Tanks just want to tank, plus supply-demand

To close this series of posts on balance, I wanted to use a few diagrams to outline the problem. This will be my last post on this topic for a while (in case you’re losing interest in it).

(As an aside, I’m going to do my bit to improve the quality of tanking in the world, too. We’ll publish more how-to articles and guides in the future, and you’ll see the site navigation is already changing to accommodate that content).

I also want to highlight that most tanks just want to tank: switching between dps and tank specs works technically, but quite often (not always), tanks want to stick to the one mode of thinking. You get into a ‘tank zone’ mentally, and it’s better to stay in that zone than flick out to dps. Sure you can do it, sure it’s not hard, but it’s not fun for most tanks.

So to illustrate the ratio question, if you look at it in terms of a realm population, how many tanks are there available and willing to tank at any time? I expect the cross-realm LFG system will really help PUGs, but not guild-raids.

I think casual raid guilds pay a bigger penalty from the varying ratios needed in a raid than a hardcore guild. Casuals don’t like to bench, don’t tend to stack raids (by swapping people in and out during the raid), and so the inconsistency of a minimum tank number makes it tougher to try settling on a ‘right sized’ number of tanks within the guild.

Anyhow, here’s the illustrative diagram. The essential problem is the difference between the ratios across raiding, 5-mans and the actual characters on the realm.

tank equation population

The number of tanks is a function of supply and demand

The other issue I wanted to close on is that the tank situation we’ve talked about has at least a supply and demand side to its equation.

The demand-side is what Blizzard control with encounter design, and if they always required 3 tanks in 25-mans (that’s what I’d like), that creates demand for tanks. The supply-side are factors which reduce the number of tanks independent of the design, such as it taking more responsibility.

tank equation supply-demand

Blizzard can focus solutions to the tank situation on both parts of this equation.

Reforging, in Cataclysm, will help somewhat because you could turn a dps item into a tanking-oriented item, which fixes some loot distribution hurdles.

For further reading on this topic, please also read the comments and articles linked-to on the prior post on balance or DKs being benched.

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2 comments to Tanks just want to tank, plus supply-demand

  • The issues we are facing are to be splited given that you talk about high-end guilds that have a real roster that they can dynamically use in order to fit the needs of the bossfights/raid comp and other guilds which pretty much make the most of the resources at hand.

    The second one is the one that interests us all since we have to team up out of our guilds almost everyday and that our guildmates are intelligent guys to which we can explain the ABC of the DK (well most of them anyway :P ).

    Let aside the bad image provided by the Knoobs (oh man I’d like to slap some of them sometime) I think those are the points we most suffer from:

    1) DKs are (really) often described as “AOE Tanks”, but what does it really mean? That means we can control many mobs at the same time, not that you can start AOEing a pack of mobs before we start building aggro and we will get the aggro back from you.

    If everything goes well, if all the mobs are in the radius of the death&decay, if we apply and spread our diseases to all the mobs without misses… yes, we can hold an early and steady AOE. But when something gets in the way of our nice setup rotation (somebody pulling aggro, mob not recieving a disease etc.) and forces us to taunt, use death grip or so while you happily AOE all you can… that can end up bad.

    I can remember a setup on “early Emalon” where the Warrior tank laughed at me when I suggested I take Emalon and he takes the adds. I explained him that my “Anti-Magic Shell” allows me to avoid the damage of the nova which eases the work of the healers which were having a hard time on that evening. But no, he was MT and in his mind DK == AOE, the adds were mine to handle.

    2) The rune system is easy to understand… once you look at it. But I think there is a deep misunderstanding, even among DK players, of how rune/RP work. Runes take 10 seconds to come back online, that means that beside the global cooldown and the ability cooldown that are already common knowledge we have an additional cooldown to count with and that is new for most.

    I often had the question in heroic 5-man dongeons as to why I don’t always drop D&D to begin with. All those persons had in mind that runes function the way Rage or Mana work and they did not understand that a spell that I did not use for the last 30 seconds could not be “up” for use on the next pack. If I can impose my tempo, you will see D&D all the time, if not, don’t wonder…

    3) The last point is deeply linked with the way Wow is evolving and the public it is reaching. Remember the time when we had to wait for 3-4-5 “Breaking Armor” of our warrior tank before dropping a single DOT? In my opinion, unless you play the high content and try to beatup heroic raids there is no need for 100% concentration and organisation anymore. The tank threat is so high that even when you repeat to “wait that the tank has his back on the wall befor you start doing damage on Onyxia”, you endup with 20-ish dots and 5-10 guys hopping along the dragon doing half-blank damage…

    I don’t want to point the finger at anyone, but some of the stupid behaviour Protadins and Wardefs can handle with – for example -  non-space dependant multitarget aggro, we cannot… and the same way healers are loathed after a wipe, the DK tanks are hated because the cannot even handle stupid behaviour…

    • Gravity
      Twitter: gravitydk

      Oh yeah I remember waiting for 3 sunders before opening up on dps (40-man days, on my mage)! We needed a bit more discipline in raiding back then I think, but fark coordinating 40 people sucked ass.

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