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Mogri

How you became main tank...

Posted (edited)

Greetings,

My main goal on Crestfall will be to try and become main tank of a raid (nothing hardcore, but still). I allways loved tanking and i really like the idea of this position in the raid. What's appealing to me is the fact, that i'm able to bring the raid forward through my individual efforts (good strategies, crafting of good equipment like restistance specific equipment, theory crafting etc.). I'd argue that no other person's dedication has such a huge effect on the success of the hole raid (although i'd of course respect everyone's hard work the same way).

There are many guides out there, which are telling you how to tank properly or what you should know equipmentwise. Although this knowledge can be quite important, there is more to know to become a successful main tank. I think the warrior is one of the most social classes in the game and thus requires the player to be social too. I'd guess many of the people who where main tank at some point invested quite some "social time" in the guilds they raided with.

So i had the idea to start a topic where all the experienced main tanks can share their stories of how they obtained the position (no matter if in vanilla or any other expansion). Did you become main tank immediately after joining your guild or did you obtain the position through various stages of personal development? It doesn't matter. I think many fellow warrior's who want to try this out would like to read about your journey and the tips you could pass on to them. You can talk about everything you experienced along the way. What kind of behavior would you like to see from a main tank? What are your personal preferences considering professions? What do you think on building up a good and strong network of players for the purpose of supporting each other (by providing materials, helping with dungeon runs etc.)?

I would like this thread to be a platform to share personal experiences and not to discuss about ways to play or equipment. There are other threads for this purpose. Most of all i hope there will be some people who are interested in this.

Now it's your turn...

 

ps: sorry for any weird english in this post ;)

Edited by Mogri
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Posted (edited)

It's pretty simple how guilds choose their main tanks...

1. You need to be dedicated enough to maintain a really high raid attendance. (Close to 100%)
2. You need to be the better tank in your guild mechanically and class knowledge wise.
3. You need to have a lot of knowledge about the game in general so you can improvise whenever things goes wrong.
4. Your chance of becoming a main tank definitely gets better if you're vocal over voice coms although some guilds doesn't require that.
5. You need to be trust worthy. You will be getting all the "amazing" gear pieces before your off tanks so they have to make sure you don't just take the loot and gtfo.
6. Your awareness has to be good. There's literally nothing worse than tanks with bad awareness. Standing in shit, missing out on boss mechanic events, adds running loose and tanks doesn't notice etc etc.

tl;dr:
Be the better, most reliable and dedicated tank in your guild. You'll be the most important person in the raid, so if you suck then everything will suck.

Edited by Cruzix
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Posted (edited)

  • High attendance (reliable)
  • Not a guild hopper (dependable)
  • Focus / consistency (once you learn your role in a fight you need to be able to repeat it ad nauseam while the rest of the pieces fall in place)

I've always found "skill" to be pretty low on the priority of things to have as a guild raid tank. It's just a nice extra to have but the 3 things above trump skill every which way.

Small group content and PuGs are usually a larger test of personal tank skill in classic / BC. The chaos that is "other people" is what makes you work hard to solve problems "on the fly".

Like Cruzix said main tank(s) are the lynch-pin of the raid a lot of investment goes into them, when they take that effort and disappear is what hurts the raid / group the most.

Being able to learn your part in as few attempts as possible is obviously a plus.

 

Edited by Roadblock
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The main ways to become a main tank in vanilla are to either have friends in high places or be really good at tanking 5 mans. Hell, tanking raids is easier than tanking 5 mans in vanilla and TBC, significantly so at that. This means that a tank that performs well in 5 man content won't have issues transitioning towards raid tanking in terms of skill.

 

To add on to what others have already said: you need to have a thick skin and be able to hold your ground. Warlocks will blame you for dying when they crit 6 times in a row on the pull, Druids will blame you for dying when they've been healing a totem for the past 30 seconds, etc, etc. This may sound strange, but a tank that lets his raid/guildies walk over him will have a harder doing his job as a leader, and make no mistake here: if you're the main tank you're in a leader position, even if you're not the raid leader/guild officer/class leader or whatever else. If the people you're with don't respect you, your job as a leader will be significantly harder to do. That doesn't mean you need to be an ass, act snide, yell, get angry or worst of all, be passive-aggressive.

