Monday, August 18, 2008

[General] What makes tanking fun?

Ranty goodness ahead. Be warned.

Raiding can be damn satisfying, but a lot of the times it's frustrating as all hell. For me, that's especially true when I screw up. Causing the raid to wipe happens, and if you're not willing to accept you will do that, raiding as a tank is probably not for you. Nevertheless, I hate it every time I do it.

Last night I was fire tank on Illidan, and caused a wipe by getting too far from the other flame and causing an enrage. I know why I did it. I even know that I was pushing my luck on it. And it didn't happen again. I still hate that our first attempt was done because I failed to do my part. Yeah, we did great later that night, but it still bugs me when I personally let everyone down.

Then I almost died on Azgalor and honestly probably should have; at one point I had 37 health. That's insanely lucky. That means in the last 4 tries we've had on him, I've wiped twice and barely avoided a third time. This is a boss that is not at all hard and is tailor-made for druid tanking (no crushes, no magic attacks). Yet I'm sucking on it.

And I don't entirely know why.

After Azgalor I got to DPS for the first time on Archimonde, which meant I could see the WWS from the paladin tank. And...again, I don't see anything special here. The paladin tank takes more damage both in general and in max hits, sometimes by quite a big margin. The fight took less time for him, and that helps survivability a lot, but I just...I don't know. I don't see why it's so different. Quantitatively it doesn't look like it should be that different, yet our raid performance with others as tanks is better.

The prior raid I tanked Mother, where we wiped over and over. And every time it was because I died. Before this we regularly were killing her on the first or second try, so...argh. I can't even see what I'm doing wrong, other than taking tons of damage from spells. It may not be the best thing for a druid to tank. But I should still be better at it.

So I'm starting to really question me as a tank. I do this occasionally, especially when I do poorly. The fact of the matter is that we don't need a druid tank right now, and we only really need one for Brutallus and possibly M'uru. The DPS side despite my best attempts still isn't competitive, especially without other good buffs.

But damnit, I still have fun with it. I like tanking 5-mans. I have a blast tanking Magisters' terrace most of the time, assuming the DPS isn't idiotic. I love tanking ZA as a feral, where being able to switch from tank to DPS depending on the boss and trash is a huge bonus, where I can take a saber lash from Halazzi without another tank actually being around and expect that I'll live. I love the rush of tanking the flames of azzinoth and hoping the laser doesn't hit my side so the DPS can finish him off that much faster, and one of my favorite memories was tanking my flame, watching the other flame die and picking up their flame as well, delaying our wipe until later in the phases.

There is an absolute rush when you know you're in control. When you have that boss by the short and curlies and you know that no one is going to catch you on threat and your healers are bored enough that they start casting DoTs. When you pull off that amazing save that would have otherwise wiped the raid. When you blow your trinkets, pot, healthstone, do the idiotic frenzied regeneration and are praying that your dodge saves you that one time. When you plan it so that you don't have to stop tanking Bloodboil because your 90% dodge rate will make the debuff fall off. These things are exhilarating and awesome.

For me, a lot of the fun is knowing that I did well on my assigned task. Whatever it might be. And it's especially great knowing that I was a big part of us succeeding. It's not so much about the control or being the boss; a lot of times that drags me down. But doing good and knowing that because you did good, things went well and folks are happy? That's the big one for me.

Those moments aren't happening as much for me in raiding any more. I think a lot of that is dealing with people that don't care or aren't doing so well or are just unpleasant to deal with, but honestly that's been the case all along and it doesn't matter. It's the sinking feeling that I'm bringing the raid down, that I'm the reason we're not progressing as quickly or as well as others would like. And I'm not sure how to get that fun back.

Tonight we're going to hopefully look at Kalecgos for the first time. Kal is a fight that doesn't favor druids at all - lots and lots of spelldamage, plenty of places where having ohshit buttons would be very helpful. I may be sitting for it after dealing with the amazingly annoying trash. It looks like a really interesting fight from a mechanic perspective - lots of communication and organization is needed, lots of awareness. I hope I get to go.

And I hope I don't fuck up too much. Like I did here, where I got blown up in Solarian's room and was stuck in the ceiling for 10 minutes. Oops.

So tell me - what do you like about tanking? Why do you do it? What gets you down?


Brad said...

Personally I like kittying more than tanking because I can gauge my own performance better. As kitty you can do 10% better, as a tank you either pass or fail. Maybe I just don't know how to read a WWS properly for tanking.

But, the one thing that is nice about tanking is the sense of accomplishment. You're not one of twenty others all doing the same thing. You have a very specific job to do and if you don't do it, things are going to go badly.

Anonymous said...

To me it is that I am the only thing between the boss with all that shiny goodness and the squishies behind me. They pamper me with their blessings and healing love as I dutifully stick my face in danger. It's me who they yell for when a CC breaks early or when someone was feared/ran too far and pulled another group.

It's awesome when your four PUGmates all ask to add you to their friend's list as a tank.

Kalon said...

Hey, Brad -

I agree: it's a lot easier to gauge how well you did on a sliding scale as a cat than a bear. While I enjoy the actual act of tanking more (particularly new fights) I enjoy looking at my performance and figuring out how well I did more as a cat. I've been recently trying to figure out how to rate my tanking on a fight a bit more quantitatively. The Azgalor fight issues have really raised the bar for me, to the point where each week I'm looking at my total avoided attacks, debuffs, total damage taken, max damage, average damage, total hits, etc. I think I'll be talking about some more of these things in another post. Come back and check it out. :)

pinegrovy - thanks for coming by. :) That's something that I don't get to do nearly enough these days - random PuGs where you can show off your skills a bit and get accolades and friends. While PuGs can be one of the most frustrating experiences known to man they can also be a huge amount of fun, and I like running them if only to see how other people do things now and then. And as you say, it's great when you do such a good job that they want to bring you around again.