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Posts Tagged ‘advice’

Dear person who came here looking for advice about “healer looking for tank and love”:

I feel your pain. Who among us has not known what it’s like to sit wondering whether your match will ever appear? And then the “Dungeon Ready” notice flashes up and your heart leaps, hoping this time  – maybe – you’ll find The One.

Good news! Blizzard wants to help even more than it already has with the LFD tool and is introducingBattle.Net Matchmaking. I’d say you should check it out, it might just be what you’re looking for.

If not, my suggestion is to find the “love” part first and then make him tank for you. If he really loves you, he’ll re-roll a meat shield. And playing with the one you love is really the best part of WoW!

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The tank is the leader of the party. The big cheese, the head honcho, el presidente…

Some of you are disagreeing already, assuming more than one person is reading this. To fully explain that statement we should take a glance at the nature of leadership and then put it in the context of WOW. Webster.com defines leadership as something a leader does…  yeah that helps. It defines a leader as someone who leads… hah. But further down it says that it means someone who ‘has commanding authority or influence’. Right, so tanks have authority. Hah! No really, they do. It is just a limited kind. It is limited in EXACTLY the same way all authority everywhere is. You get authority as people give it to you. In politics they sometimes call it a ‘mandate’. Like if the big issue in an election was ‘fix XYZ’ then the person that wins is said to have a broad mandate to do things about that issue.

Now think about a club. Let’s say you are the president of a card playing club. What authority do you have? Well you can decide what day you are going to play cards on. And people will go with that decision unless you pick a bad one. So you get to pick any day that works for the majority…. Ok.

And you can spend the membership dues on new cards. You have total authority there. You can buy ones with the checkered pattern on the back or ones with pictures from a gift shop some place. But you can’t buy a new car with the money. You can also decide who brings the snacks each week. But you can’t order one person to buy pizza every week. Your authority has a narrow river bed it flows down. You can do what you want inside those narrow banks, but if you try to splash your authority out of those narrow banks the other people just laugh and ignore you, or leave the club, or kick you out for embezzling the dues money. It is a voluntary organization and the leadership you wield has only the power to motivate people along lines they have implicitly agreed to in advance. And you have the responsibility to, within those confined channels of authority, make decisions and lead in ways that further what the people signed up for. In the case of a card playing club those things are playing cards on regular schedule and having fun.

Pugs are like this. Tanks have the authority that the other people give them. It comes with the responsibility to help make the run go well. You can give orders and make demands based on things they will think are reasonable. But within those bounds of reasonableness you have full command. If you say ‘I am going to pull this group LOS to this corner here’. That is a 100% reasonable statement. It is also an implied command for everyone to support that action. If some moron messes the pull up you have a mandate to complain to that person. The other members, assuming they are reasonable, and assuming you don’t take it so far you are ‘spoiling their fun’, will support you complaining to that player and telling him to not mess up your LOS pulls. It is this pact of peer pressure that gives the tank the mandate to give instructions that will further the group’s aims (finishing the run, getting loot).

For the good of the group the Tank MUST speak up and communicate if something is going wrong. It is the responsibility that goes with that authority. If a hunter left his pet on growl it is well within the mandate of the tank’s authority to say something about that. To a point. He/she can’t throw a hissyfit over it any more than the members of a card game club would be ok with the president flipping out over bad shuffling. They might be ok with some gentle remedial shuffling instructions or advice, but not with a full blown tantrum.

It is not ok for the leader to let something important slide. If some moron is pulling without you and you don’t say something about it you are failing as a leader. The other guy is making the mistake but it is YOUR duty to speak up and try to fix the problem. That is leadership. If the problem is fixed, everyone wins. But there is a fine line here. If the DPS is all impatient, and you stop the whole run to give them a lecture about impatience you are more likely to get a vote-kick than you are to get a smoother run. One of the things a leader has to do is make the most of the resources at hand. A manager can’t fire everyone who works for them for bad performance. Instead they must assign people to tasks that fit their ability, get them training where they need it, and fire people only as a last resort.