 

As for myself, I leveled a Warrior on a new realm in early 2005 after I quit my Paladin (no one would invite me to raids/dungeons because "Paladins were supposed to be DPS, not healer; also stop rolling on cloth healing gear"). I had a firm grasp on the game by then, so I leveled quickly and ran a ton of dungeons with random people to gear up. Random people coagulated into raids for UBRS, which eventually grew to a raiding guild. I got invited to tank because I was awesome at 5 man content.

In late TBC, the guy who used to be the other tank in my vanilla guild (now a Holy Paladin) reached out to me and told me his guild needed a tank for BT farm and whatever the next raid would be. I rolled on his server and was more or less handed out the MT position because the guy doing the job before I joined up wasn't too big on how much pressure the role had.

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Posted (edited)

10 hours ago, Zaroua said:

The main ways to become a main tank in vanilla are to either have friends in high places or be really good at tanking 5 mans. Hell, tanking raids is easier than tanking 5 mans in vanilla and TBC, significantly so at that. This means that a tank that performs well in 5 man content won't have issues transitioning towards raid tanking in terms of skill.

That was the route I took as well. I rolled my first warrior after tanking on my paladin mostly. I never have been in a guild at all and just tanked 5 mans for fun. As tanks are always harder to find people started to add me. I got a ton of practice that way. You have to learn how to lead a team, give instructions, know encounters and give advice in a way that the receiver is not offended by it but motivated to get it right next time. It's the most demanding role in a group but the most fun for that reason. If you really master that in 5 man instances raiding isn't a huge deal anymore. In most aspects it's easier (people watching their threat for instance and you tank smaller groups most of the time). Just gearing up for it is harder.

After I reached the point where I farmed all the preraid gear I could ever want I decided it was time to either join a guild or quit (maybe log on occasionally for a dungeon). As guildless tank that does a good job you get guild invites all the time, at least that was my experience. Even if you join in late, if you know what you are doing you perhaps get the MT spot at some point as players are coming and going constantly.

Be social and be able to communicate with your team mates, willing to invest a lot of time, know the theory behind your class and threat, practice encounters and rotations and always pay attention to what is going on around you.

Edited by fruitsalad
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@Mogri

When Nost first launched, I was a day 1 player.    He had 6, yes 6 protection warriors that were leveling and inspired to be the main tank of our guild.  I wasn't the fastest leveler, and was only level 58 while the other 5 tanks were 60.  I still was there for that first MC though and got the first epic since DKP was 0 so roll it out :).

The other guys had a couple weeks to pre-raid before me, so I wasn't anything more than a trash mob tank when I started.  I was approached by whom at the time were our guild officers/leaders about switching to fury.   I refused, and held my ground on what my goals were since months prior to launch day.   I grinded out my pre-raid with the guild, while other tanks stopped after they got their gear (some still missing items) and just showed for raids.  Another tank demanded MT and all loot first before even raiding to show his effort/attendance/skill/knowledge and dipped to a new guild.

I was always active and available for the guild for 5 mans every night getting their loot, making their life easy finding groups and having smooth runs.  All the while, building relationships with these people via all nighters chit chatting in Team Speak/Discord while clearing runs.

This got me moved up to the 3rd tank spot which ensured invite prio over 3 of our 5 tanks.  It didn't get me main tanking all the bosses, though as the first couple weeks the other two were at the helm and that is what the raid was comfortable with.  Runs were not as clean as they could be, and at times our MT would go down.   Typically I was the first tank to respond, burn CDs, even tanking the boss with the add(s) I had as well.  - Being able to shine in oh shit moments with proper cooldown management, and communication goes along way in getting the confidence of 39 others.  Also even though I wasn't the first or second tank, I was the most vocal about raid positioning, giving tips to other tanks and classes that were not my own, and communicating areas of improvement in a positive manner (the first 20 times I stated something) to help our team grow as a guild.

