Probably like most ESO players, I started playing as a damage dealer (DD). I started just playing solo, so a DD is the more nature type of character I made. After a while, I started playing 4-player dungeons. It turned out I loved the PvE group play. I would do my random dailies all the time. I had multiple characters, so I would do a random with on average 2 different characters.
After doing dungeons for a while, I decided to try healing and tanking. My reasons for doing so was to try these roles and see what they are like. Also, I felt that even if I decided not to play the other roles much at all, the knowledge and experience I would gain playing them would make me a better player no matter what role I decide to play.
Taking the Plunge
I was rather apprehensive about playing a tank. I am aware that a tank has a lot of responsibility in a group. I did some reading about tanking before doing my first dungeon. The beginner tank guide in the Alcasthq website was very invaluable for me. It gave me a fairly good idea of what I should be doing at a basic level. I also posted here in this subreddit about starting to play as a tank. The members here encouraged me to give it a try. When I got my first tank to level 10, I took the dive and queued for my first dungeon.
On my first few runs as a tank, I told the group via chat that I was new to tanking. The people I ran with put me at ease with some comforting comments. The first few runs went pretty well. I was nervous, but as the dungeons were easy, I made it through. I was still rather nervous. My first challenging run was when both DDs quite right away for some reason. The healer seemed to be an experienced player and we both pressed on with just the two of us. It was really challenging. We even wiped once. My first wipe as a tank and I think in any dungeon. I felt so bad when we wiped. We rezzed and pressed on and eventually completed the dungeon. I asked the healer if there is anything I can improve on. He told me I need to taunt more.
As I was new, I was really worried about dying. I am aware that having the tank die is often a lot worse for the group than if any of the other roles died. Because I was so worried about dying, I would block like crazy. My stamina depleted often and I would then switch to my frost staff and block using magicka. I had a lot of sustain issues due to my overblocking everything.
A while later, I learned that I didn't have to block so much. It took some time to realise that being a tank, I can take a fair amount of damage and not be in danger of dying. As I was just running normal dungeons at the time, I could take it easy. It took some time to learn what I needed to block and what I didn't. Some times it's just trial and error. I learned to recognise heavy attacks and be ready to block those. I also learned some attacks are best avoided entirely.
Once I learned not to overblock, I improved my resource management. I learned to look for windows where I can heavy attack. As my main tank was a sorcerer, I also had access to Dark Deal which converts magicka to stamina. It has a 1 second cast time, so I had to find the right window to use it. I steadily improved my resource management to the point where I hardly needed to use Dark Deal.
The blocking and resource management were I felt the most important foundations for tanking. I felt by then I didn't look too out of place trying to tank dungeons. The next big improvement I discovered happened when I was playing a DD. I was watching the tank in my group. I thought it was odd he would run around all over the place in the beginning each trash mob fight. Then he would stand still. It was then that I understood he was gathering enemies together so that the DDs can more easily AoE them. I adjusted my play as a tank to try to do the same.
From time to time, I would also ask the group to assess how I did as a tank and if there is anything I can improve upon. Fairly often, the group members felt I did a good job. Even with this feedback and tanking for a while, I still did not feel that comfortable tanking.
First Vet Dungeon
I still did not have that much confidence tanking. I only queued for normal dungeons. I had a few DLC dungeons which I manage to get through without too much difficulty. I had a couple where it was really challenging at time, but we made it through. One time I died in the final boss, but the DDs managed to burn the boss down in short order.
One day, one of my guild members asked me to tank for a group. I've been tanking with them for a few times. They were good at helping me through and made me relax. They have been calling on me to tank for them on occasion. One time, I was tanking and felt I had a more difficult time than I expect. We made it through without too much difficulty. I checked the gear that I picked up and found that the gear was purple. It turned out I tanked my first vet dungeon and didn't realise it was vet dungeon.
Thus run gave me a boost of confidence. I mostly only did normal dungeons even with my healers and DDs and still only queued for normal after. I only run a vet with a group that the guild formed.
Finally Got That Good Level of Confidence
A couple of weeks ago, I finally reached the point where I had that confidence of playing a tank. Up to that point, I was still somewhat nervous. Even though I had many successful runs, I was still lacking that confidence. What finally got me that level of confidence was a few runs I had that were challenging.
The first incident, I saw a message in the guild chat asking for a tank for the final boss. I was free, so I joined them. As I was making my way to the group, someone wrote on the group chat, "So you're here to save us all," or something like that. I started feeling a bit of pressure. I responded, "That remains to be seen."
