I was a 25H Progression Tank

I don’t play World of Warcraft anymore, and I haven’t in a couple of months.  There’s a lot of reasons for that, and I really don’t want to turn this into a QQ post, because I’d actually like to come back and enjoy the game again.  One of the biggest reasons that I burnt out on the game is that my chosen role in WoW seems to have become a deprecated position.  I haven’t played the game in a couple of months, but looking back it feels like I haven’t done any tanking in almost a year.

Between mechanical changes to tanks and what seems like a change in encounter design philosophy, the role of a tank in a raid right now feels like the least interesting and least responsible in a raid – the role least able to contribute to raid success.

Early in Firelands progression, there was the great threat nerf – tanks were told that we already had enough to do, it felt unnecessary for us to have to also run a clean rotation in order to succeed.  No matter what way you look at it, the bar was lowered for tanks.  Perhaps in another era, that might have been a valid argument, but I’m not sure what other tasks Blizzard thought tanks might be performing in Firelands.  Barring Alysrazor – the fight where the threat nerf changed nothing, where you were encouraged to run a clean rotation anyway – Firelands was the least demanding instance to tank since I started playing the game.  Naxx 25 included.  ICC included.

We were left with a tier where tanks had very little movement to do, very little position to worry about, no threat rotation to be concerned about – our job was largely to show up and stand in front of a boss.  Showing up was essentially the entire bar to success as a tank, there was no opportunity to fail.  And without an opportunity to fail, there’s no way to succeed or excel.

Looking at Dragon Soul, we saw a very similar philosophy in encounter design.  While some of the fights were interesting and new overall, for the tanks there was nothing.  Very little movement or kiting or positioning – nothing to make a fight feel dynamic or interesting for the tank – in short, nothing unpredictable to react to.  Sure, you hit your cooldowns on cue – but that isn’t a compelling game mechanic on it’s own.  We’ve been hitting cooldowns on cue for years, just like we’ve been running a threat rotation for years.  In the absence of dynamic elements, it’s just autopilot.  We already have the simplest rotations in game, mechanically – as tanks in the current era we also have the simplest job in encounters.

I miss fights like Firefighter – where as the tank you were expected to maneuver the boss – not just in such a way as to keep out of fire, but in such a way as to keep Raid DPS high – by keeping everyone in range, by moving the boss such that people could stay on target fulltime.  Your decision-making and movements were critical to raid success, and were based on raid positioning and environmental effects – frost orbs, doomfires.  Awareness was critical.

I miss Freya3, where I got to tank the boss, and an add or two – where wave by wave I had a different job to worry about – whether it was handling an add, or standing under a mushroom, or kiting away from seed explosions.  The fight was generally in motion, it was your job as a tank to keep raid movements as small as possible, based on whatever environmental effects were forcing you to move.

I miss Thorim, where good clean pulling techniques made the difference between triggering hardmode or not.  I miss Hodir, where running a good threat rotation (and being quick on the taunt if someone was having a very good night) made or broke the fight.  There wasn’t that much more to either of those fights beyond that, really, but at least I could feel like I was contributing to the raid – my failure had consequences.

I think the point is pretty clear – and I didn’t even have to leave Ulduar to make it – that there are ways to make encounters that are exciting and vibrant and interesting to tank which are also challenging and interesting for the rest of the raid.  Encounters where all three roles have an important part to play.

Not every encounter needs to have much of a role for the tank.  Insisting on kiting and positioning in every fight leads to too much encounter design constraint – and fair enough.  But I think the opposite applies as well: Not every encounter should be static.  I could have written off Tier 12 as a one-off mistake, but Dragon Soul makes it look like an intentional design direction choice to deprecate the role of tanking.

I don’t like it.  I might be alone in that, but I don’t like the current direction.  I don’t think it’s fun for experienced tanks to suddenly have the challenge and responsibility removed from their role.  I don’t even really see a reason for it – I think it’s insulting to new tanks to suggest that they can’t handle it, and I hope that’s not the reason.  Was the tank too important to a progression raid group?  Was the position too responsible?  If so, it’s gone too far in the other direction.

