Friday, 12 March 2010

Zen and the art of Drunken Tanking

Now I apologise in advance for this but there's a good reason behind it. You see the thing is I have a theory regarding tanking. Given the title of this post I'm sure a lot of you can probably guess what I mean.

Tanking while drunk makes you a better tank

It was a subject that was brought to my attention recently. Having discussed this with guild tanks ages ago in possibly every end game guild I've been in it was something that isn't new to me nor to the bulk of people who play wow. Doing a little research produced some quite hilarious and worrying results. A thread on the official forums had a worrying number of tanks who, if they attend most of their guild raids, quite possibly have drinking problems. I even seem to remember a tank from the Horde faction on my server who once said (and I'm paraphrasing because my memory sucks):

"Tank x boss? But I've never tanked that sober before"

Alcohol as a performance enhancer isn't a new concept in terms of the internet. Many programmers will swear by drunken coding for example. In terms of anything else like driving, running or anything that requires coordination it obviously sucks.

Tanks will speak of the "zone" they reach where everything became simpler. Kind of like Zimmerman's valley if you've ever read the Terry Pratchett book Thief of Time. A brief explanation of this is below. Also go read some TP - it's incredible.

He [Zimmerman] is credited with going deeper and further into Time than any history monk before him, with the exception of Wen himself. Zimmerman could slice Time into thinner and thinner slices, passing through regions of great temporal instability until he reached the deep, but stable, zone known to the Monks as "Zimmerman's Valley" in his honour. Once in the Valley, a monk who can stand the extremes of cold and scarcity of useable oxygen is capable of travelling further and faster than ever before.

Now this is all well and good if this theory holds true. But speak to anyone of drinking age (in the UK this is around about 12 if my town is to be believed) and ask them about the nights they managed to balance their drinking into the perfect equilibrium of being fun and sociable without being a dickhead. Most people will admit that it can be tricky and once they've gone so far its easy to keep drinking and end up with some worrying photos to explain the next day.

In terms of tanking it's something I've experienced in both lights. I'd come in from a night out and was moderately inebriated and ended up in a karazhan pug as a druid tank. I'd run the place to death before but never tanked it and even though it was a late night run people commented that I'd been quite good. On the other hand I've played drunk before and it was godawful. I was overpulling, not waiting for healer mana, singing on vent and running into and getting stuck on scenery.

There's a beautiful parallel from TP regarding Zimmerman again that I believe illustrates this:

Zimmerman predicted that there would be another stable region even further down the Time Slice than the Valley. According to Lu-Tze, he was doing just fine looking for it, right up until the moment he exploded.

Dont drink and tank kids. It's not worth the explosions.
TLDR: Don't over do it or you'll play terribly. In fact you might just THINK you're tanking amazingly.

We're finally at the reason for this post. I came in drunk last weekend and I was a very bad tank on my prot pally (now 71). Sorry to the players in the pug group on rampage battle group in that auchindoun instance for the wipes and sorry I fell asleep logged in.

Seeing as inebriation is todays theme, has anyone else found evidence to support or refute this? I'd be interested to read your comments - considering the propensity of the Guild Members of Single Abstract Noun for cocktails I'm pretty sure there's a rich seam of data out there :P

/echo out

EDIT: I did it again this weekend... Sorry people in Utgarde Keep.


  1. This (including your hordie tank) is eerily similar with the situation in my old guild. Being Russian probably had something to do with it, but I don't think our warrior tank was ever sober. He was very good too! I don't know the drinking habits of my current guildies, but I can tell you drunken healing doesn't work. Spending more time with the finger on the PTT button instead of my mouse is bad.

  2. Single Abstract Noun: Supper club, drinking den and gossip station by the watercooler.

    There's also some game thing involved but no-one's really sure what that is ;)

  3. I can confirm that I also feel that strange difference when drunk, I feel I play better on my tank but worse on my mage.

    The drunken state tends to make me button mash a bit and generally just want to target switch and move around a bit to better see whats going on, all things I think just fit better with tanking than my mage for example where all that = me doing not much damage, or damage to something thats gonna kill me :)

    I can't really explain why it makes me "feel" like I am playing better when tanking drunk, and who knows if I am - only the people sober with me I guess - but I think it definately feels like I am doing crap on other chars.

    what a weird thing it is.