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Posts with tag off-tank

Breakfast Topic: Do you prefer to be the off tank?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to our pages.

Most tanks (and aspiring tanks) want to be the main tank of a raid. It is upon this prestigious player's shoulders that the success or failure of the raid is often considered to rest.

Screw that.

First of all, we know that stereotype is untrue. Healers and DPS both play critical roles in raid success, even though they are sometimes forced to argue for their significance. But I don't often hear praise for the off tanks. While the healers heal, the DPS damages and the main tank tanks, these "wannabe main tanks" play critical roles in most every fight. Whether they have to pick up adds or share the burden of boss tanking with the main tank, these intrepid heroes have to work just as hard to keep the raid alive.

I first tasted off-tanking back in Naxxramas (10-man) when I stepped up to the task of being one of the rear tanks on my elemental shaman during the Four Horsemen fight. Here, I received my first taste of the special joy of adapting my skill set to new situations for every fight. I pined to be the one who would kite the zombies on Gluth, but my shaman lacked the capability, and one of our mages shouldered the responsibility. You can rest assured, however, that I was always back there to assist by laying down my Stoneclaw Totem.

My guild fell apart for a while after Ulduar was released, and I was too poor for more WoW. Once I wasn't poor anymore, I leveled a feral druid, and we all got back together just recently and started raiding Icecrown. Now I'm the off tank, and I'm loving it. Being an off tank lets me flex and show how creative and adaptable I am.

Do any of you tanking types out there prefer the off-tank role?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Ready Check: Raid understudies and how to grow them

Ready Check is a column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, Vault of Archavon or Icecrown Citadel, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses.

As much as I'd like to think I'm an extremely dedicated and reliable guild member and as much as I live and breathe tanking in the end-game content, even I am forced to admit that I sometimes do that thing raid leaders dread most. I flake out. It's not like I'm lounging around my man cave, sipping an incredibly powerful beverage, and just spontaneously decide "I'm not going to raid tonight. Screw those 24 (or 9) other people." It's always a real life thing for me: I run late at work, I'm getting married, my cat's on fire. (I've missed three raids because my cats have caught themselves on fire. Once is funny, twice is a concern, but I don't think anyone believed me the third time.)

But no matter how real and valid my reason for missing a raid, the fact still remains that I'm letting down a group of people. (Or, I'm letting down a group of friends if that's the flavor guild you're running.) Even worse, let's say I'm the main tank. Many raiding guilds use a deference-minded loot system: "main" specs get the loot for their role first, before people who only fill that role on occasion.

So, not only is the raid missing a warm body, they're missing a warm body who is usually the most practiced at their role and the best geared for that role. It's a conundrum for every raid leader. You don't want to tell your Class A folks that if they miss a single raid, they'll find themselves benched. But at the same time, you're really out a whole lot of power by missing those folks.

This problem is especially palpable for tanks and healers. That's not because DPS isn't important (it absolutely is), but because the tank and healer corp for raids tend to be much smaller. If you're missing one healer out of your 10 man raid, you're suddenly down 33% of your healing power. (Best case scenario might be you're putting the two-healer stress on someone, but that's still not great.)

The only way you can mitigate your raid loss due to missing tanks and healers is to plan ahead. Let's take a look behind the cut and talk about how you can handle this issue.

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Filed under: Ready Check (Raiding)

Forum post of the day: The tank surplus

"Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels."
- Faith Whittlesey

Kazug of EU-Defias Brotherhood is afraid that he will never be able to take on the role of main taink against Heroic Malygos. He pointed out that although tanks are relatively scarce in five man instances, there is fierce competetion for tanking slots in 25 mans. One out of five players must be a tank in five mans, whereas only one in twenty-five can be main tank in a raid. He feels that only the best of the best, the ones with the most time as he defines it, are able to take on the role of main tank.

Other tanks are left taking out the trash on single-tank fights. Several posters echoed Kazug's sentiment. Despite a dedication to tanking, they're relegated to the roll of picking up adds in most fights. Others indicated that their guilds rotate MTs or even have tanks roll off for main tanking responsibilities. For some guilds the MT is the MT and that's all there is to it.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warlock, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Death Knight, Forums, Forum Post of the Day

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