DCUO Tanking Basics Guide

DCUO Tanking Basics Guide by Raijin1999

If you’re new to MMOs, the ‘tank’ class may give you the impression that you’re a damage oriented wrecking ball of doom.

Let’s clear that up straight away. That ain’t what it’s about.

Tanking means you’re the heavily armored individual running around drawing all the fire from enemies, so while they are shooting and punching you, your allies are lining up shots from behind (and from safety).

The tank in any alert or raid is essentially supposed to be ‘the leader’. You’re the point man and you have to go in first. Enemies have to target you first and you keep them occupied while your allies drop hurt bombs on them.

In some cases you will have to hold the attention of the boss, while your allies take out all the little goons first, and sometimes the opposite – you grab all the attention from the little guys while your allies focus on the boss.

As a tank in DCUO there’s a few things you want to know…

Dominance is your best friend. The dominance stat does one thing – it determines if your character is going to be capable of using any controlling effects against a target successfully. As the game difficulty amps up in higher tiers, enemies have a higher willpower and thus the tank and controller need to increase their dominance stat to ensure they can break through the enemies will/defenses and cause them to become stunned, rooted, popped up, knocked back, trapped/encased and asleep.

When in tank stance you gain some defense automatically and also receive a penalty to any damage you do (the role is not about damage and this penalty attempts to emphasize that). Also when in tank stance, any offensive power you use that hits an enemy will automatically draw their aggression, or ‘aggro’ for about 12 seconds. After those 12 seconds are up then enemies will attack whoever they want unless the tank hits them with a power again. There is no visual indicator to represent if you have the aggro, so sometimes players compensate by using powers every 10 or 9 seconds. Using a power (any power) in tank stance will also grant you some more temporary defense (about 12 seconds).

There are some enemies, mostly bosses, that will ignore aggro at times and attack whoever they want, usually for a special attack of some sort, before going back to beating on the tank.

As for other stats, they vary.

Fire tanks get the job done by increasing their health. Their ability to soak up damage comes from the power to absorb heat. They can essentially use their fire powers to set enemies on fire and then suck the heat energy back into themselves, healing themselves during a fight. Their are the health based tank.

Ice tanks get the job done by using various shield-like powers which make them immune to damage for a certain amount of time. These powers eventually combo up by adding ‘chill’ effects which will grant you ice armor (after 5 chill effects have stacked), further increasing your defense. As Ice tanks are shield based, it often means an Ice tank can get off some attacks while they have shields on, which isn’t something Earth and Fire can do as easily.

Earth tanks get the job done by using damage mitigation powers. When using certain powers like gemstone shield and jackhammer, and the aftershocks from those powers, they grant themselves up to a 75% damage mitigation bonus. This is actually the simplest tank power to use as it essentially means you only need to use gemstone shield and jackhammer. Both gem and jackhammer can aftershock 3 or more times, but each individual power will only grant a mitigation bonus twice, but since you’re capped at 75% mitigation, whichever power you use second will only get a 25% boost instead of 50. (The first power with one aftershock will give you 50, then just use the second power once without an aftershock)

IE: If I use gemstone shield and aftershock it so all the gems come out, i’m at 50% damage mitigation. Then I just use jackhammer once (one punch to the ground, no aftershocks), and it boost me to 75%. Likewise you can use jackhammer twice, and gemstone once (with no aftershocks). This damage mitigation is usually enough to allow you to attack enemies without having to worry about blocking, but some bigger enemies will still require an Earth tank use their powers for dmg mitigation, and then return to a blocking stance. In my opinion Earth is the easiest tank power to use for how quick you can stack these powers for your mitigation bonus, and how little power it costs to set up.

Now, that all in mind, every tank should look at having two other kinds of powers from their trees. Every tank should have a ‘pull’ move. This is something you can target on an enemy, or a group of enemies, to pull them all toward you and away from your buddies. Some of the movement trees have a single target pull move (flight has a group pull move), and the tank power trees themselves will have a pull move. Fire has a group pull move (circular AOE sucks enemies in from around you). Earth can do that as well (same style), but also has a pull move that targets one enemy alone. Ice has a group pull move. The acrobatics movement tree has a single target pull move. The flight tree has a group pull move. The speedster tree has a group pull move.

Mix and match your power/movement type to gain access to both kinds. Sometimes you’ll need to target a specific enemy to pull away from your buddies, and sometimes you’ll want to target as many as you can get.

Aside from the pull move, the second tank specific power you want is the type that can free your allies from control effects, such as Ice’s ‘shatter restraints’ and Earth’s ‘unstoppable’ move. Some tank power trees will each have a ‘breakout’ power like this in their trees, but Earth only has one (less options). You won’t need to use this power too much (mostly for PVP), but it can help when your tank is very observant and is quick on the draw. Afterall, a tank doesn’t want the healer to stay trapped, since the healer is constantly dumping health on the tank to keep them functional.

Also note that there is a tactical mod from the hand of fate content that increases your defense when blocking. This is a godsend for tanks, as it will help you rack up some defense before you max out your tier gear, so make it a goal to keep the generator and mod active for your tank (if you have the DLC).

As a rule, a tank should not worry about doing damage. Shouldn’t be doing damage when you’re blocking more than half the time.  A tank should always come in last place on the scoreboard for damage. If you are the tank and your damage is outpacing the DPS or controllers, chances are you have either a set of bad DPS in the group, or you are attacking way too much, or you’re just monsterously over-geared for the content (IE: running around in T4+ gear in a T2 raid).

Lastly, the restoration stat is mostly for healers and heal powers (fire tanks), but it can also stack with dominance to make your shields stronger (ice tanks, earth tanks). More emphasis should be placed on spending your SP on other stats, but if you have an abundance of SP, going for resto isn’t going to hurt unless you’re not fire, and you don’t use shields as an earth tank.

The majority of a tanks defensive stats will come from gear, so don’t worry too much about getting the defense SP from the weapon trees. It’s easier to get your defense from the gear, and to first prioritize getting the dominance SP from the weapon trees first.

Other DC Universe Online Articles

Leave a Reply