Thursday, September 10, 2009

When DPS Goes Overboard

Let them.

At least if you know them.

DPSers should not pull aggro. That's part of their job...maximize sustained damage without generating enough threat to pull off the tank.

But that's not the point of this post.

We've gotten into something of a rhythm in EoF. Every non-raid night we run heroics, starting with the dailies and moving on to whatever we have time for. Due to scheduling, it's usually the same crew online every night. I usually log on, whisper Mill to see if she's done the dailies yet on Tatia, her healer, then pick up as many guild DPSers as we can because I. Hate. Pugs.

Last night Tatia, Vel, DPS Warrior extraordinaire Nessfactor and I ran UK, the daily heroic. We 4-manned it because nobody in the guild was available and there wasn't a promising alternative in LFG. We then picked up a Rogue who came with us to H-HoL and H-VH.

But that's not the point of this post, either.

Last night while we were running HoL and VH,  Ness and Vel were pulling aggro on pack pulls. In VH when a single mob came out of the portal, they started pewpewing before I could even lay a finger on it. I didn't have time for a Shield Slam, let alone a full rotation.

If this happened in a raid or a PuG group this would be a very different post. I'd be complaining about how people have gotten away from the basics and aren't letting tanks do their job, and that negligence led to wipe after wipe after wipe.

Last night, though, they didn't. Sure, we had a death here or there, but we never had a full-blown wipe.

Why? Familiarity. Vel and Ness know what I'm capable of as a tank. I know what they're capable of as DPSers. They know I'll do everything within my power to pull aggro least I hope they trust me that much.

From my standpoint, it's a refreshing challenge. Having the opportunity to run a couple of easy heroics (UK and VH, specifically...HoL isn't all that bad, but certainly a different level than the other two) with a DPS crew who opened it up a bit forced me to stay on my game.

In a group situation, DPS has a ceiling that the tank defines. On the one hand, they need to be aware of that ceiling, but, on the other, the tank needs to make that ceiling as high as possible. Last night, they were setting the pace, not me. I still had to build the ceiling, but they decided to design the room.

I Taunted, Intervened, and burned Challenging Shout cooldowns more than a few times. I had to stay on top of my rotation and make sure that I was generating as much threat as I possibly could...even in situations where I wasn't working with a full rage bar. They didn't make it easy on me, and when we were done, I was worn out.

If you were never in a group that had trouble when it came to their threat levels, you'd never figure out how to efficiently use abilities like Taunt or Intervene. You'd never have to figure out how to pull aggro back when all of your emergency buttons are on cooldown. You'd never figure out how much threat you can really generate. You'd go along, happily tanking away, until something bad happens and you find out you're not prepared.

Being in a safe environment, like an easy heroic with guildies who know how hard they can push and get away with it, is the place to practice those skills. It's like a fire drill...learn the emergency procedure so that when it counts, you know what to do.

So what's the point of this post?

If you're running along with a group you know and they start generating more threat than they usually do, don't ask them to stop. Instead, take the challenge and push right back...pump out as much threat as you can and, if they pull aggro, be ready to save the day.

In the long run, it'll make you better at what you do, and, if you look at it the right way, it's kinda fun.


Eldadres said...

The reason I am even a successful Tank, would be from a Retadin in my last guild.

This guy was ridiculous as far as threat generation goes. I have never had a problem with Retadins, but he was just godly.

Needless to say, I had to learn and learn quick in order to even think about Tanking with that guild. I regret nothing!

Misneach said...

There's something satisfying about generating enough threat to let a really talented DPSer go nuts.

And yeah, I've run with some people who have given me a trial by fire as well. Either you learn keep up, or you bow out.

Misneach said...

learn *to* keep up.../sigh

candy said...

This made me smile as it reminded me of Heroic MgT back in the day, when my feral druid tank would pull entire rooms at once just to see what I could heal through and how many he could tank and keep off my pocket warlock. On occasion I wanted to smack him but overall, it made me feel good to have challenged myself and succeeded.

Misneach said...

@Candy: Heroic MgT was no walk in the park, either :)

I often surprise myself in situations like that...I think we all do. When we rise to the challenge in WoW or in our everyday lives, there's something really fulfilling about that.

koalabear said...

It didn't help yesterday that you were having rage generation problems.

You are right though, we had only 3 deaths, and those were in UK. We didn't have a single death in HoL :D.

I think if Maly doesnt happen tonight we should do Her ToC. If Vel is with us I would feel safe trying to heal it because I know he is there to back me up.

Stoico said...

Yeap, you are so right. Being takend out of your comfort zone and be pushed, is what makes us better players.

Had it the same way last night on Jaxx in ToC10HC. When the portals spawn and the Mistress get out. I had to unload hell or the dps, which needed to nuke full on out, on the portals, would snab agro on them. And in most cases die by it. Good times.

Misneach said...

@Stoico: I love doing the "impossible" with my guild. When we have somebody who says "I don't think we have the DPS to down this guy," I'll crank it up to 11 and let my crew go apecrap.

That's a good feeling. Kinda like taking the leash off and turning your American Bulldog loose on your wife's ex-husband...not that I'd every do something like that >.>

Anonymous said...

Don't tell our hunters this, please. :P

There's a difference between "challenging your tank" and "being a lazy, careless DPS" though...and they don't know what that is!

Misneach said...

@Amber: LOL. Just make sure they read the "They know what I'm capable of as a tank" part.

Attn DPS: If the tank can't hang, don't go crazy.