World Of Warcraft, even in the face of peaking and declining subscription numbers, has more players than any other online multiplayer game that exists. At one point, the count was said to be eleven million players. Whilst this is hardly a large slice of the total world population, it is a lot compared to prior videogames that have made the news. However, when attempting to start the game for the first time, a lot of players tend to feel lost or confused. The following, therefore, is a guide to how to get along with players who fill the various “roles” in the game.
Tanks are an essential part of any dungeon or raiding party. A tank’s primary task is to keep the attention of enemies focused upon him so that the other roles in the game, specifically Healers and DPS, can focus on their tasks without too much interference. Hopefully the following tidbits will allow Healers and DPS to get along better with their tanks in future.
- Tanks have unlimited and infallible methods by which they can direct the threat level of an enemy toward them at any time they please. Cooldowns, casting speeds, and the failure of the enemy to respond to their threat-acquisition spells in the expected manner, are all no concern to the tank. Regardless of how much haste, armour, or resources the tank has on hand, they can just snap their fingers and get the enemy’s attention directed to them, instantly.
- Tanks love to take on huge numbers of enemies. Absolutely live for it. When a tank, irrespective of how he is equipped, has only four or five distinct enemies attacking him, he will really appreciate it when you pull five more into the battle!
- As an adjunct to the previous point, tanks love it when you not only pull another sizeable number of high-damage mobs into the fray, they really love to learn about it for themselves. Do not bother telling them or trying to alert them to the fact that there is now suddenly five or six additional enemies he has to somehow contend with. And by all means, if you die, or the entire group dies as a result of this additional group being pulled, abuse the tank for failing to help keep you all alive.
- As an adjunct to the adjunct, all tanks are psychic. No, really. Whenever they are so busily trying to keep focused on the right enemy so as to stop that enemy from casting a spell that might end the fight in a messy way, they will instantly know if some idiot has wandered over too close to the enemy that is behind the fight and pulled it.
- Tanks also really get a kick out of being told they take a lot of damage. Really? No shit? Apart from the fact that focusing large groups of enemies to hit them instead of the rest of the group is their fukking job, there are limits to the methods by which tanks are able to negate the incoming damage. I will use the example of Death Knights in this instance because that is the class I am most familiar with. Often, trying to tank any instance as a Death Knight entails watching the cooldowns of their abilities, especially Death Strike, finish at a pace comparable to how legend has it that really elderly people have sex. The most effective manner in which Death Knights acquire and retain threat, an area-of-effect spell called Death And Decay, can only be cast when the Death Knight has one each of an Unholy and Frost rune active. In my experience, this tends to translate as only being able to cast Death And Decay once every minute or two. And since one has to manually set a zone in which to place the Death And Decay, there is also a certain lag between the decision to cast and the actual casting. So whenever a tank is getting hit harder or having a harder time making the enemy come after him than you would like, rub it in. Tanks love that.
- Tanks really, really, really love it when people try to do part of their job for them and pull groups of enemies. Especially when their threat-acquisition spells are still on cooldown. Even more pleasant for the tank is when the squadmate arrogantly tries to justify this to the tank by telling them that they are “slow”. Tanks just love wishing that they could go back to previous iterations of the game such as Wrath Of The Lich King so that a DPS who took threat away from the tank, however accidentally, stood a very good chance of getting killed as a direct result.
- Tanks also love it when, for whatever reason, a DPS player that has taken an enemy’s threat away from them runs away from the rest of the group instead of towards the tank and the tank’s area of effect threat acquisition/retention.
- Last, but certainly not the least, tanks really enjoy when Healers try to coerce them into prosecuting the dungeon run a certain way with the threat of withholding heals. Only heal them to ten or twenty percent during the middle section of the Hour Of Twilight dungeon, and constantly tell them to let Gary Sue… I mean, Thrall… take out all of the mobs. That will win you a new friend amongst tanks.
- Oh, and one more thing. Tanks really love it when anyone, DPS or Healer, suddenly states in chat that they need mana right before they go to engage a new group of enemies. That always makes them smile and giggle.
Having said all of these things, tanks have it relatively easy compared to the first expansion, The Burning Crusade, where Blizzard basically bent tanks over a barrel and had at it. Healers, on the other hand, have found themselves bent over a barrel and had at in Cataclysm. Which brings me to…
Like Tanks, Healers are an essential component of any dungeon or raiding party. They have a very symbiotic relationship. The Tank smacks the enemy until it focuses more or less solely on them, the Healer undoes all of the harm that enemy inflicts on the Tank.
Unfortunately, Healers also have the distinction of having got it the worst in the Cataclysm expansion. This follows a rich tradition in each expansion pack to date, where one of the roles in the game has been made to contend with a disproportionate level of difficulty in the tasks posed by dungeons or raids.
