Is it the Tank’s Responsibility to Lead Groups?

As Javier said in a previous comment:

Please answer me a question that I have been wondering forever. […] Why is it the sole responsibility of the tank to know and lead the group in to every instances?

During my adventures through the dungeon finder, I’ve been remarkably fortunate.

Little to no wipes.

Timely CC’s.

Sustained DPS.

I don’t always run with my guild on my priest. I prefer to give opportunities to other healers in the guild who still need the gear or the reputation. If I need a refresher course in healing, there’s no test greater than braving LFD.

But I digress.

Tank ‘em!

Traditionally speaking, tanks have been the players that automatically take leadership of a group. For years, they’ve been the ones setting up the marks, executing the pulls and controlling the pace. Whenever I joined trade chat groups (this was before the dungeon finder, mind you), tanks would usually insist on leading groups. During Wrath, it got to the point where the rest of the players in the group expected the tank to assume that role.

The thing is, I’m not really noticing that as much anymore. I mean, it wasn’t until recently that I started observing other players taking control of groups. It wouldn’t always be the tank. It could be that random ret paladin or that warlock. Its an interesting trend to see happening, for sure. Could it be that there are just that much more knowledgeable people in the game? I once dropped in on a Halls of Origination group where most of the players in there didn’t know how to do any of the bosses on normal much less heroic. I had the option of dropping out of the group right there and then.

I’ll admit, I was tempted.

But no, I stayed right in there and showed them all the ropes. I gave myself a limit of 3 wipes on a boss. If we wiped 3 times on a single boss and it was clear they just weren’t “getting it”, then I’d take my leave. Setting a hard boundary for yourself is a good way to retain your sanity.

Blizzard allowing anyone in the party to mark targets was a great improvement overall. I’d say it ranks as one of those really underrated changes. Now other players don’t have to be the dungeon guide to mark stuff. They can simply tag their own targets.

The pressure is slowly easing off the tanks when it comes to taking the lead. That is a good thing, right?

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Comments

  1. During early Cata, I had ventured into several random dungeons. Surprisingly to me, I also found that the tank was not always the party leader. Even ran into a couple where the healer was the lead.

    As I go forth with learning to tank, I see (hope) this change proves positive and useful. Not all tanks can possibly know all fights all the time. At least, imo.

  2. I tank on Blood DK and Bear Druid and I am currently leveling War and Pally for tanking as well. I prefer to lead the group as the tank. I set a pace that the heals can keep up with based on their mana. In the last few months I have notice more and more that other classes are moving ahead and trying to set the pace. I left a group a yesterday on my war where a hunter was pulling and wouldn’t stop when heals had no mana because he said ‘im the highest dps here anyway’. I had been with the healer for a few runs and told him before I dropped party that I was leaving.

    I left an 85 cata run as Blood DK because the healer was pulling. I don’t care how good you are, if you’re wearing cloth you shouldn’t be the first person the mobs run up to hit.

    There’s a difference between setting a good pace and being an idiot. Unfortunately, too many people have stroked their ego too much to realize this.

    http://i.imgur.com/WaPTm.jpg

    • I’m curious. As a tank, do you just glance at their mana bar as the sole indicator of how quickly they would be able to keep up with you?

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