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PvE Tanking in General: PvE Tanking on any class guide.

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes
PvE Tanking in General: PvE Tanking on any class guide.

Engeopathichero's Avatar


Engeopathichero
02.28.2014 , 02:47 PM | #1
Looking through the forums, I've noticed there aren't any guides for tanking in general. Many who are new to the game or new to MMO's in general may not know the basics of tanking, and might be able to learn a thing or two from a guide on the forums. So here is my general tanking guide, not for a specific class, but just in general, for those who are new to it, like I was.

More to tanking then aggro.
You ask about any experienced tank, they will tell you there is more to good tanking then just keeping aggro of mobs. You have to factor several things into tanking for a group. Knowing the class is the first step for that. Doesn't matter which class you pick, knowing how to play that class will help you more than any gear, any augments, any stims, or any healer. This is true all around for any class or spec, but especially for tanking. Tanks have the hardest job, because not only do they have to make sure their allies aren't getting attacked, they have to make sure they use high aggro moves, keep up a good bit of damage to keep enemies on them, and pay attention to their own health so they don't,

A) Put to much stress on the healer.
B)Panic and make mistakes when they get too low when not paying attention.
C)Die.

Playing a class in the tank tree from start to finish is the best way to learn how to do this in my honest opinion. From level 1 to level 55 takes an average of about 3 total days worth of play time (not 3 actual days, 3 days of 24 hours of playtime, give or take a few hours.) If you play in the tank tree from level 10 on, you should get the majority of those 3 days practicing the tree. Practice really does make perfect in this case.

Learning your tree.

The second thing that can really help you tank better, and I will put this in bold and a different color because it is that important, READ WHAT EACH ABILITY DOES, AS WELL AS EVERY SKILL POINT YOU PUT IN YOUR SKILL TREE!

It may not seem like that big of a deal, but believe me, reading the skill tree is far more reliable then just following the build of some random person on the internet. It is important for several reasons,

A) You learn which skills give certain buffs that help you tank and/or do more damage.
B) You learn which skills generate more threat, which I'll talk about a little more in depth later in the guide.
C) You tend to use a skill more when you know what it does, and using the right skills while tanking can separate between being a great tank, and a really bad one.

Threat

Now I mentioned threat in the last part. This is one of the most important things to know while tanking, because taunting an enemy will only get you so far with aggro. Threat is a SWTOR term for how much aggro you generate. Not sure if the term is different in other MMO's, but was new to me when I first started playing, so I'll explain it a bit more. Every single class in the game generates threat, and certain skills generate more than others. Healing skills generate quite a bit, and most healing trees have at least one area to focus lowering that threat. DPS specs in general generate quite a bit as well, since high damage is one way to generate it. So the job of the tank, is to generate more threat then the healers and DPS, which is much easier said then done.

Now why I mentioned reading the skill trees are so important, is much of the tanking trees, in all 3 tanking classes the skill tree not only makes some skills generate more threat, but also many skills you get in the tanking tree will generate a high amount of threat. You will usually get a balance of both area of effect threat skills, and single target threat skills. Starting with an AoE threat skill is a great way to start attacking mobs, it gets their attention quickly, and usually you can keep that attention no problem. In rare cases they will break away and attack the DPS or heals, that's a good time to use your taunts, which force the mob(s) to attack you for 6 seconds.

Now starting with an AoE threat move is not the only time to use it. Generally you will want to keep using all the threat you can generate throughout the fight, especially with a mob group of about 4 or more enemies. Even single target threat skills can keep their attention, though getting the AoE ones in there will help quite a bit as well. Every single tank class has at least 1 AoE threat skill, so learning to utilize your AoE's will help you a ton in tanking. Many times these also act as damage mitagation, or some type of stun or slow, and sometimes even a combo of those. Learning to use these will help you tank quite a bit.

Tools for tanking.

Now where every tank has differences in playstyle, there are some things they all have in common that I'd like to address, as well as "jobs" each tank has. Every single tank class has a stun breaker or self cleanse, an interrupt, a single target stun, an AoE stun, a single target taunt, an AoE taunt, a guard and 2-3 "Defensive Cooldowns," which, in essence, make you not die, usually on an extended cooldown. For tanks, learning how to use these skills effectively can be the difference from a wipe, or wining the encounter. The stuns I won't focus on much, because the most important time to use most of these abilities is during boss fights, where stuns usually aren't effective.

