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Thread: 5-Man Tank Burnout

  1. #1
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    5-Man Tank Burnout

    The thread, Tanks that only log in for 25-mans, caught my eye this afternoon. This was posted in our Guild Relations forums and concerned situations where gearing players have difficulty getting guildies and friends to tank for them.

    I'm sympathetic on both ends, because I know it is rough to be the player looking for a tank. Like many thread respondents, I've been in the situation of turning down those players.

    Let's start with the assumption that tanking attracts a certain type of person. The quarterback. The infantryman. I reject the idea that most tanks in WoW are people who want to be Boy Scouts who protect people; instead, I find most effective tanks are highly motivated, skilled, and thoughtful people who want to get the job done. It's been a long-running discussion that main tanks are also more likely than others to be raid leaders and, in some cases, guild leaders of very effective guilds. This certainly isn't always the case, but it points to an underlying attraction.

    For me, I rolled a Warrior because I wanted to deal damage and be effective in PVP. I stayed a Warrior because I fell in love with raid tanking after watching and talking with Miyu, a tank on my server who taught and inspired me. What attracted me, like many other tanks, was the chance to take my gameplay to the next level, to take on the role of controlling chaos and the responsibility where even small mistakes on my part would inevitably wipe the raid. I thrive in that kind of pressure. That is the attraction of being a tank.

    Single-party instances don't bring that kind of enjoyment. They are relatively inconsequential, even while leveling. In the worst case, they become wipe-til-you-get-it-right-or-the-warlock-pisses-you-off endeavors. In the best case, they're 30 minutes that I could spend enjoying the scenery of Shattrath (or in previous days, Ironforge). In either case, after I've spent a month looking at a 5-man zone, I become more worried about my own stress and burnout levels than I do about helping others gear up.

    Tank burnout isn't unique to Warcraft, but rather to the MMO genre. It also isn't true for everyone -- there are many tanks I've seen who tirelessly run instances over the years. The reason for this post is to bring up a discussion point -- is there something in WotLK which might break this cycle? Is there something Blizzard can do to break this dynamic?

  2. #2
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    to take on the role of controlling chaos and the responsibility where even small mistakes on my part would inevitably wipe the raid.
    That there is the crux of it. Most people who become main tanks are alpha-dogs, thrill-seekers, and highly motivated. This doesn't apply to every MT, of course, but it does apply to most of the tanks I've known in 7 years of EverQuest and however many years of WoW that I've been playing. Some observations:

    If a DPSer is or isn't at the top of their game, it rarely will wipe the raid. If a healer gets disconnected or dies during a fight, the raid can often compensate. If the main tank dies, or a key off-tank dies, it's usually a wipe (Gruul and Void Reaver notwithstanding...)

    Main tanks are excitement-seekers. Main Tanks will be the first in their guild to get together a Magister's Terrace group when Sunwell comes out, and then be the first in their guild to run Heroic Magister's Terrace.

    Main tanks are dedicated. When there's a drop they want from a heroic zone, they're clearing it every single day until it drops. They're grinding every daily every day to get their SSO rep up to buy that new piece of gear. They clear Kara every week to farm enough badges to keep them at the top of their game. When a Main Tank wants something, he gets it.

    Because of all the adrenaline a main tank gets when he loots Moroes after still not seeing the Pocket Watch after 47 Kara runs and counting, the high blood pressure sustained from needing to shield block every single shear or the raid wipes, and the number of badges he had to farm to be the best tank he could be for his guild, he needs his down-time. Also, after 22 runs of Heroic Mech before he got his sun-eater, it would take the pope himself to get him back in that zone.

    If his progression has stonewalled, he's going to switch to PvPing, DPSing, or an alt for that new excitement. Tanking old things are boring and the only reason the tank even does these (usually) is because he needs something from it, or someone convinced him to help them out.

    This isn't so much a problem that Blizzard can fix, because it's not a problem with the game, it's a personality trait of the people who gravitate to the Main Tank role.

    As a MT, whenever people give me grief, I tell them to pug the tank, since I had to pug my DPS and healer for 75% of my badges

  3. #3
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    Since hitting lvl 70 about 2 weeks ago. I've only tanked one instance, that was bf for a bunch of 60's who begged me after losing their tank for some reason (no they weren't bad).

