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How to Tank: A guide for ABSOLUTE Beginners.

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes
How to Tank: A guide for ABSOLUTE Beginners.

sanctified's Avatar

02.09.2012 , 11:37 AM | #1
This is a VERY basic guide to answer VERY basic questions about how to perform a tanking role in Star Wars: The Old Republic. No math, no theory crafting, no 'which tank is best' debate. All of that can be found anywhere else. This is for people who have never tanked before and just want to know how to do it, and what they should know before they start. Think of it as Kindergarten for meat shields. For people who want to move on to the advanced stuff, just head on over to the stickies in the appropriate class section, or check out Gankstah's Tanking primer here in this forum.

Anyway, here we go.

Stuff New Tanks Need To Know.

1. What is a Tank? A Tank is a character who operates in melee range of enemies, who places points into his defensive talent tree. He is differentiated from a Damage-per-second character (DPS) in that he emphasizes maximizing his personal survival over causing damage to his enemies. He is differentiated from a healing character in that any healing abilities he may have are used to sustain his personal survivability and not to heal other characters. He has higher defensive stats than the other roles, and a higher health pool.

2. What is a tank's role? Tanks generate threat, and use it to anger dangerous enemies and force those enemies to attack them. Although tanks do less damage than other characters, their higher defensive stats allow them to absorb the damage of these attacks and continue to generate still more aggro, causing the enemy to be preoccupied with destroying the tank, while the DPS characters focus on whittling away the enemy's life, and the healing characters maintain the health of the Tank and the DPS. In a nutshell, your role is to defend the well-being of the other members of your group by taking the majority of the damage upon yourself.

3. What is 'threat'?' 'Threat' in its simplest definition is the ability to call attention to yourself and force enemies to attack you. Threat is generated by attacking or taunting enemies and gaining their aggro. Every Player character in the game generates threat, not just the tank. Tanks however, are capable of generating more threat than non-tanks, and can use that to hold aggro. Threat is not static. That means that threat is an active portion of a fight at all times, and that threat levels will continue to grow throughout the duration of a fight. Let's say you have a threat level of 10, and the rest of your group is at a threat level of 5. That means you are successfully tanking, because your higher threat level means that the enemy's focus is on you alone. However, If two minutes later your threat level is still at 10 while everyone else has moved on to 15, then you are tanking poorly, because their higher threat will cause the enemy to attack them instead of you. You must always strive to stay ahead of everyone else in threat at all times in order to tank properly.

4. What is 'aggro?' 'Aggro' literally means Aggressive, violent behavior. In the game it is the level to which an enemy hates you and wants to kill you. In order to successfully tank your enemy, you must strive to hold his aggro at all times. If a fly is buzzing around your ear and it will not go away, attacking the fly with the intention of crushing it to death means that the fly has successfully tanked you. Your goal in-game is to be that fly.

5. Can any character class tank? No. Tanking is currently available to the following advanced classes only: Juggernaut-Warriors/Guardian-Jedi Knights, Powertech-Bounty Hunters/Vanguard-Troopers, and Assassin-Inquisitors/Consular-shadows. These six classes are the only ones currently capable of combining high threat with the high defense and survivability needed to tank well.

6. Is Tanking difficult? No. Tanking is no more difficult to learn than any other skill in the game. But, like any learned ability, your skill level will only grow if you practice constantly. If you are entirely new to tanking then it is much better for you to level your character as a tank by constantly running flash points, and heroic missions as you level in order to gain the practice you need, rather than leveling as a DPS talented class and then deciding to tank once you've hit maximum level.

7. How do I tank?

I) First make certain that your talent points are allocated in the defensive trees of the class you have chosen.

II) All tanking classes have access to three important abilities. The first of them is their defensive stance. These stances differ by name, but all of them will increase your defensive abilities and your threat generation. Before attempting to tank, make certain that you have activated this stance.

The second is their taunt. Taunts will force any enemy to attack your tanking character even if they are currently attacking someone else. All taunts have a fifteen-second cooldown, which prevents them from being used heedlessly, so save them for when you actually need them. At higher levels you gain access to a secondary taunt that forces more than one enemy to attack you. These higher level taunts also come with a thirty second cooldown.

