Matt Answers Your Questions

As surprising as this may sound, I don’t often get a lot of email. Most of them can be easily answered with a few lines and a link. Some of them require much more detailed responses and get turned into posts. The emails that deserve more than a few lines and don’t require posts, I’ll compile together. I’ll end up doing this once a month or so with emails that either myself or the rest of the WoM team don’t get around to answering.

I got into a discussion with a friend the other day about what is easier/harder to play: a tank or a healer – specifically priests and warriors?

He’s convinced that its harder to play a priest (holy/disc hybrid) and I said playing a warrior tank is harder (I have played a disc priest and prot warrior all thru the Wrath Beta and my live priest just hit 80 a few days ago due to tank shortages). I was wondering if you could propose it out to the general community on what they think is harder to play.

Thanks 🙂

My gut instinct here says a tank would be harder. But then again, that’s because I’ve never really played a tank. I think if I logged around 72 hours on a Warrior or something I might be able to get the basics down. Tanking and healing are on two separate ends of the spectrum that there is just no comparison at all whatsoever. Both call upon different sets of skills. One guy has his eyes glued to his raid window while the other guy is glued to cooldowns and boss cues.

But I’m sure there’s a few players out there that can tank and heal effectively. What’s your take?

I am the Paladin class leader of my guild and main holy paladin. I have been reading the post about healing Sartharion 3-drakes. One suggestion involved having a holy paladin use righteous fury to help pull threat on whelps. It’s not something we have tried yet, as we have been using 2 add tanks and 1 drake tanks. However the idea is definitely worth investigating to see if it could work for us as well. However, I am unsure of the spec used by the paladin healer to survive the adds. I have some ideas, but i would like to see a definite spec that has worked, without gimping the healing output. I think that healing output is less, which is why it was mention, that the add tank healer will need help, but i would like to be clear on the extent at which you sacrifice healing talents, for survivability.

Also did the paladin use any pvp gear for increased stamina?


I can’t exactly offer much help here. All I know is that the spec did reduce healing effectiveness slightly but not enough to warrant a panic. I believe it involved picking up Divine Guardian (the bubble spec). To really make use of Righteous Fury, the Holy Paladin needs to pair up with and stand on top of the add tank. The first time we tried it, we used it with a couple of PvP pieces to see if it would help increase survivability. But we quickly found out that it was simply unnecessary. Any Paladins want to jump in?

It’s times like this I wish I had a Holy Paladin on retainer somewhere for a consult.

In our guild we have 2 raider ranks:

  • Noob
  • Raider noob

The standard for raider noob in BC used to be that if someone had 90% attendance for 2 months and solid performance in raids, they would become a raider noob. However, since the release of wrath all of our recruits have been of exceptional caliber, now probably 23 or so of our 28-29 raiders all have very good performance and 90%+ attendance. This has been wonderful but leaves us with a problem with promotions, we can either promote almost the entire core of our guild to raider noob (as almost all of them have been here for 2 months+), but that would severely alienate the few who don’t make it up to raider noob.

We could increase the duration (which is what we have been doing), but that would only be a temporary solution. The last option I can think of is to increase the standard for raider noob (only our clutch healers, top 5 dps etc), but this would require demoting some of our existing raider noobs, which hardly seems fair as well (they are all good players). Any advice you have would be much appreciated.

Well, you’re in a bind. There’s no doubt about that. There is a way but it’s going to involve a lot of heart to heart talking with your raiders. Let them know that the time has come to restructure the guild ranks. Be honest with them about it. The good ones will understand and won’t mind the change in title anyway. A rank is a rank is a rank. It’s just a label. It’s how you treat the players that count. Let your guild know what the problem is. Heck, you could make a third tier rank that says Ubernoob that’s nothing but the best and the brightest. But then you’re just adding on another layer on top of that, right?

Are you sure about the alienation problem or is that what you would feel? Remember that no WoW players are exactly alike. How one person could react to an event can be completely different to how someone else reacts. You can either axe all the ranks entirely (and set one unifying rank), set the ranks based on seniority (length of time in guild), or availability of raiding (my preference). A player that can’t make all raids is automatically a sub for me or if they’ve demonstrated inability to make all raids (or have disappeared for extended periods of time). Otherwise, everyone’s a raider. I run a tight ship with 3 other senior staff and a loot council.

