Given that it’s been about a bazillion years since I updated, the more astute amongst you may have guessed that this is an ex-blog.  I have in fact quit playing World of Warcraft, the raiding/daily quest grind just became too grindy.  Cataclysm turned out to be fun to level in and but far too much like a job once you got to the level cap.  A hard job.  With an asshole for a boss.

I’d like to thank everyone who visited Pew Pew Lazerz over the years, especially those of you who took the time to comment.  Hope you were amused or entertained by what you read and leave you with the news (and a shameless plug!) that Calli lives!  She’s posing as a Jedi Consular Sage in Star Wars: The Old Republic along with a whole bunch of friends and you can read about her misadventures in Dude, Where’s My Bantha? which may or may not be a new blog I’ve started.

See you there!  Or not.  Best wishes either way!

World of Twats

Posted: 28 July, 2011 in pvp

Going totally off the reservation here, but I’ve been playing quite a bit of World of Tanks lately, and it’s addictive as hell.  For those of you scratching your heads in puzzlement at this stage, it’s not a weird WoW mod that replaces every class with Warriors, it’s a tank sim from a Russian developer, a free to play pvp MMO; and it rocks great big brass bells.  Of course, as with anything online you get more than your fair share of cock-eating retards playing it.  Those of you who spend any length of time in Warcraft playing Battlegrounds will know immediately what I’m talking about, of course.  In World of Warcraft, Battlegrounds are where the arseholes live after all, but the breeds and varieties of arsehole are many and varied, so I felt it behooved me to make a post to elucidate the taxonomy of the anus.  And that’s far too many big words for any intro, so now on with the shit-slinging…

The Armchair General

By far the most common type of twat in any player vs player environment, this is the aggravating moron who thinks he’s Field Marshal Erwin Fucking Rommel (yes, that was his real full name, I looked it up), but doesn’t bother to share his tactical genius with anyone until after his team have lost.  Easily identified in most cases by their spamming their team chat with sentences beginning with “ffs noobs…”  This particular cock-eating oxygen-thief refuses to accept any complicity in his teams’ failure.  They failed because they didn’t listen to the advice that he didn’t give.  They didn’t attack the side that he didn’t suggest.  They didn’t protect the flank that he didn’t tell them to protect.   He got his useless arse killed in the first minute of the battle and he calls you a noob because you didn’t follow any of the priceless advice he didn’t give while he was tabbed out buying gold.  I recently played a WoT game where one of these cretins rushed off immediately down the left flank in his Tank Destroyer without a word to anyone and when the right flank crumbled he stepped up valiantly to save the situation with the following words of tactical genius:

“ffs noobs good job on the right flank!”

By the sacred ivory-handled .45s of General George S. Patton!  That’s it!  We forgot to do a good job on the right flank!  If only he’d spoken sooner we’d have been saved!

The AFK’er.

You’re down to two tanks on each side, and one of yours is an Artillery piece.  The enemy have reached your base, just your lone Artillery and a Mark IV Panzer are all that stand between you and a humiliating defeat.  A Mark II Ausf A Panzer and a Marder II Tank Destroyer drive into shooting range, both showing obvious signs of damage, easy kills for the Mk IV.  “Shoot!” you yell, “To your left!”
The Mark IV doesn’t move.
Arty fires a desperate boresight shot at close range, misses but the splash damage blows the tracks off the Ausf A.  He grinds to a halt twenty metres from the Mark IV, dead in the water.  He can’t miss.  “SHOOT!”
The Mark IV doesn’t move.
His cover blown, Arty desperately scrambles to reverse but the Marder has seen him, he comes to a stop, takes his time to line up his shot but he really can’t miss.  Boom!  Your Artillery is knocked out.  The Ausf A is slowly turning his turret to face the Panzer, the commander must be shitting himself, just waiting for the shot from that deadly 75mm that’s going to take his turret clean off.  The Marder has only just seen the Panzer and is totally exposed with his back to the target.  Two shots.  Two shots to win the game.
The Mark IV doesn’t move.
“SHOOT FOR GODS’ SAKE JUST SHOOOOOOOOOT!!!!!”
The Ausf A and Marder spend the next fifteen seconds taking the Mark IV apart, shot by shot.  Yeah, I’ve seen this happen.  There’s a special place in hell for people who join multiplayer pvp games and then go afk in the starting area.  Up to their necks in burning shit.  Doing handstands.

