Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"And if the Rogue Blows Past Your Aggro, Let Her Die, oh, Let her Die"

(10 points to the first person to identify the original song lyric today's title is based on. . . not that I'm keeping a scoreboard. Or am I?)

Today I want to ask my readers another question: How much do you pamper, or abuse, your group members? Tanks hold a lot of power in a group, being the layer of steel or fur separating the squishy DPS and healers from the ravenous, bloodthirsty baddies' teeth. If a damage dealer gets cocky, and starts pulling aggro off of said tank, it is fully within that tank's power (at least in heroics and raids) to let that DPSer die by denying them a taunt. If the tank doesn't feel the group is prepared for the next pull, they can quite simply not pull it, forcing the group to wait/prepare (unless, of course, you're grouped with a level 70 hunter, and they decide to use their veto power). So, do you use your powers for good, or for evil?

I personally tend toward being more of an evil tank. If a DPSer pulls aggro off of me once or twice, fine, I'll taunt it back, mistakes happen. Any more than that, though, and you had better hope you have some way of saving yourself, because I'm done, for this run if not forever0. PuGgers do that to me all the time, usually by attacking a target other than the next one marked on the kill order, or opening up on DPS before I get anything off on the first mob in a pull other than a faerie fire. Guild members do it to me too, though, and the treatment they get, at least in 5-mans and Karazhan, is no different. Hitting bladeflurry while I swipe spam may sound like a great way to improve your DPS, but you might not want to do it right at the pull, because believe it or not, your bladeflurry is hitting "X" for a lot more threat than my one swipe every 2 seconds.

Sometimes, DPSers try to be helpful by using inventive (or not so inventive) forms of crowd control on off-mobs, even though I didn't ask for it. Often times, their initiative gets them in over their head. And when that happens, my willingness to come to their aid rests largely on my mood, and how unusual what they were trying to do is. A hunter who simply takes the initiative, pulls a mob off of me, and gets a trap resist/feign resist will probably find me in a benevolent mood, and find himself alive after a quick feral charge/growl. The warlock who decided to fear kite a mob, but didn't count on that mob getting off a silence/stun/counterspell? As long as the 'lock otherwise seems to know what he's doing, and I'm not in a terrible mood, I'll probably rescue him, but if he's fearkiting right next to another group, or I'm downright pissy, he had better hope he self-soulstoned. And the mage/shaman/hunter who decided to try kiting a mob around the room? A novel approach, certainly, but if I didn't ask you to do it (and I never have, save for the druid on the hunter boss in Underbog), you're on your own, pal.

As far as I can recall, I have NEVER willingly allowed a healer to die, though. If a healer is getting beaten on, that means either I didn't do my job by building threat on that mob, or the healer had to put out a ton of healing for some reason (Either I was taking unusually large amounts of damage, or the healer was trying to save the bladeflurrying rogue from before). Either way, the only healers I've ever truly felt deserved to die were the ones that sucked so badly there was no way I'd be able to force aggro upon them (and unfortunately, they never seem to be in the instances with mobs that cleave or have other AoE *grin*). And anyhow, a dead healer means I probably have to waste a reagent at the end of the fight to rez their sorry butt, and sometimes even means a total wipe (though its amazing how often a skilled group can recover from healer death).

That being said, I have been known to spoil my groups as well. As I've mentioned before, I tend to tank heroics and Karazhan in my DPS gear (at least the trash). At first, I started doing it because it let the DPSers go full out on the trash, leading to faster runs. Eventually, though, I realized that many of my healers also appreciated my switching to the DPS gear, as it gave them something to do (Did I mention that healers find me boring to heal in heroics? Yeah.) Heck, I even spoil myself that way, since swipe spam is actually really good DPS (I figure I get at least 500 DPS out of swiping every 2 seconds, alone). Its not just the pally tanks that can give the DPS a run for their money on the meters!

I also tend not to ask for any crowd control unless absolutely necessary. Sure, I'll have the mage sheep the mobs that mind control near Murmur (while we kill off the one that summons), and get some sort of crowd control on the two champions in the pulls near the end of heroic slave pens (Seriously, 3 mobs with CC in one pull? No thanks). But I will happily tank every mob in an Underbog run, hold all the mobs in the last pull before Attumen the Huntsman (though I usually have to let the other tank take one, at least), or even run the entirety of heroic Shattered Halls without so much as a sap (and in plenty of time to save all the prisoners, at that, yay for 7-badge daily runs!).

