Thursday, December 23, 2010

Don't piss off the tank

Just. Don't. Piss. Off. The. Tank.

I will be the first to admit that tanks in random groups can be jerks sometimes, especially since their queue times are zero and some of them take this as a license to be assholes. Most tanks I've run with (as well as most dps/healers) are nice, regular folks. Generally, people in randoms are well-behaved, in my experience, because they just want to finish the dungeon without too much drama.

I like to think that I'm a nice and accommodating group member. I always try to keep things civil and I don't want to upset anyone if I can help it. Now of course, when I'm running as a dps I prefer to keep my trap shut or else I might find myself booted but when I run as a healer I'm a lot more vocal and when I'm tanking, you better not fsck with me BIATCH!

When I tank, I have something akin to a "zero tolerance" policy or perhaps a "two strikes" policy. If you do something stupid, I'll warn you but if you do the same dumb thing again, you're on your own.

The other night I was running a random Scarlet Monastery Cathedral dungeon. As soon as I got in I noticed that the mobs were gleefully coming at me without being aggroed by me at all. After a couple of minutes I realized that someone was pulling them. It was the damn healer, of all people.

Fine, I decided to go with it, grabbing aggro and dispatching the mobs. The healer did a good job keeping me up but then he went and pulled more and yet more mobs. When we got to the actual cathedral he rushed in and pulled about half of the mobs. We survived and I said "Thanks for pulling for me". This remark got ignored of course.

Then he told me to pull the boss even though the room wasn't cleared. I decided to clear the room instead. What did the healer do? You guessed it! He pulled the boss. So what happens in Cathedral when you pull the boss and the place hasn't been cleared? All the remaining mobs, regardless if they are out of range or LOS, or in rooms, swarm you.

Since the healer felt that way, I decided to spare myself the trouble and declined to tank that nasty pull. I'm sure that if I had cooperated we might have been able to pull it off. The reason I didn't is because it creates a precedent and sends a signal to that healer and perhaps to other members of the group that it's ok to pull mobs whenever you feel like it, disregarding what the tank may feel about the situation.

So I did the only sensible thing, which is to shift to kitty and haul my ass out of the dungeon, while the group was being raped. Since I didn't have any aggro from the dozen mobs + boss, I didn't have any trouble running to the exit. On my way I typed "Have fun tanking". Maybe leaving like that wasn't fair to the rest of the group and I really feel for them but it was the healer's fault through and through.

It turns out that I'm a very good tank (so far) on my druid. I've received compliments on numerous occasions in regards to my tanking prowess. I don't make a habit of leaving groups at the drop of a hat despite the fact that my queues are instant. I respect others but in return I demand a modicum of respect, especially when I'm tanking. That healer had it coming and the group was doomed anyway under his... healership.

I've had another guy a couple of nights ago, dps this time, who was in a hurry or something because he kept urging me to pull lots of mobs. I ignored him and did my own thing. I'm not usually comfortable with pulling tons of mobs in random dungeons because healers are sometimes very good, sometimes bad but most often average and I go by the mantra "better it takes a couple of minutes longer than to wipe". Besides, successfully fighting large numbers of mobs also depends a lot on how efficient the dps is at AOE-ing them down.

So please, dear folks, whatever your role, give the tank some respect and in return you will receive it (unless the tank is a total dick in which case he's not worth a dry turd anyway). Unless the tank specifically requests it, DO NOT PULL under any circumstance. The tank sets the pace, not the dps and not the healer. If you don't like it, that's too bad, put up or shut up. If you really got the itch to go at your own pace I suggest trying a tanking class or spec. Let's see how you like it when others are trying to run the show for you.


Lugnut Daffodil said...

I support ya 100% on this. Absolutely.

It's tough avoiding idiots in WoW. So tough, that I'm about thiiiiis close to finally finding myself a big guild and just doing instance runs with them. Even that isn't foolproof, but nice peaceful instance run-throughs are bound to be more plentiful that way. With all the new guild perks, it looks like Blizzard wants us to do that anyway, if possible. Already on numerous occasions I've gotten into a random Cata instance and saw the other four guys were all in the same guild and they were just short one dude.

Redbeard said...


