Written by | Posted September 8, 2015 – 9:51 pm Descent and Ascent

It didn’t take long to get from Thunder Bluff to the Echo Isles – Ankona took advantage of a wyvern so she could think and plan before getting to her destination. She had information to confirm with the spirits – was Gromnor dead? Was he really in the northern part of the Eastern Kingdoms, somewhere […]

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Differing Species of Tanks
comment 31 Written by on February 17, 2010 – 2:29 pm

So Bubbles and I were talking today (since we are both the healery siginficant others of main tanks in raid groups), and the subject of various kinds of tanks came up. We discovered, through a lot of laughter, that there are a few distinct species of tanks in WoW – and I’m not talking about classes.

These Tankish species transcend class, and are therefore something like “Tank Archetypes.”

  • Mr. Nice Tank – Average Jane, Mr. Nice Guy sort of tank. Probably relatively new either to your raid or to raiding in general. Good attitude, may not say much in vent.
  • Cranky Tank – What happens to Mr. Nice Tank after two expansions of putting up with the same old bullshit every week from the same people. Probably either very vocal about it (in channels or in vent) … or very vocal about it to whoever happens to be within earshot, sparing the raid her ire.
  • Timid Tank – This is the tank that’s still unsure about this whole tanking thing. He doesn’t really take much initiative, and she’s not really fond of taking risks. A timid tank will be slower, but not necessarily worse, than other tanks.
  • Seasoned Pro Tank: Tanks. Likes tanking. Does it to relax. Doesn’t really understand why other people seem to find tanking so stressful – even after a four-hour wipefest or an accidental four-group pull. In real life, is probably an adrenaline junkie. Tried playing a DPS class once, but found it so boring he fell asleep at the keyboard.
  • Drunk Tank – You’re not entirely sure why, but you start to notice that he’s slurring on vent. And that the nights where he’s not slurring, he doesn’t tank well. The Drunk Tank not only is used to imbibing large quantities of alcohol, but seems to actually do better having done so. Just don’t ask about his liver.
  • Flail Tank – Possibly a newer tank, or possibly just had WAY too much caffeine today, the Flail Tank is constantly running around, mashing buttons wildly (and sometimes not even the right ones). Having a Flail Tank means there’s hardly a dull moment.
  • Huge Ego Tank – Always tanking, always talking about how great they are at tanking, gets offended when you ask someone else to tank. Must be the main tank, refuses to offtank. Often doesn’t get along with other tanks at all, even when not directly competing with them. May cause loot drama.
  • Know-it-all Tank – How dare you question her abilities and knowledge of this game! The Know-it-all Tank refuses to listen to any strategy that competes with how THEY think the boss should be fought (even if they’ve never actually done it before). Regardless of class, will tell other tanks how to play.
  • Lost Tank – Couldn’t find his way around Trial of the Crusader. Don’t even /ask/ about Ahn’Kahet, Sunken Temple or Blackrock Depths. Needs a map to find his own shield. May cause slowdowns in instances after a wipe, may also cause hilarity.
  • Reluctant Tank – This isn’t really a tank. It’s a DPS or Healer in a Tank Suit. Skills and bar-layout are probably both a little rusty, but the Reluctant Tank will probably at least give it her best shot. Unless, of course, you’ve been asking her to tank for the last three months straight, and she hates it and would rather be DPSing. (See: Cranky Tank)
  • AFK Tank – Lights are on, nobody’s home. Possibly not at the keyboard, possibly just pretending not to be there. Subsets of the AFK Tank are the Disconnected Tank and the Alt-Tabbed Tank. Frequently a stress-relieving mechanism for the Cranky Tank. Particularly skilled AFK Tanks can continue to tank successfully while not paying attention.
  • Not-A-Tank: This is either a plate DPS, a rogue (evasion tank go!), a druid, or very occasionally a hunter, immediately after the death of a raid tank. It generally involves changing shape/aura/stance/presence, followed shortly by a quick, messy death. Occasionally will result in a boss kill, if executed at that last, unbelievably long 1%.
  • All-Star Tank – You’re not sure what this guy ate for breakfast, where he got his gear, or how he managed to get Chuck Norris to autograph his shield/sword/favorite bangly bear necklace, but this is the tank that can tank anything. Three extra packs, with casters, around a bad LOS on the stairs, with the other tank dead and most of the DPS taken out by a rampaging Yeti and he’ll tank the whole mob down. Also, the tank that manages to survive the odds, beating back Angry Boss RNG time and time again. Class is irrelevant, she can tank it. And she will.

