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View Full Version : Don't be a noob: advice for new tanks



Kurtosis
06-03-2009, 11:46 PM
Hi all, I've just started tanking heroics on my DK, first tanking I've ever done, and enjoy it a lot but have much to learn. Below is a short list of things I've learned so far, hoping others can add to it:

1. Don't stand in the fire.

2. Don't let mobs hit you from behind, or from sideways behind, or basically from anywhere in the 180 degree area behind you. (probably lots of advice on how to quickly, correctly position mobs to prevent this that I don't know but would like to)

3. Don't LoS your healer.

4. If the tank dies, it's the healer's fault. If the healer dies, it's the tank's fault. If the dps die, it's the dps's fault. Generally.

5. Use mitigation cd's when... (I actually don't know this, is there some rule of thumb like you drop below 50% health?)

6. Be upfront about your experience/abilities/gear/ when invited to tank a pug - when invited to tank a heroic I say something like '540 def, 33% avoidance, 24k health, tanked H CoS, H HoL, haven't done this one yet, don't know the fight, but willing if you guys are cool with that'.

7....

That's all I can think of atm, not many. Any more?

RialÚv
06-04-2009, 12:44 AM
Mob positioning is normally not too complicated. You'll get used to it fairly quick. You should make it a habit of always turning them from the rest of the group.

If the Tank Dies, it's the Tank's fault. (almost 99% of the time)
If the Healer Dies, it's normally the tank's fault. If it's not his fault, it's still going to get blamed on him.
If the DPS Dies, it's the Tank's fault. (if the tank can't keep up his TPS, his DPS will die.)

Basically get used to taking a good amount of the blame... and quite honestly, it IS normally the tank's fault when it does happen.

xenogriff
06-04-2009, 01:27 AM
i hardly tell ppl lfg my stats unless its raids - i will admit if i havent done a particular fight b4 or in raids i will ask how the RL wants a particular boss done (provided i'm not the RL) since different ppl will want to follow different strats

i agree with rialev to a certain extent
1) if a tank dies, its usually the tanks fault - drink a pot!! dont be cheap :D
2) If a healer dies, its the tanks fault
3) If a dps dies, it depends on the dps - if hes targetting soemthing ur not and going full blast on it then dies, its his fault, if hes targetting ur target and goign full blast then dies, its ur fault

in general having the mobs backs facing everyone else is best and melee dps will love u lots

ps: its never the healers fault (even if it obviously is) coz if theyre not there, the group's not going anywhere

Gtheuu
06-04-2009, 10:18 AM
i hardly tell ppl lfg my stats unless its raids - i will admit if i havent done a particular fight b4 or in raids i will ask how the RL wants a particular boss done (provided i'm not the RL) since different ppl will want to follow different strats

i agree with rialev to a certain extent
1) if a tank dies, its usually the tanks fault - drink a pot!! dont be cheap :D
2) If a healer dies, its the tanks fault
3) If a dps dies, it depends on the dps - if hes targetting soemthing ur not and going full blast on it then dies, its his fault, if hes targetting ur target and goign full blast then dies, its ur fault

in general having the mobs backs facing everyone else is best and melee dps will love u lots

ps: its never the healers fault (even if it obviously is) coz if theyre not there, the group's not going anywhere

I 100% agree with the attack order. If the tank marks skull and is attacking skull, if you attack 'X', you will pull and probably die as DPS.
"Why am I pulling aggro from the tank?" Because you are attacking out of order. Tanks get blamed for not holding aggro, but if you pay attention.. everyone will live longer and the raid/instance will go much smoother.

Just my two cents.

Kurtosis
06-04-2009, 11:48 AM
Thx, so healers don't have a problem with the mob/s being in between them and the tank? I always assumed healers were just clicking party icons in order to select who to heal, but I get the feeling that some try to click on the actual player instead. In H CoS the other day I turned the mobs away from the group and b/t me and the healer, and the healer moved to a new position off to my side so mobs weren't blocking his view.

Berzerker
06-04-2009, 01:40 PM
these days alot of healers don't even target -- mouseover macros and healbot for ez mode. If you die in a 5-man cuz the healer couldn't target you with the boss between you, it really is the healer's fault... They have 10 additional yards of range over their damage spells to allow the boss to be closer to them than you are. That's not to say that 100% of the time you want the boss between you and the healer (I'm thinking waaaaay back to Magmadar on this one), but it's generally a safe assumption to start that way until you find out it's a problem.

as far as when to use a mitigation cooldown... best advice I can offer is when you need it. There's no hard-fast rule of "when you drop below this" or "when the boss does that." Just figure if you know you're about to get slammed, hit it. If your healer just got silenced, be ready to hit it. With the cooldowns short enough that you can wait them out for a pull or sometimes even hit them twice, error on the side of caution and make sure you live long enough to think back "I guess I didn't need to do that."

and finally: in the game you need armor. At the keyboard, you need thick skin. You're going to be blamed, whether it's your fault or not. Be mature about it, and make sure you're doing the best job you can do. It'll bring back the ones worth grouping with again.