The Herp-a-Derp


The Derp isn’t particularly malicious, spiteful or mean. Chances are they’re actually pretty nice folks.  You’ll never hear the Derp shouting “FFS NOOBS!”, but not because they’re so sweet and good-natured.  You’ll never hear them telling everyone what they should have done because the Derp doesn’t have a clue what he should be doing, let alone what everyone else should be doing.  Now you could argue that the Armchair General also doesn’t have a clue what he or anyone else should be doing, but not so! The Armchair General knows full well what he and everyone else should have done, but only after it’s a) bloody obvious and b) far too late.  The Derp never, at ANY point, has any idea.  At all.  The Derp is the Warrior in your battleground who a) specced Titans’ Grip and b) wields two single-handed swords.  He’s the Priest who clicked on the flag in Warsong Gulch “to see what it would do” and doesn’t know a) what to do with it or b) how to drop it so someone who does know can do something useful with it.  He’s the Elemental Shaman who’s forgotten he’s in his Resoration spec and can’t figure out why his lightning bolts take so long to cast and do so little damage, and why’s this Riptide button on his casting bar?

You get all this and more in World of Tanks too.  My particular pet hate is careless drivers.  Unlike in Warcraft, you can block other players in WoT with your own vehicle.  Now picture this, if you play a mid to high Tier game in WoT and you’re in a Light Tank, your only means of survival is your speed and maneuverability.  I played one game in my VK 1602 Leopard on the Himmelsdorf map, it’s an absolute nightmare for Artillery – tight, winding streets with no clear line of fire on anything, but there’s a road leading up the hill on the east that offers easy access to each sides’ base camp for whoever’s fast enough or strong enough to exploit it.  Enter the Leopard, which can top out at 68 kph.  You just have to get over the hill alive.  I made it to the crest without encountering any opposition, but as I drove over the hilltop my blood froze.  No more than twenty metres away, heading right at me, two medium tanks, a tank destroyer and a self-propelled gun.  I could slam on the brakes, reverse and hope they missed, or go for it.

Of course, you have to go for it.

So you slam your foot on the accelerator and start weaving, swerve around one tank, swerve the other way to get round the next, now you’re past the tank destroyer and still picking up speed.  Fire off a shot, kill the Artillery and screech round the corner at the bottom of the hill before the tanks behind you have even turned round.  Ahead of you, a clear straight road and the enemy flag.  If you’d stopped, you’d have died.  If you’d collided with or so much as bumped any of the enemy vehicles on the way down the hill, you’d have died.  Speed and maneuverability are all that stand between Light Tanks and early graves.  Light tanks are either moving or they’re dead.

So when your own side drive or reverse into you, or block roads and bridges you need to get across, or park next to you in their “I can be seen from across half the map and I don’t care” Heavy Tanks while you’re hiding in a bush and attract the fire of every Artillery piece on the map, it gets mildly frustrating.  Players just derp their way around the maps, not giving a seconds’ thought to anything beyond themselves and the closest red blip on the map.  You get derps who spot a target and immediately come crashing to a halt, right in front of a friendly Tank Destroyer hull down in a sniping spot and then wonder why the backs of their turrets are suddenly exposed to the elements and their ammo rack’s on fire.

I actually had this happen to me quite recently.  I was playing on my VK 3601(H) medium tank, which can be upgraded with an exceptionally accurate and deadly 75mm gun turning it into a surprisingly effective long range sniper.  I’m parked in the treeline of a forest, hidden from view in dense foliage, a perfect sniping spot that covers three different approach angles.  From past experience I know that pretty soon I’ll be in a target-rich environment and as long as I can stay concealed from enemy Artillery I’ll have a few kills under my belt.  Essentially I’m playing the medium tank as if it were a tank-destroyer.  Oh, and here comes a tank-destroyer now.  A dinky little T40, herp-a-derping his merry little way along, announcing his presence to any interested Artillery by lumbering through the wood, knocking over every tree he can see.  And then he comes to a stop.  In the open.  Right in front of me.  When I say “right in front of me”, I mean RIGHT in front of me.  Three metres away.  That’s something else that Derps do, by the way.  They drive their shitty little Light Tanks into perfect hilltop sniping positions (because they’re light tanks and can get there first) and and sit there bouncing their crappy 50mm popgun shells off the hulls of bemused Tigers on the other side of the map while the Jagdpanthers and SU-152s they’re blocking turn the air blue screaming for them to GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY, MORON!  But it’s not like I was doing this to the T40.  I mean, I was in a wood.  There was cover everywhere.  But no, he was not only going to not sit in cover, he was going to knock over every bit of cover there was on the way to not sitting in cover and he was going to not sit in cover right in front of someone who was, shouting “Here I am!  Shoot me (and the person with me who’s not an oxygen-thieving moron and whose line of fire I’m now completely blocking) please!”