- Healers really, really, really enjoy it when a Tank or DPS stands still amidst an enemy’s area-of-effect damage spell. Nothing brightens their day like that. It brings them so much joy that when they state to party members that they will not heal anyone who does that, they are only kidding.
- Healers are also like tanks in that they love it when a DPS, noting that the tank seems to be doing fine with four or five enemies hitting them, decides to bring four or five more into the fray. Even more so when they just expect the tank to magically know about it, and thus do not make any effort to alert people to the fact.
- Healers also love it when other players, especially DPS, race ahead and continuously pull groups of enemies without regard for their (that is, the healer’s) readiness. As hinted previously, previous iterations of the game made this an instant way to get oneself killed. But it is so much fun to try to keep some idiot who thinks the entire group exists merely to serve their needs alive.
- But probably the thing that Healers love the most, and this is pretty much a summation of all of the above, is when another member of the party not only seriously overestimates their own capabilities, but also underestimates that of the enemy. Every Healer knows that the enemy has nerf bats and feather dusters at their disposal whilst the rest of the party, especially the Tank, has the equivalent of RoboCop’s armour and gun.
Healers have a lot on their plate, obviously, and whilst the strange things that people believe about what they can or cannot do are least in number, they presently also have the most dramatic impact in the game. Unfortunately, the situation is not helped by the fact that for every Healer or Tank available in the game, there appears to be somewhere in the order of a hundred DPS players.
DPS players were in a very difficult situation during the previous expansion, Wrath Of The Lich King. Not only were they expected to memorise relatively complex sequences of moves, and have exactly the right kind of equipment with the right kinds of attachments, they also had an interesting situation in which taking the threat away from the tank, even for a mere fraction of a second, could entail a quick death. But some of the things that both Tanks and Healers believe about them…
- DPS toons really love to be sitting in queues for the lion’s share of half an hour. Sitting and waiting, questing and waiting, gathering and waiting, that is what this game is all about, after all.
- DPS toons also love it when, after they have been sitting in the queue for the lion’s share of half an hour, they get up to eat, drink, or piss, and the queue reports the finding of a group whilst they are tending to other matters that generally have greater imperative. Frantically clicking at the “join party” button, assuming they can even get to it in time, is a highlight of any half-hour spent marking time.
- DPS toons really love it when, after enduring this half-hour wait, and then getting into a group for something that might turn out to be less than ideally-suited, they get to hear an endless litany of bitching and bullshit about how this or that aspect of their performance is not up to snuff. After all, people who play DPS toons have nothing better to do than fruitlessly attempt to improve their character’s equipment and listen to people exhibit Tiny Dick Syndrome™ throughout the affair.
- DPS toons also really get a kick out of it when one of their own acts like an ass to the Tank or Healer. A DPS’ job, subject to certain exceptions, is a relatively simple one. Namely, pound on the enemy in a certain manner until it dies. Occasionally, the tank might ask specific types of DPS toon to polymorph, sap, or otherwise neutralise particularly bothersome enemies, especially when a group of enemies has more than one Healing-capable member. So unless the Tank or Healer is really doing an inadequate job, or abusing one of the other DPS players, DPS players really enjoy watching another DPS player mouth off at these people.
- DPS toons also love it when, if the Tank or Healer does request that one or more enemies be neutralised in order to make the next engagement easier, the DPS toons in the group who are capable of performing this function simply sit there as if asked to urinate upon themselves. Also fun is when a Tank, Healer, or fellow DPS either asks them to perform what is known as a Crowd Control that they are not capable of (several classes do not have this ability at all), or to use their Crowd Control ability against an enemy that is not vulnerable to it (such as Polymorphing a beast).
- DPS toons also really enjoy it when they are asked to perform a function that they have never previously been asked to perform, and rewarded for making queries about it with verbal abuse or even removal from the party. That makes that whole lengthy wait in the dungeon queue seem really worthwhile to them.
Players who go into DPS roles for whatever reason know full well that whilst they might occasionally be asked to perform more complex tasks, they have the simplest and least critical role in the game. They are also very much aware of how they can be so easily replaced that they are much like the players in a sports team. Whilst it is easy for a good Tank or a good Healer to think of them as disposable, a DPS player who excels in their role is worth their weight in gold.
I sincerely hope that this write-up of the things that people who are not Tanks, Healers, or DPS believe about Tanks, Healers, or DPS players has proven helpful. Hopefully, with all of the above borne in mind, those of us who play in each role (or switch between them, as I often do) can work together to promote more harmony between players.
After all, the people who actually make the game seem to have this persistent belief that we, the players, have nothing better to do than play their game, so on the occasions when we do decide that such really is the case, it would make the whole occasion that much more tolerable if we all worked to help one another instead of flung shit at one another. So hopefully this writing has helped with that. If not, then I cannot really tell you anything further.