Reading through what Spinks over at Spinksville wrote about FrostGate got me thinking: what are the assumed rights and responsibilities I have when playing various characters? I know that I have those assumpitons in play, they are informed by the culture, and inevitably shaped by the community and interactions with other players. But I’ve never attempted to articulate them. Let’s have a go.
Belmann. I’m a holy healer, most of the time. When I’m in shadow spec, I’m just another DPS standing up the back. I assume I have the right to regain mana, and have the responsibility to keep as many people functioning as I can. I assume that healing usually takes precedence over dispelling and removing diseases, and I have the responsibility to throw out whatever buffs and damage I can when I can. I assume that I can reasonably expect other players to not stand in the stupid, to use the lightwell when I throw it down, and to not pull when I’m either not ready or out of range.
MacMorris. I’m a melee DPS. I assume that I have a responsibility to let the tank select targets to pull, then hit them as hard as I can once they’re focussed on her. I assume I have the responsibility to get out of the stupid when it bubbles under my feet, stand behind the mobs, do whatever self-healing and self-buffing that I can, and to maintain an awareness of what’s going on so that I can grab mobs that get away and start eating the cloth-wearers’ faces. And above all, a responsibility to not steal aggro from the tank. On the other hand I have an expectation that the tank will make reasonable judgements about what will be pulled and how. I don’t have an expectation that the healer will heal me while the tank is in trouble, and don’t have an expectation that the healer will top off my health if I die.
Morkhaeus. I’m a ranged DPS. I assume that I have a responsibility to let the tank select targets to pull, then fry them. All while making sure that I don’t steal aggro (which given the threat I can currently generate, is not very likely). I have a responsibility not to stand in the stupid, and to be prepared to ice block or go invisible if a mob gets away and heads toward me. If a mob breaks away and goes for the healer, I have a responsibility to try to fry it before it gets to the healer. I expect other players to have at least some awareness that I burn through mana like crazy, and respect that I have to regain mana between fights. I expect other players to not snap their fingers and say “mage, food” or “mage, buff”, just as I assume I have the responsibility to proactively buff and offer food. And above all, if I turn a mob into a sheep (or penguin, as the case may be), I expect other players not to immediately hit the damned thing.
My other toons are not well enough developed to have a clear idea of what I expect. Glymly the hunter is somewhere in the mid-40s, and doing reasonable damage in instances, even though it’s a bit clumsy and face-rolling. I think the main responsibility he has which is unique to being a hunter is to make sure that the pet is not stealing aggro from the tank, and to throw down traps in front of the clothies.
My baby tank Maarisu is still mired somewhere around 38 (so much for my plan to level those two dwarves in parallel), and I’m finding it really difficult to articulate a role for her. As I’ve alluded to before, I find that the change in player behaviour in Vanilla or low level instances makes it really hard to tank effectively, and half the time I feel like I’m battling the other players, and not the mobs. It tentatively feels like as a tank I have a responsibility to keep the mobs focussed on me, while at the same time I have a right to pull mobs and gather together groups in the style and at the pace of my own choosing. That’s definitely the thing that twists my knickers playing her through 5-man instances so far – even when I state it explicitly, there’s seldom any recognition of the simple facts of the mechanics of a prot warrior: it takes a few seconds to build up rage, and if I haven’t got the mobs’ attention when the DPS open fire, it’s needlessly difficult to bring them all back together.
I have to say that dipping my toe in tanking gives me even more respect for good tanks who stick with it. It’s a rotten hard role, I think.