FFXIV: Misadventures in Tanking

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18 comments on FFXIV: Misadventures in Tanking
It's not the dragon I'm afraid of...
It’s not the dragon I’m afraid of…


Before I start talking about my tanking experience, I’m pleased to note that our Free Company, <Guard>, reached a milestone of 50 players last night. We’ll see how long we can maintain that (folks come and go quite a bit in FFXIV – moreso that I’ve seen in other games). Also, there’s a few people on the roster who probably need to be purged as I have a good idea they may not be coming back. Anyhow, this is an exciting time for our little FC, which is slowly coming together nicely.

Misadventures in Tanking

Over the past few months, I’ve been challenging myself to do things that are outside of my comfort bubble in FFXIV. Learning to tank is one of these things. I really like the idea of being a tank, but I’m not sure I like the pressure of being a group leader and the expectations that come with that position.

Still, I’ve been leveling Paladin on Tai, with a goal to make about a level each night since last week. I would usually stick to FATES and leves, but I’ve discovered running dungeons also provide a pretty significant boost in leveling experience. So, last night, when two FC members requested dungeon help, I timidly offered my unpracticed assistance.

Aurum Vale

The first dungeon was Aurum Vale. Yeah, go ahead and groan those of you who know where this is going. I don’t think anyone likes that dungeon, and while I’ve run it several times, it was almost always as a bard. I knew it was going to be a challenge, and was probably a bad idea, but I wanted to help and I needed the experience and practice.

Fancy Zeb to the rescue!
Fancy Zeb to the rescue!

The first attempt was with two FC DPS and a random DF healer. The moment the healer zoned in, she complained about the dungeon and suggested a speed run. This was even after I announced this was the first time I ever tanked AV, and I’m obviously sub-50 by looking at my piece-meal armor. I told her that attempting that was a bad idea (I am just ilvl 46), and I think she was kinda grouchy about it.

The run went just as you’d expect. Several wipes in the first room – some of them due to my inexperienced pulls. Some of them due to just the wandering mobs that are so easy to aggro anyone in the group. Once because the white mage stopped healing for whatever reason (she did own up to it). Then, she would keep spam healing and grouch at me for not holding aggro, while I was working my butt off to try and keep the mobs off her.

We got to the first boss fight and I thought we were doing somewhat better. Until I watched our DPS die one by one. I followed soon after for a party wipe. It wasn’t until later that we realized the healer had not once used a medica, which was pretty essential to winning that battle (since everyone’s life is dropping due to poison effects and boss mechanics).

At that point, I recognized things weren’t going to get any better, and she was complaining she had never had so much trouble healing a dungeon ever. So I called on Syn (who nicely stopped in the middle of working on a presentation for work) to pull in Zeb, and suggested a vote abandon to our group. The healer quickly agreed, and we parted our ways.

So we started AV again, with Zeb as our healer. Having a better idea of the pulls in the first room, and a more patient healer (who actually used medica), we made it through the dungeon the second time without incident. I was still pretty frazzled by then, but I’d promised Almonihah that we’d run Stone Vigil.

Stone Vigil

Zeb wonders what the heck he's doing healing a noob tank like Tai.
Zeb wonders what the heck he’s doing healing a noob tank like Tai.

The experience in Stone Vigil was somewhat different. A lot of the mistakes I made were due to not knowing the dungeon well. I’ve run it many times, though again, as a bard. I did know that there were certain locations to pull groups to, in order to avoid dragon fire and adds, but I didn’t know where those spots were.

The adds in Stone Vigil tended to be the biggest issue. I struggled a lot through that run, and while I somehow kept it together, I always felt like I was just inches away from losing control of the mobs. Maybe it was because I was already frazzled from the dungeon before that.

Either way, we did finish the dungeon without too much incident, and I learned a lot about the dungeons and pulls in general. I finished the night off with completing my Paladin hunting log, and sitting at a little less than halfway through level 49.

Tanking Turmoil

DPS > Tank

First, I want to thank the patient FC folks who allow me to tank these and learn as I go. I’m not writing this as a rant, or out of frustration. I really appreciate the help and support, even if I feel stressed afterwards. I was so worked up after all this, I even dreamed about tanking when I went to bed last night!

I recognize the feeling as the same I used to have when I first played Tai as a dragoon. I thought I’d never get this rotation down. Never get the positionals. I was always going to be an awful dragoon that constantly took dirt naps, and I even leveled ninja to 50 thinking I might replace my dragoon with that class.

But, ninja didn’t end up meshing with my play style well, so I stuck with dragoon. I started working on better armor, and got his relic. Over time, with practice, and better gear, I began to see an improvement in my dragoon skills and in my comfort level with the class. I’m not a fantastic dragoon by any stretch, but I’m doing a lot better than I did just a few months ago. And usually, I have no stress at all playing him now!

I bring this up because I hope that the same may happen with Paladin. I’m really quite afraid of trying to tank through the relic quests, especially primal HMs. But maybe with better gear (I’m working on it) and a little practice, I’ll get the hang of it and be able to tank in relatively low stress.

We’ll see, though! First, I need to get him to 50! Wish me luck!

18 responses to “FFXIV: Misadventures in Tanking”

  1. Stick with it!

    Tanking dungeons is my favorite thing to do in MMOs and you just need to have the right attitude in two main ways:

    1) you learn and get better every time you run one, so don’t fret if things are going bad. Use it to sort out how to make it good!

    2) you need thick skin. I’m usually over the top friendly even with a bitchy group. You can only control your attitude and actions.

    Really excited to learn tanking in FFXIV. 🙂


    • Thank you for the encouragement! I’m going to keep trying and working on getting better. I think I just need to hit my stride, and get my gear in order once I reach level 50.

