A warrior, a paladin, a druid and a death knight walked into Icecrown Citadel.
“Hey,” said Tirion Fordring as they entered the antechamber. “Is this some kind of joke?”
I’ve recently had occasion to go through my old screen grabs, and one in particular grabbed my attention. It’s of The Hidden Circle in Serpentshrine Cavern, and it was taken by my girlfriend during an attempt against Morogrim Tidewalker.
The big thing to notice is that there are four tanks in the Main Tank frames. A paladin, a bear and two warriors. Thinking back to that level of content, almost everything needed three or more tanks. There were the odd fights that needed one or two, but they were an exception much more than a rule.
THC’s current regular tanking team consists of one of each of the current tanking classes, and these days we can never take more than three of us into a raid. And three tanks is one too many for most fights in Icecrown, the vast majority being suited to exactly two (the same number as are needed in the 10-man versions of the same fights).
If all four of us do get in the same raid, it’ll be because at least one person needs to DPS rather than tank because we don’t have enough DPS signups. And that’s a damn shame. I long for fights like Al’ar where two tanks are taunt-swapping the boss while another two deal with phoenix adds, or for Kael’thas where we all had something to grab hold of.
Instead the limitations of encounters scaling between 10 and 25 players swing into force. In the cases where a third tank is needed, it’s down to lazy encounter design – witness Professor Putricide where tank no.3 has nothing to do but pretend to DPS for phases one and two and most of phase 3, or the “Add one more target to the saber lash” scaling of Marrowgar. Even on the add fights – Lady Deathwhisper and Valrithia Dreamwalker, we’re better off with fewer tanks and more DPS as it’s all about raw damage output.
This can only be bad for tanking in the long run; tanking was already the hardest role to land a regular raid spot with. And now the encounter design doesn’t lend itself to tank scaling, I wonder how long it will be before the number of tanks in the 25-man raid is “fixed” at two, simply because the encounter’s easier to code that way.
Blizzard may have said that they didn’t wany dual-spec to influence raiding, but given the challenges in meeting some encounters’ hard enrage timers, I do have to wonder if that is really the case.