Greedy Goblin

Friday, July 17, 2009

The tank "problem"

Note: after 71 applicants, the next round of goblin apprenticeship is closed.

It's well-known and reiterated, last time by Spinks.

The description is simple: A 5-man needs 1 tank, 1 healer and 3 DPS. A 25 man needs 2 tanks 4-7 healers and 16-19 DPS. So a guild either does not have tanks to run 5-mans, or have too many for raids. With dual specs the problem is less burning but still, at least 3 people have to spend either the raids or the 5-mans in offspec gear and spec, playing a style he may not like.

It's strange that Blizzard is so busy balancing everything, and "bring the player not the class" and accessibility and all, but seems to ignore this really existing design flaw. It could be fixed easily by putting more tank jobs to the game, by either offtank-needing adds, or 5-man cleaves and such.

I think it's not a flaw at all. It's a smart reaction to the demands and abilities of the playerbase. The tank-problem actually does not exist. In hard mode guilds there is no point running 5-mans, if someone wants to, a fury warrior can grab a shield. The healer will handle it.

Now let's see "casual raiding guilds". I hate the term as it's a lie. If someone only fishes and chats in random times, he is a casual. Someone who comes to a pre-organized event that needs 3+ hours undivided attention every week is not a casual. He is a HC player. If he wipes in Plague quarter, he is no less HC than the Yogg-2 players, just sucks (either in gaming or in saying no). While the good HC guild has 2 tanks 4-7 healers and 16-19 DPS. The bad HC guild has:
  • 2 tanks
  • 1-3 healers
  • 3-5 DPS
  • 15-19 M&S
The M&S does various things including standing in the fire, dieing in the first minute, damaging/healing below the tank and so on. However while doing so, they have the illusion of being DPS or healer. The M&S who spams nothing but FoL on one tank (ignoring the tank switch) believes himself to be a healer. That shame of Dalaran who spams frostbolt on 0/0/71 believes himself to be a DPS.

The illusion of the tanking cannot be given to M&S. There are no bad tanks just dead tanks. The work of the FoL spamming idiot can be fixed by the 1-3 healers blowing cooldowns and the 3-5 DPS can carry the shame of Dalaran. However no one can help the tank, except blatantly taunting the boss off.

If Blizzard would introduce 5-tank fights, that would need 5 non-M&S tanks/guild. More than one healing target would make mindless FoL spamming useless, so the healers would also have to be non-M&S. Adding 5 DPS needed for interrupts and kill before enrage would mean that a every raiding guild would need 15 able players. That would surely kill 3/4 of the guilds.

The myth of the "casual guild who progress slowly" is a lie. In such guilds there are 5-10 hard-mode capable players who boost the rest. The big difference between a Plague-wiping and a Yogg-2 wiping raid is not the average DPS. The big difference is the distribution of the damage/heal. In the Yogg-2 guild the best and the worst mages are 10-20% away from each other, and the difference can mostly be explained by gear differences or decurse duty. In the Plague-guild, the best mage may damage 100-200% more than the worst, despite equal gear (since both have everything from Plague).

The problem of the good players in M&S guilds is not gear or spec, but being social enough to not tell the M&S into the face that "you suck and one of us leaves". Blizzard did several things to make these people stay boosting instead of leaving the guild or the game:
  • giving ilvl226 to everyone in the next patch
  • letting the good players to progress in the 10-man version
  • don't require more than 10 able players/guild
As the goblin saying sais: "permanent unjust things are fixes for problems you don't want to face".


Ewber said...

Hence, this is why my friends and I have decided on a 10 man-heroic focused guild for 3.2 (and onward if the trend continues as such).

Finding 15-20 other non-M&S with similar schedules is just too much work on the server we are on.

Every time we end up doing 25 mans I get the feeling we are carrying half the raid.

That's one reason why I decided to set hitting the gold cap as a goal of mine... you have nothing to rely on except
your own knowledge of your server's economy.

PS: up +170k gold now after deciding to do inscription the 'hardcore' way exactly two months ago (05/17/09). ~21,500 a week avg. However, I did sell darkmoon cards and mill my own inks (never wasted time farming my own herbs though, unfavorable opportunity cost imo), so probably spent a little more /played than you had to for your ~10k-12k a week.
Can't even remember the last time I've done a daily quest though =P

Smeg said...

