There's something I forgot to mention in my ramblings last time about LFG. Some things that have really hit me in the face [or bite me from behind, depending on how you look at it] recently. Recently, meaning yesterday.
Random group on Dae, my tank/dps DK. I almost always sign up for tank, but yesterday, I figured, "oh, hey, why not sign up for both?" Apparently, the idea wasn't so hot with Blizzard. A queue pops up, and Bali, my warrior friend, and I accept...
So the image of ToC pops up.
"Oh, good, this will be easy!" Was our second thought. First was "Holy goodness, it's not HoL!"
Get in there, joust, I start to tank.
Then notice that there's a bear.
"That's a bear! Why is he trying to tank?" I ask Bali as I'm holing full aggro on almost everything.
"Not a clue!"
I look up.
"Oh. I'm DPS!" -pauses, boggling this- "That never happens!" I go Blood presence, completely forgetting I still had the mage and the rogue hitting me.
Back to frost presence, that hurt. I'll change after.
Pull finishes, we get loot, I sneakily [so I thought] swap into DPS gear and spec and presence. And I glance at the bear's health.
40K buffed, not bad. I pull up his character sheet.
And started weeping little bear tears of sorrow.
People may say there's no real bear tanking gear, but most bears knew better. This one did not. A tank ring dropped. He needed. All good and well... except that the tank ring had parry on it. "It's better than what I'm wearing," he declares.
This worries me, and I had to go look at his gear, for in what world was a parry ring better than what he was wearing? Keystone Great-ring. More stam, more strength, added expertise, added a socket. Lost some dodge and armor. Eeeeeegh... Okay, I'll let it pass. Still think bears with parry are laughable, but... it was better minus the parry part.
Go on to look at the rest of his gear. He was in mostly blues, unenchanted for the most part, and his gems were some of the strangest I've ever seen for a bear... and possibly a cat. Don't know what cats gem for, I just... pretend I know.
His health pool came from the fact that he was wearing two pieces of the Polar set -- yay for frost resistance in ToC? -- and, when asked about it, he declared that they were "best in slot" for bear tanks.
Except, the gems he had in them included an "agility and crit" rock. Which, as far as I was concerned, was a DPS gem. No stam? Don't want it.
His neck and one of his trinkets was straight attack power.
I had Bali look. Bali only knows warriors, but even he knew trouble when he saw it.
"This is going to be fun..."
We pull again. Bali dies. Twice. To trash mobs. The affliction lock dies to trash mobs too. I end up popping cooldowns because I ended up tanking. Somehow.
They run back in, we pull the last set with the DPS being careful.
Then Eadric the Pure. Bear doesn't turn away all four times and gets disoriented by Radiance. First time, warlock died. Second and third time, Bali ate the shots [bonus of being plate, he didn't die... the first time he was turned to anyway], last time, I ate it.
Eadric died, and the healer speaks up. "Sorry, I'm not that good of a healer."
Bali and I go look at his gear while waiting for the bear to start the Black Knight.
Bad idea. The little bear tears of sorrow from before became large shammy tears of disbelief. Our shammy was in mostly enhancement gear. Mostly being all but four pieces. He had a healing weapon, and the Tankard O' Terror as his off hand. Only one weapon imbue.
While having -- Oh. Shoot. That just hit me. Tankard = dual wielding = ... enhance shammy healing...? Or did I remember wrong?
-melts into a puddle-
I do recall telling him Earthliving double stacks though. Hopefully I'm wrong and it was an off hand. Please.
Anyway. Big shammy tears of disbelief.
Bear pulls Black Knight, has no idea how to tank him, kits so much the DPS were creating hate macros, and then, when I popped Anti-Magic Zone for the third phase, promptly moves the boss out of it.
We all die. Strangely enough.
I almost made it though, after sacking the ghoul and death striking. Almost, sadly, doesn't count.
We get back in, I go tank spec and gear. Enough messing around, time to actually get out of here before Blizzard decides that I need more pain. I tank him, we die less, we succeed. Sure, it was a mean move because I didn't let the bear know, but I was out of patience for a bear who didn't know how to be a bear and the healer whose gear caused me even more sorrow than that of the bear's.