At the end of the day, remind your guild about who they are and what they’re made of. You said it yourself. You have 28-29 skilled raiders with an impressive 90%+ attendance rate. A lot of guilds would kill for that. If they’re married to their rank and title to the point where they’re willing to quit over it, then maybe it’s time that they walk (which also solves your rank problem anyway since it’s one less person to worry about).

21 thoughts on “Matt Answers Your Questions”

  1. I believe that with the standard UI, healing is probably harder. However, there are plenty of mods that can make healing easier (i hated healing until i got healbot for my holy pally), while, besides DBM, there aren’t any mods that will make tanking easier. Also, prot warriors are perhaps the only spec in the game that can lead to RSI bery quickly (we need to use 2 skills for every GCD… Heroic Strike and something else).

    And yes, both are certainly harder than DPSing…

    Amglachels last blog post..PTR! woot!

  2. I’ve raided on both a healer and a tank (although not played a healer in Wrath). I’d say it’s hard to learn both healing and tanking.

    Raid healing in particular is way harder to learn than raid tanking because of having to learn to work with the healing team. On the other hand, tanking instances is harder than healing them, if only because you have to lead and mark.

    There does tend to be more pressure on a tank because everyone will see immediately when you screw up. But I think raid healing is harder than raid tanking to learn.

    Once you have learned how to do it, tanking is probably a bit harder (you can coast more on a healer).

  3. Regarding the last question, what would happen if you just didn’t promote anyone? Indeed, if you just deleted the “raider noob” rank?

    You only have 28-29 raiders, which is a fairly small core. Pretty much everyone has great attendance. You’re probably killing bosses. Why fix what isn’t broken?

    Rohans last blog post..Rolling On DPS Gear While Healing

  4. Having played both a healer and tank through BC and Wrath up to Naxx, I’d say it depends on the player, and what they consider easy. I enjoy doing both. The play style is so different that I’ve tanked heroics that I had run many times as a healer, and felt like it was brand new in there because it was the first time I tanked it, and the play style is so different.

    Apples to oranges really. I’d say DPSers get the biggest ability to get carried, just because there are always more of them in a goup/raid then healers and tanks. But putting out maxx DPS and not pulling threat off the tank is also an art form that few people bother to master. So, while numbers can mask your lazy dps, a tank that is coasting or a healer that is off his game leads to fail runs pretty quickly.

  5. On the question of spec for your holy paladin, ours didn’t change spec or gear. Yeah they took a beating but it was pretty easily handled by the raid healers.

  6. In my experience, a Holy Pally using Righteous Fury to pull aggro on the whelp adds is doing so to keep them off other healers, NOT to actually tank them – so should be paired with the actual tank to be able to taunt them off the healer. A PVP/survivabilty spec would probably work better, or just a swap into some higher stamina gear.

    That said, I’ve not found that to be necessary in our Sarth+3D fights – we have one Sarth tank, one Drake tank, and one Add tank (plus a fury warrior that slaps on a shield to tank the acolytes inside the portals). I’m usually the Add tank healer (holy pally healing prot pally), and haven’t noticed much of a problem with aggro. When I HAVE pulled add aggro, I’ve been able to handle 2-3 whelps for long enough to get them taunted off, but I have the advantage of not needing to use ventrilo to contact the whelp tank, as he sits directly to my right.

  7. Re: Tanking vs. Healing – I’d say they’re very different experiences. Tanking requires much more positional awareness, requires much more button mashing (ESPECIALLY on a warrior!), and more of an ability to think 5, 6, 7 steps ahead, even while reacting to the unexpected. Healing on the other hand, requires significantly quicker reactions, and decision making. I’d say it’s easier to be a passable healer than a passable tank, but also easier to be a GREAT tank, than a GREAT healer.

    Re: RF Baitpaladin on Sartharion 3D – they don’t really need to do anything special gear or specwise if your add tank is on the ball – they aren’t supposed to be tanking anything for more than 1 hit, and if things get bad, they have a bubble – they heal w/ RF up so that aggroless elementals always head in the same direction, rather than just randomly shooting off in the direction of whatever healer hit a button most recently (in my experience usually a resto druid) – having your other healers bother to spec into their threat reduction talents, while not required, can also make pickup on whelps/blazes easier, if they find themselves continually getting beaten on.

