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Old 09-29-2012, 07:43 AM   #1
Rahatmattata

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I have been raid tanking as a guard since the RoK expansion, and playing a guard since KoS. It's by far my favorite class, in fact it's the only class I play anymore, and tanking is the only role I enjoy in PvE content.This is intended to be a comprehensive guide to raid tanking in all its forms - main, off, and float tanking. Most of it actually consists of character setup and configuring game options, which many players overlook but actually have a big impact on your performance as a tank. I'm not saying I know anything about EQ2 or what I'm talking about, but beginners will walk away with more knowledge and insite into tanking (the way I see it) than the average tank, and even seasoned veterns will hopefully pick up a trick or two. I have never played another tank class end-game, so this information will be heavily weighted from a guard's perspective. Also, everything I write is pure opinion and fictional.There are a few steps you should take before even getting the raid invite, so let's not waste anymore time...

SetupHardware - The FoundationThe most important thing about raiding, no matter what role you are playing is having situational awareness of what is happening in the raid. I would say the next important thing is understanding how the encounter works, and finally actually performing your role.To increase your situational awareness, the first thing you need is a nice big computer monitor and fast hardware, and adjust the game's performance settings so that you get acceptable fps in raids (generally 20+ fps). I know for some people upgrading their PC is not an option, but a large monitor with a large resolution (I play at 1920x1080) really gives you tons of real estate for your UI elements. It allows you to greatly organize your UI to keep everything tight and playable.Another important aspect is the ability to have a good view of the raid and your immediate surroundings, as it can be crucial to be able to see an add pop in the back of the raid, or mobs coming in from various directions, etc... for instance: on slow hardware with a small monitor, you may be tanking and suddenly you notice the shaman is just... gone. However, on a better computer with a larger screen and faster frame rates you would have seen her get kicked by the mob out of the play area and had a general direction your healer is so that you can take appropriate action (reposition or use a "save" - an ability used to soak incoming damage), if any is needed.Options Tweaking & Essential KeybindsSo, now that you have your UI setup and you can actually see the game, there are some game options I highly recommend you customize. Filter your chat boxes... the important chat channels are say, shout, ooc, raid, group, guild, npc say, and narrative. Customize your chat colors and game colors to something that makes sense for you. Turn off camera auto face under control options.This next section is key to fast targetting and decision making. I highly recommend being adept at playing with the keyboard, because at proficient levels you can accomplish twice the workload using the keyboard and keybinds. It is simply fact that it is faster to press a key than it is to navigate a mouse cursor to a point on the screen and then press a key (or mouse button as it were).There are some keybinds I consider "must-haves" for any serious tank: select previous target and /assist. These commands are not bound to any keys by default, so if you want to use them (which, ya do) you need to bind them yourself. I have select previous target bound to x and /assist bound to q. Assign /sit (originally x) to some other key or just type /sit when needed. My movement keys are of course wasd.Select previous target is key because it allows you to aquire a new target (an add, other player, or more likely that non-attackable npc 650 meters away) and instantly switch back to your original target./assist selects your target's target. This comes in handy when you need to aquire a player's target, simply target him and /assist and you will select whatever he's targetting. You can also select the mob's target (usually another player), but this has limited uses. I also have /assist Name macros that I bind to alt q which works really well. If I want to assist my target I press q, if I want to assist a main assist (other player designated as the guy that targets the mobs and everyone goes through him) I press alt q.Melee auto attack is bound to ~ by default, I have also bound ranged auto attack to alt ~ by taking the ranged auto attack icon from my knowledge book, putting it on a hotbar, and binding it to a key. By using my keyboard I can instantly swap to ranged auto when a mob is ripped or I have to joust, etc. Being able to toggle between auto attack modes instantly on the fly is crucial to keeping dps applied, maintaining threat momentum, and processing effects like reinforcement and insight from range.Three hotbars are bound to the keyboard by default. The main set, ctr set, and alt set. I put my main battle CAs on those 3 hotbars and use my keyboard to cast CAs. I feel it's a little faster than mouse clicking but this is up to you. However, there are some keys that are hard to press such as ctr 5, 6, 7... alt 7 and a few others. I have bound these hard to reach keys to around my wasd set for much easier casting. I have also grouped similar abilities and keybinds.For example, tower of stone and block I have placed in the center of my hotbar and bound to E and alt E because they are similar abilities and I often use them together. Unyileding Will is alt W because my finger is already on the W key in neutral rest position. It's an instant cast ability that will save my life, and I macrod in /cancel_spellcast so it will cast immediately even if I'm casting something else.I have many other abilities bound to keys and alt + keys around wasd, and even a misc hotbar with stuff I cast in combat but don't have room for on my main combat hotbars. I have remapped stuff like crouch to shift C, walk shift R, reply to tell ctr R, character window I, auto run T (took me a while to get used to that one), and some other custom binds unrelated to tanking.

