Friday, August 13, 2010

Know any good tanks?

Do we know them when we see them?

-I was in que for a short time, ICC just hit and I was farming frosties on my alt to get my tanking boots made. As we loaded, it was the normal don't talk, just start pulling. LFG was also new too, so I was seeing different realms all the time. By the time I realized it we were done with the 1st hallway and pulling fast as lightening. I stopped DPS'n to inspect the tank. OMG he is unenchanted and ungemmed. He was in 258 gear and has the healer and another DPS from the same guild with him. At 4 minutes we were at Skaldi and done in 8 minutes.

I tell this story because, as the run went on, I know I was with a good tank or a good player or both. The group was amazing. The tank was the leader! He set the pace and the tone and the group followed.

So is it about leadership?

You have to move the group along, set the pace and motivate where needed via extra effort or a small tell saying "hold back for a second". No one moves past you in a raid or dungeon. There is alot on the tanks plate when working with a team via 5 man or raid. Mana issues, aggro and cool down management to name a few plus you have the others so they are following your guidelines on staying behind you and not pulling mobs for you. I've heard the sporting analogy of "the tank is the quarterback of the raid" and I guess you can say that to an extent.

Oh but I also forgot another key thing, you need patience! And a ton of it!

Is it about respect or trust?

What a loaded question! I will talk about both sides of my head with this one. Both. You don't as a guildie or raider need to like the person playing the toon, but you do have to trust him but not respect him for whatever reason. You have to know that he will do his job and like clockwork be ready to play that toon if sh!t hits the fan. You don't look upon your tank the C.E.O of the company but they are the foundation of the raid. Bad tank, poor aggro or wrong gear and its a wipe.

Respect in each other.
There is a certain amount of respect that must be levied upon any tank be it pug in a 5 man or raid. If there isn't its a quick tell saying, we need to replace you or a vote kick in the heroic.

Easily Rreplaceable?

Well, once again Wrath is a different beast. In TBC or Vanilla it was impossible to replace a tank mid progression tier. Wrath we have dual specs and lots of epics flowing around. But... even with that gear that is flowing around and swapping out your main spec to help the raid. Is that continuity? Does that always work? Not really. People want to go back to their main spec or toon and that trust factor might be gone with the old tank that left/quit.

In fact its hard to replace a tank as a guild. The reason you don't see tons of LF Tank on the forums or trade is because there is a fit or balance that guilds have with the tanks they have, there is not a ton of tanks needed and there is an investment that is unspoken between a tank and a guild. Tanks usually get gear priority, fair or not.

But what really makes the tank good?

With all this said above, what is it that seperates the good from the great? The lets pass him to OMG did you see what they just did?

  • The know the toon. They know how to spec, gem and glyph. They min/max and do everything for that toon that needs to be done.
  • They have an understanding of the raid set up and can read whats going to happen with the raiders.
  • They know boss/trash mechanics. Use of abilities and can manage cooldowns. IE bop/salv a dps that has hit a string of crits early.
  • They put some work into the game, by reading and watching encounters and hitting the training dummies.
  • They limit mistakes, see other mistakes and adjust.
  • They are allowed to fix problems and make comments that will fix whatever it was that caused the wipe.

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