166: My Life As a Tank

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I think every MMO has had they same type of strategy's with tanks and healers. I would like to see an MMO with a new formula, party's that don't depend on tanks and healers.

I always got blamed when I was the tank, even when nobody died! And tanks were always the worst at PvP.

I was the tank for my current guild for a year and a half or so. I've tanked in previous games and previous guilds, too. Although it is part of my personality, I gotta say that the reason I tanked so much is because I was willing to do it and tended to be slow on the dibs. In my case, taking tanking to the realworld is still instinctual but a little foolhardy, which hasn't stopped me. I'm about half the size of the author (or you, the man in the picture who is never living that down).

In my guild, blame usually gets passed to the person who's "fault it was" near as I can figure. When a tank dies, it's healing... when healing or dps dies it's a little murkier. When the tank bungles the pull or positioning, it's his/her fault. When dps pull threat or are unable to competitively put up big enough numbers, it's their fault.

Actually, the picture conversation makes me think of a fairly random question: Where do the pictures for The Escapist come from? The visual style of the magazine is what originally grabbed my attention, back before the layout change.

Yeah, I completely understand wanting to be needed in groups....I grew up as a rogue in WoW. Needless to say, finding pick-ups through any instance was rather depressing. Even in my guild which was made of great people and good players rarely had use for me (I think there were 3 other rogues at the same leveling pace as mine).

What really annoyed me in groups though, was how many warriors considered themselves "dps only". I've even ran into a dozen or so that don't carry shields. So when I got Fitz to 60 and felt content with my endgame experience, the only choice for a new character was a warrior. It took a little time to learn the tanking technique, but once I got it down it was easy. You just have to actually PAY ATTENTION to what's going on....especially to your healers.

Tank ftw! Seriously good article.

Not an MMOG gamer myself but I found the article good and enjoyable
I don't see what the big deal about DPS are it usually works out

Spinwhiz:
Thanks for all your awesome support and feedback guys!

It was a great article anyway, and tapped into something that no one really seems to talk about in an accessible way.

Also, I tried that Apple Pie Shots recipe last night. I think I didn't let it cool enough, though.

Ahem.

I registered just to make this comment:

Well done

That is all.

Thank you for your kind words and support guys! I'm it struck a note for you.

Really nice article. Me like.

You said being a "tank" is boring. Maybe you have only tried too simple games. Sounds like you are only fighting against npcs, so its bound to be boring at some point. Try playing EVE-online, where fighting other players actually gives rewards. Also there is no concept of a player being a tank in pvp since your enemies can choose what they target. So you need to be more clever than them, not just better in one stat.

Thank you again to everyone that read my article. I appreciate all the feedback and look forward to writing another article for The Escapist soon!

I think I am going to have to write a "Part 2" to this. More stuff just keeps popping up IRL!

fucking love the sweet, consistent writing on this one... mm.. my faith in English is shored.

Spinwhiz:
I think I am going to have to write a "Part 2" to this. More stuff just keeps popping up IRL!

You damn well better! Made me sniffle, it did. I almost always play the tank or the healer for the very same reason. I need to do everything I can to help others. I live for helping others, so it is how I play. I'm nowhere near as big as you, but I've always been able to hold my own. And thus, I've always pushed myself to protect others as well. It has rarely ended well, but it's what I struggle for.
Playing the tank is a lot more fun than the healer, so my natural role as a healer is often overrun by that. And the fact that healers normally can't damage for shit, so a tank can solo a lot better. It has changed slightly over the years, but still.

Higurashi:

Spinwhiz:
I think I am going to have to write a "Part 2" to this. More stuff just keeps popping up IRL!

You damn well better! Made me sniffle, it did. I almost always play the tank or the healer for the very same reason. I need to do everything I can to help others. I live for helping others, so it is how I play. I'm nowhere near as big as you, but I've always been able to hold my own. And thus, I've always pushed myself to protect others as well. It has rarely ended well, but it's what I struggle for.
Playing the tank is a lot more fun than the healer, so my natural role as a healer is often overrun by that. And the fact that healers normally can't damage for shit, so a tank can solo a lot better. It has changed slightly over the years, but still.

