Juzam's Tao of Tanking for beginners 2.0




Juzam's Tao of Tanking for beginners 2.0

So you want to be a tanker? Well what follows is an my updated I7 guide to the most basic concepts of tanking. This guide is intended to assist new tankers and old grumpy tankers (like me) with the art of tanking in COH. Just for background purposes I will include that the author has played tanks in various forms for years in online games. Therefore I feel qualified to express opinions and ideas in this guide which I deem to be helpful. But you as a tanker will have to decide what works best for you at the end of the day.

The classic role of tanker as damage sponge is still alive and well in COH. But the days of reading a book while tanking are over, at least as far as COH is concerned. Tanking can be a very active and intense activity. And although the COH tank is a linear descendant of his MMO predecessors, the specific mechanics of tanking in COH mark a major change in a fundamental mechanic of aggro management. In COH Tankers have moved from passive aggro-generators to active and reactive protectors of their team members, making for increasingly complex combat. Tanking in COH is a very fun and engaging experience.

So what is the primary role of a tanker?

Tankers can be the backbone of any group dynamic. They keep other teammates alive, not by healing or doing the most damage, but by keeping the enemies attention off the rest of your team. Do this well, and groups will be lining up for your help. Conceptually the tanker has changed very little over time, from its pen and paper origins through its early MMO iteration, the role of tanking has been one of situational awareness. Having the ability to anticipate what an enemy (or team mate) is going to do and take steps accordingly is the hallmark of a great tanker.

Ok I understand what my basic role is now. So how do I accomplish it with success?

First I will answer with an old adage, "perfect practice, makes perfect". It is literally the gospel once you enter the ream of tanking. The difference between an experienced and practiced tank and a player which is not is quite alarming. So the first rule to becoming a good tank is stick with it because your tanker instinct will not develop overnight. The tanker archetype is also a very late bloomer in terms of powers, so don't get frustrated and stick with it.

In an MMO such as City of Heroes the baddies you fight react to something called "aggro". This term "aggro" is just MMO lingo for aggression which is generated in fights. The more you damage an opponent the more "aggro" you generate from them and their attention is turned to you. In layman's terms, if you wallop some bank robber on the side of the head with a can of soup, they might pay attention to you. Aggro generation is a key aspect of MMO combat to prevent the massive damage dealing classes from never being in danger. It also teaches gamers that yes you can indeed bite off more then you can chew.

"I keep my eyes wide open all the time" The late, great Johnny Cash said it best with that simple line from his song. All the damage mitigation and build consideration in the world won’t do any good if the baddies are not paying attention to you. Holding aggro on the appropriate target/s is the entry-level requirement of a tanker, the aspect of the job that must be mastered before any other aspect of tanking becomes important.

As a tanker we have the innate ability of Gauntlet. This inherent power makes all of our single target attacks "taunt" baddies. Taunting generates "aggro" which makes the baddies turn their attention to you. Now to avoid confusion tankers also have access to additional ways to taunt baddies. We have various aura powers which can be used which actually taunt enemies around us. We also can purchase a power called "Taunt" which can grab up to five baddies attention from range. Both of the these can greatly help you maintain aggro and are just other possible tools for the tanker utility belt.

So lets recap what we have learned so far:

1) Tankers primary role is not healing or doing the most damage but keeping the enemies attention off the rest of the team.

2) This is accomplished by generating "aggro" from enemies by taunting them with attacks, auras and powers.

3) Holding aggro on the appropriate target/s is the entry-level requirement of a tanker.

Ok so now that we have those basic concepts down just how the heck do we do this?

1) Tanks go in first !

A good way to begin your career as a tanker is to become the point person for the team. Being point is a lot more then running ahead of the group. It means you must keep up with your team members and make sure no one is straggling or lost. Go slow, it's not a race. Teams die fast when foolish tanks charge around every corner. If some Rambo wants to constantly run ahead of you (this WILL happen) calmly warn them its a very bad idea, and to please put away their red bandana.

As point person you want to do a little recon and see what you are up against. Usually it is a good idea once you have engaged the enemy for the tanker to target the toughest, baddest, enemy there. You want to make sure the Boss does not get past you and start pounding on the crème puffs in your team. However DO NOT get fixated on one target for the entire battle. You must be dynamic and control the fight which includes knowing when to call a retreat.

