Nerf AoE Tanking!

January 26, 2010

What a lot of noise folks are making these days about topping the meters.  People coming up with nonsense about dps behaving themselves and being sensible.  Waiting for the tank to get aggro, focus firing marked adds, being careful with aoe, all that kind of rubbish.

Now I’ve seen seen plenty of dps.  I’ve watched them unleash torrents of agony on their foes, and laughed as they’ve ended up as a mushy smear on the ceiling, and am pretty confident when I say that there are two types of dps…

The first type don’t care about the meters.  They probably don’t care about skill, or sense or much of anything really.  They’re just out to enjoy themselves and couldn’t give a hoot about honing their skills or looking impressive.  These folks will stumble through an instance, sometimes autoattacking, occasionally casting something inappropriate…

As long as they’re happy, it’s hard to mind them much.  Any deficiencies are usually more than made up for by the second type.  The meter whores.

Now, before I talk about them, I’m going to reminisce about the days before tanks got their aoe abilities.  I remember when holding solid aggro on three mobs was a sign of a tank who knew what they were doing (and I met plenty who didn’t).  Back then there were still a lot of groups of five, sometimes six, that needed to be dealt with.  The tank would take three of them, and it was the job of the dps and healers to deal with the rest.

Many times I heard the cry “LFM CC for SL”!

Sometimes the dps would screw up their CC, and there would be much recrimination and calling of “noob”.  Other times the dps would pull off the sort of feats I that would leave me overjoyed at their display of skill.

I remember a bad pull in Shattered Halls where two packs took out the tank, a melee and me, but a hunter and warlock downed them through the most intricate dance of kiting, aggro swapping, trapping, seduction, fearing and pet tanking I’ve ever seen.  Pure unadulterated skill.

My ‘lock alter-ego used to love dealing with the adds in Black Morass, the hardest part of which was persuading a pug group that I was more than capable of doing it and really didn’t need any help.  I really enjoyed how that was an excercise in skill, and revelled in the comments afterwards.

Ah, I miss those days.  Once they ended, my various dps alter-egos have been benched.  The fun has gone out of that part of the game for me, and a lot of that is because as a healer I get a good view of idiocy in all its forms, and spend a lot of time watching how irresponsible dps endangers group progress, and wondering whether I bother healing them or laugh as they die.

Which makes me want to dps responsibly.  Which means being anonymous, showing restraint and not standing out from the crowd.  Not trying to top the meters…

Remember the other cry, that echoed around the world?  “LFM pala tank, mech, last spot”!

Oh yes, the heady days when dps just didn’t have to worry any more.  Consecrate freed them of their responsibilities and they could revel in the pure joy of repeatedly pressing their aoe damage button.  Instances became fast badge dispensers devoid of challenge or interruption, except on the occasions when the poor healer, huffing and puffing along behind found his throughput overwhelmed by the unprecedented amount of damage the tank was taking (which would lead to much recrimination and calling of “noob”).

And the forums were filled with the cries of bears and lamentations of the prot warriors, who no-one wanted to group with anymore because it meant they had to work harder.  Why face a challenge when you could spam LFG for hours waiting for a Pally tank to carry you mindlessly through another badge run?

Given a choice between going against the wishes of the entire player base and nerfing consecrate, or giving the other tanks comparable abilities, Blizzard chose the latter.  Anything else would have been a shot in the foot, business-wise, if not a shot in the head.

For a couple of months of nerfed content and levelling through Northrend, the consequences of this remained unseen.  But sure enough, once the dps had glutted on the carefree easiness of their new role in groups, they realised that everyone else thought they were just facerolling lightweights, one-button-spamming their way through an instance.

No more revelling in the admiration of their companions as they showcased their control over the mobs of the world.  Just a stark choice – beat the rest of the group on the dps meters, or be consigned to the umbra of anonymity forever.

We must remember, dps exist to blow stuff up.  How many of them could genuinely be satisfied were it to be said of them “he’s a third-on-the-meters kind of guy”?

So that’s why I started this saying people were talking rubbish about getting dps to stop obsessing about their place on the meters.  It’s not going to happen… because they have nothing else left!

Sure, someone could try a bit of CC in an instance, but why give your fellows a leg up on the meters?  It’s not like they’d avoid breaking CC (I know this, because I shackle mobs on the pre-gauntlet path in heroic PoS whenever I feel the tank is a little on the squishy side, and see what happens every time).

Now I’m not saying I like the situation.  The opposite in fact, as I’ve swapped the feeling of being a valued member of a skilled and disciplined team for feeling like the harassed mother of a bunch of sugar-filled toddlers playing beside a motorway.

But I do know that unfocussed QQ about the situation is futile.  There is only one thing that can change the current paradigm…  A grassroots campaign demanding that Blizzard nerf the AoE threat generation abilities of all tanking classes.

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One Response to “Nerf AoE Tanking!”

  1. […] change of focus from skill to gear that I discussed in my “Nerf AoE Tanking!” post is also exacerbated by this. With control abilities abandoned in favour of spamming the AoE […]

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