However, most bosses can be interrupted, and this is one of the single most important jobs of a tank. Most would agree, it is the tanks job to interrupt in boss encounters, and really any encounter that might need it. Most experienced players who play DPS can tell when they need to step in, as the interrupt of course has a cooldown, and though most fights don't have the necessity of more than 1 interrupt, some do. Knowing what to interrupt will come with practice, and knowing the fight of whatever you are doing, and is true of flashpoints, ops, and heroics.

Stuns can also work as interrupts, but as I said earlier, many times bosses and sometimes other random mobs will have immunity to stuns. Knowing the mobs, as well as knowing the fights will help a great deal in this regard.

Now as for your taunts, a good tank will rarely need to use them, but I'd be lying if I said you don't need them at all. Note that the AoE taunt will be about a 45 second cooldown, and this is true of any tank class.This taunt has the ability to make all enemies around you attack only you at least for 6 seconds. As for your single target taunt, it only has a 15 second cooldown, so it's best used on a single stray target, or sometimes a boss that likes to target anyone but you at random (yes some bosses are like that, i.e. Ilum Under Siege's final boss). For the most part, if you use your threat abilities properly, you won't need your taunts much, but under the rare occasion that you do, take note of the length of the cooldowns before using one.

A quick side note on the AoE taunt, be very careful using it if you are low on health. Having 5 enemies that were not focusing you suddenly focus you with low health can be disastrous for a team. Many times a healer can't help you at that point, so be very careful under certain fights. Sometimes it will pay off, but just be careful when using it.

One more thing you have at your disposal is your guard ability. This skill wards off a bit of damage, as well as very important threat reduction. The damage reduction is pretty minimal, but the threat reduction is not, so you will want to put your guard on a high threat producer, such as a sentinel DPS. This was new information to me, but I can't tell you how many times I've had to pull a boss off a sentinel/marauder because they pump out so much short range damage that they steal threat from some of the highest tanks. A healer is another good choice, but I really feel that DPS is a smarter way to go, as they generate much more threat than healers.

Position.

Another key aspect of tanking is, for lack of a better phrase, location, location, location. How you group the enemies can sometimes be the difference of success or wiping, and though usually not that important, there are a few things you can do to help out your team, and make things go smoother for everyone, including you. Here are a few tips that will make your team sing praises about you, or at least compliment your tanking.

Group enemies together for AoE's.
This is probably the nicest thing you can do for your team, especially if you have an AoE damage skill like Smugglers and Imperial Agents have. If you bring a group right into the fray of that AoE, the entire process will go faster, you put less stress on the healer, and you set up a great fight for everyone. Now do note, this is not always easy. Bioware did a great job on spacing many of the enemies so that tanks have to work to do this, especially with ranged NPC's. And I will admit sometimes it is near impossible to do it, especially if you play a Juggernaut/Guardian, as they don't have a pull. However, if you do this as much as you can, I guarantee people will be complimenting your skills.

As an example of what not to do, avoid using AoE knockbacks unless you are knocking an enemy off the map. This usually spreads out the enemies, and makes it so that your DPS have to pick off every enemy one by one. Having been in that DPS position, I'll tell you when our tank told us it was his first time tanking, I wasn't surprised at all. Having many tank toons, I could tell almost immediately he was new to tanking. Just keep it in mind.

Face your team.

I know it sounds silly, but this can also help you a great deal while tanking. When you go in after a boss, do your best to always face the boss towards you, and keep his back to the team. This is true of any encounter, and there are several reasons why. First of all, the boss and/or mob will face you if it is focusing you. That means, if the boss has his back to you while you are facing the team, he is not focusing damage on you. Seeing a boss turn his back to you gives you a great queue to hit him with a taunt, and keep him off your team.

Also, another side note, many classes, shadows/sins and scoundrels/operatives especially, have moves that can only be used from behind the enemy. So if you face them, and make the boss focus you, they can easily get a ton of damage off on the boss, and make a very satisfied DPS, who will like you in return.

Don't take too long.
If I've learned something about DPS in the game, it's that they don't like to take very long. Most are playing DPS to make things go faster, and expect all classes to do the same. That being said, you don't want to sit around, otherwise those DPS are gonna pull without you for impatience. This is one time that I would (sadly) side with the DPS for pulling, so just as a general rule, keep things moving, unless an afk is called. Tanks that won't keep things moving are a huge annoyance for all, speaking from recent experience as a healer on that one. Just another thing to keep in mind.

