I’ve got a healer (WHM) to 80, and there’s a reason they call it green DPS. The goal of the game, at a high level of skill, is to spend as little energy as possible on healing, everything should instead be focused on DPS. It’s a strange balance… and had I not played a Monk in WoW with Fistweaving, I’m sure it would have been much more jarring.
Tanking is a different boat though. It’s often seen as the hardest role in an MMO, the default leader since you’re the vanguard for any given run. M+ tanks in WoW certainly suffer from that… and DPS love to complain about not skipping certain trash packs, or things taking too long, or a dozen other things. They never step up to tanking though!
FF14 tanks are all pretty much the same. Getting aggro (enmity) is extremely easy here, and near impossible to lose. There’s the odd tank swap in a raid, but in so much of the content, it’s just not a consideration.
That leaves the idea of giving and receiving damage.
Tanks as DPS
Each tank has an optimal DPS rotation, and that often depends a lot on the target. There are breakpoints for AE attacks, and then staggering buffs to optimize damage over long cycles. Blah, blah, blah… what you need to know is that some skills trigger other skills and you should continue to press buttons until there are no more blinking icons – then start it over again. And in all honesty, you could just press the same button all the time (AE attack for trash, single target for bosses) and most would not see the difference.
Tanks as Sponges
This is different, where tanks share a common set of cooldowns that reduce incoming damage. All damage mitigation is multiplicative, so you want to avoid stacking any particular cooldowns. When pulling groups of enemies, you want to use the better cooldowns at the start, when there are more things attacking you. The idea of “wall to wall” pulls, meaning pulling all the trash up to the next hard door requires not only great understanding of cooldowns, but a healer that can pump out a decent rate, and more importantly, DPS that can clear out parts of that pack before your cooldowns expire. I like to take on the first group in a dungeon, and then time how long it takes for the enemies to die and see if the healer does DPS or not. Quick kills and green DPS = good to try a large pull.
For single target enemies (bosses mostly), they usually have 1 big attack called a “tankbuster”. Understanding which attacks are tankbusters and not is important more for progression, less for leveling. For a LOT of fights, you should be able to soak the damage on the first pass, if you’re at full HP. Eventually you’ll use your big cooldown, then 2nd cooldown, and the first one would be back for the next big attack.
Tanks have stuns and interrupts. I wouldn’t stress too much about those. Put them on the bar, learn when to use them. Your healers will thank you for it, but it also won’t break a run.
Each tank also has a “oh crap” button. Gunbreakers should not use this skill.
Tanks as Herders
This is really where tanks shine. An ok tank will run into a pile enemies and then be surrounded. A good tank will run through the enemies and group them together for AE attacks, having them face away from a group. A great tank will do all that and then “shuffle” the AE attacks, meaning that they will move out of the AE attacks, and then return to their original spot, reducing the amount of movement enemies take.
This is very obvious for trash pulls, especially wall-to-wall ones. It matters a lot for bosses too.. especially those that have rear attacks. There are a few DPS classes that really want an enemy to stay in one spot.
Tanks as Peelers
To get an enemy to attack you, you need to hit it. Enemies that spawn while you’re already in battle need to be attacked and sometimes it can be really hard to target them. In most cases they will show up on the target list on the left side of the screen, which you can manually select and then attack at range. In the odd cases where there are spawns and they don’t show up, you need only walk a tad an perform an AE attack. You will be peeling enemies off your teammates.
What if We Wipe?
The joy of FF14 is that there are very few timers and you can take your time to get through most content. There’s no big push to go faster… at least until you reach the max level content and have some comfort on the role. If you die, then there’s usually a really good reason for it (90% of the time it’s the DPS).
Tanking itself seems to be a stressful position and you do have some additional responsibilities, but it’s also the easiest roles in the FF14 party structure because of all the various things you’ll be doing. If the enemy is hitting you and not your group, and you’re not dying, then you’re doing fine.