Maxillary

How to judge a tanks performance?

9 posts in this topic

I’m in the process of rerolling a tank. My question is: How do I know if I’m doing a good job?

I currently play a hunter and as a DPS the metrics that I use to judge my performance are fairly simple. If I’m consistently sitting in the top X percentile of DPS for my spec and gear; and sitting in at least the bottom half of the raid for damage taken, I can be relatively sure that I’m doing good DPS and doing the mechanics well too.

 

However, as a tank this falls apart. Damage taken and even damage mitigated are poor metrics because I need to know if I’m taking and avoiding/mitigating the right damage. For example, I may mitigate 95% of the total damage in a fight, but if the 5% that I don’t mitigate is the 5% that is vital to avoid then I have done a poor job. Damage taken is bad because I may only be sitting at the top of damage taken because I didn’t switch when I needed to, therefore taking unnecessary damage.

Staying alive is a poor metric too, just because I’ve stayed alive doesn’t mean that I’ve done a good job. What if I’m only alive because a healer needed to make the choice to keep me alive while I was taking excess damage and sacrifice one or more DPS in the process.

Keeping threat and tank switching etc at the right time is bad as well because there is more to tanking than just mechanics.

I’ve done some reading and apparently there is or was a ranking system for tanks in wowlogs. But after a long look I can’t find it and all the posts relating to this were over 12 months old, so I assume it’s been removed.

I’ve also spoken to our MT about this and his response was ‘I don’t know’. As someone who wants to preform at the highest level possible, I find it unacceptable to not be able to judge how I’m preforming relative to my past self (am I improving?) and other people in a similar position.

So, how do I judge if I’m doing a good job tanking and what areas need to be improved?

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I've written and re-written this answer several times. It's hard to word this just right because clearly you are intelligent and already understand the generalities of being a tank. What it comes down to is this, being a tank in many ways is like being a manager at a corporation, you are really a support role more than anything. Your job is to keep the healers alive, keep the boss positioned properly, and to make sure your co tank doesn't get murdered by boss. you are a support guy. So how do you know if you are doing good?

Shortest answer: If people aren't complaining, you are doing a good job. 

Its that simple. If the healers aren't screaming at you that you need to pop CD's that you are hard to heal, you are doing good. If the co tank isn't screaming TAUNT TAUNT or PICK UP THE BLEEPING ADD. You are doing a good job. If you are handling tank mechanics well and not blowing up the dps because you moved in the wrong place or didn't soak something. You are doing a good job. So that being said another key thing here is

Ask.

Ask your group am I doing well, should I change anything etc. I assure you, if you have any flaws, they'll let you know. So, i can write things a good tank will do, I can write things that help tanks improve. However, the judge of your abilities will be in fact other people. Dps and healers have meters we can just read, as a tank you don't have that luxury. The short and sweet is that if people aren't running their mouths, you doing good :D

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Wow, than you... Thank you so much for such a considered response. I feel like you've given me the harder, but more accurate answer here. 

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22 hours ago, demonardvark said:

Shortest answer: If people aren't complaining, you are doing a good job. 

Think this is generally a good answer. But you shouldn't listen at people who are claiming you to do something wrong just because they're doing so. 

I think you can talk to any experienced healer and aks him: what is the most annoying thing on bad tanks? They will give about these answers:

- Tank is line of sight (due to bad positioning - it's what demonardvark said)

- Tank is very spiky (due to wrong/bad CD-usage)

- Tank is barely healable (due to wrong active mitigation usage or just undergear)

I think it's what demonardvark stated - tanking is not really a question of performance, it's a question of acting in the right manner :-)

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1 hour ago, Allseye said:

Think this is generally a good answer. But you shouldn't listen at people who are claiming you to do something wrong just because they're doing so. 

