Tanking! Lots of people want to, and many are intimidated by the role. I want to go over a few quick things that maybe can help you get into the world of Raid Tanking. In this guide I will assume that you have a very basic understanding of how tanking works, but you want to make the move to raiding as a tank. For example, someone who has done 5 man dungeons while leveling, and has really enjoyed tanking, but now wants to join a raid team as a tank and needs to know what steps to take to get ready. If you would like a guide with extremely detailed explanations of every nuance of tanking, check out Icy Veins guide on tanking here: http://www.icy-veins.com/wow/tanking-guide
First of all, Tanking is a very fun and rewarding experience. You are the pivot point that the raid or dungeon hinges on. Do your job well and everyone will be able to tell. The problem with tanking is it has a very high skill cap and learning curve. Simply put – tanking can be hard! With a few resources, a few quick tips, and some patience, it really is easy to be a great tank!
Things that all the great tanks need to be aware of in any given encounter are: Raid and Boss Positioning, Threat levels on the boss and any appropriate enemies, Personal Health Pool, available defensive cooldowns and the best time to use them. Reaction time is also a vital tank factor.
Having a clean UI with all of your abilities in easily accessible and familiar places is a great place to start. A threat monitoring addon is helpful (Like Omen Threat Meter) as well as having a Nameplate addon (Like Tidyplates) to see enemy nameplates clearly. Up to date Boss Mods (Deadly Boss Mods or BigWigs) as well as a DPS/HPS Meter are also two other great additions to help monitor your tanking and the encounter.
A VERY important part of tanking that is often times overlooked is communication. I cannot stress this one enough! Talking and discussing things with the other tank, or with your raid leader, is a great way to gain trust, respect, and to make sure you flow as a cohesive unit. Making sure both tanks are aware when a tank switch needs to occur, or which tank needs to pick up incoming adds, is extremely important to your raids success.
So you are level 100, and you want to raid. The first step is to step into Proving Grounds! This is the first and best great test of a tank. To start, simply go to your Mission Board in your Garrison’s Main Hall and talk to the NPC sitting at the table. The tanking challenge pits you against a series of enemies that will attack a healer NPC that you must protect. To do this you will have to utilize your defensive cooldowns to slow incoming damage on yourself, use AoE attacks to damage the enemies and keep their attention on you, and you will need to use some of your utility moves (Like interrupts, silences, ranged attacks, self heals, mobility abilities) to make the encounter easier. If you have issues completing the challenge, don’t give up hope! These are meant to be a challenge and to help you learn what your role does. Practice makes perfect!
After completing Proving Grounds on Silver difficulty, you will gain access to Heroic 5 man dungeons. This is a great place to hone your craft and get used to tanking. It is also your first stop on gearing up and getting ready for raid. This is where I would recommend getting used to where your buttons are. Knowing where your cooldowns are located so you can quickly activate them in a fast paced boss battle can be the difference between life and death.
LFR (Looking for Raid) is also an invaluable tool in teaching you about tanking and raiding. Not only is it hands on tanking experience on bosses which you will be facing in your weekly raid team, but it is in a low stress environment where mistakes are forgivable. Make sure you send whispers to the other tank in LFR, so that the two of you are communicating which tank will do what roles, and when tank switches or other mechanics need to happen. Communicate!
Taking a quick look in the dungeon journal at the Tank specific responsibilities is a great way to focus in on what your specific job is on any given fight. Quick and to the point raid video guides are great as well, and we recommend Line of Sight gaming for their Highmaul and Blackrock Foundry Guides (https://www.youtube.com/user/losgamingshow/playlists)
Beyond these tips the last advice I can give you is practice! The most important part of tanking is simply being comfortable with your character and your set of abilities. The best way to get to that point is simply to practice. Do as many Heroic 5-mans as you can for practice. Do LFR for practice. Try to get Proving Grounds Gold!
If you follow these very simply steps, and remember to always be communicating with your team, you will be on the road to becoming an amazing tank! Don’t be afraid to try new things or strategies!