Lately I’ve spent a lot of time with the loved/feared/loathed/ Dungeon Finder. On Juujube, I’ve been working off an obsession with getting all three Paladin roles geared out enough to shore up the raid as needed- we’re working on training new tanks so that Ossifer Bear and I can take nights off or play with other roles/characters, and the flexibility is suddenly appealing. Being almost always the only plate-wearer, and only strength-based melee DPS in the raid, I’ve gotten a number of ICC drops for those offspecs- but the rest of the stuff, especially the healer set, requires badges, so away for triumphs I went. If that weren’t enough mixing with the primordial soup of the playerbase, I’ve been having a mad dungeon-running flirtation with my warrior alt, to the point that I’m actually toying with the idea of pushing her to 80 in order to have the option of changing mains in Cataclysm if I really don’t like where protection paladins have gone. (Or just really like where prot warriors have- tell me heroic leap doesn’t look like more fun than a bucket of kittens.)
1. Not only do people treat me differently depending on whether I’m tanking or healing, I act differently. I don’t just mean the generic ways in which one treats tanks or healers- I mean people are much more likely to assume I’m a man or a woman, and I act more or less feminine depending on which role I’m in. Not dramatically- my basic personality doesn’t change- but I emote more, use more smilies, and am less likely to give someone being stupid a verbal crack across the chops if I’m wearing my healing kit than my sword and shield. Everybody assumes the female blood elf holy paladin is a woman; no one assumes the female tauren prot warrior is, and this both significantly changes the way I am treated and the way I behave. I don’t know whether I find this fascinating or unsettling.
2. It is possible for someone not the tank to pull for the tank and have this actually be helpful to the tank. I don’t mean a DPS tagging a mob heading for a healer and bringing it to the tank, I mean, in this specific case, a healer running out, facepulling mobs that were nowhere near the pull, and bringing them to me to tank. This has always driven me COMPLETELY FROTHING when running heroics on Juuju, largely because healers assume that the limiting factor on the size of my pulls is my health bar rather than my ability to generate threat*.
This healer, however, would wait until I had the mobs I pulled firmly on me, then run out and grab another when I could easily taunt and apply some quick attention-getting. It kept my rage bar about half full, so that getting firm threat over the next pack I pulled for myself was easy and I was able to pull faster and more smoothly with fewer breakoffs. I have no idea if the guy played a rage-based class himself or what, but it was a Bizarro world of helpful pulling. Is your mind blown? I know mine was.
3. There actually seem to be fewer douchebags around lately. It seemed like there was a peak a few weeks after LFD was introduced during which every asshole tactic in the book came out of the woodwork, but all my “terrible horrible rude pugger” stories date back to pretty much that period. I haven’t had someone gogogogo at me in weeks if not months. Other than the aforementioned example, I’ve only had one person pull for me that wasn’t a guildie using tricks or misdirect. Things are still as silent as ever, but nobody’s been getting up my nose. It’s weird. I think other people are getting all the asshats for me.
4. There must still be asshats, because on Holly the warrior tank, there’s a very marked difference in attitude in groups I zone in to start an instance fresh with, and groups where I zone in midway. The former take it for granted that things are going to run fast and safe; the latter are downright cuddly with me just for doing my job in the exact same fashion. There must be at least one other tank in the 28-32 level range that’s a real prize of a jackass…
5. Despite the fact that I now run as a tank or a healer depending on my mood and the character, I still do some of the things as a tank that make me a bit crazy as a healer. The other night our healer in Gnomeregan disconnected, and I didn’t notice until three pulls later because the shadow priest had taken over for him. I preach about making sure you know where your healer is and that he has mana before pull, but I’m as guilty as falling into that rhythm as anyone… at least I wait at the beginning to make sure everyone is buffed and fed before I’m off to the races.
6. I take both deaths and any intimation of poor performance *far* more personally as a healer than I do as a tank. I can’t tell if it’s because I’m not that experienced yet and I’m more worried that something actually WAS my fault, but when someone manages to rip aggro despite my best efforts or facepull and die when I’m tanking, I usually have the “well don’t do stupid shit, I’m the tank, not your personal savior” reaction. When it happens when I’m healing, I feel like I’ve failed. I also wonder if this ties into point 1 at all.
*Yes, paladins have good AoE threat. However, as I have ranted before, we have good AoE threat over packs of up to about four mobs- beyond that, unless we’re frantically tabbing around, the only thing holding them is consecrate, and at 80 consecrate is the weakest multi-target threat generator we have, not a golden patch of aggro velcro.