The tank’s job is to take all the damage for the group. They are often the first ones in and the last ones out in a fight. They must stand proud, keeping all the monsters’ attention (threat) while their party members deal the damage and kill the monsters. They usually make up the smallest percentage of players. Classes that can become tanks are druids, monks, paladins, warriors and death knights. The tanking role is for the most part limited to PvE, although tanks can be effective in PvP such as capture the flagbattlegrounds.
Tanks are vital members of any group or raid as they have to pull the enemies’ attention to themselves, so as to not let the DPS or healers get harmed. This is achieved through dealing damage, using special abilities called taunts, and generally earning the hatred of the enemies. If mobs begin to attack other players, it is the tank’s responsibility to ‘pull’ them back to the tank. For this reason, tanks can expect to take the vast majority of all damage in any fight. Tanks therefore have extremely large health pools and high damage mitigation which they need to be able to withstand bosses’ attacks. Tanks deal less damage than DPS, trading their damage output for survivability.
Tanks are usually expected to lead the group through the dungeon or raid. This means that tanks have to research bosses beforehand to learn all the bosses’ special attacks and strategies to take them down. Tanks need to know the boss
through and through as they are the ones who will be taking most of the bosses’ damage, and are often expected to teach other members things to note about the boss.
All in all, being a tank is a big responsibility as their death usually means the end of the fight and a wipe for the party. A healer can tell if a tank’s damage mitigation is good or bad while a DPS can tell if tanks pull threat well or not. A tank who fails to pull enough aggro will lead to other players getting attacked, while a tank who cannot withstand the incoming damage will quickly perish in the face of the enemy, or drain the healer’s mana until the whole group is left without healing. A good tank holds enough aggro for the DPS to deal their damage, and handles damage well enough for the healer to keep them and the rest of the party alive.
Anyone looking to be a tank must be generally patient, have good leadership and also able to learn from their mistakes fast. If a tank dies or makes a serious mistake, the whole group will usually die. New tanks will experience a lot of criticism and need to learn from what they are doing wrong. Once they become proficient at how to tank, tanking will become the easiest role to play.
Thanks to: Gamepedia