View Full Version : What do you watch while tanking?

01-14-2008, 01:37 PM
I'm posting this in the raid forum since this is really a raid tanking question for both tanks & RLs.

What do you want your tanks paying attention to while tanking bosses? I think I'm finding that out of habit and nervousness that I'm probably trying to pay attention to too many things at once while tanking and my tps isn't as good as it could be.

Should I be watching my health? I find myself doing that like a hawk on new bosses which means my tps is down to 700ish. I'm also keeping an eye on the agro chart.

Should I ignore that and just pay attention to my buffs/debufs and rotation?

Who talks during your raids and what are they responsible for watching?

01-14-2008, 01:41 PM
I tend to flick back and forth between 1. rotation, 2. health, 3, threat, 4. Any adds or movemnt that the boss requires, 5. self buffs

- also note certain bosses require attention to debuffs (like prince 2 sunders)

01-14-2008, 01:45 PM
if you don't need to do anything but sit there and tank, just make sure your ability rotation is solid, watch your hp and any debuffs you may need to look out for. let the raid leader/individual dps-ers worry about other things, especially over-aggro. if u can steal a glance at those things go for it, but if you're not comfortable with watching too many things yet don't force yourself to.

01-14-2008, 01:52 PM
yeah this is specifically in addition to the movement/adds etc. I'm tanking ZA for progression now and tank GL & Kara on farm.

I think my healers would like me to shut up about healing me and it's really on progression fights that I start to worry I'm about to die and somehow by paying more attention to my health bar and asking for heals will prevent that. Certainly my wife would like to hear less about my healing needs (she's one of our best geared healers who hears even more then what I say on TS).

01-14-2008, 01:55 PM
yeah, trust me healers hate hearing "omg heal the tank". chances are by the time you're yelling that, if they aren't already healing you you're going to die anyway. of course, every tank has the primal urge to scream this when they get low, so don't be ashamed of letting a few slip out.

pop cooldowns when you feel you need to and let healers know when things like last stand/shield wall are up / going to expire. otherwise let the healers do their job and yell at them after you die.

01-15-2008, 03:33 AM
I don't watch anything for my rotation, it's kind of built into my fingers. I use a HUD so my health and rage are right there in the middle of my screen. I use NECB which flashes when thunderclap and demo shout need to be refreshed. You really should be able to just look at the middle of your screen the whole time, or else you're probably making things harder than they can be.

01-16-2008, 12:51 PM
LOL I watch T.V.

01-16-2008, 12:56 PM
In all honesty, I don't watch my health. I glance at it out of the corner of my eye..if it looks bad..I pop what I can. But I've gone down with a healthstone sitting there and don't bitch me out...I got other things to do..and If I miss one damn Heathstone once and awhile..bah..

This is because when I learned to tank, I had this awsome healer who said..stop telling me to heal..that's my job. I don't tell you to HS. I stopped getting over involved in my health.

Rotation-tps-whatever else is my order.

01-16-2008, 01:09 PM
I'll watch my health somewhat...I have my target and target's target window moved to the middle of my screen so I can easily watch mob health, my health, and rage level. Scrolling combat text to monitor heals. Mob debuffs have a counter on them so I know when to refresh.

I generally raid lead, so I'll be watching the raid windows, calling big abilities that are coming up, encouraging folks, and calling battle rezzes or solutions to other problems. Gets busy sometimes but it keeps me entertained.

01-16-2008, 01:17 PM
Everything all at once, i have 6 eyes 4 ears and 3 nostrils. I also have an underbite.

01-16-2008, 07:38 PM
Every situation is different in how I approach it and what I'll watch for, but I don't even glance at my health, helps my wife is one of our healers and calls out when they're silenced, etc. Mainly focus on postioning of melee, rotation, glancing at omen and listen to some good tanking music while I spam keys on my keyboard. If your finding your doing to much deligate authority/responsiblity to others so you can focus on tanking.

01-22-2008, 06:21 PM
I've got MetaHUD, so that really helps me check on my health and rage bars to use health pots/pop CDs or spam Heroic Strike as needed.