We had an idiot in The Steamvault the other day who was jawing with the tank on how to properly pull. The tank was doing a decent enough job, but not well enough for this DPS guy. Finally, the tank decides she's had it and drops. Mouthy DPS drops too, and there's three of us stuck with a 40+ minute wait for replacements. (It's The Steamvault, at level, when most everyone else is cruising through Northrend instead.)

When someone was asking me why I was doing something not optimal in UK, like who of the pair of bosses to go after, my response is always "I do what the tank asks first". If the tank asks for something stupid, I'll point it out beforehand, but once things start, I follow orders. a pull is not the time to start a rebellion.

sb_ said...

First you start by telling us most people that run dungeons are nice people but there are a few assholes. You then proceed to tell us that you think you are a nice dude but that you are also an asshole.

If it took you a couple of minutes to figure out who was pulling you are clearly lacking of the situational awareness necessary to preform even the most basic of tasks in an instance. Now what the healer was telling you is that you need to pull more mobs and faster because this is going retardedly slow and my healing is much better than this. The healer ignoring your comment was the professional thing to do instead of shitting all over you for being a slow, shitty tank.

The mobs would actually swarm mostly to the healer, because heals add agro to all mobs in the area, until somebody else caught them on agro. Your conclusion about creating precedent is erroneous because you missunderstood the situation entirely; the problem was you, not the healer. In addtion to all that you run out of the dungeon making childish remarks fucking at the very least the 3 DPS who were not involved at all.

As a druid it is easy to tank passibly and even give the apperance of being good; I can assure you that you are no expert. You don't rate to demand respect, an even if you do, you still have to earn it. Never make another joke.

Your mantra should be "I don't bother taking the time to figure out how good the healer is on the first pulls to determine how fast to run this instance". Minimize the time spent running by maximizing the potential of the party. Instead of pulling 15 mobs at once you can pull 3 mobs 5 times and just keep going and let the healer out of combat to get a tic or two of drinking in before returning to heal.

So give everybody in the party the same respect that you expect they give you and things will work out much better. You might even end up liking some of them and running another dungeon. Being a tank doesn't make you a good party or raid leader. In this case you as the writer of this article should just take orders from somebody who knows what is going on. Consider if a tank had never run the dungeon but I as a DPS had run it twenty or so times.

Darth Solo said...

@sb_ are you that healer by any chance? Evidently not because things didn't go the way you imagine. Oh you are so off base, I don't even know where to start. But I'll try.

The first thing the healer did when zoning in was to run ahead of me and pull. I did not figure out in the first couple of minutes who it was (I knew that someone was pulling) because I was busy grabbing aggro from all those mobs and tanking them, i.e. doing my job.

It's not that the healer was getting aggro because of his awesome healz. No, he was getting it because he RAN AHEAD OF EVERYONE ELSE, pulling mobs. That's not the healer's (or the dps') job, no matter how you spin it. Once I grab aggro no one can shake it off me, at least not at this level. So yeah, it wasn't because I'm a crappy tank. Did you miss the part where I said that I often get very positive comments from random group members. Stuff like "wow, I can't grab aggro off you no matter how hard I try" and "you're the best tank I've run with in a while" and so on and so forth.

I did not claim to be a leader because in dungeons that I don't know I will gladly defer leadership to someone who knows the dungeon. I merely stated that the tank sets the pace of the run, not the healer and not the dps. If you don't believe in this, methinks you've never tanked. Oh and there aren't a whole lot of dungeons short of Cataclysm that I don't know and haven't run dozens of times in various roles over the years.

Who said anything about being slow? Just because I didn't mention whether I'm a slow tank or not doesn't mean that I'm slow. As a matter of fact I generally like to chain-pull mobs and keep going until the healer is low on mana, at which point I'll pop an Innervate on him/her and keep going. There's a difference between chain-pulling and pulling half the damn instance.

As for being nice, I am obviously a nice person because I took the time to give you a lengthy reply when I could have just deleted your comment or insulted you for trolling on my blog :) If you still fail to see that I'm not a jerk in game (or in real life), please read the post more carefully. And yeah, even nice people sometimes get fed of others' bullshit. As I've said, leaving the group wasn't something I'm really proud of and I felt bad for the rest of the group but there has to be a point where you draw the line and I had reached that point.

