Welcome to my World of Warcraft 1st Impressions.

I’ve been an MMORPG player since the age of 13, starting out in Tibia and eventually moving onto The Elder Scrolls Online and New World. I decided to dive into a classic and still massively popular MMO with World of Warcraft.

I am about 12 hours into the game and as expected, I have started my journey as a Tank. So what is it like for a new player going into World of Warcraft as a Tank in 2023?

My reason for heading to World of Warcraft comes mostly down to content and end game. It’s a game that is almost 20 years old so there is an abundance of content including raids and dungeons. There appears to be a very healthy community of people participating in those activities along with plenty of access into endgame content.

The initial starting experience is good, you can’t really go wrong as you follow the path, follow the questline and progress through the initial beginner area. It is somewhat overwhelming as you quickly progress through your first few levels and you unlock many spells and talents but the game guides you on everything down to equipping spells, gear and everything else.

Once you complete this area you are taken to your alliance main city. If like me you haven’t played World of Warcraft before there’s a lot of information to take in, I have been taking my time to try and understand everything. Trying to find the location of certain NPCs is a challenge at first. You can ask a guard where to find certain NPCs but it can still be unclear from the map as to where you are supposed to go especially when there is a lift involved that you had no idea that it existed.

Up to now I have mostly just done what the game has told me via quests to gain levels and apparently this is one of the easiest ways to level up.
One of the interesting things about World of Warcraft is the combat and it maintains it’s very classic MMO combat style. I’ve gone somewhat backwards in my MMO progressing coming to WoW after more recent releases that have more modern and active combat.

I have found the combat to be simple but also difficult to get used to. Up to now combat has mostly been select a target, instigate combat, stand still and rotate through skill cooldowns. The part that’s difficult is having 24 different skills slotted, it took me a good few hours to figure out which skills to use, which skills are not worth using and then place them onto my skill bar in a way that I would remember what they do and be able to rotate through them in a logical way.

It’s going to take some practice to get used to combat mostly because every MMO I have played, I have done it differently. In Tibia you use the arrow keys for movement and F keys for abilities then with ESO I began on Xbox so using a controller, then moved to PC and continued using the controller. In New World its all about WASD and only having 3 usable skills per weapon so quite an easy combat design to get used to. WoW uses the whole 1 to = buttons on the keyboard so it’s going to require some consistent bar placement of skills and experience to get used to where everything is while in combat situations.

I took some time to get my bar in order so I could Tank some content so I can get a feel for how things are when it comes to Tanking content. I did a random dungeon and ended up in The Motherlode and got a taste for my first bit of group content in WoW.

Coming from more active Tanking games like ESO and New World where you have to physically block damage, roll dodge to evade attacks and be frequently light and heavy attacking, World of Warcraft is more of a passive Tank style. You have to highlight your target and your character auto attacks it. You then click a skill and it puts your skill on both an individual cooldown as well as having a skill cast cooldown. This means that you have to be really decisive in which skills you use and when. When Tanking content the resource I am looking at are my health bar and my rage which is a red bar under my health bar. Rage is needed for the use of some skills, I have certain abilities that give rage, I have some that use rage and then other skills that can be spammed without needing rage.

Blocking is also very different in WoW because you cannot actually block when you want to. It’s a chance based effect that can happen, you have ways to increase the chance of blocking an attack but it’s not a guarantee so you have to rely on healing and mitigation to survive and you’ll occasionally block attacks from enemies.

When I entered my first dungeon I was lucky to have slotted the Revenge ability which apparently is good for AoE threat generation and World of Warcraft mostly relies on threat as a way to keep aggro of enemies. You do have a taunt ability which is typically used to pick up enemies that are at range or have ran away from you, but you are mostly relying on being the instigator of combat, using threat boosting skills and then pushing DPS to maintain aggro of enemies.

Going into some dungeon boss fights I started to see where there are potentially going to be limits on how active a Tank is going to be within content. There are some simple move out of AoE damage mechanics but I don’t really know how the mechanics are going to get that complicated for a Tank with how the game pace and movement works. People have told me that the majority of content for a Tank consists of face tanking or kiting and then your main job is holding aggro and then pushing DPS while you rotate your buffs and damage mitigation.

One of the trickier aspects of Tanking is when your healer gains the most threat of an enemy and they run off, you then have to try and retarget to that enemy and taunt it which I found to be really difficult. I think this is because when adjusting your camera view, you have to click and drag the screen and then target the enemy and then press your taunt so I was really slow at doing this compared to the speed in which I can perform this kind of action in other MMO games.

Overall the experience so far has been an enjoyable one. No matter where you are in World of Warcraft you’ll always see plenty of other players running around which is always a good sign for an MMO. As usual, if you are a Tank you’ll make it into dungeons pretty much straight away. Try to join a guild early on if you intend on Tanking and learning content or like me you’ll get booted from random groups for not knowing where to stand with a boss and since some of the level 10-60 dungeons are actually really basic, the only things you really have to do are position bosses, keep aggro and then rotate your cooldowns while making sure to keep yourself buffed up especially your damage mitigation when taking high damage.

We’ll have more WoW Tank builds, guides and information over the coming weeks. Make sure you follow our social media and bookmark the World of Warcraft page on our website