In heroic raiding DPS have an extremely important job, in general – maximizing their output.  Every GCD counts when you’re fighting a hard enrage timer.  Most fights will force DPS to make movements, or force some subset to perform another task, and there’s always an optimization problem there.  Despite the individual performance focus, it’s a very teamwork oriented role – one player doesn’t beat enrage timers on their own.  In addition, many fights have dynamic elements for DPS that simply don’t apply to tanks in the current design.  Showing up and autoattacking just won’t cut it for them.

Healers, similarly, have to manage their GCDs and spell selection, they have to keep the raid alive.  They have to find ways to pick up the slack when other people fail, and when they blow a GCD it’s very likely that someone dies.  Often, that’s a wipe.  Their role is responsible, and important – it’s dynamic and requires awareness.  And I’m jealous of that.

With what we’ve seen so far of Active Mitigation – the promised panacea to cure all tanking ills, I can’t imagine it comes anywhere close to solving the problems.  It doesn’t really address the issue at all – that there’s nothing dynamic involved in tanking anymore.

I miss being a tank.  I miss tanking.  I’d really love to hear that it’s making a comeback sometime.  Sometime “Soon.”

This entry was posted in Design, Encounters, Mel's Random Musings, QQ, Raiding, Tanking and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to I was a 25H Progression Tank

  1. well I am a total noob, I don’t know about the old days, I can barely do what I need to do now. But I am sorry the game has lost some of its fun for you. I feel like I can be successful now though I am far from being a great player so I am sure you are correct that things have be idiot proofed to some extent.

    Thanks for the blog, I appreciate all of you


  2. Ohken says:

    Did you tank any in Dragon Soul? The second half has a lot of complexity for the tanks compared to everyone else. Ultraxion has them handling fading light and dealing with a stay-out rotation, Son of Gunship has them picking up adds and positioning them so they are cleavable without their own cleaves hitting the other tank, Spine has the amalgamations and the bloods, and Madness has a whole host of different adds to deal with.

    I don’t think the mechanics are any simpler compared to Ulduar. It’s true that threat management is mostly gone. The main threat issue right now is the other tank after a tank swap. The way vengeance works interacts badly with tank swapping.

    • Meloree says:

      I did 5/8H and a bunch of progression on Gunship before we wrapped up raiding.

      Ultraxion fits my definition of trivial to tank because it’s 100% static, it can be done completely by rote. DPS have a much harder job with Fading Light because they don’t know if and when they’ll get it. Tanks are just shitty DPS with an easier job on Ultraxion.

      Gunship, similarly, is pretty trivial. Only one mob cleaves – picking up a single add that drops in a predictable place at a predictable time is not an interesting task, neither is placing it on a spot with a predictable facing. Neither is running a cooldown and taunt-trade rotation in P2. It’s another fight that’s almost entirely on the shoulders of DPS and Healers.

      I don’t have personal experience with Spine and Madness heroic, but some tanks I respect have called it similarly uninteresting. I don’t know of any tanks that laud the experience, but I would love to see that perspective.

  3. Pliers says:

    As Edge’s occasional “backup tank” for most the last year, I’m in a decent position to add minor commentary to Meloree’s comments, which I agree with 100%.

    In spite of Meloree being a better geared, more experienced, and more talented tank than I was, there was a mostly negligible difference between our performance. Arguably, I had the more enjoyable role, since my shortcomings required more from me. Tanks used to be the most important raid slot, but it seems like now they’re simply the least common. Without movement, agro, positioning, dps, or reactivity required from a tank, you may as well relegate the job to a pet or NPC. Tanking is in a sad state compared to what it used to be, and it’s a shame.

    • Meloree says:

      I think we might even have chatted about that once – I firmly remember envying you for being behind in gear.

      I’m also willing to debate “more talented” – you weren’t the go-to backup tank because you were bad and the healers demanded a challenge.