    Feists last blog post..FeistTheRogue: Know a Resto Shaman/Healy Priest/Deathknight in search of a new home (Alliance side)? My guild is recruiting for Ulduar! Ping me for infoze.

  8. Of the three roles, healing is the easiest for me, followed by tanking and dps (equally hard).

    What I’ve done for 3 years? Easy.

    What I’ve never tried even in Karazhan? Hard.

    The last thing I tanked was UBRS. I’ve never DPS’d a raid. If I wanted to, I’d probably spend about a day reading Elitist Jerks and bothering guildies to figure out my rotation. Then I’d probably rush it and have terrible dps cause I messed up my abilities order.

  9. “‘I am the Paladin class leader of my guild and main holy paladin. I have been reading the post about healing Sartharion 3-drakes.'”

    –We use this. I’ll write up a full explanation after work.

  10. Question one seems to be really popular here, so I’ll answer that too 😀

    I’m not sure what you mean exactly by “easier/harder”. Meaning, in what aspect? As far as leveling goes, Warrior is hands down the hardest class to level. Do it without the Herbalism healing spell benefit and its extremely frustrating. There is literally no “oh sh-t” button that will help you (maybe Last Stand, meh). If for any reason you pull more mobs than originally intended your pretty much forced to wipe it and start over. All the other classes have some type of way to get out of those moments, Warriors are just kinda stuck. Now that doesn’t apply to all tanks, Paladin are extremely easy to level right now. Protection paladins can gather up a massive group of mobs and then burn them down with tons of AOE and their attacks heal themselves.

    In PVP, I’m going to say Healer, only because when you run up against a good team your going to be the first one targetted and then it’s a battle for your own survival. Plus a good PVP healer will also be in charge of using good crowd control to force the other team to burn their cooldowns sooner.

    In PVE, it depends on your teammates. Tanks and Healers are both very gear dependant, and survival depends on each other. When a tank is undergeared it strains the healers, when a healer is undergeared the tank may have to burn more cooldowns just to stay alive. As far as style of play, I would say healer is in general more difficult, only because it is way more reactive. You have an arsenal of spells and you have to know exactly what to use in different situations to keep a whole group alive. Tanking, for most encounters, you stand still and mash a series of buttons to build up threat. It’s much less reactive and more proactive. Occasionally, as a tank, you need to know – “kite this person here”, “taunt when he does this”, “burn your cooldown when he does this”, but its a lot more scripted than healing. I personally like the randomness of healing a lot more than having to study boss fights to know exact positioning and taunt rotations and such, thats why I went from a bear druid in TBC to a tree in Wrath. I don’t regret my decision at all. Even with all the healing nerfs.

    And not to leave out DPS either, I think that DPS is extremely tough to do well, but more often than not people don’t care if your the best at it, they care that you meet a minimum. Example, I’ve seen WWS reports of DPS doing over 9000 on a Patchwerk fight and the most my guild has ever been able to post is in the 7000s. They are not “bad”, they are just not as good as some of the best.

  11. It depends on the player. Not all players are capable to tank or heal or dps. As it has been mentioned, not all of us are cut out for the damage output, while some get too tunnel-visioned for healing or tanking. Face it, healing and tanking are on opposite sides of the spectrum but have similarities too. Both roles have to watch the raid and their surroundings in order to keep people on their feet; either to take back the threat from an agro hungry *insert class here* or to do triage on the damage that the temporary agro caused. Nothing in the game is easy without sufficient practice. (e.g. I suck with DKs because I haven’t been motivated to learn HOW to play the class. It can be fun to randomly button mash when on my own tho =)
    Kudos Copey if you are one of the select few to have mastered max dps without pulling threat. <3 anyone who has this skill!

  12. tanking is generally much more difficult than healing if you have real dps. take naxx, example. to start with healing was pretty rough because of the t6/SW gear i was in. after 3-4 weeks of raiding it wasn’t difficult at all b/c my gear and the tanks gear both had gotten significantly better. the tank, on the other hand, has a much more difficult time b/c as the dps gear up, their threat significantly increases. we have a crazy arcane mage who puts out about 7.2k dps on patchwork and i’ve seen the main tank put out a solid 9k tps and still call for a salv on him.

    sure you need awareness to be a pro healer (BoP the mage/salv the lock/LoH a tank) but once everyone is equally geared it is much more difficult to tank imo.

