Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"To Bear in Mind"

Yeah, I know the first post is titled after the blog name, I couldn't come up with something.

Anyways... Howdy all, thank you for checking out my blog, I'm going to open up with a little about the intent of writing this blog, and who I am, by leading into a topic I find near and dear to my heart, and the intent of this blog.

To start off with, my name is Sam, I play Feranel, a Bear Druid on Proudmoore, I've been playing Bear since about mid-BC when I swapped factions from my Orc Warrior, to play with my friends and tank for their raids (they needed tanks.)

Now, I had already had some experience tanking, namely, I played a Fury Warrior on Horde in Vanilla, which means, pre-BC, Horde didn't have Blessing of Salvation, so Fury wasn't as viable due to threat issues.  Subsequently I spent a lot of time specced half Prot so I could offtank for 20 man raids.   I didn't know what I was doing, just that I was told "Good tanks don't loose threat, for anything."  I guess I kinda took that to heart when I got Feranel up to 70 in BC and started tanking heroics to get my gear.

This is when I started to view heroics as a sort of "training ground" for tanking.  I learned a lot, about LoS, CC'ing, focus firing, I also started to learn a lot about leading groups of people.  Around the time Wrath hit I ended up being made my guild's Raid Leader because of this, but that's going to be a topic for another post.

I'm going to sort of re post a topic I posted in the tanking forums, I don't think I quite got the point across, I think I may have been a little too passive in an attempt to not be inflammatory, but I digress:

"If DPS pulls, or gets aggro by attacking the wrong target, I just let them die."

This bothers me to no end, for several reasons.  First of all, in my mind it's a breach of your duty as the tank, many will argue that it's not our job in a Pick up Group to cover for other people's mistakes, and perhaps it isn't, but when I click the Shield Icon and the Leader Checkbox, I believe that "Yes, it is."

Secondly, who are you  to be appointed judge, jury and executioner?  Do you think letting them die and have to run back is going to teach them "oh I did something wrong"?  Guess what, for the average person playing WoW, they aren't going to figure it out unless you tell them.  People don't react well to negative stimulus, not in this day and age.  Is it PC-BS coddling to keep them alive, then to politely explain why what they did is wrong and what they can do to improve?  Maybe.  Is it more effective than summarily punishing them for their actions? I believe so.  By and large these people are adults, treat them with the respect they deserve and more often than not you will receive that respect back.  This subject is also a digression that I wish to address in later posts.

The last thing that bothers me with the aforementioned statement is that it truly hurts no one but yourself.  If in every pull of every heroic run, when you lose aggro on something, you consciously make a determination if the person who pulled threat deserves to live or die,  I believe you are wasting time thinking that could be spent getting aggro back.

Furthermore, this hurts you, in my opinion, because you become so accustomed to making this decision that when you need to damn the consequences and hold aggro, you will hesitate, and you will fail.  Who cares if you guild's healer accidentally backs into a pack of trash while strategies are being given out, pick them up anyways.  If you don't the resulting wipe can cause time lost for your raid, and a reduction in morale that can negatively impact your raid's performance that night.

By extending this philosophy to every aspect of tanking I believe you are practicing good habits that will assist you in raiding, leading, and performing any role within a group of people.

I want to thank Feandel and Diamonium for their responses to the thread in the tanking forums, I won't go into Feandel's concerns at the moment, but I will address one of Diamonium's points:

I had used an analogy of "if a fighter always practiced to pull his punches, he will most likely pull them unintentionally when the time comes that he needs to strike." To which the response: "To continue with your analogy, a boxer who has a pro bout every day is going to lose every single one after the first." is posed.

This is a legitimate point.  Can you get burned out by giving it 100% in a heroic every time? Yes.  But I want to point out that you are your own "manager."  You decide if you are up to giving 100%, you decide if you want to queue up,  when I don't think I want to deal with it, or give it my all, I don't queue up.

Edit: I'd also like to follow this up to reiterate the point that I'm really trying to make here:  Any Athlete, Fighter, Martial Artist, heck, even Gamer, will tell you that the training is never over.  I am not so arrogant as to think there is nothing I can improve on.  There is always something to work on, and heroics are an excellent place to do this, the worse the group the better.  Treat every run like it's the real thing, and rise to the challenge of any adversity you face, you will be made stronger for it.

I think that about wraps it up, and gives everyone a taste of the theme for this blog.  This is going to be, well, my "soap box" for some of the ideals and mindsets I have when it comes to tanking, and playing, in groups of people.  If I come off a little preachy, well that's kinda the point.  Some of these posts will be technical in nature, some will be like this one, some will be silly, some will be just me rambling into the wind.  I hope you all have fun, and if anything, find some amusement, and maybe some insight into how I play the game.