Back up a team member who is right.

This usually applies to healers the most, as in my opinion the game leadership really belongs to tanks and heals. So if a DPS is being an idiot (which sadly happens quite a bit) back up your team, especially if it's your healer. Many times a healer will notice if a DPS is taking far too much damage, or not letting the tank do their job. And believe me, with the latter, after tanking a bit, you will notice when you have an idiot DPS. Hate to name classes, but once again, sentinels/marauders are the worst with this, since that little fairy leap tends to get them into trouble. Usually a healer will say something, and don't be afraid to either. Don't be afraid to kick a DPS because they aren't letting you do your job of tanking, they are a dime a dozen to replace. Most times, if you back up the healer, the healer will back up you, and you will have a clean run.

Some tips for a DPS that is attacking early or not waiting for the team, as I have found is often the case, is to teach them a subtle lesson. Again, sentinels and marauders are the worst about this. If they fairy leap into a mob twice, I simply tell them, "You jump before I get aggro again, I won't pull the enemies off you, and don't expect to be healed either." Most times they won't believe you. But once you and the rest of the team run past them and they die once or twice, I can tell you 9 times out of 10 they will start letting you tank. This seems mean, but really, they are being the mean ones, and it's your job as tank to put them in their place. If they won't stop, don't be afraid to kick them from the group. Also, most times your healer will back you up %100 on this, cause it is hurting their job too. I have done this several times, especially on my shadow tank I leveled doing almost strictly flashpoints, and I have never been kicked from the group for doing it. Don't be overly strict, and if they start letting you tank, thank them for doing so. Don't use foul language either, as that usually doesn't help. Be firm on your resolve to not help them if they screw up, but gentle with how you tell them they are stupid. Be constructive, and I can almost guarantee a clean run.

One last thing I want to mention, as far as flashpoints are concerned, and from my experience with ops this is mostly true as well, every team needs a leader, and for the most part, that goes to the tank. The only time I would say this is not true, is when it is the tanks first time doing a flashpoint/op, then it goes either to the healer, or the person with the most experience with the run. I'd say most experienced tanks would agree with me on this, as well as healers, and remember, the healers job is to heal you, so you two are very important to the team. From my experience healing, it's a hard job as well, so work together and lead the team to victory!

Don't be afraid to ask about fights.

When I leveled my shadow doing flashpoints, there were many fights I didn't know how to do. Rather than let your team wipe, don't be afraid to tell them you are new to tanking, or have never tanked a boss fight before. Most people are more than happy to help you understand the fight, or give a rundown of what to expect. The same applies to you knowing a fight that someone doesn't. All members of the team need to know what to do, and how to do their role. So be kind to those who ask about fights, and remember you had to learn them too. And never, ever be afraid to say you are new to tanking. This lets the rest of the team know there may be some mistakes, and those with experience can tell you what to do to make the run smoother. This is especially true of any interrupts you need to do as the tank. Usually a team is very understanding, and don't be too upset when someone overreacts to a wipe. The game has been out awhile now, so you have a good amount of people who know what they are doing, and would be glad to help you out.


So I hope everyone finds this a helpful guide, and in case I left anything out or said something wrong let me know in the comments and I'll change it asap. I really enjoy tanking, and I hope this can help others enjoy it too, and maybe not jump in blind to the job of tanking. Thanks for reading all, and hope to see you tanks in game.
"You don't know true rage until you get lectured on controlling your emotions by a four-year-old in a robe." Guss, Smuggler Companion.
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Hockaday's Avatar


Hockaday
03.09.2014 , 10:19 PM | #2
Nice. I fear no one will read it who could benefit...but very nice.

I would add about the dps though...is that if you're going slow; dps will pull ahead and pull for you. Just because you're tank, doesn't mean you may dilly dally. As you're really not needed for anything but raid content. A marauder is just as viable a tank in a HM FP. Hell...some raids marauders will do your job for you just fine. (Most SM content)
The Empire is not evil, and the Republic is not good...it is all a matter of opinion.
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WillLongstick's Avatar


WillLongstick
03.09.2014 , 11:23 PM | #3
Quote: Originally Posted by Engeopathichero View Post
Now as for your taunts, a good tank will rarely need to use them, but I'd be lying if I said you don't need them at all. Note that the AoE taunt will be about a 45 second cooldown, and this is true of any tank class. Note also that it is only good for 5 enemies. That means if you get 2-3 mob groups that have a total of about 7-8 enemies, you can only taunt 5 of them. As for your single target taunt, it only has maybe a 20 second cooldown, so it's best used on a single stray target
I stopped skimming at this part. AOE taunts hit ALL enemies within 15 meters. Also, single target taunts always have a 15 second cooldown.

