In this modern age of Dungeon Finder, Dungeon Finder, Dungeon Finder I can tell you who holds all the power: Tanks.
I know we talk about instant (insta) queues. I’ve seen tanks prostituting themselves and their skip-the-queue in Trade chat for the price of 50g. I’ve heard all about “Tank Roulette”: a game in which the tank stands at the edge of Krasus’s Landing, queues using the Dungeon Finder as a Tank, jumps off the edge and either:
- (a) ends up safely in a dungeon before they die a horrible death from falling.
- (b) or – there’s a small chance – that they might hit the ground before they are matched with a party.
I laughed when I heard about Tank Roulette. And I started waiting a good 20 seconds before accepting my invitation… *evil laugh*
But I figure tanking isn’t probably the most fun job in the game so, why not? Let the tanks get some kind of bonus for all the crap they have to deal with. Every time you’re waiting in a queue what you’re really waiting for is for a tank out there on your Battlegroup to say “ok, I’m ready to tank something now”. And that’s power.
When you set the pace, when you are the reason that the group is a functioning group at all, that can lead to all kinds of bad behaviour.
A tank chooses what bosses, if any, are killed or skipped. And the group has little say in the matter unless they wish to spend another 5-10 minutes at the “front” of the queue waiting for a new tank. Lathere and I queued quite a few heroics when she was gearing up her level 80 Mage, and I my level 80 Shaman using Emblems of Triumph. We didn’t want a super quick, 2 Emblems of Frost, run. We wanted Emblems from bosses.
However, whenever we entered Halls of Stone or Old Kingdom the tank would often open up with “Not doing optional bosses, ok?”. Well Lath and I soon learned that the question mark was only there out of politeness. If we spoke up and asked to do a full boss clear for Emblems the tank would just drop party. Before we’d even started. We stopped asking and just started hoping not to arrive in those dungeons after our 20 minute wait.
I’ve been on the other side of course. When I queue dungeons as Cassandri I’m thrilled when I get to come in half way, or sometimes, just for the last boss. 5 minutes later and I’m done! But if the tank decides to do a full clear, or decides to do an achievement, that I’d prefer to just skip, I just have to go along with it.
And most interestingly of all, if other members of the party are debating whether or not to do an optional boss, or an achievement, the debate will continue until the tank either says “yes” or “no”. Once they put forth their opinion, the debate is over.
Abuse of Power
Perhaps the worst abuse of “tank power” that I’ve experienced so far occurred late at the end of a raid night. As we left Icecrown Citadel for the night a few guild members spoke up on Vent “who still needs to do their daily heroic?”. Two and a half parties formed. One full group, including our Feral Druid tank, and the group I was in: Lathere was healing, and we had 3 Damage dealers (including myself) but no-one able to Tank. I mean, we didn’t even have a Plate wearer: Shadow Priest, Mage and Moonkin.
We waited patiently for a Tank to join our group while the other group started clearing out Heroic Forge of Souls. We stayed to chat on Vent. Eventually we were placed in Old Kingdom with a pugged tank. They immediately dropped the group.
I found this pretty disappointing. Lath is an excellent and geared healer. The rest of us DPS in the group know how to play defensive and smart. But we can’t take the kind of hit that someone with a bit of defense rating, armor and a shield can take. We just needed someone who could take a beating. We wouldn’t have bitched about gear, threat or skill. But the tank didn’t give us a go, and left. We waited for a second tank as the other group approached the first boss in Forge of Souls.
Eventually we were paired up with a new Tank. We greeted him and buffed up, keen to get started. He picked through the first couple mobs slowly. Then, after standing around after killing the first Spellflinger group for few minutes we realised the tank had either disconnected or had afked. He wasn’t moving. I checked over my chat screen and he hadn’t said anything about going AFK. VuhDo didn’t mark him as Disconnected, either.
We started gearing up for a clothy-style pull to fill the time. Full HoTs on our only Leather wearer, my cursor hovering over Dispersion, carefully edging back to give us room to maneuver. We did it, just. The tank still hadn’t moved, but he also hadn’t come up as Disconnected yet.
