Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Why I Wish I Couldn't DPS

WARNING: This is a long, whiny rant. The contents of said rant can easily be construed to be anti-prot-tank. I assure you, however, that I have great respect for my plate-wearing compatriots, and do not wish any of them ill will. I'm just jealous.

The relationship between Protection Warriors, Protection Paladins, and Feral Druids is an interesting dynamic. It seems that we all have our little, or not so little, reasons to be jealous of one another: Warriors tend to wish they had more of the AoE threat generation of Druids and Paladins, Druids tend to be jealous of the plate tanks' lack of a cap on their primary defense stats and ability to become crush immune, and Paladins tend to wish they had better mana regeneration while offtanking. But I personally am jealous about something very odd, something you wouldn't even think was a problem. Something that has irritated me for a while, and I'm sure is at least partially rooted in my own guild's culture, which I admittedly was a large part in the creation of.

I'm jealous of the fact that Plate tanks' specs dont afford them the ability to deal good damage with a simple change of spec. Funny, especially considering all the flack we feral druids caught when the feral tree was "streamlined", and the division between a bear spec and a cat spec was basically reduced to . . . well, nothing at all.

Why in the world would the ability to do damage be considered a disadvantage? Well, essentially, its a watered down version of the Pre-Burning Crusade mindset of "If you have a heal button, you're a healer". Except these days, while feral druids aren't often expected to heal (At least in my guild), we ARE expected to switch to a DPS role whenever we aren't needed as a tank. And we're expected to be pretty good at it, too.

Now, don't misread this. I can do DPS. I can do pretty good DPS, as a matter of fact. I just dont particularly WANT to.

Now, I'm in an awkward position to be making this complaint. My guild loves my tanking. Many DPSers often tell me that, when I'm tanking a run for them, they get to basically ignore the threat meter and go balls-to-the-wall. And many healers have told me that I'm their favorite tank to heal, because its so easy (by which I assume they mean my personal stat balance makes me easy to heal, though I suppose it could also refer to my ability to keep the DPSers from being hit). And I know that, short of the few raid encounters out there that CANT be maintanked by a Druid (Reliquary of Souls, Illidan, etc), my guild wouldn't hesitate for a moment to put me in the main tank spot for any of our raids.

. . . unless our main tank is there. Now, we dont OFFICIALLY have a main tank, but everybody knows that 99% of the time, if this particular warrior is in a raid, he'll be the one on the named boss, and he'll be the one tanking Skull on trash. He's our best geared and best skilled warrior, and has tanked guild first after guild first after guild first for us. And by all means, he certainly deserves the credit he gets for what he does for our guild. But I really envy him, because I could never aspire to have that primo spot due to my class' mechanics.

The heart of the issue is this: Raids need multiple tanks. Two for 10-man raids, and 3-5 for the 25-mans. Bosses, on the other hand, tend to require one primary tank, and maybe a couple of additional tanks to handle odd jobs like picking up adds during Lurker's Submerge or eating Hateful Strikes on Gruul. Every once in a while, the "Extra" tanks get to do a slightly higher profile job, like tanking adds on Maulgar, or tanking Moroes when the main tank gets gouged. And even more rare are the occasions where you actually need two main tanks, like on Bear Boss or Netherspite.

So, because of this discrepancy between trash and bosses in terms of needed tanks, its natural that some will need to step aside and perform other roles on boss fights. And when it comes down to it, Prot Warriors are the worst option for who to pull. Not necessarily because they're the best tanks, but because they're the worst at filling in other roles. Relegating a Protection Warrior to a DPS role is like . . . well, I can't even come up with a good metaphor right now, but the general rule is Prot warriors do horrible DPS. Prot pallys aren't all that good at it, either.

So, the obvious choice becomes for the feral druids to strap on their kitty gear and shred the backside of the boss. After all, not only do bear tanks have a good talent selection for doing DPS, they also have the advantage of having the gear for it, since most druid tanking gear is actually hybrid tank/DPS stuff with strength and agility galore. Faced with the option of having a plate tank doing halfassed DPS while the feral druid tanks, or having the feral druid doing 80-90% of a full-on DPSer's DPS while the plate tank tanks, its pretty obvious which is better in terms of overall success of the encounter.

