Business Time recently went through a lull where it felt like our team was not pulling in the same direction. It was as if the team was no longer striving to achieve the same objective. There was laissez faire, an obnoxious aura of accepting less than our best. The officers met and we decided to meet with everyone one on one and do a review of their performance with notes on where we’d like to see some improvement, whether it be attitude or performance. The results were good, there was noticeable improvements in the whole team’s performance.
The reason why I bring this up is because as the Tanking Officer, I was asked to review the performance of our little team of three. So before I could do these reviews, I had to figure out for myself what is our goal. What do we, as tanks, need to achieve?
We need to aim to be exceptional.
Alright, exceptional is all well and good, but what does that even mean?
I’ve been fortunate to tank with excellent tanks in the past. Noodlestein and Idkittens were tanks who could turn a complete mess of an attempt and somehow pull a victory even if 7 out of 10 players lay on the ground at the end. I remember an example of Id’s quick thinking on our first Halfus heroic kill when we had lost all the healers in the last few percents and he activated Slate (not part of the plan) who stunned Halfus just long enough for us to pull a kill.
Those two guys, I would always assign them the toughest jobs because I knew they’d learn it faster than anyone else. These examples and many others are to me what denotes an exceptional tank. I often refer to players like these as people who make their class sing. It’s sheer beauty to behold. This should be any tank’s goal: To be the one that is always asked to do the toughest jobs.
A good tank will generate solid threat. He/She will know the fights, know how and when to move the bosses and where to position them. They will use their cooldowns and communicate well with their teammates.
Where an exceptional tank shines is in the small details that while sometimes not necessary will make the fights smoother and sometimes will change the tide of a battle. They will be lightning quick on picking up those adds on Rhyolith. Their dps will be high, contributing favourably to the teams goal of beating an enrage timer. When not being the active tank, they will switch to berserker stance, drop righteous fury, switch to cat or frost/unholy to help with the new tank gain aggro while still hitting as hard as they can. As a warrior, you can also intervene the tank you’re taunting off of to lower their threat, maximize their dps and mitigate some damage. They will be able to kite a boss around a room so fast as to make the healers swear.
The list could go on. For us, we made ourselves a list of things we wanted to improve. For one, it was to practice his kiting and his movement as a whole. He needed to learn not to back up or turn his back to a boss to kite him. Turn 90 degrees and strafe. Then go and learn to strafe and change direction while remaining in control at all times.
We all have things to work on. Even great tanks have things they can improve and I think that is one big thing that separates the greats from the good. They keep working at it.
As for me, you’ll excuse me but I need to go and tank some pugs. Is there any better environment where chaos can break any time a hunter misfires? Raiding feels very controlled in comparison, until it’s not. And this is when, I hope, that this practice will help. And maybe, one day, I’ll be closer to being considered an exceptional tank.