Monday, March 16, 2009

What Do You Tank With?

A few weeks back, I had someone in my guild make a comment to me. The general flow of the conversation went something like...

Them: I can't figure out what it is you tank with?
Me: Eh?
Them: Well, (TankX) tanks with their mind - analyzing everything. (TankY) tanks with their gut, going off instinct. (TankZ) tanks with their sense of humor. And I can't place what it is you tank with. I think it may be some combination of the three.

While this is just one person's view of three tanking styles - it does speak to how people approach the game.

Charging into combat with a head full of book knowledge, and perhaps even a rehearsed playbook does great on technical encounters. Malygos, Thaddius, Heigan - mostly predictable fights that focus on one monster or have specific gimmicks - are where this approach shines. When things break down, or where there is an unplanned high degree of chaos, though - you can spend too much time trying erasing and re-writing the plan.

Tossing the Rulebook and tanking on gut instinct is great when there are all sorts of unknowns or random elements. Gothik, Maexxena, OS Drakes or Adds - all sorts of things can go wrong, and you need to be flexible (in plate, nonetheless) to keep things from falling apart. The problem arises when some important factor *needs* to be known ahead of time (some timer or ability that trumps instinct).

And finally - Humor. This one is tough, but I'd say that humor really ties into playing the raid members as much as your playing the monsters. I'll spare giving example fights, because I think that its universally applicable. When all that can be done as a tank, with a monster, is done - the only thing left is to bolster the raid.

I don't think any of the tanks that this person talked about are 100% in any one direction. But being mindful of these mindsets, and consciously shifting myself into one of these modes - has helped give me focus. Just like when you pick out a gear set for the fight your going into, shift your mental stance/form/presence to the appropriate one for the encounter.


Darraxus said...

I would think that I am a cross of all three. It just depends on the situation.

The Renaissance Man said...

I think really the different aspects of tanking that you've listed really each apply stronger than the rest during a specific phase of the pull.

Prior planning is important pre-pull. You should have a good grasp of how you think the mobs will react to the pull, and what needs to be done to kill them.

But once the pull is engaged, there's too many variables to predict perfectly, especially when you throw in the other group members into the mix. You've got to be flexible, and know, on an instinctual level, how to handle each situation.

After the pull, particularly if the pull when worse than it should have, a little humor might help the group from rending itself apart.

Tarsus said...

Personally, I like to tank with a half of scotch and and a playlist full of Dropkick Murphys.

I've heard a shield also helps.


Chad S. said...

The first MT I tanked along side (in MC) claimed to tank better with alcohol.

While I doubted his logic, I can't doubt his success. (Though I do wonder how well he would have done without drinking... Then again, MC for the umpteenth time was an addling experience).

Anonymous said...

roger that, im always tanking stoned. otherwise i would get bored by wow and quit. dont think my tanking performance suffers from it, but my raidleader-performance surely does :)

Aleathea said...

"Just like when you pick out a gear set for the fight your going into, shift your mental stance/form/presence to the appropriate one for the encounter."

That's an interesting concept and one I hadn't considered before. The importance of tuning mentally to each encounter. Definitely food for thought, thanks!