So what can you do?  If I had a horn I’d have beeped it.  After a few seconds of swearing inneffectually at the screen, I rammed him.  Didn’t do any damage, he was only three metres away and it takes slightly more than that to get up past 3kph in a VK3601, but hopefully he got the point.  Except he didn’t.  So I rammed him again.  And again.  Still, the fuckwit just sits there, probably thinking to himself “Hurrrr…  wut dat bangin noize?”  So what else was I supposed to do?

After taking a point blank 75mm high velocity shell in the rear of his open-topped hull, he eventually got the point and moved.  Very slowly.  His engine was pretty fucked and his driver was dead after all.

What?  Don’t look at me like that, I asked him nicely.  Three times.

Captain Obvious

This guy makes my blood boil.  I hate this guy so much I will actually take the time to stop shooting and type a sarcastic reply, even if it means my own death, I hate him that much.  This is the guy who, while you’re in your battleground starting area and waiting for the start timer to expire, helpfully tells everyone “Kill them all and we win, ok?”  The guy who, on the maps with only three routes to and from the enemy base, pings the map on those three routes to helpfully tell everyone where they are.  Just in case, you know, someone forgot they had a minimap.  The guy who, while you’re in the middle of a furious attack, helpfully shouts “Attack!” in team chat.  Presumably people forget what it is they’re actually doing and need prompting from time to time.  Red dots appear on your map?  Captain Obvious will ping them.  Why thank you Captain Obvious, I’d always wondered if there was any correlation between the presence of red dots on my minimap and the sudden appearance of enemy forces in remarkably close proximity to the location of aforementioned red dots.  Your help in clearing up this mystery is very much appreciated.  Thank you for your time.  Now please go choke on shit and die.  Thanks.

The Most Expensive Post On The Blog

Posted: 19 July, 2011 in misc

This post’s going to be almost entirely a bells and whistles-free one, since I’m writing it from my hotel room in New York on the iPad while simultaneously grappling with the WordPress app.

Ouch.

But anyway, a very quiet month on the blog front, due to a number of reasons. First and foremost I’m in the process of retiring from the Royal Navy after 22 years of undetected crime. In a related issue, to celebrate over two decades of state funded, all-expenses paid tourism (with the occasional war thrown in to keep me on my toes) I’m taking it easy at the Peninsula Hotel on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Which is nice. Actually it’s really REALLY nice. The kind of nice where breakfast costs you sixty dollars. But screw it, it’s only money after all. And since as far as I’m aware there’s no prize for best-looking corpse I’m seriously over-indulging in an effort to die fat and exceptionally happy. Fuck you, Royal Navy Fitness Test, your power over me is broken! Broken, I say!

Also I’ve been getting seriously hooked on World of Tanks (no clue how to add a link in the iPad app, just Google it) which is a Russian multiplayer tank battle sim that pretty much does exactly what it says on the box. Shortly leaving for New York I unlocked my PzKpfwVI Tiger, and it’s a lot like driving a huge, angry house around the battlefield.

But Warcraft, wherefore art thou? Well it’s all about the Firelands at the moment, obviously. Our 25 man raid team were 5/7 when I left and according to the website loot links it looks like Majordomo Staghelm just got put on his ass this weekend, too. I have a few reservations about Firelands raid boss difficulty, though. Shannox seems a tad overtuned given that we’re all dripping with heroic Tier 11 gear and we’ve not yet beaten him with less than half the raid dead. The idea of trying to take him on in regular Tier 11 gear or even worse, Zul Gurub/Aman gear, makes my happy parts curl up and shrivel. Of course, as with pretty much any boss in the game, raid or dungeon, most of the difficulty in successful execution comes from how you do it, not what you’re wearing. Getting it right relies more on just pulling him again and doing it rather than whether or not you should have gone for the socket bonus in those new legs. All the same – Shannox – a teeny bit trickier than you’d expect to do right, but (almost) entirely optional so that’s ok, and at the end of the day, he’s dead and most of us aren’t.

