Tanks in MMOs like Blizzard‘s World of Warcraft feel the pressure of defending the party in high-level dungeons, especially in multi-party raids against the strongest of Warcraft‘s opponents. In turn, Tanks come in a variety of forms and builds that focus on various aspects of party management. However, Tanks who do it right do easily dominate parties. After all, their defensive and offensive capabilities make them the best frontliners and defenders of the group.
Essentially, Tanks get to rely on “go-to” builds that enable them to build aggression, taunt foes, and up their defenses in crucial moments. However, despite how certain builds rely on specific subclasses and playstyles, Tanks might want to follow certain tips on ensuring the best defense in any situation.
10 Take Note Of Active Survival, Mitigation
Tanks primarily soak damage – and not simply because of armor. Thanks to specific active mitigation cooldowns, Tanks theoretically can soak up most damage that could otherwise kill other party members. In turn, Tanks need to incorporate these mitigation cooldowns into the rotation as much as possible. Theoretically, when done right, these active survival measures might mean Tanks may never need healing at all. Ideally, Tanks should use their mitigation skills as often as possible, so Healers can focus on healing other members of the party.
Likewise, Tanks should avoid stacking cooldowns as much as possible. They should always have at least one or two mitigation abilities ready for any situation. Additionally, instant-heal abilities should be reserved for crucial low-HP moments. These abilities, when used properly, can help Tanks sustain themselves in fights without having to depend on Healers.
9 Predictability Is Essential
Unlike other roles, Tanks serve as the most straightforward. This doesn’t mean they’re supposed to be boring – but rather, they need to be predictable to help the party coordinate their efforts more efficiently. Ideally, Tanks need to maximize their defensive cooldowns and mitigation skills to receive the least damage as possible. Healers can easily pick up on this pattern and determine crucial parts of a rotation where they might need to heal the Tank. This situation avoids unnecessary mana wastage on their part.
Likewise, Tanks need to take their DPS and Healers into consideration when pulling mobs and bosses. Ideally, Tanks need to ensure their mobs and bosses face them instead of the party. That way, their DPS can get time to position their attacks or even build-up to their desired DPS output.
8 Spread The Aggro
Tab-targeting remains one of the most straightforward means of getting aggro from opponents. By pressing Tab in rotation, Tanks can strategically use single-target threat-generation skills against opponents surrounding the party. That way, Tanks can redirect incoming damage to them as they move the mob away from the party.
Theoretically, this move allows Tanks to spread damage as much as possible to enemies to prepare them for DPS combos. Likewise, tab-targeting allows Tanks to keep aggro as the rest of the party pepper through them with high-powered spells and weapons.
7 Always Flank The Mob To Maximize DPS
Positioning mobs and bosses remain key in party sustainability. After all, bosses can’t hit party members behind them. As such, the Tank needs to maintain threat generation to keep enemies on them instead of their allies. Likewise, Tanks need to reserve their taunts and aggro abilities at bay to pull back aggro as soon as high-hitting DPS steal them with their combos.
More importantly, Tanks need to position their bosses while moving as little as possible. In turn, this allows DPS to move less and still position themselves behind bosses to generate better DPS. Remember, each second that DPS doesn’t move means an extra second of dealing more damage. Likewise, Tanks should find ways of flanking the boss with their teammates as soon as possible to maximize DPS output.
6 Study Tank-Switching For Better Rotations
Sometimes, certain parties employ two Tanks to maximize sustainability. Instead of dividing aggro amongst themselves, Tanks “alternate” moments of aggression, known as Tank-switching. When done correctly, Alt-Tanks can overtake Main Tanks by generating more aggro than their counterpart. That way, Alt-Tanks can build up aggro and resume the fight while the Main Tanks reposition or heal.
This setup works best against harder bosses, or instances with multiple mobs. If Tanks plan on switching with their counterparts, it’s best they do it facing the same position as the previous Tank, so they don’t trigger unnecessary rear-cleaves from the boss.
5 Raid Tanking: Prioritize Aggro, Positioning
Tanks doing classic Raids need to prioritize damage mitigation and positioning as much as possible. Similar to other MMOs, Tanks need to have a good sense of threat management to deal with threats quickly. Essentially, Raid Tanking heavily involves generating aggro and manipulating boss positions.
Moreover, Tanks in Raids need to ensure they mitigate not just damage but aggro from DPS as well. In turn, Tanks need to steal aggro if the DPS deals too much damage. Likewise, Tanks need to take as little damage as possible to ease the strain on Healers. In Raid Tanking, Tanks need to prioritize leaving room for the DPS to shine at their own pace.
4 Key Tanking: Take Charge, Maximize Timing
Compared to sticking to soaking in Raids, Mythic Plus demands Tanks to take point throughout the entire instance. That means Tanks planning on taking on Keys need to take charge of the pacing they want the party to take throughout the timed dungeons.
In turn, Tanks here need to understand instances like they are stage plays with certain sequences. Additionally, they need to try to learn as much as possible about mobs and bosses they’ll encounter. In turn, Tanks in Keys need to prioritize which abilities (theirs or from other classes) can counter mobs as fast as possible. Moreover, Tanks need to be able to adjust offensive and defensive strategies, depending on the overall “load” their group can take.
3 Communication Is Always Priority
Since all combat encounters hinge on the Tank pulling enemies properly, the Tank and the party need to be on the same page before entering an instance. Ideally, Tanks and Healers should know their tanking and healing styles to coordinate mitigation and healing. Moreover, Tanks should almost always be capable of sustaining themselves so Healers can focus on healing other teammates.
Likewise, Tanks should coordinate the team on priority targets and crowd control requests, which they can do via the game’s targeting icons. Essentially, the better-coordinated the team, the smoother a party’s progress can become in a raid.
2 Pick Fights With The Right Crowd
Thanks to how instances work in WoW, a party will almost always pull mobs in groups. Theoretically, a slow party can face mobs of three to five monsters at a time. Unfortunately, a few slips and combo mishaps might end up pulling more mobs than a party can chew, which can spell certain doom to parties. In turn, regardless if it’s a Raid or a Key, Tanks need to have an intimate understanding of how they and their party deal with certain crowds.
For instance, Protection Paladins might match a low-tiered DPS in terms of single-target damage. However, their damage output can be enough to get aggro away from Marksmanship Hunter, which can pick off up to six targets at a time even without pets. Likewise, a Tank’s threat generation can bypass the insane AOE damage of burst-dependent DPS such as Shadow Priests.
1 Maximize Damage Output In Routes
Great Tanks need to pick a route that best suits the particular setup they have. That way, Tanks can choose whether to skip certain mobs they can go back to later, or head for bigger targets on the get-go.
Ideally, HP-pumped mobs work best with parties that boast high damage-over-time or AOE bursts, such as with Affliction Warlocks and Shadow Priests. That way, Tanks can aggro bigger mobs and let these DPS finish the job. Likewise, Tanks leading single-target specialists like the Fire Mage and Outlaw Rogue might work better with elite mobs instead of larger mobs that can their toll on one-target classes.