Tanking for Dummies

You can tank (if not now, then later)!
January 20, 2010, 2:10 pm
Filed under: Advice for Non Tanks | Tags: , ,

There is a lot of nervousness on the part of those who are attempting to take up the tanking torch.  I completely understand why this is so – the new LFG tool incentivizes tanking with low wait times and high desirability.  Even if you’re terrible at it and you get kicked from your group, you probably wait less time for the debuff to wear off than you would to get into a new group as DPS.

Yet, expectations are high, as is performance pressure.  Tanking is a lot about confidence.  You are, after all, the front line.  So that nervousness is itself working against you.  The tag line of LFG instancing, “Gogogogogo,” doesn’t help this situation much.  No one wants to be rushed.

So if you want to tank, take the following tip from the Stupid Cow: If you know where you are going, everything else is just heroic strike spam.  You can read the strategy on Tank Spot, or watch a video even.  Boss strategies are about research more than anything.  But getting lost is  not something you can prepare for very well.  In my experience, no video or map can replace the actual experience of running it through.

In some instances, this is cake.  You can’t exactly get lost in the Halls of Reflection.  In others, such as Sunken Temple, it would be easy to get lost.  As the tank, you control the pace of the group it’s true, but more importantly you control where the group goes.  If you know that, you’re already on the way there.  If you don’t, maybe you should run the instance using a character you are more comfortable with.

THEN come back and tank it.

Because after that, you’re talking about either things you can prepare for outside of game (boss strategies, etc) or things that even the best tanks would be hard pressed to compensate for (bad LFG puggers).  Everything else you either get by tanking, or just knowing where you are going.

That is how you get from where you are to tanking.  Run the instance on your other spec/toon.  Consult your favorite strategy site.  And pick up your shield and go.

You can get to “Gogogogo” later.  It’s not like they can do this without the tank.


8 Comments so far
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Great post. It applies fully to us who have levelled up as protection warriors way behind the average player and have just capped to find the majority of action happening in ICC.

Thanks for it.

C out

Comment by Copra

Good post, and totally true. There is nothing to be done about the group you get thrown into, but so long as you know the instance layout and boss strats you’ve got a good chunk of the tanking already done.

The rest, the experience and confidence, will come as you tank more and more.

Now if there was only a lowbie tanking guide to refresh my memory for tanking at lvls 20 – 50… damn do I miss my warbringer :(

Comment by Kudos

Great post! And I couldn’t agree more. People always want to talk about a tank’s gear, and while it does matter some (moreso for upper-end raid bosses), IMO the player makes the tank. It’s about knowing where you’re going, understanding what your abilities can do, and knowing which ones to use when. It’s catching that loose mob as it starts to walk away, not after it’s already whacked the healer. And frankly, yes, it’s not easy starting out. But if you’re willing to stick with it for a little while, it will get much easier as you get a little experience, and some confidence.
And for goodness sake, think about this element when you’re running as a DPS or healer. Don’t push a (seemingly) new tank too hard. Usually, you’ll only make the run go worse if you’re really pushing the tank, and one other thing to remember is this. More tanks just means you won’t have to wait as long when you que up in the future!

Comment by Wiredude

One of the issues that the random grouping brings about is people how are either a) ignorant of how a tank works, or b) don’t care :) Getting stuck with a bunch of b’s just leads to lots of “tank go go go” and “tank do this, do that”. At which you feel like offering them the chance to do better. I find warlocks take me up on that, for some reason..

Still, it’s all learning experience :)

Comment by Timberwolf

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Good post, and good advice.

Shame my main is an 80 warrior, tank specced and geared!

Maybe I should get my lock or priest out and level them to 80…

Comment by Daergel

This article was written for me.

Formerly a DPS’er, I have been as lost as last year’s easter egg trying to figure out the essence of tanking. My old main, and toon of 4 years, is a hunter. I messed with a rogue for 40 levels, and then I decided to level a warrior. Healing just isn’t in the cards for me. I leveled my warrior to 62 on pure grit alone, as an arms warrior, never tanking. When I got into Outland, I decided that I would focus on my rogue, taking him through the paces in Outland and Northrend. Now he is 80, and decked out in T9, with enough badges to buy those nifty heirloom items for the warrior.

I decked out the warrior in heirlooms, got my blacksmithing up to the high 200’s, and decided I would try to level to 80 in instances alone to see how fast it was. I bought dual-speccing, developed a prot tree, and bought tanking gear and sword and board on the AH. I then queued for my first random instance as a tank. We zoned into Slave Pens, buffed up, and ate +stam food. I asked if everyone was ready, charged in…

I promptly lost aggro, we wiped on the first group mob, and I was summarily kicked by the group for being a “nub”. Sigh.

Comment by Montezuma

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