There are four roles in DC Universe Online: Controller, Healer, Damage Dealer (DPS), and Tank. Tanking in DCUO is more or less exactly like it is in any other MMORPG; your job is to keep enemies fighting you instead of fighting your teammates.
This can be accomplished in different ways, and each tanking power set comes at this from a different angle. There's quite a bit of depth to how each power and how the different abilities therein actually work, so let's dig into ten tips for tanking in DC Universe Online:
10 POWER SETS
There are five power sets that can play as the Tank role: Fire, Ice, Earth, Rage, and Atomic. There are some staples to tanking that apply to each of these power sets, and so certain things are going to be familiar no matter what power you're using.
But in order to get the most out of the power and give your team the best chance of success, you're going to really need to dive deep and figure out the intricacies to each power, because each of them works in a very unique and interesting way.
First and foremost, the most important thing for a tank to keep in mind is taunting the enemy. Shouting insults isn't going to do the job here, instead, you'll need to use your powers in order to get the enemy focused on you.
Some powers taunt enemies in a radius around you when you cast them, other powers taunt enemies that you specifically target with the power, and so on. This taunt effect lasts for twelve seconds and will need to be refreshed by a new power in order to keep the enemy on you instead of attacking one of your teammates.
Every tanking power set has at least one ability that breaks you out of control effects, and some of these abilities will also free allies from these effects, as well. When you're stunned you can't do your job, and there's no way to wipe as a team quicker than to have your tank lose aggro and let enemies attack whoever they want at will.
Certain abilities that enemies have are going to stun a group of people at the same time, and there are also certain enemies that you can't necessarily aggro normally, so having a group breakout ready to use can be helpful in those situations, too.
One of the most important ways for a tank to manage large groups of enemies and keep the healers from having to strain to keep you alive is by rotating through some positioning powers. For example, when surrounded by enemies, certain tank power sets have abilities that allow you to knock all of the enemies into the air at the same time, giving you a moment's respite from their attacks. (Plus, it just looks sweet.)
Another example of a positioning ability is a pull, which is a staple for just about every tank. Pulling enemies towards you both taunts them and pulls the enemy away from a teammate, making it a supremely useful ability.
6 DAMAGE PREVENTION/HEALING
Different tanking sets handle keeping you alive in different ways, but in general, it's accomplished either by healing yourself or by preventing the damage in the first place (the potency of these abilities is determined by your Dominance and Restoration stats).
Many tanking power sets have abilities that provide a shield around you to block a predetermined amount of damage, while other abilities prevent a portion of the damage. Others might heal you after a set amount of time, or heal you as the damage occurs.
Fire is one of the original tanking powers in the game and has received minor overhauls over time. This is one of the tanking power sets that focuses on healing yourself with a multitude of different abilities. In tanking role, using abilities activates an effect called Fire Soul which gives you a 30% bonus to Defense while not blocking, which can increase to 50% when you cause a Burning effect on enemies.
There are certain abilities that have a secondary effect only present while enemies are burning, as well; Backdraft, for example, pulls nearby enemies towards you and heals you, but it will heal you even more if those enemies are Burning.
Ice is the other original tanking power, and it's one of the power sets that revolves around preventing damage by giving yourself shields and increasing your Defense stat. For example, activating a shield power as an Ice tank gives you Ice Armor, which further increases your Defense by 35% while not blocking.
One of these abilities is called Reflection, which is usable while controlled and prevents damage for a short time, while also redirecting damage from the next three attacks back at your attacker. Another benefit of Ice is the Inescapable Storm ability, which is a nice ranged pull that can yank multiple enemies towards you at the same time from a good distance, instead of just one.
Earth was the first tank power set added to DC Universe Online after launch, and it works by lessening the damage enemies deal to you by a certain amount. One thing to keep in mind about the Earth power set is that certain abilities have an Aftershock effect, where you can repeat the ability a certain amount of times or, with some abilities, over and over, for a reduced power cost.
Earth tanking works one of two ways: you could have a Brick Golem that you summon which has an Earthen Bond with you. This Earthen Bond will transfer a portion of your incoming damage to Brick, who will do his best to attack enemies and defend himself just like you taught him.
You could also go the Stone Skin route, which can be activated from the Jackhammer or Upheaval ability's Aftershocks. Stone Skin increases your Defense by a further 55%. Earthen Bond and Stone Skin cannot stack, so you'll need to make a choice as to which one you would prefer. (Just know that if you don't summon Brick, he will miss you.)
Rage is the second tank power set added to the game, and it's another set that works by healing yourself. But, that's accomplished in a drastically different way than it is with the Fire power set.
Much of the fun of Rage tanking comes from the Severe Punishment abilility. This ability causes you to heal back a large portion of the damage you take for the next eight seconds, but after those eight seconds, that damage all comes crashing back to you. This Rage Crash can be prevented or reduced, however, with a few different abilities. It's important to always make sure that you have the available power to activate these abilities before you Rage Crash and to make sure that you don't get stunned at the absolute worst time.
One more thing to keep in mind with Rage tanking is that certain abilities heal you for a portion of the damage you deal, which really rewards aggressive tanking.
Atomic is the newest tanking power set added to DCUO, and it works as a sort of combo between preventing a portion of incoming damage and also healing yourself. Most of Atomic tanking revolves around managing your Quark-Gluon Aura (no, that's not a typo). Certain abilities give you stacks of Nuclear Pressure and Molecular charges.
Once you have three stacks of Nuclear Pressure and have six Molecular Charges, it will activate your Quark-Gluon Aura. This aura gives you 15% control resistance, 25% damage absorption, and allows your attacks to heal you for 2% of your max health. Certain abilities refresh your aura without you having to gain all of those stacks and charges again.
Similar to Rage tanking, this is another power that rewards active and aggressive tanking.