Alt report: Pressure of being a tank

I know that this has been written about before by other people. I got to experience it first hand this weekend.

My main, of course, is a rogue. He lives a very carefree existence, standing behind things and stabbing them. I have fun playing him 100% of the time. If there was enough to do to keep him busy, I would never play any alts. Running instances on a rogue is an absolutely great time. I am almost completely in control of my own fate and performance.

  • If I don’t pull aggro I won’t die, unless there is a full wipe.
  • If I do mess up and die, there are still two other people doing dps so we probably won’t wipe.
  • There are no instances that I cannot run. Yes, if I am undergeared then I will not do enough dps to pull my own weight. However, if there are other dps classes there they can pick up my slack and I can still do the run. I could walk into Hyjal today in my Kara gear and 2-piece T4 and, while I won’t be even close to top dps, I also won’t doom the raid to failure just by being there.

This weekend I ran Old Hillsbrad on my tankadin alt, who had just dinged 67. We did complete the instance with a few bumps along the way. However, it was not nearly as much carefree fun tanking as it is doing dps.

  • As a tank, on any given pull if I make an error it can result in a wipe. The pressure is significant to do everything right all of the time.
  • If I mess up and die, its almost certainly a wipe unless there is an off-tank who can step in. (That did happen to us on the last boss. Feral druids ftw!)
  • I am not always in control of my own success. I can pull perfectly, but if the healer messes up I die, or if the dps doesn’t take the mobs down fast enough I can die. Or if the CC is broken I can die. My performance as a tank is intricately tied to the performance of everyone else in the group. That’s sometimes frustrating.
  • There are instances that I simply cannot run. If I don’t have the gear to take the hits, then I cannot tank and I cannot do the run.

On my rogue, there have been times when I have done three instance runs back-to-back-to-back. This weekend, after finishing Old Hillsbrad on the tankadin I was asked to tank another instance. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. After one run I needed a break.

I am so close to level 70 on this toon… but I have been hesitant of late. With the ever-present tank shortage, I fear that once I have a 70 tank character it will become more valued than my rogue. I wonder how often I will be politely asked if I could switch from my rogue to my paladin to tank an instance. I also wonder how much of a jerk I will seem if I refuse.


8 Responses to “Alt report: Pressure of being a tank”

  1. 1 arb
    May 28, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Totally agree with your assessment here. DPS is the best place to be in ANY instance/Raid, or even PvP for that matter. Even chuck in a bit of CC here and there and it’s still relatively stress-free.

    I deliberately specced my Warrior for Arms PvP – Arena mostly. That’s my defence when the call comes for a tank. My Druid is Resto, again for Arena, and isn’t geared for Heroics yet – no Feral tanking for me! So, my mage is my sole PvE character, standing there at the back, sheeping things and blasting stuff til it’s dead.

    Interestingly, I started arguing that healer was the toughest role in PvP, and it probably is in 3v3 and 5v5, and in BGs, where there are plenty of others to back up the DPS. However, as I wrote my reply, it occurred to me that for every responsibility on the healer in 2v2, there is an equal responsibility on the DPS. In my case, the Warrior needs to keep an eye on the Paladin, ready to peel off that over-attentive rogue with Intimidating Shout, or an Intercept/Hamstring and lucky mace stun. The Paladin needs to keep me mobile, but I need to use that mobility to pressue the healer – make sure he doesn’t get time to drink, through hitting him or beating on his teammate. I need to pummel those mana drains, spell reflect the Polymorphs to save our Cleanse, buy time for the Paladin to drink, keep MS up on the opposition DPS, etc, etc. So, as much as I like to think that our success depends upon the effectiveness of my healer, it can be equally affected by my own ability to do more than just hit stuff…

  2. 2 Jon
    May 28, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    Welcome to tanking. It has it’s ups and its downs. There’s a lot of pressure and it’s probably tied with healers for the least forgiving single role when it comes to mistakes (healers are a close second though).

    You might have an awesome team: heavy healers and damage dealers that count their DPS in quadruple digits, even expert CC. But if you can’t tank it, then the entire group fails.

    On the flip-side, the reward of successfully tanking that raid boss is unmatched. I can’t imagine you get the same sort of satisfaction from casually stabbing things to death from behind. (I could be wrong though) 😉

  3. 3 Jon
    May 28, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    Uhh, i didn’t mean to leave that part in about healers being a close second. heh.

  4. May 29, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    My paladin tank is level 53 atm and I’ve already felt some of the pressures you feel. However, I’ve found an absurdly simple way of dealing with your concern of your tank becoming more valued than your rogue, although it may be too late for you to try this. My main, a warlock, has gone through many guild changes trying to find the one with the right mix of friendly members and dedicated raiders. In the process of this I’ve found a number of fantastic levelling or feeder guilds, which I have then dumped an alt into before moving my main to another guild. As a result of this, almost every single one of my alts is in a different guild and very few people are aware I even HAVE that 53 tankadin or that 64 healadin-disguised-as-a-retadin-until-70. While the people in my main’s guild know that of late I am more interested in getting my alts to 70 than I am on collecting MORE gold or MORE badges for a main who I am already mostly satisfied with, they don’t know the names of those alts or what they do, which will hopefully help me avoid things like being asked to raid on my tankadin or healadin instead of on my warlock.

