Why So Many Guild Leaders Play Tank Roles

Sometimes gaming is like business and leaders must emerge

Here’s a good MMO topic to ponder. It’s something I had noticed before but put less thought into until I attended the 2012 SWTOR Guild Summit in Austin. As we were mingling and meeting other guild leaders, it occurred to me that a great number of guild leaders play tank roles in MMORPGs. A huge percentage of the guild representatives at the Summit were tanks.

I brought this up on a bus ride with Ian from Jinx who brought up a great point. He said that guild leaders are usually your Alpha players and this made perfect sense. As a guild leader, I’ve played the tank role but I’ve also healed and done DPS, many times coordinated a run or raid from those various roles. However, the traditional situation in an MMORPG is that the tank is the leader of the run/raid/instance/flashpoint. This is the person who calls the shots, calls the play and makes the rules. It’s also the person who takes the fall when the mission fails and the person who needs to lead the team to a new plan/technique when the one you’re using isn’t working.

In an MMORPG, guild leaders play a very important role. No matter how large or small your guild, or whether you play competitively or recreationally, the guild leader is the backbone of the guild. You (and possibly a team of officers) decide who gets in the guild, who gets promoted, what roles different guild members play, who makes it to certain raids and what rules or requirements your guild will have.

Tanks are not by design, better players but they do need to know the instances/flashpoints that you are running and be able to take the lead on boss fights and other mobs and scenarios. If the tank does not know what they are doing, it creates a problem for the whole group and makes the encounter more difficult than it needs to be.

In many cases, the tank also needs to be able to direct other members of the group on what to do and when to do it. This means there needs to be a certain level of respect between members of the group and the tank. This is yet another reason why guild leaders often play tank roles.

Some tanks are male and some are female (as are guild leaders) and not all guild leaders are tanks, of course, but there is definitely a great number who are or have at least played the tank role for a time or until someone else was able to fill the role instead. Guild leaders can often jump in and play other roles when players are missing or unable to attend an event. They are good at being Jack-of-all-trades and are expected to know as much or more about the game than anyone else.

Not every player has what it takes to fill these roles so it is no surprise really that the Alpha players rise to the top, becoming leaders and often playing raid leader, guild leader and tank roles in the game.

So let’s see a show of hands: how many readers are guild leaders and tanks (or have been tanks before)?

Lisa Mason

Lisa has been an avid gamer since she was old enough to hold her first controller and a game writer for more than a decade. A child of the Nintendo generation, she believes they just don’t make games like they used to but sometimes, they make them even better! While consoles will always be her first love, Lisa spends most of her gaming time on the PC these days- on MMOs and first-person shooters in particular.