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Tips for Newbie Tanks

I’ll get to the subject in a second, but first I’d like to play a little catch-up as far as what I’ve been up to in the past… well… ever.

  • Work. Yeah, blah blah RL sucks. Pros and cons of course. I work twelve-hour shifts, so when I’m done I’m pretty much ready to either sleep or go to the gym/go for a walk. Active, get the blood moving.
  • However, I’ve also been making gold. I’m not online often, so I’m using the tips from my last post and slowly but surely get another WoW token. Or two.
  • I’ve also been leveling my Horde Warrior alt. I spent the gold to upgrade the plate heirloom gear, but I’ve only been using him when Invasions have been active.

Which brings me to Ding 110!

I did all my leveling as a Prot Warrior. After reaching 110, I wanted to complete his Warrior Campaign. Part of my OCD when it comes to leveling alts, I suppose. So when I had to run Maw of Souls, I did what I usually did. I queued up as DPS.

“What? Why?” you might ask. Why queue up as damage when I’ve leveled to cap as a tank? Actually, most of you might not ask that. I did it for the same reason most people don’t, despite leveling as a tank themselves.

Criticism.

When you’re tanking in a pug, you’re arguably the second-most important role behind the healer. It’s your job to pull, keep the mobs from attacking the squishy other characters, and keep the group progressing at a rate that’s fast enough for the DPS, slow enough for the healer to keep up, and just the right pace to be able to handle the adds.  If you fail at any of those duties, in the eyes of others in the group, you’ll hear about it (and it won’t be in a format that most would consider “constructive”). Or you won’t hear about it at all and just find yourself kicked from the group.

So I took the easy way out. Wait time, 35 minutes.

“Screw it,” I sighed. I swallowed my fear/pride, braced myself for insults, and queued as Tank.

Boom. Right in the group.

Anyone who’s pugged knows that it’s usually very quiet. People just want to get through it. It’s not social. It’s a necessary evil that must be tolerated. So I looked for any kind of chat that popped up while I tanked.  We went from start to finish without a single character death. We went at a decent pace. I finished the dungeon, got my drop for the Campaign, and didn’t get kicked.

It also gave me a bit of confidence. I didn’t need a pat on the head. I just didn’t want a kick in the ass. All in all, it was a successful experience. More importantly, I learned a few things that helped the experience. Maybe they can help you too, should you want to take the plunge yourself as a newbie tank.

  • Know the dungeon. I had run the dungeon, most of them actually, as DPS. So I knew where to go, and what was coming. When I went through as a tank, I didn’t need someone to show me. I used past experience, as well as the map, to get through without a bunch of waiting around and trying the patience of the rest of the group.
  • Know your limits. Maybe you’re twinked out a bit. Perhaps you have some crafted gear waiting for you at level cap. Even if you can jack up your iLevel to the point where you qualify for Heroics, stay in the shallow end of the pool. Run Normals. You’ll find them more forgiving for your first or second time as a tank. Even if you out gear the dungeon, you can still run it for the experience and confidence-building exercise of it.
  • Know your add-ons. Deadly Boss Mods are great when you’re tanking because when the boss is about to do something, it’ll let you know so you can react to it. If adds spawn, it’ll tell you so you can deal with them. GTFO is good for letting you know that the crap you’re standing it is killing you, and you should GTFO of it before the healer smacks you.
  • Be Honest. First, I’ll be honest. When I tanked, I didn’t tell the group it was my first time. I’d run the dungeon enough times that I made a judgment call. If I could navigate it, I didn’t feel the need to let others know it was my first time tanking in a group. However, if you aren’t overly familiar with a dungeon, be upfront about it with the group. They might be understanding. Or they might kick you. In either case, at least you’ll keep the criticism to a minimum.

I’ve got another DK that I’m considering taking some time to level. He’s only 60 or so, but I may strictly tank with him to get him leveled a bit quicker. Have you had any luck as a new tank? Let me know in the comments below if you have any suggestions for someone who is taking the tanking plunge.

 

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