Tanking for a Tiny Guild
This is a guest post from Sonaira, Higher Authority’s resident tank. She also writes a blog about making connections and finding your inner super hero.
Tanking for a tiny WoW guild is a unique experience that doesn’t translate well into the main-raiding-tank oeuvre, which is why I’ve largely stopped reading sites like Maintankadin, regardless of how helpful they can be in theory.
But that’s the thing. There isn’t a lot of theory in being the tank for a tiny guild.
Know your group…
For one thing, I know who I will run with, every week. There will always be a prot paladin tanking. There will always be a holy paladin healing. We’re not exclusive – it’s just that Higher Authority has exactly one level 85 tank, and one level 85 healer. The other three active members of the guild will bring a ret paladin, a rogue, and a hunter.
Fights don’t work as well with that dynamic? Too bad – that’s what we’ve got to work with. Oh, sure, the DPS crew might change it up some: Shoryl might bring a feral druid instead of a ret pally (still melee DPS), or our hunter might bring his ‘lock instead (still ranged DPS). So when fight strategies say “this would really be easier with less melee and more ranged,” I just shake my head and realize that I’m going to have two melee and one ranged, and I better figure out how to make it work.
And after running with them, I know them. I know my rogue is AoE specced, and I need to carefully mark my targets or he’ll die. I know my ret paladin isn’t very comfortable CCing, so I give that task to my hunter. I know my healer is limited in movement, and that I need to stay in range.
Know your tank…
Of course, this means that my group knows me, too. My healer knows when I spike, where I’m likely to go during movement fights, and which mechanics I struggle with. He has a decent idea of when I’m going to hit my cooldowns, and in which order. He knows that if I hear an “oh, crap,” come through quietly on Skype, then I’m going to be ready to hit my own Lay on Hands.
And my DPS knows what I’m going to ask of them. My hunter frequently traps a target before I mark it, and I’ll often get ready to pull and have an ice trapped and sapped targets already. Shoryl will hit repentance on a humanoid before it ever gets to me, because she knows the distance I like to pull at.
Know your fights…
We’re not only a tiny guild, we’re also a laid-back one. As such, we all have our favorites. Shoryl loves to play ret. Our rogue loves to … rogue. I know they all know their classes, but I’m the one that’s responsible for learning the fights.
I have no idea how long a raid leader pours over raid accounts and video, and I don’t really want to. What I can say is that when we start a new 5-man, I take it just as seriously. When the time came to do heroics, I put in about 4 hours learning Deadmines. That information has to be given out to the other four members of my team, in a way they understand. Because I know my group and they know me, I can say things like “so, we’re supposed to stay out of the frost and fire runes for this fight. We’ll see how that goes.” I don’t tell them how to do it, I just tell them what we need.
Get your reward!
I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is not a single member of my guild that I would hesitate to run with. There is not a single member of my guild I have on ignore. And when I have a miserable night tanking, I’m in a safe enough environment to say “that was a ridiculously bad pull on my part, and you all saved my ass.” Because we’re all going to be running around on our alts, or leveling our professions, or chasing achievements all week. And then, come Sunday, we’re all going to be standing there together, trying to make it work again. It’s a camaraderie you rarely find in larger guilds, but it’s what makes ours work.