Unless you’re one of those people that doesn’t enjoy following along with the hype of a new expansion, you’ve probably already read Wowhead’s coverage on new Cataclysm information. The highlight for me was Downshifting. The ability to take a 25 man raid and break it into multiple 10 man raids. I’m not only excited about this because it gives casual guilds that raid like mine more options, but also because it’s pretty big news for hybrid tanking.
All of the tanking classes are capable of being “Hybrid Tanks”. When I talk about Hybrid Tanks what I’m really talking about is a person that’ll dps (or heal) frequently with one spec and just as frequently tank with the other spec. And while sure, a Hybrid Tank was possible in Vanilla and done to a lesser extent then, it was really born with the creation of Dual specialization.
What remains to be seen is how will Downshifting be utilized. Many guilds already run a single 25 man and multiple 10 mans right now. So, how is Downshifting different? The difference lies in how the raid changes or doesn’t change during the Downshifting process.
When a raid changes from 25 to multiple 10 mans, will those extra tanking spots be taken over by alts or will hybrids already a part of the 25 man change to their tank spec? (or do just brand new people step into this role?)
I’m banking on the Hybrids.
Once you start farming 25 man content, a lot of loot gets wasted (disenchanted). With Cataclysm’s approach to 25 mans being, “we’re going to throw a massive amount of loot at you” and with them offering the same loot in 10 mans, tanking loot is going to go to waste that much faster. Or more to the point, Hybrids are going to be geared up that much faster. Because of that fact, I’m banking on raids using Hybrid Tanks more and more.
After all, a raid would rather take tanks that are better geared than those that aren’t. And while players often push against this idea because they love gearing up their alts, when it comes to progress, the raid usually wins.
Whether it’s the start, middle or end of an expansion, there’s always a question of how does one become a tank. And while being amazing is a great answer, it’s just not practical.
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The road to tanking often starts with dpsing for many players. Cataclysm looks to be encouraging this idea even more. You’ll get into your guilds 10 and 25 man raids by dpsing and while dpsing, you’ll collect your tanking set. If you’ve put in the effort in 5 mans, acquiring boe items and crafting, it won’t be long before you’ve got a quality tanking set to compliment your dps set. That’s how you’ll get the opportunity to tank your first 10 man. Your performance in that 10 man is how you’ll get the opportunity to tank your first 25 man. Your performance there (or perhaps your fellow tanks lack of performance) will determine whether or not you get to make the coveted change from Hybrid Tank to Full-time Tank.
Which isn’t to imply that this all will happen in the course of a few weeks. It can easily take months for even a single tanking opportunity to open up and it’s usually going to take far more than a single performance to even take over the 10 man tanking role. The 25 man tanking role is an even greater long shot.
I hate to admit it gang, but sometimes… you’re better off lucky than good. Of course, the idea is to be both lucky AND good. And since you cannot control the former, you might as well work towards the latter.
Best of luck.
The rest is here: “Downshifting”, Another step towards more Hybrid Tanks?