The Light and How to Swing It: What happened to encounters that were interesting to tank?

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Cataclysm has been a fairly, er, cataclysmic expansion when it comes to the status quo of tanking. For starters, threat was decimated with the introduction of Vengeance and nigh removed from the game with the recent buffs to threat generation. Likewise, variability in the number of tanks a fight required seemingly died along with Halfus Wyrmbreaker. And, perhaps most troubling of all, the profession of tanking has generally been made less and less interesting as far as encounter design is concerned.

What makes a fight “interesting”?

If you think back to some of the fights in previous tiers, the most interesting ones were always the most demanding ones — the ones that required you to juggle multiple balls over the course of the encounter. These balls could be one of many mechanics. To name just a few:

  • Picking up adds that are dynamically joining the fight
  • Shepherding adds to a specific location
  • Hitting cooldowns to counter a near-death attack
  • Moving out of hazards constantly
  • Taunt swapping boss on a debuff
  • Combating the threat output of buffed DPS

And countless other tropes that I’ve neglected to list.

Reading any of these, you can think of a number of mechanics that Blizzard has constantly repeated that encompass them. It’s a fairly limited bag of tricks, and Blizzard has done a bang-up job mixing and matching a handful of them and compiling the resulting smorgasbord into some of the fights we have known and loved.

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The Light and How to Swing It: What happened to encounters that were interesting to tank? originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 13 Jan 2012 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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