This post was inspired by Demeternoth. Check out the original here (it’s fantastic and worth the read) and follow Deme on Twitter. Yes, I’m fully aware that Deme’s post is like two weeks old, but I’m recently back in the blogosphere and I’m catching up. Don’t judge me.
Over at my old blog, I wrote about chemistry in a raid setting. I’ve talked about tanks and healers as well as the MT/OT relationship. After reading Deme’s post, though, I felt like I wanted to touch on the latter again.
In TBC, our raid team was fairly consistent. Granted, we weren’t farming Black Temple or anything, but every week we’d have the same group hitting Kara and, later, ZA.
My OT at the time was Nitedragon. We tanked together so much people started calling him my pet bear. I don’t think he minded.
A little aside about Nite: Cheesi, Willy and I met him while in our 60’s working through Outland instances. He was dps at first, but when we had trouble finding healers he respecced. Please note that when he respecced for us Nite wasn’t even in our guild.
As we started doing heroics and Kara, we were short on full-time tanks. Nite had joined the guild by then and was more than willing to meet that need…just the kind of guy he is. He respecced again and did a ton of homework to learn how to be an effective bear tank. In no time at all, he became an incredible bear tank.
Tanking with Nite was easy. It got to the point where we didn’t have to verbally communicate with one another. If a mob peeled off, he had it. If I went down, he immediately picked up the boss. I can’t even tell you how many bosses we killed with me lying flat on my back because Nite knew what he had to do in an emergency and did it without any kind of hesitation.
I’ve worked with many other tanks since then. Sometimes it goes really well…sometimes it doesn’t. In Wrath, I’ve tanked alongside guildies and developed some pretty decent chemistry. I’ve also worked with pugged tanks with varying results.
There are a lot of variables in most boss fights: tank-swapping, movement, adds, proper placement, kids screaming in the background, whether or not you’re saving money on car insurance, West Nile Virus, etc. There’s a lot that can go wrong.
Obviously you should do your homework and learn the fight, but having an understanding of how your other tank works can help eliminate some of the variables you’ve got floating around in your head and allow you to focus on the basics of tanking: staying alive and generating threat. You’ve got enough to worry about on your end, but if you’re not totally confident the other tank is going to do their job chances are you’ll end up making a mistake. Tank mistakes can and usually will wipe a raid.
Having another tank in the raid with whom you’re familiar increases your chances of succeeding in any given boss fight. Understanding one another and anticipating what your fellow tank is going to do let’s you get “in the pocket” and focus on the fight and the basics of tanking.
Thanks for the inspiration, Deme.