"Tanks are the most gear dependent class"
"Tank gear is the biggest factor in a guild's progression"
"Tanks work the hardest, so they should get gear first"
I'm sure most people have heard some variety of at least one of these arguments, at one point or another. While I would agree to at least part of each claim, to some degree - I am strongly against "MT Priority", or any other type of bias in regards to loot for tanks.
EDIT: See a counter-post to this at Purplz 4 My Warrior !
I'll first give my background.
Way back, when I was a fresh 60 raiding MC with Fatalis Foedi, there was Momarr. He was the Raid Leader, Main Tank, and had 100% attendance. There was no explicit loot priority for him, though his guarenteed raid spot, when combined with zero sum DKP, ment he got anything he wanted. We were plugging along, working on early BWL, when he disappeared. Gone. The second tank tried to take his place, but the guild lost months of progress. The OT just didn't have experience MTing or leading, a task that Momarr never delegated.
This concept of putting all the eggs in one basket is alluring. It may give you an edge on your first Patchwerk, Maexxna, Brutallus, ect kill - but at a pretty large risk.
Where can MT Priority go wrong?
1) MT Leaves. He wasn't as loyal as you were hoping, and goes to (Current Progression) + 1 guild, that needs a tank.
2) MT Burns Out. They like what they are doing, but the pressure for 100% raid attendence gets to them, and they quit. Anyone recieving loot priority is subject to increased feelings of "owing" the rest of the guild, and far less likely to put personal needs/wants before the raid. Studying, Family, Friends - these can all seem to be dwarfed by the want to raid by 24 other people.
3) MT Simply Can't Raid. Their car broke down in the only remaining non-wifi enabled place in America. All four of their gaming PCs died 5 min before the raid. Their fingers were crushed in an industrial accident, and they are not yet proficient with computer use with alternate apendiges.
Now, the other tanks (you do have enough other tanks, right?) are at a gear deficit, and are under pressure to perform. The rest of the raid experiences frustration when they die, or don't do something the same (he use to kite counterclockwise, not clockwise!).
I can think of many guilds where the GM is also a (main) Tank, and these are the ones that MT priority is most likely to slip in. It would be crazy easy to justify to myself taking the first piece of any given tanking loot - "I put in the most time into this guild..." (this isn't necessarily true) "...so I should get X shiny purple first". But when it comes down to it, the fact that there is a guildful of happy players is payment for the time spent doing guild managment. The items that drop in raids then get shared between those raiding though a fair and impartial loot system. I don't spend any more hours in a raid plus on standby then the next person in the guild with similar DKP, so I shouldn't be stealing T7 from our Hunters or Shamans.
Anyway - when it all comes down to it, I strongly suggest that guilds spread the tanking wealth, both items and experience. When people are interchangable, the likelyhood of smooth raid operation is greatly increased, and you minimize the chance of CRFDOSPA (critical raid failure due to specific player absense). Treat your tanks well by not demanding they choose between going to a movie with friends and having a raid fold, or skipping out and getting items.
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