    Part of this is because of tanking burn out, well more specifically general instance burnout. I ran both caverns of time and the only upgrades I got were a bow with more stamina than my throwing weapon and the quest rewards. So running instances for gear got a little tedious for me, while at lvl 70 I could just buy pvp gear.

    Also I feel that there's a huge gap between the sub-70 instances and the lvl 70 instances. After I finished Black Morass, sporting warchief's shoulders and andormu's tear. I really wanted to run SV to get the Myrmidon's Headdress. But I failed the gearcheck the healer did. My understanding is I wasn't geared for any of the lvl 70 instances either. Let along heroics or Kara, which I was looking forward to doing when I hit 70. That was a little discouraging, so instead, I respecced fury to get the dailies done, explore the zone's I haven't quested in, grind rep, ect.

    Coming back to pvp, the pvp world really opens up at lvl 70. Arena is available now, and there are a lot of warriors there, partly because warriors are popular, partly because warriors really shine in arena. So I wanted to experience 'new' content. The battlegrounds likewise undergo a huge change (horde is severly outnumbered all the time ).

    Having said all that, I'm starting to miss tanking. As for what Blizz could do to keep the game fresh for tanks? Maybe make it easier to quest/solo as protection. I almost exclusively leveled 62 - 70 in dungeons, which is probably why I wanted a break so badly (before that I was leveling/tanking as an arms warrior so questing/pvp/tanking was all the same to me).

    @ebs2002: I think you've got it pretty well covered. I've noticed that I'm much more obsessive about grinding rep / running things for better loot than my friends that play the game. And this could be totally unfounded, but I feel that the gear requirements on a tank are much stricter than on the other classes (given the number of times my healer has been a SPriest without a wipe, I'm gonna include healers here too). Of course I'm not into the really hard content yet either.

  4. #4
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    I think what you'd really need to do to address burnout issues (not tanks, but in general) is to enhance the replay value of the game. Right now we have the problem of planned obsolescence, where each level/tier of content is outdated by the next one, combined with the fairly rigid limitations of instance play (and not just tanks -- frostbolt spam is not all that exciting).

    It is not very hard to get to the point where you feel as though you're participating in an assembly line rather than playing a game.

    I'm not sure I know how to fix that, though.

  5. #5
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    I think a lot of the burnout comes from the fact that, as warriors, we have to spend countless hours getting the gear, the badges, the rep, and everything else to get to whats needed for content. Many of the other classes its not so set in stone where you need to be gear wise to start raiding. I know I've spent hours upon hours running pugs and raids learning the content and working on gear. The biggest reason why is that my guild isn't as motivated as I am. We're only just now starting Kara despite all my attempts over the past year to get us moving.

    I started this guild and we've grown. There's not a leadership issue, its an issue of motivation and interest. I can plan events all day long and folks will come out, but its not as fun when people aren't really interested or motivated. We have several who log on to do dailies and pvp for a while and thats it. You just can't make people want to raid, you can't make people want to progress.

    I have to say though, the three biggest reasons for my burnout is:

    #1 I want to see more content, stuff I haven't been through nearly every day for the past year. I want to see more 25 man and upper tier content. Its gotten to the point where even doing the Heroic Daily just doesn't interest me any more. I'm ready to move on and do more, but that would more than likely require me to leave my guild behind.

    #2 I've run into such a problem with groups not paying attention to what they're dpsing, their positioning, and what they're supposed to be CCing. Case in point; today I did H UB for a friend and had to wait on them to get someone in the group a few points of rep so he could buy the key, then had to deal with him insisting on dpsing the off target so he could trap it even after I specifically told him not to worry about trapping unless I told him to.

    #2 Several members of my guild refuse to pug anything. They don't do anything except pvp unless I'm on. No matter how much I encourage them to run instances when I'm not around or busy, they insist that I have to go with them. For the life of me I can't figure out why. I help as much as I can, but there's only so many runs I can do, there's only so much time I can put in. And its gotten to a point where whenever I log in I feel guilty if I say no to a run when I'm trying to accomplish something. When a group expects you to be available for whatever they want to do and refuse to do anything without it gets to the point of frustration and general dislike of 5 mans.

