Tobold's Blog
Friday, October 01, 2010
Nobody wants to play with you!

... if you are a damage dealer, that is. Leveling my latest character in World of Warcraft, a druid, is an eye-opening experience how much the favor has shifted in the direction of tanks and healers. It used to be that you had a choice of either playing a damage dealer, who would level faster through soloing, but have problems later to get raid spots, or playing a tank or healer, who leveled much slower, but could get into a group easier. Then Blizzard made leveling easier for tanks and healers, strengthening their soloing powers, and making it easier to temporarily switch to a damage dealing role for solo content.

The Dungeon Finder introduced another major shift in favor of tanks and healers, because suddenly leveling through dungeons is faster and more efficient than leveling through quests. XP per hour are superior in a dungeon, especially so if you have rest xp bonus left. And the item rewards from dungeons are far superior to the item rewards from quests.

But only tanks and healers get the full benefit of these Dungeon Finder advantages for leveling, because for them the queue time is reasonably short. They get the choice how they want to level, by solo questing or by group dungeons. Damage dealers get a much diminished version of that choice: They can't choose to exclusively level by dungeons, as the long queue waiting time for dps would make that unfeasible. They only have the choice to either exclusively solo like they did before, or to sprinkle a dungeon here and there into the mix, doing quests while waiting 20+ minutes in the queue.

Over time this new situation will maybe answer one interesting question: Why do far more than 60% of players prefer damage dealing classes, or damage dealing roles for hybrid classes? Some people say that this is inherent, that dealing damage "feels more heroic" than withstanding damage or healing it. Others say that most people are anti-social, and would rather solo, for which a damage dealing class is still the optimal choice. But there is also a theory that the famous "tank/healer shortage" is caused by the incentives having favored damage dealers in the past, that people simply drifted towards the classes and roles that leveled the fastest. That theory is given some credence by the fact that patches and nerfs which change the relative power of classes always result in the nerfed classes becoming less popular and the new best damage dealers becoming the flavor of the month. So if tanks and damage dealers are now the fastest levelers, maybe the tank/healer shortage will end, and players will create more tanks and healers as new characters in Cataclysm. That would balance out the situation, as with increased numbers of tanks and healers the queue time for damage dealers would decrease. Lets hope and see.
making tanks even more appealing to play in cataclysm is the removal of the defense stat, allowing every tank to fulfill either the tank role or dps role without ever having to change gear. gone are the days of leveling and having to make those demanding decisions of which piece of gear to chose based on what you're doing at the time. this will also carry with it the consequence of all dps and tanks competing for the same equipment drops in dungeons and raids...
It's and old story and has nothing to do with leveling speed, or "fun".

Tank and healer needs SOME skills. Not much, but still. DPS doesn't need ANY skills. 5-mans from RFC to HC-HoR can be done even if 1-2 DPS are facerolling in ungemmed-unenchanted gear. And that's exactly what they do. If they would be tanks or healers, the group couldn't get past the first trashpack.

The game consist of
10% tanks
10% healers
30% DPS
50% Utter crap who queue up as DPS.
Completely agree with Gevlon here. I know it is not nice to say this, because there are awesome players playing dps classes out there. Still the majority of horrible players plays dps classes/specs.

The reason is imho: dps does not matter in many cases. Yes, it does matter getting server firsts in raids; it does matter to a certain point in raid content that is not nerved or already overgeared, but for the purpose of 5man instances, it does not matter much.

Bad/lazy players (call them M&S if you want) trying tanking or healing will fail. They will experiece many wipes and get even blamed for them, while not being able or willing to learn from mistakes. Then they switch to a dps spec and "hurray", suddenly they get the feeling, they are "successful"; while in truth only the group they are in is and they are carried themselves.
"They only have the choice to either exclusively solo like they did before, or to sprinkle a dungeon here and there into the mix, doing quests while waiting 20+ minutes in the queue."

Listen to yourself didnt you preach against effeciency just the other day?

I think most of the dps tried being a tank or healer once, but the reason they stay dps is because being a bad dps has no consequence where as a bad tank or healer means wipe.
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I agree with Gevlon, the majority of DPS are plain stupid players and from my experience the worst of the bunch are hunters.

They think they can control when initial pulls should be made and always seem to pull extra packs mid fight, leave growl/taunts on their pets and I believe that is because of their solo levelling playstyle.