Thank you very much! I have to say that I agree with you as well. It's not about how big you are, just whether or not you have the guts to stand up to the bad stuff. I feel there are so few of us left.

Spinwhiz:
Thank you very much! I have to say that I agree with you as well. It's not about how big you are, just whether or not you have the guts to stand up to the bad stuff. I feel there are so few of us left.

Indeed there are, and it is saddening. For whatever various reasons we exist, we need to. Paladins protect a cause, warriors fight for what they believe in. Sure, I sound pretentious and nerdy, but we are needed. Not just physically, but to stand up for everyone oppressed. Many would say this is the prime role of some government officials, even. As a hopeless romantic, I guess I'm biased and whatever, but I really think we could use more protectors. Hm... ideas for cybernetic ones pop to mind. I better shake them. It never ends well. Back to supporting people! Continue the quest, brother of the order. It will exist as long as humans do.

(This post was brought to you by a tad of self-irony)

The order of difficulty of activity in WoW I would put like this :
Raid Healing > 5 man tanking > Raid Tanking > 5 man healing > DPS

Also I think tanking grants the leadership role in groups and raids because it's the tank who - as part of the job of controlling and mitigating enemy abilities - is forced to understand them. To the healer it's just compensating for incoming burst, and to the DPS it's just pew pew avoid the fire. Granted exceptional players will understand the fights anyway, but do a PuG and you'll see the average healers and DPS - and for that matter, average tanks, are barely capable of following directions. But when you can have just one good player in a group, if it's the tank, it will be a smooth and easy run - as long as the rest are at that barely competent mark. A bad tank and you can't do anything.

So tanking places your skills under the spotlight more than any other role - though raid healing is more challenging, it's also a shared burden among many players at once, and it's hard to tell individual's skills.

Good tanks know they are of high value, and either get arrogant, or manage to be the most awesome people ever. I think I was awesome for a good while then got pretty arrogant. Then I got bitter about how much I was carrying other people. So, I retired my tank character at the end of Burning Crusade, and I think that that contributed to my lack of desire to continue in Wrath. Though I told myself I didn't want to do all the work of tanking, I really can't be satisfied just DPSing on my hunter. It's too simplistic.

Ultimately, I like being able to save a group, even if at the same time I'm bitter about spending my efforts on behalf of people who put far less effort into it than I.

Spinwhiz:
Ugh, I am never going to live this picture down am I?

=D

I specifically remember hanging out at a local bar one night with some friends when a fight broke out right next to us. Without thinking of my own safety, I pulled my friends who were near the fight around me and put myself between the fight and them so they wouldn't get hurt.

I have had very similar reactions out there in meat space as well, that event specifically made me think of others I have been in where I purposefully place myself in a particular spot to protect others because I know I can roll with the punches.

You have my admiration sir. I would have and have in the past, gone after people like the one you described having much rage towards as a young man when your mom also protected you by holding you back. You may be a Paladin but I end up being a Monk of the same alignment. Now all we need is a cleric and we are set!

Man you sound like a hero to me alright. I've had a fair fling with tanking. The exhilaration of being the MT when you down a progression boss is something that just cannot be described. Being needed, I have realised, is one of the things that I find the most deeply satisfying. Through the bad times and the good, 24 people yelling at you for repair bills when the net disconnects mid-fight, being a MT is an experience unparalleled in MMO.

respect x

Just an update, I made a tank in Champions Online...should be fun. lol

Spinwhiz:
Just an update, I made a tank in Champions Online...should be fun. lol

They start tanking so fast *sniffle*

I played a tank on Guild Wars for 3 years and loved it. anyone for sorrows furnace 5 man? with a decent bonder behind you Warriors were nigh unkillable.
Also old school Droks running before factions, when the warrior was undisputed king of running..... then came the perma sins and the world got a little bit darker for everyone

Gaming definately needs more tanks and healers. Can't speak for the WoW (I've avoided that so far), but I've done a fair bit of D&D, and it's the same there - everyone wants to be the big boomstick, and very few want to make sure the boomsticks don't get squicked. (I usually end up as the cleric, and tell people "Stay within 30' of me if you want to live.")