Problem is though, you have to play the social way. How do you call a baddie out if you get shunned for doing so? It's the way society is going in general, too much tolerance for craptastics and other failures courtesy of knee-jerk liberals and other socialists. everyone is a rubber belly because everyone apparently deserves a "fair-go."

the sucks have crept in everywhere, they pollute real life and have destroyed WoW.

i quit awhile ago but still like to read your blog gevlon. keep it up!

Anonymous said...

I see this alot on our realm.
Our server does have alot of M&S and it SHOWS.

Join LFG any busy night of the week and what do you see? A parade of 'LF Tank for H-XYZ'.

Everyone wants tanks. Geared tanks.
Then on the odd times i do join a Heroic Pug for a few badges what do I find? Lots of tanking classes that are resolutely DPS.

A geared tank = non-M&S player = free run for loot/badges.

The M&S want to dps. Always dps.
Its easy, little effort is involved, they get carried, and its hard to blame them when things go bad. Terribly easy to blame the healer and tank though.

Skilled tanks can also reduce the number of tanks that a raid needs - depending on battle.

Eg 2 or even 1 tanks on XT decontructor, 1 instead of 2 on the aureya adds (assuming your heals are top notch too).

Does anyone remember Pre-BC Raiding? Wasnt 5 tanks needed back then?

spinksville said...

"A geared tank = non-M&S player = free run for loot/badges."

Geared tank is bored to death of heroics and wants to do them on alts, if at all :) Non-geared tanks (who may or may not be M&S, and probably aren't yet in raid guilds) see that there are no raid spots for tanks and that they're better off as dps -- not only is it easier but also better chance for raid spots.

So the cycle continues. Only the most dedicated tanks stay tanking. And it honestly isn't that difficult, especially on a DK or paladin.

Okrane S. said...

I have a level 80 DK tank alt. And frankly I can tell you why apt players dont want to tank in pug heroic or raids.

I got a freshly leveled 80 DK and thought about getting him to tank. I tried out some heroics to get the hang of it, got some basic gear, also got all the crafted tank gear. So my tank ended up having 30k hitpoints unbuffed (38k fully raid buffed), 35% avoidance, in FULL BLUES (with just a couple of epics)

No matter that all pugs I joined were like: omg dude you are bad geared etc. Joined a 25 man VoA, where healers did not heal, died after maybe 15 seconds of not receiving heals, people shouting at me that my gear sucks and I am bad tank.

Or the other time where I joined a VoA pug that was spamming for a tank for like 30 minutes on /2 just to find out they had like 6 DKs in raid - and no tank.

Why should I bother to take the responsability of tanking for such people?

Tank = responsability. If you are not geared, enchanted, gemmed, and knowing what to do, the group will fail. Even worse M&S will blame you for their failures. "Omg noob tank, cant hold threat" - a fag overaggroing and dieing in the first 2 seconds of the pull.

Anonymous said...

I remember a case when one night I was in no mood to carry a moron who was a "dps" warrior and did less damage than my prot warrior who tanked the instance. After half a dozen mob pulls, I linked recount and told the others I am not going to carry this loser. The other two dps who were doing fine told me to just carry him, and when I told them no, it's either me or the slacker who leaves, the most astonishing thing happened: the best dps in the pug (3k or so) started to verbally abuse me in a really aggressive way. I am not a pala so couldn't bubblehearth so I just hearthed, while simultaneously putting the foulmouth and the slacker both on my ignore list. And people wonder why it's so difficult to find a tank...

p.s. I was curious whether I am really that unimportant so I tracked them with "/who Utgarde Keep" every few mins, for the first 10 mins or so they were all 4 standing in the instance for a long time, then the top dps was in Dalaran, then after like 20 mins /who didn't show any of them in the instance any more. But I bet not one of them learned from this incident to respect the tanks a bit more since they are hard to come by.

ks said...

The difference between a Plague-wiping guild and a Yogg2-wiping guild IS average dps. Of course, it is affected by the M&S who are good at lowering it. But at the end of the day, its the average dps that counts.

There is a ceiling to one's dps. I am always doing my best in raids, but I won't suddenly do 9k instead of 6k in a particular group/encounter/spec/gear setup. There is a mathematical limit to one's dps. An M&S can only be carried so far as the average dps is enough. If it's lower, you wipe - even if you personally are doing 700% of the M&S's dps.

bodphrah said...

I'm curious as to where to find all this information as to what is hardcore and what is casual.