      Despite above article, tanking in FFXIV can be quite fun! I’m just a major perfectionist that tends to be too hard on myself. 🙂

      If you’re a good tank in FFXIV, which are always in need, you’re very much loved. So it’s a great thing to aspire to be, and you’ll almost always get instant queues in the Duty Finder!


  2. I’m leveling both tanking classes simultaneously so I don’t have to keep 2 separate gear sets on hand for them. Got them both to 22 this morning, so I finally got Provoke. Had 1 run where we had 2 summoners along. The one used his blue ranged dps pet as expected, but the other insisted that his yellow tanking pet did more damage and used it instead. Then he’d use it to pull groups ahead of us and whatnot. Made for a really frantic dungeon at times, but we did pull it out, and the healer wasn’t as bad as the one you described, so no one ever died. Of course, this was just in Halatali, so it’s kinda hard to die in there anyway……


  3. I had fun with Stone Vigil! Sorry that you were already feeling frazzled when we started. But I didn’t mind at all that we didn’t all stay alive all the time. =P


    • It’s okay. I did it because I wanted to help, and it was a learning experience for me. I see I still have a lot to learn!

      Thanks for always being so patient as my guinea pig DPS in these tank runs! 🙂


  4. I will really need to start up the dungeon learning runs for the FC XD
    Seems I will have at least one tank who will want to go along ;P

    Seriously though, I think you are doing a good job as a tank. First time in a dungeon is always the worst when you don’t know it and people don’t explain the tactics.

    Anyway, I hope to see you in game more often. Timezones aren’t really helpful here =(


    • Thanks for your encouragement. It’s all good. 🙂

      Tactics seem to change quite a bit between the classes (naturally), so what worked for bard doesn’t completely hold true for tank. I know the dungeons, I just don’t know them as a tank. And while I do make an effort to watch what tanks and healers do in my runs as a bard, nothing beats working through the experience (and getting a some better gear). So learning runs would be good eventually.

      I think I’m going to focus this weekend on running ST and WoD with Tai a lot. He’s behind on all those runs while I’ve been using what time I do have leveling my Paladin. Hopefully I can pick up some upgrades for dragoon and for paladin this weekend (sands and oils continue to elude me). I’m happy the leveling part is going to be over soon so I can concentrate on better gear! And maybe PAL relic…


  5. Personally, I’ve never understood the concept of the tank being the group leader. Regardless of leadership, being the tank is a position of responsibility. Then again, so is the healer, as your story makes clear. But i find that it also makes it a rewarding role.


    • I think it evolves out of the fact that the tank is supposed to be the one who moves forward first, to catch the mobs’ attention. Therefore, everyone follows the tank around. The tank also sets the pace of the run depending on the size of the pulls and how fast the party moves from one group of enemies to the next.

      In FFXIV, it seems everyone expects the tank to know where they’re going… which is really a big source of stress for me as I’ve not memorized (or even played) all the dungeons yet. They also seem to think the tank should know all the boss mechanics perfectly.

      Basically, the tank should know everything or else they’re a bad tank. 🙂

      That’s why I tend to only tank for FC members or play DPS if I’m going to group in a PUG.


      • I am aware of the preconception. I just don’t see the logic in it. 😉

        It’s perfectly possible for the tank to be directed by another party member. When raiding in WoW, the raid leader was often either a healer or ranged DPS: someone with a better overview of what’s going on. And a tank should not move forward unless the rest of the group is ready. And it’s important for the entire party to know the boss mechanics.


  6. I am gravitating towards the DPS classes and a huge part of my reasoning is that I share your apprehension on the tanking role, so you have my respect and support for getting outside your comfort zone and doing this. Tanks that have run dungeons a few times before and know the tricks make it look easy. With practice you can get there. I think most people are patient with new tanks so long as they see the tank is communicating and trying, which I am sure you were. The FC should give you a safe place to learn with supportive people. Keep it up and don’t get discouraged!


    • Thanks for your encouragement, Kolito! They were indeed tougher dungeons to run as a tank – some of the earlier dungeons weren’t bad at all. I think it does just take practice, and the folks in the FC seem willing to provide that environment.

      I’d just like to be able to provide a consistent tank for the FC some day. I’m not giving up! 🙂


  7. The adds in Stone Vigil tended to be the biggest issue. I struggled a lot through that run, and while I somehow kept it together, I always felt like I was just inches away from losing control of the mobs. Maybe it was because I was already frazzled from the dungeon before that.

    Pffft, this is malarky, Zuri. You did totally fine and awesome in Stone Vigil. You’re a good tank, and eventually we’ll make you tank enough stuff to figure that out. 🙂


    • Aww, thanks Kett. I really did feel like those dragons were about to swoop over and eat you bards at any second, though. XD


  8. You’re going to be a fabulous tank! There’s lots of folks who’ve tanked that you can hit up–Bel, for instance. I’m leveling tank, but I’m not that high level, and don’t know much, but if I find tips, I’ll send them your way. 😀


    • Thank you! I finally reached level 50 this weekend, so the improved gear will (hopefully) make a difference in my tanking experience! I can still use all the tips I can get! 🙂


  9. Hahah. I know the pain. AZ a main tank who’s running both WAR and PLD. I play it for bringing order to the chaos. Practice, hardwork, tenacity. It’s the holy trinity of tanking virtues. Some people just want to watch the world burnafterall and it’s the tanks job to mitigate the madness.

    I’ve had instances where I failed hard from not knowing anything at all. But it all came down to communication. Angry players often mean well but are frustrated. Don’t let that crap pull you away from tanking. Just ask them how you can do better and they’ll give you an idea how to improve even if they’re wrong you’ll naturally notice things and it’ll just click. 🙂


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