Tobold's Blog
Thursday, April 07, 2011
 
How do you "carry" a tank?

Great discussion today, really showing how different people think about the various group roles. I'd like to point out another comment for discussion: "However with this new bribe I am thinking, where is our reward for "carrying" new/bad/inexperienced tanks?", by rulez. I find that comment fascinating because obviously rulez believes that there are situations where the dps "carry" the tank, while I have doubts that this is even theoretically possible.

How would "carrying" a tank by dps work? How would a dps with a bad tank play differently to "carry" the tank, instead of playing "normally"?
Comments:
Is not very often that it can happen, but you can sometimes carry a tank. In a very specific case we were against Orzuk, tank dies on the first Shatter, and me as Fury start tanking him (Def Stance/Shield macro). In that case Orzuk went from about 80% to dead with me tanking, granted the healer was very good as well to be able to heal an improvised tank. But is a case where it happened, I've seen lots of tanks do that boss wrong and yet I've finished it every single time.
 
There are a few ways good DPS can "carry" a tank.. lets see.

They can use proper CC both before the pull and during (such as stuns), put up proper damage reducing debuffs, interrupt spell casts (HUGE), move out of bad (to help the healer), make sure to not pull threat, consistently using threat re-directing abilities, not pulling more then the minimum number of creatures, tossing out off healing if needed, tanking or kiting creatures briefly if needed.

Last but not least, a good dps or team of dps can carry the tank by killing things really really quickly.

Of course "good" dpser's should do some or all of these things already... but with a well geared and skilled tank none of it would be required technically.
 
Extra-healing, off-tanking, and aggro-dumping back to the tank are ways. Add to that tips about the instance itself and you are "carrying" the tank.
 
Using as much CC and interrupts as possible, changing targets intelligently, killing mobs fast.

Of course you can't carry a braindead tank, the other day I had a tank in Blackrock Caverns who did not get how to kite the one through the fire column.

But... on my rogue I can support a bad tank very well (as long as he has at least some clue about tanking).

Send him a secondary target with tricks of the trade, then switch to skull. Interrupt and cheap shot on cooldown, intelligent use of BF etc pp. I even have 3 cds to off-tank monsters. Crippling poison on throwing weapon to kite.
 
Carrying a tank is just like carrying a DPS. When the rest of your party plays better, there's less responsibility on you. Yes, the tank has to be good enough to not get one shot, but an undergeared tank can be carried by an awesome healer or awesome DPS that shorten the fight length so the healer doesn't run out of mana.

Carrying doesn't necessarily mean playing differently. A group carrying a bad DPS just does what they always do, pretending the bad DPS isn't there.

And to answer the poster's question: your reward is faster queue times.
 
Been said above, but a few things "carry" a bad tank:

*Proactive CC
*Kiting/offtanking (really in cata this is all basically CC)
*Healing insanity

It is much harder for a good DPS alone to help a bad tank out compared to a group of DPS or a good healer, but it is possible. And it is carrying--in order to do the above three things and not get turbo-murdered by trigger happy mobs you have to know the pulls and the dungeon pretty intimately.
 
You need a tank to run current level-cap heroic dungeons. Without a tank, you don't have a run (in the case of the 4/5 guild run scenario rulez mentioned). The tank is carrying you by being the tank you can't find and you are carrying the tank with your uber-DPS abilities.

So, I think there isn't really any carrying - you are working toward a goal... together.

By the way, the Blogger spell-checker says "rulez" is spelled wrong. ;-P
 
It would seem to me that the burden of "carrying" a sub-par tank would fall to the healer, not so much the DPS. The DPS just throttle back their damage and cut back on the AoE. Granted most DPS don't seem to understand these concepts. But very few encounters in heroics have a mechanic that demands a certain level of DPS or the group automatically fails (ie. enrage timers, etc.)

The healer however, bears more of the burden because due to poor tanking, and then by extension the lower DPS, encounters will last longer and force the healer to keep everybody alive longer. This does complicate matters and requires more competent healing, but is not automatically doomed to failure. So long as the tank has enough basic competency to beat healer aggro, you can complete most encounters.......... eventually. :P
 
I have been in groups where the tank was newly 85 and perhaps not well geared but the instance run was smooth because the dps was highly geared. Or I have healed weakly geared tanks and because I outgeared the instance, the run went smoothly. I believe this is what he is getting at. On the other side, I have been in groups with a weakly geared healer or tank and the dps refuses/tank to use CC.

