Not everyone is a young kid with a natural proclivity to MMO gaming. Those small non-arthritic fingers seem to move with blazing speed. But maybe you are one of the adults who are trying to find a common ground with your gaming little one. Be it son/daughter/niece/nephew/grandchildren there might be a time that you want them to look at you and NOT think of how old fashioned you are. Even as an avid gamer, my background started with the arcade boom of the 80’s so my fight style is very different from the longevity minded gamers of today. But rest assured, some skills can transcend time itself. Even to the point that an old die hard gamer can still show the younger ones a thing or two when it comes to handling the job of tank.
If you are new to the world of MMO here are some easy guidelines that can help you gain that in game rep so other players are looking forward to the next time you are on. Granted each game has their own unique twist to the roles, such as tanking, but nonetheless it still comes down to one pivotal point: Aggro control.
What is “aggro” you ask? Just a game term used when people are under attack. To be a tank you need to understand the agro of the NPC/Game controlled units. Most games have a simple concept: Whichever toon is providing the most important effect that is keeping the group alive starts to build agro. Some games allow modification programs (i.e. mods) so you can see the agro in a meter. But that really isn’t tanking that is just downloading a computer program to deal with another computer program. Why play?
Let’s take the two most popular agro generating areas of healing and DPS. Do enough damage fast and the target will attack you in return. Heal so much that no one can die then every creature in the fight will change their minds and come after the healer. As a tank you have a tough job in a big fight. No matter what you will lose agro and must find a way to regain it so your squishier teammates won’t get dropped like a bad habit. If you are running with players that do not wait for the tank to acquire sufficient agro then you have an almost impossible job in retaining control of the fight.
As a tank your job is to be hit. And be hit a lot. So for game balance your damage output (i.e. DPS) isn’t as strong as other classes. But fear not! Almost every game allows the tank to have special skills (usually n a timer so pop them only when you have the need!). Best strategy is to run in when you can and give a whack to as many as you know you can handle solo. Keep the damage done to you controllable. A tank is called that because you can soak up a great deal of damage before any real worry. Also advise any new healer of when to start healing you, like once you break 50% start in on heals. That time to get beaten up is usually enough for you to do enough damage that the game classifies you as a major threat if the other members are far enough back to avoid area agro. By the time that heals are needed a healer will only need to cast a few heals to get you over 75% and then can stop so you can erase any agro they acquired from healing.
When you do lose aggro, which you will, look for any stuns, move debuffs or “taunts” the game allows. Taunts are great since they work almost every single time. Snapping a move debuff on a critter that is breaking away will buy you time to catch up and your teammate some time to get away if need be. Stuns are good for control but do not always regain agro. But they can buy precious time for the new target to either get away or finish off the creature. If you have any self-heals pop them as well. Healing is healing to the game so that helps a lot.
Tanking is fun if you like the idea of being buried under a wave of damage. It really isn’t for the weak of gaming heart. Gear yourself in anyway the game allows to either increase your damage without sacrificing survivability or to increase the amount of damage you can take before reaching that 50% mark. Some games have ways of negating damage 9absorption of armor for example) whereas others just allow you to pile on the health so it just takes forever and a day to get you worried.
Learn the tricks of the toon, know when the damage is coming in too fast and be ready to break your current target and assist your healer! Then just enjoy the absolute chaos that most people call tanking!
Until next time.
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Have specific game tanking questions? Just ask!