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WoWNov 3, 2015 7:00 pm CT

Lightsworn: 3 ways for you to make tanking farm fights more interesting

We’ve been here before. The long content drought where you find yourself raiding the same fights and the same bosses over and over again. It’s slightly more bearable if the encounters are particularly interesting, but that really hasn’t been the pattern this expansion. What’s a tank to do when you find yourself repeating the same old dance moves? Is it possible to shake things up so you can slog through another dozen months of the same raid content without going completely off your rocker?

Because this appears to be our fourth year-plus-long content drought, some of us have become exceedingly efficient at deluding ourselves long enough to come out on the other side of the gap with some portion of our souls still intact. As with all things, the trick to keeping oneself engaged in something is to set goals. Long term goals (such as killing a boss for the first time) will be long gone, but there are short term goals that can step in and provide much-needed motivation for tanking farm fights. Progression can only last so long and it’s up to you to find ways to fill that enjoyment void that inevitably follows.


Try to pump up your DPS

This is the old fallback for many of us, ever since we first started tanking raids. There always comes a point where you have more than enough survivability to prevail in an encounter, thanks to the constant influx of gear, and bosses do not present the same threat that they did the first time you stood before them. At that point, the natural instinct is to stop stacking survivability and start sneaking in ways to boost your DPS here and there.

For this method, my mind immediately goes back to Festergut where the mechanics of that fight gave a huge damage boost to the tank. The game then was to play with your gear and buffs to stack as much damage potential as possible, and then try to post the highest DPS numbers you possibly could. One of the things that kept me going in that long end-of-ICC content drought was the weekly chance to post the highest numbers possible on that fight. It gives you a reason to get back to that encounter every week, and with a great deal of enthusiasm to boot.

We don’t really have an equivalent gimmick fight in Hellfire Citadel, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try to push your normal tank DPS as high as you can. Chug a strength flask, pop a Stout Augment Rune, swap around some talents and glyphs (like running Glyph of Focused Shield), and play with your trinkets (do you have a Libram of Vindication?) and other gear to sneak in as much damage potential as you possibly can. Don’t forget to use potions – pre-potting and in-combat potting – to squeeze out some extra damage.

As human beings, we are real suckers for big numbers. We can’t help but assign value to any number placed next to our name (virtual or otherwise), and nothing will give a rush as much as seeing your character’s name in a respectable place on Recount. See if you can break your own record week after week, and try to leave that co-tank of yours in your dust.


Or, try to pump up your survivability

The flip side of trying to push your DPS as much as possible is trying to get your damage taken as low as you can over the course of an encounter. Logging sites have really made it easy this expansion to track your survivability and go through the ins and outs of your tanking with a fine-toothed comb. There’s even ranking now for survivability, which means if pushing DPS is not your thing, you can try to push for the best numbers possible for the other side of the coin!

Just like pushing DPS, you’ll want to tweak your loadout to ensure you have the best kit possible for being the most unkillable tank you possibly can. You’ll have to tighten up your play a bit as well, but there’s honestly nothing wrong with a new challenge. It’s not uncommon for farming to breed complacency among raid members, and eventually people get sloppy because they don’t have to play perfectly to succeed. Trying to push yourself to the highest ideals of your role and taking as little damage as humanly possible is a noble goal, and there’s a lot of satisfaction to be had in not allowing yourself to become just another punch clock raider.

Of course this is easily the hardest method of retaining interest. The payoff is not immediate, you have to wait until the logs are uploaded at the end of the night to really get an idea of how you played, and you don’t get the same satisfaction of seeing BIG NUMBERS strutting around on your screen.

Two tanks prepare to face the Iron Maidens.

Switch roles with your co-tank

This is definitely a method that tanks should attempt to do regardless of whether an encounter is farm or progression. One of the fastest ways to let a fight go stale is to only see one side of it over and over. Some encounters have two very distinct jobs, one for each tank, and never the twain shall meet. The key to keeping both tanks engaged long-term is to keep things fresh for them and let them dabble in each others side of the sandbox.

I admit that my co-tank and I were pretty terrible about this. We are both creatures of habit and often would find the half of the fight that appealed to our own nature and then just dig in. It would take a crowbar and a whole lot of elbow grease to dislodge us from our preferred spots. Sometimes we did make an effort to ensure we switched up roles and kept things fresh, but we probably didn’t do that as often as we should have. It absolutely does keep a raid more fresh to change something as little as who pulls the fight, as that can play with the timers in a way that alternates who has to juggle each mechanic during the fight.

Of all the methods, this is the easiest to implement because it doesn’t require much preparation, other than learning the other 50% of the fight mechanics that tanks have to deal with. If there’s any tiny step you can take to make raiding farm fights a little more interesting with you, pull your co-tank aside at some point and propose that in the next raid you both swap places. Tank B pulls the fights that tank A always pulls and vice versa, and for once give the other tank a shot at playing with the Socrethar robot!

That said, what are some of your tricks to not losing your mind out of boredom when knee-deep in farm — how do you like to mix things up when you’re tanking farm fights? How do you keep raiding fresh, and how often does it include trying to get some of the melee DPS squished?

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