Of course, through all of this, we came to realize that there’s one last kind of tank. The saddest kind, and the kind that we (as mostly-full-time healers) never want to see.

The Former Tank

All joking aside, though, tanking isn’t easy. Like healing, it requires a specific sort of situational awareness, a lot of mental attention, and occasionally a shot of something stiff to keep you willing to put up with the crap. I’ve run with just about every kind of tank, and while they might annoy me sometimes, I couldn’t be a healer without them.



PS. Now Accepting Ideas for Part2 (Differing Species of Healers) and Part3 (Differing Species of DPS)

PPS – To all those of you visiting from WoW Insider – Hi! Welcome to my blog!
Yes, this is humor. I run with excellent tanks, and this is entirely tongue in cheek. The posts about Healers and DPS will be in the same, lighthearted manner. I’m /not/ QQing about my tanks. Merely pointing out that there can be some funny ones out there!

If you enjoyed the article, why not subscribe?

31 Responses to “Differing Species of Tanks”

  1. Differing species of healers… fire standers “I can heal myself through this!” … the epic healer (druids MT healing, raid healing paladins, etc)…. the /afk healer…. the spaz (running around not sure who to heal)…. the laid back healer (doing their job quietly and perfectly)…. the angry healer “stop f*cking standing in the f*cking fire you NOOB”

    Alot of tanking “archetypes” can be applied to healers imo.

    I know tanks of ALL these species, and this post made me smile. Thank you πŸ™‚

  2. Oh! There is also the pull faster tank! Don’t forget him XD

  3. For DPS, there are two opposed types.

    1. The Theorycrafter Evangelist. Has a very specific set of talents, armor, and rotation. Rolls his or her eyes when anyone of his or her class does it any differently. WILL have a DPS meter installed. The best evangelists can explain to others in your party how to better improve their damage output. The worst don’t understand that not every class plays like their own. And the VERY worst think that the awesome build negates the need to pay attention to surroundings.

    2. The Experimenter. It’s not all about the numbers, man. It’s about utility! This is the raider rogue who digs deep on the stunning talents, maybe some Demonology warlocks. They’re convinced that they can do better for a raid than just provide the big numbers. Often they’re quite refreshing, since for once a DPS class isn’t just bragging about how much damage they’re doing. They often have excellent environmental awareness. Unfortunately, depending upon just HOW experimental they get, they may also be gimped.

    By Sean Riley on Feb 17, 2010 | Reply
  4. Oh, I /loled. When I’m on Nancie, I’m equal parts Lost Tank and Reluctant Tank, and while it would be supercool to be Mr. Nice Tank or even Chuck Norris Tank, I don’t know that I’m ever going to get there. ^_^

    A healery version of this would rock, too. πŸ˜€

  5. I’ve only been tanking a brief while (my tankadin should ding 76 tonight) and I have a hard time picturing how anyone with a tank main doesn’t end up as the Cranky Tank.

    “I’ve been playing this way all weekend and I’ve only died while you’re the tank.”

    “I shouldn’t need to FD if you would do your job right.”

    “You know, I can tank this myself, so I’ll pull if I want to.”


  6. Oh the lost tank made me chuckle. I ran sunken temple with a guy who was just learning to tank but who had the directional sense of a lone lemming… Eventually he just got frustrated and jumped over the balcony into a pit full of dragonkin. Eek! πŸ˜›

    Couldn’t blame him though, if the healer wasn’t always in the back, I’d be just as lost!

  7. I think I’m all of those tanks. Even (maybe once or twice) the all-star :). Well except for the lost tank.

    Most often lately I’m the sigh-tank. As in “sigh … another mage who simply must use blizzard (with all his cooldowns popped) immediately as I pull.

    Tanking is fun though – wearing but fun and knowing you can make all the above kinds of mistake as a tank adds to that fun.

    By Arneus on Feb 17, 2010 | Reply
  8. Healer species? Let’s see here:

    The Convert – “Oh, we’ve got enough tanks/DPS tonight. Could you heal instead?”

