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Filed under: Tank Talk

Tank Talk: should the main tank position still exist?


Tank Talk is WoW Insider's raid-tanking column, promising you an exciting and educational look at the world of getting the stuffing thrashed out of you in a 10- or 25-man raid. The column will be rotated amongst Matthew Rossi (Warrior/Paladin), Adam Holisky (Warrior), Michael Gray (Paladin), and myself (Druid). Our aim is to use this column to debate and discuss class differences, raid-tanking strategies, tips, tricks, and news concerning all things meatshieldish. Today, dear readers, we might make ourselves hated by the entire population of undisputed, royal-bloodlined, main tanks, but that's OK. We are used to staying at the top of someone's hate list.

One of the accepted facts of raiding life used to be that the main tank was the guild's gearing priority. As Adam Holisky's observed, "Everything that happens in the raid eventually makes it back to the tank." Healers undergeared? You're screwed. DPS incompetent or just badly grouped? Buh-bye. Random number generator wreaking all manner of havoc on healer crits and boss parries? Thar be the graveyard. A truly cynical mind would opine that the tank should be as well-geared as possible if only because it makes it easier for the raid to forget that person existed as anything other than a rapidly-advancing line on the Omen screen that: a). always stayed above their own, and b). never died. There are enough random variables while the raid's learning a new boss that the tank needs to be eliminated as one, and in vanilla WoW that was certainly the goal. Raid and offtank damage on most encounters hadn't scaled to the point where you could make a compelling argument in favor of gear equilibrium across your tanking roster. What was the point of something like that when 95% of the damage in a fight was going to be absorbed by a single person?

That changed.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Features, The Burning Crusade, Bosses, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Tank Talk

Tank Talk: All about aggro

Tank Talk is WoW Insider's tanking column, promising you an exciting and educational look at the world of getting the stuffing thrashed out of you in a 10- or 25-man raid. The column is rotated amongst Matthew Rossi (Warrior/Paladin), Adam Holisky (Warrior), Michael Gray (Paladin), and Allison Robert (Druid). Our aim is to use this column to debate and discuss class differences, raid-tanking strategies, tips, tricks, and news concerning all things meatshieldish.

This week's Tank Talk is a little bit of a public service. Recently huddled around the ticker-tapes of WoW Insider, we came to realize that your intrepid Insider lacked a particular resource: a basic guide to aggro.

Certainly, this most important of subjects is old hat to us meatshields ... but maybe not quite so much to everyone around us. And gosh, who better to talk about this subject than your devoted Tank Talk tanks!

And, really. If your team doesn't know aggro, then you're going to have a hell of a time as a tank. So, let's Tank Talk about aggro. What it is, where it comes from, why you want it, and why they don't want it.


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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Instances, Guides, Tank Talk

Tank Talk: The first kill


Tank Talk is WoW Insider's new raid-tanking column, promising you an exciting and educational look at the world of getting the stuffing thrashed out of you in a 10- or 25-man raid. The column will be rotated amongst Matthew Rossi (Warrior/Paladin), Adam Holisky (Warrior), Michael Gray (Paladin), and Allison Robert (Druid). Our aim is to use this column to debate and discuss class differences, raid-tanking strategies, tips, tricks, and news concerning all things meatshieldish.

The nature of tanking is to be a component in an overall strategy. In classic WoW, levels 1 to 60, it often seemed like the center of attention, as boss encounters were often 'tank and spank' variations that involved having one tank hold a boss on him or her while the healers kept the tank upright through the boss' attacks and the DPS players burned it down. There were a few fights that broke this mold... fights where a player would become a bomb and have to run away, fights with giant eyestalks and sweeping beams that had to be avoided that were as much choreography as encounter... but as time has progressed encounter design, especially for raid encounters (although even five man fights have been diversified) has taken this mechanic and stretched it into whole new shapes. While there are still bosses who need to be primarily tanked by one person (Naj'entus, Azgalor to name just two) even these fights tend to incorporate new mechanics that challenge the raid and break the monotony of a 'tank him here, the raid stands here" fight. Other fights require several tanks to hold different aspects of the encounter, whether it be Azgalor's infernals or the multiple tanks (my guild uses three, some only use two) needed to ensure smooth mitigation of the Hurtful Strikes on Supremus.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Instances, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Bosses, Tank Talk

Tank Talk: The irresistible fight


Tank Talk is WoW Insider's raid-tanking column, promising you an exciting and educational look at the world of getting the stuffing thrashed out of you in a 10- or 25-man raid. The column will be rotated amongst Matthew Rossi (Warrior/Paladin), Adam Holisky (Warrior), Michael Gray (Paladin), and Allison Robert (Druid). Our aim is to use this column to debate and discuss class differences, raid-tanking strategies, tips, tricks, and news concerning all things meatshieldish.