Character SetupThis is where everyone is going to tell you something different, but there's a good reason for that. Setting up a tank is about defining the role you are setting up for, with the gear you have access to, and your usual group makeup. My guard is built to be the most defensive tank I can make in the main tank role with a dirge, coercer, scout, inquisitor, and defiler. You can use other players' setups, but ultimately if you want to get the most out of your character you're going to have to tailor your setup.

There are some general guidelines you can start from and figure out what's best for you. Are you going to setup for main tanking, off tanking, or float tanking where you drag memwiping adds to the OT and fill in if MT goes down etc and doing damage otherwise? I don't recommend trying to build a general purpose all around charcter for tanking. Picking one thing or another. Deciding what you are going to focus on will help prioritize your the stats and abilities you want to focus on developing, and will greatly help in deciding what adornments to get.

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For any tank, the number 1 priority is threat control simply because if you can't hold aggro you can't tank. This is accomplished by having capped multi attack (600), haste (200), and dps mod (200)... with enough self-buffed hate mod to be at 90% + raid buffed (hate mod cap is 100), and threat transfers from other players in your group (50% xfer cap, if over cap the overflow % is divided among all players transfering threat). One thing about hate - threat transfers before any modifiers. So, feel free to moderate the swash or even your shoulder the burden/amends target. You want to work on your threat control until you feel confident, then start working on other stats.

The next priority is ironically usually dps. For me, dps beyond what is needed for solid threat control is a non-priority, however I'm in the minority on this so I'll say a few words real fast in case you want an offensive build. Strikethrough helps you ignore block, deflect, and parry while accuracy helps you avoid misses caused by the mob's defense. I generally ignore these stats and let them take care of themselves since they don't really seem to perform as advertised in many cases. Increasing the number of times you hit is the biggest thing you can do to increase dps. Therefore your priorites should be 600 multi attack, as much flurry as you can, and 100 aoe auto. Don't forget your 100% casting haste and recovery speed. At cap you can reliably get in 4 CAs per auto attack. The rest is pretty straight forward and chances are you aren't invited to raids for your dps, so I'm going to move straight into survivability.

Your main form of survivability comes from avoidance, and your main form of avoidance is block because it is uncontested (unless you're a brawler, you have some special rules). In other words, when you mouse over your avoidance number and get the breakdown of defense/parry/block, your block% is actually how often you will block a mob regardless of its level or skill. If a level 4 guardian with a level 2 mastercrafted tower shield has 50% block chance, he will block and average of 50% auto attacks from a level 100x4 mob. The best survivability comes from uncontested avoidance, and it is gold for main tanking. Your shield protection determines your block chance, and it is based on the level of your shield. So always use the highest protection shield you can closest to your level. Focus on anything with block chance. This increases your protection which increases your block which is uncontested. Dodge from food and drink is uncontested, make sure you have fabled level 80 3% riposte adornments on your necklace, raid mobs seem to respect parry, but defense (which is responsible for misses) is almost completely ignored by raid mobs.

My next priority is damage reduction. Magic and melee mitigation should be capped fairly easily.

Hit points are my next priority. I love hp and get as many as I can. Any spare stats I can reforge go to HP, and I have hp adornments wherever possible. I run the best food and drink which gives uncontested avoidance and HP and use mastercrafted constitution potions (currently savant's elixir of constitution), and highly recommend you do too. In every character option or AA option I picked the bonuses that boost my hp%. I have a necklace that increases my hp and healing received by 3%. At the end of the day, your hit points are the only thing that stand in between a box of loot or a mendor bot.

CC immunities is the next priority.

They last thing I care about is defensive utility. I have damage reduction on intercept with faster recast on that and sentry watch. My raidwide buff gives extra HP, and my group temp mit buff gives damage reduction and hp.

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This next section I believe is pretty key, and what will seperate you from 99.5% of the tanks in this game.

