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The Importance of an Audience

I Realize What My True Calling in Life Is around once a month.

My most recent Realization Of My True Calling in Life has been that I really enjoy teaching people mathy-analytic stuff. This particular Realization etc. is a common one for me, as I did some TAing in college, but I never made the connection between it and this blog until today.

You may recall, if you’re one of my guildies or if you’ve gone back and read the archives (I wouldn’t recommend it), that I started writing this blog during Wrath’s end-of-expansion lull, when everyone was rolling and leveling alts. This gave me lots of baby guildie tanks to educate, and I ended up answering the same questions enough times that I just wrote them up and posted them here. But then Cata came, and with it, a return to leveling and gearing mains.

Since then we’ve had two other people leveling and gearing tanks as their mains, but they had been withdrawing themselves from the guild for ages, to the point of setting up a private Ventrilo to hang out in after raids so as to avoid the rest of us. (It’s a good idea, when hiding from a group of people, not to host your hiding place on a server that one of those people owns). After months of avoidance and passive-aggression, they both dropped guild a few weeks ago without ever airing their grievances, even in their departing not-a-bang-but-a-whimper.

It wasn’t a surprise by any means – if anything it was a surprise that they had hung on for so long, when they obviously wanted little-to-nothing to do with the rest of us – but it was still a shock.

Getting back to teaching. With those two avoiding me, and the only other guild tank being leveled/geared being the ever-knowledgeable Blanket’s paladin alt, I haven’t had anyone to indoctri- I mean mentor since before Cata launched. With no one to direct my posts to, I stopped having the motivation to write them. I currently have 4 post drafts on my Dashboard – four! – because I think of something to write about, and get started, and stall a couple paragraphs in. I even have a warrior and paladin spreadsheet mostly worked out and ready to share with you, but I felt there were a couple background articles needed first for the lay audience… and I didn’t have an audience to direct them to. I was talking to a wall.

Sadness and sorrow.

But! Now! I have a new baby tank!

We picked up a baby blood DK in Trade earlier this week. It was the most fascinating thing to run a normal with him – he marked diligently, and pulled well, even though his speccing and forging choices marked him as  inexperienced. I haven’t really gotten into a gear or spec discussion with him yet, because I want to make sure he knows he’s welcome, and that it really is intended constructively, before I begin to criticize. The guild has had to assure him time and again that wiping in heroics is not the end of the world but rather the beginning; and I don’t think he quite believes yet that we’re not mad at him when it happens.

I have, however, been inspired by my new potential audience to prepare a gearing flowchart, which I will be posting directly after this entry. Having someone to write towards really does have an enormous effect on my motivation.

Hurray for new tanks!

Sidenote: To my delight, the fact that our new tank is a Death Knight has forced me to really dig into the Tank Talk forum at Pwnwear, so that I can be sure I’m pointing him in the right direction. Their avoidance/mastery discussion has re-erupted since the announcement of 4.0.6’s Death Strike/Blood Shield changes, and it’s a gripping read if you’re into that sort of thing. The revived discussion begins here, and if you’re not so much into numbers, you can find Satorri’s take on the issue here. They’re currently looking for World of Logs data from (DK) tanks stacking mastery and (also DK) tanks stacking avoidance, so if you’re a Death Knight tank or know one who could help with their project, my curiosity would be most grateful.

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