The general rule seems to be the less vulnerable a class is to one shotting the more stupid the player is.

Also, come Cataclysm I think we will see more tanks and healers because of the shift towards 10 man raids. In 25 man you need 5-7 healers and 2-3 tanks (28-38% of the group). In 10 mans you need 2-3 healers and 2 tanks (40-50%). This will result faster Dungeon Finder Queues for DPS.
Being a tank or a healer carries responsibilities, not to mention the need for a minimum of skill and that you, you know, look at the screen. If you're supposed to tank and don't hold aggro, someone is going to die. If you're supposed to heal and don't, someone is going to die. If you're supposed to do damage and don't, the mob dies slower.
I'd guess most people don't want to have any responsibilities whatsoever while playing a game. That's probably why most people (and most kids) play dps classes.
And at the end of a fight, we only see the damage meters ("omg guyz my bar is so hueg LOLZ!"). There should also be a "times your ass was saved by other people" meter... ;)
some while back there was a rather witty post about why many people avoid healing in WoW over at matticus:

there's similar reasons for tanks and I think it was Larísa who wrote a while back that she was turned off by the way tanks are treated in 5man pugs.

while tanks and healers have this 'advantage' to get groups easily like you said, the main reason they're so short in numbers is mainly also because as a tank and healer you're usually the first to blame (also because of the 'bigger' responsibility - even if that isn't exactly true).

so basically DPS treating healers&tanks as scapegoats all the time leads to even less tanks & healers - people are hurting themselves.
When I started to play WoW once upon a time and rolled a mage, I think it was pretty random. I think I probably was attracted to the concept of playing a "mage" after loving books like the Wizard from Earthsea and the Arthur/Merlin mythology. And I also understood that this was a "specialized class", really good at something, as opposed to a hybrid, which was presented (by Blizzard) as being not quite as good, but good at a lot of things.

Had I known more about the game and how it would develop, what I know about it today, I'm pretty sure I'd rolled a hybrid, possibly a druid, since the pala I rolled first of everything was plain horrible.

You're not necessarily rolling a pure dps because you're lazy or dumb.

But with what I know now - I don't think I'd ever care to level another dps specialized class to cap. As you say: nobody wants to play with you. You're lowest on the status ranking list. And Blizzard has taken away any advantage you used to have in comparsion to the hybrids.

I can only hope that Blizzard will be honest in the way the present the classes to players that come new in Cataclysm, making them understand what the downsides are of rolling a dps, so they can at least make an informed choice if they don't roll a hybrid.
It's not social it's cultural.

How many legends, myths ,or stories did you read growing up about the heroic support guy who kept the knight going? Only one swings to mind and it's Sancho from Don Quixote.

We grow up hearing stories about superhero's, Knights of the round table etc and we want to be the guy with sword mowing down our enemies. At least most people do.
DPS is the dullest of the standard options. I would never choose to play a class *because* of its DPS role. Playing a healer, tank or crowd-control (in the few MMOs that still value the role) is much more interesting, enjoyable and entertaining.

There are, however, several factors that mitigate against choosing one of the interesting jobs. Groups are generally made up of 5 to 8 characters, depending on game. On normal group content in a modern MMO a group usually only needs one primary tank and one primary healer. That leaves the majority of group slots for characters that can at least perform a DPS function, and will be reqired to do DPS rather than anything else.

In solo play, the classes that excel are those that can do good DPS and simultaneously either heal themselves or avoid taking damage. Historically this has not included most tanks or healers.

There's obviously a horrible mis-match here and it has caused problems for many years, generally expressed in complaints by players about slow or impossible solo progress and long waits to find groups. Games designers have largely chosen to address this in two ways: decreasing specialization and increasing DPS for non-DPS specialists.

The result is games full of generalist classes, only with the classes that diverged from a tanking or healing archetype INTO a DPS role having a legacy advantage. Upcoming games appear to be aiming to make all classes completely self-sufficient and interchangeable, with anyone being able to slot into any role at will.

Personally, I much preferred Velious-era Everquest model. Groups then had six slot available and to do any moderately challenging content you would need to fill four specific roles: tank, healer, crowd-control, slower. Secondarily you would look for off-tanking, back-up crowd control, a haster and someone to provide mana regeneration. A lot of these roles could be doubled-up and many classes could fill them with a variety of abilities and techniques.