For example if the hunter can’t figure out how to turn off his pet and absolutely insists on picking a target you are not primarying you can point them toward a caster mob, even mark it for them. This is taking a bad situation, an uncooperative DPSer with bad skills, and assigning them to a task they ARE capable of doing. This also saves your sanity as a tank. Plus it helps the other person learn a skill and play style that is useful for groups. If the DK insists on gripping and pulling stuff, you might just let him tank that target. It gives you one less mob to tank and hopefully he takes enough damage to die in shrieking agony. But don’t be passive aggressive about it. If you just drop a mob and don’t say anything everyone assumes you are a bad tank. If you tell the dps ‘you yank it you tank it’ then they know you are making a stand on bad behavior and they can either correct it or tank their own mob. Again, stopping everything and throwing a hissyfit over either of these examples would only piss off the whole group. But even short of that there are active steps that can be taken to either fix or harness the behavior.

The interesting thing about tank leadership is that you don’t have to do anything more than what you do… most of the time. Moving ahead from group to group, picking your targets, marking where needed, checking on the healer’s mana before a boss, throwing your cooldowns when needed, taunting mobs where they need to be, moving the melee tangle out of the fire, all these are what a tank should be doing anyway. But they are also all leading a group.

My dad once told me being a leader was keeping management off the back of his people so that they could get their jobs done. Things like helping them get their payroll problem straightened out with headquarters, or handling the annoying customer so they can get back to the register. Those are things a manager does to enable his or her people to get the real job done. In the case of a tank you are doing exactly the same thing. You are there to do anything you can to let the dpsers kill things. That is it. You goal is to line up packs of creatures for them to kill. Your goal is also to do it at a rate where the healer can keep up. In this way you are warding off the obstacles in that person’s way also. That is your job. But if one of the DPS is doing something that threatens the whole it is also your job to try, within the bounds of your authority mandate, to fix the problem.

If the rogue over behind the boss is standing in the fire then you can tell him to move, or you can shift the boss and force him to move. But you can’t do nothing and then sneer when he dies. That is not leadership and that is not your job. You forced him to have to decide between being in good back stab position and being safe and he chose wrong. Or he just did not notice, but YOU did. If a leader notices his people making a design mistake, or even flipping their burgers wrong, but does nothing about it, then they are all at fault and the group as a whole fails. But the leader is at fault most of all. It is only after the leader has done what he can to help the others fix the problem that the responsibility for the failure moves to solely rest on the ‘underlings’.

There are a lot of bad leaders out there. Most people just want to get along. So they say nothing and the group muddles along, or fails and re-forms. And often no learning happens. There are a lot of variables in a failed group and many people can’t see/admit what they did wrong to cause, or help cause the problem.

Anyway I think I have wondered off tanking and into advice giving in general so I will wrap this post up.

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I am a jerk

Been reading some other blogs and I guess I am a jerk when I heal. I say ‘gogogo’. It is another way of telling the tank ‘Hi, I am in good shape. My mana is fine. Feel free to continue pulling.’

I also aggro other groups on occasion. I don’t do it if the tank is having trouble holding aggro. I don’t do it if I can’t HEAL through it, and I don’t do it if I expect the pack is going to two shot me. I just heal-tank them until the tank shows up. Yeah. I am challenging the tank and pushing him to be better. If they say anything about it, they usually say that. Or they say how hardcore the run is. Some tanks like a challenge. I don’t do it all the time. And if I mess up and wipe the group I apologize. I will even pass on a few rolls to give the rest a few more G for repairs.

I play tank and heals and dps in pretty equal amounts. I know there is a fine line between being a jerk and not. For example if I pull three groups on my bear, pop cooldowns so I am easy to heal and we AOE the crud out of them, nothing wrong with that. If I was a failtank and simply aggroed two groups and then cussed out the healer for letting me drop I would be a moron. I don’t do that. I do pull two, and often more. I think my record is 4, or two groups and a boss. Depends on the boss though. Still, it is usually my wife healing me so no one can complain. And If I screw up and get the group killed I say ‘sorry’ and I pull more sanely. This is not being a jerk. This is trying to get a run that is not insanely boring to a 5.4+K geared tank specced and gemmed for ICC. I don’t even need heals for any single pull in most instances. So why would it be rude to a healer if I pulled two?

If I am healing and pull a second group back to the tank, what is the issue? No really… if we don’t die, he had no trouble getting aggro, I had no trouble healing, and the dps was all good, what is the issue? If I did it when the tank was AFK or not ready then yeah, that would make me a jerk and I would deserve the boot. But if he is downing the last on in a group and another group comes over, no biggy. I play a tank, I know what groups to aggro and what groups to stay the heck away from.

