Sometimes I forget just how lucky I am to have such awesome tanks to work with as I do. There are three of us who have been tanking together since, oh, September last year or so, and we've grown used to each other and kind of communicate in short hand at this point. Any two of us in any combination can tank very efficiently and pick up new mechanics very quickly because we just have an innate trust with each other.
For the first time in ages, the other two were both absent last night and I had an initiate level member who'd expressed interest in tanking before step up to tank with me, and, it was a mess. I take most of the blame here, because I wasn't communicating as much to him as I needed.
Tanking partnerships take a lot of experience and a lot of working together and a lot of trust to be earned between both tanks. I felt like I was tanking alone, and I'm sure he felt the same way, and we kept stepping on each others toes and when the tanking is off, the rest of the raid is thrown off balance.
I think tanking is an invisible art - when done well, really well, it should be like the tanks are doing nothing at all and the DPS and healers can do their job without thinking about the tanks. That's the way we are generally, we put out enough threat that generally our DPS don't have to throttle themselves. We pull aggressively but keep things under control so things move on at a steady pace. It's an ebb-and-flow of pulls that takes a lot of effort to learn correctly and last night, there was none of that smooth flow and instead, it was like white water rafting and the DPS suffered terribly for it.
The one good thing to come out of last night's disaster is that my appreciation for my co-tanks has shot up ten fold. Because that relationship and trust we have is worth more than any amount of gear of experience another tank brings.
Let's hope Thursday is a bit better.