The Competition

I got one of my best friends started playing EQ2 while we were room mates. He in turn, began to talk to his brothers about playing the game, and eventually got them into it as well. His brothers live out of state now, but used to live here in town, and we’ve gone through all sorts of video games together.

There’s been friendly competition throughout the years, starting with N64, PSX, even a little on the PS2. And of course, computer games (we even dabbled with M:TG). My friend’s brothers never really had lives, and they used to play (or at least have the opportunity to do so) more often than I did; I always had a social schedule to adhere to. So when I would come over, challenges would be issued, and games would be played. It was all in good fun, and few times would anyone get butt-hurt over losing.

This seems to have changed as of late. The competition has gone from friendly, to not-so. When the brother started playing EQ2 with us, he decided to roll a Wizard (my recommendation, as our guild that I led at the time was low on casters). When he played his Wizard, I guided him through the game as best I could, giving advice, direction, and occasionally grouping with him. He eventually got high enough level to start raiding, and started doing his own thing (my guild died off around this time as well). I won the race to level 70 (was about 45-50 when he started), but he beat me to 100 AP. When he played his wizard, he would send me tells on occasion talking about this item he looted or whatever, but never really seemed to cocky, except when speaking of his parse (but as a DPS class, it was ok to brag in this aspect).

Little did I know, he had rolled an alt to play in his down time. I didn’t find out about this until the alt was in its 40s or 50s (I just assumed he had taken breaks here and there). The alt that he picked was a Bruiser. Discussion arose about the tanking ability of Brawlers, and I gave my opinion. Being a long-time tank, and having one as a main, also having played the game for a longer period of time, it seemed I was the authority on these issues. First he asked questions, then we compared notes, then he went back to the usual linking of items looted etc.

Eventually, I think this toon became his new main, because he seemed to play it more often than the wizard. He still must have a lot of free time on his hands as well, because each time I would log in, he was on, and each time he would link a million new fabled items he looted to me. At one point he told me he was fully mastered. To make a comparision, my Paladin has 5 pieces of fabled gear, but not all can be used at once, as 2 are boots, 2 are weapons, and 1 chest piece. So really, at any given time I’m wearing/using 3 pieces. I have about 10 masters. At this point, the cockiness in him began to show.

He started talking about how he could tank any instance in the game. Not an amazing feat when you’re fully mastered/fabled. I’ve been tanking instances since I was in full xegonite. Then, he started toying with the idea of being the MT on a raid. This I scoffed at, and our competition went ugly.

He said that his guild was going to give him the opportunity to MT Labs. Now we all know that Labs is one of the easiest KOS raids. We also know that because many people who are just starting out with raiding will start with KOS zones, and have most likely geared up with EOF legendary gear (sets). It has already been proven that some EOF legendary gear is better than some KOS fabled, so there’s an advantage to begin with. Thusly, tanking KOS zones goes from being difficult (when the expansion was released) to very easy (post-EOF). Add in being fully fabled from KOS zones, and fully mastered, and we’re talking a walk in the park for any plate-wearer.

Coming from this perspective, I told him good luck. I didn’t think any guild would give a brawler the opportunity to MT, simply because ANY plate tank could do it better. This takes a strain off the rest of the raid, and helps things flow smoother. Brawlers are placed under the Fighter archetype, but they simply are not tanks. Period. Sure, they have taunts, and they have stances. But they don’t have the tools a tank needs to keep aggro, and more importantly, stay alive. Avoidance plays a huge role in a Brawler’s survivability, but when the hits do land, their low mitigation tends to get them killed quickly. Come to think of it, I think a Brigand or Swashbuckler would do a better job MT’ing a raid… they have stances, taunts, higher mitigationand the ability to use a shield… something a Brawler can’t even do. When it comes down to it, Brawlers are glorified scouts. And they bring less to a raid than mostly every other class.

Today the brother sent me a tell as soon as I logged in. His guild was letting him MT Labs. After letting me know this, he promptly said “in your face”. I laughed, and told him good luck, and that I would give him a pat on the back if he could tank Vyemnn. Apparently he shared my comments with his raid, and then had a few of his “groupies” send me tells about how awesome he was. I could care less. Later, he sent me a tell letting me know that someone else was going to tank Vyemnn, just as I thought. I told him that I didn’t mind comparing notes, but the shit talking wasn’t very appreciated. He said something about how I started it all, and then went about telling me how he could “tank me into the ground and laugh the whole time”.

Honestly, how can you compare tanking? How can you have a competition? Would you measure “skill” by what mobs you could tank? What zones you had completed? How you took less damage or put out more? In reality, where he doesn’t live, these things aren’t comparable. First off, we would have to be in comparable gear, with all masters. Second, we would have to do the same zone. Third, we would have to have identical group makeups, with comparably geared people/classes. And lastly, we would have to complete the zone.

But really, what would this prove? You can compare data all day long, but it proves nothing. If both my Paladin and his Bruiser could tank the same zone, then what difference does it make? The only thing that really matters is efficiency, and bringing a Brawler class to MT your raid just doesn’t make sense. Maybe it can be done, but it puts an undue stress on your healers, and in the end proves nothing. Still, I’m putting my money on it not ever being done.