I ALWAYS end up tanking. My first main on WoW was a druid tank, in the BC days. Then it was a warrior tank, and before I quit about 3 weeks ago it was a DK frost tank. However I don't have the same instincts in real life. I'd like to, but I just don't have the balls. I think the "tank" character is the kinda person I would like to be in real life

anyGould:
Gaming definately needs more tanks and healers. Can't speak for the WoW (I've avoided that so far), but I've done a fair bit of D&D, and it's the same there - everyone wants to be the big boomstick, and very few want to make sure the boomsticks don't get squicked. (I usually end up as the cleric, and tell people "Stay within 30' of me if you want to live.")

I am wondering how they are going to work it in SWTOR. A particular Jedi perhaps? Hmmm.... Regardless I'll be a tank in that too.

Yeah tanking is definitely one of the more boring aspects of MMOs, especially when you get good enough that no matter what you're up against you do your job with little more than a /faceroll every now and then. Tanks also do take the blame 95% of the time so unless the healer or dps is just absolutely retarded and everyone else realizes it then you're going to take the blame if things go wrong, and as a tank that mindset rubs off on you and when things do go wrong you feel bad because you weren't good enough. So what if the dps and healer were pulling adds left and right and the healer blew his mana away like a cheap whore on a lonely prom night, you should've been good enough to tank it. But I think that's the kind of person that makes the best tank. The one who views the tank position as that of a heroic one; you're always up there on the front lines facing down the enemy, keeping the others safe from harm, the entire group depending on you to make sure things go smoothly. So even if it was a thankless position when the call arises there will always be a hero who will step forth to defend the people's will and see it come to fruition.

So while I say boring it also has its own excitement for those who enjoy it.

Spinwhiz:
My Life As a Tank

"Looking back into my MMOG past, a pattern emerges: I've always been a tank. EverQuest? Paladin. City of Heroes? Ice Tanker. And now in EverQuest 2, Guardian. I played other classes too, but they were always just a diversion by comparison.

"I can't remember the last time being the main tank could be considered fun. So why do I do it? Because I'm a nice person or I'm a sucker - either way, I can't say 'no.' And maybe, because deep down somewhere, it's nice to be needed."

Read Full Article

That was a really insightful article. I have always wondered why I need to be the tank. I used to play WoW (I'm not sure if you have played it or your opinions of it, but I'm assuming you have a basic knowledge of it) and I played as a Feral Druid. And while a Druid is the most versatile class (I enjoy being versatile), I specialized in tanking.

But oddly enough, I had so much fun playing as a Hunter (DPS) because I like the concept of being able to live off the wilderness (that's just the lore of the class obviously. Also note that druids also live in the wilderness). I might have had more fun playing as a Hunter, but the thing was and still is (I'm considering going back to the game when Cataclysm comes out) that I NEEDED to be the tank. I couldn't not be the tank. It just doesn't feel right to me when I'm raiding or just in a PUG. So I stuck with Druid rather than Hunter because of my desire to tank.

So thank you for the insight. I suppose I understand this unexplainable need to be the tank now.

Edit: And I would have to agree with you, it does stem from personality traits in real life. I'm not one to let some form of injustice slip by without a confrontation. Keep up the good work, and keep up the "real life tanking" haha. I will too :)

zenoaugustus:

Spinwhiz:
My Life As a Tank

"Looking back into my MMOG past, a pattern emerges: I've always been a tank. EverQuest? Paladin. City of Heroes? Ice Tanker. And now in EverQuest 2, Guardian. I played other classes too, but they were always just a diversion by comparison.

"I can't remember the last time being the main tank could be considered fun. So why do I do it? Because I'm a nice person or I'm a sucker - either way, I can't say 'no.' And maybe, because deep down somewhere, it's nice to be needed."

Read Full Article

That was a really insightful article. I have always wondered why I need to be the tank. I used to play WoW (I'm not sure if you have played it or your opinions of it, but I'm assuming you have a basic knowledge of it) and I played as a Feral Druid. And while a Druid is the most versatile class (I enjoy being versatile), I specialized in tanking.

