You know sometimes when something happens and then the next day something similar happens and you think ooooh that’s the universe telling me I must get on my Bravetank blog and write about that tonight (you’ve all been there I know) even though I should be ringing my mother who’s not very well- food poisoning we think (and yes I will ring her I promise once I’ve done this – she’s not going anywhere with that food poisoning anyway and I must not encourage dependency because I’ll pay the price when she’s in her 90s and expecting me to go down the shops for her – I mean I’ll be in my 70s then – who’ll be going for me?). Anyway that weird universe thing happened to me today so I thought I had better write about it or run the risk of a third, less subtle message (burning bush, blindness on the road to work, nothing from Santa – that sort of thing).
Yesterday I stumbled across a Twitter debate about tanks needing confidence. I won’t say who was debating – I feel kind of bad enough that I read it without commenting and now I’m writing about it on here- like some sort of sneaky opportunistic twitter thief – but in my defence the universe said I had to so I have no choice (is that the perfect excuse or what – although I suspect many serial killers have tried it yes?). Anyway I didn’t really agree that tanks have to have confidence – I mean I’m Bravetank after all – agreeing with it would have been like denying my own existence & I’d have probably started to disappear like Marty McFly in Back to the Future. But I had other pressing concerns (ice-cream to eat) so did not think much more about it. But then today in a conversation with a friend the question of whether you have to be arrogant to be an effective leader came up and I thought Oh – that’s very similar to what was being said last night – if you replace arrogance with confidence, leadership with tanking, and my friend with Twitter – yes practically exactly the same thing. So clearly the universe wants me to think about this. So I am.
So what do I think? Well- let’s deal with the arrogance and leadership question first and then think about how/if it applies to WoW and tanking (can you tell I used to lecture – I use the same structured approach with my husband when explaining why the kitchen counter should be wiped down before placing the shopping bags on it- he appreciates the instruction I’m sure – I can tell because he becomes so overcome with love for me he has to leave the house for several hours until he has a better grip of himself…).
Anyway I hate arrogance. It suggests a “full of me, I’m the bees knees” (what does that really mean?) attitude and an ego out of control. I do not think such people make good leaders. In fact in my experience they are very unpleasant to work with, full of deluded self importance and make very ill informed decisions (I’m not talking about anyone I know here, absolutely not, of course not – how much more wide eyed and innocent can I look?) But I do believe to lead you need to have self-belief and confidence – in your decisions, your vision, your strategy. This doesn’t mean not consulting with anyone or not discussing with your team. And if definitely doesn’t mean being afraid to admit you don’t know something or need to take advice. But it does mean understanding that you are ultimately responsible and accountable and that you need to take action and make decisions – you need to lead. But none of us are all powerful or all knowing (well I am sort of I admit but that’s only because I’ve watched so much Buffy it’s rubbed off on me). Sometimes we have to take a leap, make a decision that might not be right, make an assessment of the facts and decide what the right course could be and then go for it, fearlessly and confidently so that the team are in turn reassured that your direction is solid. This doesn’t mean not having any doubts deep down – I’ve had my share of sleepless nights (I’m the major shareholder in fact – do you want to buy some?) over some of the decisions I’ve made- but you do have to make them as a leader and then you must ensure your team work with you to do everything they can to deliver the right results (you know – motivation, engagement, chocolates – that sort of thing).
This could apply to tanking – notice “could” – because I have a different theory. Certainly one view might be that to be a tank you have to believe you can tank, have confidence, make all the decisions, once made go forward in the dungeon with assurance and aplomb – shield forward and all that – so everyone feels safe and secure in your presence and not like lambs being led to the slaughter (it was cruel of that DPS to make sheep baaing sounds when I took charge yesterday). Even if we don’t use the word arrogance here we could certainly use the words self-confidence and self-belief. But does a tank absolutely need all that? Oooh controversial question. Everyone sit back and gasp (or yawn and scratch – I don’t mind). Isn’t it more the case that dungeon groups need someone to do that- but that could just as well be a dps or the healer as the tank. Why is it assumed that it should be the tank?
Some reasons for this could be:-
1. The tank should pull and therefore should know in what direction the group need to go and what tactics to use. Ok yes, but anyone knowledgeable in the group could guide the way and explain tactics. It does not have to be the tank.
2. The tank has to control the pace of the group so should be in charge. Yes fine – but the healer sometimes controls the pace too (sometimes quite emphatically by sitting down and refusing to move until they’ve had their picnic). And if dps are slow that in turn will impact on the pace no matter how much the tank might want to push it (there’s nothing more tragic than three burnt out dps, a mana starved healer and a tank crying “Come on we can take them , I know we can!”)
3. The tank is always the dungeon guide. This is the deliberate mistake answer because of course they aren’t if someone else selects it. But I do have a question – are they dungeon guide by default if no one else does it – or does that go to the highest level in the group? I don’t actually know the answer to this one so it could be regarded as a Bravetank competition if you like. Noticed yesterday in Zul’Farrak that I had been appointed dungeon guide (did you hear by the way- I did Zul’Farrak!!!!! For the full effect of that imagine me all bloody faced and slurring into a mike, “I did it Adrian I did it!” & you’ll have some idea of what I felt like yesterday.) Luckily no one in the group paid the slightest bit of attention to the flag so I was able to get my neurotic head out of the map and actually do some tanking.
So I can’t think of any reason why the tank should always be the leader and should always be all knowing and confident. And tanks who are learning really can’t be. But yes the tank must be willing to tank (it’s really silly queuing as a tank and then trying to heal -particularly if you’re a DK or Warrior, or going in as a tank and then just wandering around the dungeon with fabric samples in your hand deciding whether to redecorate or not). And all tanks should try really hard and make a bloody good go of it (not stand there weeping and stomping on their shield). But that goes for everyone (there is no stomping on shields in my groups – I just won’t tolerate it. But you can grind your knuckles if you have to.) It’s no good having a dps hiding behind a rock just as it’s no good having a healer so frozen in terror they couldn’t even tickle a mole let alone whack one. So the willingness to try hard and not go to pieces behind the monitor is needed of us all. But similarly it is ok for a tank to say, “I’m learning, any help you can give would be great,” just as it’s ok for a dps to say, “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong with my rotation, I’m doing what is recommended but it’s not working, can anyone advise please,” and it’s ok for a healer to say “Lol dude I forgot to tell you I was afk and then I meant to press flash but I hit cleanse” (no it’s actually not ok for the healer to say these things & I’m still annoyed about it but he’s about to bring me in a bowl of popcorn so let’s just let bygones be bygones).
What all people need (no matter what role) is the willingness to co-operate with each other and be kind to each other. And what more experienced players need is the willingness to give advice and guidance patiently and kindly, while what the less experienced need is the willingness to listen and learn and take such kind advice gracefully. You see how often the word kind appears here. I feel like launching into a rendition of, “I want to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” I know how cheesy it all sounds. But just because it’s cheesy does not mean it’s not true. That would be to deny the existence of the cheese and tomato pizza I ate earlier and I couldn’t possibly do that (the scales tomorrow won’t let me). It’s true. People should be kind. And if they were everything else would fall into place.
Ahhhh – so maybe this is what the universe wanted me to think about! But oddly it made me do it while enjoying myself typing and not ringing my poor mother. How strange. Oh well- the universe moves in mysterious ways. I’ll ring her later after Coronation Street – definitely!