Five reasons why your tank might not be pulling yet/more/faster

A few days ago I ended up taking my paladin and my druid back to their tanking specs. My boyfriend and I have been having a lot of fun teaming up for five-mans on various alts, and we found that it shortens queue times significantly if one of us is willing to play the role of tank (queuing a dps and a healer together only makes the queue longer for the healer, sadly).

I've had my go at the new generation of "jerk tanks" that the dungeon finder seems to have created, but it's also interesting to see things from the other side. As a general rule I haven't encountered as much rudeness and incosiderate behaviour towards me as the tank, but the one issue that keeps rearing its ugly head over and over again is the one of people being impatient and constantly urging me to go faster, or even making the pull themselves and then expecting me to rescue them. On the whole I haven't had any really bad cases of this yet, but nonetheless I'd like to list five reasons why I wish people would have a little more patience with their tanks:

1. Your tank is a paladin and you only just entered the instance.

For every other class, buffing is a matter of pressing one or two buttons and you're good to go. As a paladin, I have to look at who else is in the party and decide on a buff for everyone individually. Is there a warrior in the group? If so, there'll be no point in using blessing of might as it'll be overwritten by battle shout anyway. What about those hybrids, which blessings do they need? Is that dps druid feral or balance? The shaman enhancement or elemental? None of these questions take particularly long to answer, but it does mean that I'll need about a minute after zoning in to get all my buffs in order. It's amazing how people can already get twitchy during such a short period of time, even when they can see that I'm not AFK but busy handing out buffs.

2. Your tank might be distracted by something else.

I think it goes without saying that I'd hope that everyone who queues up for an instance doesn't expect to be called away for some other business during the next thirty minutes. Unannounced real life interruptions can still happen, but that's not even what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about simple things like replying to a whisper from a guildie or stopping to loot a mob. That a healer or a dps can do these things at any time goes pretty much without saying, as it won't hold the group up in any way. The tank can just continue to pull the next batch of mobs and should be able to survive a few seconds without healing or with reduced dps. However, as soon as the tank does anything other than tank, everything comes to a standstill. If he just wants to grab his loot off the nearest dead wolf it shouldn't really matter as it only takes a couple of seconds anyway, but again even that is already completely unacceptable in the eyes of some people. I'm this run's tankbot, who do I think I am to take three steps backwards to loot that dead mob whose sparkling state I overlooked earlier? How selfish of me to hold everyone up like that!

3. Your tank might not be that good/confident.

I don't want to claim that tanking is the Hardest Thing Ever, but it's definitely something that you can't get really good at just by reading about it. It requires a lot of situational awareness to position mobs with special abilities correctly, move casters to the right spot, immediately taunt a mob back if you lost aggro and so on, and that's something that you simply need to practice. People who tank seven days a week can pull off some quite amazing things, and I admire them for it. Me however, I'm a healer at heart and tanking is just something I do occasionally and for the sake of variety. I spent the last couple of weeks since the release of the dungeon finder not tanking anything at all. So now that I'm getting back into it I have to remind myself of how to use certain abilities in the best way, how to handle certain pulls when I'm the one making them, and so on. Then it really doesn't matter if I have the best healer in the world, I won't want to tank whole rooms at once or anything like that, because I don't think that I'd be able to round all the mobs up properly and reliably hold aggro on all of them (especially those pesky, spread-out casters). Is that really such an alien concept?

I don't even want to imagine what it must be like to be completely new to tanking and to constantly have this pressure on you that you must go faster, pull more and so on.

4. Your tank might want to consider everybody's safety and repair bills.

I don't have the exact numbers, but I dare say that I've suffered more wipes and deaths in five-mans as of late due to people purposely putting too much strain on the group than to anyone making an honest mistake. Good for you that you know how to sneak past every single patrol in the instance, but don't expect the four people bumbling along behind you to do so as well! Having to res someone who dared to take a single step in the wrong direction usually takes longer than just killing the patrol itself.

Or consider AoE damage. Some tanks seem to be very gung-ho about pulling as much as possible because they have great gear and they can take it, while ignoring the fact that the mobs in question also do AoE damage or single target attacks focused on a random group member, and that the other people in the party might not be able to "just take it". Halls of Lightning is one place where I see this particular approach a lot, but there are many more.

During a heroic Old Kingdom run the other day we ended up grouping with a dps shaman who immediately said that he had only just hit eighty, and my boyfriend said that he ended up being extra careful not to overpull to save that guy in particular any repair bills. It was definitely a sensible move, as a single flame strike from the trash packs leading up to Jedoga Shadowseeker was already almost enough to one-shot the little guy in his levelling gear, and more than one group at once would have spelled certain death for him.

Protecting the rest of the party is what tanks do, and yes, that can also involve slower and more careful pulls.

5. Your tank is not your personal entertainer.

I feel for the healer who is bored because I keep aggro on everything and only take minimal damage, what with outgearing the instance by several tiers and all that. I sympathise with dps who love to see lots of big numbers on their screen while AoEing ten mobs at once but don't get a chance to do so very often.

However, at the end of the day I'm not your personal entertainer. I'm your tank. I'm responsible for leading the party in the right direction, picking up all the mobs on the way and keeping them focused on me until they are dead. As long as I fulfill those duties, you really have no right to complain.

If you think that running heroics with vastly overgeared groups is boring... then don't do it. If you feel that you absolutely have to do your daily random to get those emblems of frost, read a book on the side while face-rolling, do some smite-dps to pass the time between renews or whatever. Just don't take your bad mood out on me by demanding that I, personally, make the run more interesting for you at the expense of my own enjoyment.


  1. Or a sixth: Your tank might be taking a moment to make sure everyone's ready for the next pull. Though usually, waiting a few seconds between pulls rewards me with little more than seeing the healer who's at 30% mana tapping his foot at me instead of stopping to drink.

  2. Seems that tanks are in the spotlight this week. Calli and me have written about them too, without any previous notification between all of us :)