Oh, I am more of a jerk than that, I also complain about DPS. Yup, I sure do. If I get in a run with some guy pulling 700 dps I say, ‘hey buddy, you should read some blogs or something because you should be able to do more.’ Is that jerky? Some people thinks so. Other people in the group will be all, ‘his gear is bad, lighten up.’ To everyone that thinks that, FYI, I can do 1200 DPS on my hunter naked with just a bow. That is right, in my undies. So don’t tell me that 700 DPS on a rogue with a mix of quest greens and blues is ok. It isn’t. If I let that rogue know (as I did Sunday night) that he should use some finishing moves on occasion because melee and fan of knives should not make up over half of his 700 dps I don’t think that is being a jerk. If everyone is too nice to ever tell him that that is unacceptable how will he ever know not to?

Take the dps warrior I ran with on Saturday. I had to tell him a couple times to stop using Heroic Strike. If someone can’t figure out what they are doing wrong on their own then someone HAS to tell them. I mean, I think it is pretty clear that if the guy doing 3 digits of damage keeps pulling aggro of a solid AOE tanker there must be SOMETHING not right.

But I am an even bigger jerk that just all that. Yeah I even check gear scores! *gasp* I know, total sociopath, right? Not just that but I will tell people that 1100 dps is NOT ok for 4k gear. I am nice about it though. I will suggest reading blogs and such. I will even add that doing that is how I get better when I think I should be getting more out of a class. Oddly, most people either say nothing or thank me. My wife and I use GS to judge people all the time. But not in a vacuum and not before the start of the run. Nope. We wait for a few pulls and compare GS to DPS and often even check their rotation with the recount logs.

Oh it gets worse. Sometimes I even link recount. Or dare to complain about their underranked spells.

I don’t kick often though. No, I usually just try to offer some advice. Gevlon (http://greedygoblin.blogspot.com/), rip up my ‘jerk’ card and stamp ‘social’ on my forehead. Sometimes I do kick though. If someone is really lagging the dps meter, had gear that is way better than his performance, ignores the 9 down ranked abilities that rankwatch is spamming him about and only seem to use 3 abilities in the recount log… yeah those people are likely to see the boot. But we are pretty forgiving. If someone even tries to fix their down ranks and takes constructive criticism with a ‘ok, thanks. I will look into that.’ then they get a pass. Everyone was bad at some point. Show me a glimmer of willingness or ability to learn and you are in. Ask for real advice and I will give you an earful. Come across as genuinely in need of practice and gear and I will invite you on a few runs. And, if you are getting serious performance out of ‘been 80 for an hour’ gear then you will get thanks and praise.

Yeah I judge. But I don’t do it in a vacuum. Some people DO suck. Pretending they don’t will just mean we are stuck carrying them through Cata heroics a year from now, or a year after than when they finally catch back up.

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Mentoring

Last night I took my new pally tank on a badge farming  run with two other  newly 80 alts in the guild; a mage whose main is a priest and a priest whose main is a prot pally. None of us were very geared (well, mine is getting there) and we had a blast, ran about 8 instances and had a ball.

Toward the end, the priest who is a prot pally go in Vent and started chatting with me. He remarked how easy I was to heal and that he was trying hard not to bubble me since I get mana back from direct heals, and then we chatted about prot pally spec and techniques. He looked over my talents, said that they were not quite cookie-cutter but he could see why I’d used the build I did, and then suggested a few changes and exactly why I’d benefit. We ended up talking for a while. Reversion got into the action when we started comparing pally and druid tanking, and it was a great conversation. I ended up re-speccing slightly, changing some of my gearing priorities, and coming away with an even better understanding of paladins.

Mentoring discussions like that are great helps to those of us with alts, who know how to play WoW but are new to a class. And they’re fun when we’re on the teaching end too. It can be hard to give advice to a guildie or random pugger, but when you find someone who wants to learn, give them the benefit of your experience.  My paladin is pulling over 2k dps in most heroics right now, and my gear score is still “low” for today’s standards. I’m hoping to find a group that will let me off-tank Patchwerk for this week’s raid quest and thanks to my guildmate, I’m even more prepared now.

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