Theotherone
06-04-2009, 02:12 PM
I agree 100% with the thick skin. You'll make mistakes, you'll get raids wiped, and you'll get everything wrong more than once. But the one constant, whether or not you did anything wrong, is that you'll be blamed.

Darthmalice
06-04-2009, 05:33 PM
5. Use mitigation cd's when... (I actually don't know this, is there some rule of thumb like you drop below 50% health?)

This is what makes your reputation gold on a server. Use mitigation cd's early in a long fight with say patch to allow heals to get adjusted to your incoming damage (this will allow you another use of it in the fight near the end of the fight) DK's a couple and trinket cooldowns are also kewl to use. Pop them at the begining of large pulls or bad pulls. Pop them when DPS are going down fast to help your healer be able to concentrate on getting dps back up. Properly used mitigation will ensure you survive fights that are messy and should have resulted in a wipe.

7. Know your trash pulls and learn to expertly move a mob around in a raid. In this sense you should know when to Line of sight pull around corners and how to avoid unessary caster damage by standing in the open. I like a run forward pull and back up strat. Dosent work on stunning or spiders very well.

8. Ask new groups to handle the first few pulls easy on threat, this will make them aware of it and allow you to judge how experienced they are. i.e. fury warrior or mage going hog wild on dps at the begining of a large trash pull. Keep DPS honest on activity, dont care low dps around free riding on your back as a meat shield for laziness, quick kills are healer friendly.

9. Remember to thank your healer after every boss and tell em good job if warranted, its a job only a mother would love and obviously there are very few good moms (look at how you turned out) :).

10. Repair before the begining, have health pots, bandages and flasks to help if difficult instances, always carry 2 mana pots for healers that are new or dont mana manage well in long fights. When they say I am OOM in a long fight that leads to a wipe, silently trade them the mana pots they will get the hint.

11. Learn when to call a group done. soft rule 3 wipes and find another tank. Progression is different, expect to wipe and have repair money.

Tarigar
06-04-2009, 05:57 PM
I think my only edition to being a new tank... Don't pretend to know everything... I have seen a lot of tanks do this when I heal or when i am dps'ing...

When healing if the tank doesn't listen to suggestions i follow the soft 3 wipe rule as almost anything is not worth the heart burn.

When tanking I do the same and I am actually more forgiving if we have a new healer and dps in the group. But I only tank for guildies and friends now. Since I am a chaos freak i generally cause the wipes by pulling too many and normally I do it off the bat to test the group to see what I can get away with.

The only thing frustrating for me is watching my rage bar decay. My warrior gets angry by getting hit and I get angry when my warrior is not getting hit :).

Kurtosis
06-05-2009, 09:17 PM
Good stuff guys, thanks. Another question, how do different tanks handle situations when an add drops aggro and gets behind them heading for a healer or dps? I assume you use whatever AoE or directionless threat gen abilities you have, but has anyone ever found themselves in this situation when those abilities are on CD? Can't turn your back on the main group you're tanking, so what then?

rmd83
06-05-2009, 11:42 PM
Yep tanks get blamed for everything :P. It's really situational too though, like if your healer stands in grobbulus's cloud the tank can't be blamed for that sort of stupidity. On the other hand if your dps isn't smart enough to use threat reduction abilities incase the tank loses aggro they should die too. Bosses which require kiting is a prime example of dps's fault. Anyways like I said the tank being blamed is always situational, but we always get crap even if it wasn't our fault :)

Weezycarter
06-06-2009, 03:52 PM
Kurtosis, that is what you have a taunt for. Taunts aren't a part of your rotation for aoe trash. So, if one gets lose, taunt it back.

Sasha
06-06-2009, 08:42 PM
Good stuff guys, thanks. Another question, how do different tanks handle situations when an add drops aggro and gets behind them heading for a healer or dps? I assume you use whatever AoE or directionless threat gen abilities you have, but has anyone ever found themselves in this situation when those abilities are on CD? Can't turn your back on the main group you're tanking, so what then?

I have my Taunt and mocking blow on my bar 6 with key bindings for R (taunt) and T (mocking blow), I then hide the bar (I use bartender to manage my bars), then fighting I pan out and over the fight usually at an angle, when I see a mob heading to the back I select it quickly, taunt (or heroic throw), then get back to whatever I was doing (probably AE tanking mobs).

