Tanking used to be different, oh so different. Â As a tank in FFXI, i didn’t really lead the group or dictate the pace of battle. Â That task was left to the puller which was usually a Ranger or Thief. Â A great puller made the flow of battle so smooth and relaxing. Â They’d have the task of timing mob repops and keeping an eye on the groups’ mana.
Yes mana was the number one aspect of almost all successful activities back then. Â It was difficult to keep and made support classes as valuable as tanks. Â Mana kept the group alive, obviously, but it also played a huge factor in tanking. Â Taunts were relatively weak and sparse in comparison to a good heal. Taunting was just another threat tool and nothing automatic like it is today. Â Heals were more powerful than taunts as a threat mechanic back then.
Every action and spell had enmity numbers associated with them. Â Managing and balancing them well as a tank separated the good from the bad. Â If you didn’t have mana then good luck keeping your healers or dps alive. Â Threat management was a real issue back then. Â Today it seems completely arbitrary and i understand why.
Encounters back them were so ridiculously simple that the term “tank and spank” pretty much covered the extent of every single encounter. Â Managing threat and mana was the real encounter and usually the boss was secondary. Â Do you have threat on the boss? Â Is it debuffed to hell and back? Â Do you have a support class in group to give you mana back? Â If so then you were golden as long as you the tank stayed alive.
Today it’s all about the encounter and mechanics of the boss instead of the mechanics of the class. Â I find it so much more refreshing battling that instead of the limitations of the class or group. Â There’s dozens more aspects to worry about now as a tank environmentally, but the act of tanking itself is so much easier. Â There is lies the problem and the point of my post.
Tanks have either completely forgotten the basics or never had to learn them in the first place. Â I’m going to go with never had to learn them because i refuse to believe they’ve forgotten. Â It completely drives me bonkers having to watch tanks not understand the basic concept of turning mobs away from a raid group. It’s so much more efficient for 24 other players to move instead apparently. Â There’s no more tank pride for “randoms”.
I’ve also seen countless tanks run ahead of the group without initiating and sort of ready check, only to drop to zero in seconds. Â The inevitable rage and rant about how it’s the healers fault somehow always follows. Â Of course next comes the tank leaving the group knowing they can just get an instant queue with another group. Â Ah yes the current dungeon queue system heavily contributes to this as well. Â While there’s normally some sort of cooldown penalty for leaving, it still leaves groups waiting around.
My final pet peeve is the tank that doesn’t know the encounter. Â I’m not talking about ones that have never done them before because everyone has to start somewhere. Â I completely understand those situations and do what i can to help them advice wise. Â No, i’m talking about the tank that joins raids and proceeds to say “i don’t know this fight”. Â What that essentially does is waste the time of 20+ other players. Â I’m fully aware that there are a large amount of players that refuse to look up videos or read up on mechanics before attempting them. Â As a tank, you cannot do that. Â It’s unfair to everyone else that expects you to lead them.
I’ve come to the conclusion that many new tanks I’ve run into have little interest in actually tanking or leading. Â They’re using the current system to their advantage to find groups instantly and pushing the responsibility onto someone else. Â They’re just leveling a tank to get gear which they have no intention of using. Â They’re just trying to get another class to max level to add to their collection. Â It’s their right to do so of course but i hate it. Â Since there’s no longer any accountability or reputation, i don’t expect anything to change.
* Before every tank i know kills me, this is about pick up group tanks.