"So, do u tank?"
That little question completely changed the tenor of my afternoon.
I'd had kind of a terrible week at work --if you come back from vacation to a boatload of stuff to do, you'll understand-- so when my Dwarf Paladin hit 20 I resolved to queue him up for Ragefire Chasm. Friday seemed an excellent day to do just that, so I dialed up RFC and selected DPS for ol' Balthan.
Three minutes later, an image of a Searing Blade Cultist greeted me. Such a short queue was surely a good sign.
While we were buffing, the Gnome Warrior tank asked, "Are there any quests here?"
"I have no idea if there are any for Alliance," I replied. "For the Horde, there's plenty. Thrall doesn't like these guys for some reason. No idea why."
"Oh," he said, and then proceeded to tank the first couple of mobs.
Then he vanished right before the next room.
"You have got to be kidding me," the Night Elf Priest said.
"Yeah, tell me about it," I replied.
Then the Priest dropped his loaded question.
"No, I usually DPS or Heal. But I guess we could clear this room."
Thankfully, there aren't a lot of tanking tools available at L20 that I didn't already have, so I started pulling one mob at a time. Did I mention that there weren't a lot of them available at L20? Well, did I also mention that I never bother to configure those tools on my keys, since I don't tank except in a rare emergency?
Good thing I was at the high end of the level range for RFC, so I didn't have to worry too much about health, even with a bunch of green gear and no heirlooms. I was kept busy taunting the mobs when they were peeling off me and going after the Warlock, but mercifully nobody died.
Another tank ported in (another Gnome Warrior), and we resumed our regularly scheduled run.
Well, sort of. This tank wouldn't let anyone drink, but kept running onward. You know, when three other people in the party are telling you to wait, maybe it's a good idea to do that. I had the impression that if we'd been past the time limit for the vote kick option that tank would be gone, but we'll never know.
The tank dropped before one last boss, and the Lock joined him.
This left myself, the Priest healer, and a Mage.
The Mage laughed. "Go on, B. We'll cover you."
So, once again Balthan the Reluctant Tank took the lead, tanking the last boss.
Honestly, it wasn't that bad. Of course not having a lot to use helped immensely, but the worst part of the job was yanking back threat from ranged DPS who lay down a boatload of damage.
I filed this under the heading of "extended emergency tank duty", and washed my hands of the affair. I'm much happier letting another person run the tanking duties while I DPS or heal, but it was definitely an interesting experience.
If you come across this post and you're looking for some basic info on threat and tanks, Lara over at Root and Branch has a great Threat Primer for Beginning Tanks. For DPS who wonder about how to handle the various tank classes (as of 3.3.5), Souldat has a great post on his opinions about when to hold back and let loose with your DPS in pug 5-mans and raids.