Only after you had all that in place would anyone even think about DPS. The true DPS specialists, like Rogues or Wizards, would be close to last in line for a place. Indeed, DPS wasn't really considered a separate role, just something everyone supplied while they weren't doing something more important.

The downside was that it could take a while to put a group together and if a key role had to leave the group might have to halt until a replacement could be found. The huge benefit, though, was that gameplay in a group was absolutely fascinating, with everyone having to think on their feet and be creative and imaginative in the use of their abilities. Teamwork was at a premium.

There seems to be little appetite nowadays for this type of thoughtful gameplay. People appear to prefer that everyone just hits things as hard and fast as possible or sets everything in the room on fire. Not my cup of tea at all.

The pendulum will swing back, though. It always does. DPS is king this year, but a reckoning will come.
Leveling by dungeons only can be good for dps, but it likely depends on your battlegroup. It's how I'm leveling my tauren shaman (elemental). I do side-healing if necessary, but I don't queue up as a healer. It would also take me longer to quest level because this is my first horde I've gotten past 20. I don't really know where to go and by the time I figure it out and get there, I'm being pulled into a dungeon.

Why won't I heal on my pally? It seems to be a requirement of most guilds that if you are healing, you must have healbot. I'm just stubborn and I don't want my screen cluttered by that addon.

As for tanking, I find people are very unforgiving of bad tanks. I don't feel there is room for error on this and I would need some room. I was in an HoL group with a pug and after a wipe on trash, the tank apologized and said his dps was better, but he signed up as a tank so he wouldn't have to wait as long. After that, there were a lot of snide comments and complaints about anything he did (including the trash the rogue accidently pulled). We finished after that one wipe with no issues and I had no problem with him, but you could tell others were very annoyed by him signing up as a tank.
60% of players don't want the life or death responsibility that comes with playing tanks or healers whereas it's never an individual DPS fault if ppl die.
Having just levelled a prot warrior from 1-80 very recently, there are 3 main reasons that I can see a tank and healer shortage for 5-mans while levelling:
- Tanks and healers require the most situational awareness of what is going on and therefore a different mindset;
- Slacking will show up very obviously
- The other players can be assholes.

Compared to DPS, the tanks and healers need to be aware not just of what is happening right now to them, but also of what is going to happen, what is likely to happen, and how all of these are affecting the other 4 players.
"Nuke target(s) until dead" works for DPS in almost all pre-heroic, but the tank has to try and make sure that all of the targets being nuked don't go running off to that over-zealous DPS that unleashed with their biggest damage attacks before even a thunderclap was dropped, and healers need to pay attention to sudden damage that players other than the tank are now getting [due to mob AoE, or them not GTFOOTF...]

If a tank isn't playing to at least the level of the other players, or the healer isn't capable of putting enough healing throughput out, then it will show and wipes will happen. These are the 2 roles in 5-mans that cannot be easily carried. [caveat: a grossly overgeared tank can make up for failings in the healing due to just not taking the damage].
If the tank can't play, then mobs will start attacking the other players and not be picked back up again [in 5-mans pugs, losing aggro briefly can be fairly common due to DPS not caring about coordination of attacks]. The mobs won't be positioned well. Pats will run far too close, not be noticed, and run amok among the other players. etc.
If the healer can't play, people will die. Debuffs they can cure will go unchecked [you unfortunately can't expect faceroll DPS that can cure them for you...]
Both of these results in wipes that are obviously due to your own failings. This removes the fun for the unskilled player, who has no desire to see what they did wrong or how to improve it when instead they can just mash buttons as DPS and let someone else worry about these things.

The main thing I found while levelling was that 'experienced' DPS players could often be the most ignorant and arrogant of the players around. Any mistake they made was blamed on the other players [if they died, it would be "the retard tank can't hold aggro!" or "moron healer is rubbish!"].
Basically, learning tanks and healers are subjected to a massive amount abuse from the other players [actually, even experienced tanks get it], which can eventually lead them to saying "Yeah, I don't think I'm enjoying this", or "I can't be very good at it..." even though they've done excellently and there was nothing they could have done differently. There were many times I berated a failplayer for blaming the healer [or me] for their death when they'd done something stupid [my 'favourite' being attacking the mob that's nowhere near me].
How do I know these players were 'experienced'? Full BoA gear. As soon as I saw a player wearing some, I'd know I was in for a bad run - I was very rarely proven wrong.

