Friday, June 4, 2010

Why Tanks Have the Best View in the Game and other Summertime Musings

It’s an established truth that tanks have the most boring view in the game. I’ll quote the grumpy but worth-a-read blogger The Gray Place, who wrote a why-tanking-is-boring post a couple of days ago.

“When I was tanking I never even got to see any artwork in the actual instances. I’d always have this huge boss’s ankles in my face or if I was lucky his crotch.”
Talking about grumpy – have you noticed that all good tanks have a bit of grumpiness in them. It’s like a natural law. Maybe that’s why I so often end up in the roll of a victim whenever I try tanking on my baby druid, being yelled at with an impatient “go-go-go”. I’m probably just not grumpy enough to get some respect. WTB grumpiness.

And why am I suddenly talking about the benefits of being grumpy? Well, as you see this is another Friday night post, where I give myself the freedom to jump even more freely in my thoughts than normally. I blame the bartender. She must have poured something strong in my glass. Oh, wait, I’m the bartender…

The best view
Anyway. Back on topic: I was talking about the view from a tank perspective.

Regardless of all the feet, legs, crouches and wall-like surfaces a tank will put his eyes on,, I would say that it isn’t entirely true that their view always is the worst. As a matter of fact they get to see a lot of stuff that a squishy dps class will never see. In fact there are moments when they even get the best view in the game.

I realized this as I finally came around to make a nostalgic run through Karazhan this week as we called the main raid for the night a bit earlier than planned. It must have been almost 2 years since the last time I ran Karazhan. And maybe that was about how long time I needed to recover from the overdose I got back in time in the days of badge farming.

Now the disgust had suddenly been replaced with longing, expectations and nostalgia, and the return to the old castle was even more enjoyable than I had imagined as I took initiative to the run.

Even if we flew through the instance, aoe:ing all the trash and killing the bosses in a matter of seconds, I also managed to take some time to just look around and actually see the instance, paying attention to the details, like all the paintings on the walls, the sculptures, the books on the floor, the flights of stairs going in all directions. Especially in comparison to Wrath instances like ToC, Karazhan was absolutely amazing and stunningly beautiful in it’s design.

So what has this got to do with the tank view? Well, for the first time I was able to see some of those places the way that our tanks always saw it. Do you remember the hall with all the dancers that you did on your way to Monroe? I never saw it until now.. I spent all my time staring into those stairs, waiting for the tanks to come running back with a bunch of hostile dancers to aoe down. But I never saw anything of the dance activity.

And suddenly I understood how privileged tanks are, always arriving first to a spot, always facing the bosses eye to eye without any other player disturbing the view (apart from sneaky rogues, but they’re almost invisible anyway.)

By always going in the front, you sometimes get to see stuff that no one else will see. Another example from Karazhan is the room where Curator stands. As a squishy mage I always waited patiently for the tank to go into the hall of the Curator, grab one of those elementals and their electrical fish and bring it out to me. I never saw the view of an entire hall full of elementals – not until this run, two years later.

Summertime musings
It’s the end of the week and how has it been? Well, I think I could say that it’s been a week of lightness and sadness at the same time. I suppose it’s a little bit like a school class going for their summer vacation, knowing that a lot of your classmates won’t be there when school starts again in the end of August. There will be a school class, alright, but it won’t be exactly the same as it was.

We’re a little gentler than normally, a little more lighthearted (not that we normally are that horribly harsh, but the atmosphere is definitely a little bit extra soft). The sun is low on the horizon, the shadows are getting longer and the light is warm, gentle and a bit tired. As we had a horrible wipe on Sindragosa due to some really silly mistakes this Thursday run, there wasn’t the slightest sign of annoyance in the air. We’re a family about to change and we want to enjoy our last hours together as much as possible.

It’s summertime. And sure I can cry for some new content, but at the same time it’s also kind of relaxing to let go of a little of my worst progression ambitions. Don’t misunderstand me – raiding is still fun. But if it doesn’t happen, I’m just as happy merrily exploring and getting lost in Maraudon with a friend, as I did the other night.

The living is easy. And in my garden, the blackbird is calling on me to get outside and just enjoy the out-of Azeroth life. Cataclysm can wait a while longer. I don’t mind.

Cheers all! May you get a lovely weekend!