  4. Zaephod says:

    Mel, I agree with you. I want to add that what I truly miss is the old mob positioning algorithm they used. They changed it in the middle of Wrath sometime because bosses would get in an infinite repositioning cycle and never swing…but I never noticed it. I just knew that I could make subtle movements and the boss wouldn’t run around me like a pet trying to attack me from behind.

    Personally, I lasted as a progression tank through Heroic LK then I retired from actively raiding…’twas a planned thing. I did get several progression kills with my guild in Cataclysm, but but that was only because I keep my gear up to date. I, like you, found that it all got a little too easy and a little too mind-numbing. I missed choosing the best gear for the encounter instead of wearing what was highest in ilvl and getting by just fine. I missed choosing which of our MTs would tank the boss based on individual class strengths/weaknesses. Lastly, thanks to a general lack of physical activity and poor eating, I missed being able to fit into my own pants :) Of that entire list, I’ve only really fixed that last one.

    I’ve tried a little tanking in SW:ToR, but it doesn’t make sense to me like WoW tanking does. Given the minuscule feedback you get from the game, the fact that you can’t see who your mob is targeting, or even look at a combat log, I’ve gotten bored with that too. Have you tried out Dungeon Defenders? It’s virtually nothing like wow, but it’s the current object of my gaming affection. It has a really cartoony art style kind of like Borderland.

    • Meloree says:

      Mob positioning algorithms seem to get adjusted with every patch. Maybe that’s why they took kiting/repositioning fights out of the game – so they didn’t have to play with mob movement.

      Congratulations on getting back in shape, though! It’s not the easiest journey in the world.

  5. From what I’ve read, serious 25H raiders pretty much all consider Dragon Soul a slap in the face. Spine was the only interesting fight from a dps perspective, because of the short window to blow up the tendons, and of course it was overtuned on heroic (whereas the rest of the instance was arguably undertuned) to the point that no one could beat it until it was hotfixed.

    I tanked through most of Tier 11 and the start of Tier 12. Our little 10 man is a pretty casual group. The fact that we’re 4/8 heroic and serious about downing Hagara this weekend suggests to me that there isn’t anything left for people who want an actual challenge to do.

    I’m not sure I understand what it is that is missing for tanks, but I’m pretty sure that DPS checks and healing checks are not as hard as they’ve been in the past either.

    • Meloree says:

      That’s an interesting perspective. I wouldn’t call DS a standout instance for DPS or healers, but it absolutely had some challenges for them. Zon’ozz, for example, was a DPS and healing optimization problem in progression, where you had to figure out how best to break your raid into groups to deal with P2 adds, somehow heal through it and get everything dead, and still manage to get enough DPS on the boss to kill him – generally post-enrage for early kills. For the tank, you just stand on the spot the claw spawns with the boss.

      Yor’shaj, similarly, is a perfect example of “stand there” for tanks, but the DPS have a hard burst DPS check on the ooze, there’s a DPS maximization problem with adds (how much of your raid should AoE vs single target, and who), positioning issues, management of DPS on the mana void, etc. Healers have to deal with the debuff, and keep everyone alive with an additional constraint, both to mana and to output.

      Ultraxion was a hard output check for DPS – getting everyone to near 40k DPS for a 25man raid was not an easy job, and getting the 5 healers to somehow keep the raid alive for the last minute wasn’t trivial either.

      There are a number of challenges and failure points for DPS and Healers in DS, but I just don’t see any for tanks beyond the standard “press cooldown when bossmod says to” and “taunt at X stacks” mechanics – both of which are, quite frankly, boring and overused at this point.

