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The Most Important Role Of All

OK, so Gordon ignited a spark under our collective blogging butts which turned into a raging wildfire over the past week with his guest post. The first time I read it something bothered me, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. And to be honest, I thought of it as just another post expounding on the idea that tanks and healers have the most difficult roles and sort of let it slide.

Then the proverbial manure hit the fan! Blogger after blogger had their own say on the topic although the topic has about run its course. Some responses were quite harsh and some were mild, but I think the general feeling is that Gordon is in the wrong.

I know Gordon was only trying to start an interesting conversation, but after reading SlikRX’s post (which I completely agree with btw) it finally dawned on me why Gordon’s comments bothered me.

Tanks and healers are the most important classes for any group. Tanks set the pace of the group, the flow of experience and man the vanguard as they lead the team into battle. Healers mend the broken bones of their companions and keep the tanks a live – without the healers there could be no tanks and there could be no group. These are the two most important classes that exist in any MMORPG. But the DPS? They’re just meat in the room.

This is Gordon’s opening statement. This set the tone of the post. This is why I have a problem with it.

Tanks and healers are the most important classes for any group.

This statement bothers me. To top it off it’s the very first sentence. But before I go on as to why it bothers me let’s look at why Gordon believes it so.

Tanks set the pace of the group…as they lead the team into battle.

I think we can agree this is a pretty important thing to have. But it isn’t tanks that should set the pace,it’s the Raid Leader. Ironically, it just so happens that a good majority of raid leaders are tanks. I firmly believe that tanks and healers are raid leaders and guild leaders because the personalities of those attracted to tanking and healing are more often than not the personalities of leaders. I’ve not personally run into a raiding guild led by a pure dps player that didn’t fail within two months. I have to believe they exist, but I haven’t personally run into one.

Healers mend the broken bones of their companions and keep the tanks a live – without the healers there could be no tanks and there could be no group.

A very true statement. Healers have an extremely important role and I think we can all agree with that. Because of the way the game is set up, there really wouldn’t be a group without the healers.

But the DPS? They’re just meat in the room.

Manure incoming! DUCK!!!

This is the statement that I think really got everyone’s goat and for good reason. He just said that dps doesn’t matter. If this statement were really true, then I want to see an ICC10 raid with 4 tanks and 6 healers. Now I’ll bet there is perhaps a group out there that could figure it out, but I’ll bet 95% of us couldn’t make that work.

Perhaps he meant that DPS are a dime-a-dozen, which is a pretty prevalent sentiment. But the bottom line is he obviously believes that they are less important.

Tanks And Healers Are The Most Important


We spend a lot of time with our online avatars. We invest a lot of energy, emotion, and pride into them. It becomes very easy to look down on the other guy. It’s human nature to point the finger. It’s human nature to want to feel important. And this is where the whole game falls apart for me.

Why do so many people believe that they’re any more important to the game than any other? What happened to teamwork? Are we all star athletes such that WE individually are the team and the others don’t matter?

It’s a concept that I have a harder and harder time understanding as I get older.

EVERY single player in your group is important. EVERY single player in your guild is important. EVERY single role has worth.

As a healer, I guarantee you that if the DPS doesn’t avoid fire/aggro/baddies, then they will eventually die as I make choices to save others and/or run out of mana. As a healer, I guarantee that if DPS dies and/or overall dps is lower, then I will not be able to heal through the enrage. As a healer, solid DPS players are just as important to me as solid tanks and healers.

NO ONE is more important. It’s the team that counts.


12 Responses

  1. Very nicely said! You have quite an elegance whilst disagreeing. Very beautifully written post indeed!

  2. I for one appreciate excellent Dps because they allow Healers to use less mana healing and tanks to take less damage holding threat. I personally believe that my job as a Shadow Priest is much easier than as a Discipline Priest because for the most part as Shadow I only have one target at a time and can focus my attention much easier. Healing is much different because for the most part we have the important box for tanks because if we lose one of them the chances are much higher that the raid will wipe. The three other boxes, sets of five or groups, for everyone else which equates to Dps – sometimes split into ranged and melee. There isn’t a ranking for who is the most important Dps because you just hit the nearest low health box and move to the next – rinse and repeat – unfortunately, I can afford to lose a few players in the Dps sets while it is a much different problem if I lose players from the Tank / Healer sets.

