Teaching a Geekling to Tank…

Well, four gnomes between 15 and 18 queued up for LFG yesterday and we hit the deadmines.

In our party we had:

Warrior Tank – Age 11 – New to Dungeons that don’t involve a 80+ toon carrying them along. (Youngest Daughter)
Priest Healer – 30-something Playing since Wrath. (Me)
‘Lock DPS – 30-something Playing since Vanilla
Mage DPS – Age 13 – Quiet possibly her first time in a dungeon ever. (Older Daughter)

First of all, next time we queue, I’m going to let whoever joins the four of us know:

“Hey, welcome! Just to give you advance warning, our tank and our mage are both kids and are still learning to play. We plan on teaching them as we go through, but we ask you be a little patient with us as they are learning.”

I thought of this halfway through. Our random rogue, who ironically wore the title “the Patient,” kept running ahead and killing things before we even got there and killed all the trash to one boss while we waited for our Mage to reboot due to PC issues.

I figure from now on, if I let folks know up front, at least they know what they are in for and if they want to drop, so be it.

That said, I’m having difficulty figuring out how to teach my young tank how to tank. She knows she needs to hold onto everything. I’m trying to figure out how to teach her how to pay attention to everything around her. Quite often I would mention other MoBs involved and she would be like “Huh? Where?”

If I tried to get her to mark things and establish a kill order, would any random 5th actually follow it?

More frustrating is the lack of skills at our level:

Hey, there are like 5 mobs right there, all clumped together and we have no AoE and she has no way to establish AoE threat.

It was an easy run, with no wipes, but I’m struggling to figure out how to teach her to tank…

Heh, I almost wish there was a nice “invincible” group of mobs that she could gather up and then I would actively try and pull threat off of her.  Granted, I guess threat isn’t the main mechanic for tanks in this brave new Azeroth, but still “Don’t let things attack your group” is still a pretty core concept.



2 Responses to “Teaching a Geekling to Tank…”

  1. Elamari Says:

    Tanking is a difficult skill set to learn – That is what needs to be known straight from the get go. Also, in a lot of cases tanks become the default leaders of the group, set the pace of the group and are first to get the blame when things go wrong. This extra responsibility and is what drives away new tanks 😦 What I suggest is breaking it down into its basic skills;

    * Survivability – first and foremost a tank needs to be able to take the hits and survive. What are your active mitigation abilities? What are you defensive cool downs? Do you know about interrupting casters, not standing in void zones, not turning you back etc… Knowing what stats and gear you need is required to survive.

    * Holding threat / establishing aggro – Now that you can survive you need to make sure that the creatures are attacking you and not someone else. Introducing them to the concepts of threat and aggro.

    Aggro – This is who the creature is currently attacking. Aggro is gained by going into the creatures’ combat radius, attacking a creature, taunting a creature and surpassing another players’ threat on a creature. New tanks need to know what their taunt is, how it works and when to use it. It is their job to maintain aggro on their assigned targets.

    Threat – is a measure of the amount of aggro a creature has on a player. Threat is generated by casting damaging spells and healing. Certain spells increase threat while others decrease it. Most tanks have a range of abilities some of which generate high amounts of threat. New tanks need to know what their high threat abilities are and how to use them.

    There are tools available to new tanks to show aggro and threat like a threat meters (omen for example) and name plate add ons. You can also visually see when you don’t have aggro on a creature, players will type in chat or talk on voice chat.

    * mob management – This will change depending on the situation; AOE vs single target, raid vs 5 man dungeon etc… Learn the ecounter and use the correct spells for the correct situation. Some creatures are untauntable, some can’t be interupted, some can be stunned etc…

    Now we go into other skills

    Pulling – there are many ways to pull; ranged pull, aggro range pull, accidental pull, taunt pull, misdirect pull, line of sigh pull and others. Each one has its time and place. You will learn to identify when its appropiate to use each one. You are not going to round up 3 packs of creatures in a pug with a new healer for example. If three caster creatures are spaced out then a line of sight or a silencing pull may be the best way to go.

    Situational awareness – This is things like watching healer mana or not breaking crowd controlled creatures, being aware of patrols etc… Having a clean UI can help with this – you need to be able to see what is going on around you. Knowledge of the dungeon / encounter is also useful, this comes with experience. Finally communicate with your group. The tank can’t see everything going on, if you see something let them know.

    Advanced skills are like kiting, taunt swapping, boss positioning and picking up adds. These will come later and are not common while levelling or in 5 mans.

    I think this will get you started. Practice makes perfect and don’t be discouraged. Some people can be mean, but it’s just a game and they can’t hurt you. If your new person is particularly sensitive it might be best to make sure you have some friend with them until they gain some confidence. Hope this helps you out and if you have any questions give me a yell. Cheers,



  2. ellie Says:

    Late reply, but:

    If you get your little tank the addon Tidy Plates and tweak it a little to your tastes, it will show her via nameplate size and color what mobs she doesn’t have threat on/ is about to lose threat on, so she knows who to concentrate on. It’s invaluable for tanks!

    There’s also an addon called Fragile3 that gives audio notifications if someone in the party has aggro (must also be tweaked in settings–can get spammy at high sensitivity).


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