The Molten Front dailies present me with something of a conundrum. I’m doing them first and foremost on Calli, my raiding main, which of you think about it, is doing it completely arse about tit (back to front, for those of you whose colloquial English idiom dictionary skipped the last update). Calli has access to raiding 378 gear, and most of her existing gear is 372 from Tier 11 heroics anyway. Molten Front reputation and quest rewards are 365s, so she already outgears them. Even if she didn’t she’s raiding Tier 12 content and by the time she unlocks anything beyond the initial quest rewards she’ll have better raid gear. No, scratch that, she already has better Firelands raid gear. What I should be doing is the Molten Front dailies on characters like Galadan or The Mighty Jingles, toons who actually need the loot. But Blizzard are too clever for me once again. They tied cool mounts and pets and ooh look, a pony, into the Molten Front meta-achievement, and I cannot resist the lure of The Shiny. Curse you Blizzard, you know me too well!

So. What to do? I need the rewards on my myriad of alts but I need the Flamebreaker title and stuff on Calli too. How will I ever find the time?

Oh hang on… I’m retired now… :)

(Sections of this post were written while having lunch at Fives Restaurant at the hotel. This post cost me $110, hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed lunch!)

Player Versus Player

Posted: 3 June, 2011 in Dickhead of the Week, pvp

Ok, first of all, I need to get this off my chest.  It’s got nothing to do with World of Warcraft so those of you not interested in a random rant can just skip right ahead to the next paragraph.  I hate being lied to and treated like I’m some kind of moron.  I hate it.  Violently.  So of course, watching TV, especially news and advertisements, usually sends me into a frothing rage.  On my last ship I was actually forbidden from sitting in the mess when the news was on.  True story.  So anyway, you know the sort of thing I’m talking about.  “New Crappee Washing Powder, Improved formula!”  What the fuck?  You’ve been selling your junk with the “New, Improved” bullshit attached for the last fifteen years.  By my reckoning that must mean the crap you were selling us fifteen years ago must have actually been making my clothes dirtier!

Which leads me onto MacDonalds’ new advertising campaign in the UK.  “The Great taste of America returns to MacDonalds!”  Does no-one else see the comedy in that?  No?  The Great Taste of America.  MacDonalds.  What, do they suddenly have burgers on the menu now or something?

It gives me RAGE.

So anyway, we’ve not had Dickhead of the Week for a while.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Akrion!

Now those of you who pvp on a regular basis probably have no idea what I’m talking about.  Nothing out of the ordinary here.  What we have is me just about to cross Blackstone Span on the way into Lol Barad when some window-licking mouth-breather reasonably politely asks me to help him kill some pvp-flagged Hordie, who just happened to be sitting next to the level 85 Elite horde guards waiting for incredibly stupid people to take a shot at him.  I equally politely told him no thanks, as I wasn’t interested in seeing my health drop from 100% to nil in half a second and have to spend the next five minutes after rezzing waiting for an unwanted debuff to wear off.  Also I suck.

Apparently, this makes me homosexual.

First of all, since there’s pretty much absolutely nothing wrong with being homosexual, it’s a really crappy insult.  But you know, take it in the spirit in which it’s intended and all that.  This is, believe it or not, the first time I ever reported a player for abuse.  I’m not sure what exactly prompted me to do something on this occasion instead of the usual approach – ignore and keep riding.  But something got to me this time.  Not the fact that I’d been insulted, because it really didn’t bother me.  Strange as it may seem, the opinions of aggressive, retarded children don’t factor much into how I decide to run my life.  If Bill Hicks had told me I sucked I’d be heartbroken, but the opinion of Akrion the cockmonkey matters not one whit to me.  In fact, if cockmonkeys like this disapprove of you, you can pretty much take it as given that whatever you’re doing, you should probably keep doing it.