Just like maddfez, I also shout out abilities and all when needed as I'm the Raid Leader--but only when the Assistant doesn't do that. I usually let the raid know when I've used SW/LS or ran out of pots.

02-21-2008, 08:55 AM
I focus mostly on my rotation/threat. SCT pops up with a warning and an audible when my health hits below a certain threshold (40% HP), and then I watch my health a little bit as well.

It also works that my debuff bars (from quartz) are right where my rotation buttons are, and omen's right next to it - so I don't have to move my eyes too much for a tank-and-spank.

On something like RoS phase 3, I go between my rage bar and rotation. Illidan Phase 2, I focus more on my position, glance at my bar to see which 2-3 moves to do next, then check my position.

03-29-2008, 03:51 PM
In order of priority.

Quartz GCD

- Read up on how to set it up with a quick google search if you don't know how to set this up.
- Expand the height of it to make it more noticable.

Rage bar

- Dump rage at 50+ rage


- On threat sensitive fights you can see how much buffer you have
- You can get a TPS ego trip during your TPS spikes (ex. while HS dumping) :p

I never look at my HP till I get the audio notification of Low HP.
Then I take a quick look and decide if I should use a pot/hs or sw/ls
I also use Quartz for target cast bars while tanking bosses that heal.
I tried to use NECB for this but some bosses have way too many abilities that appear there.

03-29-2008, 06:13 PM
I would focus on your rotation, positioning of the target (certain fights call for this depending on you groups selected start) way WAY more than your health.

04-02-2008, 04:10 PM
On trash, I'm watching healer and dps mana summary, not worrying about health, and watching buffs. Threat shouldn't be much of an issue as long as the raid behaves (and those that don't aren't the MT's responsibility - that belongs to the RL)

On bosses, I keep an eye on my health, and mostly watch buff/debuff cooldowns. Hitting an Ironshield whenever I can, making sure that Demo and TC are up, and keeping CS/BS up. Keep an eye on your health for when to use cooldowns - the difference between an ok tank and a great tank is being able to keep yourself alive when something unexpected happens.

05-22-2008, 03:20 PM
Honestly I would say what I pay attention to the most is everyone else. What's going on around me and glance at everything else. For instance if adds are popping up, positioning, what's going on in the encounter. Who needs a brez? Who is in the wrong spot? That kind of stuff.

Other than that I just watch my hp and debuffs. My rotation is built into my fingers and I don't need to watch omen usually--my threat is great and the DPS need to be watching it. Health is an iffy one, something i find to be useful is a flashing or warning mod to warn you when you are below a certain mark (say 20%) so you don't need to watch your HP to know when to pop stuff.

07-11-2008, 02:10 AM
I watch Battlestar Galactica ...

and I think Chengt said it just the way I would have. Quartz, Rage, Threat meter ... as well as a quick glance around to see how everybody else is doing (not their bars, but the live action around me ... I do love to see the battle unfold and not think of the game as just numbers and bars). Towards the end of any big fight I check mana bars of my healers and start glancing at my health in case I need to pop the OS buttons to ensure a successful run.

... And then I watch more Tricia Helfer.

07-11-2008, 07:18 AM
For me it depends on the fight, if there is a lot of environmental damage, I focus on tight rotations and debuffs then the environment. If I see healers on the move, I trigger trinks, chug a ironshield, hit a health stone or crystal focus, last stand, shield wall...anything to buy them time to position and cast. Some fights are tank positioning, against the wall for lurker, between elementals on the prince, on the move for transition on hydross, or where to go next for death and decay. I find myself rotating my camera view a lot more during these fights.

If it is a pretty simple tank and spank like VR where I only have to make sure I scale threat as an off tank, I watch off tank debuffs, my rotations adding blood rage on cool downs, refresh shouts and make damn sure I am not getting parried. Once the knockback occurs, I would generally change weapons to my 1.6 better tanking stats weapon, chug a ironshield, and start in on SB and threat rotations.


