I was a bit distracted by Transmogrification but something else radical happened in WoW last week. Threat was essentially singled out at a bad mechanic and buffed to the point of being inconsequential. Of course, as with all things WoW, some people loved it, some people didn’t care, and some people cancelled their subscriptions immediately. *queue nerd rage*
I reposted the threat changes on my guild forums and it was met with happiness and ambivalence. No one was opposed to the change. In fact a few people responded with, well this will make randoms so much easier.
Of course, I try not to comment on things I haven’t done. The only comment I made on this was “Cata raiding, meet Wrath Tanking” because that is what it sounded like to me.
So this weekend, I decided to try out a bit of this change.
On my DK, I tanked quite a bit in Wrath. I ran a random every day on her, and used her to help guildies farm up ToC and FoS/PoS/HoR gear. I could easily go into a HHoR and tank the instance with my ICC geared buddies, who would nuke away to their heart’s content. Only occasionally did I have to use my taunt, and only occasionally did I have to use things like blood boil as a reaction. All in all, it was pretty easy. I didn’t mind doing it. There was still some skill, tabbing around, keeping my dots up, cooldowns, and the occasional army, but tanking wasn’t so difficult I was unwilling to do it.
When Cata hit and I decided to level my dk, I, of course, thought, “Oh! I’ll just queue for randoms! Insta queues, plus I am helping others get dungeon runs, it’s a win win!” I had this feeling for all of about 60 seconds and then the ugly truth raised it’s head. I was level 80, in level 80 gear. Not terrible for BRC and ToT, but not sufficient to deal with level 81 and level 82 dps who had replaced large chunks of their Wrath gear. I spent 90% of my time chasing mobs (does anyone understand what threat reduction skills are for? Does anyone understand run TO the tank NOT AWAY?) and fighting to keep threat. If I targeted a different mob, even just to taunt another mob, the first one would be ripped away. Of course, dps would die, healers would get upset and leave, and I would feel like crap. Maybe it’s my level and gear I thought. So I leveled up to 83, replaced all my Wrath gear and got down to business. Oh god, Stonecore… after about 5 or 6 runs, I was done. I sent all my dk’s gold to my main, emptied her bags, and cleared her mailbox. She was effectively going on the shelf of unused characters.
When they introduced the CTA bags, I thought, OH! I should go level her now! Surely things are better. Haha, the naivete of youth. Not only were things not better, they were arguably worse. It was a dark time for my dk. I knew how to tank, I just couldn’t actually do it. No amount of death and decay, no amount of outbreak+pestilence, no amount of runestriking and death striking. Those dps were going to pull aggro without trying and there was *nothing* in my arsenal I could do about it.
So I didn’t play her. Until this weekend. Nervous and a bit stressed, I decided not to change anything, to just go in the way I was and see if this 300 to 500 actually made a difference.
Oh did it make a difference.
The only time the dps (including one rather shockingly well geared for regular VP level 85 mage) pulled aggro was on a multi-pull and even then, as the mobs ran through my D&D they would snap over to me. I made it through VP with very few mistakes (most of which were me not remembering how to position mobs). The experience was… dare I say it… enjoyable. Imagine that, enjoying playing a game. Enjoying it enough, I queued again. I went and bought some upgrades and… queued again. At this rate, I was going to max out my jp for the week.
Of course, as with all changes, I looked at the screaming of the ragers to see what the possible “side effects” of such a change were.
“It’s going to be soooo boring to tank.”
Because pressing 1-1-1-1-2 is so exciting, amiright mages? Because staring at five green bars, waiting for them to turn yellow and then clicking on them is the height of adrenaline rush. Because doing the same dungeon for the third time that day is brand shiny new!
Okay, nothing is that bad. But then, neither is tanking without having to worry about threat. There are still cooldowns, there are still adds to pick up, there are still huge pools of bad to stay out of. Only now, the most annoying part of your job is gone. The part that not only annoys you, but also annoys the whole group. No more dps having to stand around wishing they could do their job. No more healers having to heal the sudden clothie tank. Just a meat shield doing his job, while everyone else gets to enjoy doing theirs.
“Way to dumb it down to Wrath levels Blizz…”
Why do dps have 45 minute queues? Why, even at the HEIGHT of CTA, did I still have 25 minute queues? There are 4 tanking classes: Pallys, Dks, Warriors, and Bears. That’s almost HALF of the total classes. Ever seen one of these classes wait in the dps queue? (I have.) Tanking is hard. Tanking is thankless. And tanking is generally not fun.
So there is a tank shortage. Blizzard tried the bribe. It didn’t work. So now, they had to try something else. Honestly, the difficulty needed to be nerfed. The player base simply did not have enough of the kind of people who wanted to do that job at that stress level. I don’t think it was dumbed down, but I do think that by removing one of the more annoying aspects of the equation, it made it easier to understand at do at a level good enough for randoms.
Tanking is still going to be difficult in raids. It is still going to be a challenge in heroic modes. It is not going to be a faceroll (especially since people still have their rotations). But it is easier, especially for people who don’t have the gear or experience.
This is going to solve the tank shortage problem much better than a bag with extra items. It has already brought me back into the fold of tanking on my DK.