Star Wars: The Old Republic, like many other MMOs, uses the Trinity System to define player roles in group combat. This means that players tend to fit into one of three roles when partied up: tank, damage dealer, and healer. For a quick explanation; a tank takes damage, a damage dealer deals damage, and a healer heals damage. These roles are obvious in a Player vs Environment situation; however, it is a lot harder to see where a tank fits in a Player vs Player situation. A tank’s role is more ambiguous in Warzones, where objectives and strategies are involved. After many hours of arduous PvP in Warzone after Warzone, I have come up with some strategies to optimize a tank’s performance in all four of the currently available Warzones. Hit the jump for the full breakdown.
Before I get into each Warzone, let us look at the Advanced Classes capable of fulfilling the tank role. Each faction has three ACs with tanking skill trees. For the Republic side there are the Jedi Knight Guardian Defense, the Jedi Consular Shadow Kinetic Combat, and the Trooper Vanguard Shield Specialist trees. And for the Sith Empire, the Sith Warrior Juggernaut Immortal, the Sith Inquisitor Assassin Darkness, and the Bounty Hunter Powertech Shield Tech trees are the advanced classes to choose from. Each class has their own skills and specializations that are unique to their AC, which means that each tank behaves and performs differently. While the strategies are tank specific and will remain the same for each Warzone, the different classes will go about each strategy in different ways. So without further ado, let’s get into the specific Warzones.
Alderaan Civil War
The main objective of the Warzone Alderaan Civil War is to capture and hold 3 turrets in order to destroy the opposing team’s ship. As a tank, you are best suited to capture and guard turrets. The idea is to grab the turret quickly to your left at the beginning of the game and to hold it. Or if you prefer to move with a group to capture another turret, stay behind to guard it once your group has captured it; either way your main role is to guard one of your team’s turrets. While guarding a turret, it is smart to guard it with a healer or, if a healer is not available, a damage dealer. As each tank specced AC has Guard, it is important to Guard the other player holding the turret with you. It is also smart to Guard healers and squishy damage dealers while trying to cap turrets. Spamming your area of effect taunt ability is also a good idea while trying to cap a turret, as it lowers the damage done to other players.
For a Guardian/Juggernaut, this job is straightforward. Your damage output will not be high, but you will live long enough to call for reinforcements if you are suddenly overwhelmed. An important ability to use to prevent the enemy from capping your turret is Force Sweep/Smash, as it is an instant AoE attack that will interrupt their capping of the turret. This skill is especially effective when enhanced by the skill allocation in Dust Storm/Quake and Swelling Winds/Decimate.
The Shadow/Assassin tank, however, must be a little more cunning, due to their lower armor rating. By going into Stealth, the Shadow/Assassin can guard a turret and the enemy will be left unaware. By allowing an unsuspecting enemy to try to cap a turret, you can, from Stealth, trap the enemy in a Mind Maze/Mind Trap and make quick work of their defense, taking advantage of your still high DPS output. If the enemy still manages to gain the upper hand, then you can easily use Force Cloak to get out of combat and re-enter Stealth to take back control of the fight.
While the Vanguard/Powertech plays a little more like the Guardian/Juggernaut, they have a little more utility. While guarding a turret, it is important keep up Stealth Scan whenever possible to catch any brave stealth enemies trying to ninja cap a turret. You also have Mortar Volley/Death from Above, a powerful AoE attack you can use to stop an enemy in the process of capping a turret. The Vanguard/Powertech is also best suited to assist in grabbing turrets in groups because of their vast array of AoE attacks. Although their DPS output is not as high as a Shadow/Assassin, it is higher than that of a Guardian/Juggernaut, and they still benefit from the high armor value.
The objective of Voidstar is to place bombs on doors to advance through a set of three rooms in order to access a terminal at the end of the level. There are two rounds, with both teams alternating the attacking and defending rolls. After a bomb blows up one of the doors and the attacking team advances through the first room, they must use controls to extend the bridges in order to reach the second set of doors. After passing through to the third room, they must first use a second set of controls to lower the forcefields. This allows them to reach the third and final set of doors. Beyond these doors lies the final objective. The defending team’s only job is to prevent the attacking team from reaching the terminal beyond the third set of doors.
Your job as a tank, while easy to understand, depends on whether your team is attacking or defending. While attacking, be a bodyguard to your team’s healer. Make sure you use Guard at all times. If all your healers are well guarded, throw Guard on your squishy DPS teammates. Using your crowd control abilities is also very useful. As a Guardian/Juggernaut, abilities like Taunt and Challenging Call/Threatening Scream can help keep your teammates alive while you concentrate on guarding your healer. The Shadow/Assassin can use Mind Control and Mass Mind Control, while the Vanguard/Powertech has Neural Jolt/Neural Dart and Sonic Round/Sonic Missile. Using your other various knockback abilities can also help your teammates stay alive.