And one final thing. As a tank I don't care how many times a dps has run the dungeon. Good for them, I need someone experienced to tell me what problems I might encounter or what quirks that particular dungeon has. But that doesn't mean that I (as a tank) have to run at that guy's pace.

The tank sets the pace. I accept that as a dps, I accept it as a healer and I demand it as a tank. End of story.

Pouncealot said...

When mobs are going ballistic, that's not the time to try and figure out who caused them to get cranky, get the situation under control and you can figure out the culprit afterwards. You definitely did the right thing.

I normally run as a healer (although I tank and DPS too) After a few pulls I get a feel for the group and more importantly the tank. At that point, I'll whisper them to let them know if they like they can pull more (but it's entirely up to them.) I let them go at the pace they are most comfortable with. I'm farily good playing the role of a healer, pugged a lot, been in some very bad situations. I've learned a lot as a healer, and I continue to learn. It's a role I enjoy immensely.

It's interesting when your thrust into those situations to see how well you do with the spells you have. I ran into a healer like the one in your story. Wouldn't you know it, it was in Scarlet Monastery? He kept pulling for the tank. Initially the tank didn't say anything. Although he was capable of handling what the priest did, it was obvious that it annoyed him. He told him, if he did it again that he would be tanking those mobs. I'd whispered the tank and told him I was a healer and could heal if needed. I just swapped sets to DPS. (It's always nice when the tank tells me if he's going to pull fast. I can keep up but it's nice to have a warning.) Fast forward a few minutes later, the healer tanks again, the mobs make a beeline for our healer. The tank did nothing and the healer dies. I healed and we killed the mobs. Healer rage quits, we finished the instance with four people. This was before LFD. I agree the tank sets the pace. It always annoys me when people disregard their role in a dungeon and try to take on another role. If you want to tank, roll the appropriate class. ;)

Anonymous said...

I don't always agree with Darth here, but SB is dead wrong.

I utterly fail to see how NOT communicating is somehow the most ideal approach to anything. A dungeon group needs to work together to achieve a common end. Only the biggest jerk would try to force others to play at their speed from the rear by pulling mobs nobody else is ready for yet.

The tank is pointman. You let them pull just as quickly as they deem prudent. When you are in charge you can do it your way. When you follow someone else's lead you give them your support. Respect flows both ways. Those that cannot respect others likely don't even respect themselves. Mutuality is a foreign language to such a person.

Darth did not end up behaving like an angel either. But the group got what it deserved. He made some clue-full comments that went ignored. Those folks couldn't catch a clue. Alright then. When the healer pulled mobs they couldn't handle, they got burned. Why? Because they didn't prick up their ears to what Darth had told them and because they didn't respect the tanking service he was providing on that run. I guess they didn't need him. Exit Darth, stage left.

You follow the chain of command. Everyone has a role to play. You play your role and not someone else's. You don't waste time questioning point or distracting him/her from doing their job their way. In both the real and virtual worlds, that's how folks die.

End of fucking story.

sb_ said...

@DarthSolo, I have spent a significant amount of time healing and I once again I can assure you that I know what I am doing. It is easy to immediately determine who pulled because that's the first person you have to pull agro off of (exceptions being Rogues vanishing, Hunters feigning, and a Pally throwing up a bubble). People let or accept the tank setting the pace, but ultimately it's the group that sets the pace. Consider a tank pulling too fast for the healer to keep up, the group will continually whipe until the tank learns to pull only as much or as little as the group can handle. Being a tank doesn't mean you know what you are doing, because you clearly don't.

@Pouncealot, get the dick out of your mouth when you speak.

@Anon I would first like to point out that I did say, "[s]o give everybody in the party the same respect that you expect they give you and things will work out much better". Communication verbally or via written text is ideal but not being an obtuse moron helps to pick up on the other queues as well. You are clearly of some sort of military, probably in the Army and probably a pog. If the tank is the pointman, then remember two things. In MOUT the 2 man runs the stack. And in the chain of command for a fireteam it is team leader, automatic rifleman, assisstant automatic rifleman, rifleman (aka pointman); note the pointman is only in charge of his own self as far as CoC is concerned.