It was a DLC dungeon (forgot the name). Apparently the previous tank left (or possibly kicked as he had no taunt). I mainly kept taunt on the boss and some adds I could pull. Then I noticed that both DDs were down. In this situation, I didn't panic. I found the healer and took the heat off him. I used Silver Leash (with Tormentor set) to chain and taunt the adds. I also, used Streak to stun the adds allowing him to get away while I move in an taunt the rest. The healer was able to bring both DDs up. There was a mechanic that kills DDs and healers if they are not ready for it and DDs went down a few more times during that boss fight. In the end, we manage to overcome the deaths and managed to finally defeat the boss without wiping at all. This run gave me a major boost of confidence mainly because I kept my cool and knew what to do in order to recover from a bad situation.
In another DLC dungeon I was in, I happened to be playing my necromancer tank. I had slotted my ultimate instant rez. The dungeon had a boss where when we kill the adds, someone has to cleanse the bodies or they do massive damage to everyone. This was a hard run because of the mechanics involved. We wiped a few times because we did not cleanse the bodies in time. On the fight were we finally succeeded, we had a few instances where I was the only one left standing. As I had the ultimate that rezzes, I was able to bring people back with little danger to myself. Sometimes, I had to just stay alive for a while until I generated enough ultimate. It was a long fight and waiting to generate enough ultimate was one of the reasons. I think I was the last one standing a couple of time and still brought back some of the group. We eventually beat that boss and the rest of that dungeon.
It seemed being in that dire situation and still coming out victorious gave me such a boost in confidence. Since then, I was no longer nervous about tanking. With all of the dungeons and trials I have played with any role, it seems the runs that were far from perfect were the most memorable and often the most satisfying when we were able to complete them.
Trials and Vet Trials
Since I got that level of confidence, I tanked a few trials and even a vet trial (as the off-tank). I did have one failed normal trial run.
I was the off tank in a normal Sunspire trial. Against the first boss, I was to gather the frost atronachs and bring them to where the lightning atronachs died. I didn't do a good job of it and we wiped twice. I still had some challenges at the time picking out the correct enemies and pulling them to the right location. The funny thing in that trial was the people blamed the DPS even though I felt I had a lot of the blame for that failed run. People decided to leave after that.
Since then, I have tanked other trials including a vet trial. The main tank went down a couple of times and I was able to step in as the off tank and taunt the boss while someone rezzed the main tank and others. I felt pretty confident in that situation and we were able to eventually complete the trial with only a couple of wipes at times.
I still feel that I have a lot of room for improvement. I haven't tanked any vet DLC dungeons yet. There are still many dungeons and trials that I don't have a good handle on the mechanics. I still rely on others to tell me what the mechanics are and what to do. I have been learning mechanics through my guilds and also through trial an error.
One of my short term goals is to tank normal Moonhunter Keep. This was the first DLC dungeon I ever played. I was a DD. Our group was not familiar with it at all. We eventually beat it after about a dozen or so wipes. I managed to play it again a second time, but this time we eventually decided to quit. Because of this I am really motivated to give this one another shot. I want to be able to tank this dungeon.
I felt that the ESO community has really helped my success at playing a tank. It was the community here on Reddit that encouraged me to take the plunge. I had various questions to people here about tanking on various posts and had some good responses.
I do a lot of random dungeons. I asked for and got some feedback and advice at times. That really helped me get better over time and get through some of the more challenging runs I had.
I'm in a few guilds on ESO. I met a lot of good people who put me at ease when I was asked to tank. I was also involved in a number of training runs where the environment allowed me to be comfortable making mistakes.
What prompted me to write this post is some other posts about the shortage of tanks. Of the three roles (tanks, healers and DDs), I feel tanking is the most challenging. I did the most amount of research on the role before diving in. It also took me the longest time of any role before I really felt comfortable playing it. Now, I'm not only confident, I actually enjoy it.
Now that I feel I have a good level of proficiency and confidence with tanking, I realise a lot of benefits. Short queue times for dungeons is the biggest benefit. The short queue times is most useful when farming gear. I have a number of characters of all roles. When I want to farm gear, I often use my tank. I don't have to wait long before get into a dungeon.
I occasionally get whispers from guild members asking me to help with dungeons, pledges or trials. Being able to play all 3 roles allow me to be very versatile and be able to step into any role. I love playing dungeons. Hanging with some regulars periodically is a bonus.
I've read a number of posts where the tank gets a lot of blame for failed runs. So far, I have not experienced any toxicity. Maybe I'm just lucky. Perhaps a big part of it is due to primarily playing normal dungeons so far. I still am not comfortable doing a random vet dungeon yet. I'll queue for specific ones that I know I can handle or run with people I am familiar with. I'll count my blessing so far.
I just realised how big a wall of text I wrote here. If you made it this far, I hope you enjoyed reading it.
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© Post "My Development as a Tank So Far" for game The Elder Scrolls.
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