  6. Angelflavor says:

    I’ve haven’t been playing much lately either. Time and money feel like they are better spent else where. I also would like to come back and hope MOP is the answer. The threat nerf was the main reason I stop being a “main” raider in my guild. I didn’t feel that tank classes felt complete any more.
    You can’t change the rules of game that breaks more than it fixes. That’s what Blizzard did. Blizz gave some really good reasons for making the change and I agree with it. My problem is that it made everything tanks were balanced around pointless. Tank rotations where designed more with threat in mind than anything else and now there was no reason to do this well. Skilled and bad players could do it with the change. Only the gear would make the tank.
    Blizzard should have changed tanks rotation with that patch or waited till MOP to do it. Right now Tanks feel like half a role and no reward for doing it right.

  7. Omega says:

    it’s a shame you didn’t get to heroic spine or madness, you would have found what you wanted there

    This paragraph is far from accurate there
    “Looking at Dragon Soul, we saw a very similar philosophy in encounter design. While some of the fights were interesting and new overall, for the tanks there was nothing. Very little movement or kiting or positioning – nothing to make a fight feel dynamic or interesting for the tank”

    Spine, especially oozes, which is where you would have wanted your block tank on (you). On madness there is strategic positioning of the oozes to maximize spellweave damage, intelligent tank swaps to not just handle impales, but also juggling left over oozes as you drag them from platform to platform, moving them around to key dps points to proc spellweave off cleave. The terror juggling in end phase to clear stacks because the berserk was too tight to deal with 2nd set of terrors on 25 man, you pretty much had to find ways to kite, trade or run away from terrors to clear stacks or be dead.

    all that said though, i agree that DS doesn’t compare to ulduar. Ulduar so many of the fights were tank fights. a lot of the bosses had to be moved around not just aimlessly but strategically.

    I think the ultimate failing of tanking, is a world where content is designed for 10 man, then 25 man versions are just scaled up somehow. this really takes a lot of complexity out of encounter design. in MoP it seems they still don’t want complex tanking roles in the fights, but rathor the difficulty being pressing buttons, but instead of threat, active mitigation. I dunno, we’ll see how that all goes with encounter design though.

    • Meloree says:

      In all honesty, I doubt it. I expect I would have found a slightly more interesting encounter in Spine that would have still mostly rested on the healers and DPS – one which still, as far as I know, has almost no dynamic elements for the tanks.

      I haven’t heard anyone actually describe Spine or Madness as good fights to tank – just marginally less boring. I tend to hold Blizzard to a higher standard than “less bad than the others”.

      • Omega says:

        Eh. The oozes got pretty crazy, trust me, early kills you were not just standing there tanking. you were doing whatever you could to stay alive and kite. utilizing whatever tools you could. As a paladin i imagine you would have had to have external help to get moved because i know as a warrior i was using both charges and intervene and heroic leap CD, like i’d have all 4 on Cd sometimes and stil die if not careful. I had to really plot my path and Cds better to achieve an exit strategy in every corner when i reached one end of his back and had to turn around and go through a massive clusterfuck of oozes. Stuns weren’t always reliable cause you needed em too often and DR kicked in, it was more about just staying moving and more importantingly using their slow movement speed to your advantage and in choosing paths. If for example i did happent o be out of mobility Cds. i’d run a very tight circle out as far as i could without jumping off. wait for them to get close as hell then do a hard straff to the side and run up opposite side of back. I died once messing this up because my stupid ass got slowed by a tendril grip being larger then annimation on ground.

        Similtaniously, every lap around, you need to run straight through healers, drop a bunch of aoe threat to grab the new spawns that inevitably ended up here, then continue lap around. your laps had to go through healers every round for this. by time you completed a circle you’d easily have 2-3 new spawns in healer, and if too many of your kited oozes died and reset aggro, possibly even more.

        All in all though i enjoyed the fight. It’s first fight this tier that really got to actually stretch my movement cds to their limit. Nef had a lot of movement but by no means was it ever a good idea to move fast, so the actual Cd usage wasn’t practical or important.

