Friday, March 12, 2010

Offtanking Versus Main Tanking

Originally Posted: Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:59 pm
 
First, Story time with Uncle Gordrin.

I was tanking Karazahn way back in the day I was forcing Task half the time to go feral because I needed another tank and all our tanks were either A) in ZA and ignoring Kara, or B) In late raid, because they actually cleared stuff. (Hannibull aka Darklon used to tank Karazahn for us on Mondays so we could actually start to gear up)





Early raid at the time had sign-ups with no actual rosters, we'd log on and attempt to fill the raid from who signed up. Thus leaving a lot to be desired, we also didn't full clear every time, and barely got a few bosses down in ZA if I even got to run.(I was an alt in BC)

The entire BC I was a main tank maybe twice in 25 man raids. I went into SSC in blues, I had to have hyjal explained to me in vent by another pally tank, I didn't research encounters or look up strategies. I just tanked when I was told to and let Dark and Tonk run the raids.

This is the prime example of an offtank.

I did what I was told, I was told the strategies, I followed them to the best of my abilities, and I was not trusted to do much by myself.

Dethbane
Enter Dethbane. I'd gone through about 5 offtanks before Dethbane, either because they got geared and moved on, or they couldn't raid anymore, or they just simply didn't want to tank(happened a ton in BC.)

Dethbane showed up as I was gaining confidence in running my own 10 man raids(I learned by watching and listening to Darklon, not really Tonk or I'd probably be a lot nicer and talk more about food instead of being so serious.) Dethbane got geared up, we kept working together and slowly started to learn what we each do. I cannot tell you how hard it is to try and instill a set of actions I expect other tanks to do. You either pick it up and it becomes natural, or you don't. It's that simple, some people's brains work like tanks and healers, some people's don't.

I tanked 6 months without being a MT, I thought I deserved it, I didn't.

A couple people who helped me along the way(I'm gunna miss a ton here):
Vampaged(thanks for tanking prince for us)
Fronk - Good guy, good tank
Demonscall - Good guy, great tank
Hannibull - Taught me pacing(I learned to raid in a "zerg" raid, might be why I power through everything so fast in my raids.)
Elfen - the first Paladin tank I saw in a Karazahn Pug that made the place look so freakin' easy, I made a paladin tank the next week.(I was always told paladin tanks are fail, well I still am told that lol)
Dethbane - taking the crap I threw your way and worked hard at it, takes thick skin to be yelled at that much by a geek on a computer.

Main tanking doesn't mean tanking the boss.

I am often asked, "What do I have to do to be a Main Tank?"

Well the truth of the matter is, earn my trust.

Do I use this as an abuse of power so I get all the best gear? no.

Do I only let my friends be Main Tanks? no.

Can you be a Main Tank even with Dethbane and I around? YES!

Do I trust you? NO!

"You keep making me main tank the boss so why am I not a MT?"
I've heard this many MANY times from tanks who almost always leave the guild. Huh, imagine that.

I believe tanking the boss is the easy part of a fight. You just stand there and build threat. This tells me a few things about a person.

1) If you can't even do that, we need a lot of work to get you up to speed. (Early raiders WILL tell me if you aren't building enough threat and I WILL talk with you about it.)

2) If they can handle simple tasks such as moving the boss, facing the boss directions, avoiding stupid stuff on the floor while doing it. Using cooldowns when required, etc.

3) If they have a huge ego, I know I'm not one to talk, but I didn't always have an ego the size of Kalimdor. If someone walks in and after tanking the bosses in a couple raids starts complaining they are "doing all the work" while not getting to roll on loot. Prepare to eat the bench for a while.

4) Can you play and gear your own class? Getting hit too hard too often? Not using all of your abilities? yeah.. non-progression raids are for learning to play, not progression raids.

5) CAN I TRUST YOU! If I have to tell you every week what to do on the same boss or tell you during a raid what to do on a bunch of occasions I'm not even thinking of you as a MT.

Offtank is the new Main Tank!

There are reasons I offtank everything I can.
1. Control
2. Vision
3. Trust

Control
What usually wipes the raid? Stuff the "offtank" is responsible for.
Slimes on Rotface, adds on dethwhisper, adds in pretty much any fight.

I like to not be on the boss for a simple reason, if it can wipe the raid and get out of control, I WANT control over that. I'll yell at other tanks for screwing that stuff up, so why don't I just do it?

Vision
I can see the entire raid better for raid leading when I'm not on top of the boss, so offtanking slimes or other things(as long as they are not out of control) let's me see more of what is happening so any failures mean I can usually spot what might be going wrong and fix it.

Trust
I don't trust you to do it. I don't think anyone can do it as good as me.
I may be wrong with the above statement, but that is how I go into most fights. Even Dethbane whom I trust the most I don't leave alone during fights and encounters. If Dethbane or I decide to DPS a fight, that means either we completely outgear the content and we want to give more tanks the experience on bosses OR we are starting to trust you to get the job done yourself.

Summary
There is a lot more to being a Main tank than the above, stuff like staying there through a wipe night, coming up with thoughts on strategies. I don't mind you throwing ideas out that involve what you are doing in a fight, but don't try to tell me exactly what certain DPS should be doing, that's what I have other officers who are those roles for. Deth constantly says, what if we try this, what if we try that, he doesn't lecture us, he just gives an opinion or an idea.

Improve yourself constantly, research fights before we get to them and surprise me with some knowledge. Don't just spew stuff out because you read it, think about how we raid here, I don't go by the tankspot videos, I go by the FORUMS! where everyone puts their ideas down in writing and I look for stuff people do that I can use in our raid. Example: Someone mentioned Aura Mastery and I know for a fact Gohan has that, so it applies. Sometimes we come up with our own ideas, sometimes we use the ones from the community. Do some research, come prepared.

P.S. ALWAYS have a geared offset as a tank. Have it enchanted, have it gemmed. Talk to people in the guild if you need help. Nothing worse than a tank that we don't want on a boss having no way to help the raid at all.

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