A few things to keep in mind when thinking about your character setup. Don't generalize, and don't build for sub-optimal groups. Never gear for bad groups, always gear assuming you will have the utility and healing support you need. For example, I could get my hate mod up into the 70s self-buffed thinking I can hold aggro in groups even if I don't have ideal hate buffers... but then I'm gearing for fail groups and wasting points in hate mod when I am grouped with coercer/dirge.

Open your character window and watch your stats in-combat raid buffed while performing your main role. Know what the caps are, and know what the stat converts to if you go over-cap. Haste turns into flurry over 200, weapon skill over-cap tightens up the low end of the damage range of your abilities and auto attacks. Multi attack turns into another swing after 600 at highly diminshed returns, dps mod turns into more dps mod at highly diminished returns after 200. Don't push your stats over-cap for no reason. The only stat I push over-cap is haste for the flurry because it's essentially more multi attack (in a way).

It's important to watch your stats in combat because if you self buff to cap, not only are you wasting points you are also invalidating other players buffs on you that are pushing you over cap for very small returns. If someone has a proc that increases your multi attack by 15, but you are already at 600 self buffed what is the point of that proc even existing? If you need 390 crit chance for the content your guild pulls and the dirge gives you 15 crit chance, don't adorn to 390 self buffed.

So many players waste AA points, adornments, and stats that could be reforged simply because they don't look at what their stats are doing in combat with a static group make-up. Be mindful of caps and you will be ahead of most people before you even get the raid invite.

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Always stay stocked up on consumables. 100 of each cure potion, freedom of mind (any level), savant's constitution and mp regen over time. I carry evac totems, jaguar, spirit of the chokadai or whatever the fastest one is (very handy). I have a few other totems I carry but never use. I carry signets that break CC and restore power. There are 2 tiers of the power restore, so get them both. Have a deity with decent blessings and miracles. Most likely anastashi or tribunal but rallos zek and marr are viable too. Get the biggest quiver you can and fill it with player crafted field point arrows or better. Carry plenty of the best food and drink you can get.

Macros

Create a tower of stone macro that /cancel_spellcast, equips a shield, and casts tower of stone.

All of your saves should be /cancel_spellcast macros.

Macro to swap offhand weapons and any additional gear swaps you want.

Guardian AAs

Here is a brief rundown of the AAs you should probably have. You can use this as a starting point for assigning your own, and then find what works for you.

KoS Tree - agi: 10, 10, 2 (raid mobs ignore defense remember?), 2 Dragoon Reflexes is a must-have.

sta: 4, 4, 10 the endline is pretty useless as of now.

int: 8, 4, 10, 2 must have endline. I put points in parry, you can put them in haste if you'd rather.

8 extended reflexes, 8 slayer's furor, and 2 experienced insight.

EoF Tree - All 4 endlines with group moderate and unyielding will. Alternative is 3 endlines (dump got your back) freeing up more points available for the lower SF tree.

I chose to go with option 1 allowing me to put 5 in just about everything except sentry watch only 3. Also watch the AAs that reduce recast because many of them will go way beyond cap at 5 points which is a huge waste. Keep in mind self buffed assigning AA you are probably not at capped reuse, but in combat raid buffed your reuse reduction will be higher, so don't self buff over cap, go 1 AA under cap and let raid buffs take you the rest of the way. Recast cap is 50% of your base recast, so with 100 recast I can cast 3 min rescue every 1:30.

The other trees are self-explanatory and dependant on whether you want defense or threat control/dps.

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Old 09-29-2012, 07:44 AM   #2
Rahatmattata

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Tanking

This section will be pretty lite simply because we pretty much all know how to tank, so I'm just going to give my definition of what the role entails and give some advice about different things I have learned that you can take of leave.

Main Tanking

The pull - Generally it's best practice to have your threat transfer be the main assist, but you can have the raid assist you or some anyone else really. On any progression mob or any mob where people need to be on their game, a 10 second warning before you pull is recommended so players have a chance to pre-buff and get heals flowing on you so it's safe to pull. Try not to stack half your temps on pull, because generally the first 20% of the fight is tank n spank easy, and you're going to need those temps when the mob explodes at 80%.

No one should engage until you have the encounter positioned, but you should be quick, confident (fake it if you're not), and consistent with your pulls and positioning.

