O Hai, I R Tank 2!

As the only Feral Druid in a guild on the small side of 25-man content, I often find myself in interesting and and sometimes /sigh-inducing situations. <Unemployed> has a team of tanks, and we are four members strong. We have myself, a Feral Druid, an Icey Death Knight, and two Protection Warriors. (We have a lot of paladins but they’re all healing-flavored)

As far as raw tanking goes I’m fairly certain that we’re all equally skilled and similarly geared. The playing field is not equal, however, when it comes to DPS.

There’s no contest, I’ve been told multiple times and seen too many charts to be able to say differently. Even as bear-spec, I can rip some face. Next up is our Death Knight. He’s no face-ripping kitty, but when he’s not tanking he can pull his weight as well. Our two warriors, predictably, are neck and neck as far as DPS goes. They’re also solidly at the bottom of the meters. That’s ok though, we’re tanks, we’re not paid to deal out massive amounts of large and sexy numbers. We’re paid to get hit in the face and not fall over, a job which all four of us complete quite adequately.

This interesting and /sigh-inducing situation I mentioned comes from the fact that we do field four tanks, that not all boss fights require four tanks, and of the four, I do the best at pumping out DPS.

My problem, is I’m finding myself falling into the trap of thinking that because I mostly tank Trash that, by proxy, it means I’m a trashy tank. The very adaptability that I love so much about being a druid has forced me into the role of the ultimate off-tank. If needed I can tank with the ‘big boys’ and stare down my snarling muzzle at a boss, but I often don’t because, if I did, it would mean one of our warriors is forced to DPS and the raid as a whole looses about 1,000 dps.

The name of the game is playing as a team, and a Feral’s role in the team is to be adaptable and take on whatever job needs done. We are support classes, always have been. When Blizzard told us that we would be viable main tanks there was outcry from the pure tanking classes. Since I can tank, and dps, and innervate, and battle rez why would you ever need to bring a Warrior?

Well, it’s because I can tank, and dps, and innervate, and battle rez. We can be main tanks, but we are uniquely qualified to fill in those holes that are left when you come to a boss fight that only needs 2-3 tanks in an instance where trash commonly requires 4. A feral allows a raid to bring along 4 tanks without loosing a dps slot.

Granted, I’ve never broken the 3k dps mark, but I do commonly break 2k, even as a bear. It’s not outstanding, but it’s servicable and I do my part.

What brought on this bout of introspection? I did some tanking this weekend. Actually, I did quite a bit of tanking this weekend.

I tanked:

Grand Widow Faerlina
Noth the Plaguebringer
Heigan the Unclean
Patchwerk (soak)
Stormwind Leader
Iron Forge Leader
And Lots of Heroics

On Friday we hit up Naxx-10 (an offnight raid). They needed another tank so I volunteered, then our previous main tank (one of our warriors) had some sort of catastrophic internet connectivity issues and couldn’t make it. We successfully twisted the arm of a Retribution Paladin, and soon had a prot pally to run along with us.

Here’s when something interesting happened. I flat out refused to be loot master. I hate the job and I hate making others unhappy, so I refused. Our mage (and raid group leader for the night) volunteered (I made him put the group together too, aren’t I lazy?). As things wore on though I noticed people were looking to me for leadership. Now, I knew these fights pretty well, and so did most everybody else, but I was the tank, and as tanking was my main spec, I was the most experienced tank.

And so, I found myself in a de-facto leadership position as well as Main Tank! Rest assured, that emo bear was not so emo and my tanking ego has been stroked.

I hung out around the spawn point for Omen, found a PuG pretty easily for him and guess who was voted main tank? Moi. Same deal when we got a 40-man raid going to get the War Bear achievement. One of our warriors was in there and he was going to be main tank, but he stepped aside and let me take the role instead. (and by we I mean a bunch of random Horde on Hydraxis)

It was great, felt great, and helped assure me that yes, I can play with the ‘big boys’, I just don’t because, as a Druid, I’m more valuable to my guild when I work in an offtank/DPS role. So this is me waving ‘bye-bye’ to the Off-Tank Blues.

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  • Comments (8)
  1. That’s why I LOVE the druid class. It’s awesome that you have gotten past the OT blues. We really CAN do it all. ^_^

  2. That’s awesome to hear. 🙂

    It’s funny how a bunch of the bloggers I’m reading are all kind of falling into the notion of druid == offtank. Something in the air, I guess.

    In any case, don’t sweat it. Yeah, we often go dps because the other tanking classes fail at it (especially in tanking gear) anad there are Too Many Tanks, but druids are pretty awesome at the hardest fights in the game and they’ll stay that way for a while. It doesn’t make you a bad tank because you don’t tank a lot of stuff right now. It just makes you more useful than them. 🙂

    • Beamen
    • January 26th, 2009

    That mage sounds pretty cool!

  3. I’ve always reveled in the Druid=offtank role, it’s pretty much the way I like to play.

    While I CAN tank the big baddies, I have a heck of a lot more fun being a kitty/hero-bear when only one tank is required.

    I do, however, prefer to MT 10-mans than OT them….. not sure why that is. But get me in a 25-man, and I’d rather utilize all of my versatility.

  4. As a protection paladin, I’ve always been sucked into the infamous phrase, “Fuu tank the adds” I heard this phrase so many times in BC it was kind of a running joke between my fiancee and I. I do understand how as a hybrid class we some times are treated like we are unable to preform as good of a job as our Warrior counterparts. I know that the metalitiy has changed a ton over the time and both Paladins & Druids have gotten quite the boost when it comes to being a MT for any occasion. I’m still pretty sure as long as I’m still the AoE tanking queen, I’ll continue to hear that phrase.

    • Tigerfeet
    • January 27th, 2009

    Ooooooh what I wouldn’t give to have a Prot pally on our tanking team! No more “Tiger go AOE tank!”


    It’s not that I don’t LIKE AoE tanking, it’s that druids aren’t very GOOD at it, and I hate hate HATE having to do something I’m BAD at.

  5. Do you ever run into the problem of tanking so many things that you cant see? I laugh a lot when I have to ask my fiencee (who is a lock) to tell me if something runs away from me because I have a pack of [insert 35 mobs here] in my face lol

    • Tigerfeet
    • January 27th, 2009

    Fuubar – Yeah, this happens quite a bit actually, and is insanely frustrating especially with the difficulties of swipe. I like to tab-target and if my target is out of range and I’m trying to spam swipe then it’ll just error. Meanwhile things are being AoEd and oftentimes dps will pull aggro because for two crucial seconds I wasn’t swiping.

    This happens to me too when I’m off-tanking the adds for Kel’Thuzad. There’s two of them and they keep getting BIGGER as time goes by! The first couple times we wiped was because I had a void zone spawned on top of me and COULD NOT SEE IT! Eventually I just kept an eye on the raid warnings (DBM or BigWigs) and whenever one spawned I’d take three steps backward and look around the room.

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