Remember how I said I’d frequently update? Yeah, I’m so sorry, guys, but I haven’t been (shock!). This blogging thing is new to me and it seems that, unless there is very real danger in not posting, I can’t be arsed to do it. But you know what? Eff that. Eff that right in its eff-zone, because I love posting, I love this blogging thing, and I want to do it more. So I’m going to. No more “meh but the idea I have is shit, I won’t blog about it” BS I come up with. Idea comes to mind worth posting about? I’MMA DO IT, GANG. There is no way I’m letting this be something else I give up on after five minutes.
So, today’s post. Yep. I’ve had this idea for a bit now, and I wanted to really share it in case there are low-level tanks looking for advice, or even players who have been around since Vanilla and haven’t tanked but want to. This post idea came about after a weird little Dire Maul – West run.
Now, to preface, allow me to strut my feathers like the good little boy peacock I am: I am a good low-level bear tank. I am, really. I know what to look for in gear (barring the few levels when I was starting out when I used Intellect leather, but guys I thought I would be a boomkin so shush), I know what the hell my abilities do, I can LOS pull, I can kite (I’ve played a hunter for six years – I can kite, baby, you just have no idea), I can do all of that hoo-hah that you level-capped tanks can do.
But there’s one thing I cannot do, and it is not my fault: I can’t reduce incoming damage. By that I mean I have no defensive CDs yet, so in essence I’m tanking au naturel. Big spike damage coming from the boss? LOL HEAL THROUGH IT PLZ. I don’t have Shield Block (gained @ level 28) and I do not have Divine Protection (gained @ level 30). What I have, by level 29, are two points in Feral Swiftness (4% dodge) and one point in Thick Hide (which equates to a metric assload of armor). At level 30, when both other tanking classes have one or more defensive CDs, I have none. Now, this is not to say that I have nothing going for me – quite the opposite! As a druid I have more passive mitigation in my dodges and the sick armor from Thick Hide (yay for 4.0.6!) to hold me over, so I’m not exactly keeling over every pull.
But, I’d be lying if I said that the lack of CDs were not noticible.
Preface aside, here’s how it went down: I zone in with a shaman healer, warrior DPS, paladin “DPS”, a hunter, and myself as tank. I grab all of the quests from the charming Dagg’thol (what? You want me to bow before your Master, do you? I dunno, Daggy, I have this thing about bowing before Masters who have less than five eyes… oh you don’t say. How many?) and Mr. Warpwood and trek forward. The shaman, upon inspection, is running low on mana. No problem, Innervate hoooo! and I’m back in bear form, popping Enrage and being a polite, patient deathmachine. Then I notice a shield. It belongs to my best friend, the paladin. Thankfully he does not have Righteous Fury on, so I assume he has no dual-spec and expected to tank (why he queued for tank and damage, I haven’t the foggiest). No big deal, this has happened before and the runs have gone smoothly.
My other best friend, the shaman, is bursting with mana, and so we adventure on. Faerie Fire (Feral) the big tree to my right, charge into the pack of treants on my left, and we’re off to the races. For those keeping track at home, the packs of treants come in two varieties: singular or triplicate. This pull happened to have three treants, so that puts us at four monsters hitting my furry behind at once. I’ve tanked more and lived, through liberal kiting, application of Demo Roar, and interrupts, so I honestly thought nothing of it. Dear readers, I came out of that pull with 2HP. There is no punchline.
As much of a tank as I am, I am also a healer, and a DPSer, so after the initial pull and I’m spamming Maul or Mangle for a few seconds, I like to see what everyone else is doing: what they’re casting, where they’re standing, if they’re AFK… the usual. The shaman (my other bestest friend, if you’ll recall) did not start healing until I was on the last treant. So! He was busy: his house was on fire, his grandma fell down a well, his baby was crying, his dog learned to speak and was cursing at him very harshly, his girlfriend was hitting him, his boyfriend was leaving him. It happens, I understand.
Three pulls laters, I’m dead. Now, I have no shaman past 20, nor have I any idea how they heal (I know they like putting stuff that looks like floating poo around me, which is awesome in a 5th grade sense of humor). I do, on the other hand, know how to heal. I know that spamming your low-cost, long-cast heal when the tank is getting hit steadily is a good thing, nay a great thing. I also know that when my HP drops below 20 and I can do nothing but watch while I die, you better pray to all the Loa you can think of, ’cause I wanna see that high-cost, fast-cast heal firing. In essence, I’d like you to heal, and to do it with some semblance of knowledge. I saw neither of this. Instead, I see this:
“god youre terrible. let the pally tank.”