    The Pretender – A DPS or tank in healer’s clothing. Gear set probably isn’t complete, and might not even bother to respec to heal. More common but easily forgivable at lower levels.

    Tunnel Vision – “Heal the tank. Heal the tank. Heal the tank. Hey, why am I dead?”

    The Multitasker – Whether it’s out of boredom or necessity, this one ends up pulling double duty as DPS as well. Can be obnoxious if they overshadow any actual DPS.

  9. I’ve got one for DPSers πŸ˜›

    The sheathed swiss army knife: If a healer dies, he or she may suddenly stop DPSing to try and heal the group. When the tank goes down, tricks of the trade to evade tank it. If the group wipes, he may Feign Death and come back up with a Goblin Jumper Cables successfully cast to save everyone a long corpse run. This guy will do his very best to keep the group up in ways that draw cheers from everyone and leave a smile on your face. His DPS may not be spectacular, but you will see the ingenuity a player can come up with in this guy.

  10. The Temporary Tank: This is either a plate dps or a druid, immediately after the death of a raid tank. It generally involves changing shape/aura/stance/presence, followed shortly after by a quick death.

    Seriously, the only one I have seen pull it off with any more than about 4% health left on the raid boss is a cat druid who went bear and stood up for about 10%.

    And for Healers, there is the “Oh Shit” Healer: This is a Ret Pally, an Elemental Shaman, a Shadow Priest, or a Boomkin immediately following the death of every other healer in the raid or instance. And occasionally it is enough to keep the tank alive JUST long enough to save the raid.

    By Damarlen on Feb 17, 2010 | Reply
  11. β€œYou know, I can tank this myself, so I’ll pull if I want to.”

    You know what the proper response to that bit of verbal (ok, typed) garbage is? “Oh, you can? Here, have at!”

    By Morias on Feb 18, 2010 | Reply
  12. XD This post made me laugh some as I read it, and then the All-Star Tank made me laugh hard enough for my roommate to question me with concern.


  13. I am/have been all of the above… sometimes more than one at the same time;

    a nice guy in party chat, explaining a newcomer in PoS how “the green stuff is bad, so i have to move this guy a lot, so you might wanna turn down the DPS/Growl/”, whilst ranting on voicechat about the “..fecking huntard and his fecking early shooting… ”

    But yes! I am definately subbing to this! It makes so much sense and fun at the same time… completely owerpowered.

    By Generictank on Feb 18, 2010 | Reply
  14. I won’t mention the stereotypical DPS, but here’s one for ya:

    The Timid DPS: “Ohshitohshitohshit am I gonna pull aggro guys I think I’m about to pull aggro” Also known as the Pre-BC Onyxia DPS.

    Hope that gives you some ideas.

    By Salivanth on Feb 18, 2010 | Reply
  15. the utility healer. The guy or gal who never tops the heal charts, but can heal when needed, dps when needed, decurse or cure disease when needed, and can cc when needed. Highly valued in ICC, but tends to always need biscuits and forgets what set of armor he/she has on.

    By MiggedyMike on Feb 18, 2010 | Reply
  16. I’m one of the main tanks for our guild. If this is your experience of tanking I think you need to find better people to run with πŸ˜‰ Sure, I make mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. I had a total fail the other day and managed to wipe a PuG group in Heroic HoL, which I know like the back of my hand and overgear massively. I apologised, we moved on. S’all good.

    I raid healed as a Shaman in vanilla on Horde, I switched to Alliance to raid with real life friends and spell DPSed as a Mage in TBC, and when we lost one of our (Cranky+Huge Ego+Know It All) Tanks come Wrath I decided to try levelling my Paladin again as a tank, dual specced to heal though I am a bit of a failhealer. I fill in the gaps around our two main healers on those areas where we really need 3 healers, and one of the melee DPS goes tank. I’ve never had more fun than I do tanking. One of these days might try melee DPS (One of our other mages got really bored of maging and switched to a ret pally. He’s loving it). Heroics get boring when you overgear though, cos most of the bosses are tank and spank at this point of gear. Time to pull more mobs, chain pull, tank with no clothes on (I tanked Heroic Nexus with no clothes on with a PuG and a massively overgeared healer, just for a laugh. They loved it) to bring back the fun!

