Monday, 14 December 2009

Why I ??? tanking

Best feature of patch 3.3? Clearly the cross-realm Dungeon Finder. On the end-game side it may weaken the ties of guild, as PUG runs now appear to be the norm. On the enormous plus side, not only have the PUGs I've seen so far been far better behaved than you might expect (although no brighter or able to express themselves without l33t speak) but also it's really revitalised the pre-end-game experience, as you can now realistically run instances again with same-level groups.

I've been tanking on my death knight and druid (in the latter case despite signing up for tank / healer / dps) and really enjoying it. It seems as though, since everyone's clear that it's a totally random PUG, players' expectations are lower and hence they (generally) play their class properly and give thought to things like threat. Or it may just be that, since damage meters don't work cross-realm, one major source of idiot play has been removed.

I'm currently back to the view that tanking is my favourite role, in a way because of the leadership it confirs. In a good group you set the pace, decide which groups to pull, and so on. In fact, my major source of stress in the past has been when I'm tanking but not to a pace I'm comfortable with, usually due to some pushy dps who wants to kill stuff now! I'm currently too slow, and also not fully aware of the big picture, but that will come if I get a chance to practice and the more basic parts of tanking become second nature.

I still enjoy healing, especially in the harder instances that have come with the patch. The downside to healing is that sometimes you just feel you're following the group around and watching green bars, but in challenging situations you do get a chance to put your skills to use and really make a difference. Sometimes your efforts even get noticed by the group! Another upside to healing is that I can realistically gear up to a suitable level for end-game raiding, something that I don't think I could commit enough time to as a tank.

And so dps would seem my least favourite role. Partly it lacks the significence of the other two roles - not because dps isn't important, especially in raid situations, but because you're just one cog of 3 in a group. This is part of what I think leads to the obsession with meters - given what's seen as the least important of roles, there's a natural desire to be the biggest fish in the smaller pond. That being said, I'm really glad of having an elemental dual spec - not only is it really handy to switch between roles in some raid fights, but it's also great being able to blow stuff up really quickly while questing!

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