Pull fast, pull hard, and pull long because if you haven't chain pulled the entire instance you aren't doing it correctly.

Tango, out?

Darth Solo said...

@sb_ we can agree to disagree. But please don't insult others who have not insulted you back. Consider this as your second warning.

I stand by my position which is this: the tank sets the pace. It is up to the tank to figure out (by observing how the healer heals and how the dps can dish it out) if he can go slower or faster.

With some groups it is impossible to go fast because either the healer can't heal well enough or the dps are crappy so it takes ages to take those mobs down.

I've played this game for 4 years now and telling me that I don't know what I'm doing is ridiculous. I've run hundreds of 5-man dungeons and during the past year I've also healed and tanked. I have a feel for what makes a good tank, a good healer and good dps. I never fish for compliments, yet I receive them very often when tanking. I'm sure that if I was a crappy tank I'd get booted instead of being complimented so your assertion, again, fails.

For every opinion there's at least one dissenting opinion and I respect that even though I don't agree with it.

Thanks though @sb_ for giving me the inspiration for writing a post about what I think makes a good tank. Feel free to drop by and counter my points :)

Peace all!

Shannara said...

Death has it right. Ive been in instances as both a healer and a tank .. crap, and as dps. If anyone but tank pulls, I warn, 2nd time I leave.

If they are dumb enough not to use their brain, then they have no business being in an instance.

Had a tank last night who didn't know what CC is. We explained, marked, no AOEs (of course), and he still repeatedly broke it. So we left.

Darth Solo said...

Thank you Shannara. What instance was it where you needed to use CC? I'm assuming Cata because the older instances can still be steamrolled without any CC. Which is sad in a way. So far in Cata, for the regular dungeons that I ran, there wasn't a single instance where CC was used. I think that's not the case for heroics.

Tam said...

Groups like this simply aren't worth your time, and I don't think you were an arsehole to do what you did. If people make the choice to behave badly, you have the right to choose to punish them for it. Obviously I wasn't there so I can't judge the group dynamic, but I do think there's *possibly* an extent to which the rest of the DPS might have got caught in the crossfire. I don't know if they were intending to support the healer or would have supported you if you'd directly addressed the problems with the healer and obviously it was not your responsibility to dig them out of a hole of their own making BUT in letting the healer deal with the consequences of this stupidity, you inadvertantly hung the rest of the group out of to dry.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticising here, and I'm not trying to use the "needs of the many" argument to pressure you into tolerating bad behaviour, or sacrificing yourself in the name of group. But generally if I'm going to do something that could potentially fuck over more people than the person I want to fuck over, I try to give warning. So I'll say "if you pull when I'm oom again, I will not heal" and therefore if the tank rushes into the next room while I'm still drinking, the DPS can make an informed decision about whether they want to sit next to me or chase after the tank, knowing they might all wipe as a consequence. But, again, communicating with the group is, as far as I'm concerned, optional.

Also I agree with what you said above: as far as I'm concerned the tank sets the pace. That doesn't mean "the tank goes at whatever speed he fancies", it means the tank adapts himself to the strength of the group. The tank is the person best placed to make that judgement call, not only because s/he's literally at the front for entirely practical reasons but also because s/he'll have the best idea of his/her own durability and the speed at which mobs are dying. A DPS should not get to set the pace by going "GOGOGOGO" nor should a healer, who is significantly less well placed to make a sensible judgement call on a pull, think it is ever ever a good idea to speed things up by pulling for the tank. If I did, I'd fully expect the tank to leave me to die in a pool of my own shame.

Darth Solo said...

@Tam you are right, I'm not upset by your comment in the least. Actually I tend to disagree a little bit, in that the healer is entitled to suggest that the tank go faster if he is confident enough in his healing abilities. But it's one thing to suggest this, another to keep pushing the tank to "gogogogo" and yet another to pull for the tank.

That is, of course, if the tank is going at a normal pace. If he's going extra slow, then I'd say that the group members as a whole have the right to ask the tank if he could move faster or otherwise (if he's really bad) kick him and hope for a better one.

Personally I'd say I move faster than the average, provided the healer can keep up and the dps can kill stuff quickly enough. I like to finish instances quickly so I can get on with other stuff.