    If it’s too late for you to try something like this, well… for certain, anyone who has ever tanked or healed before will understand your sentiment to want to rogue it up instead of tank. The people who have only ever been dps in their lives might not, but I wouldn’t worry about those sorts of people anyway because just by rolling and levelling that tank or healer you’ve made a larger contribution to the members of this game than their 8k shadowbolts or 12k pyroblasts ever will, even if they’re in a guild that has Illidan on farm.

    So the way I see it, it’s YOUR 15 dollars a month. Do with it what you want. If you don’t want to tank, most people will understand. And if they don’t, they don’t deserve to have you tank for them anyway.

  5. 5 Elton
    May 29, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    As Jon said, how much pressure DO healers feel? I’m leveling up my priest alt (50), also from a rogue main, and I’m wondering how much pressure they feel? So far I haven’t done any real serious healing, as I’ve specced shadow and haven’t worried about instances enough to respec. I’m still debating whether I’ll stay shadow or switch to holy when I get to 70, as DPS would be easier to me and I enjoy it, but I’ve never rolled a healing class and it seems like my server is always short on them.
    I’ve also noticed how complicated healing or tank seems when looking over various boss strategy guides just for fun. The most complex job a DPS class ever has is ‘Burn down mob X, then Y, then move on to Z,” and they seem to be thrown in as an after thought on most guides, whereas healers may have to keep the entire raid alive, depending on how much AoE damage is being thrown around. Tanking it seems would be harder, because you sometimes have to keep aggro on multiple mobs, but as a healer you can often get blamed for wipes, even if it isn’t your fault.

    While that wall of text technically isn’t relevant to the post, my advice is to ding 70 first, try to tank some of the more difficult instances on normal, and see if its too challenging, too much pressure, etc. Personally, I never feel pressured 🙂

  6. May 30, 2008 at 7:32 am

    I don’t think that tanking will be overly difficult. The challenge is part of the fun. I can see, though, how it would be easy to burn out, and also that it would be less enjoyable over the long run than dps.

    In my guild we have three warriors who used to be prot that are now fury, and one druid that went from feral to balance. I think we are burning out tanks faster than we are producing them.

    @Jaqi – Yeah, too late for that. All of my alts are in my guild (where I am the GM). Taking one out would cause quite a stir.

  7. 7 Anastas
    June 4, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Tank = burn out. My former main was an alliance Prot. Warrior. I loved him, had fun progressing to 70 and doing all the instances. We hit Kara and I still loved it – calling the pulls, marking the mobs, feeling like the weight of the runs was on my back.

    Long story short…due to a ninja situation, followed by many defections, followed by expanding to multiple Kara runs even though we were slow in progression, followed to eventually becoming a feeder guild that never had the same group running from night to night, I had to bail. I was tanking the same exact stuff 3 nights a week for over 7 months. Attumen, Moroes, Maiden, Opera, Curator and Chess – That’s all we did. Pretty bad, even for a “casual guild”.

    So, I was burnt out. Plus I had to feel guilty when I didn’t want to tank a heroic or help out yet another new member get their keys or something. Tanking is fun to a point, but Tanking a raid 3x a week, plus doing heroics is enough to fry your brain. I desperately wanted a dps toon to break the monotony, but leveling an alt was slow due to the time demands of other stuff. So, I didn’t leave my guild – I’m still there – but I’m rocking on my lvl 70 Belf Rogue, having a blast, making tons of gold because I can actually kill things quickly. In a small guild where everyone knows each other, but we also have certain groups we PuG with. At the same time, leveling a hunter/mage/lock to 70 so I can have some variety when WotLK comes out. Tank? eh, maybe I’ll try a death knight.

    So,, moral of the story – a tank can be fun, but get yourself in a situation where A) you have other toon options to play with and B) you are not depended on as the “only” tank, but rather have a sharing of duties.

  8. June 24, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    if you don’t want to tank, then don’t 🙂 i play a lvl 61 BElf tank on Khaz Modan (PVE Server) and i’ve been prot since lvl 25. I play the toon because my favorite aspect of the game is tanking. I don’t need to go out and grind for money or mats, as currently while i quest i have money coming in, and at 70 if i really need to i can AOE grind near mining nodes and beast mobs that i can skin for cash 🙂 i find myself running 3-4 instances every time i log onto my toon, not to mention that my pally is the only toon that i still actively play and even enjoy for that matter, i have had a little bit of help in instances from my guild, which is doing “ok” as far as being high level and well raid geared and i have some amazing guildies that also help me out when i need money or anything else, even instance runs to occasionally break the monotony, but i have to be honest, i can’t see myself having any more fun doing anything else in the game. i feel that a tank position is one that i will never tire of, and even now i occasionally tell people that i won’t tank for them, but it’s nice to know that ANY time that i want to run an instance for any reason i can get a group and chances are that NOBODY is looking for the same gear that i am 🙂 no competition, just lots of fun runs where i get the gear i want :).

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