So you want to be a raid tank in the next expansion?

As the dust from patch 4.0 settles, general consensus is that Blizzard have succeeded in making healing more fun, casters seem to be enjoying themselves and tanks are … having to work a bit harder.

This is very likely to mean that many people who tanked during this expansion will decide to pick a different role for Cataclysm, maybe a less stressful one that doesn’t require you to fight your whole group/ raid for much of the time. It may be that raid tank slots will be less hotly contested in future than they have been in Wrath because raiders will be so happy to have found a warm body with a shield/bearform/whatever DKs have that they’ll take anyone. But don’t count on it.

If you are one of the few, the proud, the crazy who are dedicated to assuming the role of raid tank, then you’ve come to the right place. Because the time to start your run at a raid tank spot is not after the expansion has launched (although you can do that too), it’s right now.

Spinks’ 3 Axioms of Raid Tanking

1. Prove that you like tanking and are good at it by … tanking. A lot. Use LFG to practice extreme tanking (because frankly if you can do it there, you can do it anywhere.) But for networking, focus on tanking for guild groups or PUGs who gather on trade chat. Any time anyone calls for a tank for a heroic (or raid if you are geared for it) and you have time, volunteer to go help them out. When the expansion drops, go help random people out with group quests in your zone; tank anything and tank everything with anyone and everyone. (A bonus to this is that you will get pretty good at your class and spec and pretty confident at your role too.)

This strategy works best for people who can put some time in online but even if you just have an hour or so, it’s enough time to yell, “Tank looking for friendly/ competent dps and healer to run heroics.” (You don’t actually have to invite everyone who replies, you can filter by whichever means you like.)

You’d be surprised at how many people will remember your name. Remember, tanks are scarce. Many players are also convinced that tanks are mean. So having access to a friendly, competent tank who likes tanking is going to get you onto a lot of friends lists. People looking for tanks for their raid groups WILL want to know that you like tanking.

2. Prove that you are reliable. If you do find a regular group, treat it like any group you actually care about. Turn up regularly, apologise in advance if you can’t make it, act like you give a damn.

3. Let people know that you’re interested in finding a raid tank spot for Cataclysm. People are not psychic. If you find a group you like, or people who seem cool, drop into conversation that you’re hoping to tank for raids. Again, if all other things are equal, people will remember when the tank they were counting on decides that they’d rather play their hunter and the backup tank switches to another server for PvP reasons.

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13 thoughts on “So you want to be a raid tank in the next expansion?

  1. Loaded up 4.0 and specced into Blood again (lvl 79 but was blood tanking anyway) unfortunately my trying to learn tanking under the new spec is hampered somewhat by WoW not loading any zones that I warp into. I have to exit the game and reload, not something condusive to happy grouping.

  2. I think the second half of that “having to work a bit harder”- line is missing, because with tank mechanics changing, it’s the “DPS that need to be more sensible again” especially, control their aggro, hold off at pull-time and lose their lazy AoE-mindset that is so prevalent in 5mans nowadays.

    I don’t envy our guild tanks at the moment – it’s hellishly frustrating to see your threat changed while nobody around you seems to notice or adapt to it. it will be fun times Cata come. I hope we won’t lose half the willing and able tanks out there – I can’t say that we were overflowing on them so far. =/

    • I think tanks probably need to work a bit harder too, it’s two sides to the same coin. This is going to be most marked with Paladins though, since they had the biggest changes.

      I am optimistic that people will adapt to the new threat changes and playing styles. Just not sure how long it might take.

      • are you kidding? paladins are the only ones who can still match their previous levels of AOE threat generation. They have to press a few more buttons to do so now, and their rotation is different between single and multi target, but I’m more than capable of holding just as many mobs against just as many DPS targeting all over the place as I was pre-patch.

  3. do you like tanking, Spinks?
    personally, i tend to always pick a ranged dps with pet in an mmo; Warhammer online was the only mmo that i played a tank (blackguard) and loved it :)

    • I have a sort of love/ hate relationship with tanking. I really enjoy it when you’re learning a new instance, I find it takes me longer to get bored of a place when tanking than when playing dps, for example. I get frustrated if I don’t tank sometimes. I am really happy to have had the chance to raid tank 25 mans this expansion.

      But then again, sometimes you just want to cut loose and dps. I think my ideal role would be as an off tank where I could switch between tanking and dps fairly frequently.

      And I’ve liked healing in the past, just not in Wrath.

  4. It wouldn’t hurt to have a viable [prefer dps] offspec either. Our guild has five 25 man raid tanks and in order to make it work and swap about, we need all of them to have viable, good offspecs – otherwise, when it’s not your week/fight to do the tanking, you get sat out of the raid.

  5. Given that 10 mans are likely to be vastly more popular in Cataclysm, I suspect tanks will be in higher demand, as 2/10 is a higher percentage than 3/25. Something to keep in mind.

  6. The most important thing to getting a raid tank spot, quite apar from all this passive stuff, building your reputation etc, is to go be proactive!

    Approach the top guilds on your server and ask what their tanking needs for Cataclsym are. Or, just apply!

    I guarantee you every top raiding guild in the world has been thinking about their Cataclysm roster for at least the last month, possibly the last two or three months, and chances are they already know who is wanting to play what, and may be looking for chances to fill the hole.

    Heading into 3.0, we had one person who I knew didn’t want to tank any more in Wrath, but we just didn’t have any extra tanks until we got an application out of the blue from a fantastic tank who could cover for it. If they hadn’t applied, we probably would have looked within guild to find someone who wanted to play a tank but hadn’t mentioned it yet.

    • That’s a good point too.

      Without beating about the bush too much, I’d be cautious of applying to a guild right now, however good. Because 10 mans will spring up very quickly when Cataclysm launches and it’s not guaranteed what’ll happen with 25s.

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