Xaxziminrax the Second said...

>Cataclysm can wait a while longer. I don’t mind.

I dig august/winter release dates, because that means I'll be bored of the game come sunshine and lemonade, so I'll have no qualms shutting down the PC and just leaving.

Scotch, neat, please.

Anonymous said...

Best view as an Alliance side tank;

Rounding that last corner in Orgrimmar at the head of a pack, leaping off your mount while others pick up the guards, and charging head-to-head with the Warchief. Just a completely different feel than hanging around in the back throwing heals around.

Anonymous said...

My pink pig-tailed friend, it just so happens that I am extremely close to a certain person with an excess of grumpiness of late who would be happy to give you some should you feel the need.

I'm not so sure the view as a tank is the same for all of us, since whenever I tank all I seem to see is loose adds everywhere. I think I will just stick to the back of the room and pew-pew to my heart's content.

Cheers and have a good weekend.


River said...

that's why I leveled a Pally, I missed all those crotches when I was a warrior tank.

Gronthe said...

My office, yes my place of work, employment, etc allows people to bring their dogs. I get so much crotch sniffing during the day I dare say I will never sniff any crotches when I get home - no tanking for me.

Wait, I love to melee dps, I'm sniffin the rear end of the boss quite a lot, maybe I'm a dog too. Nooooooooo!

Saga said...

I have very mixed feelings about being a tank lately. While I do enjoy tanking, it does get boring sometimes.. but other times it gets right down stressful. And I think I mind the stress more than anything.

I have to admit that during actual boss fights, you do see a lot of crotches :P Or dragons' yellowing teeth. Or bellys. Or something else you wish you'd never seen quite so close-up.

At the same time I can see your point about being the first one into a room. Sadly that's not really the same any longer. In Cataclysm I can't really think of a place where I've gone into a room without having the other raiders with me.

I'm not saying that the tank's job is a bad one. Let's be honest, if you're a healer you probably spend more time staring at raidframes than you do looking at your surroundings.

As a dps you are focused on your own thing as well. Executing your rotation right, not standing in stupid etc.

We all have our jobs to do. Some days they're more fun, some days less.

When we want a change of scenery - well, that's what we have alts for! :)

Chewy said...

The tank is like the drummer in the band, the percussion section in the orchestra. Never in the spot light, seldom the hero, never on the meters but always essential.

Only once did I ever meet the Keith Moon of tanks and it was one of the most enjoyable runs I've ever done.

Markco said...

I'm a good tank I and I swear I'm not grumpy!

Mage/Hunter player said...

You are quickly becoming my favorite blog to read. I agree with the summertime philosophy. It actually IS nice outside. I actually dont wanna play wow as much. And thats okay with me. As nice as all the textures are in Azeroth...they really dont hold a candle to a warm summer night. Enjoy the weather, enjoy life and enjoy the sunshine :)

Klepsacovic said...

I ran up those stairs all the time, even when I was healing. Then again, I had an AoE stun against the undead. said...

Ohh that's why I died all the time while doing the AoE trash...

Ahh well... I thought it was because I was OP, but apparently I can shake my meleeMagee mentality.

Summer... how I long for summer... of course our winter isn't like yours... but Australian's deny the existence of winter & continue to wear shorts & tee shirts and have BBQ's.. no wonder I am cold... it's winter!

iapetes said...

Should tell whoever that tank poster was to stop being dumb and zoom out so he can see what he's doing.

Jairo said...

"Go, go, go, I don't Care GO, We'll be fine, Go, go, go, I'm gonna pull if you don't..."

Some while ago, back during the Burning Crusade, our raid leader asked us to create both a tanking and a healing toon so we could understand better the roles of others in the raid. Back then I was just the annoying mage that complained about the tank's threat or asked to be healed faster.
Well, I went and created a Resto Druid and a Tanking DK and that made me find out my passion for tanking, my druid is now a Bear, the DK has both his specs as tank specs, I also got a Tankadin and I'm considering leveling a Prot Warrior).
I think everyone has to switch perspectives every now and them. I mean, sometimes it's cool to be free enough to walk around or to go grab coke while people pull, some other times i just wanna be the one pulling. And sometimes having the power over the life of someone and being able to punish them if they misbehave is simply golden (yes, i do that when on my tree).
By the way Larisa, you just reminded me of a video and I had to commment it, search for "How to win at pugs and gearscore" on youtube and I bet you'll notice some ressemblance to your tanking experiences.

