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Tanking Styles

May 15, 2010

In a recent post (Once more unto the masteries), I said:

“That is the sort of proactive, intellect-based tanking I enjoy and which I think is the mark of a good DK tank.”

This got me thinking about something that both I and more illustrious bloggers such as BBB have talked about. The difference between styles of tanking. But this time I want to talk about it in the context of how what they do fits the concept of the class.

Now I have to admit that though I have level 80 bear, blood death knight and paladin tanks, my warrior is only level 20. But this seems enough to pontificate.

• Death knight tanking feels proactive and intellectual. At my best, I am calculating everything in advance. Planning what runes I need for the next few seconds, coldly waiting for the mob to be about to get not quite to the healer before death gripping him back so he does the least damage to me, knowing when I am about to take massive damage so I can use my Vampiric Blood in advance to boost my healing received (and having three runes ready for a death strike rune tap combo). It’s an incredibly planned experience.

This suits my image of the cold passionless undead monster. No longer hampered by emotions, he feels only the pleasure of the power he siphons from you.

• Bear tanking feels much more I’m the lap of the gods. I run around swiping, charging, making a nuisance if myself and trustingy my fur and my healers to keep me alive.

Again, this suits my image of feral Druids as being connected to their own nature and going with the flow of things. Animal instinct.

• Paladins feel somewhere between the two. Measured and weighty in their attacks, their defenses are proactive at first and then purely reactive.

God helps them that helps themselves is my best reading of paladins. They do their very best and then eventually trust in the Light to save them from death. The scary thing is how often this works.

• Warriors are the tank I know least but they seem to have both an incredible set of tools and a vast amount of customisation of those tools. The Swiss army knife of tanks. They are also the tank that cannot rely on any magic at all and this can be seen in their charges and mobility which contrasts so vividly with the magical powers of, especially, death knights and paladins.

Again, this feels right. I always have re traditional survivalist in mind when I see a warrior tank, holed up in his armour with his weapons and cooldowns he is a dangerous paranoid but one who is scarily effective and has stockpiled abilities that help him in any situation.

The nice thing us that each these feels suits a different type of player. I found feral felt out of control, others like the freedom and ability to concentrate on other areas of the battle (and certainly I found it easier to raid lead as feral thn I do as a death knight).

All in all, it feels like Blizzard did a good job aligning abilities and playstyles to the concepts of the tank in Wrath. I just hope this continues in Cataclysm.

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