    So is there a difference, yes, lose a Healer and the other Healers will become more and more stressed until we lose a tank – then there is no where to run and no where to hide – say goodnight.

    As was said earlier, team is most important because we all have a role to perform, but if I were to place importance of roles I would say: Meat-shields, Whack-a-moles, Face-rolls (please use your left cheek because your most important keys are on that side) 😀

  3. Although I play a healer I agree. Saying that tanks and healers are MORE important and the dps are just meat or easily replaceable might stroke the ego of tanks and healers but it also gives DPS a cop out for acting stupid. Obviously without DPS their wouldn’t be much of a group either and enabling DPS to feel like they aren’t responsible for the groups success or failure just results in raids and groups filled with dps who don’t pay attention or only pay attention to meters.

  4. No one role is more important than any other, it’s the balance. A lesson drummed into team tincan (heroics done all in plate, no ranged). Low DPS? You either need a well geared tank or massive overhealing (initially solved by one tank, two healers and two dps, we took a long time but stuff died). Tank is getting better, you can start to move healing into dps, dps is good, then healing is less important because the mobs are dropping quicker requiring better threat control by the tank but less incoming damage.

    Simply put – Tank + Heal + DPS >= Boss

    You can juggle the numbers but when doing stuff “at level” it’s not possible to do without any of the above (ok as the gearing increases the fun starts to come from seeing just how far the envelope can be pushed, we’re working on 4-manning the NR heroics now).

  5. @Andrea – Thank you!

    @Goth – I might use the term “priority” to determine what you describe. Much like when a RL saves the battle rez for a healer or tank (just in case) instead of using it on the dps or the healer chooses to heal the tank before dps.

  6. As a healer, its safe to say that i have the most important role in the group…

    Of course, when i’m on my rogue, the healer is still important but dps is the most important role in the group…

    And since i dont have a tank, tanking is literrally just a chunk of meat in front of me doing whatever hes doing but he’s less important than healing or dpsing…

  7. @Everyone – Yeah forget what I said. I agree with Kotakh!!! 😛

  8. Yikes! My post has been getting linked a bit… mayhap I was a bit too over the top in my presentation. That being said, I stand behind that post 100%. (thanks for the link, btw)

    One thing I wanted to clarify, for anyone that read my linked post: I do NOT feel that DPS are more important than the tanks or healers… nor do I feel that the DPS’s job is harder. We all face challenges, and due to the one person per role tank/healer(in 5 man) it definitely stresses those postitions more. But the team only works if everyone is pulling their weight (overgeared groups aside)

    Ah well…

    Time to learn a little elegance in my disagreeing… lol

  9. Absolutely! Whatever YOU are doing is THE SINGLE MOST important job in the raid. Whatever they are doing? Forget about it. I can say that healers can’t forget it so easily though. If the DPS doesn’t DPS fast enough or won’t get out of the BAD or the tank has issues with holding threat…well that would be how you find the least important raiders.

  10. Bullcookies? Srsly??? XD

    I’ve played all three roles, so I have an appreciation for all three roles and their respective importance. But I can’t resist tossing a cup of gasoline at the fire…

    When I’m random PuGing, who does the tank examine when trying to determine how much of the instance he can pull at once – the DPS, or the healer?

    I rest my case. =)

  11. @Forreststump – Bullcookies! Bullcookies, I say!!! 🙂

  12. […] on January 23, 2010 by kyrilean So one of my guildie’s threw in his two cents regarding the most important role debate. And as I started reading it I realized I wanted to make something quite […]

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