        Spine getting easier each nerf though, i’m confident this week i can probably just not bother kiting, or if I do it’ll be very little. I know last week i started kiting earlier then i needed to just because when respawns pick up it becomes exceedingly difficult to get threat on ones that spawn from the holes way the hell in back when you’re all the way in front. it’s easier to run at em head on so at a point if enough blood is by plate even if i’m not taking too much damage yet i just start running around for pickups. Another fun part of this fight is seeing how many safeguards i can throw out productively. Intervening isn’t just for kiting, but if i can time it well enough to be ending my lap and returning to abom (ana’s word) tank during a nuclear, then i’ve achieved perfect timing to get him a 30% cd and my intervene at same time. :)

        Glad safeguard is still in MoP right now, too bad they are shitting on vigilence

  8. Kerriodos says:

    I can’t help but agree. I started tanking in Ulduar, and while I didn’t see many heroic modes until long after I out-geared them, I was learning to tank in Thorim’s arena, learning to push my threat on Hodir, learning how to reduce boss movement/plan CD’s on Mimiron. It’s what taught me to love tanking. ICC killed it a little, what with overpowered auto-proc AD (speaking of which, my guild at the time badly needed that–I was ‘dying’ on every heroic fight even at 30%).

    T11 was my first ‘hardcore’ raiding experience. I’d done heroic modes at this point, but this was the first time pushing them in the first few weeks. Normal Nefarian was my first taste of pulling a boss and not having any idea how mechanics worked. By the end of Heroic Progression, I had learned to hate the fight since I was the only block tank and had to do adds. It just brought back memories of struggling to do a good job with the adds with no sense of how the Shadowflame timer worked, and, initially, thinking that getting hit by them increased the add’s stacks–which is what we all thought at the time of our first pulls (we quickly learned kiting full time was not doable).

    Now, I look back fondly on that duty. Our then-DK now plays a warrior, so he did the kiting on Spine which makes my job the typical stand-and-tank. I’ve seriously considered petitioning to switch to DPS for MoP, but two things stop me: I really enjoy working with my co-tank, and I don’t like sitting (unless I’m in a shitty mood and choose to). The only fights that have been fun to tank lately were Alysrazor, and P4 H-Rag. This tier was uniformly boring to tank.

  9. anafielle says:

    I felt the need to comment publicly even though you already know what I think. :)

    Thanks for the post, Mel. I can’t say I agree with all of it, but it’s your opinion and it’s fueled by a good deal of powerful logic. It was certainly difficult to watch you come to these conclusions in the post here over the span of the last year or so, just as I was perversely enjoying raiding more and more. But I left tanking behind and that heavily influences what I think of DS. I can’t really understand what someone who was mainspec tank and HM raiding for the entirety of Cata thinks of DS, because I plain don’t have that experience at all. Your opinion of the instance is sobering and shared by way too many.

    I love our little HM raiding community. It is bitterly crushing to watch someone stop playing, especially someone who has given so much to the comminuty and whose opinion has always heavily influenced what I think about the game. I am glad you got to write about why you left and how you feel the game has changed for your role because all the stuff you’ve said about it over the last few months deserves to be public.

    I think that the comments rolling in– on the post, and on twitter, the short ones like “Thanks for writing exactly what I think”, and the massive amount of RTs (you got RT’d about twice as much as my posts do :P) are pretty indicative of the mood of the HM tanking community.

    Tanks want more than what they were given in Cata. I hope they get it. Otherwise you won’t be the last to go, and that’ll be a shame.

  10. Benebarba says:

    I’m no progression tank, but even I’ve kind of grown tired of some of the fights I’ve done in T-12 and T-13 (granted I’m doing FL in overgeared groups, and I’ve only done Ultraxion in Normal, the rest are LFR). Taunt-swapping to me isn’t a challenge and hasn’t been since maybe the second time I raid tanked. It’s an excuse to have 2 tanks and an attention/rhythm check… when I don’t even have to care what an ability does just that I need to taunt at X stacks… meh. Ultraxion isn’t any better. LFR was just plain boring in general, since it seemed like half the fights were really single tank fights. I’ve found it more interesting going in as DPS to fill out my off-spec set.

