Tanking!

The fear to tank was something like a fear to start a melee toon. You know, you have to take all the mob or boss hits upon you, and then you die.

Moreover, while no one will be there to blame you when you’re leveling or when you are one of many DPS (if you’re not picking your nose during encounters, of course), being a tank means huge responsibility. Yes, there are encounters when one stupid mistake from a healer or a DPS may wipe the raid (like Thok the Merry Dinosaur). But in most cases the most popular reason for wipes is exactly poor tanking.

Tanks don’t only have to have a literally thick skin to face the boss. They also need a thick skin to face the raid itself. More often than not, everyone is sure that the reason for wipe is everybody else.

Jack joins a PuG to fight some bosses
And all the noobs there must get shot
Somehow Jack is very sure
That “all the noobs” includes him not

Obviously tanks and healers are always responsible for everything that is going on. You, mighty DPS, stood in the bad, you aggroed everything in sight, but you died because you were not healed properly and because tanks didn’t re-aggro all the 2 rooms you collected. You had an evil mob going for you, so you go to the farthest corner hoping that it will lose interest. Tanks obviously see all the room and must rush to the rescue – to take a mob off you, and healers have a raid zone-wide range of their healing spells, so it’s them to blame.

More often than not, a death of a group member is blamed on tanks and/or healers. And very few have enough wit or courage to ask themselves: did I do everything alright? Everything which depends on me – was it done top notch? So, normally the group chat is instantly filled with the nastiest comments about “noobs to blame”.

That is also one of the reasons NOT to try tanking. In case of any mistake, yours or everyone else’s, tanks get 98% of foul language upon them. You, the player, must have a thick skin to shake off these comments, have a cool head to analyze your mistakes and try again. Not everyone can do that.

Stressful as it is, Gottenbar, my Tauren Gladiator Warrior had no choice but to try tanking. I like the vibe of sword-and-board fighting, probably most of all melees. But I never tanked properly in my life, and I took Protection spec only when they introduced us Gladiator talent which means you’re performing a DPS role.

In Legion they will take Gladiator from us. Blizzard doesn’t like Gladiator as DPS, and they have no resources now to design it as a fourth spec. So, Gottenbar had some choices to make.

  • Arms – the feeling is extremely ridiculous. While I enjoy the concept of slow strong blows, the animations are awful. Most of all I hate that you must ALWAYS perform a hit or two over a dead body. It’s insane!
  • Fury – well, Bons the Gnome is my Fury warrior, and I don’t need another one.
  • Protection – the only choice left is to get ready for Legion through tanking. It’s a new experience and it will let me keep my shield :)

So, Gottenbar took the tanking path. I did the Proving Grounds. Bronze was easy, maybe too easy. Silver was harder, but I made it up to Wave 8, and failed at it 3 times before I got my Heroic dungeons pass.

Actually playing a Gladiator means that you dress up for normal protection as well. I had only to change my Epic Ring, and I was good and packed in best LFR HFC gear that the raid offers. So considering gear it’s endgame for me, nothing to desire from HFC :)

It’s learning that matters. And I think I performed real good.

Considering it was my first 2 days of tanking, I have effectively tanked the 3 wings of Hellfire Citadel. I didn’t die a SINGLE time. My health DIDN’T drop below 50%, because I learned to use my cooldowns. I didn’t get a SINGLE word of blame in a raid chat, except that some stray crowman was attacking one of the group members during Shadowlord Iskar encounter and he was irritated that we “can’t hold aggro” (by the way, he was running in the other corners of the room).

And I didn’t fail to perform the major encounter tactics, although there was some mash up with Iron Reaver. The other tank didn’t swap with me when I had Artillery on me, so the boss runs after me, the silly raid follows, and BOOM! minus half the raid health.

Nevertheless, I have extremely enjoyed the whole experience and eager to tank all the Highmaul, Blackrock Foundry and the rest 2 wings of Hellfire Citadel. And Gottenbar will be my tanking toon in Legion :)

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