One more thing: I'm always the benevolent tank when in a raid beyond Karazhan. I'd rather let careless group members learn their lessons later, in lesser instances, than make the whole raid group suffer due to my desire to play god. Raids are already long ordeals, so I want to take every opportunity I can to make it go a little bit faster.

So how do you treat your PuGgers and Guildmates? Are you a benevolent threat god, or a cruel, merciless tormentor of souls? . . . hmm, speaking of souls, all this talk of fear kiting has me wanting to play my warlock. . .


Marford, Nagrand said...

I've allowed a healer to die, quite deliberately.

This particular healer had it in her head that Holy Fire was the mother of all pulling techniques. Her reasoning was she could do it from 40 yards.

First time she did it, I told her not to do it. Second time she did it, I told here quite clearly, you pull it, you tank it.

Third time, after whispers to the rest of the pug, I headed for the door when she started winding up Holy Fire.

After who pulls what had been sorted out, it was a flawless run. I got a /ginivite for that, I was quite happy in my guild at the time though.

vulturesrow said...

Song is Let Her Cry, by Hootie and the Blowfish. Nice one. :)

vulturesrow said...

I guess you actually asked for the lyric, not the song. :)

"Let her cry...if the tears fall down like rain
Let her sing...if it eases all her pain
Let her go...let her walk right out on me
And if the sun comes up tomorrow
Let her be...let her be."

SuraBear said...

I'll have to make it harder next time. Like by not making it obvious with the Cracked Rear View album cover right there *grin*

Karthis said...

I like being cruel:


vulturesrow said...


If it makes you feel any better, I knew it as soon as I read the blog title, even before I read down to the challenge. :)

Logan said...

I find that I'm pretty harsh when it comes to the setup and execution of pulls, and more forgiving during the actual fighting. (I'm speaking of 5-mans here, btw... and PUGs in general).

The first time a mage decides to pull with his long-range pewpew or a DPS warrior decides to rush in and start beating on the mobs before I have a chance to mark or toss my shield (pally tank FTW), I sigh, taunt the mob off, and go about my tank-y business. I then say something to the effect of "Please let me mark before we pull. Also, let me be the one to execute the pull unless I say otherwise. This is your first and only warning." If they continue doing what they were doing, I just leave the group (or boot the offending member if I'm the group leader). I'd rather be seen as a jerk and finish the instance in a reasonable amount of time then play the nice guy and spend half the night wiping.

In the heat of battle, I'm much more forgiving. Things get hectic, people get flustered, shit happens. Unless it's a chronic problem, I don't mind the occasional DPSer pulling aggro off of me... unless it's a chronic problem. That's why we have taunt/growl/righteous defense, am I right?

My alt tank isn't to endgame quite yet, so we'll see what happens when I start hitting the 10 and 25-mans. Though really in those situations the raid leader decides how to handle people who can't keep their pewpew under control. I'm just there to be a meat shield. :)

Matford, Nagrand said...

Mm, yeah. Nowhere near endgame either but my Kara experience as a tank suggests that the tank's still the one most likley to know who's dragging aggro.

Raid leaders have a demanding job, IMO a good raid is when the raid members are keeping each other honest. Leaving the job of calling fault to the raid leader is putting more pressure on what is already a tough and often thankless task.

runycat said...

Lately it's been more and more difficult deciding whether or not someone's being a total DPS whore, or if I'm not building threat as quickly as I should be. Our DPS opens up rapidly so that we can continue to chain pull and keep our T6 clears down to two nights a week, and generally speaking, I take it upon myself to make sure that no one dies (since it'll just slow us down).

When I was playing my warrior in T5 content, however, I let many a mage die for winding up a pyroblast before I could even shield slam a target--in fact, all the tanks would do the same thing. People got pissed, but they learned their lessons.

PuGs are even worse--they look at your gear and just assume they can do whatever they'd like; I find myself bowing out of groups more and more because I don't feel like wasting my time with players who can't even follow the simple rules of game physics.

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