Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gravity on the tank ratio

Gravity from pwnwear, a Death Knight tanking blog, asked on my input on the ratio of tanks to other classes in a guild. Basically the problem is that in a 25-man raid encounters require only 2 tanks (8% of players in the raid), or at maximum 3 tanks (12%). But in a 10-man raid or 5-man heroic, you would always take 20% of tanks in the group.

So a guild which has 20% of tanks and was doing fine gearing up in heroics and 10-man raids will have a tank surplus the moment they start tackling 25-man raids, and will have to bench half of their tanks. But a guild with only 12% of tanks which is perfect for 25-man raids will not have enough tanks to do many 5-man and 10-man expeditions.

While I would agree with Gravity that this can be a problem, I think the solution is a simple one, especially for Death Knights: The guild just needs to always invite 5 characters with tank potential to 25-man raids, and then let them organize a rotation in which half of them are doing dps with the help of dual spec.

So while the tank ratio is contributing to the general tank shortage problem, I don't think it is the main culprit. The two main tank problems are:
  • Tanking is a high-stress job with significantly more responsability than dps.
  • Gearing up a tank to the same level of "acceptable" gear as a dps is a lot harder, due to the relative scarcity of tanking gear.
Now of course some players enjoy the added challenge of raiding with a tank. But in general it boils down to some roles carrying more responsability in a raid than others, and the combination of higher responsability with lower probability of an epic reward is not a good one. Adding another "tank class" in WotLK hasn't helped, or even just increased the competition for plate gear. You don't need to be much of a prophet to predict that one of the weak points of the upcoming new LFG system will be lots of groups waiting around for a tank. Or a healer, who do share the "high responsability" problem, although they usually are better off than tanks for gear.

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