ESO What Tanks Should Know 2023 is a brief video and guide on basic mechanics that can help you learn the role of a tank in ESO. This guide is intended for anyone interested in understanding PvE mechanics and how to improve as a tank and or understand the role more in depth.
Table of Contents
- Taunt & Control
- Independently Survive
- Start Selfish
- Adding Value
- Clumping & Dumping
- Comfort Zones = Dead Zones
What Tanks Should Know in the Elder Scrolls Online
Tanking in the Elder Scrolls Online is vastly different than any other MMO I’ve played over the years. Most folks are scared to tank because they don’t know exactly how to or what to prioritize. Playing as a tank can be one of the hardest and most difficult jobs, but also can be one of the most rewarding! I’m here to share with you all that a tank should know so you can feel confident and be effective in all content.
So, buckle up future tanks out there, this is what tanks should know in the Elder Scrolls Online!
#1 Taunt & Control
AOE vs. Single Target Taunts
Almost everyone watching this video understands the MMO tank role is to “taunt” or control hard hitting mobs. While that is true, ESO is unique in that it doesn’t have an AoE taunt or a taunt that can hit multiple mobs at one times making it challenging for newer tanks or someone coming from a different game where that is possible. You have three basic skills for taunting along with gear sets, and those skills are ‘pierce armor’ from sword and shield skill line, ‘inner rage’ from undaunted skill line, and ‘staff clench’ from destruction staff skill line.
Taunting the Most Dangerous to Least
The way that I tank mobs is on a priority basis, meaning most dangerous to least. My first ability out of the gate is the ranged taunt inner rage to make 100% certain the boss or a one shot hard hitting mob does not turn and nuke my team. Next, I start working on other lower priority mobs from the most dangerous to least.
Using Immobilizations to Your Advantage
One advantage ESO has in comparison to other MMOs is AoE Crowd Control specifically affects immobilizations. A work around for the lack of AoE taunt is to substitute with an AoE immobilization, like Choking Talons for Dragonknight’s or the Sorcerer’s Encase etc. After that, taunt or pull mobs towards you and then lock them in place as it’ll be nearly impossible to keep 7 or so taunts on that many mobs.
Magicka and Stamina Based Taunts
As enemies start to die, it’ll get easier to maintain your priority taunt on the boss and one shot enemies. Another trick I use when tanking is to have one stamina based taunt via Pierced armor from sword and shield and one magicka based taunt inner rage from undaunted or ice staff if you prefer. That way no matter what resource I’m low on, I can use the other to taunt my priority targets and prevent my team from dying.
#2 Independently Staying Alive
Staying Alive Independent of the Healer
Since you can’t do taunt if you’re dead, our next priority an obvious one and that’s staying alive! This is one of the most important tips tanks should know in the Elder Scrolls Online. Most importantly, you need to know how to stay alive INDEPENDENTLY of a healer! Yes, you’ll typically have a healer in PvE giving you a flood of resources and healing, but if you can survive with self-heals, an understanding of mechanics and defensive ultimates, this will free up your healer to provide value added buffs and debuffs.
Important Tips & Skills for Survival
My tanks typically rely on the Alliance War Assault Skill Echoing Vigor for a heal over time with a class burst heal like the Dragon Knight’s Green Dragon Blood and a defensive ultimate like Magma Armor. But, regardless of class, there are many self heal options you can choose from!
Physical and Spell Resistance
Once I have my skills setup, then I look towards some key numbers to hit such as my physical and spell resistance. You’ll want to hit at least 30,000 on both fully buffed meaning an armor skill like the dragon knight’s Hardened Armor active. The next stat you will need is health at or around 45,000 so we can eat a few big heavy attacks from hard hitting bosses. After that, I prioritize my other stat pools. For example, I like my stamina to be higher than my magicka and to be at or around 25k and magicka sits at whatever is remaining with tri stat food. Keep in mind, these numbers will be much different depending on your racial choice, champion points, undaunted passive, enchants and so forth.
#3 Selfish to Start
Put the Training Wheels On
As you’re learning to tank and survive independently make sure to put the training wheels on. Meaning, focus on you, not adding value to the group! A simple example is the two-piece monster helms Engine Guardian vs. Sentinel. Engine Guardian is great for selfish resource sustain. Sentinel on the other hand gives a ground based AoE sustaining tool that provides Group utility though it lacks mobility.
Selfish to Selfless
For example, I recently cleared vet Blackrose Prison on tank and I started out by using selfish Engine Guardian so I could survive, independent of a healer. However, as I learned the mechanics and improved as a player, I ripped off the training wheels and started adding group value sets like Encratis Behemeth or Sentinel so that we can all benefit. Once you get comfortable surviving independently, then you can take your tanking to the next level by running 3 damage dealers and 1 Tank (you).
But always start with the basics: keeping mobs taunted and surviving!
Increasing the damage
Value added is your next priority. Let’s take my dragonknight tank build T3 as an example. What I try to do is add as much damage per second to my party as possible, therefore making the fights go by MUCH much faster! My friend John and I show this on the public test server by parsing a dummy without ANY buffs. John is in a normal dungeon setup with a shield and non-parse food/skills etc. He does 33k DPS with an active time of 1 min and 29 seconds. However when I added the Infused Crusher enchant to my taunt, this resulted in over 9,000 damage per second to John’s parse putting him at 42,000 dps and 1:09 time.