I believe that in the 5 man group we are given the tools to clear the content no matter the level of gear (assuming a ilevel minimum). Most problem groups I run into are where players are unwilling to tackle the content in such a way that the entire group succeeds--we simply are upset the tank/healer/dps can't blow through the content.
 
Ya, DPS can carry a tank, although it's not as easy as say a good tank carrying bad DPS. But I've done it with a Ret Paladin many times, and I've seen a ton of druids do it also. Plus a good healer often carries a bad tank. That happens constantly.

Rewards should be more for successful dungeon runs, or a group voting that a player did well.
 
Actually, I've been on runs where the DPS has to carry the tank by severely mitigating their DPS to keep up with low threat, shadowpriests switching out of shadowform to double heal it, pet offtanking, kiting mobs instead of killing, etc.
 
I don't think that DPS can carry a tank, but I believe that a healer can. DPS like to think that they can do something to carry a tank, but really, its more about them just playing at a high level.

However, with a healer who is amazing, they could possibly carry a tank because they can heal through the high damage they receive, or keep everyone else alive as the tank does a poor job of keeping aggro or control over mobs.

You don't see a group that blames the dps for a failed attempt - its always on the tank or healer, and theres a reason for that. Its because they are the only 2 who can truly carry a group.
 
I forgot another powerful tool to carry players:

Take the time to explain stuff to them.
 
You don't see a group that blames the dps for a failed attempt - its always on the tank or healer, and theres a reason for that. Its because they are the only 2 who can truly carry a group.

Actually, our group does this all the time. If the healer runs OOM, it's because the DPS took too much damage and had to be healed too much, and didn't do enough DPS to take the boss down fast enough.
 
I think there might be a confusion on terminology here.

"Carrying" implies that the group/raid could very likely have done the event without the "carried" player being there at all. Back in TBC, players paid big money to be "carried" through T5 & T6 content by highly progressed guilds. Those guilds could have easily 24 manned the instance. In my guild, we can "carry" a DPSer, as we can easily 4 man the instances (1 tank, 1 heal, 2 DPS)

If you're saying that you're "carrying" a tank. that means you could have done the instance without a tank altogether.

Other players needing to CC, interupt, "heal more", and aggro dump are NOT indicators of "carrying" a tank. It's just using different strategies with the group you have at hand. It's no different than how some guilds 2 tank Omnitron, and others single tank it. Those with 2 tanks are not "carrying" another tank - just using a different strategy.

Four man a heroic 5 man instance without someone in a tank spec, then you can say you're able to "carry" a tank.

The only commenter thusfar that has a good example of "carrying" a tank is issac, who killed a boss from 80% HP with the tank dead - thus showing the tank didn't even need to be there in the first place.
 
A DPS can definitely carry a tank. Everyone who is chiming in with "No, DPS can't" seem to back it up by saying "All DPS can do is throttle back, and that's not really carrying."

So long as you keep every class perfectly pigeonholed into the trinity, you're right, that's all they can do. However, every class has utility available, be it CC, kiting tools, aggro redirection, or additional healing.

The frost mage or affliction warlock who takes on 3 mobs at once is clearly not tanking, nor are they just DPSing. But that they are able to take such a large share of the team's work and hold it all on their shoulders; that is perhaps the purest definition of carrying in this game. "Putting up with shitty DPS" isn't really carrying to me.
 
I play a healer actually, sorry for not pointing that our clearly. :P

However I see the "carrying" as a team effort, in a cases where the weakest link is the tank. A well oiled guild team consisting of a healer and 3 DPS can make up for a hell of a lot, especially when overgearing the instance.
 
If "carrying" means what masterlooter said, then no, DPS cannot "carry" a tank. But if by "carrying" you just mean mitigating poor gear, bad play or general stupidity, then I carry bad tanks all the time. I drop a freeze trap under the healers feet and as often as not it traps a mob the tank never noticed was loose.

As always, the first step in any argument is to define your terms!
 
In TBC in the early days of the expansion Heroics were mostly untankable. This is how the group I played got through it.

One mob would be tanked by the Prot Warrior. Often he'd get threat on it while the Rogue slowed it with Crippling Poison then he'd back off out of it's range.

One mob would be sheeped; one would be sapped.

One mob would be tanked by our Frost mage with Frost bolt. This was usually the mob we'd nuke first. We had to be careful to do less damage than the mage if we were melee.

Sometimes when things went wrong our mage was able to solo entire packs.

The Prot Warrior was mainly there for bosses, otherwise he could have /follow the healer and watched a film.
 
PS we also used Rogue stuns as much as possible.
 
You can't answer this until you define normal expections for each role.

For example is DPS expected to follow a kill order?