I continued my nightly 5 man guild runs (I essentially pre-raided about 85 people+ from greens to pre-raid BiS while other tanks were non-existent outside of raid night).   I grinded my gold out to get the best Fire Resist set possible, while other tanks were still running stat-less greens.   This landed me as the Baron and Rag Main Tank spot as I had the best HP + Fire resist gear, and always had my Lung Cocktail Juice ready to pop for Rag, ensuring I wouldn't go down on Rag which we previously had issues with tanks dropping due to poor itemization.  This I feel was the turning point in my tank career in Vanilla.

Now closing in on our second month of farming MC, I had proven my availability of 100% raid attendance, shared by 1 other tank whom was still considered #1 and I was moved to #2.  We were a DKP guild (not my preference) so it was difficult to create gear separation, so who can your stats pull you away from the competition?  Alongside the farming BiS FR gear as mentioned above, was always having proper consumables, and not being cheap.  This can be taxing on somebody whom doesn't have a lot of time investment outside of raid days as gold can disappear quick.  All those guild 5 man runs helped me here and the relationships I developed helped even more.  I'd randomly have herbs, armor scrolls, HP potions or other odd-ball tank consumables mained to me by the same people that I helped every night farm their Baron Dresses/Necks, do BRD jump runs for HoJ and Ironfoe, countless DM West runs for healers, east runs for melee.  This is how I went from #3 to #2.

All those relationships built with my guild members, made me a fan favorite when I won a DKP bid for loot, because the DPS/Healers knew that gear would be brought right into a 5 man they needed me for later.

But I still wasn't the "Main Tank", and was sharing tanking duties based on cooldowns available.  If the #1 guy had his stuff on CD, I got to tank.  I would still tank plenty of adds, however at this point I would assign myself 2 adds to every other OTs 1 add, freeing up a fury warrior to DPS.

AV released on the server and I was the only tank that put in the hours to get my rep grinded out ASAP.  This gave me Don-Julio's Band, and a shield with the most shield block value (bigger shield slams).  I also obtained after about 22 runs, my own DM East Satry's Bow (only tank that got one at the time), got a Quel Book to drop during one of those runs, and a Tarnished Elven Ring.   This finally gave me the gear separation I'd been looking for - Threat Per Second.

This newly added +3% hit allowed our DPS to push more, and pull threat less - building a comfort level for the DPS to begin to push the numbers themselves.  While the current #1 tank also maintained 100% attendance, it was noticeable TPS difference when I didn't have a mob.  This got the officers to want me tanking more of the bosses that were tank and spank, and if we were killing adds first, I was always tanking skull.  This pushed me over the top as the un-official MT of the guild.  Being called upon when the most threat was needed - I had best itemization for.  When hardest hitting boss - I had best itemization for, for when Fire Resist was needed - I had best itemization for.  On top of not being cheap with consumables even on trash.   Doing my homework on what every add and boss does, helped me communicate this on a per pull basis (annoying after awhile) to other classes and help them clean things up.  This communication lead to me being extended an officer spot, as I essentially became one of the raid leaders in which about 3 of us took part in doing.

BWL dropped and due to all of which you can read above, and specifically communication and knowing strats/mechanicals and effectively explaining these to the rest of the raid, I maintained my #1 spot and reached my goal set months before the server launching of people a guild's progressive Main Tank.  Though, I applaud my fellow tank(s) for not making it easy, as the initial #1 had great attendance and communicated as well.