The last is their Guard. A guard is a defensive buff you can cast on single member of your party that reduces their threat generation by 25%. Place it on any member of your group who generates the most threat. In an operation, do not place it on your fellow tank.

III) Attack order. Possibly, the most difficult aspect of tanking is assigning an attack order. Attack orders are, simply put, the order in which you intend to tank a group of enemies. By establishing an attack order, the members of your group will know which enemy to attack, and which one to avoid attacking. This is done most commonly by using target marks.

To mark a target, first select an enemy by left-clicking it. Now scroll to the bottom of your screen and right-click the portrait of the enemy that appears there. You will find an option for marking targets as well as a selection of icons you can use such as a gear, pistol, lightsaber, cross-hair, and so on. Select one of these symbols to use on your enemy and explain to your group what that symbol means in your attack order.

*[ While marking targets, be certain that you are making use of Crowd Control. Crowd controls are abilities that allow you to disable enemy characters for a set amount of time, preventing them from causing extraneous damage to your tanking character. Crowd controls are important because they allow you to remove dangerous enemies from play without having to kill them, increasing your individual survivability, and thus, the survivability of your group. ] *

IV) After establishing your attack order, begin your attack. Make certain that you are the first character to initiate combat.

V) After completing your combat, make certain to mark your next sequence of opponents, and allow your group to finish recovering from the previous fight. After that, repeat Step IV. Congratulations, you are successfully tanking.

8. What are enemy types? Enemies come in four varieties. The most common are standard types, the rarest are champions.

I) Standard-types have no special abilities, a low amount of health, and are easily dispensed with. They present a low level of danger to your group unless there is a large group of them, or they are specifically targeting your healer.

II) Strong-type enemies (or 'silvers') have a higher level of health than standard types, as well as a slight increase in damage. They present a medium level of danger to your group, and do not necessarily have to be tanked or crowd controlled, unless they are targeting your healer.

III) Elite-type enemies (or 'golds') are among the most dangerous you can face in-game. They have a much higher pool of health than standard and strong types, and can deal much more damage as well. As a tank, these enemies are your number one priority. They must be tanked or crowd controlled. Having even one elite running loose while you are preoccupied with something else can be disastrous for your group.

IV) Champions. Champions are precisely what their names imply: The top of the line, the kings of the hill. Champions are usually used as boss characters in heroic missions, flashpoints, and Operations, although there are also wandering champions in the occasional mission that serve no purpose other than to be extremely annoying when you're trying to get something finished. They have the highest health pools, the most damaging attacks, and most of them enjoy immunity to crowd controls, knockbacks, and high resistance to all types of damage. As a tank, Champions are what you were created to smite. They're the Gary to your Ash, The Green Goblin to your Spider-man, The Leno to your Conan. They present the most challenging fights and a nice sense of personal satisfaction when they've been brought down thanks to you doing your job correctly, as well as gear upgrades and other rewards.


Well, that's pretty much everything a beginner needs to know. Feel free to chime in if I missed something important.

sanctified's Avatar

02.16.2012 , 02:36 AM | #2
Playing since October 1st, 2011. Squad 238 for life.

Greycastle's Avatar

02.18.2012 , 09:41 AM | #3
Good job! People need to understand tanking fundamentals.

Cleet_Xia's Avatar

02.28.2012 , 02:58 AM | #4
Could you please add a step in here to inform tanks that they should confirm that their team is actually ready to begin a fight BEFORE pulling aggro. Or at least count the number of purple people visible on their minimap. I've been having A LOT of problems with tanks pulling aggro before I've had a chance to recover health and force from the previous battle. (31/10/0 sage)

The worst for this is Jedi Guardians because of their focus bar, that they feel they absolutely must use before it bleeds down. Eventhough it won't matter at all if the group wipes because the healer was LOSed by not being anywhere near the fight when it started. And it only takes a hit or two for them to have enough to activate an ability or two. It gets real old, real fast, trying to do a FP with an impatient tank. I'm about to the point I don't want a Guardian to tank for me at all.
~Master Telagtun Telag of Lord Calypho~