Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tanking Discussions Part 4 - Fear and Criticism

There's one last thing I want to talk about regarding tanks, and it's largely geared at those individuals who, in this downtime, may be leveling new characters in order to try tanking or trying a new spec on an existing character or whatever.

There's two particular comments that I tend to hear over and over from budding tanks:
  1. I'm nervous because I'm in a group with X, who plays a really good tank.
  2. I had a disastrous run and now I'm afraid to tank again.
The root of these two statements is the same: you're trying to measure up to some standard that you're unlikely to attain so quickly. A DPS toon decked out in quest greens and blues isn't going to step into ICC and blow up the DPS meters. And anyone with a shred of common sense isn't going to expect them to.

Assuming you're trying out tanking as an alt toon/spec, did you instantly understand your DPS rotations? Did you always know where to stand and how to move to get the most out of your gear?

If you're a healer, did you instantly understand how to deal with emergency situations? Has no one ever died on your watch?

I'm guessing the answer is no to all of these.

The first time I ran PoS on Siaaryn, I had another priest from my guild in the run that used to consistently push the top of the damage meters when he raided Shadow with us. It was intimidating. Here's someone who really knows Shadow and he's going to be judging me.

Except, you know, not. Because he's cool like that. But I understand the sentiment.

I constantly get called out for doing low damage in heroics, even though half my gear is still iLvl 200. I've been vote-kicked a couple times.

When I heal on Dal, I've been called out as a bad healer when people die. It's frustrating. Especially when said people were standing in the fire or pulling aggro. I rarely let the tank drop. And when that happens, it's usually because of a stun or fear or something that prevented me from healing.

I was running Enhancement in a ToC pug once and got called out after Faction Champs for having sucked. Then I linked the Interrupt and Purge meters. You know...the ones where I had more than 5 times of each as the rest of the raid combined. I was then told that those don't matter and I was stupid for wasting GCDs on them.

Hell, I still get called a bad tank on San sometimes. I don't know what kind of criteria people are using to make that assessment...

The point is, there's always asshats out there who are going to call you a bad player no matter what role you fill, how geared you are, or how well you play. It's worse when you're uncertain of your own abilities and are looking for encouragement and positive reinforcement. But you can't let them get to you. You have to let the comments roll off your back.

Take a break if you need to. Go farm for an hour, or run a heroic on a character you know you're a badass on to calm yourself down. Then get right back to it and try again.

Tanking and healing can be especially tough, because people who can be considered really good at both of those are the ones that can pull a sure wipe back together into something manageable. They can get their groups out of an emergency situation.

But you can't learn to do that until you get into those emergency situations. And until you learn, those emergency situations are going to turn into wipes. It's how it goes. That doesn't make you bad, per se. Just inexperienced.

Just keep at it. Ask for advice from the good players. Thank people for positive feedback. Take legitimate, supportive criticisms to heart and improve on them. Let the impatient and mean-spirited ones go.

You may not be an uber-tank yet. But you'll get there.


  1. I've read this whole series and I've enjoyed it very much. I think my tank is retired, I just don't have the mindset for it. But I suggest everyone play one for a while, I learned a lot that hopefully makes me a less crappy non-tank :)

  2. I still fear being judged when I tank - not by my guild, but by pugs. I have tanked pug heroics, but never a pug raid.

  3. PuGs are crazy, raids more than dungeons because the stakes are higher. Everybody wants an easy run, but they want it from everyone else...rarely do they expect to do their own part. It's a recipe for disaster.