Ratio of tanks to the rest

This deserves more discussion. One of the difficult balances a leader has to manage is the number of tanks required in a raid, or the guild, as a proportion of the total guild.

The problem is largely caused by the ratio required of tanks to others:

  • In 5-mans, you need one tank  (1:4 ratio).
  • In 10-mans you need two (1:4 ratio again).
  • In 25-mans, you need three (1:7.3 ratio), but mostly you need two tanks (1:11.5 ratio).
  • I wrote about this in my Ulduar guide, highlighting the tank requirements varying between 10 and 25-mans.

That’s half as many tanks for 25-man raiding as for 10-mans.

The problems this brings are manyfold:

  • if you are changing from being a 10-man to 25-man guild you need to make sure your tanks are the most hardcore reliable players, so you can swap in/out everyone else
  • or you can have more tanks than you need, to allow for casual playstyle, yet accepting the consequence that each tanks’ gear will be lesser and possibly some will be benched on a night
  • growing a guild from a 10-man raid to 25-man raid guild distorts your recruitment needs to not more tanks, but more of everyone else. So during the growth period you might run 10-man raids but not have enough for a 2nd 10-man, and get disgrunted players. You can’t just instantly go from a roster for 10s into 20s, so this growth period can be awkward.
  • running two 10-mans in one night requires more tanks than you’d usually have in a 25-man raid, so sometimes a 25-man guild can’t do two 10′s because of tank shortages. This limits your options when laying out a raiding calendar.

Also tanks need to be amongst the better players in your guild. They need more situational awareness, better reaction time, often more leadership personal characteristics. Luckily, you don’t need a lot of tanks, but good ones can be hard to find.

Tanks tend to stick with their guild, they’re not chopped and changed so freely as deeps, which in turn means a tank will guard his raid slot more. He’ll try to attend more nights and be more active.

No doubt, dual-spec helps us all with this problem, but doesn’t solve it. Tanks want to tank. Personally, I don’t enjoy dps. So this complicates the roster management for leadership, since you are juggling people’s personal desires too.

Point is: the divergence of ratios between tanks:rest whilst a guild is growing from 5, 10 to 25 man raiding is a pain in the ass for guild leadership.

Here’s the blue post that reminded me of this prevalent issue.

Blizzard PosterGhostcrawler on Cataclysm raids requiring 2-3 tanks? -_- (Source)

We think we can design better encounters that generally take 1-3 tanks in 25-player content and 1-2 in 10-player content. There will probably be exceptions from time to time, such as the occasional caster tank (Maulgar and Razuvious perhaps).

It’s very easy to get burned out on raiding, and we think having fights that all felt the same would contribute to that. That goes as far as comparing raid tiers. We don’t want it to be ‘Here’s the Patchwerk fight. Here’s the council fight. Oh, interesting, they switched the lots-of-adds fight to position 3 this time.’ ToC is fairly small as instances go, so you’re not going to get the diversity that you do in larger raids. Heck, the Eye of Eternity is one boss with no trash. There is no way to make that a typical fight with a sample size of one.

We want you to approach every fight differently, and that includes shifting people around to different roles. Sometimes you need more healers and sometimes you need less. Sometimes the casters have to handle the adds and sometimes the melee have to be on interrupt duty. Sometimes you need to split the group up. Sometimes your OTs have to go dps since the fight only requires one tank.

It only gets to be a problem, in our minds, if the OT is such a liability on single-tank fights that she gets swapped out for another rogue or whatever. That has happened in the past in the history of WoW. It doesn’t seem to be happening too much these days. All of the tanking classes can do much higher damage in a tanking spec with dps gear than they used to be able to do, and there is always dual-spec if that isn’t enough for you. (The truth is also that very few fights only ever require a single tank.)

It’s awesome so many players are interested in the tanking role, but no, we’re never going to promise that every encounter will require 4 tanks.

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4 comments to Ratio of tanks to the rest

  • Jon
    Twitter: MrRoach

    We’re a 10-man guild with an abundance of tanks. We often find ourselves preventing quality players that have a respectable offspec (skill and gear) from performing their preferred playstyle (tanking) so that they can fill another role.

    Sidenote: A 15-man raid with 3 required tanks could retain the 1:4 tank ratio.
    .-= Jon´s last blog ..The Plight of the 10-Man Guild =-.

  • Argon

    This hasn’t been too much of a problem for my guild. We have 2 tanks, plus a few more people who prefer to DPS but can tank in a pinch, for 5 or 10 mans or if one of the tanks is not there. Enough tank loot drops that the DPS/tanks are geared up enough for all but the bleeding edge of our progression. It probably helps that one of our tanks is a druid, and thus uses leather, and the DPS/tanks are all plate wearers, so there’s lots of plate tank gear that isn’t needed by the 2 tanks.

  • Hinenuitepo

    Good points indeed.
    Our two MTs are listed as in the top 6 wow-heroes scores on my server.
    We have several OTs (including myself) who were able to OT, do duty like tanking champions on Thorim, tank heroic 5-mans, and even MT a 10-man toc. Unfortunately, however, trying to do TOC heroic for both 10 and 25 man has been problematic. I’m not geared enough to MT a 10-man toc on heroic. Gormok splatted me so fast the first time I tried, it made my healers’ heads spin. I can’t spend ep/dkp/etc on tank gear because I have to focus on my primary role of dps, but if I don’t have the gear for tanking, who will do it? On 25 man our ‘third’ MT has pretty good gear, but he’s still the first to die on, for example, Northrend Beasts heroic where we do a three tank rotation.

    Ever since Blizzard went from 40 man raids to 25, this was going to be a problem. I don’t want to go back to 40-mans, but unfortunately the current ratio will continue to present challenges.

    As mentioned, the opposite problem is some quandry as well, but we typically have 4-5 people sitting every raid anyway, so we usually swap several people in and out every fight. That means on beasts we may have 3 tanks, and for Lord Jaraxxus, two. You could have the third tank switch to dps offspec, or you could bring the second fire mage back in. We do it both ways to give everyone the opportunity to share time ‘in the game’ and ‘on the bench.’

  • Gravity
    Twitter: gravitydk

    That recent post of yours Jon is on a similar topic, a good read.

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