2) Aggro management

Tanks NEED to obtain and hold enemy aggro.

The following are the most basic ways to initiate combat and develop aggro:

Charge into the middle of baddies, and start pounding away. This is my Modus Operandi, and is usually effective for obtaining and sustaining aggro.

Herd (term for taunting a group of baddies and then running, bringing said group to a new location) the mobs around a corner or other good ambush point. This is effective when you are up against baddies who are more likely to use range to attack your team rather than melee. Stacking them up and making them close within melee range makes your aggro holding job a whole lot easier.

Be aware however not just Tanks, but all Archetypes should understand the mechanics of herding. Especially the part about dragging mobs around corners. Foes that use ranged attacks are unpullable unless the Tanker ducks behind cover, forcing the baddies to follow. Tanks and teammates should recognize the optimum corners where a herd is likely to end up -- and be patient while the herding is underway. If non-Tanks attract too much attention, the herding can be spoiled.

Pulling method uses a ranged attack to bring the baddies to the team's location. I use this tactic when there are multiple baddie groups close to each other and if I charge in, it is likely I'll set off both groups. This is also good for groups that contain multiple purples and reds or is just one HUGE group. If your puller is any good or she he can whittle it down some so you and your team can revert to one of the other two options listed above.

3) Positioning

Every fight in the game has positioning considerations, from wandering baddies to huge stationary spawns. The positioning of your team is often contingent on you getting your positioning correct. Learn to use your body position to direct AoE (area of effect) and cone attacks (i.e. flamethrowers, etc) away from your team. In other words, you should be facing your team while the foes are sandwiched between. The biggest difference between the good tanks and the bad tanks is what I call the "combat instinct". You really need to play camera zoomed out and observe the flow of the battle. Remember aside from fighting or anything else your most important team role is to keep the attention of those baddies on you. Good positioning during a tough fight can make a world of difference.

4) Damage sponging

Damage sponging is the hardest part of your job but, done correctly you make your team a success. Sure every tank has their limitations, but in the end of the day us tankers are the best suited for taking a beating. Just remember that everyone else is a squishy, cream puff. Do not drag them into dangerous conflicts expecting them to take damage like you can.

Having said that most other Archetypes are not helpless at all. Especially if they are being driven by excellent players. If you have a dozen baddies already aggroed on you, your friendly neighborhood Scrapper or Controller can hold some other baddies just fine. That aside never underestimate the potential for the life bar of a team mate to suddenly drop. Don't bite off more then you can chew ever because a dead tank is of no help to the team. Just be prepared to slap a baddie in the back of the head to give teammates breathing room when needed. If you are paying attention to the flow of the battle they should almost never need to ask for help.


1) Practice makes perfect literally. Don't let the late blooming nature of your shiny new tanker discourage you. Get on teams and tank !

2) Tankers primary role is not healing or doing the most damage but keeping the enemies attention off the rest of the team.

3) Tanks NEED to obtain and hold enemy aggro. A good tanker is always busy switching targets to maintain aggro when needed.

4) Do not drag your team into dangerous conflicts expecting them to take damage like you can.

5) Tanking in COH is a very fun and engaging experience.

In conclusion I hope this guide was informative and helpful in your new tanking career. Good tankers are not developed overnight nor is good tanking skills. However if you stick with it the basic groundwork for tanking excellence it will never leave you. It is akin to riding a bicycle...you never forget.

Tank on !

Tanker aficionado
Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way.



One caveat, taunt is actually a status effect in coh, and will override all aggro. Gauntlet is a taunt. Taunt durations increase with level.



Nice Guide Juz, that needed to be written.

Actual Location: Inside the system itself.

"When the most exciting thing about Mace is AceMace's avatar, then it's time to get realistic."

Shield Guide

The only thing anyone in this game is "supposed to be doing" is having fun. Everything else is negotiable. -Jet Boy



have you done a firey aura/dark tanker?



Tanks have dark?

Badging in a PvP zone?

If you are treasure hunting on a battlefield wearing an enemy uniform, there is a high probability that you will be attacked.

This is an enjoy-the-ride game. "50" is only a number, not the goal of the game. - Noxilicious



This has been very helpful, thanks for writing it.

/email cheesesteak



Tanks have dark?

[/ QUOTE ]
As of I12, yes.

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That was what I needed right now. Many thanks for it.