My main character is a tank. He’s pretty well-geared, can handle the Hour of Twilight instances without much bother, and shrugs off most of the damage from the regular heroics without breaking a sweat.
I also like to think I’m a good tank player – I keep aggro, I get mobs facing away from the group, and I use my defensive abilities sensibly to make the healer’s life as easy as possible. I even pull fast enough that most DPS don’t get impatient!
Recently though I’ve been playing much more on my rogue, and have noticed a few things I also do on my tank that I didn’t realise were so important:
This one is simple: if you have aggro, and all the mobs are in front if you, stop moving. You don’t need to, and when you do, the mobs will try to follow you. When lag is involved, they will often move very erratically, making life much more difficult for melee DPS players.
Playing on my rogue, I’ve been grouped with numerous tanks who just seem unable to keep still for more than two seconds, even when they have aggro on a pack and there really is no need to move around. They bounce around the place, dragging the mobs in various directions for no apparent reason.
I know sometimes you do have to move, perhaps because a mob is behind you, or new ones have turned up and are eating the healer. That’s fine, but try to keep your movements to a minimum, and if possible, move in a straight line. One larger movement is preferable to several small adjustments, too.
Move the boss away from the bad
This one comes up a lot on Peroth’arn in Well of Eternity: the boss puts a circle of fire under a player, and they need to move out of it. Simple, right? Not so much when that player is a melee and the tank doesn’t move the boss away from the fire – as a rogue, I need to stand behind my target to do my job properly, but so many tanks just think that because they’re not standing in fire, everything is fine. Never mind that the boss itself is standing in a large circle of green flames, so the melee can’t attack it without getting burned.
Sure, I could stand in front of the boss, next to the tank, but that’s generally a bad idea for two reasons: one, bosses (especially dragons) often have a cleave-like ability which hits anything in front of them, and two, by standing in front of the boss my damage output is reduced because I keep getting parried. Just as a DPS player pulling or getting aggro makes the tank’s job harder, having to stand in front of a boss (or being unable to attack at all) makes the DPS player’s life harder.
There’s other types of Bad, too, like little circles of light that heal the mobs, or smoke bombs, and so on. The tank needs to move the mob/boss well away from these things so the DPS can do what they’re there to do.
Or in other words
Think about the needs of the whole party, not just your own survival. Look at where the players in your group are standing, and think about what you can do to make their life easier.