    By Carr0t on Feb 18, 2010 | Reply
  17. I think you’ve missed one, although they’re so rare as to be invisible.

    The Seasoned Pro Tank: Tanks. Likes tanking. Does it to relax. Doesn’t really understand why other people seem to find tanking so stressful – even after a four-hour wipefest or an accidental four-group pull. In real life, is probably a day trader, extreme sports fanatic, or other adrenaline junkie. Tried playing a DPS class once, but found it so boring he fell asleep at the keyboard.

    QQ’ing at the Seasoned Pro comes with risks – they’ll either just ignore you (“Meh, he’s just some guy on the internet shouting at me. I don’t understand why people find that stressful”) or immediately kick you, /ignore you and write a note to your guild leader (“Meh, he’s just some guy on the Internet. I’ll never see him again. I don’t understand why people find votekicking so stressful”).

    By Aiern on Feb 18, 2010 | Reply
  18. Great article, btw.

    By Aiern on Feb 18, 2010 | Reply
  19. I love it! Okay, healers?

    Hmm… Well, I’m a… passionate healer? I don’t know if that’s the right description. I’ve healed for years and really can’t do anything else. I have a shadow spec, but I’ve no idea what to use it for except to do dailies. I tried PVPing in shadow, but all I did was heal people, so I gave up and started PVPing in disc instead. Seeing health bars that aren’t full drives me crazy and if I’m not on my healer for some reason (which is rare), I might actually stop to bandage someone if the healer isn’t doing their job. I’m honestly not a bad healer, but it makes me kinda sad that sometimes that I am incapable of doing anything but healing.

    I’m not sure what you would call that. Hmm…

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to the next ones!

    By Jennifer on Feb 18, 2010 | Reply
  20. This makes me wonder what sort of tank my guildmates would say ~I~ am. I’ve had my heroic “save the raid” moments, but I also get touchy when asked to off-tank because I fail pretty hard at my DPS spec. I’m pretty confident in my abilities, my husband will often tell me to pull large quantities of mobs because he’s my healer and he knows that between the two of us we can manage it.

    For DPS types, don’t forget the “I’m just playing for fun” type that will only spec one way regardless of what they’re doing, for whatever reason. Maybe they’ve “always played that way and nobody ever complained” or they’re clinging to the former glory of their spec, convinced that they’re the one special snowflake who can show everyone else that they’re wrong about its potential.

    That used to be me. πŸ˜€

    By Caelatria on Feb 18, 2010 | Reply
  21. Okay wow this is really instructive for me, because I prefer healing. It is a job I just really enjoy in the game. I have never tried dps until I leveled the shaman. (Wow is it fun.) I find I still prefer healing. My guild needs me to tank. Well I try my hardest not to fail, no I usually don’t, but sometimes I just do. I still can’t do the Brann event in HOS on heroic. I have a devil of a time with the caster pulls in H PoS.

    I think this is because I am either a Timid tank or a Reluctant tank. I know the theory, but I don’t have the “tank” mentality some people talk about. I leveled Holy. I had to watch myself to survive. This is why my Off tanking stinks. I can stand in one spot and stare at the bosses um … parts, and hit the right spells at the right time. But running around and grabbing all the adds escapes me.

    I still cleanse the debuff off of myself when tanking Lord Jarraxus. My addon dings and I see the debuff and I decleanse it. It is a reflex. The healers yell at me. Meh.

    I do have my moments though where I just “STAND AND DELIVER”. But I could really leave tanking and totally not miss it. I am totally referring my guild to this page today.

  22. Thanks for all of the comments, everyone! <3! Particular welcome to anyone who's here from The Daily Quest link. (And sorry if your comments got hung up in the moderation queue. I moderate the "first comment" from everyone, as a way to help get rid of people trying to sell me drugs to make my non-existant penis larger, so if you commented while I was sleeping, it didn't show up until this morning!)

  23. @Aiern – ooh, good one. I’ll add that to the list πŸ˜€

  24. @Damarlen – Added yours too.

    Thanks so much for the suggestions guys πŸ˜€ These rock!