If they do it is much easier to tank then if they don't. Thus I would say I am carrying any group that doesn't follow marks.

However if DPS isn't expected to follow a kill order than when they do they are carrying me instead by exceeding expections.
 
So let me see if I understand your point of view correctly:

If a dps player is ignoring aggro and everything, and just maximizes damage per second through his spell rotation he is a "good dps"?

And if that dps has to follow a kill order, use /assist, use crowd control, and watch his aggro, all of which will reduce his damage per second by a few percent, he is "carrying the tank"?

Man, the sense of entitlement of some people has grown to weird proportions!
 
Honestly I don't really get tanks. Shouldn't all of the players be avoiding taking damage? And if the idea is to block the enemy from attacking the players that have lower defense, then why don't tanks actually do things that have an effect on the attacker's mobility?

This is a little off topic, but on a post about how tanks can be "carried", it irritates the part of me that questions the value of the role as it currently exists.
 
If a dps player is ignoring aggro and everything, and just maximizes damage per second through his spell rotation he is a "good dps"?

And if that dps has to follow a kill order, use /assist, use crowd control, and watch his aggro, all of which will reduce his damage per second by a few percent, he is "carrying the tank"?


No, and no.

On the other hand, if the DPS is capable of 12K+ and is having to throttle back to half that, is having to wand or autoattack instead of using abilities, and occasionally ignoring the kill order altogether to kite or off/pet tank a mob that was supposed to be tanked or because the tank broke the CC early and didn't pick up the mob, then the DPS is carrying the tank.
 
Well, that's where it gets complicated. It's generally the tank's responsibility to control the battlefield.

Let's say an add breaks CC early and goes for the healer. It's the tank's responsibility to pick that add up. If a DPS sees it and misdirects the add back to the tank, or uses some extra CC to hold it, then they are compensating for the bad play of the tank.

You know the old saying:

If the tank dies, it's the healer's fault.
If the healer dies, it's the tank's fault.
If the DPS dies, it's their own damn fault.

So conversely, if the DPS have to intervene in the fight in such a manner that the healer is saved from dying, then they are "carrying" the tank a bit.
 
I like Rohan's explanation. To further clarify on what I said earlier:

Going above and beyond your currently defined role in a manner that is required for the party to succeed qualifies as carrying, to some extent.

It just so happens that many currently define the roles as "threat", "damage", and "healbot", creating an artificial box that prevents people from recognizing many of the the tools that help contribute to a successful party in an otherwise questionable situation.
 
Most of your are mixing up "carrying" with "compensating". They are not one in the same.

I thoroughly agree with masterlooter, when he says that if you can 4 man an instance without a tank, only then can you carry one.

Everything else you describe, is just having the rest of the group do their job. Their job may change depending on how well geared/skilled the tank is, but it's still their job. When you can actually do the tank's job, then you are carrying him.
 
Yeah okay, I my main character on WoW is a Fury Warrior, however I make a point of keeping at least decent tank kit as well. How I carry the tank? Taking over for the tank who failed on 1st boss in stonecore for one thing. Taking over for the tank who failed on 3rd boss in stonecore as well. I can also tell after the first pull if the tank knows what hes doing, and so all kinds of stuff to help him during trash pulls as well. Thats a dps/tank warrior's POV. Every single class in this game can so one thing or another to make his job easier as well, if he could use a bit of help.
 
@Michael: Most of your are mixing up "carrying" with "compensating". They are not one in the same.
I don't see why it isn't. Carrying doesn't necessarily mean that the rest of the team is useless and dead weight. In LoL, the carry of the team is the person who does the majority killing while the rest do support. An MVP in a sport can be someone who "carries" his team to victory, even if his team would've lost if they were permanently penalized with one less player on the field.

In fact, it's the other way around. You're carrying someone if they couldn't do it without you compensating for them, not if you could do it without them. It's a very slight but very meaningful difference.
 
I've tanked enough LFD groups and have enough war scars that I feel like I have a pretty good grasp here. And the answer is, yes, absolutely, good DPS can help make up for bad tanking.

I think part of it is that there is a distinction in how bad someone can be and still be carried by anybody. A really rock-bottom DPS can be carried through a lot more than a rock-bottom tank (who'd be lucky to kill anything). But merely below average tanks can have quick, smooth instance clears when aided by above-average DPS. Above-average DPS is going to take heat off the healer and tank by being 110% on top of crowd control and by butchering mobs so quickly that the tank barely has a chance to lose aggro or get beaten down by a crowd. I consider myself a fairly successful and experienced tank, and I will say right up front that I've had runs where I was not at my best and hot DPS players more than took up the slack.
 
