I was out at a work function last night, so sadly no adventures in Norrath to report today.

This does however, leave time for me to write a small monologue and I genuinely do hope for some comments back.

Obviously, with my renewed enjoyment for the little Pallytank, I have been considering what is it that makes a good tank?

If I consider that question from the point of view of a long time healer – there are a few things I really appreciate in my tank.

1. Aggro management is obviously right up there.  If the tank cant keep aggro then it makes my job harder as a healer, and makes it harder for the dps too.

2. Mob placement.   I really appreciate a tank that puts the mob in a place such that the DPS have good access to the mob, the scouts have rear access to the mob, the group avoids frontal AoE and they have goodvisibility to control roaming mobs which may add.

3 A knowledge of the zone and mobs you are facing

4.Communication with your group – for example if pulling to a special place, or asking for a particular spell / buff / debuff if required

I believe that each of these attributes is a combination of various factors

After just the minute amount of tanking I have done, I have an even greater respect for tanks that do a great job at holding agro.  I think it is a combination of knowing when and how to use your spells and abilities, fast reactions, awareness of your surroundings, a knowledge to some small degree of the key abilities of your groupmates, taking the time to research and optomise your gear and aa, and I absolutely reckon practice practice practice 🙂

Sometimes mob placement is not always the easiest, particularly in dungeons / confined spaces.  Sometimes I have noticed that steps and other obstacles can interfere terribly.  I know that a lot of scouts like tanks to turn the mob and I try.  If  I have a messy pull or trouble turning the mob, I have been thinking that it is best to just be still and let the scouts find the rear of the mob themselves.   I figure if I dance around trying to manouvre the mob, this could be frustrating to the scouts cos it makes them move again.  Is that the best approach?

As the person leading a group, it is ideal to have some knowledge of the zone and mobs you are facing.  Do mobs repop?  Are they social?  Do they have any particular detrimental effects?  Do they have any special abilities like Frontal AE’s or Memwipe? Do they need to be killed using particular strategy?  This to me comes with Trial and Error and practice practice practice.   Reading strats is an awesome help, but no substitute for actually doing of the job.

As for communication, I love it when my tank uses Macros .. telling us he/she is using certain key abilities.  To be honest I think that goes for any and all classes in an MMO game.   Dirges for CoB, Brigs for Dispatch, Enchanters for Peace of Mind, Templars for Sanctuary just to name a few.  Are there abilities which stun you? – warn the group so they can hold back on DPS while you get aggro stabilised again… are there abilities which will benefit other group members? – let them know you have used it!  Are you pullin to a particular location?  Tell the group so they know where to position themselves for range.

These are my thaughts and impressions – but I have only had the smallest amount of experience.   Would experienced tanks agree or disagree with these points?  Do they have more to add?

Happy hunting and crafting fellow citizens of Norrath.