Why Tanking Scares Me More Than Healing

I have dabbled in tanking before. Lyestra, my warrior, has spent much of her career as prot, though I’ll admit that her endeavors were mostly lonely ventures.  She was my third 70 and I was a wee bit burned out on heroics by then.  She also had shit for luck gear wise, poor thing.

Ambrosyne went prot in the waning days of BC, after I’d picked up a lot of tanking offset gear and had burned out on healing.  I went from OTing Kara to MTing Kara, and then transferred over to Azgalor…

…where Steve threw me at things like, oh, OTing SSC.


After 3.0 hit my carefully balanced tank set was hosed-the talent changes left me below def cap, and I didn’t have the gear to fix it.  We also had a few too many tanks at that point, so I went back to heals.  And that’s really the majority of my tanking experience.

Tanking scares me.  I research it-my spec, my gear, my rotation but…it’s not familiar like healing is.  It’s still strange, and stressful, and more so than all that: it’s high profile.  Oh it’s true that if you fail as a healer people will notice, but not quite the same way that they notice tanking fail.  You can stand in the back as a healer.  The tank is RIGHT THERE.  UP FRONT.  And if you think DPS makes your life hard as a healer by standing in fire, trying dealing with stupid DPS as a tank!  Or not even that, smart but better-geared DPS will give any poor tank a run for their money. 

My warrior is sitting there at level 76 with the VH quest still in her logs, because I’m afraid to tank it.  Oh sure, I did it on Heroic with Ambrosyne-with guildies, who knew what they were doing and didn’t go pulling adds around willy-nilly.   On my warrior, without overgearing the instance, in a pug?  Uh…

“Do it with guildies!”

Yeah.  Two things: one, she’s in a very small RP guild.  Very small RP guilds do not good instance runs make.  Two, my worst tanking experience of Wrath occurred with guildies from there.  When I tell you a boss randomly drops aggro to charge, and you scream at me for not holding aggro, I’m going to Tank Rage on you.  And if you then /gquit because I was “condescending”?  Well, learn to fucking listen, then! 

…okay, so months later I’m still bitter, apparently…

…but yeah, that’s why I’m scared of tanking, however much I enjoy it once I know what the hell I’m doing!


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  1. #1 by Linedan on July 8, 2009 - 11:27 am

    Hi. I’m a warrior tank, and it’s my job to reassure teh Amber that tanking is not so bad. :)

    It is stressful, and honestly, warrior tanking is more stressful than paladin tanking (as you’ve found out). Not saying that paladin tanking doesn’t take work, but warriors do a bit more than “969.” Still, the same skills apply–if you’ve tanked instances on Amber, you can do it on Lyestra. You just have to remember that your AOE threat capability is weaker and switch targets more often to spread the love around. And your group has to know that the tank doesn’t have the Velcro-the-target threat of a paladin or death nugget.

    Get lead of the group and mark a kill order if you can (obviously you won’t have time in VH, but you can call out a kill target). DPS focuses on that target, and that’s the one that you focus most but not all of your threat on. You have to spread some love around to the others or healgro may eventually pull them off.

    It’s scary, I won’t lie. Linedan’s wearing two-piece T8 and two-piece T7 and a lot of other Ulduar stuff, offtank in a good raid group, and has a rep as a reasonably decent tank, and I STILL won’t tank PUGs because I’m scared I’ll screw up and get yelled at. But there’s really no other way around it except to hitch up your pants and just do it.

  2. #2 by Christopher on July 8, 2009 - 11:29 am

    I, too have recently made ‘the switch’ (albeit a more permanent one) to tanking instead of healing. I think the high-profile role is pretty scary. My Death Knight is in T7.5, so while she’s pretty badly geared I still manage in Ulduar just fine. I decided to make my paladin my main lately, and I’m gearing her prot/holy since I’ve found my priest pretty lacklustre in the fun department lately, plus when you outgear Ulduar 25 hard-modes there’s little fun to be had.

    I’m rambling now. Tanking is great, and when people screw up yell at them and reinforce the stereotype that tanks are evil people. :)

  3. #3 by Misneach on July 8, 2009 - 11:41 am

    VH is a pretty easy instance to tank, because you don’t have to worry about pulling. The mobs just come to you. Like Linedan said, just make sure the DPS knows who you’re targeting so they don’t do anything stupid (they may not listen, but at least you’ve done your due-diligence). You may get blamed if something goes weird, but as long as you’re doing what you’re supposed to do you can rest assured in the knowledge that they’re idiots and you rock.

    Also, I hate(x3) PUGs. I’ll do it if necessary, but I despise it.

  4. #4 by Linedan on July 8, 2009 - 11:49 am

    The trick with VH as a warrior tank is (at least this is how I do it) to run right up to the portal and show myself to the mobs the second they spawn, so I can immediately grab all four with a Thunder Clap. I’ve seen paladins and DKs do better by hanging back a bit and laying down a Consecrate or D&D for the dargons to run into. Me, I gotta get right up in their grills right away. That also solves the problem of the one portal up on the balcony where the group will split, with two running down each side.

  5. #5 by Misneach on July 8, 2009 - 12:03 pm

    @Linedan: Yup. That certainly helps. Also, when you hit 80 and get Heroic Throw you can get a little cuter with those pulls..Heroic Throw, Taunt (now that it’s ranged), and Charge (with Warbringer) helps you round up all those little bastards.

  6. #6 by Rhidach on July 8, 2009 - 12:15 pm

    Tanking can be scary, but I think I’m a bit of a control freak and I don’t think I could handle a boss fight any other way than having a direct impact on the outcome of the encounter.

  7. #7 by Tamarind on July 8, 2009 - 1:26 pm

    I’m tankophobic too! We should form a support group!

    And I know exactly what you mean about the dangers of running with guildies – some of my most awkward failed instance runs have been with guildies because there’s horrible social pressure to be polite above all else, especially when other people suck.

  8. #8 by Ten'nen on July 8, 2009 - 3:19 pm

    Yeah, tanking always makes me nervous because inevitably someone is DPSing the wrong target, or has stolen aggro and won’t stop attacking. Because if they die, it’s my fault. If we all die, it’s my fault AND the healers fault. Certainly not because the hunter was kiting an add around the room instead of bringing him to me, or, better yet, not attacking it.


    I have to say, though, that tanking, while it makes me nervous and makes my stomach sometimes knot up when OMG BIG MONSTER OM NOM NOMS the dps, it’s very rewarding to see those bastards go down.

    Also, this is scoobsz21. I figured out how to change my display name and I did it…just an fyi :-D The disc priestess is actually quite fun, though I do miss Mind Flay sometimes…

  9. #9 by Twonationarmy on July 9, 2009 - 11:30 am

    I heartily endorse submitting yourself to the abuse of a VH pug. There’s a degree of anonymity in pugs because generally people don’t remember names from pug runs so if you mess up, big deal.

    And like mentioned earlier, VH is ideal for this sort of thing since you don’t have to pull.

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