Wednesday, August 19, 2009

WoW Wednesday: Tanking

Tauren Tank CrossingImage by antifuse via Flickr

So, many of you know I'm a gamer, my most-often played game being WoW. I don't write about it much, but I've decided if it's a regular part of my life, it needs to be a regular part of my blog. Although I will write about the game as it's played, what I find most interesting about playing are the personal lessons I learn and the social dynamics of the game. So, even if you're not a gamer, you'll get something out of these posts.

I'm currently playing a level 80 Death Knight. I've been playing her as a damage-oriented player, but she has the capability of playing what's called a tank. A tank is a player that puts herself between the bad things trying to kill the players and the rest of the group. They generally have heavy-duty armor and the ability to keep the mobs focused on them rather than the rest of the group. Tanks also tend to set the pace of the dungeon and often set the strategy if they know a dungeon well. It took me a while to get decent enough gear (and I still need better gear), but recently I announced to the guild that I was ready to try tanking and would love some lessons and/or the opportunity to try it out on willing groups of people.

It wasn't until our regular tanks were all gone that I finally got the opportunity to tank, and let me just say, it's harder than it looks. Although I'd read up on strategies for tanking and what moves to use, theory is often far away from practice. First, because I'm slightly undergeared, I take more damage than I should, meaning I need someone to be able to heal the crap out of me. Second, we have a lot of really good players in the guild who have good attacks that anger mobs and then they get attacked and so I have to scramble a bit to recapture the errant mob. And third, let's face facts, I'm not a 15 year old boy. I've had a few good runs that went smoothly and successfully, but I've had just as many where the entire group has died over and over again. This is a frustrating situation to be in as a tank since it's often a tank's weaknesses that can cause this to happen. While this hasn't always been the case in my situations, as a new tank, I'm guessing it is the problem 95% of the time.

I find being a tank rather nerve-wracking as I'm learning. It's a lot of responsibility. And the learning curve seems to be fairly large. My guild is patient with me, however, so there is that. I've learned that support goes a long way in making me feel comfortable trying this new thing out and trying it out under not so ideal conditions. I decided to try it, in fact, because I wanted to help out the guild since we seem to be short on tanks. Hopefully, I'll get better at it so that I'm a bit more reliable and don't get everyone killed so often.

Bonus: Read Sins of a Gaming Father.
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