    I think my favorite fight in my time tanking is Nefarian in BWD. I was the Onyxia and add tank and I felt like I actually had something important to do, especially in P3. I’m going to give MOP a shot, and see how it goes, but I may also be looking to exit after my annual pass time is up.

  11. Kaarn says:

    I don’t miss the aggro management so much but I do miss (re-)positioning, facing, add control, interrupting and reacting to dynamic events in general. In Tier 11 these kind of mechanics seemed to be everywhere and there were some fights which really tested my limited abilities and had room for learning and improvement.
    In Tier 13, if I even need to tank at all (good for me that I enjoy playing Retri), very little of the above is asked. Bosses and adds are often unmoving or have random aggro and one doesn’t have anything to react to other then some damage spikes which you counter with a CD. I do enjoy CD planning but if that’s all I have to do that’s a bit boring.
    Maybe the final two encounters in heroic mode are a bit different but really…that is when tank fun is supposed to start? At the final two encounters in heroic mode?

    Disclamer: I do tank for a guild that I wouldn’t call progression raiders. We are at 5/8 heroic in 10 man.

  12. stayed says:

    As someone who’s recently joined a guild with fairly inexperienced tanks, I have to say that though I agree with the gist of this post, tanks still make a huge difference in raid effectiveness. While threat isn’t so much an issue anymore, it’s become more about how to help the DPS. A tank that doesn’t move quickly enough will wipe the raid. A tank that doesn’t think about the melee DPS and how to position adds will nerf DPS. And a tank that lets his mind wander on Madness will wipe the raid on the next Impale…

    These, and other small points like them, may seem almost inconsequential parts of tanking to the most experienced tank, but they can mean the difference between success and failure.

  13. Dross says:

    I levelled as a tank in TBC (prot pally) and just got geared and into raids before the pre-patch of Wrath. I only managed a clear of Kara and 2 bosses in ZA but those fights were harder for their mechanics and the tanking mechanics (seal twisting etc) than anything I’ve seen recently from a tank perspective.

    Wrath I think had a very good balance between difficulty of positional and situational awareness (Thek, iirc, did a video about these that helped me LOADS), cool-down management and optimising raid dps. The rotation became really too easy.. But at least it still mattered.

    When dual spec came out I went prot holy.. as there were some fights in ICC that needed 1 tank and an extra healer (also our heals had dps os) but I sucked at it so that quickly became prot – ret. As ICC progressed and gear started to make the content more trivial and certain mechanics and to an extent threat became a non issue I found that tanking lost some of it’s edge.. I used to tank 5 mans in dps gear and try pull more damage than the DPS 😀 which was fun on aoe.. But apart from this tanking had lost an edge which it always held with me from TBC 5 mans where the tanks ability in all the things I listed above really made a huge difference and were doable even by a first time player..

    Cata put a nail in the coffin for tanking for me.. Vengeance and the boring fights make tanking the single most un-interesting thing I can do in the game (including fishing).
    I tank only when asked to (5 mans and raids) or if we are really stuck.. How much do tanks matter now… well I got some progress kills in FL as under-geared prot and I have tanked 4 hc bosses in DS.. with mostly FL gear and not really had a problem..

    My point being that the role needs more complexity.. you need something to concentrate on constantly that matters (like a dps with their rotation) as well as the mechanics of the fight..

    Currently there isn’t really much that I can see that fills either of these (adds on spine as a rare exception but even they are just kiting ala Gluth in Naxx)

    Blizzard need an exceptional overhaul of the thinking they have for tanks or no-one will ever be one except to fill the spot and be the meat shield everyone else stands behind.

    P.S If it’s bad for an average player like me I can’t imagine the pain that skilled tanks are feeling.

