What’s With All the Trash About DKs?

I consider myself to be a pretty good tank on my Death Knight.

Trees bleed?

Sure, I’m not perfect. I forget to blow my Horn of Winter every two minutes, I get distracted from my task my shinies on the screen, and occasionally I don’t notice when someone else has aggro. Perhaps these point to a mediocre tank, and I am happy to admit that I heal much better than I tank. But! Even so, I’m not terrible. I don’t wear the wrong kind of gear, like this tank, who was wearing Hunter BoA gear:

Yes, really.

And again... Really.

I’ve got a nice set of tank plate gear (okay… So it’s the crafted Cobalt set, but so what? It’s still decent tank gear) and I’m getting better and better at my rotation and my awareness of the aggro levels for other party members.

But why must people judge me because of my class? It is just as likely for a Warrior, or a Paladin, or Feral Druid tank to be an awful tank, but do you see healers sighing and moaning, and DPS getting ready to be the tanks when they get grouped with them? I’ve had some pretty terrible tanks in the past (again, note the Warrior tank pictured above), but I don’t discriminate against a certain class because of their reputation. Twice, in one week, people have berated me for being a Death Knight tank.

The first time was when I was running Nexus. The run started out edgy; no one was receptive to my friendly ‘Hello,’ and there was little conversation among us as I began to pull. Soon I started getting comments, like ‘Pull this mob here’ or ‘Don’t pull those mobs right now.’ I was, honestly, very puzzled. Friendly advice is great, but giving it to a tank that hasn’t asked for it (and is doing just fine) is a little confusing.

We got past Telestra just fine, and I went to go pull the next mob that sits along the hallway. I, unfortunately, timed it incorrectly, and pulled the pat that also crosses into that area. We died a horrible grisly death (no thanks to the slow Shaman heals), and immediately the DPS were on me. Giving me advice on how to pull, telling me how to run the instance. It irritated me, these comments. I’d made a mistake, sure, but I had apologized, said that it was my fault, and that I would fix it. And it was my first mistake in the instance; when I’m on my 80’s, I only comment on the continuous strings of mistakes that some tanks/DPS/healers make.

So I told them that I had already run this instance (many… Many… Many times), and that I knew my way around just fine. So they didn’t need to continue their advice, because I was aware of what I needed to do.

“sorry but most dks are fail tanks”

That’s their only justification? Their only reason for pestering a tank that had been doing perfectly fine until one wipe, was that most Death Knights are bad tanks? Whatever happened to ‘grading’ a person’s skill by what they’re actually doing, as opposed to what their class is?

A couple of days later, I got Drak’Tharon Keep for the first time as a tank. First thing out of the healer’s mouth?

“ugh, squishy tank, lol”

Way to raise a tank’s morale, eh?

According to our Druid healer, I shouldn’t take her comment personally because “dk tanks are always squishy”. Our Warrior was already ready to tank the second I made a mistake, letting everyone know that “eh if it gets bad ill tank”.

Yeah, I went into that instance feeling really confident.

Luckily everything went pretty smoothly. The only problems we had were when it came to the room with the Aboms and evil Scourge that like to strip the health of the tank immediately, and then eat her bones for dessert. I wasn’t sure what their aggro range was, and I accidentally pulled one too many (then a DPS went and pulled one of the Aboms, but I won’t get into that). Immediately, the Warrior was asking if I had a DPS set so he could tank.

Alright. There’s no way that any “fail DKs” are ever going to learn how to tank well if groups in PuGs now a days are quick to condemn and replace. Giving advice on how to pull mobs isn’t going to help a tank that has problems with their rotation or specc, and just booting a tank from their position as tank to let someone else do it doesn’t help that tank learn the fights.

Can’t everyone just have a little bit of patience and faith, and actually give Death Knight tanks a chance? Just like with any other class, there are going to be bad Death Knights, and I mean bad. But don’t you want to give those of us who aren’t awful Death Knights a chance to shine and raise your hopes for our reviled class?

And as for Death Knights being particularly squishy compared to other classes… I, personally, have never run across that problem. Maybe I am spoiled by having a wonderful Death Knight tank at my disposal (kudos to WJRez), but from my experience with other DKs, if they’re so-called ‘squishy,’ there’s normally something else in the works that is making them thus, not just their class.


~ by riththewarluid on September 21, 2010.