@Phelps
On the other hand, if the DPS is capable of 12K+ ......then the DPS is carrying the tank.

No, it means you are overgeared for heroics. 12k is far above the minimum requirement needed to kill heroic 5 man bosses. Your doing very well (being OP if you will) in specific content does not automatically mean that someone else is deficient because he can not match you. It's a mutually exclusive relationship.
Everyone does not need to be at the same level, only above the minimum level.

In your specific example, the tank would only have failed in his duties if the mobs didn't die quick enough (because DPS had to throttle too much) and the healer ran out of mana, or the boss hits a hard enrage. Simply saying, "DPS had to hold back, so you suck" implies that the tank is somehow competing against his groupmates, and not the mobs.

Although...
...kite or off/pet tank a mob that was supposed to be tanked or because the tank broke the CC early and didn't pick up the mob
I agree 100%. In this, the tank failed in his/her duties - completely independant of your own duties.
 
I play a healer actually, sorry for not pointing that our clearly. :P

However I see the "carrying" as a team effort, in a cases where the weakest link is the tank. A well oiled guild team consisting of a healer and 3 DPS can make up for a hell of a lot, especially when overgearing the instance.
 
I play a healer, and am experienced so I can carry a tank. It's also possible for the dps to somewhat carry a tank by doing exceptional dps and perfect interrupting. This is because high dps = less pressure on the healer.
 

So let me see if I understand your point of view correctly:

If a dps player is ignoring aggro and everything, and just maximizes damage per second through his spell rotation he is a "good dps"?

And if that dps has to follow a kill order, use /assist, use crowd control, and watch his aggro, all of which will reduce his damage per second by a few percent, he is "carrying the tank"?

Man, the sense of entitlement of some people has grown to weird proportions!

Time to play the Devil's Advocate again..

The difference between insanity and eccentricity is success. Following the kill order, assisting, not breaking CC and watching aggro work only when the tank is lacking in gear, not skills. But when the tank lacks skills, you have to get creative.

Good players know when to violate the "rules": The kill order might be ignoring the healer, so you burst the healer down first. The tank may be switching targets too often, so you don't assist and finish each mob to reduce incoming damage. Maybe the CC is about to break when the patrol is at it, so you break it early and avoid the adds. And maybe the tank's standing in the proverbial fire and causing the healer to struggle to keep him alive, so you steal aggro and pull the mob away, forcing the tank to follow. For bonus points, you kite/stunlock the mob to death safely.
 
You're carrying someone if they couldn't do it without you compensating for them, not if you could do it without them. It's a very slight but very meaningful difference.

But if "compensating" means playing your class better, as in making the job of the rest of the group easier, then why wouldn't you do that regardless what the quality of the tank is?
 
Tobold, when a healer or tank "carries" the dps, they don't do anything special either. Low DPS just means that the fight lasts a lot longer and the healer has to stretch her mana out, and the tank ends up contributing a greater proportion of the total damage done.

If you took 3 dps to an instance, and they were all below the tank on damage done, you'd say that the tank and healer carried them. The DPS doesn't actually have to cause problems, like fail to cc or break cc or pull random groups.
 
If you took 3 dps to an instance, and they were all below the tank on damage done, you'd say that the tank and healer carried them.

No, personally I wouldn't. I would only say somebody was "carried" if he didn't contribute at all, or so little that his absence would not even have been noticed. My tank is rarely on the 4th spot of the damage meter and I never complain about that.
 
Misdirects and aggro dumps to get mobs to him, cc even if he does not ask for it, cc or offtanking/stuns of a mob the tank has ignored or missed and is on the healer. Healer spamming his little heart out to keep the tank up. Note depending on how hard the content is ie early tbc heroics these might be needed rather then carrying.

Tank carrying the group? the normal default meaning is as soon as the dps single target/boss(not trash) dps is less then the tanks. Covering for missed interupts, covering for dps on the right mob, position changes on mob and the group because 1 dps fails to move, soloing the boss when everybody else has died to avoidable damage.
 
Richard, A tank is often not hit capped, the dps should allways be. Interrupting a spell cast? DPS task. Early in cata many of the You must interrupt spells where enough to 1 shot tanks, not really something someone with a 3-5% chance to miss should be doing.
 
Using the standard of "fight could be done entirely without one player" for carrying is too strict. It makes sense when discussing 25 man raids, but a single player is a much larger portion of the group in heroics.

Here's another possible definition for what constitutes a carry: if you couldn't complete an encounter in a group of similarly-skilled players, you were carried.