Now, I class my guild as casual, so do the other guys n' girls in the guild, though I've seen hardcore, they are the people who raid 5 times a week every single night without fail, while we raid 0-3 times a week, yes its planned but I don't really think thats what classed 'hardcore', thats just what I call 'organised' likewise with the commitment level, yes we have some slackers in the guild (or people with frankly piss poor PC's)but we have alot of people who know how to play, alot of low DPS became good when I made of post on our forum too in the basic terms of "if you want to see Ulduar your going to need to raise your game, here are some websites." though other people have also given pointers to the other plays too which has helped alot.
In a nutshell the meaning to me is:
Casual: Plays every few days but likes having a social life
Hardcore: Little to no life outside the game.

Agreed on the tank comment though, I'm the MT of our guild and I've seen some quite frankly dreadful tanks in the past, it just shows more.

Carra said...

I was in a casual, slow guild. And you're right, what bothered me most is the huge imbalance between players. I constantly did about 200% of the average damage. Sometimes doing triple the damage of other "DPS" who are below the tanks. If the other DPS was ~70% à 130% of my damagge I wouldn't be complaining.

Small wonder quite a few of the good players left for better guilds.

rapidresponceunit said...

To say that there is no such thing as a ‘casual raiding guild’ is definitional retreat. You can be casual in anything you do, casual does not mean chatting and fishing. You certainly can be non-formal about organizing a raid by simply making on the spot.

rapidresponceunit said...

Another thing, people need to stop assuming that there is casual and hardcore with nothing in between. You cannot just generalize everything into those two categories. Even if a guild organizes (that being the key word) just one raid a week, they are not casual, but by no means hardcore either.

Okrane S. said...

For the ongoing debate between Casual and Hardcore:

- Casual does not mean 0 hit rating
- Casual does not mean Un-gemmed
- Casual does not mean Un-enchanted
- Casual does not mean Standing in the fire
- Casual does not mean Not knowing Tactics
- Casual does not mean not decursing, nor healing your assigned target(s)
- Casual does not mean Poor gear choices (hunters with strength, mages with gemmed intellect)
- Casual does not mean Hitting Random Buttons in order to do damage
- Casual does not mean Damaging below the tank
- Casual does not mean Healing below the Ret/SP
- Casual does not mean Tanking in PvP gear
- Casual does not mean speccing 0/0/71
- Casual does not mean no flasks, potions and buff food for raids
- Casual does not mean begging for gold
- Casual does not mean sitting on a mammoth and whining about cash for repairs
- Casual does not mean low level tradeskills
- Casual does not mean excusing your lack of performance because of being casual

One or more of the options above mean one thing and one thing only: M&S.

Casuals are just people with less time on their hands that will progress more slowly. A casual tank will probably have dinged 80 four months after wotlk released and got geared and ready for naxx10 two months after that. By doing heroics and gathering gear in his own pace of 3 hours/week of playing.

This CASUAL tank will NOT wipe in Plague Quarter once he is ready to get there.

The M&S will wipe there every week for months. Simply because they are hardcore... Harcore failures.

Happyending said...

Funny this topic has come up today. I finally made the decision to hand over my guild, and find a guild that can field 25 non-M&S.

I've finally taken Galvin's advice, and made my goals my priority. No more feeling like I have to carry 15+ people through Naxx25 every week because I'm delusional in thinking gear will help these people.

Last weeks run we had a mage in full Naxx 25, and some Ulduar 10 gear doing less damage then me (Prot Pally, He was hovering around 1K. How is that even possible? My SP can do that just wanding.

As a poster said above, the M7S have invaded.

Vlad said...

Okrane S.
i agreen on every single word.
would just liek to add
"- Casual does not mean Hitting Random Buttons in order to do damage"
hitting random buttons in order to do damage is called being a paladin :)

-came from a tank/retri pala.

Larísa said...

I'm painfully aware of that it's more likely that I will be carried than that I will carry other players as it is now. I fight constantly to improve, oh, yes, I do. But even though I'm definitely not a slacker, I'm probably a moron in some players eyes. Maybe in yours, if we ever got the opportunity to play together. (patch 4.02: "Player can now have dual factions and switch between horde and alliance pushing a button").

And do you know what? I dream of the day when I will be carrying other players. I'd enjoy immensly if I did twice as much damage as another mage! Being a girl I don't know if you could say I have a e-peen. But you know... It would make me feel awesome, even if it's just in a pointles, pixelated fantasy world.

I don't quite get it. This thing that being imba compared to other players necessarily has to be combined with some "I'm a poor victim, suffering from having to stand the presence of players who aren't as good as I am".

