Clinging to outdated, out-of-context tradition

| Monday, March 19, 2012
I have two taunts on fairly short cooldowns. I can throw a shield that generates enough aggro that whatever is not attacking me, will. I have an AoE with a pretty decent range. Add to that my usual attacks of crusader strike/hammer of the righteous and judgement, and aggro should not be an issue, regardless of who pulls. At level 70, very few enemies hit hard enough that someone will die from pulling.

In terms of safely clearing an instance, it doesn't matter much who pulls.

So why do I care?

I could twist together all manner of arguments for why people shouldn't pull if they aren't the tank (or acting at the request of the tank).

Is it a bad habit? Maybe. But if we're learning our habits from level 70 random heroics, we're already in trouble. "It's a bad habit" is a form of the classic slippery slope argument, that once someone does something, it is permanent.

Sometimes it makes me uncomfortable when others pull because they are going faster or going when a CD is down. Is this enough reason? Maybe, maybe not. Is my slow pulling making them uncomfortable? Do they have a buff wearing off? Maybe they're in a rush and I'm ruining their run.

I've always been 'right', not because my instance running was at the ideal speed or because there was some divine mandate that made a tank-led pull always inherently better than any other. But I've always had something on my side, a mystical force which made my opinions worth more than others, regardless of their actual merit. I've been a tank and as long as tanks have been in short supply, I've magically been correct. Supply and demand said that my opinions and feelings were more important than those of other players.

The only ethos of "Might Makes Right" has been replaced with "Market Makes Right", in which certain people who by luck are in greater demand relative to supply have become something more than mere humans, something more than individuals offering individual opinions for individual regard.

In the process, the particular whims of these sorts of people have been carried on and enshrined in the collective concept of good behavior, regardless of the actual merit of the behavior, regardless of whether "good behavior" is actually helpful or whether "bad behavior" is actually harmful.

In the past I've espoused a "let them die" strategy. Do two wrongs make a right? If someone has aggro, I get it back. I'm a tank. That's my job. Why should I suddenly break this rule just because someone broke a rule that doesn't matter anyway? I've said that a tank should pull because the tank knows his (or her) limits. Why not give the same trust to a DPS and if they want a mob, they can have it? It's not "let them die", but "let them live", tank as I would and heal as you would and let's get back to the serious matter of killing actual enemies.

"Their actions make me slightly uncomfortable" is not a good justification to go stage a mini-strike and jeopardize the shared goals of the group.

I still think tanks are the natural leaders of the groups, but maybe that doesn't mean they have to be so damn self-important.

25 comments:

Ironshield said...

So what is the acceptable level of bad behaviour? Doesn't cause a wipe? Am I allowed to let a DPS pull what he likes as long as I can throw out all the stops and recover the mess? Bad pulls can still wipe a group in Hellfire Ramparts. Or Normal Deadmines for that matter.

"Their actions make me slightly uncomfortable" is not a good reason to complain, but "Jeopardizing the shared goals of the group" is?

I sometimes quite enjoy just overcoming bad team-mates to complete the dungeon. But that it is in spite of their behaviour, never because of it.

Bad behaviour is bad behaviour, whether or not your group can deal with it, doesn't mean you get to decide they should.

Bristal said...

For the same reason that the second baseman doesn't run over and throw a pitch, or a running back doesn't get under center and throw the ball, or a player doesn't roll the dice out of turn in any board game.

It's a game and there are rules to playing it well. The tank initiates the pull.

DPS pulling is a form of asshattery plain and simple. The fact that it doesn't affect the outcome is poor game design.

Andy said...

The tank does the pulling because the tank usually has a plan for how he's going to position the mobs and such. When a DPS pulls, that plan goes to shit.

Kring said...

Back in vanilla it wasn't uncommon to have a hunter do all the pulling. If you had a hunter in the group.

(Yes, it didn't make sense because they lost their ability which made them the best pullers between beta and release. Nevertheless there were a lot of hunters who thought it's their god given right to be the one pulling.)


