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Thread: How to be a good tank

  1. #1
    Soulwalker
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    Default How to be a good tank

    Rift - How to be a good tank

    The fact that your soul has access to a tanking spec does not make you a tank, it means that you have the *potential* to become a tank.

    There are plenty of class guides for each archetype which go into the details of which skill does what and what the meta build is for tanking, this is not about that. Instead, this will be a general overview of what it takes to become a better than average tank.

    Tanking in Rift is a fun and challenging playstyle that can be quite rewarding when played well. You are the glue that holds a party together and the success (or failure) of your group depends largely on how well you can do your job. Below are some thoughts and tips on tanking in Rift.

    Tanking is not for everyone as the demands on the player can be considerably higher than playing other roles.

    • A tank must be able to multitask – You have to watch your own buffs, mob debuffs, your health, the health of the group, mob positioning relative to the group, your position relative to the mobs, and monitor threat of the mobs…all the while looking out for adds, detrimental environmental effects (don’t stand in fire!), and watching for crucial interrupts. All of this while seamlessly running through your rotation.

    • A tank must be observant – It is the province of the tank to keep an eye on all things but most critically you need to watch for any potential hazards that may befall your group. This can take the form of an add that is beating on your healer or a pack of adds that is coming your way.

    • A tank must be fast – It is all well and good to recognize that there is an add beating on your healer but if it takes you 3 seconds to do something about it, you’ve already wiped… you’re just waiting for it to happen.

    • A tank must be a leader – In many cases the group defers to the tank for leadership. This means you set the pace of whatever you are doing by controlling pulls, knowing where to go, and what to do. This leads to my next point…

    • A tank must be informed – Either through first hand experience or research in advance (videos or witnessing an encounter in a non-tank role) it is expected that the tank knows what to do and when. If you are new to a particular dungeon, raid, encounter, whatever… take the time to do some research online or even better, run through the encounter in a DPS spec so that you can learn the mechanics of the fight before you take on the responsibility of leading your group. In many cases your groupmates may not know what to do and expect direction from the tank so you must not only know your job in an encounter, but you must also know what is expected of every other role.

    • A tank must be dedicated – What I mean by this is that tanking rewards effort more than other classes. If a DPS is casual about their gearing they may be down a bit of damage and the dungeon takes a little longer than usual. An under-geared tank means that either the healer needs to step up to overheal or if that is not possible, lots of wipes can occur. A tank is almost always gear dependent so must invest time in making sure that they have the best gear possible. This means runes, stat food, etc.

    • Being a tank can be stressful – When you are tanking you are assuming the responsibility for the success of your mission. If you are not comfortable with all of the points above, bad things *will* happen which can lead to a less than fun experience. Take the time to assess whether or not you are having fun (this is game, after all) and if not, consider filling a different role.

    Now that is out of the way and you have still decided that tanking is for you, I will get to some tanking tips for Rift.

    • You can’t dodge or block mobs that are not in front of you. You should always be facing the mobs.

    • Consequently, mobs can’t dodge or block damage from behind them so you should always have the mobs with their back to the party

    • Gather up all the mobs to make AOE easier for your DPS, either with a ‘pull’ type skill or by positioning yourself to gather them together without breaking the rules above.

    • Move the mobs as little as possible. Melee DPS in particular can be easily disconnected from the mob with too much positioning. Basically unless you are avoiding environmental effects (fire, poison, etc) or positioning yourself so that you are facing all of the mobs you should not be moving at all. This is an often overlooked but simple fact that can make the difference between someone thinking you are a crappy tank or an amazing one.

    • Communicate to your healer. All of my defensive cooldowns are in macros which announces their use to the party, this way the healer will know that I have used a skill which hopefully clues them in that I am expecting to take considerable damage. A good healer will know what the cooldown does and can adjust their own cooldown usage accordingly. For instance, most healers know that if a rogue uses ‘Defer Death’ that it is a last ditch skill and that there is typically nothing in reserve. That would be the time for the healer to start using their own cooldowns.

    • Use addons to make your job easier. One particular addon is KaruulAlerts. This addon can monitor almost every event in the game and give you a visual cue when certain conditions are met. For rogue tanking I have to monitor a personal buff and also debuffs on the mobs which make my tanking easier. I set up Karuul alerts to tell me when my buff is not up, and have it let me know about 3 seconds in advance of it falling off so that I can work it into my rotation. The same with my debuffs. There is a learning curve to get KA to work for you but it is a necessary part of tanking.

    • Use macros to make your life easier. An example of this is the rogue skill ‘Acquittal’ which temporarily intercepts damage to someone else. Since the healer is a) most likely to need it and b) more critical than dps to keep alive I almost always have to use it on them. That being the case when I get into a group I set the healer as my focus target and then make a macro for ‘cast @focus Acquittal’ which allows me to put the buff on the healer without having to switch targets.

    • Know your limits, and that of your group. When I am tanking for a pug I will start my pulls cautiously and increase if I feel that the group can handle it. You want to ride the fine line between when your healer is actively working but not overburdened keeping you alive.

    • Take a breather. Non-stop pulls can be fun but it is also a drain on your healers mana and the resources of your DPS (charges for sab, mana for mages/clerics, etc). Even a one or two second pause between large pulls can be enough to ‘reset’ things for your party.

    • Know which defensive stats work best for your class; endurance, guard, block, and dodge all work well but knowing which you should prioritize is paramount to the success of your class. A general rule is: endurance > guard > block > dodge for most classes but may vary. Do your homework.

    • A rogue specific tip: your teleports put you at the mob relative to the way you are facing it when you press the button; if you are facing the mob when you blink, you will be right in front of it. Consequently if you have your back to the mob when you blink, you will end up *behind* it. This can save you the trouble of running through the mob (where you are vulnerable for a split second) and immediately put you with your front to the mob and the back of the mob to the party.

    • Cooldowns can’t help you if you are dead. I know a lot of ‘tanks’ that save their cooldowns for when they ‘really need it’. This is wise to a point. If you die with defensives that are not on cooldown, you have failed as a tank. The shorter cd skills (30 seconds or so) are able to be used frequently enough that you should be triggering them every pull.

    • Cooldowns aren’t just for you. There are many encounters where the party/raid will take considerable damage which can overload your healer(s). Using a defensive CD during this time, even if you personally are not low health, let’s your healer know that they can take the time to focus on the group rather than keeping the tank alive. This only works if the healer knows you used a CD so refer to the bit above about announcing your cooldowns to the party/raid.

    More to come as I think of them.

    Feistus
    Last edited by Thrakazog; 04-07-2018 at 05:07 AM.

  2. #2
    Shadowlander mattlow's Avatar
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    Default

    Good advise. I am one of those mediocre tanks thatís working on getting better. If you could share any of the alerts you have set or macros I would appreciate it.

  3. #3
    Soulwalker
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    Hi Mattlow.

    Unfortunately the macros and KaruulAlerts that you use will be class specific and so I will not be able to offer you much advice unless you happen to be a rogue.

    There are usually plenty of guides out there for the tanking souls for each class and typically they have the macros and kalerts that you should be using.

    If you cannot find them or still have questions feel free to post here or find me in game as Feistus and I will do what I can to help you.

  4. #4
    Shadowlander mattlow's Avatar
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    As luck would have it, I am a rogue. Im in my mid 40s now, working towards 50, but want to make sure i have the right alerts and macros set. Any advise is appreciated.

  5. #5
    Shadowlander
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    Apr 2018
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    Would love to tank as a rogue, but the 2 character rule has got me - as a newb to Rift went with Justicar as more 'classic' style. Thanks for the advice though, will look for the add-ons as get higher level

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