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TSW: Tanking…It’s A Love-Hate Thing

January 14, 2014

bunny slippers

Ah, tanking. It’s really a role I fell into, not just in The Secret World, but in a lot of other “holy-trinity” type MMOs as well. After all, you can’t get nowhere without a meatshield. Since my husband and I always play as a healer-tank team anyway, and I’m typically the one who enjoys running around with bigass swords, the threat-magnet duties naturally always fall to me.

For the most part, I love it! A lot of people will tell you that tanking is a pretty thankless job, but I find that even making a simple healthy lifestyle choice such as staying away from toxic PuGs will cut down on 90% of the stress and anxiety. The other 10% for me is mostly personal, because I know I’m hard on myself. Even when I’m playing with a group of friends and guildies who I know are casual and cool, I still can’t help beating myself up feeling responsible whenever a wipe happens. Some might joke that I take the role of “guardian” or “protector” (or in the case of World of Warcraft, “druid mama bear”) too seriously, but really, they’re not that far off!

Anyway, not that a lot of wipes have been happening in TSW; I think weeks of running Elites and working to get everyone Gatekeeper-ready has made most of the fights feel like old hat. I think in some ways it’s this complacency which has made the transition to Nightmares such a…well, nightmare. It’s like slacking on your workout regime during the holidays and having to pick it up again after the new year. It’s like, all of a sudden, strategy and rotations are a big deal again!

Practice makes perfect. Right now at this early stage it’s starting to really sink in that everything pretty much has to go down flawlessly during a boss fight. I find now it’s especially true for the tank, and with my hit rating where it is still, I really can’t afford to head into a NM dungeon with less than three interrupts. It’s like adding a whole other layer of complex micro-management into the mix, one involving things like minding cast bars and saving cooldowns, or in general watching the timing for everything. That’s on top of that whole maintaining aggro business.

Mind you, this isn’t really a “complain” post. In many ways I love how an MMO is challenging me again, and this is like going back to the old school days of experimenting, trial and error, and the hurling-our-dead-bodies-over-and-over-at-the-boss-until-he-dies style learning that I’ve come to embrace again in recent days. Even though I might not feel it at the time, heh, looking back, I guess there is a such a thing as a fun side to that. Like I said on Twitter though, there are times when I simply love to tank, while at others I’d rather have maggots chew out my eyes and brain. Some days, NM dungeons seriously make me feel like the latter.

7 comments

  1. Nice. When I use to tank in WoW (first character I stuck with till BC was a prot warrior), it was an eye opening experience. I always give the tanks and healers the most respect because of it.

    The DPS are usually the ones running around having the most fun, while the tank is just slapping the boss in the face over and over at close range, not doing anything terrible impressive, and the healer is watching health bars. It is a thankless job. Everyone expects the tank to know every fight ahead of time and keep the pace of the dungeon, which is always too fast, too slow, or both simultaneously. And then when a DPS or the healer catches aggro, they usually RUN AWAY from the tank, which doesn’t help anyone.

    So, yeah, its definitely a tough gig, and I think everyone should tank once. Staying away from the toxic Pugs, as you said, really does help a lot of the headache, though. :)


    • Honestly, some of the abuse I’ve taken from PuGs in WoW have made me hang up my tanking cloak for good in that game. In other MMOs where I’m still tanking I’m mostly doing it in organized groups with people I know. It’s the only way to stay sane sometimes! :)

      I think the expectation that tanks should know every fight is the one that stresses me out the most, especially when it comes to boss encounters that have multiple strategies. (Another reason to stay away from PuGs because you can’t please everyone, and inevitably there will always be “that guy” who thinks their way is best and everyone else’s is shite) It sometimes nice just to go in as a DPS and shoot things to your heart’s content without having to worry about that stuff!


  2. I ended up tanking most of the elite dungeons that I did, and I tanked a few for my friend when we were running him through. I did the tanking GK challenge on my main and a 2nd time on an alt, and yet…. I’ve never once tanked a NM dungeon, nor do I care to. I have fist-healed Polaris, Hell Fallen, and Hell Raised, don’t yet have the gear to be able to leech heal, but mostly I do ranged dps. Eventually I’ll build up the gear to be able to do it all, but until then, I prefer the dps lifestyle.

    OTOH, I do like that in TSW if you know which 1 or 2 skills to impair and know which ones to dodge that you can generally tank without too much difficulty. At least on Elite, anyway.

    I actually don’t mind healing too much either, since in NM’s it’s generally only the tank that’s taking damage. A few fights will do some AE damage that won’t 1-shot the dps and you can usually keep that healed up with a single elite skill, so I find healing to be a lot less stressful here too. I like that you (usually) can’t save the dps, so they have to take responsibility for themselves ya know?


    • I definitely wouldn’t suggest volunteering to tank NMs if you don’t have to, LOL! For me though, I guess it’s the next logical step since at this point all my gear, abilities, decks etc. are so specialized into tanking as that’s the only role I’ve ever played. Not that I’m complaining; like I said, tanking is quite fun in this game with all the movement fights. NMs are stepping it up even more, but I have to say TSW is the only MMO these days that still challenges me. And it might be frustrating and painful at the beginning, but nothing beats that amazing feeling you get once you succeed. I think that’s what made the Gatekeeper fight such a memorable encounter as well.


  3. I tanked quite a bit in WoW back in the day and part of me loved the feeling of invincibility as a warrior, but it also stressed the heck out of me when I played with pug’s. With friends it was no big deal, but you just never know which person in a pug is going to be an assclown.


    • There’s always that assclown! What amazes me is in LFR whenever I see a whiny DPS complain or abuse a tank for making an honest mistake. It’s like dude, you have some nerve…instead of mouthing off, what you SHOULD be doing is throwing yourself before him and kissing his feet in thanks because without him this whole raid wouldn’t have even happened! Tanks willing to take on LFR are in short supply these days, they’re a rare and precious commodity! And I wonder why…


  4. I’m conflicted on tanking. I like a lot of the tanking classes (melee, sword, brickhouse – when there isn’t a melee dps available), but I don’t enjoy BEING the tank. I’m mostly a casual gamer and don’t take things too seriously when it comes to combat – not the best trait for a tank, really. I feel pressure to do well and protect everyone, which I do try hard to do, but it removes some of the enjoyment for me. It might be that I don’t have a larger group of friends to learn combat strategy with and end up in LFG groups when I need to, so I never hit a good stride with a group.



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