(found the delete button :)

Klepsacovic said...

@Ironshield: There is no acceptable level of "bad behavior", but you really seem to be trying to define bad behavior arbitrarily, without any regard for consequences, making "bad behavior" a pointless concept..

@Bristal: Those are rules. Not old conventions. How is it "poor game design" for a non-problem to be a non-problem?

@Andy: As a tank, I can guarantee that 99% of "plans for positioning" are "have mobs in front of me".

@Kring: I think they did the pulling because they had the range to get there first. :)

flosch said...

@Kring: I'm curious, what ability was that? I started playing after release, so I didn't have the chance to see the beta hunter, but I'm always interested in those morsels of information. All I know is that the hunter was implemented very late, and the patch notes that I could find for that time don't hint at any cool ability being lost that would help during pulling.

Kring said...

I haven't played beta myself but I thought I've read that hunters had an ability that allowed them to pull only some mobs from a linked group. Unfortunately my google skills failed my to find some proof.

flosch said...

Hmm... never heard of that. Though wasn't there a way to split pull by having the hunter pull, then somebody else tagging one mob in the group, and the hunter FDing? Didn't the group return minus the tagged one? If it was like that, then that was possible for a long time after release.

The sad thing is, I played a hunter in vanilla, and did a lot of pulling, trapping, etc. But I can't remember how the exact mechanics worked, and whether my mind is playing tricks on me at the moment.

Coreus said...

I enjoy reading about your thought process.

It depends on the context, I suppose, but a lot of the time I feel that a DPS pulling a mob before I do respects me enough to know I'll nab it back off him before he gets splatted.

Leah said...

except its not just the tank that needs to be considered. its also the healer who now has to scramble to keep that dps alive, along with the tank, and the other 2 dps, that that mob can potentially go for, if the puller dies before the mob. its not just one person's peace of mind at stake here. now, of course it also depends on each individual situation and that's why you communicate within the group. but there's a reason why "don't pull for tank" is an established rule. it takes everyone into account, not just the tank. and why should tanks pull as a rule? becasue they supposedly have both abilities and the gear to withstand the most damage without overtaxing the healer and allowing dps to pew pew to their hearts content without having their face eaten.

Klepsacovic said...

@Leah: If the tank is doing his job, and if he isn't that's his fault, the tank will get the mob. I'm not advocating DPS charging headfirst into three packs of trash, so there should bot be a "puller dies before the mob" problem. You seem to be assuming that whoever pulls will permanently have all the aggro, which is simply not true. The relative mitigation of DPS and tanks are irrelevant when tanks can easily regain aggro.

Kring said...

I've googled some more and... yeah, I think I made fool out of myself. I can't find any such ability but posts back from 2005 explaining the feign pull you described...

I think Kleps is right, they just had the best range. :)

Klepsacovic said...

I think the hunter pull originates partially from range, partially from hunter's mark being the original marking system, and to a large extent, to traps requiring careful pulling.

The Renaissance Man said...

The tank pulling is still vital to group safety, it is neither outdated nor irrelevant. If someone pulls without his prior approval, then he has to scramble to stabilize the situation, almost certainly burning his taunt, and possibly spending CDs too. At this point, if someone makes a mistake, accidently pulls another pack, rips aggro, misses an interrupt, the tank no longer has the tools to correct the situation, because he burned them trying to save an aborted pull.

Klepsacovic said...

Who are these tanks who need to burn non-trivial CDs just to grab a pack?

As for the "without prior approval", isn't that why we have ready checks? Should tanks not pull because the healer might have to scramble to stabilize the situation? So maybe the healer should pull, but then the tank has to scramble, so maybe the tank should pull, but then the healer has to scramble... Or we could check that the group is ready and if the group is ready, people will not need to "scramble to stabilize the situation."

The Renaissance Man said...