As a semi-frequent LFD healer, I haven't carried anybody according to the first definition. I have, however, carried several tanks according to the second definition. I think the biggest difference between carrying a tank and carrying a dps is in how much additional skill is needed from the rest of the group. If the tank is bad, you -must- have a solid healer and a group of dps that are capable of cleaning up after bad pulls, threat problems, or stupefying tank deaths.
 
If you took 3 dps to an instance, and they were all below the tank on damage done, you'd say that the tank and healer carried them.

What if the tank is doing 10K DPS and each of the 3 DPSers are doing 9.5K DPS? Is the tank still carrying them? 3 DPSers each doing 9.5k is more than enough to kill any heroic 5 man boss.

So grouping with a really outstanding tank means that you are being carried because you can not match his skill (or gear)?

A player that does 9.5k DPS in a 5 man is definitely carrying his share of the burden (regarding DPS). Why does it matter that someone else can do more than him, especially when it's someone of a different role?

Why are we comparing players of dissimilar roles to one another, and not to the objectives of the instance?
 
Apparently in this brave new world, your group is "carrying" the tank if it takes 40 minutes to clear the instance instead of 30. The same way that anyone who doesn't already have gear that's far better than the drops in this instance should be kicked.

I'm not saying everyone has this attitude - just a large and vocal section of the population.
 
Oh, come on. The 30-40 minute "world" is as ridiculous as the idea that there can never be a tank that is carried by the rest of the group.

I'm amazed at the number of people on the internet who think that it's worth alienating people they could persuade with straw men just to "win" against the guy who is never going to agree with them anyway.
 
When I play my Hunter I sometimes have to carry a tank.

I feed threat to him initially and during the fight - even if it's temporary.

Use of Hunter's Mark often makes people focus on the target I mark if the tank can't be bothered to mark one.

I use Distracting Shot to pull targets off people who take agro or sometimes to draw mobs out of healing circles that the tank leave them in.

I often set up traps or CC stray mobs that the tank can't handle through use of traps.

Back when Marksman was viable, I'd help pull casters to the tank through use of Misdirection and Silencing Shot.

In the case of an under geared or fragile tank I can CC two targets easily enough, sometimes pet tank a third.

Basically, I could do the tank's job for him if they were ineffective or did nothing.

Not necessarily possible with all DPS classes, but yeah. Compensating or carry a tank that isn't holding threat, picking targets, pulling well, or moving along quickly enough is possible.

I admit I was carried a couple of times in this expansion when I first started tanking as a Blood DK and was still learning.
 
@Tobold:
But if "compensating" means playing your class better, as in making the job of the rest of the group easier, then why wouldn't you do that regardless what the quality of the tank is?


Because in a well geared group, the objective is different than from a group suffering from bad players.

In a well geared group the focus is on getting through the instance as fast as possible and wasting as little of my and your time. In a bad group, the focus is on actually making it through the instance.

The type of play required is different for each. Why would you want to waste time with CC when you can AOE it all down and get through the instance 20 minutes faster?
 
Wow, I saw all these changes way too late, but I am incredibly amused to observe all the DPSers saying that they're carrying a tank by doing their fucking job right.
 
Wow, I saw all these changes way too late, but I am incredibly amused to observe all the DPSers saying that they're carrying a tank by doing their fucking job right.
As opposed to tanks and healers, who carry DPSers by doing everything wrong?-)
 
Clever twist, Hirvox, but missing the point.

A good tank/healer combo will carry crappy DPS by doing the DPSer's job for them. A DPS can't carry a tank or heals by doing their own job competently or even very well... you carry someone by doing their job for them.

So, if DPSers start tanking mobs without dying (and believe that it happened in Wrath when 25-heroic geared DPS DKs got bored with the tank's pull rate), then yes, they are carrying.

If a DPSer claims to be carrying the tank by CCing and interrupting, they are hopelessly misguided about what their actual job is. Imagine a food-server acting as if they were doing you a favour because they washed their hands this time and didn't spit in your food.
 
If a DPSer claims to be carrying the tank by CCing and interrupting, they are hopelessly misguided about what their actual job is.

And if they are burning down mobs while they have aggro from the tank because the tank never touched the mob, killing it by kiting it, and generally off-tanking, then you agree that they are carrying the tank?
 
because the tank never touched the mob

A dps getting aggro from a mob the tank never touched is doing something wrong. Learn2/assist
 
Shadow priests can get aggro that way from vampiric embrace.
 
If a DPSer claims to be carrying the tank by CCing and interrupting, they are hopelessly misguided about what their actual job is.
But that's not what i claimed. See my earlier comment above.
 
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