A few weeks ago, my raid group had a really good application from a paladin. He was a tank, he had loads of experience, he sounded very cool and laid back, and exactly the sort of person we’d all want to raid with. But there was a problem. We have enough tanks, and his heart wasn’t really in playing as an offspec.
The raid leaders thanked him nicely, informed him that they’d be in touch if any of us fell under a bus or moved to Antarctica, but noted that there was no room. So we passed up on including a really nice guy in our community and I feel as though it was partly my fault.
I love raid tanking but I also know that part of the reason I wound up in this slot is because I dug my heels in at the start of the expansion. And I’m still digging my heels in now. I could step down to let someone else have a go, but I’m not going to do that — they can wrangle my shield out of my cold undead hands.
I’m not sure if this is true of other raid groups also, but I know that all of our tanks get twitchy if we go for more than a raid or two without tanking anything. I think this may be less bad for the guys who have a healing offspec — healing feels as useful as tanking even with a slight gear deficiency. Dps as an offspec however? Say hello to the bottom of the damage meters unless you’re on an overpowered class or got really lucky with 10 man drops. (I miss my overpowered Fury days, oh yes I do.)
Maybe it’s because a couple of us are female so we tend to get more emotionally bound up in the social side of things. And so if we’re not tanking, we feel like a drag on the group.
The problems of class and role quotas
When you have raids which require fixed numbers of roles, you run into these problems with recruitment. You have to turn away perfectly good candidates because there’s no spare slot for them. People who are soft (like me) do feel bad about ‘stealing’ a slot that many other people want. (Feeling bad doesn’t change how I act, I just feel vaguely bad at the same time.)
I remember a post by Chastity@Righteous Orbs that caught my eye a few weeks ago. He (or she?) commented that he was the only tank in his raid group and he found that this made him very jealous and protective of his spot. He found himself subtly discouraging other would-be tanks from going that route, even though he knew it was a bad idea because they needed more tanks.
And I understand that also. In the beginning of the expansion when we were all still jockeying for raid roles and didn’t entirely know how many tanks we would end up needing, things felt more competitive. And I say this as someone who genuinely likes all the other tanks in my raid group.
It’s just that now it’s all over and I do feel comfortable in my spot, I have the luxury of looking down at the new applicants, shaking my head sadly and crying into my roast hazelnut latte at the sheer misery of it all, and whining on my blog about the existential angst of the lonely tanking road.