When defending the door, your place as a tank is very similar to that of defending the turrets in the Alderaan Civil War Warzone. The major difference is that you will not be alone most of the time. The same abilities and tactics you would use while in Alderaan will work just as well here, just remember to keep Guard on any nearby healers. In addition, calling for reinforcements if you are defending a door by yourself is crucial to your team’s success. Calling for reinforcements too late can mean the difference between victory and a swift defeat. It is important as the tank to keep an eye on the doors you are guarding, as it is easy to forget that they can be vulnerable in the heat of a huge battle. Throwing your AoE abilities near the door is a quick and easy way to keep the other team from placing a bomb on it during the fighting.
If the attacking team does manage to get past the doors, you can help make the ensuing battle for the controls much more manageable by using any slowing or stun abilities. The Guardian/Juggernaut has Freezing Force/Chilling Scream, as well as Hilt Strike/Backhand and Force Stasis/Force Choke. The Shadow/Assassin is especially adept at this, with skills such as Force Lift/Whirlwind, Force Stun/Electrocute, Mind Maze/Mind Trap, and Force Slow. The Vanguard/Powertech of course has Cryo Grenade/Electro Dart, Concussion Charge/Jet Boost, and Neural Surge/Carbonize. It is paramount that you delay the attacking team as much as possible as they will fail once the timer runs out.
In Huttball, the objective is to grab a ball that is in the center of the arena then carry it over the opposing team’s goal line. The first team to reach 6 points, or the team with the most points at the end of the game’s time limit, wins. In the event of a tie, the last team to hold the ball wins. To impede your progress, aside from the other team, there are a series of traps and obstacles strewn across the arena. These include fire traps, acid pools, and air geysers that shoot you into the air. The arena is also multi-dimensional and filled with catwalks and bridges.
Strangely enough, Huttball is where a tank can truly shine. Because the focus is not on dealing damage but on scoring points, a tank’s survivability becomes crucial to scoring quickly and easily. The best ball runners are arguably the Guardian/Juggernaut and Shadow/Assassin. These ACs can quickly make their way around the arena. The Guardian/Juggernaut has both the Force Leap/Force Charge and Guardian Leap/Intercede, allowing the Guardian/Juggernaut to hop around the arena, bypassing the traps and getting across large gaps of space with relative ease. Another useful ability is Freezing Force/Chilling Scream, as it slows down the enemies around you, giving you the chance to leave them in the dust. The Shadow/Assassin, however, has Force Speed, which allows you to quickly run around. The Shadow/Assassin also has a plethora of crowd control abilities, making Force Speed that much more potent. The Vanguard/Powertech has Storm/Jet Charge.
The other important strategy for the tank is to hold the middle ground. By doing this, you guarantee that your team gets the ball first, once it respawns. Holding the middle ground is similar to guarding a turret. When available, try to have a healer or damage dealer with you and always have Guard cast on them. When the ball finally does return, make sure you grab the ball—even if you are in the middle of a fight—and quickly pass it on to a team member. Once your team has possession, you can then run in front to catch the ball and score. Holding the middle ground is imperative for a clean win.
Novare Coast is similar to Alderaan Civil War in that you are fighting another team for control of various turrets. Although, there are some fundamental differences that completely change the flow of the Warzone. The objective of Novare Coast is to hold the majority of the turrets so that you can destroy the enemy’s generators and cut off their reinforcements, effectively taking control of the battlefield. This means, that in order to inflict damage to your enemy’s generators, you must hold at least one more turret than the opposing side. For example, if they hold one turret, you must hold the other two to actually do damage. Multiple players can also capture a turret, affecting the speed of capture. When one team manages to destroy the other team’s generators, the game ends.
As a tank, your defense of the turret will be the same as in Alderaan Civil War, and you can refer to that section for abilities and tactics. The difference lies in what comes before and after. Tanks should be separated and sent to different turrets to help capture them. Since multiple players can capture a turret faster than a single player, it is important to travel to a turret with a couple of other players, one of which should be a healer. Remember to Guard the healer. Once captured, the tank should stay behind and guard the turret alone. Why alone? The map is small enough that calling for backup should yield quick results. Moreover, a lone player takes a long time to completely capture a turret, especially with a tank interrupting him. It is important to attack with the intention of interrupting a capture rather than trying to go for the kill. For example, if attacked by multiple players, do not concentrate on a single foe. Make sure to interrupt anyone attempting a capture, and do not forget to call for reinforcements.
With the new option of Ranked Warzones in Game Update 1.3: Allies, the demand for tanks that can function well in PvP will skyrocket. It is important to know how your role changes from one Warzone to the next. Remember, your role as a tank is to go for the objective and to protect your teammates. Tanks are an integral part of any team and can be enjoyable to play. Good luck to all my fellow tanks out there and their teams in the upcoming season.