07-11-2008, 07:57 AM
Interesting question and one of those rare occasions where thread necromancy is good :)

Hard to say. One key is obviously to have a comfortable and informative UI. I tend not to watch my health but my unit frame bar is noticable enough that if I'm in trouble, I know it and can deploy counter measures (like LS, SW, HS, pot, scream at healers, etc)

Then again, I hawk my rage bar alot and being there with my health, I tend to get them both. Other than that, I try to keep an eye on the environment....which is usually a boss's crotch and making sure my hands are on the right buttons, lol. Cooldowns, definitely. Playing a resto druid as a main for 7 months let my timing slip some. I used to have things like SB CD down to second nature. Flywheeling LB stacks requires a completely different timing mechanism and the two are currently jumbled in my head.....so I'm pug raiding on my mage, lol.

07-11-2008, 09:58 AM
Full House...Brady Bunch...

Oh...you weren't talking about that. :P

Rage, Shield Block/Shield Slam/Revenge CDs, sunder timers...the usual

11-04-2008, 09:42 AM
I rarely watch my threat, that's the DPS' job as far as I'm concerned. But then again, my TPS has never been problematic really.

I find that watching cooldowns and debuff durations (TC, Demo) is the best use of time. That's probably about 60% of my attention, with the rest being paid to situational things if the need exists in an encounter.

11-04-2008, 09:45 AM
I watch everyone else, because my brain just knows how to play warrior blindfolded.

11-04-2008, 09:48 AM
The monitor.....

11-04-2008, 11:25 AM
I watch my rotation and my main healer. Threat is my job to generate it's dpsers job to work with what I make. My Hp is my healers worry and his Hp and mana are my worries.

Rage is another thing I watch there is nothing so annoying as not dumping it and have 75 rage cool off while mana drinks are being served.

Other than those things stand in the right spot and listen to a little rage against the machine and spam the hell outta the keyboard let the RL do the yelling on vent. "O btw my mic is broke" lol.......keeps me out of debates and lets me worry about me.

11-07-2008, 12:57 PM
I have no idea in what order I watch it in, but I watch pretty much everything at once. Including what other people are doing.

11-07-2008, 12:58 PM
Starship Troopers at the moment.

11-07-2008, 02:47 PM
Starship Troopers at the moment.

Love that movie. Dizzy's jumblies are BEAUTIFUL.

11-07-2008, 02:56 PM
My enhancement shaman, he will stormstrike a mob before you get to it then blame you for not tanking it.

If you want to tank for him make sure you're 1st, 2nd and 3rd on aggro.

11-07-2008, 03:04 PM
On new fights I end up watching what every1 else is doing and taking notes what can be improved and redone better. In any case all u do most of the times is do your rotation(have to actualy pay attention to that since 3.0) and if you dont have your camera rotated -stare at the boss's crotch.

11-07-2008, 03:09 PM
I watch Star Trek quite often

11-07-2008, 08:01 PM
It's my opinion that as a tank there is much more to doing your job than threat generation. It should probably be the first thing you learn to do, but you should never stop there. If tank = threat healer = health were true you're probably not using your shield wall, trinkets, and lock rocks. A bad tank can wipe a raid, a good tank can keep the raid alive, a great tank can make the fight feel smooth and well oiled. The latter isn't required, but the feeling it can give is more rewarding than the purples at the end of the encounter.

In short, I'm always looking for a way to improve.

11-08-2008, 01:24 PM
Starship Troopers at the moment.

Awesome movie, better book.

11-08-2008, 08:32 PM
Awesome movie, better book.
You know what I liked about the movie? No reading. (j/k)

If tank = threat healer = health were true you're probably not using your shield wall, trinkets, and lock rocks.
That's true, except that if you have a proper notification when you reach whatever low health you've decided on (30% for me), you shouldn't have to watch your health and can be focused on more important things. Like Battlestar Gallactica.