    I rolled my warrior for the guild. We didn't have any tanks at the time. We had interest then in endgame and progression but now that I've hit 70 and been there a while that interest is gone from the guild. I've progressed past my guild and am stuck in limbo. On each of my 70s I had to pug my way to where my gear is now, I just don't know how to get people to understand that they can't always expect me to be there and that they're just going to have to pug from time to time.

  6. #6
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    There needs to be more sea otters in this discussion!

    I believe that if there are two talent specs available to players to swap between at any given time in wotlk, you'll have more dps warrs / holy and or ret pallies / resto and or boomkin druids / DK's willing to have a 2nd talent spec as a tanking class. The prot warriors will just more likely to be able to have a DPS spec on the side without as much hassle as you have now. They won't actually have to tank the burnout instances. Maybe the 5 man bosses will provide kittens or something too. Tanks just can't get enough kittens.

  7. #7
    I've had healers stick through bad groups with me, I've had tanks assist me in progressing in content when I brick-walled, and I've had DPSers willing to help me farm and do other solo activities. If those people send me a tell LF tank, they get one. Everyone else is usually replied to with a simple "no." The persistent beggars are told to "fuck off." Additional tells result in a /ignore.

    I rolled my tank because I got sick of not being able to do things on my rogue. To DPS who are sick of sitting in LFG, you should roll a tank or a healer. And in my experience this is a DPSers issue; I'll gladly help gear another tank or healer, just because I know that 9/10 times they are doing something they'd rather not to help others. They are the people who allow things to get done, period.

    So, to the hunter that wants me to help him farm Sonic Spear in reg SL: where were you while I was farming to gem my shit? If the answer is, "Right there with you helping!" my answer is "You got it amigo." If the answer is anything else, you sir or madame are SoL, go PuG, QQ, or DIAF, b/c IDC, I'm g2g on my rogue.... it's time to pwn some noobs in AV.

    I've kind of surprised myself with how strongly I feel about this topic. It's just that the very idea that someone is entitled to the services of a tank simply because the tank is able to help is mind-boggling. It's one thing if it's a group of people who have helped the tank and supported him/her while gearing, but then the question arises: why aren't they also geared? Where were they while the tanks were paying their dues?

    ps: If you are in LFG and you are LF2M tank and healz, you aren't LFM- you are LFG.

  8. #8
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    Now that Raid Bosses drop Badges I have no need to run Heroics any longer. I'll run a heroic with friends I that I can have fun with but thats about it. After I got Shard of Contempt from Heroic MgT I've had no need to run any Heroics.

    I believe Heroic Shatt Hallz and Heroic MgT are very fun to tank as a warrior, but I dont play the game to have fun on trash.

    Now the last Heroic I've ran was Slave Pens for the sole purpose of Ahune!!! Most people bitch about how hard he is but I think he's an AWESOME fight. He's actually a real boss and almost gives you the same rush as a normal raid. I wish all bosses could be like this! (I'd complain about it later though cause I'd pug with noobs)

  9. #9
    And I just realized that I posted in the wrong thread. lol.

    Concerning the burnout, I think Blizz is trying to move in the direction of allowing tanking classes the ability to do other things while tanking (ie dealing damage) and also bringing traditionally DPS classes into occasional tanking roles. The upcoming influx of Deathknights might help to alleviate the widespread need for tanks, but I doubt it; they'll all be DPS spec Deathknights.

    The only way I deal with the burnout is by PvPing on my rogue.

  10. #10
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    I can not think of anything that Blizzard could do differently that would alleviate burnout from running the same instances over and over except to introduce more content geared towards smaller groups. I know a lot of our regular raiders that are looking forward to 10 man versions of all the 25 man raids in WOTLK. I am pretty sure that some of them will never hit anything bigger than a 10 man again if it enables them to see all the content that way. It won't be as epic, the loot won't be the same, but if they manage to scale the fight mechanics down and still keep the encounters pretty similiar then it will be enough for them.

    On a personal note, I have yet to decide what I want to do once WOTLK comes out. The mad rush to 80, the excitement of new instances to see. And see again and again and again and again. Right now, the only way I'll generally go into a five man is on an alt or if it's a group of people I know already know the content and pay attention to what they are doing. It's not a challenge anymore and it's not new so I like it to at least be painless. I don't think that's too selfish.