But no, what prompted me to actually do something on this occasion was social responsibility.  This asshat’s wandering around our server randomly insulting whoever he likes, and he’s getting away with it.  I know he’s getting away with it, because if he’d ever been reported and banned he wouldn’t be doing it.  Up until now, the consequences of this nasty little shitbag wandering around casually spoiling peoples’ days has been precisely zero.  It’s been precisely zero because we do nothing about it!  Don’t waste time arguing with these butt-nuggets.  Never argue with idiots.  They just drag you down to their own level and beat you with experience.  Hit the shits where it hurts, get them banned.  You end up with less arsehole on your server.  It’s win-win.  There is NO downside.

Also, it’s getting very depressing that every time I run across one of these bottom-feeding oxygen thieves it’s in a pvp context.  To put this into perspective, sure, you get arrogant, obnoxious turds in pve too.  Of the dozen or so random heroics or Baradin Hold raids I’ve run this week I’ve run into one of these arseholes maybe once or twice.  The tank who drops group after the first boss because the loot he wanted didn’t drop, for example.  But the second you queue up for a random battleground or the battle of Lol Barad I run into dozens of them.  Rude, aggressive, selfish, obnoxious wankers.  Everywhere.  And yet, the pvpers in my guild are pretty decent, polite, capable and intelligent folks.  Does the act of hitting that “Queue for Random Battleground” button transform you into a slavering idiot?  What strange magic is at work here?  But of course, the important distinction is that the guys who pvp in my guild are all on rated battleground and arena teams.  The idea of someone like our good friend Akrion, who thought that attacking a flagged hordie standing inbetween two elite guards was a sound tactical move, actually being a member of a team that could do anything more complicated than queue for the toilet, fills me with lol.

So Galadan once again found himself defending Lol Barad from the clutches of the evil horde, and once again we failed miserably.  I’m beginning to think it’s me.  Obviously, Alliance can win Lol Barad, we were defending after all.  But there’s a grim inevitability about whenever I don my holy plate and sally forth to Ironclad Garrison.  I turn into a Rogue magnet.  I shit thee not.  Today I actually had four of the buggers on me at one point.  Afterwards I check damage logs and look at the Alliance rogues, both of them in the top five damage done.  Then I check interrupts done for the whole of a fifteen minute battle and the leader is a warrior.  With one interrupt.

/weep.

Maybe it’s me.  Maybe I’m just a collossal arsehole magnet?  Perhaps the Alliances’ best hope for conquest is if I just stick to doing my dailies and keep the arseholes away from the battlegrounds, following me around calling me gay?

In other news, I just absolutely LOVE Blizzards’ proposed changes to crowd control.  For those of you scratching your heads in puzzlement, what’s planned for the next patch (I think) is that applying crowd control in pve will no longer initiate combat, because getting a trap and a polymorph to go off at the same time is really hard.

Yes, that was sarcasm.

I’ll just let the always reliable Daily Blink sum this one up for me.

/facepalm

Also, I got a new t-shirt!

Kek!

What the hell…

Posted: 14 May, 2011 in misc

Wandering around the Abyssal Depths in Vashj’ir this afternoon I decided to go wandering, and caught a glimpse of something…  odd.

There’s no way you’re going to reach whatever it is before you die of fatigue, even with glyphed Aquatic form on a druid.  It appears to be the corpse of a massive sea creature, which isn’t really anything special, except for the glowing..  um…  thing… sitting just behind the skull.  It looks pretty much exactly like a Black Hole.  All you can see from this far out is what would appear to be the event horizon.

So, no point in having blog readers if you’re not prepared to abuse them.  Dear readers…  what the hell is it?

All Is Well In Calli-land.

Posted: 10 May, 2011 in misc, Raiding

On Sunday night, we finally killed Valiona and Theralion on 25 man heroic.  I really, really love that fight.  It’s one of those boss encounters that has two stages with relatively predictable events that repeat until either they’re dead or you are.  The problem is that it’s completely unforgiving of screwups.  There’s almost no tolerance for people standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.  You think you can handle one or two deaths but you really can’t.  A Rogue dies in the nether realm so you battle rez him and he pops down to kill bad things next chance he gets, but the lack of dps down below in the meantime meant increased raid damage up top which stretched the healers’ mana pools so that more people die the next time the fight rotates back to phase 1 again, which means there are less people to absorb Blackout damage, which means… oops, you wiped.  It really is that finely tuned.  And I love it.  They also gave me a nice shiny new knife so I love them even more.  Pink dragons are fabulous.  Official.