Positioning - Position the mobs quickly so that they are stacked in a tight pile as best as possible with all backs to your healers/raid. Don't let mobs get behind you if you can help it because you can't block mobs behind you (unless you're a brawler), therefore you have no uncontested avoidance from your shield or block chance. There is some internet latency between you moving your character and the mob chasing you, so it is generally best to pull a mob in a wide arc to get him positioned where you want.

If the mobs aren't where you want, flip the mobs and quickly reposition. This should just be a jousting type motion where you run through the mobs into the raid 10 - 15 feet to pull the mobs out, then flip them away from the raid back into position. Keep in mind this will expose your raid to frontals so be quick about it and drop a sentry watch first if you can. If the mob has an aoe you have to joust, it is best to wait for the joust to reposition if possible. However, don't be afraid to drop a long duration save and drastically reposition the mob in an emergency. If pulling multiple mobs, your best bet is to corner yourself somewhere and position the mobs in front of you in a tight pile. This makes it harder for mobs to get behind you and makes dynamic positioning more predictable.

Speaking of dynamic positioning... if you really want to step up your game you should try to cycle through targets such that your dps has minimal repositioning, and there is no delay when switching targets. Consider this scenario: Shadowknight Muffinmitts pulls a lot of mobs in the middle of a room and they surround him; some mobs are behind him facing the raid, some to his side, some to his front. He's spiking hard because he's getting hit from the back with no block, the melee dps and healers are getting frontaled by the trash behind him on top of eating normal aoe spam. He waits for his current target to die before switching to a new target and the delay in targetting is magnified over an internet connection.

But you pull the same mobs, pop dragoon reflexes (a save) and drag the pile to a wall making a half circle arc in front of you. The raid sets up behind the mobs. You guide the dps from left to right mob by mob switching targets before the current one dies and you waste time having no target. Just before you get to the last mob on the right, you shift your character left along the wall in a smooth quick movement and drag the left half of the mobs into a tighter pile. All you are doing is pulling the remainging mobs on top of each other and flip them slightly so their backs are fully exposed to the raid. Don't make big laggy movements and drag the mobs around as this will just pss off your dps. Any movement and repositioning you make should be for the better; avoid any movement that would make the raid have to reposition or expose them to frontals.

I call this in-combat shifting and grouping the mobs up dynamic positioning. Remember, there's a fine line between making a seemless transition between targets for your dps, and jerking the mobs around annoyingly. That said, if you need to reposition something, don't hesitate to drag the mobs where you need them. Always use a save if you will be doing something that could put mobs behind you, expose the raid, or put you out of range of your healers.

Mainting Aggro

This is mostly going to rely on your dps, and making sure you and your hate buffers rebuff when they die. On most mobs you should be able to see when you auto attack from the multiattack text that pops up above the mobs head. Try to time your CAs so you cast them in between auto attacks. Avoid delaying your auto attacks by even a fraction of a second as this all adds up to less threat generated, and you need to build momentum and keep it rolling. You should be able to get 3 standard CAs per auto, 4 at casting/recovery cap.

Guards - Hold the line will be your primary means of pure threat generation, followed by experienced insight.

If someone rips your target, rip it back. If your snaps are down, sentry watch (if in your group) and have your finger over intercept. Most likely the target will be too far away for intercept, but it's the thought that counts. If you are holding multiple mobs, don't chase a ripped mob. Turned on ranged auto and use a long range taunt like rescue or... just taunt... any ranged threat you can generate to get the mob back. The person that ripped will either drop aggro and you get the mob back, or die and drop aggro and you get the mob back. Whatever you do, don't drag mobs through the raid.

My philosophy is if someone engages early or is on the wrong target, let them deal with it. That's their fault and it's their problem at that point. They should bring the mob back to you while shedding hate, and as you see the mob come into range you should switch to it and ranged auto and establish aggro when the mob is brought back to camp. However 9 times out of 10 they will either try to tank the mob or kite it. I learned a long time ago not to waste my time chasing a ranger trying to kite a ripped mob. He will probably be dead by the time you get to him and the mob is coming back to you anyway, and you killed half the raid dragging a pile of mobs around. But every situation is a judgement call. If it's a single trash mob out of 20 that ripped, who cares.

Try not to get into the habit of blowing half your snaps at once. Some things like rescue you need to work your way up the hate list a few positions before it will do any good to use rescue, so don't blow stuff early. Snap mobs off your raid, but if another tank rips, know when to save your snap and let him tank until you can establish threat momentum and overtake him. Unless he is clueless and rips mobs letting them frontal the raid.

