No matter the class, a tank is responsible for keeping his group alive. In my experience any tank class can tank any zone in the game (non-raid), even if certain classes may excel in certain areas. Most groups though, prefer a plate tank class, simply because they are better equipped to handle the situation. But I personally know a Bruiser (Brawler tank class) who is high-end geared, and can tank any instance in the game, so there are exceptions to every rule. This is especially true when it comes to Paladins, or even Crusaders in general, as there is a stigma that we can’t tank, can’t hold aggro, can’t dps, are second rate tanks and third rate healers, etc. This could all be true dependant on the person behind the character. But in more and more instances, I notice that Crusaders shine, even Brawlers seem to be stepping it up a notch. Having good players in your group makes a world of difference.
There are some other factors that I believe are the tank’s job. I would divuldge into other classes as well, but since my main is a tank, I have more experience in this field. These factors are:
- Know the zone.
- Know the classes’ strengths and weaknesses.
- Know strategies for pulls, placement, etc.
- Have macros made for specific commands.
- Have a strong leadership presence, and the ability to control the flow of action.
- Educate yourself.
Know the Zone/Know strategies for pulling/placement: As a tank, and leader of your group, you’re going to be the forerunner, making the decisions, pulling, giving commands. It is your responsibility to know the zones you’re working in, as you need to know where to go, what mobs are where, what they drop (class set pieces for example), and where to be when you pull. For example, in instances like Obelisk of Blight (OOB), or Crypt of Valdoon (COV), there are no re-pops, so you can safely progress thru the zone. There are particular mobs that possibly drop gear, but that also open up new portions of the zone. In these zones, there are also parts where you can avoid whole groups of mobs, if you make sure to grab roamers first, and clear the most direct path to the next named or corridor. In other zones such as Kaladim or Castle Mistmoore (CMM), the zones are persistent, and mobs are constantly respawning, and named are contested. Knowing placement is crucial here, as you want to be farther away from mobs killed earlier, as they can threaten your group if your pace is slow. Also knowing the most direct route to contested mobs that drop set pieces (such as the sage in CMM) will help you beat out your competition. Simply put, if you don’t know the zone, you can get into more trouble than it’s worth.
Know the classes’ strengths/weaknesses: This is of paramount importance. Knowing what ALL classes can do is a tool that not only will make your group better, but will give your group confidence because you know what you’re doing, and know what makes up a good group. Small examples are the fact that two furies’ heals cancel each other out. Having more than one tank is acceptable, but it’s preferable to only have one. Dirges buff melee, Troubs buff casting skills. SK’s, Necros, and Brawlers have Feign Death. Pallies, Necros, Dirges, and healers can rez. There are many more examples I could make, but knowing what each class can do will go a long way for your group. This is particularly important when assembling a group or raid yourself, rather than being picked up in one.
Make Macros: Macros are an important tool in any character’s arsenal, but they come in handy as a tank in particular. An “Incoming” macro is a must, dictating to your group that you are pulling a mob. /%t is incoming will produce a message such as “a <kobold> is incoming”. Easy as pie. Other macros for abilities are optional; emotes can be used as well (though these tend to get annoying). As a Raid Leader, there are even more mandatory macros, such as “Follow me, please”, “Pulling <an assface> in 5 seconds”, “Pulling <an assface> now!”, and the ever persistant “all in” call, that will let the main assist know it’s time to target the mob, and lets the rest of the raid know it’s time to attack. “I have aggro, all DPS attack!” is a good example. A “Pulling to here” macro is optional, but also a good one. A good raid leader will also know the zone, know the strategies, and will explain these things to you as the raid progresses.
Command Presence: As the group/raid leader, don’t be afraid to issue commands mid-fight, or before/after. This is your job, and sometimes things that people do can threaten the success of the group. This issues need to be addressed, and you’re the guy to do it. Issues such as looting mid-fight, other players passing you up and getting aggro, talking instead of fighting, etc. These issues need to be controlled, because they can all cause a wipe, and something needs to be done about it. Be kind, be courteous, but be firm. If someone isn’t willing to conform, and it seems that the whole group is irritated about it, you may even need to kick the problematic player. Some people live to screw with others, and take great pleasure out of ruining your gaming experience, and to these people I say, good luck /kick.
Educate Yourself: If any of these points I’m bringing up are foriegn to you, educate yourself. I learned all of the zones I know like the back of my hand by playing in them, and either being a backup tank my first time, or learning as I went. Players tend to know the zones no matter what class they play, or may even have a tank alt, so take people’s advice. If these tactics you have been suggested work, take note, and use these yourself. Reading the POIs on your map can be of help finding quest/named/contested mobs, and the internet is your friend. The EQ2 Forums, the EQ wikia, even the EQReference site can all give you insight to zones, named, and class abilities. If nothing else, just paying attention to channel chat, and combat spam in game will help you learn. There will always be new things to learn, so pay attention, and you will be a better player. And more importantly, you will make a name for yourself, and people will want to group with you, giving you even more opportunities to learn.
These are just a few of the things that come with being a tank. These are things that you should take into account when deciding to roll one. These are the things that when lacking, give some tanks a bad name. Choose wisely.