The fight’s a lot like Atramedes, whom we’ve also put on his ass since last I wrote.  Phase 1, phase 2, back to phase 1, phase 2 again, etc, until one of you is dead.  It’s a little more tolerant of Standing in Stupid than Valiona, but not much.  As mentioned in a previous post, I’m not the highest dps in our raid but if you absolutely, definitely need someone to be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing, I’m usually a pretty safe bet.  Which means that on heroic Atramedes I get to take glyphed and talented Blink out for a run and scamper away from dragonbreath while screaming like a cheerleader and clicking on Gongs.  Which is fun.

You probably had to be there.

He's a blind dragon, how hard can he be? Atramedes dead on 25 heroic at last.

And of course, we killed Maloriak a few weeks ago too, which now puts us at 6 of 12 25man Heroic bosses dead in current raid content.  Which is nice.  There was an unexpected bonus from being alive at the end of the Maloriak fight, too…

Best. Title. Ever.

Aside from raiding, the game still manages to amuse me on a daily basis.  Going back to the sub-60 levelling and questing zones is its own reward.  You get to see stuff like this…

The Gadgetzan Butcherbot. Mad as a box of frogs.

And this…

Teenytank. Designed by Gnomes, built by Dwarves, driven by idiots.

So, still having fun and still enjoying it!

There’s an interesting argument going on over at Tobolds’ in his latest post: Assymetric Challenge.  What the commenters are arguing over boils down to which is easiest, tanking, DPSing or healing.  Tobolds’ position, along with several of the commenters, is that tanking is by far the hardest job in dungeons and raids.  If a DPS screws up the worst that can happen is that they die.  Big deal, plenty more where they came from.  A tank bears the responsibility for the whole group, they screw up and there’s a very good chance that the entire raid or group is going to die.

All seems so obvious when you put it like that, doesn’t it.  Case closed.  DPS and healing is for facerollers, Tanks got it the hardest.

Or not.

Leaving aside the responsibility of the healers for a moment, the thing is, there’s a world of difference between difficulty and responsibility.  Just because something carries the burden of responsibility doesn’t mean it’s hard to do.  You may not like doing it, but that doesn’t make it technically difficult.  Tanking is not intrinsically hard to do.  Tanking for a group of idiots is hard.  Doing anything in a group of idiots is hard, tanks aren’t special.  You just tend to notice more when the tank’s an idiot because you all end up dead.  But again I must stress, you end up dead not because the tanks’ job was hard, but because he was an idiot and he was an idiot with a very responsible role.

But” you all cry, “marking targets for crowd control and setting kill orders and doing interrupts and controlling the pace is hard work!”  Well maybe.  It’s tedious, sure. Responsible, definitely.  Tanking?  No.  That’s not tanking, that’s leading.  Tanks complain that if they don’t do it, nobody will.  This argument can go any way you like.  I’ve seen plenty of tanks not leading too.  Unless you call charging into packs of unmarked mobs with a healer on 50% mana after rezzing a dead dps fifty yards away as leading.  I don’t.  I call it Natural Selection.  As for interrupts, any clown can do that, and when you’re doing Nefarian, Halfus Wyrmbreaker, Omnitron Defence System or Maloriak I can guarantee you it won’t be the tanks ahead on the Interrupt count.  Or if it is, you’re all going to be dead pretty soon, and not just because none of the tanks are hit capped.

But yes, tanks certainly have a responsible role.  But do tanks have the most responsible role?  Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce our special guest, the healers.

Healing is like playing whack-a-mole, except instead of one hammer, you have a choice of eight.  And you have to use exactly the right hammer for whichever mole pops up at any split second because if you use too many of the wrong hammers, your hammers start to get taken away from you.  And then you have no hammers, but the moles are still popping up.  And then you’re all dead. And sometimes, the moles like to dodge, or pop up out of the wrong hole, or run out of range of your hammers.  Sometimes, these dumbass moles even stay in the hole after you hit them with the right hammer, so you have to keep hitting them despite the fact that other moles are popping up all the time and you can only use one hammer at once and will that stupid bastard mole get the fuck out of that hole or do you have to hit him with this hammer all friggin’ day? But you still have to deal with it, even though you’re playing with a group of idiot moles it’s still your problem.  And if you can’t deal with it, moles are going to die.  Now that’s difficult and responsible, all in one package.  Is tanking harder than this?  Not sure I’m ever going to have the confidence to say “Yes”.  I’d be comfortable settling for a “perhaps”.

