Photo-Receptor Focus on: Tankage
Tanks take a special kind of player. I tried it a couple years ago when a friend decided I should give it a go and give him a break. I failed spectacularly. I’m a healer, not a tank, Jim! Oh wait, wrong game.
More after the jump…
Anyway, back to tanks. I’ve been a tank healer for several years now. I love healing tanks and I’ve had the privilege of healing some great players. So, my perspective on tanks is going to be from the healer’s POV and what makes me happy with a tank.
Now there are some things that are a bit universal for a tank. Their gear really must be very good. Healing an under-geared tank is a nightmare and wipes almost always get blamed on the healer. Unfairly blamed because sometimes there’s just no way to keep them alive, if the tank is under-geared.
Situational awareness is key in tanking. The tank must know what is going on with the rest of the raid, in addition to whatever he’s tanking. Tunnel vision can be disastrous in a tank. So, they need to not only keep focus on their own targets, but know when adds have entered the picture, area of effects have been used against the raid and any other adverse change. I’m truly amazed by that extra-special player, who makes this look easy, when it is anything but simple.
The tank must also know how to play his class. Yeah, that sounds simple and a given, but you’d be surprised how many tanks don’t know all the options available to them. Or else they don’t use them. Either way, a thorough knowledge of the class and the ability to use that knowledge is important.
And the last element is keeping threat. This is another thing that looks simple until you have to do it. It was put best by the tank I raid with now. Basically, it’s not just about getting threat, but keeping threat, he told a new tank. That means following your taunt up with something that will actually do damage and keep the targets focused on you, the tank. If necessary, cycle through the targets to keep their attention. That sounded like awesome advice to me.
One of my favorite tanks to heal worked with me as a team. He always knew where I was and often kept me informed if he was going to do something different from our usual or move away from where I expected him to be. Even though I had him on focus, he was marked and I knew it was part of my job to make sure I stayed with him, it was still a lovely little perk.
It definitely made “stay with the tank” an easier rule to follow. And make no mistake, that is an important rule, by the way. Keeping up with the tank is the tank healer’s job. It can be pretty dicey when a tank decides to run off and you are trying frantically to get him back in range and no idea where he went. Right now in SWTOR, this can be challenging. Marking with an icon does help some. But there’s nothing on the minimap to find a focused target. I’m a bit used to finding my tank on that so I can run right to them. Right now, I’m learning new methods until that’s put in.
So, for me, a good tank will be geared, know the class, be aware of surroundings, keep threat and, if he/she wants to be thought of as super cool by the healers, communicate with them when moving out of their range or changing something mid-fight.
And my new raid group? I’m very happy with the tanks in my new raid group. Even though I’m brand new, I can tell this is going to be an awesome group to raid with and a lot of that is because the players know their jobs. Especially the main tank, who I was thrilled to learn is one of those who communicates. Go team!
That’s my two credits on tanks. What’s yours?
Well said, there, Maer. From a Tank’s perspective, a good group needs sturdy and wise DPS with a proactive, rather than reactive, healer. By sturdy and wise DPS, I refer to DEEPs that don’t pull out the big gun abilities on their opening shots to try and show off by burning down mobs. Aggro/Threat is hard enough to grab and maintain if you have cocky, ranged players that have to be the center of the group. These types that pull aggro hard and fast generally do become the center of the group… At least for a “/kick”. As for healers: I love a healer that throws a HoT on prior to a big pull or a boss fight. This means I’ve got incoming health when engaging and building threat. It also helps avoid the healer having to throw out bigger heals at the start and stealing aggro if things start slowly with a big fight. For Healers and DPS, please remember to give your Tank time to build up threat. I generally ask for 3 to 5 seconds or at least a sunder or two…
I couldn’t agree more. It takes a rare person to be a “good” tank. There are tanks, then there are good tanks. As someone that also plays a healing class in most games, I love watching a good tank in action. It’s definitely a talent.
Well written…I’m very new to gaming…joined to do something that my husband really enjoys and I have become addicted to some extent.
Tanking is not as easy as it seems. It’s really an art that takes patience and a lot of practice. I have really enjoyed learning to tank…however, I was extremely frustrated because I just wasn’t getting “IT”. Couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong…and then to add to it, as a new gamer, articles written in gamer language were making little sense to me. My solution…I’m not giving up tanking because I do like it, so I jumped in mumble one night and just started picking brains and much to my amazement…there were a lot of great brains to be picked and I learned a lot. I’m very much a hands on learner so it was really great to chat with awesome people that kept it simple for me…spoke in non-gamer terms (follwed by gamer terms) so I could learn at my pace. YOU GUYS ALL ROCK!
Love the article…read, chat, learn, take constructive criticism well and never forget that practice makes perfect, just make sure you tell your group that you are “practicing on them”. 🙂