Yeah with this part its why I was trying to aim more at working with co tank and healer stuff. Here and there like on Star Augur there are places where the tank can blow up the raid, but beyond that i was trying to avoid noting relationship to DPS players. You just have baddies who won't get out of the fire and blame tank. I always operate on the assumption

Tank Dies probably healers fault, Healer dies probably Tanks fault, DPS dies its likely their fault. 

1 hour ago, Allseye said:

I think it's what demonardvark stated - tanking is not really a question of performance, it's a question of acting in the right manner :-)

I have difficulty being concise, this was a nice summary sentence I wish I could have written at the beginning of my first response XD

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It's been summed up pretty well so far, so I'll just add my own two cents.  The manager example is a perfect one and should be your mind set as a tank entering each dungeon / raid.  You're not there to min / max output and set new performance records in the logs that night like you would as a competitive DPS.  You're there simply to manage the encounter.  With that mind set going in, you'll perform well, but to do it well, means you have a little bit more homework than the DPS.

For starters you need to have a very good understanding of your raid comp, healers, co-tanks, and available externals.  It's not just your own rotation and CD's that need to be second nature now.  Understanding the mechanics of your tank partners class, recognizing its strength, weaknesses, and available CD's helps a lot and the same goes for your healers.  Granted we've lost some externals, especially lately, but there is still about 2-3 times more damage reduction available to you than whats in your spell book.  Know what it is, how it works, who to get it from, and ask for it ahead of time over voice.

You should know the fight better than anyone.  Every mechanic is at least partly your responsibility.  It's not just monitoring debuffs, picking up adds, managing tank swaps, and popping CD's.  That's the bread and butter of tanking, but you're there to facilitate a clean kill, which incorporates more.  You have to have a full grasp on everything that's happening so the boss and adds can be positioned and moved appropriately.  People make mistakes and die, so being able move and think on your feet, to pop a spare CD and hold an add or a boss for longer, move them away, etc... that helps save a potential wipe, especially on progression when you're down to the 10-20% attempts.  There's also plenty of encounters that focus on raid wide damage and really mediocre to low boss melee output.  Use your CD's and self healing more as a way to drop yourself off the healers priority list and allow them to AOE heal.  There's plenty more scenarios.... just know the fights, know your toolkit, and manage it appropriately.

 

Oh and always check your healers mana before pulling.

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Do you work well with your tanking partner and are bosses going down?  That's an easy benchmark to look at.  Understand what cd's your class has and make sure  you are using them when it is appropriate.  Are you having fun?  This is a game, and if you are not enjoying what you do, why bother doing it?

It's so hard to compare yourself vs. someone else because gear/classes very so much now (in my opinion.) With the various legendaries out there, performance is going to vary greatly, making comparisons extremely difficult.  You are already doing the very best thing you can do, which is ask people/players who have more experience for advice.  Don't ever think that you know everything inside and out and that no one can help you, because there is always someone out there who might have a better way of doing it, or can explain it to you in a way that really makes sense to you.

Good luck on your tanking journey my friend.  It can be a long, lonely road sometimes.  You are going to blame yourself for wipes, for the failures of others, and not get the credit you deserve for successes.  But it doesn't matter.  Tanking is one of the most rewarding ways to play this game.  Enjoy it.

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I started tanking when we were back in Nothrend, and I don't think I never stopped learning what it means to be a "good" tank. You start just by keeping aggro and not dying (often by overgearing the content) and you feel unbreakable. And then as you start wondering "is this it?" you start noticing one thing after another that people ask of you. Being a good tank is HARD, not because the tanking job is harder, but because you need to understand the game as a whole, instead of just knowing your class and how it works in a single context.

Take positioning, in example. When I was a newbie tank, I thought that positioning meant finding the perfect spot for the boss at every single moment, and I focused on that by noticing where the boss was standing in a youtube video I saw, and repeating that and so on. The matter is, that positioning is not a static thing with a correct solution, it's not like a rotation but for tanks. You need to understand not just where you will stand and where your co-tank will stand, but also where the other people will stand. Is the group more or less melee oriented? Where are we going to place those peskys AOE of the encounter? Where do adds spawn? Where can you stand to be able to grab them without running all over the place?

