Impressing guilds as a tank, failing to impress PUGs as a tank, and what is difficulty anyway

This is a switch and bait post in which I attempt to cover my lack of a Star Trek Online beta review this week (my excuse is that they dropped a new patch on Wednesday and I need more time to explore and remove whines which have already been addressed – an occupational hazard of reviewing betas) by pointing at some great posts written by other people. Enjoy!

Impressing guilds with your tankitude

Rage Quit Jane (awesome handle) writes on The Nomadic Gamer about the expectations people have of tanks. And the very first expectation is that … you will actually tank stuff.

She’s coming from an EQ2 perspective, which is a game where classes have more fixed roles than they do in WoW. Or in other words, your EQ2 tank shouldn’t expect to be able to grab a couple of two handed weapons and out-dps the rogues if they don’t like tanking.

If you apply to a raid guild as an off tank then the first thing you should be doing is proving that you can actually tank. Show everyone that you enjoy the character, want to actually play the character, and make yourself available to your guild mates.

No matter what game you are playing, if you apply to a guild which uses role quotas (ie. you apply as a tank or a healer for example) then they are hoping to find players who enjoy the role in which they have applied. No one wants a grouchy tank who spends all the time complaining that they’d rather be on their warlock. If they open a spot for a tank, they want to see a happy tank who enjoys their class and their role.  That’s rather the point.

This doesn’t force you to be the guild slave. You can perfectly well say ‘Sorry, I’m up to my neck in instances this week and I need a break.’ But at least while you are on trial, try to sound and act as though you are enjoying the game and the role you are playing. Although non-hardcore players sometimes get the idea that the hardcore turn the game into a job, it’s actually more important in a hardcore guild to show how much you love your class and role. Because they’re looking for people who love it so much they won’t mind putting in the extra time and effort.

This is true of many RL jobs as well.

‘Abusing’ the LFG Tool

Relmstein writes about people who abuse the LFG tool, whereas Gevlon positively encourages people to use it to their own advantage.

Wherever you fall on this spectrum, a few things are becoming clearer to me:

  1. You cannot prevent people from leaving groups whenever they want. If they can’t do it in game, then they’ll either just log out or not join the group in the first place.
  2. LFG may end up being good for server socialising in the longer term. The more that random people ‘abuse’ the tool, the greater the incentive to actually talk to people on your own realm before queuing. Whether this means paying tanks to come tank for you, or just asking around on trade chat for people who you KNOW will want to finish the run—it’s all about the social contract.  Or in other words, social behaviour is rewarded.
  3. People will drop groups for the weirdest reasons.

Would we like more difficulty in our MMOs? And if so, how?

Tobold asks for some design help on behalf of the Blizzard team.

We have some ideas, based on our experience as serious Everquest raiders, on how to make a MMORPG really hard. But some of the team say that certain features of Everquest wouldn’t be acceptable any more for our Rise of the Leet King MMORPG.

So what ideas do you have to make the game harder, if you think it isn’t challenging enough right now? Go join in the conversation. (I am also surprised at how many people thought this was a genuine letter; it is however a great blog post.)

10 thoughts on “Impressing guilds as a tank, failing to impress PUGs as a tank, and what is difficulty anyway

  1. I think on reflection Blizzard has it about right.

    Back in TBC I was in a number of ‘also-ran’ guilds and raid communities. I went through the painfull process of gearing/atunement for Kara _twice_ and raided it as both Horde and Ally. As Horde I got as far as the Eye and SSC a few times. I never saw the inside of Black Temple or Sunwell. I never got to fight the guy on the box cover. That seriously peeved me. I was in awe of the guys in the top tier gear.

    Now in WoTLK I’m if not that guy, I’m close. Of course so are a fair few folk. But I have my Ulduar hardmodes and my Heroic ToGC one shot clears while it was still current content. I’m not getting server 1sts but consistanly in the top #10. BUT Joe Schmo who is a decent player can come back to wow/level to 80 right now and gear well enough to PuG ICC 10 (if they put a bit of time and effort in and can actualy play. Ie not a ‘Moron and Slacker’) and _see_ the current content. It also means if they’re not a M&S they have a decent chance of getting into a decent guild/raid com and going for the hard modes.

    Its nowhere near as good to be ‘at the top’ as having ‘heroic’ in green next to a item isnt anywhere near as nice as having a entirely different higher tier gear set than the folk ‘below’ you but its better over all. And of course those top guilds will have a much easier time gearing alts/finding replacement players when folk burn out/quit. Hardmodes? Make them as silly as you want and give out rewards/titles and other visible signs of your uberness.

    (I love my Rusted Proto Drake)

  2. I’d probably need to join a different guild if I wanted to see hard modes and have a rusted proto drake, myself.

    So in that respect, it’s pretty much exactly like TBC — the difference is that PUGs can get the same sort of normal progression that I can in a casual raid group (but without the level of social interaction.) I think that’s a win, although I may feel less special.

    • I do think the gradiation between a ‘utter Pug’ and a decent guild and a hardcore guild has been greatly narrowed.
      25 man

      I think in 10 man its more


      Bit it used to be
      HC off here somewhere in the far far distance

  3. Rage Quit Jane is spot on. I have however seen the attitude taken too far, where playing an alt at all is viewed with grave suspicion and intolerance. Part of the issue is that in a raid guild there are less than one tank per one healer, 3 dps so you lack guild tanks to 5 man with which causes friction.

    Regarding abusing the lfg tool it’s a shame and I think it will become more rampant over time, not less. As Gevlon says in his post the tank supply will dry up and this kind of gamesmanship will become virtually the only way to enjoyably group as dps. Bad news for anyone too ethical or too clueless to join in the scam. As he says too, it’s hard to see quite how Blizzard will fix it. Maybe you’re right and social solutions are the answer but I’m not sure the WoW playerbase is primed to look for them.

    As for Tobold I and others unironically replied along the lines of Dear Tigole, I’d like X not because we didn’t get the joke but because we wanted to talk about the topic, not the style of delivery.

    • The community already took care of that problem.

      There is the tank abuse which means that less and less tanks queue up alone. I know I rarely do. And the nice thing is, tanks don’t have to. They always find a guild member who queues up with them.

      Spinks even recommended in a former post to not queue up alone as tank and I think she’s right.

  4. I don’t know, I have no problem healing a Ret or Fury warrior ‘tank’ through a heroic (not the ICC ones of course). They are usually pro at keeping aggro at least. It is annoying when they drop when they see they have to tank though, it’s lame when these days heroic tanking need not be any more than sophisticated than ‘attacking first’ (I really wish it weren’t so).

    Difficulty wise, the ICC bosses are spot on in my opinion, although it is horrifying how quickly we’ve gone from struggling with Saurfang to dropping him before he gets a single mark out. Though the raids are still good it’s the back-end of the game that has become retarded. How am I revered with the new rep after only 10 or so raids, what the…

    • Hee. I do think it’s a good idea to bring at least one person with you for moral support (who is a decent player), but really as a tank it doesn’t matter where the rest of the group came from or whether they cheesed the dungeon finder as long as they are civil, and pull their weight in the instance.

      I don’t think you can really ask more than that.

      • Sure, but because a lot of tanks bring their moral support with them, they will never be assigned to a 4 man group and therefore there will be “enough” tanks for the people that play fair.

        I can life with the fact that I got people who were able to wait in the queue. 🙂

  5. I’ve been queuing up alone, but maybe before I hit ‘I’ and look for a Cross-server group I should first use the Global Chat channel (aka Trade) and see if anyone is looking for a Tank for the Instance I want to run.

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