5 Responses to “What’s With All the Trash About DKs?”

  1. You give me too much credit, Rith. I’m not a bad tank on my DK, but I’m far from perfect. I’ll let Horn of Winter drop every now and then and forget to refresh it for a couple of minutes. I’ll mistime a pull and end up pulling a pat.

    I started out at 70 with the Cobalt set. It’s a decent starting tanking set, and I upgraded the pieces as the upgrades presented themselves. I obviously didn’t know everything about tanking when I first started. I knew what my basic priority should be, but reading guides is a poor substitute for experience.

    I think an advantage that I had over you was that shortly after I started tanking, I met you. And so I always had the reassurance and security of a healer who knew me, one who I knew wouldn’t ditch me or insult me if I stumbled on the learning curve. No one ever preseumed that I was a bad tank because of my class (not to my face, anyway), and I was able to teach myself how to effectively tank.

    A part of it may be the “gogogo” mentality that seems to permeate the game these days. As evidenced by the Charge-happy Warriors and the overzealous Warlocks and Hunters that you and I get on our lowbies, EVERYONE wants to just get the instances finish as quickly as possible. And at the slightest sign of a mistake or a new player, they’ll take it upon themselves to do the job, whether or not they’re actually capable.

    I wouldn’t take the insults personally, especially if you’re observing and learning from your mistakes to improve your play. You know what they say about opinions.

    And that room in DTK used to always freak me out. Timing the Abom pulls was more nerve-wracking than the bosses. I’m at a gear level now where I can just round up everything and not have too much trouble, though. 😉

    • Everyone makes mistakes while tanking… You’re one of the best tanks that I’ve experienced in game thus far. Maybe I will meet a better tank, and you’ll lose your tree though… 😉

      And I seriously doubt that you’re a good tank because of me. I might have helped make things less stressful for you, group-wise. But I’m sure you would have been a great tank even if I hadn’t been there to diffuse the situations.

      I know that I shouldn’t take things personally, but there are times when other group members presumptuous natures just bug me! Same goes for stereotyping Hunters (not to say that we haven’t had our fair share of Huntards in the past). I find it sad that society’s short comings outside of the game have filtered into game play and become so central. Of course there will always been some degree of crossover, but I wish it was less. Then again, I wish there was World Peace and an eternal supply of calorie-less chocolate, too.

  2. Hmm. Definitely unfair of group members to judge you by your class – I particularly don’t get the “oh, it’s a dk, obviously will be useless/not know what to do” mentality.

    Certainly the way they talked to and jumped on you was not on.

    Though on the squishy level, as a general rule I do find death knight tanks to be more squishy than other classes. I’ve noticed it in the past when healing 80 DKs in PUGs. Same goes for now, when my partner and I are levelling our DK tank/pala healer team – his DK’s kinda squishy, and it doesn’t seem to be because he’s making any silly mistakes with gear/spec/abilities.

    • I suppose that, from a healing point of view, I can’t say much for level 80 raids because my Druid has never (truly) been in a raid “at gear score.” Meaning, she’s been in Naxxramas… But when everyone in my guild has 5.8k gear score and we tear through it without too much difficulty. The only difficulties are when my guild decides to goof off a little bit (or when I get a little DPS hasty… But shh! We don’t talk about my mistakes. 😉 )

      My experiences with DK tanks in Heroics has been fairly positive, from a “squishyness” (<— Ultimate coinage) perspective. I'm sure that I've had a smattering of squishies in my past, but none that seem to particularly stick out to me. Maybe that is just because any of the DKs that I do have that are overly squishy, are normally just plain bad, which would make all other good DKs seem much more shiny and wonderful to my healer eyes.

      My experience of healing Will’s DK tank from 72 to 80 didn’t give me the view that DK tanks take more damage either. I rarely had problems healing him through out our many instances together. Perhaps that is just luck of the draw of having a great tank? Who knows.

  3. As a healer, I have to admit, my heart sinks when I see a DK in the tank spot – they’re squishier than I’d like, as tanks go, and a gooooood chunk of them aren’t even average – they’re downright horrible.

    But, on the other side, I’ve had some truly awesome DK tanks. I’ve had DK DPS tank when our tank dropped group, and end up with it being easier with a DPS “tank” and two DPS than it had been with three DPS and a “proper” tank. A bit more mana-intensive, yes, but better with pulls, better with aggro, better with being patient as I drank.

    So while my heart sinks, I always make an effort of not saying anything, and being as supportive as I can when I DK tank (or any tank, really) says “I’m sort of new at this”. Because until I SEE THEM tank horribly, I don’t actually have any basis to judge.

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