Whether you are a first-time tank or a grizzled hardcore raid veteran, a death knight, druid, paladin or warrior, you will find some useful nuggets in these top 10 tank tips.
10. Pay attention to what abilities trigger the global cooldown (and pay more attention to those that do not). For example, warriors can generate threat on a large group by charging a mob in the back and using Thunder Clap on the mobs in the front as you pass through them. This is possible because Charge does not trigger the global cooldown. Likewise, abilities like Concussion Blow and Rune Strike can be macroed into other abilities.
9. Use a unit frames addon. An addon like Grid, which is generally regarded as specific to healing can be invaluable to a tank because of the sheer amount of information that can be concisely displayed. Grab a few additional Grid modules like GridStatusThreat and GridStatusRaidDebuffs and, at a glance, you can see your threat situation, major debuffs, etc. as well as having a handy mouseover frame for the next tip.
8. Become familiar with mouseover macros. Using them with Grid can be an extremely powerful combination. I use Clique to bind /cast [target=mouseover] Righteous Defense to my right click for my paladin. Whenever I see someone get aggro on Grid, I just right click their unit frame to taunt the mobs. No target switching, no break in my rotation. This is very helpful on Faction Champs. A warrior could use this for Intervene, either to protect a squishy or get himself out of trouble. Mouseover macros can be used on objects in the game world too, not just unit frames. A mouseover taunt can be used on a specific mob (or its nameplate) as you see it slipping away without ever switching targets.
7. Use abilities to increase your health pool, right before using abilities that heal you for a percentage of your health pool. This is somewhat obvious, but I've been amazed at the number of tanks who don't do it. Every tank but paladins has a combination of abilities to use in this situation: DKs use Vampiric Blood before Rune Tap or Death Pact; druids use Survival Instincts before Frenzied Regeneration; and warriors use Last Stand before Enraged Regeneration.
6. Learn how to deal with casters. I like to smash them in the face, but what if they have a friend or two? Death knights have Death Grip, Strangulate and Mind Freeze. Warriors have Heroic Throw, Shield Bash and Spell Reflection. Paladins have Avenger's Shield. Druids have ... well ... druids have jack. The basic idea is to silence one caster (racial abilities like Arcane Torrent work here, too) while attacking the other, to make him run to you and hit you with his stick. If there are too many to deal with, ask your party for help. If you are a druid, stick your nose in one mob and your butt in another and swipe. (It's a caster -- who cares if it has your back?) Even if you can't group them up, you can use damage-mitigating abilities; any of your stuns work (pallies, don't forget Holy Wrath).
5. Use nameplates. An addon like Tidy Plates will allow you to display custom information in the nameplates, keep nameplates from stacking, automatically turn them on or off when entering or leaving combat, and allow nameplates to "glow" if you aren't securely tanking them. In addition, when nameplates are on in combat, you are much more aware of when adds spawn or aggro. You may not see the mob, but you will see the nameplate.
4. Learn and use the double pot trick. If a healer is a tank's great love, then we are cheating on them with Indestructible Potions. Swill one of these seconds before entering combat and you can hit the bottle again two minutes later, giving you an additional 3,500 armor for four minutes of any fight.
3. Combine ranged-only and melee-only abilities in a single macro. A great example of this is the macro I use on my warrior:
Only the usable ability is fired, so when I'm within melee range of a mob, I use Devastate; if I'm 8 yards or more away, I use Charge./cast Charge
2. Use your camera abilities. Tired of looking at bear behind? Add SET cameraMaxDistanceFactor 4 to your \WTF\config.wtf in your WoW installation directory. Zoom out and pan your camera. Watch the Awareness and Camera Control video on TankSpot. Learn to tank while looking at your character from the front.
1. Roll alts ... lots of them. Your tanking will greatly improve as you become more familiar with the abilities of other classes and how they are used. Ask classes that can interrupt to help you draw casters into melee range. Ask a rogue to dismantle a rifleman in HHoR to bring him into tanking range. Understand when a hunter pulls aggro that he did it on purpose and has a plan to deal with the mob, so let it go. (If he didn't have a plan, he sucks and deserves to die -- but watch your healer!) Understand why melee players hate it when you move a mob, so move it only when you have to. Did you know hunter shots can be blocked? When possible, turn your mob's back to the rest of your party. Melee and hunters will love you for it. Especially learn the healing classes. When tanks and healers coordinate the use of cooldowns, it is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
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