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Breakfast Topic: Is Cataclysm tanking getting easier and easier?


This is a belief I've privately held for some time, but I'm not sure if it's true or not. When Cataclysm first came out, gear levels meant that the dungeons were more difficult, certainly, but the tanking was also relatively challenging. Do you remember your first go at tanking Karsh Steelbender? Keeping a debuff up on the boss by kiting him through a column of fire while also not allowing stacks to build so high that the healer couldn't keep up with the damage? I certainly found it fairly tricky at first, even more so in heroic, when letting the stacks drop meant adds.

And the fairly tricky modes continued as the heroics did. Then Zandalari heroics came in, and a couple of those fights were entertaining to tank. (I'm looking at you, High Priestess Kilnara.) But I do think that the pressure in those heroics rested on the shoulders of the healers and general group cooperation. You all had to do the right thing in order to succeed. The tanking in itself was not inherently hugely challenging; apart from making sure everything was hitting you that should be hitting you, not standing in bad and interrupting, you didn't have to do that much, but the peril was still fun. Hour of Twilight? Well, Azshara can be a little challenging. That's about it.

Let's look at raids for a second. Sure, Magmaw was pretty straightforward; the person dealing with the adds had a far harder job than the tank. But Omnotron was more of a challenge, as was Maloriak. The Ascendant Council and Cho'gall, too, in places. Firelands began well. Trapping Riplimb at Shannox was a fun role, but it went downhill from there. Ragnaros was awfully boring to tank.

And it seems that Rags' Swap at X Stacks model has been adopted and carried over into Dragon Soul. Morchok? Swap at X stacks. Yor'sahj? Guess what? Ultraxion? Sort of. Blackhorn, once he lands, the same. Hagara, at least, has something you have to run away from while tanking. And you might occasionally have to goal-keep Zon'ozz's ball. The Spine of Deathwing and Warmaster Blackhorn fights really excited me simply because there are adds! And the Madness? I seem to spend as much time DPSing as I do tanking. I'm not saying these fights are easy for everyone; I'm saying they're easy for tanks. And this is slightly frustrating -- all you can do to tank better is get better gear to soak more damage or do more. The skill element is fading.

Do you agree? Is Blizzard shifting difficulty off tanks onto other roles? Is this a good thing? Has it been happening forever? Is it because of the Raid Finder? Is it to try to get more people tanking? Am I talking utter nonsense?

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