All Bow to the Glory that is the Beetle…

After suggesting last week that tanking has had it’s day, WoW Insider’s Matthew Rossi’s decided to look at things from a different angle this morning, one that I find myself with a fair degree of empathy towards. He’s suggesting that the problem isn’t the people who tank, it’s those who can’t (and because they’re not hybrids don’t have the ability to do so even if they wished) On consideration I have to say his suggestions would actually make a lot more sense in the long term, and if I use Hunters as the starting point, I think it would be entirely possible to provide us with the ability to act as tanks. Not us, directly, but our loyal companions.

Is it time to give Hunters a viable Tanking Spec?

Most Hunters worth their salt can tank right now, with the right pet and co-ordination. Many of them do, inadvertently, at lower levels anyway (if they can’t find how to turn Growl off and their low level tank is poorly geared) so the principle holds. If we look at the current three trees as they stand it would be logical to make Beast Mastery the branch to hold the relevant talents, but that would mean many BM-ers losing their beloved Spirit Beasts and the dps/healing abilities that they bring… how hard would it be therefore to take the current Tanking Pets and adapt them to work as fully-fledged Hitters? The removal of the advanced control we had with our pet bars would be an issue for starters, but if pets are only assisting a hunter’s target, surely it would be possible to give the Hunter additional tools to ensure that control is purely in our hands?

I’d suggest an even more radical change: completely redesign the Survival tree, with all the focus being on augmenting pet abilities and using long ranged traps to help your pet maintain aggro and keep it alive from the back. The Trap Launcher was an utterly inspired way to place damage at the foot of your enemies from a distance, and would be a great way for any Tanking Hunter to add dps to their throughput whilst helping their pet slow, hurt or interrupt their enemies (I’ve always thought snakes would be better at slowing or interrupting targets than they ever would be for actual damage anyway) This way, your hunter keeps their abilities to bring a high dps spec but could switch specs and act as an effective offtank in 10/25 mans where it was needed.

If this worked, it could (theoretically) be adapted for Warlocks with their Doomguards (as I’m betting that would go down very well with the community: redesign Demonology to allow a modified Succubus or Felpuppy to tank with special abilities, perhaps) and for Mages perhaps a selection of Arcane Anomolies, maybe a Fire or Frost Elemental if you took those specs to redesign. That then leaves the Rogues as the only real pure dps class to address and I find myself thinking that really, if truth be told, giving them a spec where they could tank would be possibly the worst thing you could EVER do because with stealth and blind you’d never want to play (or come up against) any other spec ever again in a Battleground…

Blizzard’s shift towards hybridity has been happening for some time, and I am all for people who are prepared to fulfil more than one roll when picking teams for 10 mans with my GM hat on. The DK who can tank and do massive dps, the Priest who will dps if needed, the Paladin who can heal and do dps, all these guys are immensely useful when you have situations where you know you can cut back on tanking or healing to maximise DPS output, because ironically that’s what often matters more than anything else right now. It’s not just about tanks or heals in 10 man, it’s about pulling the immense numbers in the damage column that you need to down bosses, and if all hybrids were like DK’s things would be a great deal easier. However, they’re not. Class balance will continue to be an issue for some time to come. Right now we NEED pure dps or bosses just won’t die.

Druids and Paladins are much maligned as broken in any tree at any one time, but the truth is that they are a model that Blizzard would do well to look to if they wanted to give the ‘pure’ dps classes an opportunity to expand. I think it would be hard to justify in Lore that any of the classes that don’t currently possess a solely healing spec should be given one but to allow tanks to step up from the ‘pure’ classes makes a lot of logical sense, and I for one would be happy to take my Hunter and learn.

Just don’t let the Rogues tank. PLEASE DON’T.

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