16/06/2013

More tanking lessons

Our role-reversed tank/healer duo is progressing through the levels nicely, even if we're waaay ahead of (or is that behind?) the levelling curve once again, still bimbling around on Alderaan at level 37.

I feel like my little Powertech has really come into her own in the last couple of levels, as she gained more abilities to control the battle and talents that create nice synergies between my main aggro generators. I have my harpoon to pull mobs towards me, and hydraulic overrides prevent me from getting knocked back too often. Jet charge allows me to quickly get into a mob's face and punch it (whee), and free flame sweeps and flame throwers make getting AoE aggro a breeze. Fun!

The only downside is that I'm starting to see why most tanks are... well, a little crazy.

Some fight mechanics are just extraordinarily cruel to tanks. There was a [Heroic 4] we did on Tatooine where every other pull went something like this:

Me: [charges in]
Mobs: [do a knockdown]
Mobs: [stun me with a cryo-grenade]
Mobs: [stun me with a cryo-grenade again]
Mobs: [decide that since all I seem to be doing is standing there stunned, I'm not threatening enough and they should go after someone else]
Me: For fuck's sake, how many stuns do these guys have?
Pet tank healer: Language, Shin.
Me: Fine, "oh sugar". But seriously, how many stuns?

Tank rage in the face of being powerless!

The funny thing is, in hindsight I can't actually say that I feel that it's a bad thing that those mobs have all those stuns. It makes the fights more challenging and encourages crowd control. We were kind of silly for AoE tanking the whole lot every time I suppose. But still...

Back in WoW it was a commonly repeated mantra that tanking wasn't so much about fighting the mobs as it was about fighting your party (for aggro and control). Supposedly that's why so many tanks were complete jerks, because they automatically expected the worst of every pug they met. In SWTOR I haven't found things to be too bad so far, maybe because the tank isn't actually expected to handle the whole pull. (It's generally the dps's role to kill the weak mobs on their own.) Even so, it's still way too easy for even a bit of carelessness to completely ruin the tank's well-intentioned plans.

I mean, there's me in a flashpoint, looking at the pull ahead for a few seconds as I figure out that it's probably best to shoot an explosive dart at the one in the middle, charge the one on the right and pull the one on the left over... and then a fraction before I can actually pull, the dps Marauder charges in, causes two mobs to leap towards the healer and it all goes to pot. Arrrgh!

I have to admit that when we later got to a pull with some gun turrets that had a knockback, I cackled a little with glee every time they sent that same Marauder flying on his behind. Tanking makes mean.

Finally, sometimes tanks seem to be prone to outbursts of what can't really be called anything but random insanity. I have been affected by this as well. On Tatooine, I saw this group of strong banthas that were all quite close together... so of course I had to charge in and round them all up until I could see nothing but banthas on my screen and kept getting knocked down by their headbutts. My healer just rolled his eyes in bemusement and healed me as I got buried under a pile of fur while spamming AoE. I had to, because I could!

Whatever crazy adventures will tanking get me into next?


Banthaaas!

3 comments:

  1. You had your "Khaaaaan!" moment, I see! ;-)

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    1. Interesting comparison, wrong franchise. :P (Though I did like Into Darkness...)

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  2. In my very humble opinion SW:TOR does have a tad too many stuns ;)

    I share your frustration with that leaping Marauder; like I said before: that ability is just too tempting to resist. The pull you described would previously have been every Tank’s nightmare but somehow I have the feeling that this matters a lot less nowadays.

    Let us know how your future endeavours in tanking turn out.

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