Sure, if you wipe over and over again and gets nowhere I can understand that you have to move to another setting where most players are at a higher level. But if the group is performing OK as a whole, but you're shining a bit compared to the worst players... is that really such a terrible thing?

One day I'll carry someone else. That's my goal. I swear, I'll get there. And I'll enjoy every second of it! As much as I would like to pick up hitchhikers, paying back for all the free rides I got when I was young and didn't have any money.

Hm... I guess I'd better write a post of my own about it instead of walls of texts in your comment section. Maybe I will at some point.

vlad said...

"But if the group is performing OK as a whole, but you're shining a bit compared to the worst players... is that really such a terrible thing?"
depends how you look at it,
hers how i do:
if you would be in a better group (performing as good /close to you) you would probably clear content 1 levl higher, to name it either EoE, ulduar or Ulduar hard, depending on your current stage, so yes imo it is 'such a terrible thing'

*vlad* said...

"Someone who comes to a pre-organized event that needs 3+ hours undivided attention every week is not a casual. He is a HC player"

What nonsense.
That's like saying anyone who goes to a tennis club but just socialises and doesn't play is a casual, whereas someone who actually plays tennis at the weekend for 3 hours is HC, and should be able to perform at Wimbledon standard, but if they can't, they are a moron.

Anonymous said...

While I agree that the "casual guild" is not really casual. I disagree with the 15 M&S in the raid.

That is unless you think newbs are M&S. Most people in these guilds are learning.

how many people get through a fight the first time even when reading the strategy. There is a big difference between knowing the strategy and doing the strategy.

If your guild is time constrained for raiding you are going to get better much slower than what we call "hardcore".

I guess gevlon is saying newbs are M&S unless they have 5k gold to give the raid.

krizzlybear said...

I can understand why someone would want to go 0/0/71 as a mage. 1, he likes to raid but also AoE farm, but can't afford re/dual-speccing.

I will defend the spec, however, in the case of being an awesome kiter of zombie chow in Gluth. Just remember to go back to 18/0/53 when the fight is over!

TonyBone said...

I disagreed with this piece until I hit this "The bad HC guild has:
2 tanks, 1-3 healers, 3-5 DPS,15-19 M&S." Then the light of agreement went blazingly on.

I always love to hate the tank/healing capable classes that beg for a one of the essential pair but refuse to spec that way themselves. One DK in our guild in particular level as tank spec with regular interjections of "I love DK tank!" He turns 80 - refuses to tank. I shouldn't be surprised though - he was also one to say "Nah I don't wanna come since I don't need anything from (insert boss)."

I don't always agree with you Gevlon, but this one hit the mark (and a nerve) and as always was an interesting read. Well done once again.

Anonymous said...

Offtopic, but important:

According to recent datamining a goblin is coming to WoW as a new playable race in the next Xpac! Gevlon, time to reroll soon! :D

Ontopic: speccing frost is not viable for any raid over Naxx imho.

Orgauth said...

bodphrah said...

"Hardcore: Little to no life outside the game."

I couldn't disagree more. My main raiding toon is played about 20 hours per week, 16 of which are raiding. I spend a few hours making money via the AH with alt crafters. I have PLENTY of life outside the game - and that applies to a large segment of the hardcore crowd.

Hardcore doesn't mean 70 hours played/week - hardcore means being knowledgeable, efficient, and constantly seeking personal improvement.

Brian said...

The only problem I see with the argument that there is no such thing as a "casual guild who progress slowly" is that it makes the assumption that "M&S" players can't be turned into "HC" players with a little effort. Player skill isn't a binary "awesome" or "crappy" state, some people might be JUST below the line in terms of skill, and some effort on the part of the raid leader and/or better skilled players can help them be better in the long run.

And that's where the problem comes in, where a "casual guild who progress slowly" turns into a "5-10 hard-mode capable players who boost the rest" guild that fails on fights that require everyone to do their best. I think M&S level players can improve, and I've seen it happen, the problem is that they need a reason to do so, and maybe some help along the way.

"Casual" guilds shy away from doing this, since it can seem mean or overly "hard-core" to tell people to learn to play. So the crappy players continue to be crappy because they aren't even remotely pushed to improve. Now obviously people do well without NEEDING to be pushed into doing it, but for some people, a small push may be all they need.