I use a focus target macro also to help track one mob and hit it with revenge as I'm doing other things. /cast [target=focus] Revenge .

I've recently started to consider remapping the keyboard movement keys w/a/s/d to my skills since I mostly use my mouse to move...although on long fights I sometimes switch to using my 10key to cast attacks...this is typically on boss fights.. just thinking about using wasd for shockwave, heroic throw...etc

I realize you are a DK, the point is to use your talents, keybindings, and view to enable you to easily pull a loose mob back.

Dhalphir
06-06-2009, 08:51 PM
If a DPSer EVER pulls threat, it is their fault.

I don't care if I'm doing 1k TPS on the marked kill target, if you pull threat, its your fault.

If I'm not doing enough threat to cover your DPS, don't DPS.

So lets split that rule up into two parts.

Rule 1: if the DPS dies...
Rule 1a: If the DPS is threat-capped and can't DPS, its the tanks fault.
Rule 1b: If the DPS is threat-capped, DPSes anyway, and pulls aggro, its their own dumb fault.


Good stuff guys, thanks. Another question, how do different tanks handle situations when an add drops aggro and gets behind them heading for a healer or dps? I assume you use whatever AoE or directionless threat gen abilities you have, but has anyone ever found themselves in this situation when those abilities are on CD? Can't turn your back on the main group you're tanking, so what then?

To answer this, turn 90 degrees to your left or to your right, and taunt the mob back. this places both the loose mob, and the main group, in your front 180 degree arc.

Also, unbinding WASD is a personal thing, but you MUST keep backpedal bound somewhere (S). A tank who can't backpedal is a tank who is going to die from being hit in the back.

Kurtosis
06-09-2009, 12:07 AM
Thanks, I actually had to buy a Nostromo N52 when I rerolled melee (rogue & dk). I couldn't figure how it was possible to have all combat macro's easily available while moving on a keyboard using WASD. N52 makes moving and striking soooo much easier.

Arkunsun
06-09-2009, 06:35 AM
1) Communication is the key, let your Healer know when you are going to pull so he's not asleep at the wheel, Let you DPS know the kill order, or at least to give you a few seconds head start to generate some threat before they go for broke. Make sure everyone knows the strategy before the fight starts so they don't get in your way/screw it up.

2) Always point mobs with breath attacks/cone effect AoE away from your group, so you don't get them killed.

3) Pulling aggro will happen be ready. every tank has ways to get agro back fast be ready to save an over zealous DPS when he doesn't pay attention to Omen.

4) Like Wil Wheaton says "don't be a dick". Mistakes happen and you will die. Don't filp out and yell at people, that just makes them not like you. Be constructive and try and figure out why it happened without loosing your cool. (this is harder than you think).

Khanor
06-09-2009, 09:30 AM
Its been stated, and the biggest pointer of all is: dont throw blame. Things can and will happen, and chances are at various points in time people will get you killed due to being new, not paying attention, etc. The biggest raid killer is down time, and deciding blame is not only demoralizing but a big time waster.

Being "good" at tanking is really all about two things, gear and awareness. The gear problem is easy to solve - run stuff and get upgrades. The awareness isnt a drop you can get and forget about for a month till the next upgrade. Knowing what should happen, what COULD happen, and what you will do if something goes wrong is the biggest thing you can do to prepare for the unexpected.

Example:

Placing vigilance (as a warrior) on an offtank. This provides a very good safe button should something run towards your healers or a patrol add in. As your offtank should be getting constantly hit, your taunt is constantly refreshed. Anything within 30 yards is all yours.

I believe there is a very good video up that can greatly help newer tanks understand what i mean by this.
YouTube - TankSpot's Tanking Reference: Awareness & Camera Control

Berzerker
06-09-2009, 12:02 PM
Good stuff guys, thanks. Another question, how do different tanks handle situations when an add drops aggro and gets behind them heading for a healer or dps? I assume you use whatever AoE or directionless threat gen abilities you have, but has anyone ever found themselves in this situation when those abilities are on CD? Can't turn your back on the main group you're tanking, so what then?

Your question bring up two concerns from the ambiguity:

1) if your taunt is on cooldown because you use it that often, there is likely another problem, either with your threat making you taunt alot, or because you're using it wrong.

2) the mobs shouldn't likely be running behind you causing directional issues, because you generally have them facing away from the group, meaning they'd run in front of you to get at the healers...

That said, if you don't have a taunt, and can't move to go after them, pray another tank grabs it, the person pulling it lives til your taunt is back, or tell them to quit pulling aggro...

Kurtosis
06-10-2009, 11:18 PM
1) Like Wil Wheaton says "don't be a dick". Mistakes happen and you will die. Don't filp out and yell at people, that just makes them not like you. Be constructive and try and figure out why it happened without loosing your cool. (this is harder than you think).

