As Arielle said recently, I will now be writing weekly articles having to do with 25 man raiding, and more specifically how guardians fit into it. Even if you don’t raid 25 mans, this will probably still be relevant to you in some way, shape or form (loldruidpun), so keep reading!
In this first episode of the newly named “25 Man WENSdays”, I will be talking about 25 man tanking in general, sort of a “this is probably really obvious, but you should know it anyways” quick and dirty guide. There are a lot of really simple things you can do as a tank in a 25 man to help your group kill more dragons.
One of the long-maligned aspects of 25 man raiding is the increased amount of organization required to run a raid. Whether you like it or not, getting 25 people to show up, follow mechanics, and generally work as a team is a lot of work. Ideally, your guild has a GM and Officers to take charge of these tasks, but as a tank you can still do your bit to make the raid run smoother. Here are some tips:
- Make a pull timer macro. As a tank you are almost always the one doing the pull. While a countdown in vent/mumble is helpful, it is not nearly as accurate as a timer or countdown in the game itself. Personally I use /dbm pull for an easy 10 second timer, but add-ons like OptiTaunt and RSA work as well. Being on top of ready checking and pulling will save your raid valuable time.
- Always talk with your hunters about MDs. Don’t waste your officer’s time with this. Talk to your hunters ahead of time about who needs MD on the pull or for spawning adds.
- If you know you will need externals at some point in time, tell your healers. Don’t wait until 5 seconds before you need them to call it out. Whisper your healers and those with external CDs far in advance so you have one less thing to worry about during the fight.
- Review strategy with your co-tank. When a dps makes a mistake, often it just means a dead dps. But when you mess up a tank swap it often means a wipe. ALWAYS ALWAYS be crystal clear about what exact duties you and your co-tank have, so that during the fight you don’t have to think about it, you can just do it. Bosses like Feng and Stone Guard are perfect examples of this. Take the extra minute before a boss to make sure you won’t have problems down the road.
- If the fight allows for it, let your raid leader know when you are available to Tranq. It doesn’t always heal much, but when combined with other raid CDs, every bit helps. The same applies to Innervates. Talk to your tank healers and ask them if they want your Vate. They probably do.
- If the raid leader calls a wipe, then wipe. Shift out of bear and sit there. Every second you spend wiping is a second wasted.
One of the hallmarks of a good tank is somebody who can communicate efficiently and clearly. In 25 mans where a lot is happening at the same time, you often don’t have much time to make the calls you need to. Focus on conveying as much information in as few words as possible, or if you don’t need to vocally call something out, then have another way of telling the raid.
- This probably goes without saying, but you really need a mic to tank. Your job is too important for you to be silent. Trying to type in the middle of an encounter is usually incredibly inefficient. You don’t have to say much to be effective, but you do need to talk a little.
- ALWAYS ALWAYS call out tank swaps. If you raid 25 mans, you will have noticed how hard some of the bosses hit. If you taunt the boss and don’t let your healers know, you can be in some serious trouble if they aren’t paying attention. What I always do is just say “Wens taunting in 3, 2, 1, taunting”. That way healers have time to get HoTs up on you and get ready to heal you.
- Either macro in or find an add-on to announce your CD usage. Even in 25 mans with a plethora of raid and single-target CDs, you always want to let your healers know when you use your Survival Instincts. For them, that could mean the difference between wasting an external on you, or even just the mana from casting a more efficient heal. Either way, you are helping your raid.
- If you are in charge of making encounter specific calls, keep them brief and to the point. An example: instead of saying “that jasper dude is empowered now, you can break chains if you get them”, say “jasper empowered, break chains now”. This is obviously a really small difference, but i can guarantee the clearer your vent/mumble is, the better your raiders will perform.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for an emergency CD. Between 5 healers and any number of dps, you will almost always have something available. If you think you need it, ask for it. Much better to waste a CD than die because you didn’t bother to ask.
Playing to Your Strengths
Everything I said up there is all nice and good, but it means nothing if you can’t physically perform. Here’s a little catch-phase of mine: “Always set yourself up to succeed. If you don’t think you can win, you probably won’t.” Preparation is half the battle. For raiding in general, not just 25 mans, there is so much you ca do before the raid even starts to help out your raid.
- Know the fights. Know the fights. Know the fights. Know the fights. See how I said that 4 times? Know the fights. Just know them. And not just your jobs. Know when the shadow pools on Spirit Kings are respawning so you can correctly position the boss. Know when the Rages on Will are spawning so you can throw an emergency Mass Root if needed. Know that on Stone Guard you can soak a Cobalt Mine with SI to clear space for your melee. The more you know, the better chance you have. There are so many sources of information, it is pretty stupid to not take advantage of them.
- Have a functional UI. There are four things every tank UI pretty much needs.
a) Health/Resource tracking. You need to be super aware of your health/rage/SD status. Personally I think WeakAuras is the best for this, but it’s up to you.
b) Raid Frames. Always know the health status of your raid and more importantly your co-tank.
c) CD availability. Always know what you have up for when the bear poop hits the fan.
d) Enough clear space to see the fight. If your UI is too crammed and you can’t see what is happening in the fight, you have a problem. You always have to know what is going on.
- Have a rudimentary knowledge of other classes, and more specifically the other tanking classes. Know how their AM works, and know their strengths and weaknesses as well as you know your own. Some tanks are better at some things than others. Prot pallies are really strong on Feng. Druids are wicked good at Will of the Emperor. If at all possible, try to build your strategy around those strengths and give yourself the best shot of succeeding.
All of these tips are relatively minor, but if you fit them all in, you can go from being the tank who gets brought to most of the raids to the tank who your RL will actively try to get in every single time. Our job is undeniably filled with stresses, but if you work to overcome them it is also undeniably rewarding. Always remember that the time and energy of 24 other people sometimes reside on your shoulders, so be confident and trust in yourself and your abilities and you will come out on top and hopefully enjoy yourself.