(Gnome) Tank for Life


Respect your damage dealers
October 28, 2010, 17:10
Filed under: dps, healing, tanking, thought

It came to me when I recently overviewed the new race/class combinations arriving with the launch of Cataclysm: the roles of individual classes in WoW have blended more and more together over the years, except for 4 special select classes.

When I started playing back in 2005, there was hardly any overlap when it came to role selection for certain classes. Those advertised on the official WoW page as hybrid were practically holed into one role and that was healing. “Paladins can’t tank” was a catchy phrase back then and indeed the vast majority of paladins were forced into specing holy. Druids had a tree for all three roles yet it was a truly rare sight to see a feral druid or an “oomfire” druid and with good reason too, there was at most 1 single end-game item for feral druids per slot if that ‘many’ at all and itemization for example for balance druids was non-existent (observe the first tiers of the first raids), but the same thing was true for paladins who wanted to tank or shammies who wanted to DPS. If you were a druid, you were restoration and that was it. Things have changed drastically since then…

The classes in the game today offer the following options:

  • Pure DPS class: 4
  • DPS/tank hybrids: 2
  • DPS/tank/healer hybrids: 2
  • DPS/healer hybrids: 2

In other words, 4 classes who strictly play in 1 single role and 6 classes who can play 2 or 3 roles, when you factor in the dual-specs feature even 2 at the same time. The only core limiting factors are a player’s personal preference and time invested. As you can see, we’ve come a long way since the old days and the tables have been reversed quite a bit. Today less than half of the available classes make a dedication to truly fulfil one role (and I am, of course talking about mains here) and those are hunters, warlocks, mages and rogues.

Let me repeat that: while the hybrid classes are perfectly capable of fulfilling 2 or 3 roles, only half of all classes dedicate their WoW careers to bringing the pain.

In my view of the post 4.0 world of WoW these 4 classes should be treated with high respect for what they do. They don’t have the option of hopping back to a major city and respecing to either protection or holy or resto, should they get tired of playing to see big numbers or racing to the top positions of Damage Done. They endure the long waits in the Dungeon Queue because all other classes have the option to go DPS. Only these 4 have the eternal task of bringing down the monsters we face in 5-mans or raids. They commit themselves to dealing damage and that above all. However important the tanks’ and healers’ job is at any given time, their roles will be increasingly important in Cataclysm. Judging by the new raids we’ve seen so far, they will have almost as hard a time doing the DPS task as tanks who dedicate their toons to soaking damage or healers who dedicate their toons to nullifying damage. Except a mage, a warlock, a hunter or a rogue will only do one thing and will not have any other option to do anything else, save for rolling a new toon of a hybrid class. Hats off to them!



Poking monsters to death
February 11, 2010, 13:55
Filed under: dps, raid

The “Holy Trinity”: Damage-Dealer, Tank, Healer

It is a widespread belief in WoW that – in a general sense – the job of the tank is the hardest role with the healers’ being either on par in difficulty or in midway between tanking and DPSing. In any case, the role of DPS is regarded as the easiest of the three, with less harsh learning curves, the lack of possible stress which stems from taking responsibility for either letting the tank die or not holding agro well enough or taking a leading position and pulling mobs, all in all any DPS class seems to have an easier time than either the tank or the healer.  After all as a DPS,  I just have to poke the bad monster with my sword, bow or magic until it drops dead.

Nothing could be further from the truth…

AFK-autoshoot anyone?

In 5-mans we all frown at and pity the incompetent random 2k – 1,5k – 0,8k DPS guy (1500 DPS is the absolute threshold according to Gevlon, anyone doing lower in any heroic is unquestionably a moron) and perhaps rejoice at the random pro-rogue, pro-DK or pro-mage who puts out 6k easily on each pull because it speeds things up, but in the end it really doesn’t matter too much because we’ll still complete the run and cash in on our 2 EOF’s – if not in 18 minutes then maybe 20.

Hitting the mark

In raids it’s an entirely different matter. Bosses with enrage timers have existed for a long time, added by Blizzard to make sure that an encounter cannot be prolonged indefinitely, requiring that a guaranteed lower limit of DPS be present alongside the tanks’ health and the healers’ mana.