To take it a step further, let’s add in two buff sets, one for Minor Courage via Yolnahkriin and Powerful Assault which adds more weapon and spell damage. Let’s also add aggressive Warhorn for increased max stats and more critical damage. Finally, throw on Encratis with engulfing flames to add more damage for fire based abilities. The result? Another 9,000 more dps! So we went from the original non buff parse of 33,000 to 51,000. And this is on ONE player…imagine the damage output in a trial or a dungeon!
You can also play around and add Drake’s Rush or Elemental Catalyst. The more coordinated you are between the tanks, healers and DPS, the more buffs and debuffs you’ll have to optimize DPS. This is why DPS parses on trials dummies are so high
More Damage = Faster You Clear Content
The more damage, the easier it is to survive and clear content. This is why 3 DPS and 1 Tank in Dragonstar Arena is easy mode because the mobs barely have time to do any of their mechanics. Tanking with value added sets is much more advantageous than running 80k health, holding block and sitting there AFK checking twitter
THAT’s not tanking
If you watch my character, I’m constantly using taunt to reduce armor, light attack weaving to proc my enchant. I’m also casting engulfing flames to proc Encratis, and bar swapping to hit echoing vigor to proc powerful assault. With all of that happening, I’m also positioning mobs, keeping myself alive and calling out important mechanics
If you add this much value to your team, you’ll never have to hit the group finder ever again!
I see many tanks, dps and healers have a limited understanding of positioning. For example, let’s take a simple buff like minor berserk provided typically by healers via Combat Prayer. DPS dust as I call it, travels in front of the healer and anyone hit gains this buff for a limited time. Thus, the tank will be on one side of the monster or monsters and the dps somewhat by each other with the healer in the back providing the buff. Now, this isn’t always applicable but a lot of the times it is
Tanks Positioning is Crucial
The tanks positioning is also critical due to cleave damage. Most boss mechanics have some sort of AoE conal damage effect in front of them. If dps or healers are in front and get hit, they will likely be dead. Your role as tank is to position the mob or mobs so that their aim is away from the group. Your group’s role is to stack as tightly as possible, so they can receive heals and damage buffs
#6 Clumping and Dumping
While we are on the topic of positioning, another tip is grabbing all the mobs together and dumping ultimates. Aggressive warhorn remains a burst ultimate staple in PvE due to increased max stats and major force critical damage. Ideally you’ll want to use this on very difficult mechanics where speed is key. And you’ll also want to coordinate with your healer to reach maximum uptimes.
With this method, the tank’s role is to taunt the most important or deadly mob first, working down to the least important. Then group them so that aoe or cleave damage reaches them and they die quickly. Once in position, players buff up, cast their ultimates simultaneously and go nuclear.
Whatever vernacular you choose, as a tank you need to constantly think how can I stack more mobs on top of each other so they can be burst down quickly. For example, an archer add cannot be pulled or chained to you. Sure you can taunt them but their ranged attacks of 28 meters means they will not come towards you like your typical melee mob. So how do you work around this? Simply taunt and run away so that the mob has to chase you. Then reposition them in the middle with the melee chasing you on top of the ranged mob
Now clump and dump!
this is much more advantageous than single targeting a ranged mob.
See how there’s just so much to think about when tanking than meets the eye?
#7 Comfort Zones are Dead Zones
Growth Happens When You’re Uncomfortable
Lastly, don’t be afraid to screw up and try hard content!
News for you, everyone screws up. Everyone dies repeatedly while learning mechanics–it’s expected, so don’t be too hard on yourself. When you do uncomfortable things, you learn and hopefully improve.
For example, I was streaming Castle Thorn hard mode dungeon and when our healer would die I wasn’t able to follow my #2 priority, which is staying alive independently of a healer. I wasn’t doing enough healing and eventually wiped our team. However, chat suggested I try using green dragons blood for the passive and active healing components. Could I have just finished and skipped the hard mode part of the dungeon and moved on? Sure, but failing over and over eventually EVOLVED my build, and I improved thanks to chat
My build got better, I got better, we all learned and got better
I didn’t quit, I didn’t give up, I didn’t get salty, and I got uncomfortable
There will be many times in this game or real life where that will be the case, but remember this: No one grows in a comfort zone. If you really want to challenge yourself and evolve, continue to look for harder and harder content and push yourself! Ask for suggestions and feedback from fellow tanks and content creators. After all, this is a game. It’s for entertainment purposes but you’ll also need to evolve and learn if you want to conquer the hardest content ESO has to offer
Because believe me there’s some ultra-hard stuff out there!
Tanking in ESO is rewarding, fun, exciting and more complex than most think. With the lack of AoE taunt but the ability to self-heal, you’ll have unique challenges and opportunities. As you progress with tanking, you will continue to add value to your group and take pride in your role
Not everyone is cut out to be a dps, and that’s okay! So if that’s not a good fit for you, try out tanking and hopefully you learned something from this video!
Thanks for checking out this guide on what tanks should know in the elder scrolls online! If you want to check out some specific tank builds click the link here.
Or if you want the latest information on the Waking Flames DLC patch update click here. For a high level summary of the changes affecting combat, please visit this forum post.