There are three defined roles within any PvE group. These groups are referred to as: tanks, healers, and DPS. In the following sections, each role will be broken down into their most basic forms in order to help players learn where each role fits into the group.
The term “tank” is used to identify which person(s) are supposed to be holding the threat. Whether the group is a 5man, 10man, 25man group, you will need at least one tank in the group, and the larger the group is, the more tanks that group will need. The tank’s main role is defined by creating enough threat on the targeted mobs in order to keep the mobs focused on the tank, instead of the dps or healers. All tanks have a set of abilities different from their dps counterparts that allow extra threat generation to occur with their use. Most tanks also have a unique aura or form that allow for extra threat generation. Examples of this are Defensive Stance for warriors, Bear Form for druids, and Blood Presence for death knights. Each tank will need to utilize their unique abilities in conjunction with their specific auras in order to maintain maximum threat on a target. Being a tank requires more than just the gear and abilities, however. Being a tank requires a certain mindset and confidence level to do the job effectively. The tank is the first one into the fray, so knowing exactly what is about to happen and exactly what you need to do to counter those actions is critical. Being a good tank also takes a ton of practice. As one of the most involved roles in this game, nobody should expect to be an amazing tank from the get-go. Definitely put as much practice time into it as possible and it’s always good to practice in a group of friends who will be able to listen to, and adapt to, the learning curve required to become a good tank. Above all, don’t get discouraged and keep focused!
The term “healer” is used to identify those that are in charge of keeping the rest of the group alive through use of healing or restorative spells. Healers come in various classes and all have a similar base set of spells, along with some unique class signature spells. As stated with the tanks, previously, each group will need at least one healer, and more healers for the larger groups. The healer’s sole responsibility is to keep people alive. As stated previously, each healer has a set of spells available to use in order to achieve this task. The key to being a good healer is to know which spells to use in each situation. Unlike the other two roles of a group, healing has no set rotation to follow, and almost no priority orders on spells (limited exceptions). As a healer, it is entirely up to the player which spells you wish to use. Each class of healing has a unique ability to use in order to make healing easier. These abilities are usually cooldown-oriented or proc-related, but give a huge bonus to healing output for situation in which the tank or dps may be taking larger than normal amounts of damage. Again, it’s up to the player to determine the best time in which to use these abilities to make sure all group member remain alive.
The term “DPS” is used to relate to all damage-dealing persons in a group. The term stands for “damager per second” and simple means that these are the people responsible for depleting the life-pool of the enemy target. Every class in the game has at least one dps talent tree – many classes with multiple dps talent trees. The two main types of dps are melee dps and ranged dps. Melee dps are all those classes that attack with hand-to-hand weapons such as swords, maces, and axes. Ranged dps are those that use damaging spell casting or a bow and gun. The primary objective of the dps is to neutralize the target that the tank is keeping threat on by using damaging abilities. Secondary objectives of dps involve, but are not limited to, watching that they do not over-threat the tank and pull the target onto them and to not stand in any ground effects that will result is AoE damage being applied to you. Many feel that dps is the easiest role in a group, but there is much debate about that. Some encounters require huge amounts of coordination from dps in order not to drop a target too low, or allow a target to remain too high, in order to complete the encounter successfully. Learning and practicing rotations and priority orders on abilities for each class is the best way to become a good dps character.