Other mention having a thick shell, that is important.   While Molten Core is pretty dummy proof, BWL does have some strict positioning requirements from tanks on specific bosses and there is a learning curve. I would take full responsibility on raid wipes, some of which I had nothing to do with. (I personally got us wiped our first 4 attempts on first drake).  Always reflecting on what I could have done to fix whatever mistake took place, even if it wasn't mine to make.  I had enough of a report with the majority of the guild as I pre-raided most of them, that hey if it was Under's fault, okay move on.  As opposed to it was the new guy, then tensions start to rise and we might lose a long term member, and that can be a domino effect.  Being positive after wipes, and going at it again ASAP with little down time is important.  It is up to you to set the tempo.  Also learn from your mistakes, don't wipe for the same reason, wipe because a different reason :)

So adding in the 100% attendance at this point, which no other tank did, best Fire Resist set, no other tank had, best TPS set, no other tank had, and making myself always available for 5 mans throughout the week, no other tank did - earned me the reward of getting the first bindings for Thunderfury.   It was an accumulation of all these things that set me apart, and to the top of the tank roster.  Though I was the MT, I didn't mean I had all the fun.  I felt as an officer it was important that ALL tanks know positioning, mechanics from the MT view and have their own TPS sets.  So we began rotating tanks out for MT duties to solidify our team.  Besides, who rolls a protection warrior with the dream of tanking an add and swinging Nightfall 90% of the time, right?   Share the fun.

Sadly soon after that project shut down.

We rolled on K-1, though my spot was set.  Again I wasn't the first tank to 60, but I was handed the reigns the second I got there.  This time we went Loot Council because our goal was the soon to be released AQ and we were all in blues - was important to get 40 geared vs 90 with 1/3 the gear.  We steam rolled AQ40 progression by week 3, and then the other server came back after a bit.

Our guild eventually broke up due to lack of new blood.  I now find myself in a position I was in way back in 2005, the 4th tank in the list for a really great guild.  Being Loot Council, and content farmed, I am playing catch-up when it comes to gear separation (even with Thunderfury we have 3 in guild), and little need for running 5 mans outside of DM tribute buff runs.  All I can do is what I always did, have the best resist gear I can get, be available as often as I can be, limit my mistakes (I still make them, just own up to it and LEARN FROM THEM), and do your job.  I still get chances to MT bosses here and there depending on Cooldowns and as I build report with this new team, show dedication, and come prepared with the smallest of details (Sapper Charges, Resist Pots, Grenades, Immolation potion) for those very specific uses, it will help me move up.  Though it is extremely beneficial to any guild to have an extended roster beyond 40 ready to raid on a night, this allows people to sit to prevent burnout.  If you stop recruiting because you have 40 for a raid, you are destined to fail.  50 ready to raid, and people not demanding 100% invite is important for your team.  Build a rotation system if people get butt-hurt.

 

TL;DR

I know this was SUPER long, but this is my story that is still being written.  Started as the 6th tank being pushed to DPS to progression MT through BWL/AQ40, to a 3rd/4th tank on a NA #1 guild.

- Be available (outside of raid, not just in it)

- Be prepared (best resist gear (not just good enough gear), best consumables, TPS gear, and max mitigation gear - know when to use what.

- Communicate (state when swapping tanks, popping a CD (at an appropriate moment) explain bosses/trash to people even though their guild app says the do this stuff, they don't)

- Take Ownership (if a wipe happens, take the blame evaluate what you could have done better, if somebody elses fault, explain to them in a collective manner privately what to do, call them out if they repeat)

- Set the pace (mana 80% +, pull the trash, boss standing in front of you - go get it) If people are not drinking, mana must not be important.  Staring at bosses for 5+ minutes causes more ninja AFK than anything.

- Be Aware (Check your buffs OFTEN, got pally / shammy/ lock in range? Mana for raid is good? HP bars filled?  Go GO Go.  Don't pull when raid isn't ready, but be aware the second they are)

 

You do these things and regardless if you are the first to 60, or the last tank to 60, you'll find your place and you'll reach your goals.   Take this to the bank, and I wish you the best of luck on your adventure and making your Main Tanking dreams come true.

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2 hours ago, Undertanker said:

TL;DR

Make WoW your life's only purpose?

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I really hope Crestfall will be a place for stories such as @Undertanker's. Thanks for the good read.

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