First off, let me dissuade you.
There are some necessities that come with taking on a tanking role, and they are not for the faint-hearted. Or sane. Or the responsibility-adverse.
“What’s that you say about responsibility?”
Let me explain. It started like this:
Back in the black-and-green days of text-based MUDs, people tried to figure out how to work together to kill monsters they couldn’t kill on their own. Everyone stood in the same imaginary space, staring at
“Exits are: (N)orth, (E)ast, (W)est, and (D)ungeon“
and wondering who was going to go in first.
So they turned to the character allowed to wear a big shield and heavy armor and said, “Umm… how about you go in first, and we’ll follow you?”
So the tank does a ‘look’ through the (D) entrance and says “Okay, count to three after I move, come in, and kill the Goblin Summoner first.”
“Why him?” someone in the group asks.
There’s a virtual shrug. “He sounds like a spellcaster,” says the guy in the armor, and (D)own he goes.
That’s where it started. That’s where tanks started being the guy who figured out who had to die first; which order to clear a dungeon in; where people needed to stand, and when people needed to move.
Sure, a group doesn’t have to be led by the tank. The weight of every successful trash push and every failed boss fight doesn’t have to land squarely on their shoulders. Every failure is the group’s failure, right? Yes, of course: we’re a team, and we succeed or fail together.
That’s what tanks learn to say, but when the night ends and the group disbands, this is the only real rule you’ll remember:
Success came because of great healing and great damage-dealers; failure came because you couldn’t do your job.
Harsh? Sure. Absolutely.
When a group gets wiped out, everyone experiences it and tosses out theories about what happened and why, but the tank is the one that feels guilty for letting the party die.
What’s that? The healer does too? It was the healer that let the DPS guy die when he pulled aggro? It was the healer that aggroed a patrolling mob and got squished? It was the healer that let the tank die, which let the bad guys run amok and kill everyone else?
Before any of that, it was the tank that lost aggro to the DPS guy; who didn’t see the patrolling mob that came in after the fight started; who let the healer get hit AT ALL. It was the tank that wasn’t tough enough — that needed more healing than than the healer could provide.
True? Maybe, maybe not. But that’s what we think. Most of us.
Are there tanks out there who don’t think that way? Yeah, probably.
But I wouldn’t group with em.
The math is simple, and works out like this: the tank players that feel responsible are the ones that care.
The other guys? They just like being durable.
That’s not a tank — that’s a turtle.
A tank does homework. They don’t want their group to get annihilated, so they figure out ideas on how to approach it differently next time. Maybe if we start in the opposite corner. Maybe if we mez the adds. Maybe if I turn the guy a certain way…
Once they figure out a way that works, they remember it, so of course it’s the people like that that are calling the shots when things get rolling. To keep as far away from that gut-punch feeling when everyone bites it, you learn what the bad guys are gonna do; you figure out who to mez; you learn which wounds need to be removed immediately and which ones can be safely ignored.
You want to tank?
Think about it. Be damn sure.
There are a lot of other classes out there you could try. They kill stuff faster. They heal stuff better. They probably get sexier attack animations.
Tanking? It just may not be that much fun for you.
All that stuff sounded okay? Sounded like something you could handle, or even enjoy?
Come back tomorrow — we’ll talk some more.