So I've been tanking now for about six months. What have I learned? Some random thoughts:
1) Game on
Tanking requires you to be on your game at all times. Tanking errors are generally obvious to everyone, often lead to a wipe, and are embarrassing.
2) Conflict between dps and survival
I used to think that tanking was mainly about not dying, and the threat thing would kinda sort itself out. This is not the case - there is little worse than seeing a dpser stop attacking because they are simply threat capped amd it does happen where the tank is not trying hard enough, or is so busy with other stuff (eg boss positioning) that their rotation goes by the board. It's pretty embarrassing and makes me want to run away and roll a DK.
3) Monsters from the Id!
Tanking is great for the ego. You feel like you are really at the centre of the raid and as if you are controlling the encounter. Perhaps that is why so many raid leaders tend to also be main tanks, despite the fact that it's hard to do both. "Don't worry guys - just keep me alive and we'll be fine. If you die it's not a big deal"
4) Save me
A good tank can save a bad group.
5) A man's best friend
I read on other blogs that tanks seem to "learn to love their healers". I haven't. I've learned to be remorselessly critical of healers - getting interested in healer strategy and play style (all 4 classes) plus gearing theory. I look at my health bar - if it isn't going up I want to know why. I have great personal affection for my healing team, and I think they are good people who are also good players. Perhaps it is the underside of the massive ego boost at #3 above - deep down despite my plate and big shield, I know I can't last 10 seconds without a heal landing, and that vulnerability (nearly wrote vulvability there - Freudian or what?) makes me want my healers to be at the top of their game.
6) And finally
Swords are either too big or too small.
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