Nightmare over. I move on.
Later that day, I was doing my random on my resto shaman. Got PoS. Tank seemed squishy. I realized it while he was tanking one mob. One. I pull open his gear. It was a slight upgrade from the tank of the morning's gear.
Cheers, Blizzard. I love you too.
I mentioned to the tank that he was squishy, and he said "yeah, I didn't expect Blizzard to put me in here". Well... I figured, hey, Kanta's well enough geared. I could probably carry the bear. End up chain Lesser Healing wave the bear... and the warrior. Apparently the bear couldn't hold threat on two mobs. Not a good indication.
Forgemaster Garfrost was painful as my whole group ended up line of sighting me, but we managed. Ick was less painful, mostly because his fight included a lot of running away and not getting hit.
The group of five after Ick was our downfall.
I tanked one, warrior tanked one, bear tanked two, maybe three. I say maybe because I don't know about the third.
Spam heal tank, spam heal me, let warrior die. Then I died. Then the bear died. Then the group died.
Warrior left, I told the tank that letting the healer tank was bad, tank left, tank's friend called me a douche, he left.
Mage and I requeued, found a new group, and went off again. Warrior tank this time. I still ended up tanking a little bit, but this time, when I cried for help, people saved me. One thing I want to mention to tanks: If you're running the gauntlet, don't leave the healer behind. It's not very good for your health, and it's not very good for the healer's heart as they desperately try to catch up and make sure you don't die. Oh, and running really fast through it doesn't matter if your healer ends up tanking the little guys that run down the gauntlet.
It's what I learned. I tanked, warrior tanked, we succeeded. I was topping off heals when the warrior charged down the tunnel and was halfway gone before I could move. Panic ensured as I ran to catch up with four of the little adds hitting and slowing me. Earth shield! Nature's swiftness -> Healing Wave! Riptide! Chain heal! Don't die!
Sit, drink. The tank spoke up: "easy!".
For her maybe, tanking only half of the mobs. I, on the other hand, probably lost a few years off my life.
There are several lessons to be learned from these two examples.
If you either lack the gear don't queue up for a role. Instances are a great way to get gear and practice, but you need to know your limits. Do a bit of research. We should never see a healer in half attack power / agility gear in a heroic, or a tank wearing more pieces of non tank gear than tank gear. Sure, they're easy these days, but there's a line you have to draw. Go with a stronger spec if you have one and just roll for off. Most people don't care about what's the loot, and it's fairly easy to gear up that way.
Two: Understanding your role.
If you're a tank and someone other than you is tanking, something wrong. Stop and look around. Think about it. Is it the DPS that's pulling four times your damage and you just can't keep up with them in threat? Is it the DPS that started hitting the mobs before you did? In those cases, it's a bit less you, a bit more for the DPS to worry about. [Although, you may want to look into more threat/less avoidance gear...]
On the other hand, if it's the healer that's pulling healing aggro, or the dps that is barely breaking your own damage, something's wrong. Healers should never have healing aggro from trying to keep you up. That's your fault. Pay more attention to the mobs, tab target to get aggro on them. If you have to sacrifice a DPS in order to save a healer, do it. You can finish a pull without a dps, it's a lot more difficult to finish a hard pull without a healer.
Some instances are harder than others. What you can pull off in, say, the Nexus you can't pull off in any of the three Frozen Halls instances. Know where you stand, and be willing to pass on a group and risk a debuff if you know an instance is out of your ability or comfort zone. Sure, you may desperately want to do something hard and challenging, but when your healer is tanking or your heals seem about as effective as if you were a level one, it's not worth the headache or heartache to just be a good soldier and keep going. Don't just assume the group can carry you through.
Oh, and double check your role. Miracles do happen when you actually find a group when you aren't tanking or healing, but, rather a dps. Many a time my friends and I forget to check, and we end up two healing or two tanking for the first bit of an instance.
This was a public service announcement brought to you by Lin. Happy pugging!