    I do agree with Pasucon's comments about dps'ers that want to run stuff having a tanking or healing alt. People that take the time to learn to do different jobs well are the ones that are a pleasure to group with. They have an understanding of the encounters and appreciate what it takes to succeed and generally you can trust them to at least be paying attention to what they are doing.

  11. #11
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    I definately resonate with the comments on the personality traits of successful tanks. I'm very Type-A IRL.

    My druid tanks most of the bosses in BT and I've recently been gearing up a gnome warrior tank. I love the responsibility and the rush of pulling everything off exactly right. Healers have similar responsibility, but it's shared across the healing contingent. As a tank, it's all on you.

  12. #12
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    I don't think Primal Nethers play a big part in inducing tanks to run heroics they have no use for at this point in time. Much of my server, for example, has graduated beyond nethers and are demanding for nether vortex now. I have 10+ primal nethers sitting in my bank and maybe once every 2-3 weeks, someone would approach me to craft something with them.

    The sad state of things is we're at the point where much of TBC is over (except the high-end SWP stuff) and WoltK is priming to start. Good tanks that are passionate about their role and gear have done their homework ages ago, they don't need much of anything else till WotlK. What remains are people playing alts, very casual tanks that haven't had the chance to play much - and such tanks are either undergeared, or simply not good enough or have a good attitude for what it takes to be a good tank.

    Also - very few people have tanks for alts, I notice. In my guild, almost everybody has a warlock or a mage alt. Less than 5 people have tanks for alts, and out of that 5, even less are able to tank heroics even or want to tank heroics and beyond in the first place. It's come to the point that I, an alt-tank, have absolutely everything I need from Kara, every OL faction exalted, every piece of gear possible, badge gear included, short of stepping into a 25man raid.

  13. #13
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    i used to run heroics for the nethers i'll admit, but since they are bop now, people just don't ask me to craft stuff anymore because they can all get their own nether, and just find the first person who responds to their "wtb xxxxx, have nether" spam.

    I don't think its a terrible change, but i admit that deterred me from running heroics anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciderhelm View Post
    Tank burnout isn't unique to Warcraft, but rather to the MMO genre. It also isn't true for everyone -- there are many tanks I've seen who tirelessly run instances over the years. The reason for this post is to bring up a discussion point -- is there something in WotLK which might break this cycle? Is there something Blizzard can do to break this dynamic?
    I know I kind of got off on a rant in my last post. After a much needed breather, I've decided to come back and put in my .02 .

    I think that all the new 10/25 mans in WotLK will help and give us more options, but even in time that will wear thin. Maybe if there was more incentive to go out and run the 5 mans it wouldn't be so bad. Its bad enough running heroics now, I rarely, if ever, set foot into any reg 5 man. There's just nothing in it now. Rep, loot, you name it.

    Perhaps they could even make it easier/cheaper to respec or give us more viability in other aspects of the game without having to respec. Just give me a reason to want to go back to these 5 mans after I've geared past them and some added viability, that way after a tough run I can go out and beat the crap out of people without having to spend 50g to do it.

  15. #15
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    Here's a bit of a twist. I log on to pretty much ONLY do 5-mans and Kara.:\

    My tank was originally an alt. When my guild, back in May of last year or so, was in Karazhan, I played a Holy Paladin. I was there for our first Curator kill. Eventually we worked our way into Gruul's and Magtheridon's Lair. Once we started moving into SSC and TK, I got burned out healing and took a break. I worked on my Arcane Mage for a while and had fun. Then I slowly started working on my Warrior. I enjoyed Tanking so much, he became my main without hesitation. I even enjoy grinding with him more than my Mage.

    Long story short, my guild has out-geared and out-progressed me. I now lead a Karazhan run every week and I also try to do a Gruul's or Magtheridon's lair run every week if I can get enough people. I don't really get to do ZA with my guild because they want nothing but Bear Runs, and I am not experienced enough in ZA to do that yet. They've brought me along to two bosses in Hyjal before just to fill a slot. Which i do enjoy, but I'm not actually being useful really. The guild no longer does SSC or TK so runs of that don't happen either.

    I log on now to do Heroics and Normal instances for friends' and guildmates' alts. That's pretty much the extent of what I do on a weekly basis. I know this is the exact opposite of the thread topic, but blah I'm bored and figured I'd give an example of how the other side could feel.

