The last few weeks I've been deprived from playing either WoW or Allods, at least as much and at the level I would have wanted to. This has lead me back to the basic gripes I have with the gear dependant progression in both of them. A sin of a DIKU MUD type of gaming.
I have been wondering how much easier it is for a dps or healer to enter the higher level content in WoW than it is for the tank. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the basic assumption is that the tank knows the encounters inherently and at a level where s/he can -and by basic assumption usually does- lead the party. Be it a 5 man or a raid. A tank who honestly states that s/he has never seen the encounter is shunned and most probably not invited, if the raid/party is a PUG collected from the server itself.
On the guild level I've heard that its almost the same: if a scheduled raid 'loses' a known and designated tank, the raid is more probably cancelled rather than the tank being replaced with a newbie one. Mind you, I base this information on the discussions I've had over the last few months with people around the net, not on my own experience. I haven't heard the same happen if a dps or even a healer hasn't been able to join: they are readily replaced.
The only way I can see a tank can earn her/his spurs in the current end game content is by cheating. By being so full of her/himself that they don't have to admit their lack of experience on the encounter. Or lack of experience as whole. Sure, they will be called in names and even kicked out of the party if they really mess up, but they get the chance to try.
The honest one gets the finger before that possibility.
Is it any wonder the tanks are in short supply?