As you can see there is not a single answer to "what is the best positioning I can do?". You will know when your positioning is off, but you will need to look for external indicators that are not really tied to your performance. In example, if you move too much, or position badly, your melees will have lower DPS (I didn't read any mention of this but, remember: as a tank you want to move the less possible, and to always move in a predictable way, and your group should be informed on the way you will move the boss). If you die because you went out of range of your healer, or if your healer is doing less heal than intended, that might be a positioning issue. If your ranged are taking a lot of add damage, you probably aren't grabbing adds as fast as you should, and that means you're probably in the wrong place when they spawn. You can check the global logs for these infos, and you can speak to the group for confirmation on these issues (or ask, and then check the logs to confirm the perception of other ppl, depending on how much trustable is the one complaining to you).

You will also be required to sort some things for the group, more often than not, and that means that you will often need to know what every single class brings to the table. If you are on marking duties, you will need to know the mechanics of the trash (something most people just won't ever read about), to know what CC every class has, and decide kill order and CC assignation based on these informations. You will need to know what every boss does to decide the usage of your CDs, and you will need to know what every other player can do to help you fill the holes in there, be it for interrupting duties, or even to help you survive some key moments of the fight (save for some specific fight you never want your healers and you to pop CDs at the same time, as that is usually overkill).

So, how can you know if you're a good tank or not? It's safe to assume you are not. You have a lot of ways you can improve and a lot of ways you can do a better, more efficient job, that will help your team have an easier life. Just assume you need to always learn something more, and keep on studying. That's a safe start to become, one day, if not a good tank, at least a decent tank.

I know I have a lot to learn still to be a good tank.

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On 2/9/2017 at 6:50 AM, demonardvark said:

I've written and re-written this answer several times. It's hard to word this just right because clearly you are intelligent and already understand the generalities of being a tank. What it comes down to is this, being a tank in many ways is like being a manager at a corporation, you are really a support role more than anything. Your job is to keep the healers alive, keep the boss positioned properly, and to make sure your co tank doesn't get murdered by boss. you are a support guy. So how do you know if you are doing good?

Shortest answer: If people aren't complaining, you are doing a good job. 

Its that simple. If the healers aren't screaming at you that you need to pop CD's that you are hard to heal, you are doing good. If the co tank isn't screaming TAUNT TAUNT or PICK UP THE BLEEPING ADD. You are doing a good job. If you are handling tank mechanics well and not blowing up the dps because you moved in the wrong place or didn't soak something. You are doing a good job. So that being said another key thing here is

Ask.

Ask your group am I doing well, should I change anything etc. I assure you, if you have any flaws, they'll let you know. So, i can write things a good tank will do, I can write things that help tanks improve. However, the judge of your abilities will be in fact other people. Dps and healers have meters we can just read, as a tank you don't have that luxury. The short and sweet is that if people aren't running their mouths, you doing good :D

I really can't disagree with that, although I would like to add that, as a tank, you would have to keep in mind that their answer only applies to the content you are currently doing, to keep in mind that there may be ways in which you could improve still, and your current performance may not necessarily be good enough for higher-end, more difficult content (if it's not about gear.)

Seems that Kelodur hit the nail right on the head already, though. Tanking is very difficult to just explain and teach unlike dpsing (maybe even healing, to a certain, lesser extent); in my experience there can be a lot of subtleties to each instance and each encounter that you only really learn by doing it and finding ways you can use the situation to your advantage relative to your class' abilities.

You can be a good dps by just reading up on rotation/priority list and doing mechanics correctly, but I don't think you can be a good tank until you have enough experience with actually playing that class and getting a feel for everything firsthand, until it becomes second nature (this is where some kind of tanking prodigy proves me wrong and successfully tanks Mythic Nighthold with their tanking offspec that they never play. :p)

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