You Are Not Your Tanking Pants

TGAPGeorge – Warrior Tank

I read a post by Namthe on his blog, The View From Down Here about Tanking gear and perception. Perception being that although we have new spells and abilities, access to new gear, and are joined by Death Knights, Druids, and Paladins as effective Tanks, Tanking itself has not changed.

You know what? He’s got a point.

Back in the day — which was a Tuesday. Fun fact — and before my time, “Tank” was synonymous with Warrior. There weren’t any other options. Over time, we’ve been giving things to help us tank more effectively — yes, even other classes to help out — but the fact remains our job, our mission is the same as always. Or, as Namthe puts it:

What has changed is our tools. We now have bigger and more varied tools at our disposal. The tools doth not make the player – a good tank is a good tank regardless of what abilities he has to hand. Tanking is all about spatial awareness, positioning and quick reactions (when it’s necessary to save someone). That hasn’t changed.

He’s absolutely right. And here’s the proof: by November 18th, 2008, the guild TwentyFiifthNovember had cleared all of WOTLK content. All of it in three days. That’s every heroic, full Naxx 25, and Malygos.

And a lot of their gear was still level 70.

How did they do it? Skill. No excuses, no needing the “proper” gear, no whining about being nerfed. Just plain, unadulterated skill.

So what does that mean for us Tanks? It means we need to practice. We need to read and study. We need to know our class, abilities, and job through and through.

Focus on:

  • How to keep aggro
  • What’s happening to you and your raid at all times
  • Situational Awareness (Different from above)
  • Communication and coordination
  • Keeping the healers alive
  • Keeping everyone alive

It doesn’t matter how much DPS you put up — other than for aggro. It doesn’t matter if a Mage keeps riding your threat. It doesn’t even matter if you yourself die at the end. The only thing that matters is you get your job done and get it done well.

For you have done your job and accomplished your mission ONLY when the boss is on the ground, Dead.

Here is another quote from Namthe, adapted from Chuck Palahniuk:

* You are not the buttons you press to keep aggro.
* You are not your class.
* You are not the gear you wear, nor the buffs you give out.
* You are not a beautiful and unique, heavily armored snowflake, and your toon is the same collection of fleeting pixels as everybody else’s.

If you know Fight Club, then you’ll understand.

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3 Responses to You Are Not Your Tanking Pants

  1. Hawksong/Mojin says:

    I respectfully disagree that getting the job done is good enough. I think I made my opinion clear on Namthe’s blog, but I’d also like to add three other blog posts as support for my reasoning.

    The first is Kadomi’s post on why DPS matters
    http://www.tanklikeagirl.com/2009/01/16/dps-matters

    Then there’s Veneretio’s posts. The first is on how the Threat Game is over
    http://www.tankingtips.com/2008/10/21/we-mourn-the-passing-of/

    And the follow up on Maximizing DPS and Minimizing Damage
    http://www.tankingtips.com/2008/10/24/your-role-maximizing-dps-and-minimizing-damage-taken/

    In the end, it’s my feeling that good tanking is a matter of opinion and if your method works for you, by all means, continue. However, I also feel that any player that stops at “getting the job done” is doing a diservice to themselves and their groups.

  2. TGAPGeorge says:

    First of all, thank you Mojin for taking the time to comment here. We appreciate it!

    Second, respectfully, I read your opinion on Namthe’s blog and I disagree with you. This is why I quoted Namthe and not you at the beginning of this blog post.

    We agree about a Tank’s job, but differ perhaps in the end goal. A Tanks purpose is not to put up DPS, it’s to do everything possible (which is quite a lot) to make the Boss die.

    I read the three blog posts you cited as support when they came out, but I don’t think they support your opinion like you think they do.

    My philosophy of tanking was put into words by that same post by Kadomi:
    I have never given a shit about where I stand in the DPS meters. If the boss died, and I’m last on the meters, but THE BOSS DIED, who the fuck cares? Out of all the DPS, someone has to be last.

    Veneretio, in the post you cited says this:
    Our personal DPS is important, but it’s still not as important as the Party/Raid’s overall DPS.
    He goes on to say that your first task is to get 5 sunders up, ignoring Sword N Board. DPS is second. DPS is just a threat mechanic. DPS is not getting the job done.

    DPS is only in the picture recently because of new ability and threat changes. That’s it. If threat was caused by how many times we could spin around, then the purpose of a Tank would not suddenly be to put a lot of spins up on recount.

    Mojin, my intention is not to be a jerk here, really it isn’t. We may have to agree to disagree.

    Let me put it this way: If you are running a marathon, there is a time to go slow and a time to go fast. It doesn’t matter if it takes everything you have to sprint through the ribbon and collapse soon after, you finished the race.

    You did your job.

  3. Hawksong/Mojin says:

    *shrug* I definitely see your point and think we should make it the tanking community’s priority to get this “spinning” ability into the game! 😉 Seriously though, it’s hard to express attitude via text sometime, so let me come out and say that I’m not trying to be a jerk either; just incite conversation about the current nature of tanking. I think that the discussions across the tanking boards and blogs are what makes the tanking community so great.

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