Of course I am going to have to jump on the train and talk about the new Call to Arms change. Even though I said I was going to slow down my posting and not post anything today, it is difficult not to mention some thoughts about a bomb like this. I will admit, when I first read it I had to check the date it was posted to make sure that it wasn't yet another april fools joke. And then I couldn't quite decide whether I thought it was a good or bad idea.
The bloggosphere basically exploded upon these news in a way I've rarely seen any other kind of information affect us players. Maybe because it really affects us all, and not just a specific class, and because most of us didn't really agree with how Blizzard had decided to "solve" this. Here is a wrap up of a couple of posts on it that I thought were interesting.
Pradzha at Piercing Shots thinks this actually is a good idea (the only one I've found who thinks so). He argues that if it would interest bad tanks, then why wouldn't it interest good tanks?
Orvillus, guest posting at Oh my Kurenai says that this "solution" doesn't actually solve the existing problems with tanking, that of tanking being a rather tedious and ungrateful job. It only makes something most people think is too horrible to do slightly more worth it, but not necessarily more fun.
Rohan at Blessing Of Kings compares to Age of Conan where you actually use two tanks. By sharing the responsibility between two people it actually made the role more fun to play, and finding tanks in AoC was way less of a problem than it generally is in these kind of games.
Ohken of Shifting Nature also thinks that what the tanks really need is less responsibility or an easier way of tanking.
Rhidach of Righteous Defense means that this won't have him tank more instances, because the problem isn't (as mentioned) that it isn't rewarding enough, but that it isn't fun enough.
Jar of Rank 4 Healing Touch also talks about what makes people want to, and not want to tank today, mentioning gratification and responsibility as many others, and whether this really could solve that problem.
Ironyca over at Ironyca Stood In The Fire gives us a wrap up of the history of the lfd-system and shows us that it is pretty much covered in Band Aid solutions by now, this is just another one in the heap.
Mhorgrim at the Rusty Blades says that what the lfd-system really needs is some common decency between players. Does it really have to be too much to ask for?
I am a really nice person, believe it or not. I always have a hard time complaining at something someone does when I feel like they're at least trying. Whenever I do random pugs with Love and someone in the pug is just miserably bad, I always say "nah, leave him be. He's at least trying". Honestly. Trying their best is all I ask from people, as long as it still gets the job done. I don't care if I am boosting them, if they're nice I will leave them be and maybe give them some pointers on how they can improve. So in a way I feel the same thing about this. Blizzard are trying, and I just feel bad when I have to say - I am glad you're trying, but it's not the right way to go Blizzard.
So what is the problem? There are too few tanks. As Rohan pointed out, that is an issue in nearly every holy trinity based mmorpg. But why? Why does no one want to tank? I wrote a post about it a couple of weeks ago. The conclusion I had is the same as many others - tanking is too much responsibility and not enough gratefulness. Alot of responsibility doesn't have to be a problem, if it wasn't for the constant whining you get thrown at you. Ungratefulness doesn't have to be a problem either, if you didn't have to bust your ass off to get it. To sum it up tanking often feels like a job. This is coming from someone who has played 3 prot warriors to max level because I sincerely love tanking. I still prefer to level prot warriors because of the fun of tanking. I enjoy tanking with my dk and paladin too (my druid not so much). But there is no denying that it is alot more trouble tanking an instance, than it is to dps or to heal it. That is part of why I enjoy it so much. When the challenge has gone out of healing and dpsing heroics, the challenge of tanking them will always be there. Because you are fighting the players rather than the mobs, it never becomes easier (not when compared to healing or dpsing). I don't say this to whine about it - like I say, I enjoy it. But it is still something that scares most people off. And it is a fine balance. Even though I love tanking it only takes a particularly annoying ass hat for me to drop off. He is not worth my time or effort.
These issues have limited the people interested in joining the lfg-queue for tanking to two types of players;
Either you have the people who really enjoy tanking. I used to be one of them. Back in Wrath I always did at least one heroic on all of my tanks, just because I really enjoyed tanking. The same with early Cataclysm. Recently, the fun of tanking has gone out of me somewhat, especially warrior tanking.
The other group are those people who have the choice between going as a tank or healer/dps, can't be arsed to wait and go as tank just to get it over with. To them, the instant queue is incentive enough. I belong in part to this group as well. A big reason that I love tanking so much, is because I can just log onto WoW and get an instant instance. I don't have to wait around, it's there whenever I feel like it. If I have the option to tank on a char, I nearly always choose that option (except on my druid), just because I don't want to wait, and I don't mind tanking.
So who will the new system lure in? The people who already tank because they enjoy it will get a bonus. But will it have arms warriors decide to polish their prot spec enough to give it a go? Will it have resto druids get their bear gear in shape? Maybe, but I doubt that it will be enough. For those people to whom the instant queue isn't enough of an incentive already, for all those people who right now prefer to wait 20 minutes in queue over having to tank even though they could, I don't think that these rewards will be enough either. I know it wouldn't be for me. Because most people prefer the wait time only if they really hate to tank, or don't have the option to. Since the satchel is BoA I can only see that it could encourage some people to dust off that alt tank they have laying around. The positive thing I see in this is that it might be incentive enough for people to actually try out tanking at all. But it might not have them stick around with it since it's still not adressing the right problem - the fun (or lack thereof) of tanking.
Personally I'm rather going to look at this as confirmation about the fact that I am doing the tougher job in the group. I really don't think that tanks get enough recognition as it is right now, and I could tell you horror stories about how dpsers treat you like dirt under their nails just because you weren't doing the run exactly like they wanted to, even though the bastards have waited 20 minutes for you to join the queue. Yes, tanking has made me bitter. Tanking is extremely ungrateful, and in most random pugs you're not lucky enough to end up with 4 people who won't try to make your tanking experience miserable. I might sound cynical, but that is the sad truth. I won't decide to tank more because of this, simply because mounts/pets and other stuff like it rarely has been much of an incentive to me overall. To some people it might be, question is if it will be the right people. I might decide to tank on my paladin instead of heal, even though I feel more like healing, and I'm not sure that's right either. Blizzard recently changed the way dailies worked because you never should have to do something you don't feel like just to get the full reward. I know it's up to me in the end, but it still feels wrong that Blizzard hangs a goodie bag in front of my eyes and says "do the boring thing and you get this". Couldn't they try to make the boring thing more fun instead? Mhorgrim is absolutely right, tanking would be no trouble at all if people just had a little more patience with eachother. Unfortunately that seems as possible as asking a pig to fly. A possible solution could definitely be what Rohan suggests, in getting tanks to share the responsibility with another tank, kind of like how it works in a raid environment. It would require a complete redesign of the instancing system, but why not?
Maybe this shouldn't be seen as an incentive to join the instance as much as a "thank you" for doing the job no one else wants to do, but that everyone needs. When I do decide to tank, I will definitely feel like I've deserved those extra goodies at the end of the instance.