A point of amusement for me over my dungeon experiences while levelling: I was typically top or second top DPS and damage. Even with people in enchanted BoAs...
While I agree with you that tanks (dont know about healers) get into dungeons easily (ie immediately!), I reckon you will actually see more mages in Cata, as I hear that the portals are being removed in Shattrath and Dalaran.

People used to set their hearth to these cities and then use the portals to get them where they really wanted to go, instantly.

So you will either need to get yourself a m'pocket mage, or level one up yourself for an instant travel ticket around Azeroth.

Which means that the queues for the dungeons for dps classes will be as long as ever!
@Lexicorro: a single DPS can easily cause a wipe... especially if they run *away* from the tank if they grab aggro accidentally
I think one of the biggest challenges in balancing the tank/healer/dps population is that questing -- the default leveling method -- does very little to teach players how to tank or heal. As a result, the skills that are needed to effectively play these roles are not taught to players before they enter their first dungeon. Players that do elect to try tanking or healing despite that lack of practice face a very steep learning curve.
As long as the unfortunate side effect for playing a tank/healer is dealing with crap/shouldering the blame heaped on and on by dps, people will keep playing dps roles.

Career tanks now switch to dps offspecs when they want to run an instance. yep, they would rather have a longer queue and no headache.

The only way to fix this is to change human behavior and that ain't happening.

contrary to popular believe, tanks are only hard to play, when the rest of the group is working against them. same with healers.

P.S. apparently spell checker sees "ain't" as a proper word O_O
On hunters (and warlocks actually). there are certain issues with pet management that simply cannot be helped. for example - a pet will always attack from behind of the target (its btw an easy way to tell if you are i an safe zone on marrowgar - just stack on pets).

However, if the tank is too close too another group, dps might be able to move to the side of the group to avoid facepulling, but pets will not, especialy if the tank moves the group even a little bit (you CAN force pet positioning to a degree for a short while, but the target has to be motionless and the moment there's a target switch, pets revert to default behind the target position).

and yes, in personal experience, even if you are hugging the wall, pets on the side of you are still capable of facepulling. In personal experience hunters and warlocks literally have bigger aggro range/hit box then non pet classes.
People don't roll DPS because they are stupid. They roll DPS because they think that will be more fun. If they turn out stupid, it's probably because DPS never really have to learn. The best example is a hunter: autoshot and growl will get them to level 80 without much frustration. Throw in feign death and they might never die.

Very few players are innately stupid, WoW just has an awful educational system.
I have a confessions.

I love tanking, I really do, but sometimes when the stress of it all gets to me, I will instead queue as DPS, put on my second hand DPS gear, and actually take a little mini vacation.

Now, I don't sit there and only autoattack or anything, even in mediocre gear I still perform highly on the meters (Unless a serious DPSer is there, who makes it clear exactly what I am).

But I honestly do it to be lazy. Not completely lazy, not completely lazy, but because it is so incredibly easy and mind numbing. There is no responsibility. There is no accountability. There is absolutely no pressure whatsoever to perform at all. I can cruise. I can chat, both in game, and perhaps more criminally, in out of game messenger services. I can actually eat food while playing!

I assume this makes me a horrible person and I am quite ashamed, but it's true.
I would like to address the comment by Sam attributing the problem to a hero complex. As a career tank, I can say the hero complex was a chief reason I chose the tank roll. As a DPS, I'm fighting the boss, but he's not really aware of me. It's only the tank who is doing the heroic job of trading blows with his enemy. When I main tank Arthas, Frostmourne is blocked by MY shield, and parried by MY mace. Sure the Rogue is stabbing Arthas in the back, but to me, THAT'S the sidekick job.
When rogues get some healing skills I'll heal, until that time I'll dps.

Did I read that smugglers in SWTOR will be able to off heal, could be interesting.
@Leah: That's because it ain't (:
1) Tanking as a newbie is SCARY.
2) DPS have company to help blend in and cover the stench of failure. Heals and tanks only have each other.
3) I find it interesting that you're hoping the queues will go down for DPSers. This means you inherently prefer the role? If so... maybe take a good look at why you, personally, prefer it?