Its been stated, and the biggest pointer of all is: dont throw blame. Things can and will happen, and chances are at various points in time people will get you killed due to being new, not paying attention, etc. The biggest raid killer is down time, and deciding blame is not only demoralizing but a big time waster.
I find these extremely important as well. I have the patience of Job and generally try to communicate my intent to the group b/f any pull I think might get us in trouble, though how well I do at that is usually a function of [my typing speed]/[how overeager the ret pally is to start the pull].

But the best runs I've done (judging by how many friend list requests I get at the end) is when I as the tank know the dungeon well, and take the initiative to review and coordinate strats b/f boss and other big pulls, err on the side of generosity in taking responsibility for deaths or wipes, focus on fixing the problem not the blame, and play down other peoples' mistakes. When people are less concerned about deflecting blame, they tend to focus more on getting the job done.

Being "good" at tanking is really all about two things, gear and awareness. The gear problem is easy to solve - run stuff and get upgrades. The awareness isnt a drop you can get and forget about for a month till the next upgrade. Knowing what should happen, what COULD happen, and what you will do if something goes wrong is the biggest thing you can do to prepare for the unexpected.
Yeah, that's key, being able to quickly respond to the unexpected is almost always best done by the tank/ot. Other classes may have some cc abilities that can buy some time, but ultimately it's the tank's job to get the fight back under control.

Kurtosis
06-10-2009, 11:24 PM
1) if your taunt is on cooldown because you use it that often, there is likely another problem, either with your threat making you taunt alot, or because you're using it wrong.
I haven't yet had it happen without my taunt down, but it's happened enough that I started wondering what would I do if my taunt were down.

2) the mobs shouldn't likely be running behind you causing directional issues, because you generally have them facing away from the group, meaning they'd run in front of you to get at the healers...
That's what I was looking for, thanks. I do try to turn bosses that do AoE/cone dmg away from the group, but didn't think to do that with groups of trash, those I'm usually just trying to position in front of me and in my DnD if I laid it. Will pay more attention to positioning trash in such a way that if one escapes it will run off to my side rather than past and behind me.

Kurtosis
06-11-2009, 12:19 AM
I believe there is a very good video up that can greatly help newer tanks understand what i mean by this.
Excellent video, thanks.

uglybbtoo
06-11-2009, 10:55 PM
After rolling my warrior tank after playing pally tank for many years I would still advocate 3 things particually when tanking

1. Wherever safe and possible tank with the mob between you and healer/dps pack. This usually involves a little positioning at start but can be a life saver. First and foremost nothing ever runs behind you everything is forward and you can see and use all your attacks. If you taunt is on CD you can charge a lose add and mocking blow it or shockwave it and then shield slam. My usual manouvere whenever possible is charge in at mob thunderclap, shockwave move past them while stunned turn and start tab shield slamming etc. There are alot of adds with forward only attacks as well and you will find things like forked lightning etc are minimized by turning mobs. The danger in this approach is pats etc coming up behind you but at the end of the day thats all about knowing the mobs in the raid. Certain bosses you can't do this for because it puts the healer to far away but those instances are minimal.


2. Being a tank is an undertaking and it's expensive. You do not go in under def capped, under chanted and gemmed and under consummable prepared. Same is true for healers because for both these roles not doing your job the raid wipes. DPS is the easy role in this game you can go in unprepared uncapped and get away with it just may take longer to kill and hey we can blame the tank/healer if we fail. Tanks also face the biggest repair bills in the game so tanking and being cheap arse isn't going to work.


3. You need thick skin and a sense of humour as tank. The fact is you are going to make mistakes and wipe, other people are going to make bad's and wipe and you may still get the blame (DPS never own up to mistakes). If you can't live with that then start collecting dps gear NOW and respec.

TiptoesDMF
06-12-2009, 12:13 AM
Good stuff guys, thanks. Another question, how do different tanks handle situations when an add drops aggro and gets behind them heading for a healer or dps? I assume you use whatever AoE or directionless threat gen abilities you have, but has anyone ever found themselves in this situation when those abilities are on CD? Can't turn your back on the main group you're tanking, so what then?

As a tank in general, it depends on mob hp and group skill / comp. If dps is able to burn it down before it reaches them, snare it, stun it or kite it while burning it down, I don't really care that much. Applies to friend runs of course.

In pugs, Taunt, Charge+SS, Intervene+SS, run in with Concussion blow. Many ways to have your dps/healer secured. Mocking blow, Challenging Shout. And again, most of the classes have some aggro/threat escaping ability, being it hard reset lik FD or just buying time with snare or stun.