Top 10 Ways to Know Your Tank is a Noob.
Everyone wants a good tank for their group. Obviously, not all tanks can be Cinderhelm and Veneretio. Sometimes you are stuck with me. Sometimes, you are stuck with me on a cold day in January three years ago. Just because you spec protection doesn’t make you a tank.
Yes, I once was a Noob (perhaps, as is the case in some strains in Buddhism, some might say I have the noob’s mind). I have made most if not all of the mistakes I am about to list at some point in my now lengthy career as a tank. Some of them I have made more than others. While some might say that I learn best by failing, I think pretty much all of these lessons I wish someone had told me about before I wiped a group with them.
That said, you (like me) might be/have once been a noob if…
10. You turned with your keyboard.
If you don’t know what “keyboard turning is,” it refers to the practice of using the left and right turn buttons on your keyboard (A and D by default) to turn your character around. As a tank, things get behind you a lot. Behind is bad. When things are behind you, most of your defensive abilities don’t work. And turning with your keyboard is sloooow. Turning with the mouse (by clicking, or grabbing, and moving the mouse) is much faster. As in practically instant. As bad as this is, I still do this on occasion. Why? Because my mouse falls off the pad… especially when I’m turning around and trying to grab Anub’Rekhan after fleeing from Locust Swarm.
9. You love charge so much, you forgot about the patrol.
I love charge. I cannot possibly be the only warrior who decided this must be the class for them because at level 4 they clicked this button and a little giggle of childish glee popped out. To me, Warbringer has been the height of the expansion thus far. However, I think charge has killed more groups than any other ability, particularly when we are young and innocent. The reason for this is simple, proximity agro is fickle and even with Thunderclap all it takes is one patrol at the wrong time to bring it all crashing down. Pulling with a ranged weapon is almost always the best and safest alternative, especially when you’re learning your limits.
8. You pull with face, heroically.
This is, realistically, related to number 9 in as much as they seem to be a problem for similar reasons. That said, “face pulling” or intentionally using proximity agro to pull, is even more signing a death warrant for you healer because it takes but one tick of a hot or even an incidental buff (like Inner Fire) to shift agro away from you. For their sakes (and yours) never do this without saying something to the effect of “I’m going to pull with my face now. Please don’t heal me until I’ve gotten actual agro.”
7. You have too much rage.
I will qualify this with saying that this is different from saying “I don’t have to worry about rage.” Really, what this statement is about is using Heroic Strike. Namely, if you’re ever above 30 rage, you should be hitting it constantly until it is below that. I litterally tanked for almost 3 years before I started to love my Heroic Strike spam. It’s off the global cooldown. You can queue it up while you are doing your normal rotation. Never leave home without it.
6. You use the same gear, no matter what you’re doing.
Multiple gear sets are the stepping stone to a more advanced understanding of the game. This is true for everyone, but with Warriors the results are always staggering because Warriors are so gear dependant. The earlier you start this trend, the better, because you will learn to appreciate add-ons like Itemrack that much more. Multiple gear sets are so essential that come 3.1 Blizzard is building gear swapping into the core UI. Dress for success, as a tank, but also for DPS, also realize that the rabbit hole goes pretty deep.
5. You haven’t checked your healer’s mana bar.
Your healer’s mana regen is the heartbeat by which you set the pace of your group. Sure you have your magic buttons for emergancies, but the bottom line is when you’re healer is out of mana you’re living on borrowed time. If you’re lucky enough to run with the same healers all the time, you’ll get this pace pretty quickly. If you don’t, do them a favor and start slow, ramping up the speed to find the happy medium. Generally speaking, try to avoid pulling if your healer is below 50%.
4. You left your shield in your other pants.
Once upon a time, if you were rediculously overgeared or over leveled, tanking without a shield was somewhat understandable. There is just no excuse for this now. With Shield Slam, Sword and Board, and Damage Shield you’re doing your DPS a disservice if you’re not rocking it out Spartan style. Plus, if you’re a warrior, and protection, who are you trying to fool?
3. The healer just pulled agro off you.
A wise tank once told me the baseline of any DPS is that they must do more damage than the tank. The logical extension of this is that the tank must produce more threat than the healer. This is vastly easier than it ever has been, but if you’re struggling to keep up under normal circumstances (e.g. you’re not dealing with a mob who has some sort of ability that specifically targets healers or other party members independant of threat you’re generating), you need to do something to boost your threat because frankly, you’re not doing your job.
2. You’re going to tank using a weapon you haven’t wielded since level 10.
We are all tempted by shiny new weapons. They’re pretty and make a huge difference in terms of everything we do. But if you don’t have time to level your weapon to within the appropriate skill level for the content you’re about to tank (effectively effectively 20 points lower than the level of the toughest mob in the instance multiplied by 5) don’t use the weapon. If you disregard this, you will miss a lot, and when you miss a lot, people die.
But all of these things are minor and pale in comparison when you consider…
1. You ignore the advice of your group members.
In my opinion, you can be specced well, you can have the right gear, you can be aware of your surroundings, and use the correct rotation, but still fail at tanking because you are not being responsive to your group. Sometimes, you can end up in a group with an alt of a more experienced tank. Sometimes, your healer is having a problem. Sometimes you are just failing at your job. Tanking is all about strategy and communication, and that means keeping your ears and mind open. If you do, you’ll transcend your noobery in no time. If you don’t, I’m afraid you’ll be a noob forever.
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