The Gray Place

Monday monday. Can’t trust that day.

Posted in General Me, WoW by mrfenris on April 19, 2010

It’s a monday.  One of my many bosses (my boss’s boss) gets an email from the two other Departments and a Federal rail road agency about a property they want cleaned up.

Said property has not been touched in over ten years judging by the tree growth (Secret:  Federal rail lines are exempt from State and City laws) and the Feds haven’t done dick with the property.  So I just know this property is going to be come a pissing match between three departments, the Feds are gonna tell us to go screw, and I’ll get stuck doing it.

So I’m out there cursing, standing in wet weeds and saplings, no doubt getting ticks in my balding hair, and snapping pictures of said property.  I am a stocky guy.  Oh sure I’m short and fat, but I’ve played sports all my life and I’ve got some muscle hidden under my blubbery ode to cupcakes.  I don’t startle or get intimidated by things too often.

I work in bad bad bad neighborhoods.  Crack houses, spooky empty warehouses, gang members, crazies, I deal with it all.  I’ve learned that if your firm, blunt, and act like you know what you’re doing people leave you alone.  I walk around like a guy in his Dockers and button downs is supposed to be there.  I’m aware, but I’m never scared.  You can’t ever show weakness.

So I’m taking pictures along this overgrown rail line, minding my own business, when I hear a sound to my left and the hairs on the back of my neck stand right up.  I turn and there about 20 feet away from me is the biggest Rottweiler I have ever seen.  This dog’s neck is as wide as tree trunk.  I look into his eyes, and he’s just staring at me, quietly and slowly walking towards me with his head slightly dipped.

Not much scares me, but I’ve seen that look before.  He doesn’t bark or growl, his shoulders and head are inclined and I just know he’s ready to come kick my ass.  I see there’s a hole in the fence he just came out of so I know he’s most likely just protecting his turf so I start to back away and get back in my truck.  I *know* if I had stood my ground or even spoke to him, he was a millisecond away from charging me.

That dog scared the piss out of me like he was some sort of force of nature.  Dog 1, Mrfenris 0.  Much respect dog.

People always say that there are stereotypical personality traits when it comes to tanks (and to a lesser degree healers).  People assume males are tanks, which is probably only true in regards to the fact that more males play WoW than females.  I’m not even going to get into the issue of female tanks because it’s a non-issue to me.  Male/female, you’re a tank, lets bang shields and get this shit done.

But there’s this image that people who play tanks are aggressive, bossy, direct, stubborn, and that they take command.  I don’t know how much I buy this.  (I may be some or all of those).

Instead I think there are unrecognized traits.  When you tank you’re at the front of the group.  Your job is to hold onto the mobs, not die, and set the pace your party moves through the instance.  This doesn’t take a “me smash!” mentality.

Instead I think responsibility, focus, and dedication are the key traits that make up most players whose mains are tanks.  Why do we not automatically think of these traits when we think of tanks?  Tanks understand the role they play.  They know if they screw up someone might die or the party might wipe.  Why aren’t they given any credit for being responsible?

Same goes for being focused.  A tank handles the pulls and makes adjustments as needed to keep their group moving through the instance.  Line of sight pulls for a group of casters, are we moving too slow for the groups playing ability, what adds are pathing this way?”  A good tank is focused on their immediate group as well as the group just around the corner that’s about to be “pet pulled”.

If you want to be a good tank just log in, throw all your points in your tanking talent tree, and get some “tanking’ gear.  If you want to be a GREAT tank, understand the core concepts of the game.  Then learn the core concepts of your class.  Understand the encounters and boss mechanics.  Understand other classes and what you need to do to adjust for them.  Gather different pieces of gear for different encounters.  An encounter with lots of physical damage?  Put on your armor kit.  An encounter with lots of magical damage?  Grab your high stam kit.  Read read read read.

Dedication to your class and role is the SINGLE most important thing you can do to being a tank.  It allows you to think on the fly, adjusting where needed, it allows you to survive things you “should” not.  It allows you to get your subpar group past what conventional wisdom says you can’t do.

Why is it when we mention the traits of tanks we never think of these things?  Instead we imagine them as some brash, bossy, hulk smash type.  I sometimes see these players.  These players are more in love with the idea that they play a tank.  9/10 times they are insecure, uneducated (in WoW), and fragile players who crack under pressure or responsibility.

Me?  I want someone who IS a tank.  Not someone who PLAYS one.

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