11-12-2008, 05:36 AM
Most healers get really uppity if you start calling out what your HP is like. I have tried to say nothing about my health, and just call out if I have to use a cooldown to buffer myself. I may call out when spike damage is about to cream my face if it is timed, but most healers will take offense to anything more. Typically if DPS start saying something profound like "Durendall needs heals" in a raid, I will tell them to STFU before the healers do lmao ;)

The last thing I need is for my healers to get overly-frustrated and re-roll DPS or something ;)

Normally I glance at my HP occasionally to see if I need to buffer myself, I glance down at cooldowns, glance at debuffs, boss positioning... raid positioning... etc.

Something that I do try to do is keep an eye on the rest of my raid. I am in the unfortunate position of trying to MT and RL at the same time, which is fine for some encounters... but like when we were just recently working on Archimonde (amazing fight even post-nerf... was a lot of fun for us :) ) I stared at health bars like a hawk for our last 3 attempts calling out whenever anyone had the doomfire debuff as that was mostly what was killing us. I have a good feeling that half of the guild hates me now, as I was pretty much screaming it over vent... but hey... the boss died... so sue me lol :)

11-12-2008, 07:06 AM
Ahhh....ty for the criticism. And ty for turning this into the wowforums. The thread asked what other people watch when they tank. I answered honestly.

Petninja doesn't wanna share what he watches yet wants to call me a bad tank.

So popping laststand and shieldwall and all your trinket CD's is a good idea when your healer is about to hit you with a 10k heal and he just notified the rest of the healers to heal you too. So yeah then you sit there watching all your lifelines cookoff while your now being overhealed.... makes sense to watch your own HP.

My style of tanking is communication, communication, communication. If a healer can't keep up I expect them to tell me before I go down. Then it's my decision if the fight can be saved or take the wipe and unequip my sword and shield before I go down.

In short if a healer would to say over vent that they are "close to pulling aggro use devastate" I am gonna freak so why am I gonna state the obvious that my health is low heal me? In low level instances on an alt I dont' mind compensating for other people's mistakes and yea I will assume the heals aren't coming but in a raid everyone should know their role or know enough to say they don't know.

BTW Battlestar Galatica ROCKS however I miss Gerri Hall as Seven of Nine in Voyager....borgs are HOT!

11-12-2008, 07:14 AM
Depending on how hard the fight is, i might be watching a movie on my other moniter..lol

11-12-2008, 07:58 AM
On a little side note to watching bars and stuff, when I need to really max out the threat and nail the rotation, I hardly flicker from my action bars and swing timers etc. So I don't have to even look ar my rage bar, does anyone know of an addon or a configuration for an addon that could show my rage in large, friendly letters without a Bar?

Something like this excellent home-made screenshot (I'm at work, so Google Images and MSPaint ftw!)


11-12-2008, 08:00 AM
Didn't Satrina release his self-made mod that does basically that exact thing?

As to what I watch, eh. I watch my surroundings, the raid frames, and what's going on, and to a lesser extent my cooldowns.

11-18-2008, 10:48 AM
Didn't Satrina release his self-made mod that does basically that exact thing?

As to what I watch, eh. I watch my surroundings, the raid frames, and what's going on, and to a lesser extent my cooldowns.

Digits would appear to be what you're on about, Xav.

Digits : WoWInterface Downloads : Combat Mods (http://www.wowinterface.com/downloads/info11544-Digits.html)

Thanks for the tip.

11-21-2008, 12:42 PM
I have an auditory warning for low health to alert me to shield wall / last stand. I've also gotten in the habbit of saving my less intense CDs like shield block & trinkets for when I'm getting hit really hard or fast, there is a lot of group damage, or my healer has to move around.

This of course makes me pay attention to how everyone else' HP situation is, my healers mana, their location & movement.

Mostly I watch my rotation and for S&B. I have icons highlighting my short-CD offensive abilities next to my HUD for rage & health.

11-24-2008, 04:42 PM

Chat log for special attacks.

The position of my teammates.

The environment- standing in the fire is inexcusable, and the number of fights where there are adds to deal with is getting larger and larger.

Occasionally glance at threat meter to make sure everything is still the way I think it is.

Party health. I probably use my cooldowns more frequently to buy my healers some breathing room for other people than I do as a reaction to a personal damage spike.

