Jul 19, 2011

Posted by in The Bacta Tank | 14 Comments

The Bacta Tank: Tanking In TOR – The Republic Advanced Classes

In each edition of Bacta Tank, we take a look at the role of tanking in Star Wars: The Old Republic, and discuss the strategies, tactics and theory on how to make the most of your meat shield. Wether you root for the Republic or empathize with the Empire, if you’re into tanking, take a dunk in the Bacta Tank!

Greetings fellow tank-a-holics! I’m Cealog, and here at Ask A Jedi I’ll be taking the lead on exploring the tanking roles, options and strategies available to players in Star Wars: The Old Republic, and I couldn’t be more excited! First let me start by giving you a little of my own tanking background.

Some Background

My first MMO was Star Wars Galaxies (SWG), where I was a pre-CU Jedi Knight.  For those of you familiar, I didn’t go with the cookie-cutter template, but rather with Master Defender and Master Lightsaber, as well as picking up a few skills in Enhance and Healing.  With that template I could tank just about any mob in SWG.  Also for awhile, I was a Master Doctor, Master Fencer and Master Brawler.  So it wasn’t the absolute best tank spec, but I could hold my own.  Once I finally moved to World of Warcraft (WoW), I played all 4 tanking classes.  Currently, I am playing a Blood Death Knight. Now, on with the show!


Tanking 101

What is a tank you ask? Well, in it’s simplest form, a tank is a combat role in rules-based gaming.  He protects others by using his abilities to have enemies focus their attacks towards the tank.  To survive the damage dealt by the enemies, a tank has three core characteristics: Health, Avoidance and Mitigation (HAM).  Tanks usually have more “health” or “hit points” than other roles, and use this large health pool to be able to take as much damage as they can between any “heals” they receive from a healer (which is another combat role.)  Tanks can also mitigate damage through abilities or talents so that an attack is less powerful. Finally, avoidance means that the tanks can use abilities or tactics to avoid attacks altogether, doing no damage at all.

So let’s take a look at what we currently know about each of the Advance Classes in TOR and their known tanking abilities. We’ll also rank their HAMs based on how I think each will play out. Remember, this is just my opinion, and all of this is based on what is currently known and will no doubt change before launch!

HAM Scale: 1 = Highest, 2 = Middle, 3 = Lowest

Jedi Knight – Guardian – Defense

Jedi Knight
“Through training, a Knight turns combat into an art.  A wall between the good people of the Republic and their enemies, the Guardian stands firm in the face of overwhelming odds and dares opponents to attack.  Defense, allows the Guardian to more effectively withstand enemy attacks and protect allies.” – SWTOR.com

  • Main Weapon – Lightsaber
  • Main Defense – The Force
  • Known Skills – Forceclap, Endure


I believe the Jedi Guardian will play closely to WoW’s Protection Warrior.  This will be the classic melee tank we’re familiar with from most MMORPGs.  With a Guardians Force Leap and its upgrade, you will find yourself charging up to the front of any battle.  I believe that the Knight will have the highest health of the 3 classes.  If you like to take a licking and keep on ticking, this is the class for you.

HAM Ranking

  • Health – 1
  • Avoidance – 2
  • Mitigation – 3

Trooper – Vanguard – Shield Specialist

Trooper Vanguard
“Elite warriors, Troopers are the most advance fighters in the galaxy.  Unstoppable and utterly fearless, Vanguards are the first and best line of defense in the Republic Military.  Shields Specialist powers up the Vanguard’s shield generator to absorb firepower and protect their allies.” – SWTOR.com


I believe that the Trooper Vanguard will rely on mitigation through their shields similar to how Feral Druids in WoW used to use armor to mitigate damage.  I feel like the Vanguard will have quite a bit of health, but not quite as much as a Guardian.  Ranged tanking will be new for most, but it may allow a better view of the battlefield and allow for not having to stare at the enemy’s ankles the entire time.

HAM Ranking

  • Health – 2
  • Avoidance – 3
  • Mitigation – 1

Jedi Consular – Shadow – Kinetic Combat

Jedi Concular
“Consulars channel the power of the Force for both strength and wisdom.  Wielding double-bladed Lightsabers, Shadows embrace the synergy between melee and Force combat, enabling them to strike down enemies of the Order with deadly efficiency.  Kinetic Combat uses the double-bladed Lightsaber defensively to protect the Shadow and his allies.” – SWTOR.com


Jedi Shadow KC is the most intriguing to me of the 3 republic tanking classes.  I see it as a cross of a Rogue and a Death Knight with a little bit of Mage thrown in.  Along with it’s counterpart on the Empire side, the Shadow KC looks to be the king of avoidance.  Where the Jedi Guardian uses the Force for the main defense the Shadow will use the Force for damage to maintain agro.

HAM Ranking

  • Health – 2
  • Avoidance – 1
  • Mitigation – 3

So that wraps up our first take on the Republic tanking classes. Next time: a look at tanking from the Empire side of the fence!

If you have any comments or questions, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! Happy tanking!

  1. I’m planning on playing a Jedi Knight Guardian on release. This will be the best tank class :D (i hope)

  2. Nice article! I too am a tanking aficionado and you certainly provided a great background here for new and experienced tanks. I, for one, hadn’t really thought about the HAM scales for these classes, and having that together (even as opinion) was quite nice.

    Personally, I’m going Sith Juggernaut, but that’s just my own love for the Dark Side coming out. Do you think the ACs will just mirror straight across as far as HAM goes? It kind of seems like it, since the Juggernaut and Assassin really do seem to be pure reflections of each other (with different skills).

    I’d love to see some more info on the tanking trees for each class, though I know we don’t know much yet. I can’t wait to get more from Bioware and see what you think!

    • I really do believe the classes are mirriored at their core game play. How the classes go about their ablities and skills will be the differance from each side. I plan on going over each tanking tree as they come out officialy.

      The more I look into each class the more I change my mind on which I am going to play first.

  3. Jedi consular for the win!

  4. Great article!

    I’m still deciding if I’m going to tank as a Jedi Guardian or a Jedi Shadow. Major factors include 1) I like single blade over double 2) I want to be a Twi’lek 3) the name Shadow is still pretty dumb.

    Awesome article though!

  5. Nice article! I like the HAM rating.

  6. Does anybody else not like the look of the walker with the consular? I looks plain and boxy. Almost silly looking.

  7. Nice article. Even though there is not much to go off, I like that there is a dedicated tanking article. I liked the HAM rating and look forward to your future articles.

  8. Good write-up. If you feature another installment it would be worth examining the impact that the ‘protecting their allies’ angle.
    TOR seems to be providing the Tank with a more intriguing role by incorporating abilities that allow the tank to redirect damage intended for a less stout teammate onto themselves. (As in the tank could throw up a guard or shield to protect their healer and then some % of each attack on healer would be distributed onto tank).
    That means Tanks could have a useful role to fill in PvP and it could go a long way in addressing the shortage of Tanks in the community.

  9. Extremely helpful. Best I’ve found online so far for us long-time MMORPG tanks preparing to make a move to SWTOR.

  10. Nice writing.

    Never thought of the consular as a tank.
    Republic tanking is definitly my first pick and I thought it was an easy pick for Jedi knight but……
    This consular option is really messing with my brain.. in a good way :)

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