Tanks Fly Free

| Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Here's a fool-proof solution, since tanks are like dungeon GMs anyway: a free half hour of game time for each hour spent tanking in PUGs.

I say take it a step further and invert that ratio. Tank for an hour and get two hours free (excluding the time in the instance). Depending on how much they want to play (or tank), this could make it free to play a tank. Or free to play WoW in general with a bit of tanking.

Cue unintended consequences.

This would reward tanks slowing down. Marking targets, explaining fights, doing ready checks, and going afk for as long as they can get away with it. This could be prevented by making the time reward based on a standard expected instance time, let's say one hour (I have no clue). But that will just reverse it, making the tank want to hurry through and reluctant to accept slow groups. After all, if they can get one hour of credit in less than an hour, great, but more than an hour, not so much.

It still doesn't get past the problem of bribing tanks and expecting positive results. This isn't likely to bring in tanks who are merely hiding, since the time gained won't be all that spectacular, shifting back the sub renewal by a bit over a day per month (assuming one run a day), saving about half a month in a year. Would you tank for what is essentially $8 a year, without holidays or dental? For players who have left, this may bring them back in, unless tanking is why they left, in which case, why wouldn't they just pay the $15 a month and never have to tank?

I liked this idea at first. Tank a run then play for free. Maybe save up for a raid night. Except then the accounting brain kicks in. Even setting aside the dismal money savings, can you imagine if you started calculating the time cost of a raid by the number of randoms you'd need to tank? That much-desired 10 minute break now adds up to 5 minutes of noobs. That raid night of a few hours? Two hours of noobs. This causes an exponential increase in noob-induced stress, as guild members being noobs (causing you to spend more time wiping than you should), then causes you to spend more time with non-guild noobs.

Rather than actually concluding with anything, I'll instead hand you over to Adam.

5 man instance runs used to be, (a long time ago I might add), one of the most enjoyable things to do in the game. The second reason this is astonishing is the simple fact that Blizzard has designed the Cataclysm expansion around Heroic 5 mans. So we have a problem here. Blizzard has even admitted in the patch notes that doing these things might not be very fun. It’s all a giant head-fuck really because, I thought so anyway …

… that a game is supposed to be fun.


Video Game Philosopher said...

I don't see the frequent Tanking Points as being a very good option. Even at a 2:1 ratio, you would have to tank 12 hours a day to pay for your sub...I'd rather work 3-4 hours at a minimum wage job to pay for it, and tank for who I want to.

the reason early instance groups were fun is because there was both an element of difficulty, and an engaging story. The element of difficulty is basically gone with Cata. It is either something you can or can't do mechanically, not longer dependent on skill. People also don't give a crap about the story anymore, because they try to get through the instance as quick as possible. I played one of the new instances, and was watching the short cut scene in it that I couldn't skip. When I finished it, maybe 1-2 minutes later, I had been booted from the group for slowing them down. I wasn't tanking at the time, but I think that is ludicrous.

When I do tank I follow the old rules. I let idiots die (which gets harder with the higher health totals, benevolent healers, and ends up just making me look like a bad tank), I mark targets (usually gets ignored, or I get told I don't need to do it/I can tank x mobs at once/DPS doesn't know how to use CC), and I ask my healers and caster DPS if they need mana breaks. Why do I do this? because it was how I was trained. I also have fairly good situational awareness, even if I go afk I look in on my screen every few minutes...that has saved my group more than once (as has having the sound on) from patrols, DPS pulls, and who knows what else.

So what would I need to be a dedicated tank? 2 heroics or 4 regular instance runs a night to pay for that 24 hours; calculated weekly. So I just need to grind out 14 heroics or 28 regular runs a week to pay for the week, about 14 hours of dedicated play time. If you can't go over your weekly sub payment, it will help keep things balanced. LImiting it to a small amount also limits the speed grinders, as does making it instance based instead of heroic based (maybe limiting it to a 30 minute debuff as well, as that is about how long they take).

Klepsacovic said...

You wouldn't need to tank 12 hours a day. You'd play for a couple hours and then run out of time, which assuming you play for less than 24 hours a day, wouldn't be an issue. Also, for the 2-1 ratio and tanking being free, a full 24 hours would require 8 hours, but as I said, you don't need 24 hours a day, only as many as you plan to play that day.

I'm not trying to defend the idea, I think I said I don't like it much, I just want to clarify.

Tesh said...

Ah, but that assumes Blizzard wants to go to an hourly scheme. If they do that, they may as well only charge you for the hours you play and drop the sub system.

...not that I'd mind that, since it would be better for my schedule, and they would actually earn more of my money that way, but they have shown no signs of sympathy to that notion.

Klepsacovic said...

It wouldn't be called hourly, it would be a push back on the normal sub expiration time. I know the effect is identical, but phrasing and framing are critical when attempting to manipulate people.

Anonymous said...

After 12 years of MMO tanking, the only certainties I've encountered are that I've been tanking for far too long, and braggardry isn't as much fun as it used to be.


caerphoto said...

How about instead of giving tanks play time based on how long it takes them to finish a dungeon, just give them, say, an hour per boss killed.

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