One thing I do hate is that occasionally I'll tank a large mob with my back to a wall and really have to work to find a good angle on my camera that lets me see what is going on. Maybe it's because I play a dwarf, but there are some fights where it takes an inordinate amount of work to see anything other than the smelly loincloth of the monster I am beating up.

11-25-2008, 02:27 PM
Personally I think you shouldn't have to watch your rotation it should be stuck in your fingers. On newer bosses i watch my debuffs on the target to minimize the damage I take. I also have a UI that has everything important close to each other.
If i dont have to watch my debuffs i usually go for looking around myself to se if anything is happening that i can help with adds is a prime example.
The one thing im not looking at anything at all is My threat meter its my dpsers job.

12-26-2008, 05:04 PM
Looking at health is definately minimal for me while looking at abilities that are coming off cooldown the most. I also tend to pay attention to what other players are doing and coordinate them to positions that may not be in position..

01-01-2009, 12:09 PM
What do I watch while tanking? Porn.

Seriously though, health is always an afterthought. Usually I'm watching my mitigation cooldown rotations, runic power, and the boss cycles to know when to pop a major cooldown (usually Lichborne, occasionally UA and IBF at the same time). It gets me through the day.

01-04-2009, 09:29 PM
Watching on a boss:
- Melee - Are they in the correct location, ie. moving out of GroundAoE/AoE/Cleave.
- Ranged - Are they in the correct location, ie. moving out of GroundAoE/AoE.
- Debuffs - Are the debuffs being remove by someone, if not, who can do it quickly.
- My Health/Healer relocation - How is my health? Are the healers going to relocation anytime soon? Maybe I should pop Last Stand to give them some air...
- My Target %health - How long before we down him.
- My Cooldowns - You know this one ^^
- Boss Abilities - Does this boss have a special ability which I need to announce via Voice Chat?
- Target's Target - It had better be me or the other tank ^^

Watching on Trash:
- Thunder Clap cooldown.
- Shockwave cooldown.
- Any floating text with the words "threat" or "agro" (meaning someone is about to pull agro from one of my off targets)
- Healers mana
- Target's Target - It had better be me ^^

I think thats about it. Of course I can't watch all those at the same time, but I do my best, which normally is good enough ^^

01-04-2009, 09:37 PM
The black Album, and where the boss is.

01-06-2009, 06:03 AM
It's easy, you look at what you need to see.

This can be a patrol, off mobs, cast bars, rage bar, some other environment feature, the warlock's threat bar, healer mana, your own health bar, the hunter's mana bar, or anything else.

So this doesn't get discounted as a glib answer, I'd watch my health if the healer was silenced in a heroic, so I'd know when to shield wall or last stand, and I'd watch the warlock's threat if it's one of my jobs to intervene him so he can continue to go full out. And I might watch the hunter's mana bar so I know if he's gone AFK to get stoned.

The other day we were having trouble on Razuvious so I just stood there and watched bone armor buffs to ensure that they happened.

You do what's necessary to ensure the success of the raid.

01-06-2009, 06:58 AM
You do what's necessary to ensure the success of the raid.

Very true. Independant of encounter, what you watch out for depends on what you have to watch out for with the raid composition. If you're raidleader & maintank, you'd (often) be watching different things compared to "only" being the tank

However, after wiping my raid four times on Kel'Thuzad, i can safely assume that i do NOT watch out for void zones. I can keep track of who has the disease debuff on Grobbulus with ease, but the big red swirling thing under my feet eludes me. It has become the guilds running joke :(

01-06-2009, 07:03 AM
Very true. Independant of encounter, what you watch out for depends on what you have to watch out for with the raid composition. If you're raidleader & maintank, you'd (often) be watching different things compared to "only" being the tank

However, after wiping my raid four times on Kel'Thuzad, i can safely assume that i do NOT watch out for void zones. I can keep track of who has the disease debuff on Grobbulus with ease, but the big red swirling thing under my feet eludes me. It has become the guilds running joke :(

LOL me too... 3 times in one fight, I was gonna be the OT for the adds, and we were melee heavy so I just sat back and casted (DK) when I could... watching the melee so they don't get to close to MT / each other, calling ice blocks, and pow... 3 times ate Voids

