One of the common posts on the FFXIV subreddit seems to be from new tanks or players learning to tank for the first time who are struggling with anxiety about the tank role. While it’s front and center and in the spotlight, I firmly believe that the role of tank is one of the easiest to learn. There are concepts that don’t exist to the same extent in other jobs, like positioning of mobs and defensive cooldown management, but compared to some of the very involved DPS rotations I have yet to master, I frankly think tanking is somewhat simple to do reasonably well, although like anything there’s a lot an outstanding tank can do above and beyond the basics.
> you bad tank
When I started FFXIV, I started as a Warrior – not because I wanted to tank or because I knew anything about the classes, but just because I wanted to have an axe as my weapon. Having never played a trinity MMO at all before, so my first dungeon was like this:
The first dungeon I entered, I knew basically nothing. I’m sorry to my poor party, but at least no one died. Thanks to them for trying to explain the basics of tanking in the middle of things. Before that explanation, I didn’t really know what enmity meant or why the monsters kept ignoring me and going after my party.
It’s actually kind of hilarious to go back and read the “Noob Tank Diary” I wrote after my first two dungeons now. I was so clueless then. It seems like a long time ago now, but I can still remember how nervous I was in my second dungeon, how desperate I was to hold aggro, how determined I was to do well, and how frustrated I was when people said I was bad.
After a few of those comments I did start to feel anxious about my performance, but obviously I didn’t just give up.
Overcoming Tanking Anxiety
When people ask how to overcome “Tanxiety” I usually encourage them to give it time, because confidence and skill come with practice and repetition, like anything else. It wouldn’t be possible to become a skilled tank overnight, but hopefully it’s something you can develop over a few weeks.
Learn Your Skills
One thing that might help with anxiety, and certainly would help in the long run, would be to learn your abilities, BOTH offensive and defensive, and when they work most effectively. Learning what your tools do, and learning This does not mean just reading the tooltip; some are poorly explained – look for more info online. (Possibly an upcoming post.)
Tank & Repeat
Tank dungeons often. Work on practicing getting and maintaining aggro. Pay attention to where enemies are, how hard they hit, what cooldowns work well there. If you make mistakes, don’t panic. If something didn’t work, try something different the next pull, see what works better. The next time you run that dungeon, do that one thing a little differently to see what does work. Positioning mobs and deciding how much to pull at once were the things that took me the longest to learn, it’ll come with time.
While you’re learning, feel free to tell your party “First time tanking this, I’ll do my best” or “Only tanked this once, bear with me” to set their expectations. By saying you’re new, you will significantly reduce the likelihood someone in your party will yell about some small mistake (It doesn’t happen often, but it does sometimes.) Further, you might make it easier for people in your party who have tanked before to offer advice that might help you continue to grow. Once you’re more comfortable with that dungeon or with tanking in general, you can stop doing this.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
If you feel like you make mistakes, please consider: many DPS players make mistakes all the time, but most of their mistakes are in terms of sub-optimal rotations leading to low DPS. Tanks are kind of center stage in the whole thing, so tank mistakes are easier to notice. So don’t assume that all of the other players are awesome, and they are constantly judging your performance.
Tanking can be intimidating at first, but like I started this article, I think tanking is one of the easier roles to get “up to speed” and do at least reasonably well. Please keep tanking, improve a little each run, and you’ll be a confident (and/or disgruntled) tank in no time!
Some of this advice originally appeared in a Reddit comment.