Ah, the main tank. This is the raid quarterback role. All eyes are on them, all the time. Unfortunately, as a result, and due to how important and seemingly irreplaceable a good tank can be, some guilds bend over backwards to keep them happy. Often at the expense of the rest of the raid team.
My last serious progression raiding guild, circa Burning Crusade, had such a tank. He slowly but surely drove off many skilled raiders who were also great guildies (disclosure: I wsa one such member driven away), negatively impacting their ability to progress in raids. When last I checked in with them, in very late Wrath, the primadonna tank was gone for greener pastures, and they were nowhere near a Lich King kill. From progression raiding group, to a guild unable to get even one ten man kill of the Lich King. That was the cost to the guild for coddling a tank who was a bad fit for the guild– but able to talk a good game about how the guild couldn’t progress without him.
Don’t become that guild. You really don’t have to. There are always early warning signs that you have a toxic main tank that needs to be neutralized before he disolves your raiding team. Here are five:
- Disrespects the other raid members.
This can manifest itself as talking over other people or shouting them down, fingerpointing at others whenever an issue or challenge pops up, and telling other people how to play their role. Often, this behavior is also related to not taking personal accountability for one’s actions and their consequences. Don’t chew out a melee for not knowing which add you wanted them to focus on when you 1) didn’t tell anyone beforehand and 2) didn’t mark a target. Bonus points if the tank also tells other people how replaceable they are.
- You’ve told more than 1 raid member to just put him on mute on Vent.
Guildies should not have to put other guildies on mute or ignore. This is not open to discussion for me. Guildies should not have to put other guildies on mute or ignore. Yes, people are people and will have disagreements and different — sometimes clashing– points of view. But I have an expectation that I am playing with people who can be mature enough to have a difference of opinion without being nasty and rude to each other. If your main tank is mouthing off and being disrespectful to guildies to the point folks are upset, maybe you should tell the MT to mute himself.
- Comes to raids…whenever he feels like it.
Oh, he missed the raid tonight without telling anyone because he was tired. MMMM’kk. But he wasn’t too tired to come online an hour and a half later to go to another raid? Um, no. He’s playing you. By not signing up for raids in advance, and then not always showing up, he’s playing a game designed to keep you walking on eggshells, saying things like “don’t upset the tank!” How much do you think it upset the 9 people who didn’t get to raid when he blew them off to show them their place? And double minus points if he has transferred off the server to go play with a more progressed guild at some stall in your progression.
- Is an alt, with a main in a more progressed guild.
I’ve seen a lot more of this in the past 2 years, likely because of the ease with which we can get our alts geared up through heroics and badge/points gear. My serious raiding guilds would give an auto gkick to people who were raiding (or applying to raid) elsewhere. Why? Because you don’t want a raider who is only half committed to your raid. If you’re super casual this may not be an issue. But if you are working on Al’akir, and finally making some headway, do yuo want to call it when your tank bails to go do something with their main’s guild? Because that’s what starts happening eventually. And again, that leaves your raid team in the lurch.
- Thinks (or even says out loud) you can’t possibly carry on without them.
It sucks to recruit a tank for your guild. But that doesn’t mean your toxic tank is irreplaceable. None of your raid members are irreplaceable. And if someone on the team has this attitude– this arrogance, it spills over into their interactions with the rest of the raid team. People don’t like someone who wields their smug superiority over them. That’s not how to build team camaraderie.
A raiding team full of frenemies may have some initial success, but once you hit the end of the tier bosses, you need true collaboration and teamwork to pull things off. If your main tank is exhibiting a few of these traits, sit him or her down and have a conversation about the importance of working as a team. Don’t let a key player unravel the team.