I just got to lvl 50 on my first tank (DRK) and I’m fairly comfortable in 4-player content. That being said, I haven’t done any 8-player content because I’m not too sure what is expected of me in those. I’ve vaguely heard of tank swaps, tank busters, MT, OT. I haven’t even attempted a Main Scenario roulette because of this, so I would like some help on how the role evolves at lvl 50. Thanks in advance for your help.
It’s nothing to worry about. Honestly, the thing that will throw you off the most is that there are a lot more party members and they’ll all be moving very fast. Sometimes new players get left behind because you don’t know the dungeon, so the other Tank will take charge and run off with the rest of the seasoned players. Try not to take it personally, though. It’s just a thing that develops because of tome farming. Try not to feel pressured by it.
As for your concerns, you won’t have to deal with most of that stuff until later. That said, level 50 content is where tanking really starts to pick up, and there are a few fights that might require some awareness. If you plan to stick with tanking then you’re gonna need to learn this stuff eventually; so, here’s a list to help you out:
Stands for “Main Tank.” Basically, this is the lead tank who will be doing most of the “tank-ish” things. Mob pulls don’t normally matter. As long as one tank of other has aggro then it’s no big deal who’s MT, but Bosses typically have two roles. The Main Tank is usually the tank who is actually tanking the boss, dealing with mitigation, positioning, specific mechanics, etc.
Stands for “Off Tank.” Honestly, 9 times out of 10 the Off Tank just does what the Dps does. Don’t stand in AoE’s and burn the boss; however, if any Adds (additional enemies) pop out during the fight, it’s usually the OT’s job to pick them up. This is not always necessary though. If the MT is over-geared they can sometimes handle it all alone, and sometimes the dps burn the adds before it even matters. In more complicated fights (such as Raids or Extreme Trials), the OT will have the responsibility of dealing with specific mechanics (such as soaking dmg with the MT for specific Tank Busters) or Tank Swapping. Those things are on a case by case basis, though. You won’t know what your job is until you experience the fights for yourself or watch a tutorial video.
Is exactly what it sounds like. The Tanks swap positions. Usually this is done because of vulnerability stacks (not always, but most of the time). When fights are current (such as the current Midas Raid), vulnerability stacks caused by boss Tank Busters can make the dmg too high for one tank to handle alone, so a swap becomes necessary after a specific number (usually 3 stacks is the rule of thumb). This is not always the case (ie: in Midas 3 it is entirely possible for one tank to just power through it and wait for the vulnerability stacks to fall off), but it is sometimes necessary. The way this is done is by having the Off Tank swap to their Tank Stance (Grit, in your case) and Provoke the boss away from the MT. You then want to follow up that Provoke with an enmity strike of some kind (Power Slash/Unleashe/etc) to secure aggro. Provoke only puts you +1 over the top the current MT’s aggro, so you have to follow it up right away to make sure you hold the boss. You don’t want to accidentally lose enmity right after the provoke and get the other Tank killed. If you are the one who is swapping to the OT position, then be sure to stop your enmity rotation. You don’t want to make it too hard for the current OT to take aggro off of you.
The trickiest part of this is getting the timing right. You have to anticipate the swap (focus targeting the MT is a good way to know when. At 2 stacks, you should be prepping for the swap). This will mostly come with experience, though, as each fight is different and vulnerability is not always dished out the same way. Keep in mind as well that Tank Swaps are not always necessary, especially in outdated content.
The fun part of tanking. Most bosses have an attack or two that will hit VERY hard on the MT. We throw all of those moves under the moniker “Tank Buster.” They’re not overly difficult to deal with, though (except for the extreme end of progression raiding / Ex Trials). For the most part, you just have to identify what the name of the attack is and pop an adequate CD for it. For Drk, that will most likely be Shadow Wall or Shadow Skin, however additional CD’s my be necessary depending on how hard the TB hits. Again, you’ll learn from experience. In most end game fights you end up planning your CD’s to specific spots of the fight so that you can spread your mitigation out as efficiently as possible. In anything below end game, though, it doesn’t really matter. The TB’s at lvl 50 won’t hit hard enough to make the Tank sweat, so long as the healer is awake.
Some Tank Busters also have a “soak” mechanic. Soak mechanics are ones in which it is possible for the dmg to be split between multiple targets. Most often, this requires the OT to stack up on the MT and share the load, then move back to the group after the hit. Sometimes, however, it can also mean turning the boss towards the entire party (heh heh heh) and soaking the hit with everyone. Some of these mechs have tells, but most do not. You’ll have to learn as you go.
This is just the basics, and most of it won’t even matter to you until you get to level 60. The safest thing for you to do at your level is to run as the OT in any 8 man fight until you figure out the mechanics. Don’t be afraid to tell the group that you’re new. If the other tank is seasoned, they’ll step up and do the heavy lifting. If you’re not sure about specific mechs, don’t be afraid to ask. Most seasoned players move at break neck speeds, but they will take a minute to explain something if you have questions (not always though. There are some asshats out there). You can also look the fights up online. All of them have tutorial videos and the forums will help you out if you need it.
Hope this helps. Good luck in your new role as tank. Have fun and feel free to ask if you have specific questions.