I might not have any hard data to hand to back this up but I don’t think it’s wrong to say tanking is the role least people opt for. It’s tough and has good points and bad. I’m undoubtedly going to be in the minority when I say I love tanking 5 mans, (which is predominantly pug groups), and loathe tanking raids. Why? I hear you ask. Well that’s the point of this post.
Tanking has evolved over the years. In the beginning it was all about threat and not a lot else. You kept the bad guys hitting you rather than the squishy classes and you were done. Today, I think it’s fair to say it’s a lot more complex.
Why do I like tanking 5 mans? Surely as they’re mostly pug groups I should prefer tanking raids which are made up of my friends. The reason why I don’t is because of the nature of the role of the tank. In a 5 man the tank has the greatest control. If a dps pulls a mob or pack of mobs then as a tank you can pick them up and continue on as normal. If the healer is having trouble healing you then you can blow some cd’s and keep going. In short you can compensate for a lot of the mistakes other players make. You can do this to a certain extent as healer, but if a mob starts beating on you and the tank doesn’t pick it up, then a dead healer does no heals. Sure there’s some mistakes you just can’t compensate for, but as a general rule tanking 5 mans makes for a smoother run than any other role. For a control freak like myself it certainly helps my stress level.
This begs the question what do I have against tanking raids? A tank in a raid has a different role than in a 5 man. In a 5 man the tank has to keep threat, interrupt a few things, stay out of bad and just tank basically. In a raid it’s more complex. Raid tanks double as dps so while in a 5 man your dps as tank can suck, you can’t afford that in a raid. Raids are also harder than 5 mans – obviously, and so you can’t compensate in the same way. If something goes wrong then there’s very little you can do about it. There’s also a lot you can do wrong as a tank and very little margin for error.
Now don’t get my wrong I will raid tank. In fact I regularly tank Firelands on Sunday’s. That’s just it though I tank Firelands when Dragon Soul is out. I also tanked Blackwing Descent when Firelands was current content. So I will raid tank but only with the extra margin of error allowed by it being the previous tier. The other week I was asked to fill in on our progression run of Dragon Soul as tank and so I went tank for Hagara. Just thinking about it fills me with dread. My dps was appalling and my gears not brilliant. True I have 380 ilevel but I’m not quite unhittable yet. Put it this way it’s not an experience I’m willing to voluntarily repeat.
I’m a raid healer and a 5 man tank. I love tanking and I hate it. Understand?