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You've always wanted to be the eye of the storm: a World of Warcraft tank. You're working your way up toward level 80, quest by quest and zone by zone. Maybe you've consulted a leveling guide and done some research around the internet, and you're sporting a shiny, efficient leveling spec. Or maybe you're taking things more casually, experimenting with different specs and abilities on your own and devoting most of your energy to soaking up the sights and the lore, meeting new friends and settling into your first guild.

Either way, you're beginning to feel the first tendrils of apprehension curling around your ankles. You haven't been able to get many instance groups to knock the shine off that new armor. Heck, maybe you're not even tanking-specced yet at all. What's going to happen when you hit 80? Everyone's going to expect you to know the pointy end of the sword from what's under that fluffy tail you feel inclined to tuck beneath you ... What can you bring to the table with absolutely (gulp) zero experience?

The basics of aggro management
The first thing you need to understand, young Padawan, is the underlying principle that allows a tank to do his or her job: aggro. Learn to dance with aggro as a Jedi does with the Force. As your group or raid's tank, you need to have an implicit understanding of aggro, from what it is and where it comes from, to why YOU want it and why the rest of the players don't.
Tanking 101
You understand the principles of aggro – now what do you DO with it? What are the methods, tools and tactics that help you gain and hold aggro? And once you have aggro, how do you live through it?
Great power and great responsibility
What's it like to be the tank, anyway? The pivotal position you play in groups lends a unique perspective to how you play and enjoy the game.
Class-specific tanking
Class balance has become a fluid thing in today's World of Warcraft, but we can still point you toward some universal truths. Know that the details in the following class-specific articles may have changed since they were written, but they'll give you a good feel for what you can expect from the tanking experience in your chosen class.
Advanced studies
Read more about tanking among the posts in our tanking class columns.
Read Metagaming for newbies to snag a list of basic theorycrafting resources, and check the comments below to discover reader favorites from among the many popular and informative tanking resources outside of WoW.com.

To battle!

WoW Rookie feeds you the basics to get you off to a good start in the World of Warcraft. Find more tools you can use in the WoW Insider Directory and WoW Insider Leveling Guides.

This article was originally published on WoW Insider.

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