I was a die-hard DPSer for a long time. Years, in fact. Rogue, then converted to hunter... And the DK came along. Started as mean DPS, but one day, decided to try tanking. Never looked back.

Personally, I hope the queues stay as skewed as they are now. It's the reward for having to work much harder, pay more attention, hold more responsibility, and put up with the stupidity that seems to take up majority residence amongst the ranks of DPSers. (Hoping one day Bear Butt Blogger makes that 'I can't heal stupid' shirt.)

Best of all, when we know GOOD DPS on our f-lists, us tanks can offer to make life easier for them by giving them a 2sec queue.
I think a lot of the imbalance has to do with a lack of feedback for tank/healer classes. DPS classes have dps meters, and can compete more or less directly against each other. There are the occasional 'don't stand in the bad' fail meters, but for the most part, a damage meter will tell you how well you're doing.

Healing is more of a cooperative effort. The top of the healing/absorbs meter often isn't your best healer, rather is just an indication of the balance of tank vs raid vs random damage. When the raid dies to damage, it's very rarely one specific healers fault, at least that can be seen. It's the sum total of all the healers. When the raid succeeds, the heal balance again doesn't matter. Healing as a whole was 'good enough'. This makes it very difficult to know if you're a good healer, or getting better or failing to get better.

Tanks have an even bigger problem. Nobody else in the raid is doing the same thing that tank is, so there's no opportunity to compare to anyone.

Split all players into two groups. 1) Those who want to be better than other players. 2) Those who want to become excellent at what they do. Players in (1) will only very rarely become healers or tanks, because they can't compete. They'll mostly end up dps. Players in (2) will spread out among the roles based on personal preference or the in game incentives.

I'd also suggest that simply pursuing excellence is more likely to lead to excellent play than merely seeking to be better than other players. Internal vs external motivation. That's why I mostly agree with Gevlon's percentages. It's not that any role requires more skill than the others, but that dps attracts people who are more likely to be horrible.
I'm not a great player but I read about how to play the role I've chosen and I practice doing that role. I'm also mature and patient. Until recently I had never done 5-man dungeons in WoW except for the those below level 50 and those were with my old guild. I went straight from 80 into the PVP circuit building up PVP gear and never did PVE.

Now I have come back to WoW after some time off and I am leveling both a healer and a warrior in PUGs but in crappy quest gear not twink gear because I quit not long after the first time I hit 80 and maxed my PVP gear with my other characters. I didn't want to grind for cash or twink gear after grinding to 80. I came back with a new approach which was to be patient and not grind just enjoy the game only to find 5-mans wanting to rush through the dungeons because they have done it hundreds of times and are bored with it.

I have found trying to tank to be a challenge but only if your party is impatient. No, it doesn't really require any skill for a tank unless you think learning the rotation that best keeps agro and pulling casters and trash mobs correctly so they don't just stand far away blasting or get unorganized so that AoE misses some is actually skill. The only time I have problems is with impatient group members while I am learning how to move trash around in a new dungeon. Solo bosses are cake.

I have switched my healer to a DPS spec for two reasons. Without twink gear, even healer spec'd, I do not have enough mana to go as fast as twinked groups want to go through the dungeon. I constantly run out of mana if the group is impatient. The healer is usually blamed for a wipe whether it was the healers fault or not, and rather than work hard for little reward, I chose the easy path. It is a game after all if I want to work hard for little reward I'll turn off the game and go back to my RL job. Once I get geared I'll swtich back to healer and spend my time in the lower dungeons working on healing skills again, however with heal bot and grid healing doesn't really require skill either, just mana.
Can't say it enough but the trinity is an old broken model. Wow has become so refined, the mechanics ARE the game now.

I would love to see mobs that change resistences and abilities to force players to adapt- aggro begone. Melee immunity? try your poison-trinket! Something! Anything to make this game less mindless pulp than what it has turned into.
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I think part of it is that DPS is intrinsically more fun because the player gets to hack away at mobs and never really worry much about the welfare of others in the team. Also - and I'll probably get crucified for saying this - DPS is easier to play. They don't have the same demands, responsibilities and pressure as tanks or healers and thus, again, appeal to players more.
Imho there are three reasons:

Responsibility: It has been said before. As a healer or tank you are responsible for something and if you mess up you will get blamed. Bad play will result in an unpleasant experience because everyone will will be mad if you make them suffer.