I’m sorry, I blacked out there. For a second I was swimming in a sea of red with shapes moving beyond my sight, indeed beyond my realm of kin, with all of the hate the universe could ever dare produce pumping like magma in my chest. I’m… I’m what?
Friends, let me fill you in on a secret: I am emotionally involved in this game. Let’s define that! It means I care about the people I play with and value my time spent in game. I am invested in this blogging community we have, with the shithole we call an official forum, with the dickheads and the carebears. I care, is what I’m saying, and sometimes I care with my hatred of everything “brotacular” and sometimes I don’t.
I was offended. I was also hurt, I really was. I denied all responsibility to myself. It’s not my fault, I told myself, it’s Blizzard’s for not giving me the tools to perform my job… to his… standa- Wait. To his standards? No. Nononono. Negative, Ghost Rider. Though I still felt that pang in my chest, the one which always follows the slights of LFD dickmuffins, I also felt something like indignation. (“Oh, I’m not good enough for Mr. Shaman, eh? Really? Shall I go respec prot warrior and Last Stand/Shield Block my way to e-fame for your whims? Art thou not entertained, Caesar?”) In a moment I’m proud of, though, I said simply, “Why?”
“idk i just like healing palas. just fucking let pala tank gees”
“Again: why? Do I get a reason or is it ‘because I said so’?”
Nothing. No answer. Nothing, really, from the shaman after that, except some random garble before he left group about “putting *something* near the silljin”. Though, I did get to contend with the hunter pulling every goddamn thing in sight and the warrior making love to his Taunt ability. It was rough, but I did it, and do you know why?
Because I am decent. I know my speech at the top of the post was full of bravado, but guys, honestly, I’m only pretty good, not great. You may see me in a LFD PUG and think “I’ve had better” but I guarantee you’ve had worse.
And this brings me to the title of this post (I applaud you if you’ve made it this far): you are a good tank. I promise you are, no matter what the dickpants in LFD PUGs say. I know you. I’ve leveled alts through LFD. I’ve probably healed you before, or DPSed while you tanked. You’ve made mistakes, and sometimes we’ve wiped, but that’s okay, because I’ve had fun during those times. We may have never seen each other again, but put me behind a healer while you tank and I’ll remember you vividly from our times in Scarlet Monastery/BRD/BC dungeons/Wrath dungeons. Do you know why? Because you’re a good tank, and let me tell you, you’re a fucking dime a dozen.
You will mess up, my friends. You will hit one button when you meant to hit another, and you will wipe. You will focus on the boss while adds are swarming your healer and you will wipe. You will die because you’re eating a sandwich. It’s okay. I promise that you’ll learn, that you’ll adapt and, eventually, people will make level 1 alts on your server/faction just to ask you how they should gem/enchant their gear. All it takes is practice and the devotion to your craft to power through the shitmongers and idiots and just get better at your own pace.
Back in Vanilla, there was a semi-spoken truce among druids: Horde or Alliance, PVP flagged or not, you just didn’t hurt each other. The druid population was dwindling, and support for the class seemed non-existent. This was before Alamo’s famous DURID manifesto. At the time, if you played a druid, you played it because fuck yeah druids best class ever, not because you were OP. Where is that these days? Camaraderie, my friends, I’m looking for the camaraderie.
More examples: in junior high (for my friends over-seas, this would put me in about 7th grade), I had geek friends. I was not all that popular, but the best friends I had then were my geek friends (apart from one friend who was a jock, and we’re still friends to this day). If someone picked on one of us, we’d group up at one of our houses and play video games and tell stories about how we heard that bully was caught picking his nose on the bus or something equally stupid. We bonded together through our adversary.
As adults, our adversaries are immaterial things like money, the time we have left to live, or simply how to survive. We have nothing concrete to direct our anger at. Instead, some of us turn to video games to calm down our aggression. Killing this internet dragon feels good because we are powerful in this game, because we are not John Doe who has ten bills to pay and little money to pay it with. We all do this at some point in our life. Everyone who plays World of Warcraft shares this, and is united by this.
And yet instead the culture sees how my gear is better than yours or how I love blood elves and you love dwarves or how I love Uldum and you love cheese. Does it fucking matter? Really? Why do we have to be so goddamn rude to each other? Yes, I’ve read John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, but I hold a unique position of being completely opposite of that theorem (more on that in another post) and thus am forced to wonder: why?
(Addendum: This spiraled out of control, really. It went from rant to actual post to me ranting again about idiots on the internet. To note: I, honestly, am not upset at the shaman for being rude. What I am upset about is the culture within WoW which believes him a hero for being a douche for no reason whatsoever. That’s all, really.)