My initial attitude to the Call to Arms news was a fairly neutral one. Although I didn't think it would actually solve the issue about making tanking more fun, I actually hoped that it would have more people interested in tanking. As some bloggers have pointed out, that in turn could have more people respect the effort there is in tanking. I've had some time to think and read other peoples thoughts on the matter since my last post, and I would like to make some additions. Most people seem to range from very negative to mildly positive about this change, with only a few being very positive. Although my first post might have made me sound as negative as anyone, especially with the title, I do think that this change could bring something good. Don't get me wrong, ideally I would prefer it if Blizzard could just wave a magic wand and have people act decent towards eachother in pugs instead. Most of the trouble I find in tanking is that other people really try to take the fun out of it, and succeed. But we all know that there is no magic recipe for getting people to be nice to eachother. So we really have to accept that we have to find another solution.
In my other post on this matter I wrote that the issue about tanking right now is that it is too much work and not enough gratefulness. If we look closely, everything we do in WoW comes down to attracting us by either being fun or rewarding enough (preferrably both), and by "rewarding" I mean in hard, cold epics (or any item really). The best moments in WoW for most of us is when we've really had fun with something, busted our asses off and got a nice reward for it. A good example would be to get a difficult boss kill for the first time. Most other things in WoW are usually either fun or rewarding though. I strongly doubt people do dailies for the umptififth time because "omg those quests are just so much fun!". It's rather for the rewards we get for doing them. The same goes with instancing. Although I hope not many people are outright bored with what they do in WoW, like I mentioned in another post, there are people who spend hours doing something they close to hate (archaeology), just to get a nice reward. So when we have something that is neither fun nor rewarding, it's not very odd that people don't want to do that. And that is where we have tanking.
Blizzard could've approached this issue in two ways. Either they make tanking more fun, which is what I hoped for. But like I said, that is basically an impossible task because the problem doesn't lie in tanking, but with the pugs. Or they make tanking more rewarding, which is what they are going to do. At first I didn't like this idea, but then I started thinking. Would I tolerate a bad run if I thought the reward in the end was worth it? Heck yeah! (To a limit of course, a girl can only tolerate so much). If the reward is good enough I'll just think "Ah what does it matter if they annoy me, I get a nice reward in the end and they don't Muahahaha!". Would that be any different from all the other times we spend time doing something we don't enjoy very much just to get to the reward at the end? No. Is this a good or a bad thing? Well that is another question, but in any case that system has been around in this game since the beginning and is a part of any game of this type. If we question this, we would have to question many other parts of this game. I don't personally ever do dailies, and I don't do many heroics just for the vp, so it's possible that these tank rewards won't do it for me either. But rewards are a big thing about what has so many people spend so much time in WoW, so it's quite understandable that Blizzard chose this approach, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if it really worked.
Some people have argued that this is an unfair reward since it's aimed at only a smaller portion of the player base, which has ignited the old debate about whether everyone has equal right to everything in the game or not, since we all in the end pay equally much for it. To me the whole argument is moot, since this isn't a reward aimed at only a portion of the players. Everyone has the possibility to tank. There is nothing in the game that prevents any player to roll a tank and reap the benefits of this change. So you don't want to tank? Yeah, join the club. That is exactly what Blizzard is trying to fix, and if you still don't want to tank even when getting this reward, that is really your choice. It's kind of like complaining that the garbage man does a better salary than you. He does a job no one wants to do, so in all fairness he deserves a good salary to go do what he does. And nothing is stopping you from go do his job (I don't really know what garbage people earn, but I hope you get my point). Even if there are things in real life that could stop you from getting to the most rewarding jobs, in WoW there is no such thing but your own preferences. I think this is a fair reward. We all have access to it, and the worst thing that could happen is that you have to level a tank to get to it, which really is done in a jiffy these days. And this reward isn't aimed at tanks exclusively like some people make it sound like. It is aimed at those people who currently fulfill a role that few others do. A role that is needed for everyone else in the queue. Even if you don't directly benefit from the Call to Arms, you will hopefully indirectly by not having to wait forever. The change is to smoothen the lfd-queues, not to woo tanks specifically.
Some people have compared this reward to prostitution. Now I don't usually care much about the political correctness about things, but this comparison seems about as valid and relevant as calling someone a Nazi in an argument. The worst thing about it is that it makes it difficult for me to take anything else that person has to say to heart, even though it might be good stuff. So just don't, it's silly and doesn't add anything to the real debate.
If we look closer at this change, instead of nerd raging about what it looks like on the surface, we will find that it's actually quite in line with how everything else in WoW works. We work either for fun or for rewards, so there is nothing stupid or strange in how Blizzard have decided to handle this. I love tanking, and I don't think there is much wrong in tanking per se. The issue is peoples attitudes. Would I have preferred it if people could just act nice to eachother in dungeons instead? Yes of course. But anyone who thinks that is possible to achieve is naïve. And like I said, what I really hope about this is that it will have people at least try out tanking, and maybe even get some respect for the role. It could actually turn out to fix peoples attitudes.