Since Tank Talk began, we've gotten a few questions from people about raid fights that require tanks to use resist gear. With all of Burning Crusade's raid attunements now removed, and with lots of guilds testing the waters in Tier 5 and Tier 6 before Wrath hits, I figure now's as good a time as any to discuss what resist sets you're going to want if your guild is intent on progression. The resist gear issue is nowhere near as dire as it was in vanilla WoW (Molten Core, anyone?) and in general the raid as a whole rarely needs to worry.

Tanks are special. But you knew that already, didn't you?

This guide covers all of the existing 10-man and 25-man content in the game outside of Sunwell Plateau:

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warlock, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight, Tank Talk

Tank Talk: Building and keeping your tanking corps, Part II

Tank Talk is WoW Insider's new raid-tanking column, promising you an exciting and educational look at the world of getting the stuffing thrashed out of you in a 10- or 25-man raid. The column will be rotated amongst Matthew Rossi (Warrior/Paladin), Adam Holisky (Warrior), Michael Gray (Paladin), and Allison Robert (Druid). Our aim is to use this column to debate and discuss class differences, raid-tanking strategies, tips, tricks, and news concerning all things meatshieldish.

This week in Tank Talk I'm covering the various stages a tank exists in during their time in a guild. Yesterday in Part I of the column I talked about the recruitment and applicant stages. These stages help clarify the beginning life of a tank within a guild. While talking about what these stages are and what they mean to the tank, I also covered how the guild can keep them happy while ensuring the best tanking possible is done.

The job of keeping a tank happy is arguably unique task when compared to non-tanks in that they are the ones which everything eventually comes back to in the game. If a ranged DPS dies, they're going to feel it in a longer encounter. If a healer dies they'll notice the healing start to lack. Finding a way to communicate everything to a tank and taking in their unique situations can be a challenge, but it is a necessary one.

Lets resume our look at the last few stages of a tank's life within a guild, starting with the raider tank stage.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Raiding, Tank Talk

Tank Talk: Building and keeping your tanking corps, Part I

Tank Talk is WoW Insider's new raid-tanking column, promising you an exciting and educational look at the world of getting the stuffing thrashed out of you in a 10- or 25-man raid. The column will be rotated amongst Matthew Rossi (Warrior/Paladin), Adam Holisky (Warrior), Michael Gray (Paladin), and Allison Robert (Druid). Our aim is to use this column to debate and discuss class differences, raid-tanking strategies, tips, tricks, and news concerning all things meatshieldish.

This week on Tank Talk I'd like to step outside the technical aspects of being a tank and focus more on the psychosocial side of things. In particular I want to look at what happens when a tank is introduced into a tanking corps of a new guild, how to keep current tanks around, and how to deal with all those old tanks that have been in the guild forever.

For lack of a better phrase, I'll call the time from when a tank joining the guild until their eventual status as "god of all things tank" the life span of a tank. And perhaps the most important part of a tanks life is the new part, and it's something that I've been on both sides of the coin – the one doing the inviting, and the one being invited. Each is equally exciting. When joining a new guild I had not only the opportunity to see new content and progress to new heights, but also an opportunity to improve my skill and focus my ability to tank a mean game. And when I became class lead and eventually the guild's leader, I gained an opportunity to help new tanks become acquainted with our style of game play and watch them succeed and excel within the guild.

I like to look at there being mainly fives stages of a tank's life within a guild: Recruitment, Applicant, Raider, Senior Tank, and Mentor. Let's take a look at each of these and see how people in various stages can help usher a new tank into a guild's tanking corpse while keeping the old tanks around and happy. Since this is a long subject, today I'll cover the recruitment and applicant stages in a tank's life, with the raider, senior tank, and mentor stages coming in the second installment tomorrow.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Tank Talk

Tank Talk: Great power and great responsibility


Tank Talk is WoW Insider's new raid-tanking column, promising you an exciting and educational look at the world of getting the stuffing thrashed out of you in a 10- or 25-man raid. The column will be rotated amongst Matthew Rossi (Warrior/Paladin), Adam Holisky (Warrior), Michael Gray (Paladin), and Allison Robert (Druid). Our aim is to use this column to debate and discuss class differences, raid-tanking strategies, tips, tricks, and news concerning all things meatshieldish.

Welcome to another installment of Tank Talk.