I typed “are you there?” followed by “maybe we should just kick him?” comment in party chat. To my surprise, he responded immediately afterwards “nah don’t do that” and proceeded to start clearing left towards the first boss. I guess he wasn’t AFK or disconnecting.
Then 2 pulls later, at the bottom of the stairs and half way to the first boss he stopped pulling. Again. Another unannounced, unexplained break?
By now the guild run has finished Forge of Souls and we’re starting to get pretty pissed off. Lath started dressing him down in Party chat. I think I made a comment to this effect:
You’re here to tank. We’re here to do our jobs and we can’t do them unless you start tanking.
I think his response was something like “jeez, whatever”. We decided to kick him over Vent when a guild tank offered to come in and replace him. Unfortunately we soon discovered that, even though we had lost our 15 minute Dungeon debuff, the tank still had 5 minutes still to go. At least he started tanking again. Slowly.
While all this had been going on the first group had queued a second Heroic, and after being placed in Old Kingdom too, had overtaken us.
The moment the tank’s debuff expired, we kicked him. Just because you’re a Tank doesn’t give you the right to waste the rest of your group’s time while you eat or Alt-tab out of the game. The same behavior in another party member – Healer or Damage – would get you kicked really fast. Don’t queue until you’re ready.
One night, bored out of my mind, I agreed to run a few heroics with a guildies’s fresh level 80 Ret Paladin. Not for the 2 Emblems of Frost – I’d already completed that daily chore. Just for kicks. And one of our guild main tanks was coming along. And since I was there for the kicks, I was queuing as Shadow (that is, Damage only).
Bam! Loading screen. Talk about instant queue.
I didn’t even have time to say my “not HoS today, please” prayer. I was already in Azjol Nerub.
We had a pug DPS (a Druid, I think) and a Holy Priest. I looked at that Holy Priest and had a slightly guilty sucks to be you thought and that could have been me immediately followed by a you never know, maybe he likes healing.
Now I’ve played with excellent tanks who are thorough. I’ve played with excellent tanks who like to lead and enforce a kill order. And I’ve played with tanks who like to go fast. Fast, as in, getting a good threat lead and then moving onto the next pull while the previous mobs trail behind screaming “hey, we’re not dead yet!”. Well that was the kind of fast run we were doing.
By the time we finished off the second boss the Holy Priest asked if they could DPS since they didn’t really need to heal and we both ended up completing the last boss in Shadowform.
Our tank announced that we were going to queue again and invited the two PuGed players to stick around. We were already killing the first group in Gundrak when I realised that the Druid has disappeared, a Shaman has joined the group and was back at the entrance (probably still waiting for buffs) and the Holy Priest was still in Shadowform.
I dropped Shadowform to heal off some of the poison and started to get a bit annoyed. That was his job. The Holy Priest was taking this “you don’t need heals” thing a bit far.
Then I scrolled back through my chat pane. Yep, the formerly Holy Priest had requeued as Damage only. The new Shaman in the party was our new, pugged, Healer. And it hit me: This Priest was as bad as me! He had queued as a Healer to get into a daily heroic. But the minute you pair us with a tank and our choice of role? With a guaranteed instant queue? We refuse to heal and switch to DPS.
And, oh my god, it’s so much more fun.
We treated our pugged Shaman healer terribly and barely gave him a chance to land one heal before we were off and running to the next pack. Half-empty health bars make for anxious healers, trust me, I know. We went off in different directions at one point. We asked him to switch to a DPS spec for the Less-Rabi boss and then didn’t give him a chance to switch back and drink. If I was that Shaman I’d have been pretty pissed off.
Meanwhile, I was having a great time. I didn’t need to worry about threat. Things were practically lying down in surrender as we approached. The formerly-Holy Priest challenged me to a DPS race (whatever that means) but I think we were both trying to dish out as much pain as possible, as quickly as possible.
Was I corrupted? Absolutely! If my Priest could tank, would I queue as a Tank? Absolutely.