01-06-2009, 07:10 AM
Funny enough, I'm in the same boat. I'm usually too busy watching timers, and watching other people, and I miss such small things all the time (An example being Sartharion with Drakes, I got a void zone under me when tanking Sarth, but when keeping a close eye on his cast bar, my CDs, Bone Shield charges, and the raid etc, missing a void zone is easy >.<

01-08-2009, 01:07 PM
I would focus on your rotation, positioning of the target (certain fights call for this depending on you groups selected start) way WAY more than your health.

that is not entirly true.. as i used to be the main druid tank in bc i always looked at my health.. reason for that is if ur health gets low and ur almost positive ur healer wont get a heal off in time poping a trinket, hs, pot, SW, LS or ne other items that would help u survive (even for that 1hit or 2) just till the healer can get a heal off.. makes a great deal on how good of a tank ur and able to save the raid from a wipe

not looking at ur health is just over confidance and reliability on ur healers.. which is not always a good thing... as things can always go wrong.. (healers get an unlucky silence/mc/stun/etc)

01-09-2009, 12:20 PM
Apart from the usual answers such as, cooldowns, health, etc, I tend to watch the healers and casters mana as we are going through a fight, especially if its new so that I have a general idea on how long the fight should last. If I see that they are running out of mana at 30%, then I tell the DPS to step it up a bit or for our shamans to pop mana tide.

The second thing I look at is the positioning of the boss or trash mob. I constantly keep my camera zoomed out to its fullest if its a case like Malygos where postioning is key to top DPS.

Third observation is raid dmg. If I see spike dmg on one side of the raid or on the entire raid, ill ask em whats killing them and see if there is anything I can do about it or if someone is not where they are supposed to be i.e. Thaddius.

4th, my own dmg. If im taking a lot of spike dmg I will change my gear up accordingly and make sure that SB is constantly on CD. If im just taking a few heavy hits, ill change my gear accordingly and and make sure that im popping dodge trinkets when possible i.e. patchwerk.

Last but not least im watching threat every so often towards the end of the fight.
Reason for this is so that if we are on a longer fight, such as 25 man Thaddius, 25 man Sapph, or 25 man Maexxna I tend to see casters and a few melee creep up with me on threat at around the 15% or 10% mark. If they havent used an aggro wipe ability I let them know where they stand so that an accidental aggro pull on a stun/fear doesent happen at 2%.

01-09-2009, 12:39 PM
BTW Battlestar Galatica ROCKS however I miss Gerri Hall as Seven of Nine in Voyager....borgs are HOT!

Dude! Jeri Ryan! Can't believe you missed that one :P

01-14-2009, 12:54 PM
One thing I've been getting used to lately is just watching what concerns me. I've hurt the raid at times trying to watch too much. Delegating some of your responsibilities as a raid leader makes people feel more involved and frees you up to relax some.

You can watch 100 things at once, and try to be "THE (wo)MAN" but in the end there's a higher chance you'll hurt the raid, and if you have competent people that can handle somethings, they'll appreciate it.

01-14-2009, 12:57 PM
Whatever my wife and kids are watching on TV at the time....usually Supernatural or Dexter....

01-14-2009, 04:30 PM
The biggest thing I pay attention to is the target of target. Just to make the mob isnt looking at anything it shouldn't be looking at other than me.

01-17-2009, 12:48 PM
everything, and sometimes it bites me in the ass.
i watch my health, my omen meater, the bosses health, the boss, and i make sure new people are doing things correct. always on KT, at least one time a night i will wipe a raid because im staring at the new guy who is connecting the 2 mele groups together, and i stand in "the red shit":(

01-18-2009, 03:02 AM
dps heavy encounter I completly focus on my action bar and spamming the hell out of my key board ;x

movement encounters I watch people that tend to ''screw up'' and tell em what to do better next time

facepalm bosses, Family guy? :>

01-18-2009, 06:06 PM
idk about anyone else, but i usually watch my screen when tanking...