but I don't care as long as speed is prioritized.

  5. I think healers are mostly dicks. It's always the healer who clicks ready and then has to go afk. Wtf, couldn't he go afk and then put himself into the queue to get an instant instance run?

    Then, heals just walk along and often don't heal. Maybe even complain when the tank pulls 2 groups. Hello? This is utgard keep, designed to be healed with 1200 spell power. You have more than double this amount and the tank has more than double the amount of health the instance was designed for. You might as well speed this run a little bit up AND get something to do.

    When on my healers (if a class can heal, it's now a healer by the definition of the LFG system) nothing is more boring than a random heroic with a slow tank and all you have to do is use riptide every 10 seconds...

    I had a priest in a group who never dropped below 100% mana and complained that the warlock was using life tap. Yeah, please let the warlock sit down after every pull and make these instance even more boring and slower. This is a group game and if you can use your mana reg to regenerate the warlock, please do it to speed up the run. Yes, I do innervate hunters if I know I won't need it for myself.