In the World of Warcraft, tanks arte often portrayed and percieved as the “A Type” personalities of the game. They’re the gun-ho, crazy people who, instead of staying back where it is safe- run screaming into the most dangerous parts of the world. They are the adrenaline junkies. The skydivers and roller-coaster nuts of WoW.
And in the WoW of today- the late-expansion play-style, where everyone is running about in T10, decked out in crazy ICC gear, tanks are almost under more pressure now than they are at the beginning of an expansion. NOW, they have to deal with expectations. Like being able to pretty much solo a heroic, or take huge hits like they’re love taps. Some tanks can do this. Some tanks live up to this expectation and excel under the pressure. They are, quite literally, tanks.
I like to maintain that somewhere out there, there is a “Golden Tank”, the ultimate tank who is so good he doesn’t even need to be healed. He just solos everything. The tank who can run into a heroic, pull the whole instance, then grab a coffee while the dps AoE it down. And my worry in this era of late-expansion playing, is that too many tanks try to live up to that unreasonable fantasy.
New tanks often bow to the pressure, and waltz into heroics, and actually TRY to pull the whole instance. Even tanks that are grizzled veterans will sometimes bite off more than they can chew. Is this a bad thing? Well, when it wipes a raid… obviously- yes. It’s bad to wipe. Is it an unforgivable crime for which I would condemn a tank to an eternity in… I don’t know… the occulus? No. Of course not. Tanks are human too. But in the interest of preventing further wipes- I would like to put this out there to all the tanks, young and old, who find themselves occasionally doing stupid things.
Disclaimer: I do not play a tank. I have tanked some low level randoms. That’s it. I am by no means an expert. These tips are given through the eyes of a healer, and occasional dps only. They do not reflect the best way to tank, and this is not a tanking guide. More like tanking suggestions.
Tip #1- When tanking, make sure everyone is ready before you pull. There’s nothing we not-tanks hate more than having the tank glance at his health, see it is full, then run off into the pull, only to realize the healer and the mage were drinking, and the hunter was switching specs before the run. Typing a quick “Ready?” into party/raid chat goes a long way towards common courtesy and keeping your party/raid/random/whatever happy. People won’t complain or say “hurry up”. They’ll thank you for being considerate.
Tip #2- Pay attention! Yes, as a tank your primary focus is keeping aggro off the squishies. But if you find that the healer isn’t pulling his weight, or one of the dps is a fresh 80, take a deep breath, and SLOW DOWN. Seriously. Pull one trash group at a time. Give everyone a second between pulls. Make sure everyone can handle it. Nicely point out that the DK is dpsing in Frost Presence. Although all classes and roles should pay attention, it’s especially up to the tank, who controls who pulls what, when.
Tip #3- Do NOT overpull. This is my all-time biggest pet-peeve with tanks. While gearing my druid to heal (I’m still in this process, just much further along), I once got a random Pit of Saron. We reached the trash before the first boss, and the tank said this into party chat “Mount pulling. Be ready with heals.” I had no idea what this meant. Mount pulling? Huh? Are the mobs on mounts? The tank then mounted up and pulled every group of trash up to the boss. Expecting me, the undergeared healer to heal through it, and the dps to AoE it down.
Take a moment and look at gear. Notice that “Wow that healer isn’t raiding yet. He’s in random heroic gear. Maybe I should take it slower.” And really, unless you are running with guildies, whose abilities you know inside, outside and backwards, you really shouldn’t ever be “mount pulling.” You should pull in easy doses in a PuG. Don’t expect everyone to be uber leet.
Back to my example tank- later on in the dungeon, at the point just before the ice tunnel leading up to the last boss, the tank ran up the steps leading to the tunnel. Note that this was after I told him I wasn’t very geared, and asked nicely if he could take things a little slower. He pulled all the groups on the hill he could pull, at once. Never do this. Never make a huge, ridiculous pull if you aren’t 342% sure your team can handle it. And if the healer has already asked you to slow down… seriously? Need I say more?
Tip #4- My fourth and final word of advice for tanks from a resident Not-Tank. Know your own limitations. This goes for any class/role. Know what you are capable off. If you can’t handle showing off with enormous pulls- don’t. Just step back, and take it easy. People might not love going slowly, but I can guarantee they dislike repair bills even more.