  13. and about the holy paladin tanking sarth adds. 1) you should yell at your add tank(s) for even having to do this 2) if you want to do it right you should at least spec down into imp right fury. you can go all the way down for DG if you want, but like someone before mentioned that does blow a lot of crit for healing.

  14. To Beltain:

    No sir, I have NOT mastered max DPS with out pulling threat. But I certainly appreciate the fact that DPS classes that can both be at the top of meters AND don’t cause me massive headaches as a tank/healer are very few and far between. I have many tanks and healers on my friends list that I added after really good pug runs. And very very few DPS that I’ve added after a pug run, just because you so rarely see some body be at the top of their game and still be able to manage threat accordingly. It truly is an art, just like tanking and healing. If somebody underperforms on DPS, normally there is somebody else to take up the slack, and mistakes are not as visible as when the tank or healer screws up. This is why I believe a lot of people feel tanking or healing is “harder”. The focus is on them more often. But I say to play any class up to it’s full potential in any roll is challenging in it’s own way. My two cents.

  15. To apokteino:

    In that situation where a healer and tank are busting thier butts because the DPS is gearing up, that isn’t the tank/healers fault. It’s the DPS not knowing the limit of the group they are in. I believe this is the reason there is a shortage of healers and tanks. Too often DPS feels like they can blow stuff up and if the tank can’t hold aggro and the healer can’t heal through aggro pulls, then it’s a bad tank and healer. I feel like it’s an important part of the game for DPS to know just how much they can put out before it’s too much. That’s the “art form” of it.

  16. copey, i’m not 100% sure i understand what you’re saying or maybe i didn’t make my comment clear. i was simply pointing out that once everyone has good gear healing through the dmg bosses due is much easier than trying to stay ahead of your dps’s threat. at the beginning where people are getting gear and learning boss encounters this isn’t true and healing is much more challenging.

    “I feel like it’s an important part of the game for DPS to know just how much they can put out before it’s too much.”
    -in a real raid, the dps should be able to do max dps without having to throttle back. the tanks need to figure out rotations and gear to use to stay ahead of them. if they can’t, find a new tank. dps, of course, should know when to feign/shatter or call for a salv. but they need to put out max dmg.

  17. @Psychotaz, let me jump in here.

    Let me give you a little insight as that holly pally who ran this position with Conquest. First off, here’s the spec I’ve used (and still do) – (props to docholiday, for he’s the mastermind behind the coordination).

    With Righteous Fury up, I stacked with the adds tank – and was his main healer. Most nights, we have a DK taking the adds. I pull the loose adds from the other healers and dps and bring them to the adds tank. With this spec, I didn’t see any significant loss of healing – and had no issues maintaining the healing. You’ll note this spec is what Matt and crew call “bubble spec” – As Sarth hammers away at the tank, the raid begins to take lots of damage. Popping my bubble drew enough damage away from the melee to help out the raid healers.

    Never needed any PvP gear, as our adds tanks have always been fantastic at maintaining the adds.

    Got more questions? Hit me up at !

  18. OK, about Sarth 3D with a Righteous Fury paladin:

    First off, the Imp Righteous Fury isn’t needed. The extra threat was made baseline in 3.0. All you get is the reduced damage taken, which is kind of nice, but probably not absolutely required. Divine Guardian is handy for when Twilight’s Torment is up and Sartharian is about to use his breath. It’s particularly useful if you coordinate your bubble with Hand of Sacrifice on the Sarth tank.

    As far as adding tanking/pulling goes, the way our guild does it is I’ll put up Righteous Fury and we’ll have a protection warrior tanking the adds. The warrior will put Vigilance on the Sartharion tank so he’ll always have a taunt available.

    The warrior’s good enough that he can usually taunt the adds about as soon as they spawn. Otherwise, the extra adds will typically head to me pretty early on where they can easily be picked up by our warrior. As far as positioning, you don’t have to be right on top of each other, but you do need to stay close.

    Once the third drake lands, if you do pick up Divine Guardian, you and your add tank will want to edge towards the Sartharion tank so that way you can contribute to a save rotation during Twilight’s Torment.

    Again, the respec to Holy/Prot isn’t necessary, but it can help in a save rotation until the third drake dies.


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