And even if you DO need the druid to tank on an encounter, often fights involve killing off adds which, once dead, allow the tanks for those adds to switch from a tanking role to a DPS role. Once again, the feral druid ends up relinquishing their tanking role soon, tanking the first or second add to die so that they can be freed up to switch to cat form and do DPS. After all, like I just noted, a feral druid's tanking gear is often 1/2 to 2/3 DPS gear as well, while a paladin or warrior is going to be stuck in tanking-focused gear trying to contribute damage. And again, you want a warrior to be on that last mob to die, because even paladins, while stuck in bad gear for it, can at least equip their healing weapon and shield and contribute that way if healing starts to wane.

So basically, what happens is that warriors, while no longer the only accepted tanking class, maintain the status quo of being the best tanks, but not necessarily because they ARE the best, instead getting the coveted main tank position because they lack the utility and flexibility to perform other roles.

And now, for the part where I futilely call for blizzard to change the mechanics of the game. First of all, make it possible for Prot warriors and Pallys to do decent DPS with their specs. For that matter, let ALL specs of all classes do reasonably good, though not top-notch, damage. And second, do what you did for the healers recently, and make defensive stats on plate gear also somehow boost the ability of the plate wearer to do damage. That way, maybe feral druids like me wont feel so bad about asking to get our share of the limelight every once in a while.

Yeah, go figure, I write a long article detailing how I envy warriors, and then I conclude it by wishing for BUFFS for them. Did I mention I'm insane?


Trollin' said...

I've actually thought of these exact things before when I was thinking of rolling a tank. I want to try tanking, but I've levelled a paladin and I didn't like it too much. I've also levelled a warrior and it was really slow. Druids however, are awesome levellers. The downside though is exactly what you're talking about. My Druid tank would get pushed to the side if a plate wearer was in the raid.

I don't know what Blizz can do about it... But I hope they do something too.

Chris said...

I agree 100% I just hit 70 on my main a warrior. Right now I'm not specced prot because when leveling up it is terrible. The worst thing is that I get at least 5 whispers a day to tank something. A lot of people assume "he's a warrior he can tank" I am deffinately not specced for it. I have been carrying around a 2 hand weapon since for ever and my one hand weapon skills are terrible. But my druid a 61 is awsome cause I can do both and I don't have to spend a ton of gold to respec to fill a roll.

Ferocious Bite said...

I totally understand. I've been pushed into the DPS role ever since we started 25 mans past Gruuls. Before then, I was the #1 OT. But, we got a new, well geared prot warrior and one of our DPS warriors went prot and now I rarely get to tank.

I understand the appeal of a Druid is that we can fill multiple rolls based on what is needed at the time, but it's rare that I get to fill the tank roll and when I do, it's a 'Pity Tank Job'. ;p

It's a little frustrating for my husband too...he plays a rogue and gets frustrated as the warriors just can't build the threat that I do and he has to hold back. /sigh

Hopefully they will do something about giving prot tanks the ability to do more DPS to make them viable in a non-tanking role...but, I'm not gonna hold my breathe.

SuraBear said...

Wow, I'm actually kind of surprised to be supported on this one, I really figured I'd get written off as just being whiny. And really, I guess I should count my blessings right now, since my guild still sees me as #2 on the tank lineup. Though I suspect that is more legacy than anything, as for a long time I was the go-to guy back when we were first starting out, having spent massive amounts of time researching and acquiring gear.

The real irony here is that I get a LOT more tanking time in raids than I ever did pre-BC. All I ever got to do then was an add on Garr, an add on Sulfuron usually, and occasionally an add on Domo. Oh, and once I got a pity-position tanking one of the dogs on Golemagg.

Oh, right, and that one time both tanks died on Mags. Good thing I wore my FR healing set!

Karthis said...

If I were reduced to a one-dimensional role (tanking or dps) I would quickly be bored silly. I love that I can do both, and get to exercise both skills every time I raid.

Lemme see....

HKM: Tank & then dps when target dies
Gruul: Offtank

Mags: Tank & then dps when target dies

Hydross: Tank adds, dps in between
Lurker: DPS, then tank an inner add, then DPS
Leo: Main tank human form
FLK: Tank the shaman (ouch!) then dps
TW: Main tank
Vashj: pure dps (well, for now - I could tank too)

Al'ar: Add tank (love it!), and have also co-tanked the bird
VR: One of 3-4 tanks
Solarian: DPS
Kael: OT

And I get switched between dps & tanking on the trash (tho always wear my tanking threat set, in case things sour).