  25. Wow, this one hits close to home. Especially one entry in particular which nearly meets what happened last weekend, where I was helping a friend run chain heroics to gear their DK. Woke up Sunday morning, logged on, opened my bags, and found 2 bags filled with dust and shards and epics and a Bronze Drake from CoS, and I had no recollection whatsoever about any of the runs. Looked up my armoury and saw we’d done 8 heroics in 2 and a half hours, and can’t remember a bit of any of them…

    By Bill a.k.a. Boneblade on Feb 18, 2010 | Reply
  26. I’m definitely in Timid Tank territory with my pally, but I think I’m getting better. And my rogue has managed to pull off the Not-A-Tank feat a couple of times (hooray for Evasion!).

    By Corise on Feb 18, 2010 | Reply
  27. The Virgin (DPS): Am I in yet? Is that enough? Should I slow down, or speed up? Would I do better from behind?

    By Tangrol on Feb 18, 2010 | Reply
  28. Hee, I was the Not-a-Tank once, and successfully (miraculously!)!!! We had Marrowgar down to a sliver so small it couldnt be seen on his health bar, and I was dpsing on my rogue… and then both tanks went down… I went, “oh, crap!”, saw how low he was, hit the evasion and kept on going and an unbelievably LONG few seconds later, he crashed to the floor in defeat…

    My one and only awesome glory moment of evasion tanking… lol

    Given that my rogue secretly thinks she’s awesome, this had her walking tall for a week straight…. I had to put her away for awhile because she was getting annoying in the swelled head… lol

    By Kayeri on Feb 18, 2010 | Reply
  29. Healer species:

    “I got this” healer. Both Holydins dead and tanks eating a ton of damage, no problem. Raid heals gone, and you are Disc or a Holydin, easy peasy. This healer can do whatever is needed in a panic situation, keeps the raid alive and at the end made it look easy.

    “Reactive healer” Wait, I should heal before he takes a hit? But that’s wasting mana! This healer quickly changes into the raid main tank healer after a few wipes.

    “Raid Main Tank healer” If there is a GCD that is not being used to cast something, this person has a fit and is worrying they wiped the raid. Paranoid, pulls about 80% overheals in a heroic and can’t help it.

    “Raid healer” If someone has any health missing, they lose it. Immediate need to make sure everyone is topped off because the floor might kill them otherwise.

    “Floor hates me” healer. Stands in whatever the floor is trying to kill them with this fight. Does not understand why they drop like a stone or that they are being healed by someone else. Also called “I was looking at Healbot/grid/etc” Healer.

    “Bored as hell, so I am going dps in heroics” healer This is becoming more common. Seeing a Holydin in ret gear fighting and occasionally throwing a heal, or the Disc Priest with 1K DPS all due to Holy Nova makes me giggle a little, and they stop being bored. Resto shaman using lightning bolts and resto druids in caster form using hurricane because the raid tanks just don’t get hurt much makes things spicy.

    “Yea, keep talking buddy” Healer. We all know that 1 dps that is a complete jerk. So does this healer, and as the DPS starts noticing they are dying because they never got a heal, they stop being jerks.

    “oops” healer. Be it meds, alcohol, or just being tired, this guy seems to spend about 1 second between each cast trying to figure out what button to push next. Oops is heard as someone drops from this incredible reaction time lag.

    By ObviousTroll on Feb 18, 2010 | Reply
  30. Loved this! I laughed so hard I had to wipe away the tears. (Tears are allowed, I’m female.) Funny too is that I’ve never tanked — but it’s the only thing my husband does! I’m with Jennifer (above) in that I’m a H-E-A-L-E-R. I started healing, I kept healing, it’s all I’ve done for years, and I don’t know how to do anything else! I can heal blindfolded (or you can just turn the monitor off) with one hand tied behind my back and kids screaming in my ear. I hope you find a creative name for us, Anna!

    By Priestess on Feb 18, 2010 | Reply
  31. The Speed Tank. If there was a ready check, you missed it. Pick whatever target you want, marking mobs would only slow him down. Will pull next group as soon as the last group is down to one member, even if that one member still has more than half its health. First one to say “let’s keep going” when any non-healer goes AFK. Believes any heroic can be done in 15 minutes and is out to prove it. Believes rage hitting zero is a justifiable cause to drop group. SEE: Mannowar, Thorium Brotherhood. (Love ya, Manno)

    By Grovin on Feb 19, 2010 | Reply

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