I think the best response is a modification to the "crappy people leave or I leave" ultimatum, at least in longer term guilds (doing that in PUGs is fine)...just keep discussing performance and that certain people can do better until they either do it or they leave. Offer to help on classes you know, and point out good players of classes you don't know as well. Just DON'T let bad players slide, even if you can carry them in the content you're playing.

The real trap is thinking that it's all about gear, and that boosting bad players through lower level content will result in them "getting geared" and becoming less crappy. No gear in the world will help them avoid flame walls, or DOUBLE their DPS into acceptable range.

Sven said...

"Someone who comes to a pre-organized event that needs 3+ hours undivided attention every week is not a casual. He is a HC player."

Hardcore & casual aren't binary states - there's a big sliding scale in-between.

Someone who raids 3h/week is pretty hardcore to compared to someone who logs on for an hour or so to do a few quests, but they're pretty casual compared to someone who raids 3 nights/week.

Criven said...

I have to agree with vlad. Your opinion of casual players sounds a lot like a "no true scotsman" argument.

Casual means you put the game second to the rest of your life. Something to do when you have spare time not something to plan around.

Hardcore means it is something you will plan your other leisure activities around (or in some extreme cases, your job).

I've raided with bad HC players, bad casuals and good of each type.

There are people who are not casual, but would prefer to think of themselves that way, than acknowledge they're bad at the game.

Casual=/incompetent. "no true casual" still does not equal incompetent.

Rambus said...

I had to laugh. A few days ago, I got asked to tank for Heroic Kara (yeah, I know. I hadn't run it in a while and did it for nostalgia). I get to the instance and find a group of 8 DPS, 1 Healer and me. Well, the healer and I are 80s, so I figure it will be ok. We breeze through the instance until the final boss (the giant, not the dragon). I position myself and pull the boss over to a wall, and start banging. I'm doing damage, but I seem to be the only one. After about a minute, I see a macro chat indicating the DPS paladin is changing gear to healing. Then I notice that everyone in the raid is dead except us, from standing in the fire waves. Sheesh! I try to beat him down for about 10 minutes, but I can't DPS fast enough, and the pally can't heal enough. Finally, we detach the boss by running through a door. Everyone gets rezzed, and then, after explaining that you have to avoid the fire, 4 people quit, saying they don't like fights where you have to move. MORONS! So, I GKICK 3 of them (the fourth was pickup, I blacklisted him), we grab a few more DPS from the guild and kill the guy in like 45 seconds, before the flames even start. I think I am staying in Northrend from now on.

vlad said...

'i leave becaus i dont like to move from that flashy red thing killing me' lol thats a new one.

Anonymous said...


Did they know about the fire before the fight. Was this their first time?

My first time in Utgarde Pinicle Heroic wasn't easy. And I did know about the gauntlet but it took a few times through to not be a newb at it. Trying to avoid the frost is easier said than done the first time. And most guides don't even mention it.

So I'm not real moved by people complaining about those standing in the fire. Its posible they had no practice. And if you kick them out of future tries how are they supposed to improve?

I still think this is not about stupid people is about preventing new people from moving up. In otherwords no competetion.

Gibbiex said...

Pretty much agree. I run a casual guild who sometimes raids. I think the hardcore of us know what we are doing, and we pretty much carry half the raid typically. However, many in our guild profess to wanting to know how to do better. Typically right now we have 5 people who have been around a long time. Maybe their gear isn't great because we don't do ulduar, but its fine for naxx. Then we have guys who come in leveling greens, nothing enchanted, bad spec. These are the guys who hit 80, decide the game sucks, and quit soon. I remember one guy was a DK who *regularly* did 250 dps in Naxx. It was just so god-awful we don't know how he made it to 80.

Anyway i think for guilds like ours the major problems are always a) not enough healers, b) not enough tanks. At this point all of the officers have one or both of each, and that's often all we do (although good tank + good healer still isn't enough to do heroics, need 2 good dps). And this will continue to be the problem for all casual guilds; we have say 50% of classes that could tank or heal, but no interest, so we are doomed to a very small group who can actually do heroics.

Dont get me wrong, I love my guild and love what we've done, but when 99% of the focus of the guild is not on hard stuff, then we all tend to slack off; its so common nowadays just to zerg through whatever, and if your zerging isn't enough, get more 80s. Really wish casuals (or more accurately M&S) could figure out that zerging is unnecessary if you knew what you were doing. 70s could easily out dps 80s (at level 70 content) if they were skilled.

Gravity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gravity said...

OK I searched until I found a definition, on the about page : Morons and Slackers. hehehe cool :)