May 8, 2011

Life as a Tank and Healer

If you follow me around, you will probably find this particular article rather confusing, if not even a bit puzzling when I put it out there. I know from the perspective of someone looking from the outside, what I am about to say probably sounds impossible, while from my perspective it just makes sense. So here it is. When it concerns MMOs and gaming, I love being a tank. In fact, tanking is primary choice I make when it concerns MMO gaming. I generally like to be the one to attract the attention of the baddies and keep the rest of my team safe. If tanking is not an option my second choice is to actually be a healer/support character, trying to do the same but overall, protecting the team. DPS, on the other hand, is generally so far down the list that if I had a choice of picking it, I do so reluctantly if there is no other option. Mind you, I keep it on the table, but it's generally the last thing I want to really do.

Being DPS is rather dull and boring to me. As exciting as it can be to see large numbers splashing out in front of you as you wail on bad guys, it tends to get repetitive and samey. Not to mention, no matter what your DPS class is, you generally won't be utilizing more than a few button pushes at any given time. This get's a bit meh after a while. Of course, I know there is a counter argument to this concerning the other two roles, but for me it's a bit more involved than that. So let me start on tanking.

Now, in the early days, tanking was more of an art than just something any idiot could do. Sure hitting a taunt button meant you took agro, but there were many things that needed to be done before you could actually be successful at it. Defense, proper weapons for maintaining threat, etc etc. This line, of course, has been blurred and today's tanks don't really have to worry so much about AE threat and multiple tags as much as they use to. The tanking profession as a whole was dumbed down to a point that even the most lazy individual could probably do it successfully without much trouble. Now, it's not to say that tanking is incredibly easy, but it's nowhere near as difficult as it use to be. But the new rub for today's MMO experience is basically endurance versus actual tanking skill.

Now, what originally intrigued me and brought me into the entire role was the fact that a tank is someone that has to be willing to step in first and die quickly and miserably as they toe the waters. In fact, tanks are often the ones with the most expensive repair bills of any class in the game. Many don't really appreciate that fact either and people generally get rather snippy when it concerns tanks being a tad upset when others throw away a tanks time as if it didn't matter. Ironically, I always get a laugh from the DPS players that generally think that tanks act like they are entitled, when it's generally the DPS that tries to tell the tank how to play a class that most likely the tank has been playing a hell of a lot longer than the DPS player has even considered trying.

But, in basics, tanks are there to take the hits, have the biggest repair bills, and don't generally get a lot of respect for what they do, since a lot of DPS tends to think they can do the same job a tank can do with little effort and also believe that the tanks insistence on trying to keep a team alive is stupid.

Of course, no other class gets as little respect as a healer though. A healing role centric player is basically in for a maelstrom of insults, attacks and rude commentary that basically center around how people that do nothing but damage try and tell you how you are suppose to buff them up, and use heal spells. Healers are so underappreciated that most DPS and tanks will congratulate each other first before they congratulate a healer who was stressing to keep the sorry asses of the stupid over agroing DPS alive and the tank who was too dumb to know how to use a single defensive boost.

It's a thankless life and if you ever hear a compliment on your actual ability to keep someone alive, you are guaranteed to hear many more insults and statements of how much you suck and you know nothing about playing your class. It's such an incredible irony, that the person that spends the most time keeping the group alive, is the one that gets insulted and blamed the minute the DPS or tank do something  completely bone headed and stupid.

Now, this is going to end up being shorter than my normal blogs, but here are some parting words of wisdom for those interested in playing either role. First up is the tank;

Tanking has gotten loads easier but that doesn't mean you should relax. Expect to have large repair bills, and always be mindful of your surroundings. Keep an eye on enemy tells. Damage is the least of your concern, you should worry more about your threat. And if some DPS or even a truly bad healer does show up, don't be afraid to boot them.

As a healer, patience is an ever loving virtue. You are going to get blamed, a lot, by the incompetent and those that think you should be able to heal them while they are in another room, behind a wall while you are tending to the main group. Expect to be told that you suck, no matter what you did, to try and keep people alive. It's a thankless life, and one that tends to be stressful a lot of the time.

And for real advice; Don't PUG ever as these two classes. Get a guild and have fun. The majority of healer and tank stress comes from PUGs.

Anyways, have any comments don't be ashamed to post any. :)

1 comment:

  1. My MMO life has always consisted of me taking a tanking class in one way or another, so I know where you're coming from. There's a certain kind of thrill in having a giant dragon's attention/some other mob/large groups/etc that you don't get as a DPS class. Before they made tanking easymode you kind of had to have half a brain and build enmity against all mobs on you individually (depending on the tank class, I suppose) now you just hit a button and everything is on you like glue.

    Hell you could even smash your face on one end of the keyboard and roll it all the way across to the other end and you'll still have so much threat you'd have to be stupid to lose it. But games are watered down now, so it's expected.

    A lot of the times tanks are perceived as entitled bastards. I heard a lot of this going on to some of my guildies in WoW (I know, I know. Dreaded game.) so they'd get stuck with a diva tank because I was already in running another group or the other guild tanks were unavailable. You'd see a lot of these garbage tanks thinking they're hot shit because they're one of the highly sought after classes so they basically turn into jackholes who run things the way they want and leave/kick people if it doesn't go their way. It's something I fear that'll follow us in every MMO we'll end up going to now, sadly. Oh well.

    The repair bills? Yeah, we're usually the ones who foot the larger bill most of the time. We're also usually the ones that come better prepared to encounters also (consumables/etc) where others just kind of show up empty-handed and expect handouts. (from my experience anyway)

    I'll also have to agree with you on healers being one of the most under-appreciated roles - which is why I generally always make it a point to thank a healer for saving my ass since you can't really do a goddamn thing without one. Me and my healers were the best of friends. :P

    As for running pick up groups, I didn't mind it too much. But then again half the time I always overgeared the places I'd be pugging - never ran a pug if it was someplace I didn't recognize..heh.