Anyways, I'll leave my general guide to tanking:

Step 1: Eliminate as much work and as many mechanics as possible from the DPS and Healers in your raid.
Gorthog - Amelthea
<Intrepid>

Engeopathichero's Avatar


Engeopathichero
03.10.2014 , 10:33 PM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by Hockaday View Post
Nice. I fear no one will read it who could benefit...but very nice.

I would add about the dps though...is that if you're going slow; dps will pull ahead and pull for you. Just because you're tank, doesn't mean you may dilly dally. As you're really not needed for anything but raid content. A marauder is just as viable a tank in a HM FP. Hell...some raids marauders will do your job for you just fine. (Most SM content)
Thanks, that is a good point, have a new paragraph around that topic, hope it will do. Thanks for the imput!
"You don't know true rage until you get lectured on controlling your emotions by a four-year-old in a robe." Guss, Smuggler Companion.
Referral code, for grins and giggles.

Engeopathichero's Avatar


Engeopathichero
03.10.2014 , 10:46 PM | #5
Quote: Originally Posted by WillLongstick View Post
I stopped skimming at this part. AOE taunts hit ALL enemies within 15 meters. Also, single target taunts always have a 15 second cooldown.
Thanks for that, I don't know why I thought it was only 5 enemies, fixed, and fixed the cooldown time as well, thanks again for the corrections.
"You don't know true rage until you get lectured on controlling your emotions by a four-year-old in a robe." Guss, Smuggler Companion.
Referral code, for grins and giggles.

mastirkal's Avatar


mastirkal
03.11.2014 , 01:35 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by Engeopathichero View Post
Thanks for that, I don't know why I thought it was only 5 enemies, fixed, and fixed the cooldown time as well, thanks again for the corrections.
Probably got it mixed up with the fact that almost all tanking skills the classes have only affect five targets at most. The exception is I believe the PTs Death from Above and saber reflect for juggies.
Poopvectus

Rebel_Guy's Avatar


Rebel_Guy
03.11.2014 , 04:23 PM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Hockaday View Post
As you're really not needed for anything but raid content. A marauder is just as viable a tank in a HM FP. Hell...some raids marauders will do your job for you just fine. (Most SM content)
very much exaggerated... even hm flashpoint trash will destroy non tanks.. outside of something like saber ward you would get torn apart very easily in most trash pulls and would rely heavily on the healer assuming you even actually kept aggro on everything... while agree you shouldn't take forever as a tank to pull you're going to have a hard time "carrying" a team as a dps in a pug group

Hockaday's Avatar


Hockaday
03.11.2014 , 08:35 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Rebel_Guy View Post
very much exaggerated... even hm flashpoint trash will destroy non tanks.. outside of something like saber ward you would get torn apart very easily in most trash pulls and would rely heavily on the healer assuming you even actually kept aggro on everything... while agree you shouldn't take forever as a tank to pull you're going to have a hard time "carrying" a team as a dps in a pug group
Incorrect. I've marauder tanked flashpoints, and have used marauders as tanks in SM raid content. Though, a dps with a taunt can be pretty handy on a fight or two in some raids. But eh.
The Empire is not evil, and the Republic is not good...it is all a matter of opinion.
Nerf Hungering! It's too OP.=Bartle Test Results:= CE VIP
{Reward-Driven 85%} {Exploratory -60%} {Physical 32%} {Thoughtful -26%} {Social -60%} {Competitive 100%}

wadecounty's Avatar


wadecounty
03.15.2014 , 12:41 PM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by Hockaday View Post
Incorrect. I've marauder tanked flashpoints, and have used marauders as tanks in SM raid content. Though, a dps with a taunt can be pretty handy on a fight or two in some raids. But eh.
Incorrect again, I've tanked on my Vigilance Guardian and healed someone tanking as a DPS before, you tanking as a DPS aren't doing the extra work, the healer is. So you'd better be damn sure your healer is ok with it before you pull something like that. I would never try to initiate pulls (as a DPS) if I was with a pug healer I did not know, that's a jerk move that puts all the pressure on the healer (not to mention belittles the tank).
Kandel - Juggernaut Lef - Guardian
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