Cataclysm: Arms tanking

January 5, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

I recently read an interesting post on the WoW forums about Arms warriors being able to tank in heroics once Cataclysm arrives.  I’m a little uncertain about how I feel about this.

At the end of Burning Crusade, there was a widespread and well-known tank shortage.  One of the claimed advantages of adding the new Death Knight class was that it would provide another class capable of tanking and thereby more tanks.  Looking at our current situation at the end of Wrath of the Lich King, the situation seems to be very much the same despite all the DKs running around.

One of the game administrators, Ghostcrawler, has stated that part of the reason for the tank shortage is gear.  While tanks need to be crit immune (this is actually false, but it is a widespread enough belief that it can be treated as true), gear is much less of an obstacle than it was in the past.  I could describe this at length, but the easy availability of triumph badges should be sufficient evidence for the purposes of this post.

Providing a wider selection of tanking classes didn’t solve the tank shortage.  Making gear more available hasn’t either.  So what is the 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 an easier job in terms of holding aggro.  Making Arms warriors will not address this issue.  It is another change akin to adding Death Knights.  There will be more classes and specs capable of tanking, but will there be more players with the willingness to do so?  I believe that any solution to the tanking shortage must make tanking as an activity more desirable to players.



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  1. Excellent post. I agree with you that there is a tank shortage, and on top of it good tanks are even harder to come by.

    A scary trend I have seen while pugging my priest while getting it to 80 was people that queued up as tanks, but had no or little tanking gear, then expected me to heal them when every hit would drop them 35%

    Tanking is thankless… and I see it more and more now that I play a priest. When I am tanking and I do my job, no accolades… I run out of mana and everyone survives and the praises go to me instead of the tank that was able to gather agro after a DPS was the one that pulled.

  2. I really do think the biggest problem to entry level tanking (agreeing with your post on my blog) is that WoW does nothing to handhold new tanks the way the whole game is designed to hand hold new DPS.

    Give tanks, or baby-newbie tanks, a private instance, an NPC healer they need to keep alive while tanking mobs, and I think you will see a large number of new tanks. Make it a mandatory quest for any class that can have a tank spec, scalable to level and repeatable.

    • Guthammer, I agree that the solo experience is largely focused on dps, so oftentimes new players are unaware of even the basics of effective group play.

      I think that having quests like you describe would be a great idea for helping new tanks to learn about the role. I am aware of one quest of that sort for healers, but it is a very challenging level 60 quest. You can find a description here:

      A similar level 60 questline that requires Hunters to learn kiting also exists:

      It’d be a lot of fun if there were more quests like that for all roles and levels. Nothing in the game really prepares you for tanking other than tanking.

  3. What was recognized as a tank shortage was not, in fact, a shortage of tanks. It was a shortage of tanks that needed/wanted to run heroics anymore. I know I farmed the hell out of all of them before my guild was in Hyjal and BT, and I have something like 450 badges going in there, what do I need to bother with them for? Been there, done that, and don’t want to do it again.

    If you looked at that situation as a tank shortage, then we still have a tank shortage. The only reason I run heroics is Frost Emblems. How many can I get a day from heroics? 2. So I run one heroic every day, and that’s pretty much it. I’ll help a friend if they want their daily or something, but it’s of little benefit anymore to me. I’ll run VOA 10/25 for the same reason, and usually leave after the first boss is dead. In 25 I may stay for a few more to see if any pvp gear I need drops. I do my 1 weekly raid, and that’s it. TOC if I need gear from it. Other than that it’s ICC or bust.

    • I probably should have been clearer in this post about which tank shortage I was referring to; I think my latest post is much better at noting that the shortage I am referring to is tanks in the LFD system. I suspect that in 25 person raids there is, in fact, a tank oversupply.

      That said, I don’t think that the shortage of tanks in heroics can be explained solely by a shortage of “tanks that needed/wanted to run heroics” for gear as a roughly proportionate number of dps and healers would be in the same situation. At root, I think that the shortage of tanks has to do with the kind of role the tank plays in groups and what sort of role most players are interested in filling (ie, not tanking).

  4. […] enter LFD, however, is an entirely different matter! Make additional specs viable as tanks I have commented previously on making arms warriors capable of tanking, so I will try not to repeat myself too much here. As […]

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