  14. Diamon says:

    I read this blog for a while and found it quite interesting. My 2 cents for “tanks are not interesting”.
    I started leveling my pally in late BC. I started raiding in naxx and then went all way to the H spine and madness, but sadly our holy pally left after H morchok, we lost our second tank due to his problems with his GF, and we waited for about 3 weeks for our warlock to became not so drunk after New Year- so we got 58H and go for a Blackhorn and the SpineMadness only with Radiance of the Aspects. Spine and Madness – yes, CD planning and good kiting – there are some of this.
    But still, why so many players are waiting for second ulduar? I think it’s because on EVERY fight there was a work for everyone. And let’s remember tank’s work:

    1. Levi – Any role for a tank. I loved to shot barrels from a devastator.
    2. Razorscale – Adds tanking, disarming(you remember last time you disarmed someone in a raid except on gunship?) whirlwind adds, kiting adds and then boss from flames.
    3. Ignis – not zerg tactics – rotating boss and placing aoe correctly. Taunting and kiting adds to flames->water.
    4. XT-002 – standing with boss in right place for dps to kill healing adds quickly and kiting boss if necessary. Taunting life sparcles.
    5. Assembly of Iron – dispelling steelbreaker’s debuff(and remember the meltdown!) kiting bosses from runes, stunninginterrupting chain lightninglightning whirlwinds.
    6. Kologarn – pretty much simple for tanks.
    7. Auriaya – You loved your way to pull her, right? And fear+kitties.. And need to interrupt after fear. And taunt + stun void-zone kitty.
    8. Hodir – AFAIK – He was taunt-immune as was Vezax, so blizzard changed pally’s damaging taunt to NOT damaging taunt because rets were damage-taunting taunt-immune bosses all over the place. But still. Remember to jump or to stand near campfires, wear some frost rez maybe? And ofc threat-race. Remember to share crit-sparks.
    9. Freya – 3 types of adds, interrupts(water add), stunsdazes(lasher) and kiting from mines. Watching for a healing tree spawn. Hand of Freedom for roots, Hand of Protection for Ground Tremor. Sweet.
    10. Thorim. Stunning shield-casting adds, disarming cleaving adds on arena. Mario-style race for an off-tank through the tunnel. Unbalancing Strike . Lightning sectors, blizzard circles.
    11. Mimirion. Too much to say here :)
    12 Vezax – kiting on buff or using CD? Watch for interrupt. A little threat race on hardmode add. Not very stressful fight for a tank.
    13. Yoggy – Adds blowing? Tentacles interrupting(“tanking”). Adds fast tauntingpositioning while standing back to their spawn place.
    14. Algalon – Meteor watching. Black hole running. Constellation kiting. CD planning for a star explosions.

    Dragon Soul:
    1. Morchok – stand and plan CD for a stomp if you are in shitty gear. Kite to crystal if it’s really far away.
    2. Yor’sahj – plan CD for surviving. Do much less if you are Blood DK. Stay on boss or hit some bubbles if you are bored.
    3. Zon’ ozz – Face to raid for a sphere spawn – face away for other times. Plan CD for a soul drain. Stand near tentacle on 2nd phase.
    4. Hagara – There is A LITTLE of kiting to place the boss near edge of platform, but nothing special. Plan CD for a focus attack.
    5. Ultraxion – Push the Button when you need to. Plan CD for a Twilight. A good dps race in H25man I must say.
    6. Blackhorn – Somehow interesting fight for a tank until 2nd phase. Adds placing, sapper stunning, holes catching. Plan CD for a Sunder on 2nd phase.
    7. Spine – Pretty much interesting, but only for a blood kiter. Plan CDs for a kitestunsurvive.
    8. Madness – Impale tanking, adds tanking, especially on 2nd phase – debuff stacks – Plan CD for these.

    See my “Plan CD for …” in Dragon Soul? Of course – they were on every encounter in Ulduar. But there was some other work to do. And a threat that mattered. In dragon soul sometimes I wasn’t sure CAN I tank a boss comfortable in my current gear type or not. In ulduar I often wasn’t sure HOW I want to tank a boss.