The problem which at first surfaced on our Festergut-25 tries is now becoming increasingly apparent,  namely that the latter half of ICC requires the same awareness, precision and dedication from the DPS folk as that which is normally only required/expected of tanks and healers.

Suddenly it’s not only us tanks or our healers who are required to perform near-perfection but our DPS as well. Suddenly everything I consider the base-line properties of being a good raid tank since the days of Molten Core – researching your class down to the tiniest details, knowing exactly what does what in your rotation and how will it be optimal to execute in a given moment, knowing how hard I was nerfed in the last minor patch, getting every single gem/enchant/consumable upgrade etc. that will help no matter how small, knowing the encounter inside and out, paying 100% attention from the moment the pull occurs and reacting as if literally my life depended on it, mashing keys like mad so that I waste as few GCDs as possible – all these things would now be required from every single DPS class in the raid.  Suddenly our raids are faced with the challenge of not only beating enrage timers but putting out sufficient DPS and exhibiting sufficient coordination, such as to deal with the interim trash waves on Valithria Dreamwalker.

Overall I don’t think it takes much. One part of a sort of maximalist-type of mentality, an urge inside that tells you to never accept anything less than the best from yourself, and one part dedication – feeling the need to overcome the encounter and knowing that the only way to do it is pumping out the best possible DPS you can. But it’s already clear that a certain minimum standard (Yes I am looking at you, Mr. 125k+ Raid DPS!) will need to be met by the Damage-Dealing department in at least a few key encounters if not every single raid, until then it doesn’t matter how good tanks tank or how well healers heal.

I dearly  hope all our DPS-ers obtain for themselves some form of Frostheim Goggles or find joy in some friendly competition so that our DMG done list will more closely resemble the excellent title header of OutDPS.

Else I might just reroll hunter!



The Dilemma
January 21, 2010, 11:06
Filed under: dps, gear, guild

Shadowmourne

This is the legendary axe added in patch 3.3, and it’s possibly the subject of dreams for many a DPS class in WoW at this time.

And with good reason, for it is the only ilvl 284 item in-game flashing with an amazing 344 DPS, with the rest of the weapons following up at ilvl 277 and at most 325 DPS. Not to say anything of the proc, which immensely favours DPS DKs/warriors/paladins. And by the way, it’s legendary.

So yesterday our guild attempted to make a decision on who will be the lucky raider to get priority for the legendary quest, and it didn’t go down very well in my opinion. I have been told in officer chat a few days ago (I’m not officer, just tank-leader) that the 3 or 4 officers will make a decision. Yet come yesterday, all 25 people in the raid were called upon to vote on who they should think get the shards first, our GM (Saudus, (retribution paladin)) or a DPS DK.  After an unsuccessful and then another ‘successful’ raid vote in the form of readycheck (of which 11 people abstained), our guild leader was voted to win, winning by.. I think 2 votes.

Now, I would’ve gone along happily either with the voting method or the officer’s decision, but this middle-way solution (we -officers- decide who you -raiding members- get to vote for) just doesn’t cut it for me.

To put it into perspective, the steps one needs to take in order to complete the Shadowmourne questline include:

As you can see this is a massive undertaking, I dare say comparable to the old quest for Thunderfury, even perhaps a little easier since you don’t have to rely on random drops to even start at any point during the questline.

I believe a weapon and a decision of this magnitude deserves more decision-making than simply “VOTE Yes for X VOTE No for Y”. Many people in NEG take an active part in the online forums, the least it would’ve deserved is a forum poll. Of course public polls allow everyone to see how the votes are proceeding and might allow some people a chance to ‘play favourite’ thereby ruining the honest votes.

I think for all its apparent blatancy or “one sidedness”, the best solution would’ve been to simply state that the GM will go for and earn the legendary. My reasoning:

  • out of everyone he works the hardest on guild progression, organizing and such thus he truly deserves it
  • is the least of all likely to quit during or after the questline
  • is doing some great DPS coupled with the nuances (raid awareness,  etc),  that the other contestant imo isn’t so good at

It will be interesting how other guilds sort this out. It’s certainly not as easy as “highest DKP wins”…

Relevant TankSpot discussion: How many DK Tanks are gunning for Shadowmourne?