In Combat

Not much to say about this really except always know where your healers are. Tag them up with stars or skulls or something. Learn to use ACT triggers it will simply combat for you immensely.

Know your keybinds and be able to react fast. Know what saves are up, what snaps are up, and for some fights your interrupts. Use unyielding will for peace of mind or save it for an emergency. Remember this because it will save your life... freedom of mind + unyielding will. Both instant cast, and doesn't rely on your healers or anyone but you. Tower of Stone casts slow, best to use block before. Dragoon's Reflexes casts fast and has a short recast with a long duration, it's my go-to for long pulls or drastic repositions or any time the healers have something going on that requires their immediate attention.

It takes a bit of training and concious thought, but get in the habit of knowing your potions and going for them when needed. Most people don't use potions like they should on harder encounters. I generally save freedom for life saving, need to cure myself now or wipe the raid type deal. But I don't wait for someone to cure me. If an aoe hits the raid and the first group cure misses me or doesn't come soon enough I go for a cure pot. Get good at using your potions and you will have a significant advantage. Personally, 2 years straight of nothing but Battlegrounds and PvP trained me pretty well on using potions.

Off & Float Tanking

I find off tanking the most challenging role in the game. You have to fight with the targetting system clicking around giant hit boxes and chase memwiping adds all over the raid. I don't have much to say about OT since most of it is covered in the MT section. Only thing I really have is clicking a mob's foot is often the easiest way to mouse target it. Don't be afraid to snap adds, if you rip the named the MT should snap it back. If he has nothing up, use a save and reposition (if applicable) and tank the encounter until MT can establish hate. Feel free to share tanking duties on trash. Nothing is more fun than dual tanking where one tank pulls mobs while the other tanks at camp then visa versa.

Float tanking for us generally means there is a named and adds. The float tank is between the named and raid in case adds pop on the tank group or an add memwipes back into the raid pile. The float tank then drags the mob back to the OT and lets the OT take aggro before getting back on the named. Also a great puller for plowing trash.

I think most of raid tanking is having the desire to build your character the best you can and play the best you can. If you really dig into your character sheet and AAs and understand the game mechanics, you will have a huge upper hand. I've always found playing just my guard and sticking with it and focusing on that, and joining a lot of pugs, I've been able to get several raid spots playing the class over the years without much trouble. The game is in need of good tanks and I try to be one. It's something I've thought a lot about over the years and I think I've learned some things that can help new players that want to tank for raid guilds or just be great pug tanks.

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Old 09-29-2012, 08:09 AM   #3
Rahatmattata

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Idle UI. See my little custom keybinds on the lower left hotbar? All the ones bunch up in the middle are on keybinds too.

This is full UI playing a guard besides implied target window which is right below the target window. Having a clean UI with lot of play space makes things a lot easier.

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Old 09-29-2012, 03:31 PM   #4
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Excellent guide thank you.  A lot of the info there was what I had spent a long time trying to find a straight answer on (whether strikethrough and accuracy - or my relative lack thereof were worth worrying a lot about).

It was good to know that I was on the right lines with many things (I don't raid but aiming to group more and have never done so before *antisocial*).  I now know I should be already used to doing many of the things I need to be.

Although my guy is a 92 zerk not a guard I think I'm going to find most of that guide very very useful for him.

Thanks

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Old 09-29-2012, 08:23 PM   #5
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Standard UI is terrible I might add. Get Profit or Drums UI and you will wonder how you managed without it.

Situational awareness is probably the biggest thing a tank has to worry about. Be prepared to change strategy on the fly as a fight progresses. Basic example is putting up a death prevent if one of your healers dies to something. In fights such as Tagrin in PoW something like that is guaranteed to happen. Tagrin is boss, with death touch (+ mem wipe), adds that only one person can see, more adds(coop strike with boss), aoe1 oneshots anyone not a tank, aoe2(power drain), random blinks(with power drain), zonewide aura (damage on power use), with red text joust, with a charm. Without situational awareness you will never defeat this boss.

Target Macros are essential in higher end raiding. Clicking a key binded macro is always faster than mouse clicking. ALWAYS.

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Old 10-02-2012, 06:42 PM   #6
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Thanks for posting this, it has some handy hints.
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:55 PM   #7
Rahatmattata

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Professionals run stock UI

Glad you guys found some of it useful and thanks for adding to it too.

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