    .Sick

  16. #16
    This is going to sound like a crazy suggestion, but I think randomizing the encounters in instances (similar to the Priestess in MgT) and the rewards that accompany them could help. Say, give each instance a 25% chance to spawn one of 4 special events, with different bosses and loot to go with. Throw in some extra story scenes, and make it so that you only get one shot per run at the special event, at the end. Maybe throw in a random mini-boss in the middle, or some randomized pulls, too. I know that tanks would drive themselves crazy farming for that damned X, but in this way Blizzard could pack maximum content into a single instance without it being the same old thing over and over, and without having to build a new instance environment every 3rd boss. Of course, this is exactly the sort of hijinks that pisses some folks off, but I'd like it.

    Just imagine this: you ran H-Mech again tonight for the 30th time, but to your surprise there was a new boss waiting for you at the end, with a little story scene and some shiny new toys. Maybe like a special one-time-only BoP ass enchant, or something? Or maybe he drops the key to a special instanced zone with nothing major in it, but an open bank vault for all the cool kids to use. Just being in the room makes you feel all special, because you unlocked the quest line, farmed out the special event, killed the boss in one go, and got the lucky drop. You are the man or woman. GG sir or madam!

  17. #17
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    When does burnout occur?

    When the game begins to feel like work. That's how I feel about entering a Heroic nowadays. I find myself asking, "What's my motivation"? The fun-factor has been replaced by grind. When the big payoff for completing an instance is measured in the number of badges you got, there's a problem. Blizzard needs to come up with a better reward system. I honestly don't know what it is, but badges of justice just seem like an empty reward.

    Maybe some kind of ladder ranking system? People are always keen on seeing their name in lights. Peer recognition seems to be as good a motivator as any. It wouldn't take long to come up with some categories. Over the course of a week the top 10 in each category could receive some type of reward. It doesn't have to be anything incredible. Just something to reach for.

  18. #18
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    Well, I guess if tanking means you'd rather do frell-all all the live-long day while you wait for other people to meet your emotional needs and reinforce your belief that you're all that, above and beyond, the best thing since sliced bread, then I'm glad I gave up tanking.

    You know, other classes do strive to be the best as well. Whether I go into an instance - ANY instance - on one of my three tanks, or as DPS (I don't have a healer), I make sure I'm ready to go before I cross the portal. I've got the best gear I can get, enough ammo, food, whatever. And yeah, sometimes I've run things I didn't need one thing from, just to help out other people, and it's frustrated me. But I did it anyway, because people were kind enough to help me when I was still leveling up and gearing up two and a half years ago.

    No, nobody's expecting any of you to stoop down off your pedestals and honor us lowly mortals with your presence. But goddamn. Think about where you were the first time you logged onto this game. The first time you ran an instance. The first time you got that drop you'd been drooling over for weeks.

    Too bad you're burned out. But if you continue to pay cash money to play this game, don't bitch about people asking you to play the role you've chosen to play.

    World of Whiners, eh?

  19. #19
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    If you're such a bundle of awesome why do you care? It seems you burned out on your tanks for one reason or another, so I can't help but wonder what your point is.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ringthane View Post
    But if you continue to pay cash money to play this game, don't bitch about people asking you to play the role you've chosen to play.
    I read this (in context with the rest of your post) as, "If you're paying for this game, you better damn well perform a role you don't enjoy to baby 4 under-geared alts through instances since they don't have the patience to work with a new tank who actually needs the gear and experience."

    If that sounds over the top, you should probably re-read your own post. Joana said it best:
    Quote Originally Posted by Joanadark View Post
    But most of the time it's not an undergeared player or two and the rest of the group composed of solid, reliable DPS and healers up to the tank's gear level, it's 4 terribly geared power-leveled alts that want you, the tank, to carry them
    It isn't that running instances isn't fun, CARRYING people isn't fun.
    As for this:
    Quote Originally Posted by Ringthane View Post
    Think about where you were the first time you logged onto this game. The first time you ran an instance. The first time you got that drop you'd been drooling over for weeks.
    The first time I did any 5-man, it was with equally geared people who were at the same point in progression. There was never a point where I tried to invite someone who was better-geared or more experienced to make a run easier. I don't see how the first time we did an instance has any relevance whatsoever to people being burned out by ferrying other people through zones month after month.



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