Disclaimer : This is still work in progress, I’ll upgrade this guide step by step.
Anyway, let’s start with…
I’ve read many tanking guides and tutorials, written probably by more skilled and experienced players than me (like those: https://alcasthq.com/eso-tanking-beginner-guide/ and https://alcasthq.com/eso-advanced-tanking-guide/), but what I didn’t manage to find was absolute basics for those who never played as a tank, or even didn’t play any MMO. That’s what I want to focus on here – I strongly recommend you read it even if you already know more or less what does “tanking” mean in a MMO game, as some of you miss few essential details which make the group perform far more efficiently.
So, what exactly does a tank do?
Simply put, a tank does three things :
- Taunting : keeps the boss busy, at the same time protecting the group from the heaviest damage.
- Crowd Control : manages the adds (other hostile creatures present alongside or summoned by the boss) or “trash” (big groups of hostiles between the boss rooms/spawns) whenever possible.
- Supports the Group : with buffs, and debuffs the baddies – either using skills or proper gear.
Those are the basic “dungeon running” rules present in every group content, however you have to be aware that most of the bosses have at least one or two unique skills and mechanics, or different set of mechanics. Sometimes the boss is taunt-immune, or it’s the adds who are the real challenge.
To effectively play his role, the tank has to be very sturdy (sic!), which can be achieved by balancing the amount of Health Points (HP) with various armor, skills and CP combinations, according to your personal experience. For example : a beginner tank should start with around 40-45k basic HP (without food), and use more “selfish” armor sets, like Plague Doctor, while experienced ones can handle every content with basic 30-35k HP and sets focused more on supporting the group, like Ebon Armory.
*More about tank sets and builds in second part of this tutorial.
What many of the group members don’t know/forget/respect is the rule that in 90% of the dungeons and trials it’s the tank who should engage the enemy first. While it doesn’t matter when you have experienced DDs (Damage Dealers) and approach a “trash” group or boss in an easy dungeon, the situation can become really difficult when you are in a veteran dungeon with an inexperienced group. Even with the best group the dungeon will be much easier and faster when you allow the tank to prepare your tasty mobs for quick AoE roast and burn 😉
Here’s how the example boss fight should proceed from the tank perspective :
- Before you start, repair your armor, check if you still have food buff running, charge your weapons if needed.
- Take a few seconds to “scan” the battlefield and plan your positioning.
- When the whole group is ready, enable your shields and buffs and start running towards the boss, trying to attract the adds on your way (using Empowering Chains or any ranged light attack) – usually the boss will start running towards you, too.
- Taunt the boss and turn him away from the group ! Try not to move much and keep the boss stationery, so the DDs and Healers can do their job effectively, while not being directly affected by boss’ attacks. However, while tanks can take huge damage without even flinching and in most cases don’t have to move from AoE (Area of Effect, indicated by red circle or cone), there are some bosses that hit so hard even the tank has to avoid the attack (like Saint Olms from the Asylum Sanctorium or Hunter-Killers from the Halls of Fabrication), so learn what you need about the boss before the run and don’t stand in stupid AoE if you can’t handle it.
- Keep taunting the boss approximately every 12 sec (this addon will help you control your taunt timing) – using the taunt more often will “overtaunt” the boss, which means you will lose it!
- Proceed with your rotation (the order which you use your skills, e.g. taunt → shields → heavy attack → buff → taunt… and so on), keeping an eye on the adds and chaining/range taunting them if needed, until the boss is dead 😉
Obligatory skills you need to learn to survive and successfully manage the boss fight : will be updated.
Now, be aware that above scenario is very simple, and may be quite different in various dungeons. For example, usually there is a second tank (“off-tank”) in trials. The off-tank takes care of the adds (or second boss) and possibly group support, while the main tank focuses on the boss, and also supports the group if needed.
I strongly recommend watching these videos to learn the specific dungeon mechanics – please note that some of the mechanics could’ve slightly changed since those videos were created, but that doesn’t make them obsolete and still gives a great learning experience :
If you want to know what exactly has changed, find more recent videos or online guides, or just ask more experienced guildies, but please watch these videos first, as they have the best and easiest to understand commentary I could find so far. It’s a good, solid base to understanding how dungeons work. Unfortunately, the author didn’t make videos about trials, but we always suggest the best and most recent trial tutorial before the guild run.
OK, but what exactly is this “crowd control”, and why is it so important?
Basically, it means “shepherding” the trash mobs in a tight group to kill them quickly with AoE, or taunting the tougher adds to protect the group from quite significant damage they can inflict.
Here’s an example how to control the mobs :
- Start with the first three steps of the “Taunting” part above.
- When you approach the mob group before your DDs start to attack, they should focus on you – if not, range taunt them with Inner Rage or pull them with Empowering Chains or Frozen Device.
- When the mobs are in a tight group around you, apply Choking Talons or Gripping Shards to keep them in place – this is the moment when the rest of your group should proceed with the attack.
- Keep the mobs immobilized or taunted until DDs wipe them with AoE.