But oddly enough, I had so much fun playing as a Hunter (DPS) because I like the concept of being able to live off the wilderness (that's just the lore of the class obviously. Also note that druids also live in the wilderness). I might have had more fun playing as a Hunter, but the thing was and still is (I'm considering going back to the game when Cataclysm comes out) that I NEEDED to be the tank. I couldn't not be the tank. It just doesn't feel right to me when I'm raiding or just in a PUG. So I stuck with Druid rather than Hunter because of my desire to tank.

So thank you for the insight. I suppose I understand this unexplainable need to be the tank now.

Edit: And I would have to agree with you, it does stem from personality traits in real life. I'm not one to let some form of injustice slip by without a confrontation. Keep up the good work, and keep up the "real life tanking" haha. I will too :)

I'm glad you could relate to the article and thanks for the compliment. I'm actually surprised at the amount of people who feel the same way we do. Maybe I'm on to something big! lol

Spinwhiz:

I'm glad you could relate to the article and thanks for the compliment. I'm actually surprised at the amount of people who feel the same way we do. Maybe I'm on to something big! lol

Maybe you are onto something big. I really feel the same way about tanking. My main is a Paladin in World of Warcraft, and I've done everything you can do as the class pretty much. Nothing, though, quite matches up to the thrill of tanking. Nothing matches the rush I get of just charging headlong into a cave with nine or twenty four other people behind me, staring down and standing toe to toe with some twenty foot tall monstrosity. It's a lot of fun to just trade blows with a goliath.

The moment I was most proud of, though, was the first kill my old guild ever managed of Kel'Thuzad in Naxxramas-25. I was one of the two off-tanks we had. Through the fight, these four Crypt Lords that hit like dump trucks with rockets on the sides spawn. When KT was down to about 35%, the other off-tank died. Two Crypt Lords were about to run free through my entire raid. Somehow, I managed to taunt both of them and now had four Crypt Lords beating on me for about a minute and a half. It was pretty awesome watching my health bar drop in huge chunks, then get restored. I blew every healing cooldown I had to try and ease the load on my healers and then, finally, Kel'Thuzad fell. That was badass. My whole guild cheered over Ventrilo. I don't think I've ever had a smile that big on my face.

On the other hand, though, there are tanks out there who are just selfish. They don't want to be in the spotlight out of some need to protect or help or do something helpful. There are just as many (if not more) tanks out there that want the spotlight for the sake of the spotlight alone. As a chance to say "Look how awesome I am!" That's not to say that, at some level, all of us who main-tank (or tank at all) don't enjoy that. It's just to say that some tanks are tanking for the same reason as the majority of nukers out there DPS.

Epictank of Wintown:

Spinwhiz:

I'm glad you could relate to the article and thanks for the compliment. I'm actually surprised at the amount of people who feel the same way we do. Maybe I'm on to something big! lol

Maybe you are onto something big. I really feel the same way about tanking. My main is a Paladin in World of Warcraft, and I've done everything you can do as the class pretty much. Nothing, though, quite matches up to the thrill of tanking. Nothing matches the rush I get of just charging headlong into a cave with nine or twenty four other people behind me, staring down and standing toe to toe with some twenty foot tall monstrosity. It's a lot of fun to just trade blows with a goliath.

The moment I was most proud of, though, was the first kill my old guild ever managed of Kel'Thuzad in Naxxramas-25. I was one of the two off-tanks we had. Through the fight, these four Crypt Lords that hit like dump trucks with rockets on the sides spawn. When KT was down to about 35%, the other off-tank died. Two Crypt Lords were about to run free through my entire raid. Somehow, I managed to taunt both of them and now had four Crypt Lords beating on me for about a minute and a half. It was pretty awesome watching my health bar drop in huge chunks, then get restored. I blew every healing cooldown I had to try and ease the load on my healers and then, finally, Kel'Thuzad fell. That was badass. My whole guild cheered over Ventrilo. I don't think I've ever had a smile that big on my face.

On the other hand, though, there are tanks out there who are just selfish. They don't want to be in the spotlight out of some need to protect or help or do something helpful. There are just as many (if not more) tanks out there that want the spotlight for the sake of the spotlight alone. As a chance to say "Look how awesome I am!" That's not to say that, at some level, all of us who main-tank (or tank at all) don't enjoy that. It's just to say that some tanks are tanking for the same reason as the majority of nukers out there DPS.