Tanks who were tanking Cataclysm heroics at release with an equipped ilevel of 303, like I was three days after the release of Cataclysm. The Hour of Twilight heroics are piss easy jokes. They're not actually dungeons, they're just loot dispensers. Hell, well of eternity actually provides an NPC to tank the boss for the group on Mannorath. Add in a 15% buff and everyone overgearing the instance with DS and Derp mode gear, and it's the current state of PvE content isn't very far off from end of Wrath levels where heroics were being cleared by groups of five DPS.

Klepsacovic said...

So two years ago and in a totally different relative difficulty level?

Leah said...

@ Klep. and this is why I no longer tank and almost never heal for people i don't know. its too stressful and all that stress falls on tanks and healers. not all of us are super amazing quick on our feet, awesome sauce players. some of us are average to mediocre. and its a basic common courtesy, I think, to at least consider that possibility, until you know different.

The Renaissance Man said...

And does the fact that it's easier to get away with make it ok? No, it doesn't, because it still runs the risk of wiping a group, and if the non tanks in the group have a functioning brain, they can eliminate that risk. Simply forcing the tank to blow his taunts on the pull can wipe the group if the pack scatters. Six seconds before another taunt is a long time, and non tanks who are stupid enough to pull when the tank isn't ready won't last that long.

The fact that you quote hammer of the righteous as primary tool for securing aggro on a missed pull shows just how little you actually understand about the mechanics of the spec you're toying around with.

Klepsacovic said...

Are you suggesting that my own experience is wrong? Have I been hallucinating during my dungeon runs? Did I only imagine tanking for all these years? What about hammer of the righteous makes it a bad spell to cite? It has a short cooldown and hits multiple mobs. What strange "what if" scenario have you concocted to invalidate the usefulness of this particular ability?

flosch said...

There was a subtly different to trapping. In many cases, you wanted to sheep one mob, trap another, but if the hunter pulled, it was hard to predict which mob would run into the trap. So if you wanted to trap a very specific mob, you let someone else pull, for example, the tank. Then you shot your mob a split second later and pulled him out of the group, into your trap. Queue pretrapping, retrapping, feigndeathtrapping, and all the shenanigangs. It's all coming back now. I should write a "history of the vanilla hunter" post...

flosch said...

Note: don't rewrite half a sentence and leave the other half alone, without checking whether they match afterwards...

Klepsacovic said...

Sap lands and assuming the rogue does not immediately die, the sheep is cast. With the mobs on the move the hunter grabs one and traps it. Ten minutes later the tank becomes involved by taunting a single mob.

In a two-mob pull, the hunter can use concussive on the non-trap mob so that the other gets to the trap sooner. This allows for feign death in case something goes wrong, since no one else is involved. However I don't recall many pulls where two mobs were though enough to make trapping significantly useful, but still able to be CCd.

Anonymous said...

hammer of R can miss/dodge/parry, espec if your high lev and have no expertise/hit. The last time I quit tanking for good for real and Im never ever coming back (so there) I got kicked from a group after a) hunter pulled without a misdirect. b) av shield sailed gaiely past mobs head. c) next 2 hammers were dodged/missed. Hunter decided not to FD mage decided not to go invis and both were squished. Healer went oom healing them and though I got mobs off him with taunts he died to adds I couldnt get to stick to me (he'd aggro'd erm all healing madly aoeing deeps). I killed pack with every OMG cd used and rest of the party dead, to be greeted by a chorus of "nub" "scrub" and the always good to read "you suck"

Btw this is why I dread MOP pali tanking they are taking holy wrath from me which has saved me on so many pulls. When I wear expertise/hit gear I get kicked for scrubness. When I cant hold aggro cos I miss 3 times in a row I get kicked. Im done.

Ps Surv hunters pulling cos my lock and load procced, mding to tank ftw.

flosch said...

Yep, something like that exactly. Plus setting down the trap 20 seconds before the pull, so it'd be off cooldown if something went wrong. Oh, and you could only set traps out of combat, so you had to feign, set down the new trap, pop the old trap right before it break, to lure the mob into the next one.

Good times.

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