When Tanks and Healers Disagree

Acidmaw and Dreadscale

I’d like to talk about an issue that has a tendency to crop up when you’re playing a tank class in dungeon settings. The problem is disagreeing with the healer when something goes wrong. Before I get into that, though, let me tell you about what happened last night in WoW.

I was playing my Death Knight, hanging out in Dalaran, considering running a heroic. On a whim, I said what the hell and let LFG know I was a tanking looking for any raid they felt comfortable having me in and gave my stats – I don’t do this shouting your gearscore stuff.

I’m still at the stage where I’m a little nervous about raid tanking with people I don’t know. I haven’t done it yet to really feel comfortable in every encounter. Anyways…

I wind up joining a group for 10-man ToC. The group consisted of 8 members of one guild, myself, and another random person. The healer was in vent, being really nice and telling me what I’d have to do.

I felt good. Everything went great until we hit the worms. Phase one went great. I didn’t have trouble keeping threat and the healer was keeping me cruising right around 50% with the occasional bump up. Then, as we got closer and closer to the boss burrowing in the ground, those bumps stopped and only the HoTs remained. Before I knew it, I’d died. This wasn’t a quick two tick thing, either. I had long enough to pop my trinkets, DK skills, summon and kill my ghoul, before watching my health fade into nothingness.

The other non-guildie started calling out for me to be rez’d so I could pick up threat again. Thirty or forty seconds later, he did and told me in vent to “pick him up again.” I did. He healed me to max, put on a HoT, and started taking care of other people. We got to the stage where I got petrified and poisoned, which semi-slowly eats away your health. Again, heals stop and I tick away and die – right as the paralysis breaks.

Following this, the entire raid wipes. No one says anything. The healer then, hesitantly, says “get better gear before you come in here again, Uh, ‘kay? Thanks, bye.” From my position in the raid, it was clearly not MY fault that the raid wiped. He was just well known enough to pin the blame on me before people started asking questions. At least he was nice about it. Kind of.

On one hand, this pissed me off enough to log out – though, I didn’t say anything rude to the group I’d been in. On the other, though, I have to wonder what it was like from the healer’s perspective. Maybe from his point of view, I’d been the one sitting there doing nothing. It could have been as simple as their guild’s tank didn’t require as much attention, so I’m to blame for things not going as smoothly.

The DPS, paying attention to their own job, probably wouldn’t know either way. So, it comes down to a tank/healer stand-off. Whoever draws first and has the most fans in the crowd wins. I see this happen a lot in heroics, as well.

We hear a lot about tanks and healers having arguments with the DPS, but not so much about arguments between themselves. That’s interesting, I think, because tank and healer relationships are incredibly polar. When things go well, it’s great. When they don’t, one of you is to blame and you never want to be it.

And I feel bad about it afterwords, at least in raids. I don’t like having a hand to play in an attempt failing. I want to do my job and do it well. Even in situations like this one, I find myself thinking about it later, wondering if I’d messed up somehow. It’s possible, I’m still new raid tanking. But, hell, is HoT healing standard in raids too?

If so, Cataclysm couldn’t come soon enough with those mana-limits. Something about that and tanking DoTs just feels lazy.

I wonder if healers go through the same things.


For those interested in knowing what stats I had entering this group: 33k unbuffed HP, 542 defense, 25.6k armor, 24% dodge, and 19% parry. My avoidance is a little low but different sites and players said I was ready for this.

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