Pug tanking frustrations

I'm continuing to tank normal mode pugs with my paladin, but it's starting to get a bit tedious, and I'm not at all keen to make the jump into heroics, despite of having passed the minimum gear requirement for it the other day. I think there are mainly two things that are sapping the fun out of it for me, beyond the normal "well, it's a pug, what do you expect" factor.

The first is simply that I don't enjoy feeling like I've regressed in terms of skill. What I mean by that is that I was a pretty decent tank in late Burning Crusade, but two years of racing through Wrath heroics while AoEing everything and calling that tanking has left its mark on me. I don't know how to tank around crowd control anymore, how to best handle a pull with CC and how to avoid breaking it. The way the game has changed since BC isn't really helping either, as most of my tanking moves nowadays are one-size-hits-all AoE attacks, which makes it very easy to accidentally break something. (For example I might think that I'm fine, having maneuvered the CC target out of Hammer of the Righteous range, just to have my next Holy Wrath break it because it affects a slightly larger area. Gah!)

Maybe it's also simply too early for me to tank. Tanking has never been my primary role and in previous expansions I never really got into it until I had already run all the instances to death as healer or damage dealer and knew all the mobs and pulls by heart. I'm not quite at that point for Cataclysm yet, so when I went to tank the Lost City of the Tol'vir for the first time for example, I was scratching my head before every pull trying to figure out which of the mobs was the annoying hunter type, who was the guy that fears and so on and so forth. Often I guessed wrong and the pulls got messy.

In general I like learning new things and I don't mind dealing with failure on the way, but seeing how this is something that I know I was capable of before, it's just frustrating to struggle with it now. I do love tanking instances that I know well enough, such as the Stonecore, because I've already run it so many times that I know exactly where all the patrols are, which mobs to focus and why, and dancing with Ozruk is great fun.

The second thing that's really getting on my nerves when tanking pugs right now is that people's expectations of how a run should go are further apart than ever. This was already a topic of discussion at the end of WOTLK when people clashed about issues such as whether to kill all the bosses in an instance or just make for the final boss as quickly as possible. I got cranky over that during more than one run, but somehow it never felt like a massive issue to me.

The problem is that in current Cataclysm content, we not only have those who want all the bosses vs. those who just want their valour points, and those who want to go at a steady and safe pace vs. the gogogo people (yes, they've already made a return - sad but true); we also have people who want to use CC vs. those that think it's stupid and unnecessary, and those who know how to CC vs. those who haven't even got the right abilities on their action bars.

When tanking I've always tried to adjust to whatever the majority of the group wanted and roll with it, but with the addition of the "CC problem" this has become harder than ever, because somehow I always end up with

- at least one guy who thinks that we don't need CC, it's a waste of time and he'll refuse to accomodate it
- one guy who plays a class with easy to apply and very handy CC but will refuse to use it unless I specifically tell him to do so every pull, and then he'll cast it on a different target than the one I marked
- one guy who absolutely loves to CC and will cast it on a random target on every pull, causing hijinks when the skull suddenly turns friendly due to mind control, or I have to struggle to pull three casters out of range of a lovingly applied but unexpected hex.

In other words, not only am I unsure of what I'm doing myself, I'm somehow also expected to juggle a party of people who might not know what they are doing either, while having very strong and sometimes opposing opinions of how things should be done.

Yeah. Sorry, but sod that. I don't mind leading, but people must be willing to follow, instead of everyone doing their own thing.

I'm almost looking forward to everybody being comfortable with AoE fests again. Yes, it will be boring, but at least people will be able to agree on how we're going to play.


  1. Honestly I'd say start doing heroics. You'll have a fair amount of pain to start with as all the bosses and trash hit harder and have more health. However that should be balanced out by people being willing to put their CC on the right targets. And if they aren't willing then it's pretty obvious that the issue is their failure.

    Basically what I'm saying is that the chances of having fewer idiots is greater in a heroic.

  2. I'm inclined to agree with Clara. The fact of the matter is that most groups genuinely don't need CC to comfortably run through a normal dungeon nowadays. However for the vast majority it is still necessary in Heroics (unless you want your healer taking a mana break after every trash pull). I would really recommend giving HCs a go, there's no law saying you can't go back to normals if its not for you.

  3. "Yeah. Sorry, but sod that. I don't mind leading, but people must be willing to follow, instead of everyone doing their own thing."

    As much as I shudder when other people do this, I'm going to say it:

    This, very much this. If I'm going to be asked to be a leader and expected to mark pulls, suggest strategies, and lead a group of potential strangers, then I would expect them to at least trust me enough to do as I ask. I'm always willing to hear suggestions different from my own and will frequently take them if they make sense, but lazy players who don't CC, heal poorly, or tank without a thought to their safety or the safety of others burn me up. There's a diamond there, after all! It's not a kill target! Sheep it! Get on skull! Trap squ... you get the point. We all want things to go smoothly, so why is the pressure so frequently put on the tank?

  4. @Clara & Reala: Maybe you have a point. We'll see.

    @Stubborn: I would expect no less of someone with a nickname like yours!

  5. I'm not even sure how you can stand tanking. I usually heal on my priest, but I switched to my pally level 80 alt and started to tank some instances.

    I couldn't stand the fact that I needed to be using every GCD. I guess I might have just needed practice, but making sure I was going through my "priority/rotation" correctly also blinded me to stuff like making sure aggro was on me. Ugh.