So really.... if you're getting screwed out of tanking time, you may want to give your raid leader a smack.... there is plenty of great tanking opportunities for bears in all levels of the content.

MoarHPThanJesus said...

As a feral tank AND raid leader I have struggled with this issue for a long time.

With the loot priority system we use I am last on the list for DPS items, but I'm continually put in the position of allocating myself a DPS (or healing) role because it would mean gimping the raid to do otherwise. This applies to progression encounters in particular.

So, even though I can and have tanked every boss we have on farm so far, I effectively can't perform my chosen role because of the deficiencies of the other tanking classes. In other words a feral tank is too good a hybrid.

I feel like a welfare tank when in fact I could be, and are, a entirely viable main tank in the absence of the other tanking classes - Go figure.

SuraBear said...

No, Karthis, I get plenty of offtank roles. What I'm saying here is, even though I may be QUALIFIED to main-tank raid bosses, I'll never get to do it as long as theres a Sword-And-Board tank somewhere in the group of 25 people, because plate tanks cant shift into cat form and do good DPS like we can.

Yes, I'll fully admit, this is an ego thing. We tanks are a prideful bunch. And what can be better than being able to say you got to main tank *name of big, bad boss*, and that goes tenfold if it was a guild first!

I dont get nearly the enjoyment out of being the guy who tanked Maulgar's shaman, or who tanked an add during Lurker's submerge, or ate all of Gruul's hateful strikes. Big whoop, who cares, any halfway decent tank can do that (Well, except for the shaman, though technically we should be using a pair of hunters or a moonkin for that job, and only have me tank because we always seem to be short on ranged DPS).

I liken it to being a DPSer, but being told that for every boss fight, you can only DPS adds (And if there are none, then you can go around bandaging people). Or a healer who is incapable of healing tanks, and can only do raid healing.

It just seems retarded to me that for a bear tank to be main tank on an encounter, you have to do so realizing that you also gimp raid DPS to do it. The fact that even on Tidewalker, a boss that actually FAVORS a druid tank, I was still sidelined in favor of our warrior tank, even after I pointed out that fact to our raid leader, just brought it to the front of my mind, I guess.

Karthis said...

With all due respect, Sura, it sounds like two things need to happen:

1. Your raid leader needs a kick in the teeth. If you're not MTing encounters that favour a druid tank, there's a problem.

2. You need to express to guild leadership that you're dissatisfied with always being DPS, and request that you have the oppourtunity to MT some of the big baddies now and then.

3. Your prot warriors need to learn how to dps effectively as prot. Our MT loves the chance to DPS from time to time, and has a nice set of gear for it. He can put up 500-700dps in prot gear, depending on the encounter. (i.e. a net loss of 200ish dps, per encounter, when I'm MTing).

Karthis said...

I can haz counting skillz? Three things, not two.

Liz said...

A little late commenting here, as I just ran across this post...but I agree 100%, and I felt I had to add my voice to the chorus here.

I'm not really a fan of DPSing in raids. I don't find it particularly challenging or interesting. I have somewhat limited time to play and so I've prioritized my tanking gear set over my DPS gear set. When I want DPS gear, I'm always rolling against rogues. Rogues DPS 100% of the time, and on bosses I DPS about 50% of the time as it is. (Much more so in upper Kara than in lower Kara.) Of course, it's their main spec, as a pure DPS class, so they get priority. And then I do gimpy DPS, which is just very frustrating, because I like being good at what I do.

I've gotten some lucky breaks lately with drops from instances and have had some craftables made, which made a large improvement. But I really prefer tanking to DPSing, and of course, the warriors are always going to be chosen for tanking over me, since I can do better DPS than they can....even when I am much more skilled at tanking than they are.

Ah, the woes of being a hybrid. It's such a love-hate relationship with our class. I love playing a druid, and I'm grateful I picked the right class on my very first character. But I feel that I will never be able to compete with a warrior, especially when the MT treats me as "just the OT." -.-

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