Now let’s look at the dps.  Is tanking harder than dpsing?  It certainly can be.  If your dps won’t follow the marked target, constantly breaks crowd control, pulls aggro, won’t silence the healers or casters or won’t even apply crowd control in the first place, then yes, unquestionably, tanking is bloody hard, thankless work.  But once again, that cuts both ways.  If your tank won’t follow the marked target, constantly breaks crowd control, loses aggro and won’t silence the healers or casters or won’t wait for crowd control to be applied in the first place, then doing dps is a job with a high mortality rate.  And whichever of the two holds true, it’s the healer, not the tank, who has to pick up the slack.  Careful placement of traps, intelligent use of Polymorph, Hex and Glyphed Fear, kiting loose adds, interrupting tank-killing or mob-healing abilities…  these are not tanking jobs.  But the thing about all of these activities is that they operate on a sliding scale.  If they’re being done correctly and intelligently, and if the tank’s sufficiently intelligent to not interfere with and take advantage of them, then the tanks’ job is a cakewalk.  In a park.  With flowers and shit.  The healer can even remember to breathe, too.  But the less these jobs are done the more difficult the tank and healers’ job becomes.  See how that works?  Tanks and healers jobs get easier the harder the dps works and the smarter the tank is.

So no.  The tank categorically does NOT have the hardest job in a group.  Not by default.  He may end up with a hard job if his dps are mouth-breathing window-lickers, but I wouldn’t call it the hardest unless he was prepared to strip to the waist and fight the healer for the title.

But you’re not convinced.  I’m sure there are many of you who are quite capable of pointing to a given boss and saying “But look at this fight, it’s an utter nightmare for a tank.”  And you’d be right.  But for every Ozruk and Foe Reaper 5000 there’s a Baron Ashbury.  Or Ascendant Lord Obsidius.  Or Drahga Shadowburner.  Come to think of it, Foe Reaper 5000’s no laughing matter for the DPS either.

I guess where I’m going with this is that saying tanking is the hardest job in a dungeon is nonsense.  Any part of the holy trinity can be a nightmare if one of the three corners is being an asshat, whether that be tank, dps or healer.  Tanking, in and of itself, is not hard.  DPS and Crowd Control are not hard.  Healing is not hard.  They’re harder than in Wrath, certainly, and all three are utter nightmares if your group isn’t being led effectively.  Leading IS hard.  Especially in PuGs, and herein lies the crux of the argument.  The role of leader has traditionally always fallen to the tank, because let’s face facts here, if the tank’s not ready for the pull, the pull ain’t happening (or at least it shouldn’t happen).  So since the tank’s in the lead, the tank may as well Lead, right?  This is nonsense.  Any clown can lead, it doesn’t have to be the tank, but the thing is, people are lazy.  People like to follow the path of least resistance, and that usually means following the tank since they’re the one in front anyway.  And if you’re being followed, you must be the Leader.  THIS is why tanking is hard, not because there’s anything hard about tanking, but because Tanks either accept the burden of leadership or all too often, no-one bothers to lead.  And then you have a fail pug, and everything becomes hard.

I’ll tell you what else is hard.  Very damn hard.  Trying to Lead when the tank’s not interested.  “Just mark whatever you want sheeped with an X and I’ll take care of…  oh you just charged in and we’re in combat.  Never mind”

“Okay, I marked X, I’ll sheep it then you grab the mobs when they aggro on me.  Casting…..  now.  Oh, your Death and Decay appears to have broken the sheep, and now it seems to be diseased.  Great.”

“Anyone not know this boss?  Three of you including the tank?  Okay, he’s actually pretty simple.  He has two abilities you watch for.  The first is Static Cling, when he’s casting this, you all need to be off the ground when it finishes casting or you get rooted, and this is bad news when he does his second ability, which is…  why are we in combat?”

All three genuine examples from a Heroic Vortex Pinnacle two days ago.  The tanks’ job was not hard.  It was piss easy.  All he had to do was listen.  My job was an utter nightmare, and not because I had to dps.  It was because I had to lead the unleadable.

That’s hard.