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  16. Grahf says:

    Your post depressed me, mainly because I felt like I was holding a mirror up to myself. It’s been a long slow drain for me. Every time there’s new content, I mindlessly go through the motions as if I’m tanking, even though I’m really not sure when the last time I actually did something resembling tanking occurred. I’ve never been one to advocate strict rotations, because I feel that tanking isn’t about just that, but when you’re playing a game that you feel is slowly siphoning your interesting abilities away (in my case, Prot pally) and couple it with the fact that the mechanics of the fights are just becoming more abysmal, I’m just really not sure Blizz “gets” it anymore. Making tanks prioritize hit/exp for stats, for example, while sound, doesn’t fix the problem of the actual encounters and the role we are to play. The game isn’t just about stats; it’s about what you do with those stats. You can have 200k health or 50k health, but if you don’t get out of Defile you’re still gonna die. Tanking used to require skill, leadership and a little creativity. Now we just have a little more health than everyone and have the benefit of being on the healer’s first-heal list. I share your hope that it gets better, but nothing in recent memory suggests anything to believe it would be otherwise. Everyone is saying that MoP is going to “save” WoW, and tanking, and PvP, and etc. I’ve been hearing that since BC and I’m tired of it.

  17. Friedrich says:

    I am completely on board with this sentiment. I come from EQ tanking/pulling background, so that should tell you how much of the tanking role I enjoyed during the original WoW days.

    Very well – Since WoW didn’t allocate any class as a designated puller, thus usually the pulling role went to the tank as well. This meant, as a tank, I had to know the path of the roamers, their capabilities, and also I had to be mindful of what my group was capable of – in terms of both DPS, and of crowd control. This was on top of the fight mechanic of the boss NPC I was supposed to tank; I had to know what they do at each phase, and how I had to align my group/team for a successful fight. That meant I had to know what was to come, and also I had to know what I had to do – i.e. using Berserker Rage to neutralize AE fear, taking crab walk while tanking to minimize the threat loss/DPS loss while moving out of danger, etc etc.

    Of course, this alone made the tanking role exceedingly difficult for most, and tanks also had to fight for their precious gears, which resulted in a lot of people turning their back to the tanking role in general. Well – as for me, I enjoyed the challenge. I enjoyed every facet of it. To be able to lead the raid and be recognized as one of the better tanks and raid leaders was somewhat fulfilling as well too. During these days, tanks had to have all of skill, vision, and precision in decision. That’s what made them de facto the leader of the team. I enjoyed the responsibilities that came with such recognition.

    These days… tanking is simply not fun enough. As long as you are decently geared, and know a few hoops to jump through, then you are all set. There isn’t much interesting stuff for tanks any more. Take any PuG these days – raiding during this phase (trash progress) is easy in that regard, since the firepower at your disposal is much stronger than what you’d get from any given PuG. During PuGs? In the past, tanks had to carefully calibrate the roaming path of the mob, and pull one or, in a few dire cases, a few. To mitigate the situation, they would call for saps and polymorphs, as well as freezing traps if they have a hunter in a group. Hell, I remember asking a warlock in the party to switch pets multiple times in a single dungeon run. A few bad pulls all rolled into one – and you’d get wipes. These days? What wipes? Tanks would pull everything in sight, then AE the fuck out of them. I don’t really know if that’s any fun, if at all. What’s more, since the mobs were that much more stronger than user-controlled toons, tanks charging straight into the pack of mobs was as good as a suicide wish. These days… tanks charge at the boss, throw AE shout, then the group does AE dps. Wash, rinse, repeat. Is that fun? I don’t know?

    And I didn’t even mention the actual game mechanics at all – you had to know what to use in what situation, and what to do in non-critical situation, etc. Each cooldown actually meant something, and they were to be used with precision and care; it could save what looked like a certain wipe, for instance. Happened to me countless times already – so I know I am not the only one on this either.

    Well – don’t even get me started on that – playing on auto-pilot mode during 25 hard raid boss is definitely not fun. What’s worse is, that works well without incurring any loss to the team. I have to repeatedly ask myself, “just what the hell am I doing here?”

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