A bit on tanks

There are some blogs out there discussing various roles, and one thing caught my attention.  That was a description of the “types of tanks” to include the missing pair.

As I’ve noted, the tank role also intrigues me and may turn out to be my main, even though I’ve done healers for (mumble mumble) years in this, that and the other thing.  So insights are always worthwhile.

To repeat what Brad Hicks laid out, WAR tanks come in three flavors: Aura; Buddy; and DPS.

Common to all tanks are a few basic elements.  They can take lots and lots of damage, and pay the price of not so much DPS.  They have a variety of techniques meant to protect their team by bringing attention back to them.  Still, there are these differences.

The Chosen is the aura tank in the game.  The Empire tank, whatever it turns out to be, really, will be the other one.  This tank’s big deal is an aura.  Think Paladin auras on steroids.  These can buff allies and/or debuff opponents.  They have a reasonably fast cooldown, and an interesting effect in that when you switch to a new aura the old one stays around for a few seconds.  ALLEGEDLY things are timed so an aura tank can have two auras active most of the time due to this, but most Chosen are reporting serious bug problems still.  OTOH, it may be a matter of learning to make it work.

The buddy tank in the game right now is the Ironbreaker.  Obviously the missing tank – the one for the Dark Elves – will be its analog.  The buddy tank, in addition to protecting everyone, has the ability to specially bond with another player.  That player gets extra benefits, and when that player gets hit the tank is going to achieve additional abilities – notionally to “rescue the buddy”, but practically it allows them to “tank harder”.

The DPS tank is potentially dangerous – no, not to foes, but to people’s perceptions of what is/should be.  The Black Orc/Swordmaster get a lot of things intended to make their actual combat better.  Yes, they get some special “tank” abilities, but the vast majority of their special skills are aimed at wreaking greater damage and ill effects on a range of foes.  WoW players in particular will have the mental block that a “dps warrior can’t tank” and that’s where the problem happens.  It’s probable this tank can do almost as much as the medium MDPS (white lion and marauder).  Almost, mind you – both those classes have special abilities of their own.  If I had to draw a connection to WoW, I’d suggest forgetting the DPS warrior – these are Feral Druid tanks, who generate threat more by doing a lot of damage than by threat enhancers.  yes, that’s a PVE notion but it begins to get the point across.

One thing that all the people working with these tanks need to set aside – it’s possible to tank with a 2 handed weapon.  WAR built that into the system.  The trade is greater damage (and in some cases multi-target damage) vs greater survival.  Even without a shield these classes are tough, so the decision will be situational.  Especially when it’s not PVE but PVP and what’s being tanked is other players.  Just to finish putting the nail in that coffin, there are numerous abilities in all the classes that can only be done with one weapon or the other.  A “good” tank is going to be expected to do both, and do them well, and know when each is the better option.  Tanks – not just meatshields.

Bottom line, a significant issue in picking your tank – either as a player wanting one, or as a group wanting that in their party – is knowing what each provides.  Just something to keep in mind.

Have fun.

~ by Kirk on October 2, 2008.

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