Challenge: Tank and your group will fail if you mess up. Heal and your group will fail if you mess up. Dps and someone else will do your job for you. I think there aren't actually all that many people who enjoy a good challenge. Most are in it for instant gratification. As a tank or healer you sometimes suffer defeat. As a Dps you always win and if you don't you usually can blame it on someone else.

Behavior: I actually know several *real* tanks (who loved to tank for years) who don't tank anymore because of the way people play nowaday. As a tank your play experience vastly depends on how your group plays. If everyone plays together well you have fun. If everyone just tries to play solo, ignores you and you constantly have to save them but get no thanks, you won't have any fun. Many tanks of old now say "Fuck it, playing DPS is only moderate fun, but being tank in a PUG is just too frustrating to bear". Note: This isn't about not wanting to work, its about enjoying teamplay that just doesn't happen anymore.
I think at least some of it has to do with risk versus reward versus other players being dependant upon you when in a party/raid - much less so regarding the "soloability" of a role.

There's only 1 tank in a 5 man, and 2-3 in a raid. If you fail to do your job as a tank, not only is it immediately noticable (because you're the only one that could have done it), it's likely that the group wipes - or at the very worst someone dies. The tank is responsible for keeping a higher amount of threat over all 24 other raid members. You don't hear "the tanks can't keep threat", you hear, "THAT tank can't keep threat."

The same is true for healers in most regards. They are responsible for keeping the tanks alive and/or keeping the raid alive.

It's harder to define a pass/fail point for DPS individual players. If the boss dies before the enrage, the DPS did it's job (collectively) - and technically no one could have failed. The inverse is also true. If the boss hits enrage, all DPSers failed to do their job. You could argue that the guy doing 14k DPS did his job, while the guy doing 6k DPS failed, but generally the conclusion is "'we' need more DPS" - not "that guy needs to do more DPS". A DPSer not doing his/her job does not directly cause a wipe, and rarely causes someone else to die.

It's very hard for a DPSer to fail at DPSing (not standing in the 'fir'e is not a DPS specific task) - and if they do fail, they are generally not called out individually, but rather as a whole group.
OMG TAUNT!!1111111!!

FFS HAEL NOOB!!!111!!!!

WTF??? no one wants to tank or heal for me? Weird.
"If the boss dies before the enrage, the DPS did it's job (collectively) - and technically no one could have failed. The inverse is also true. If the boss hits enrage, all DPSers failed to do their job. You could argue that the guy doing 14k DPS did his job, while the guy doing 6k DPS failed, but generally the conclusion is "'we' need more DPS" - not "that guy needs to do more DPS". "

Imho the interesting question is: Why does that situation exist? DamageMeters have been around like forever. Classes have never been THAT imbalanced that the theoretical difference in damage potential was really huge. So it is rather easy to reach the conclusion: "If we are missing damage and the last in damage is much below the first in damage, then obviously the last in damage is to blame, together with everyone else below a certain point". But there are very few raids who ever drew that conclusions. Still, the very same raids who would never blame their bad DPS will immediatelly proceed to blame their mediocre tanks or healers. Isn't that weird?
I can answer that question on one deep breath. The deep breath that you take when you queue up as a (newish) healer or tank.

Healing and tanking just plain take more concentration & knowledge of your class, as well as the bosses. That doesn't seem to lend well (for me) to de-stressing after work/school with a beer.

I leveled a priest and geared up to 5K GS healing heroics (because I was tired of 20 min DPS queues). Each damn one was stress inducing. Healing never seemed totally easy.

But maybe it's just me and the playstyle of healing that don't mesh.

So now I'm gearing up and studying for my DK tank. Competent tanking (IMO) requires at least some awareness of what each boss does. That requires making 3x5 cards since I don't have a photographic memory.

And guess what? Despite having run every instance in Northrend at least 2 dozen times on my hunter and priest, I really have no idea just what abilities 5 man bosses have that a tank might be able to counter.

The only way out of this problem is to shift some of the healing/tanking type responsibilities to DPS.
I'm going to change my mind about the conclusion to my post above.

Tanking and healing an instance SHOULD be difficult and require some preparation. DPS should also require reasonable skill AND attention for success. The triad mechanic is fine. With thinking players, it's really fun, knowledge and responsibility are shared.

