Why the tank shortage?

December 17, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

The new LFG system in patch 3.3 has done a lot to change how people run heroics.  Many have commented that tank queue times are substantially less than those for dps and, to a lesser extent, even healers.  That said, I find I am tanking less now than I was before 3.3.

After 3.2, I tanked endless chain heroics to get my conquest badge gear.  I would often grab a trusted healer from my guild or friend list, get three dps off of trade, and go.  It wasn’t unusual for me to run four heroics back to back.  Now, after 3.3, I am still running hundreds of badges worth of heroics, but almost exclusively as dps.

For me, this is really weird.  I leveled 1-70 during Burning Crusade and the last twenty levels were done almost exclusively by tanking instances.  Just finding a group for BRD was brutal back then, much less tanking that dungeon with the old prot tree.  I did it, though, because I really enjoy tanking.  Warrior tanking is very fast and exciting.  I have a huge toolbox of abilities that I can use for almost any situation.  When I am really on top of my tanking, I can hold aggro on everything, be at the top or nearly so in dps, interrupt or remove more spells than the rest of the group, and require almost no healing on heroic bosses.  I love using all of the abilities to make that happen.

So why select dps for heroics?  Basically, tanking is a lot of work.  The difference in queue time is only a few minutes, so why take on the added stress and responsibility? Here is one thing I have observed about the effect of improved gear on each role:

As healers gear up, their job gets easier because they need fewer heals to stay ahead of boss damage.
As dps gear up, their job gets easier because their attacks kill the boss faster.
As tanks gear up, their job stays the same because they have to stay ahead of dps on the threat chart.

The observation about tanks is particularly true in the latter stages of advancement since tank survivability is never in question, only ability to hold aggro.  The tank’s ability to hold aggro is not pegged to the instance but instead to the group running the instance.  Since damage dealers are gearing up along with the tank, the tank’s job never gets any easier in this respect.

I still like tanking, but my new healer is making me realize what a difficult and thankless job tanking can be…



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  1. […] source of the problem?  I think there is a tank shortage because tanking is a stressful job.  I have discussed before how gear upgrades, while making the job of healers and dps much easier, do little to make tanking […]

  2. Good point. You’re always on the job, as a tank, indeed.

  3. […] Tanking is a lot of work.  In the average heroic run, I can almost fall asleep when I heal or dps.  I have mentioned before that the tank job does not get easier (and, where warrior rage generation is concerned, can get harder) as you gear up because the challenge of holding aggro never gets easier. […]

  4. I agree. This is one of the (sounding like a broken record) reasons I did end up switching to healing. When you wipe, it’s the tank’s fault. If a DPS gets aggro, or needs to throttle back, it’s “your fault”. You have to control and adapt to the environment and this requires your constant attention and input. For me, coming home on the weekends and having to put in 100% focus in tanking, positioning (I can could hit 969 some days- that’s how bad I was doing) while half dead at the computer was too draining. I’d imagine a lot of DPS were probably in the same situation of me, but if I ever managed to get the gear for tanking, read up the reference guide (awake, hopefully) and practice (endlessly), I’d make it. But until then I’ll leave expert opinions to you.

    • This sounds about right. Especially in heroics, there is nowhere to hide and no time to rest as the tank.

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