I totally agree with you. There are some people who play tanks that really just want an ego boost and that is all but from what I've seen, they usually wash out as well. I'm met quite a few who raid a lot but keep jumping to different guilds because of their attitude, regardless of how good they are.

I may have to propose a part 2 of this article. Perhaps do some more research and include some other classes. Hmm...the possibilities of what I may find!

Spinwhiz:

Epictank of Wintown:
[quote="Spinwhiz" post="6.71030.4879300"]

I'm glad you could relate to the article and thanks for the compliment. I'm actually surprised at the amount of people who feel the same way we do. Maybe I'm on to something big! lol

I may have to propose a part 2 of this article. Perhaps do some more research and include some other classes. Hmm...the possibilities of what I may find!

I do think there is an interesting psycology behind the kind of characters people are drawn to. For my part I was always drawn to the spellcaster, the "keeping out of trouble while doing damage", particularly in Guild Wars. In hindsight I probably built my character rather selfishly, I would sacrifice damage dealing for protective spells, probably as I often didnt trust the healer to keep an eye on me while others were taking damage. To extend this metaphor out into real life is not quite as easy as a Paladin. Perhaps I remain at a distance, fine when the focus is elsewhere but goes to pieces if the spotlight is on me.... my that doesnt sound like me atall ;)

Tanking in a real life sense, I can relate to this totally. I suppose you and me don't differ on this aspect.

When it comes to MMORPG, I cannot stand being a tank. It's boring and doesn't thrill me like being a support class. A druid or healer for example. Something that offers defensive and impressive offensive capabilities, preferably mixing sword and spell alike. A paladin I suppose.

However, I applaud you for willing to endure this. In dragon Age for example, I never put myself as the tank, but a mage tank or a supportive caster. That's what I love, helping people from the behind, in the shadows.

It is kind of disheartening to see so many people bashing dps classes by stating they are easy mode. I for one make it a point to play a dps class and gear them for defense stats as best I can.

I have played my share of MMOs *EQ2, CoH, WoW, Lotro, GW and Aion* and I have often received compliments on my attentiveness during combat. When the tank pulls incorrectly I am that so called "dps noob" that holds the excess mob(s) while things settle down. When the tank disconnects randomly or falls asleep during a late night raid, I make damn sure I am 2nd on the aggro meter so I pick up the slack. When the CC classes do their thing I am the guy who taunts right after so when the CC breaks the mob doesn't beat you into oblivion. Most tanks, even the good ones, do not do that from what I have seen.

Whether it is my rogue holding aggro through sheer damage alone on multiple targets or my Captain *lotro* going toe to toe with a endgame boss cause the tank went down, I come prepared to do more than just stand back watching the group go down when things go wrong. Considering most of the tanks I have played with from WoW can't tank to save their lives in other less forgiving games, I cannot understand how it seems to be a foregone conclusion saying DPS players have it simple. I can assure you, no one playing to win in a difficult situation has it easy, no matter what class you are playing. Especially if you are in melee range.

Gotta love being the tank :P I'm the exact same way as you man. I tank to be the protector of the group, the one that will take it all when it looks bleak. I always get a thrill when my Offtank goes down and I got it all on me! :P

I play a Paladin on World of Warcraft. Good tanking fun. :P
http://www.wowarmory.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Thrall&cn=Zalein

Ah, how I love thy tanking buddies, a fellow tank here. I never felt like anybody was as important as the tank and healers (God I love you healers), my best friend is always healer and I've always been the tank. I think it stems back to my childhood, where I was always up to do anything and put myself in danger before other people, and my willingness to never go down. About a year ago some stupid kids tried to mug me, that's when I discovered my inner tank, Cause normally Id be afraid of people with knives, but not a tank, a tank would much rather fight or intimidate...Intimidation works well. But I'm only like 6"1 and 180 pounds (not done growing,was always a late bloomer) but its the willingness to tank that makes you a tank, not always the ability. Fantastic Article though cant wait to see a second edition

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