Main tank disease

July 28, 2010

This phenomenon is something I’ve touched on before. But since the horde guild I’m in is such a great example of it, the subject came up again as Sue and I talk about our experiences. I wish I knew about the backstory to the latest version, since the MT is a death knight — zounds! But since he also has a warrior tank alt, I wonder which came first. Could be an ex-warrior tank, like me.

Many of the guilds I’ve been through suffered from this disease. For most of the game, it mattered more because you needed more of them, and there were fewer around: basic supply and demand. Back in the old days, you could have fights with as many as five, maybe more that I’m not remembering. That’s a lot of potential weak points.

Ironically, Blizzard fixed this somewhat when they cut the basic raid design back to 25 raiders max while increasing the potential pool of tanks, but it was the raid design that mattered. Adding a new tank-capable class didn’t necessarily add anyone who was good at it.

Anyway, raiding guilds seem to often center around their main tank. It’s hard not to. And with so few being necessary, it’s difficult to break into the tank racket and get much experience. Sure, random heroics is fine, for that. But most of that involves no technique, and the harder heroics that do often turn into wipefests and players dropping out like rats from a sinking ship.

Halls of Reflection continues to challenge me, if not personally then because of the random jokers I get thrown in with.

So the standout, skilled, ever-present tanker may end up as the designated MT and after awhile, people start to lose the ability to raid without them. I see that on the rare raid when this DK tank can’t make it. Raids get cancelled, or get run (badly) by someone else.

Back in the day when a go-to MT disappeared from the guild I was in at the time, and I inherited the MT position, I had seen and recognized this problem and had the opportunity to do something about it. I was the guild’s MT, but I trained a tank corps. It mattered more back in the Molten Core days, of course, when more were required. But I would rotate other tanks into doing my job and let them have at it. It created some painful wipes, certainly. But it worked out in the end when I disappeared and they had to go on without me for awhile. It was a genuine source of pride for me that they could, and did.

Well, that lasted until one of my crew used some class imbalance to become indispensable and re-established the disease. Thanks Blizzard! Warrior tanks: screwed since Burning Crusade. 🙂  Vanilla WoW was definitely the good old days for warriors.

Nowadays no raid requires more than three. You might need four to reliably run a couple of 10-mans in a week. Six, if you’re worried about no-shows. The guild I’m in doesn’t even have that many. And their MT, a competent fellow, knows his stuff, explains all the fights too, is indispensable. Not in a malicious way, but then it doesn’t have to be.

Ah well. It all feels like past tense now, what with the pre-xpac doldrums and serious consideration being given to switching to the Star Wars MMO if it’s ever released. Now that would be a strange twist. What could be the tank class of that? Maybe I should avoid it.


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