The problem is that Blizzard has made 5 man instances an instant mini-game with great rewards. And 3out of the 5 anonymous members aren't required to try very hard or know very much. And many haven't a clue how little they know.

The problem with trying to solve that "problem" is that it has been such a huge success.

How do you now go back to making the funnest part of the game more thoughtful, deliberate and cooperative? While still giving access to all that want to do it?

May not be possible.
"That requires making 3x5 cards since I don't have a photographic memory."

I may have to steal that idea.
DPS allows you to abdicate virtually all responsibility. When I tank or heal an instance I have to reasonably pay attention. When I DPS I can pretty much get away with huge stretches of AFKing, inefficient ability usage, spamming AoE on everything, the whole nine yards. When you consider that most raids are lucky if they have 1-2 people interested in leading it, it's amazing that there are any tanks or healers at all.

(This is not to say that DPS is easy. DPS is the hardest role in WotLK by far. There's just a lawl-easy minimum available)
"These are the 2 roles in 5-mans that cannot be easily carried." [Quote by me]

I think I have to retract this statement... my baby tank just got carried through HC HoS by folk in T9/10...
My Tank's average ilvl is 176. Their's were a minimum of 250...

I did still *try* to keep aggro though... [damn, it was hard]
DPS is generally easier than Healing/Tanking, except for ICC. I find DPSing way harder in ICC10, due to just having to keep track of more mechanics, press more buttons, and just generally have more finesse at what I do to eke out the numbers we need. I find healing ICC10 a snap, but DPSing it consistantly I find harder, but that could also be due to class choice (Holy Paladin and Enhancement Shaman).
Part of it is gear and substitution. The most skilled person playing a tank who is not defense capped has problems. A undergeared healer can do ok if the tank is overgeared. The DPS, pre Professor, are substitutable. You can get your 9000 DPS as 3x3000 or 4,3,2 or 7,1,1. (the fact that a raider doing his daily can do nearly double the DPS the heroic was designed for is another issue.)

With PUGs, the blame game from someone who stood in fire out of range when the tank pulled when I was low on mana is annoying. I most enjoyed raid healing and least enjoyed heroic pug healing with DPS in the middle. If you contemplate the type-A personalities rushing to 85, I am going to really, really try to avoid instances, even as DPS. Maybe after the first week when most of the raiders have a 85, things will be somewhat less unpleasant. The probability of saying "that was unpleasant" at the end of a PUG is so much higher as heals/tank, that is usually not worth it.

I do think the initially Cata will be a rush to 85 with all dungeons. The talk about quests and zones seems irrelevant since people will see so little of them.

I don't know if the class changes will have much impact. The holy pally changes are certainly massive. I think it will turn off more existing holy pallies than it will attract more people to the new style, at least initially. But all the classes are so homogenized that it matters less than it used to.

Certainly the ability to play solo is very desirable and that is an advantage for DPS, although tanks are pretty close these days. Leveling as a prot warrior is not near the handicap as a holy priest; perhaps that is why dual spec is 100g.
I agree with Leah. Even people who tank a lot and raid tank will tend to switch to dps for heroics these days. It's worth waiting a bit longer (and you can do dailies while waiting) just for the lower stress and less hassle.
There are so many comments (and I read them all) that I really don't think at this point mine is going to be read, but all the same, I'm adding my two cents. Mostly because I've played two tank classes (Paladin and Druid) and 4 healing classes (Priest, Paladin, Druid and Shaman) as tanks AND heals.

My main, interestingly, is a Mage. ;)

I'd have seriously switched my main to my druid Bear tank, if once I got decent gear (about ilvl 260 average) tanking spots disappear.

Guilds only need 2-3 active tanks. Good guilds, the ones who raid without fail suckage players from hell, REALLY don't need tanks, they have them.

So, in order for me to take my excellent Bear tank into a raid, I'd have had to join a slower-learning-curve guild and teach them how to raid and knock my head against the wall a million times a night dealing with fucktards who keep 'standing in the fire' and refuse to download DBM or don't know how to gem properly/talent spec/glyph or enchant their gear.

Yeah, not doing it.

EXACTLY EXACTLY EXACTLY EXACTLY!!! (times a million exclamation points).
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