I’ve had a volatile past with Chi Explosion. I’ve never loved it, and at times I’ve hated it so passionately that I considered rerolling. The most I’ve given it was an ambivalent acceptance, acknowledging that it was an interesting decision when compared against Serenity and, if there were more applicable fights, Soul Dance. But nowadays I’ve found myself using it, and for reasons I’d never predicted. Beyond the personal damage boost, Chi Explosion makes me think more about tanking.
This is the first of a two-part post on the emergence of damage dealing-focused tank. This one covers the elements of the game that contributed to this attitude, and the next will cover how small raid sizes contributed to the changing paradigm and how 20 man Mythic Mode may help bring back the defensive tank. It’s something that I’ve been working on for more than a year, growing as the expansion aged and as knowledge of the next expansion increased.
Over the course of Mists of Pandaria, the role of the tank has evolved from the traditional, passive damage soaker. Active Mitigation has put our survival into our own hands, instead of relying entirely on our gear and healers. Vengeance has been nearly limitless and brought us to new damage-dealing heights. Traditional damage stats have emerged as an acceptable way to gear, thanks to more tanking classes who gain defensive benefits from them.
All of this has contributed to the emerging transformation of our role. Tanks, especially in small raid sizes, are no longer prized for surviving hard-hitting bosses or relieving their healers. Because survival can be easily achieved, a skilled tank is prized for their damage output. The role of tanks has steadily changed from “person who survives really well” to “person who can survive while also dealing damage”.
Maximizing DPS as a tank can be a little different than as a straight up damage dealer. For one thing, we have Vengeance and it’s a pretty big deal. As a tank, pulling in good numbers is almost as important for you as it is for a rogue, so here are some things I like to keep in mind (though I’m not going to go over ranking, that requires weird play that’s rarely good for your raid).