"- Is everyone ready?"
"- Do you have to ask that everytime?"
"- Is that a Yes?"
"- Yes, now go"
"- Lets do a readycheck first..."

Best Regards, Jabarj

roaot said...

Yeah, summertime is fun. I don't get out much, so I use the Summer "downtime" to catch up on some more personal gaming goals. Various achievements, prepping for Cata, playing through all the single player games I've been missing out on. Hehe

Grainger said...

I enjoyed the post, and as a former tank, I don't think I ever appreciated the simple things like getting to see the "ballroom" in full "swing" (hehe). I haven't tanked in 2 years, but just specced my lvl 70 DK to tank last week. Not sure I could ever tank on my warrior again - the aoe tanking was never a strong sot of mine on the warrior and current gameplay seems to require it.
But to digress, I want to echo someone else's comment that you are becoming one of my faves to read. In fact, many other blogs almost seem like a club where you need to be an uber-raider to take part. Yours is a little more fun and a lot less exclusive.

Larísa said...

the Second: yeah, actually thinking closer about it: while I long as much as anyone else for Cata, I wouldn't want it to come out right NOW, sun shining and birds singing... Timing is the key.

: hehe... Let me confess something: I've never ever done the For-the-Alliance thing, never been in a raid attacking the enemy cities. Just sneaked into them doing holiday achievements. Maybe about time I did it?

: I don't deny that you MOSTLY see adds and asses. But there a a few golden moments there that I don't think many tanks realize are special, compared to what the dps see.

@River: any difference in that regard between pallies and warriors?

@Gronthe: you get tired of doing the crouch sniffing all day long... Ewww. Thats gross!

@Saga: well I think there still are a couple of LOS-pulls that will make it for you. But yeah, it's not often it happens these days I suppose.

@Chewy: when you say so I actually think that tanks and drummers are of the same kind.

@Markco: that's what you think! HAve you asked your party members?

@Mage/Hunter: thank you very much! And yeah... it takes more for the game to pull me away from the garden these days.

: that sounds daring... but then I'm squishier than you. I tended to die quite a lot on those stairs while aoe:ing. If you were lucky you could get a shield, but you couldn't count on it.

: I've never been in Australia, but in NZ. And it was the same their. People seemed to be in denial of seasons, wearing shorts all year round... I suppose the reversed seasons have confused your minds.

@Jabarj: I definitely think it's a good idea to try out everything. Now I've levelled a rogue to 80 and done a little alt raiding with her, and got a fair idea about meleeing (and how bad I am at it). My healing tree is at 79 and I enjoy it a lot. And my tank bear is at 41 and struggling a bit. Sometimes it works, sometimes not - it depends not only on me, but on the group - or how well I manage to take control over it. Anyway - it's really helpful to see those perspectives as I'm playing my main.

@raoaot: yeah, I do some silly achivements as well, just for relaxing and exploring the world a bit. Did some pest control and critter loving the other night, enjoying to see some places again that I haven't been around in for a long while. Good summer stuff.

: thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoy it here. While I DO raid at a quite high and serious level, I'm someway still a casual at heart I think. And I like to keep it that way.

Ixobelle said...

bad tanks stare at boss crotches. good tanks swivel the camera around for more dramatic poses (and better situational awareness). If all you're seeing is nothing, you can't possibly see who needs a taunt, or adds approaching from the back.


b0bbly said...

Grumpiness will come with time, don't worry. Pull the Moroes dancers 400 times loses its magic, hitting ankles never does ;)

Syrien said...

This is one thing I envy priests some times. Just sneak peak through the tank's eyes :D

mrfenris said...

It's kinda like the kid's game telephone....

You start out with someone whispering a phrase to one person then passing it around the room. By the time it's gone through all the kids, the end phrase is vastly different from the original.

It's always the throw away lines that get me in trouble and earn me "teh snark".

I must be on the internet.

Bronte said...

In (sharp) contrast, healers have the WORST view of fights. And that is because 99% of the time they are focused on just one little area of their UIs: those precious little green health bars...