So far we've covered a lot of ground in this column. Allison covered the grim realities of tanking and the constant battle between making yourself easier to heal and generating threat, and Michael Gray covered why he loves tanking. So now it' s my turn to discuss tanking in raids, the why's and wherefores. I'm going to cover the social aspects of tanking in a raid, what you might be expected to do.

They might ask you to tell them what to do.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Tank Talk

Tank Talk: I love tank

Tank Talk is WoW Insider's raid-tanking column, promising you an exciting and educational look at the world of getting the stuffing thrashed out of you in a 10- or 25-man raid. The column will be rotated amongst Matthew Rossi (Warrior/Paladin), Adam Holisky (Warrior), Michael Gray (Paladin), and Allison Robert (Druid). Our aim is to use this column to debate and discuss class differences, strategies, tips, tricks, and news concerning all things meatshieldish. That's what we said we were doing -- and by golly, I'm sticking to it.

Welcome back to Tank Talk. I'm your Paladin tank. I like shields, consecration, and beer. This is our third week of Tank Talk, and we're in a "things that apply to all of us" phase -- your Tank-centric writers are getting loosened up, having a little dialogue about what we're all up to, what we all think about things. Things that tanks think about -- repairs, threat, and more repairs.

Allison started us off with some discussion about questions to which you should have answers before you pick up your shield and paw. She also helped us out last week with some chat about the angels on our shoulders - the optimist guy, and the pessimist guy. But I don't want us to get off to a too-dim start. It seems a little gloomy.

I want to talk this week about the fundamental point of our column, our Raison d'être -- why we tank.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Features, Death Knight, Tank Talk

Tank Talk: The better (and lesser) angels of our nature


Tank Talk continues this week with one requisite "Why does my ingame life have to suck so hard?" story in deference to a point made by commenters on our first column. We will then take a look at the most fundamental decision you will encounter as a raiding tank -- and one you are likely to make, and then re-make, on just about every boss encounter in the game.

There is a Druid on my server who messages me almost daily asking me to come tank his heroics. What annoys me is not being asked to tank per se, but that he, too, is a feral Druid. His gear isn't as good as mine simply because he hasn't raided past Magtheridon, but he's sitting on at least three of the better pieces of Tier 4, crafted epics, and several of the badge pieces that I'm still using to tank Tier 6. At a matter of fact, with the advent of two different badge vendors and badge drops from 10-man and 25-man bosses, his stats are significantly better than the ones I had tanking most of Tier 5. This guy literally has the gear to do just about anything in the game short of the more advanced content in Black Temple and Sunwell Plateau, and I used to point to him with no small measure of Druidic pride as proof of what a little elbow grease could accomplish.

But he still wants me to come tank for him.

I started getting irritated with the constant begging at one point and asked him, "How can you possibly have any difficulty getting groups? Everybody in LFG is looking for a tank, and your gear is excellent."

At his computer, I'm sure he was shrugging. "You do it faster than I do."

"I really don't. Just get some good DPS and you'll be fine."

And then the truth came out: "Well, I don't really like tanking. I'd rather DPS."

Ah.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Features, Raiding, Factions, Classes, Death Knight, Tank Talk

Tank Talk: Do you feel lucky, punk?


Tank Talk is WoW Insider's new raid-tanking column, promising you an exciting and educational look at the world of getting the stuffing thrashed out of you in a 10- or 25-man raid. The column will be rotated amongst Matthew Rossi (Warrior/Paladin), Adam Holisky (Warrior), Michael Gray (Paladin), and myself (Druid). Our aim is to use this column to debate and discuss class differences, raid-tanking strategies, tips, tricks, and news concerning all things meatshieldish. At least, that's what the others said they were doing. I intend to use it mostly as a soapbox to complain. Absolute power tends to......something something.

Welcome to Tank Talk. I am your bear Druid hostess for this week, with a topic that occurred to me while reading a recent article here on the site. Eliah Hecht wrote that his guild is facing a not-uncommon tank shortage and that he has considered the possibility of leveling a tanking class to 70 before Wrath, or tanking on a Death Knight afterwards. A number of people on my server and in my guild have talked about doing the same thing, or switching mains once Wrath hits. With so many people playing Death Knights, I think it's very possible that more people will discover they enjoy -- or at least, don't mind -- tanking, and may seek to do so in a raid environment without necessarily knowing what they've really signed up for.

From those of us who have tanked raid content in vanilla WoW or BC, here are the 10 questions you'll want to ask yourself if you're considering the possibility of tanking serious raid content:

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Features, Raiding, The Burning Crusade, Bosses, Classes, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King, Tank Talk

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