Daily Archives: September 30, 2008

Tanks for the memories

Catching up on a bit of a feed backlog, I came across an interesting piece from Spinks on Book of Grudges: “Sexism and Swordmasters”. Making a mental note to wander over and post a stiumulating and intellectual comment (or possibly just to shout “bloke in a dress!” a la Eddie Izzard), I carried on down the feeds to Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s Sunday Papers roundup, which linked off to another piece touching on robe-wearing tanks, “MetaBalance or ‘The Cool Factor'”, and there’s a comment there from Harvey Smith linking back to a talk of his on game avatars. Slightly linktastic I know, but all Quite Interesting, honestly. Go and read them. GO ON! You may drink your weak lemon drink as you read, or save it for later. I shall drink mine now.

Stimulating and intellectual commentary is rendered somewhat void by that lot, I’m still digesting the multi-layered construct of in-game identity even without getting into gender security, so I’ll just ramble a bit about WAR instead.

Destruction certainly don’t lack for Chosen and Black Orcs, but Order don’t seem critically short of tanks, on my server at least. Nordenwatch could be a nightmare for the Empire at low levels due to a combination of less movement between racial areas in Tier 1 and limited power availability; standard procedure was for your group of 8 Bright Wizards, 3 Witch Hunters and a Warrior Priest to seize the first objective, run towards the fortress, see a wave of Chosen and Marauders pouring up the hill backed up by a couple of Zealots and a Magus, cast your one DoT and start on a fireball, die horribly, repeat. By Tier 2, though, with a slightly wider range of abilities including shackles and a decent mix of races showing up in scenarios I’ve been winning more than losing, on one occasion feeling slightly sorry for the lone Zealot trying to keep 8 tanks and a couple of DPS classes alive… “Too many tanks will cause you scenario problems, just as sure as none at all”, as I think Oscar Wilde said on his posthumously released album.

I also got to wondering if the Big Scaryness of the Destruction tanks might actually work against them on occasion. With my extensive PvP training I’ve evolved a highly strategic and incredibly complex targeting mechanism, a closely guarded trade secret that depends on the health percentages of all participants in the combat, their relative positions, timing on global cooldowns, phase of the moon and whether the day has a “y” in its name, but which can very generally be summed up as: “Not the tank, NOT THE TANK!” It needs repeating at higher volume, for just as in Team Fortress 2 your first instinct is to shoot the huge bloke with the really big gun when you should actually be taking out the medic standing behind him, so when a socking great Orc or spiky Chaos chap is pelting towards you it needs a bit of discipline to ignore him and go for the healers. Once you’ve got over the initial panic of “AAAAAHHHH, get ‘im, hit him with a broom, ruffle his hair up, hit him with a bucket, AAAAHHHHH”, though, the contrast between the Destruction tanks and their other classes does make picking targets quite easy. A quick Order Guide To Attacking Stuff That Isn’t A Tank:
1) Greenskins. The big one is the tank, kill the little ones first. Really kill anything with a staff who shoots green beams.
2) Dark Elves. No tanks here. Kill them all, Khaine will know his own. If they’re not wearing clothes and standing next to you (or you can’t see them), they’re melee DPS. If they’re not wearing clothes and standing far away, they’re ranged DPS. If they’re wearing something that covers more skin than two flannels and some dental floss, they’re a healer. (For any Strictly Come Dancing fans, the healers are dressed for ballroom, DPS for latin. Apparently. I wouldn’t know myself.) Watch out for sneaky healers who’ve taken their clothes off to masquerade as DPS.
3) Chaos. Big blokes with big swords or shields are tanks. Ignore them. About the only class on the Destruction side you might get confused for tanks in a mass ruck are Chaos melee DPS, but look out for the weird arms. Ranged DPS, the standing-on-a-floating-disc business is a dead giveaway, which by process of elimination leaves healers as the weird looking ones who aren’t on a floating disc and not running towards you going “GRRR I’M QUITE CROSS AND CHAOTIC”.

So there we go, all very easy. For Destruction, I guess it isn’t quite so straightforward; it’s not rocket surgery or anything, but the three Dwarf classes are at least the same height rather than Ironbreakers drawing extra attention to themselves by strapping on a pair of stilts, and non-Shadow Warrior Elves do look a bit similar in their robes (unless they’ve taken their clothes off to try and blend in with the Dark Elves). The Empire have The One With The Sword And Gun And Hat With A Buckle On It, The Fiery One On Fire and The Other One With The Hammer, but as none of them are tanks anyway it doesn’t matter so much.