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Final Fantasy 14: Getting to The Bottom Of, And Overcoming, Tank Anxiety

Cedric Pabriga Updated: Posted:
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The moment you step into the world of Eorzea, you’re faced with a decision that might forever alter the way you play the game. In front of you are three roles: DPS, Healer, and Tank. Of these three, Tanks are famous for having some sort of anxiety linked to them.

This anxiety is called Tank Anxiety. Because of this, newer players stay away from the Tank role until they gain enough confidence to tackle the content as a tank. However, some people never grow out of this phase, which makes them unable to play tanks throughout their time in Final Fantasy 14.

Defining Tank Anxiety

As I roamed the land of Eorzea in search of a definition for Tank Anxiety, I found myself talking to players who have it. Two keywords always popped up when I asked them to define what tank anxiety means to them: “responsibility” and “fear.” Tanks in Final Fantasy 14 (and most games) come with the expectation that you know the mechanics and the fastest way to go around the dungeon, especially in old content.

However, this is where the “fear” part comes in and takes over. See, while Final Fantasy 14 is lauded as one of the most welcoming and non-toxic player bases in gaming, we still won’t be able to run away from a toxic minority that is playing the game.

According to the database present in activeplayer.io regarding Final Fantasy 14, there are about 17 million monthly players, and it’ll be impossible for there not to be a single toxic player that might yell at a tank for wasting the whole party’s time or not knowing the mechanics of a certain content. This yelling has been a shared experience for the players I interviewed. After that, they either stopped playing the game for a while or never picked up tanking ever again.

Responsibility comes with being a leader. Being a leader comes with the expectation and just like what I mentioned earlier, players expect tanks to be competent and to lead them forward. But sometimes, that expectation can be too heavy for other people which creates the anxiousness they feel whenever they tank.

Can Tank Anxiety Be Cured?

I initially started writing this piece thinking of ways to alleviate the anxiety these people feel. However, I found myself questioning if they really needed help in the first place. When I asked them if they see themselves overcoming their Tank Anxiety in the future, I got mixed responses.

Some players are trying to lessen it by studying all the mechanics for dungeons, trials, and end-game content. But some of them are also just content with what they’re doing right now. 

One player I interviewed has been playing the game for six years now and told me that they can see themselves tanking MSQ dungeons after watching a video guide, but that’s about it. No alliance raids or anything else.

Another player I interviewed put tank anxiety in a different perspective. They said that they think tank anxiety isn’t a one-time thing. To quote them, “It never really goes away because the things that make me nervous goes [sic] with the role of being the tank.” 

It’s the responsibility. The mess you’re going to make if you miss your mitigations. The time spent running back to the area where the party wiped in the dungeon. It’s all of those, plus a few more that contribute to their anxiety.

Each player deals with this on their own. Some people have Tank Anxiety and still choose to tank because they like playing a certain class, finding it fulfilling when they clear end-game content in the role. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re always at fault when something goes wrong. 

Remember that a tank exists to take physical and magic damage from the enemies and not emotional damage from the members of the party.

Tank Anxiety, as it stands, is something many players experience. They either choose to build their confidence to get out of it or stay in their lane and go on their merry way to play the game in the way they want to.

I know this because I’ve had it until recently. In my five years of playing Final Fantasy 14, I’ve always had a strong aversion when it comes to playing tank. My reasons are very similar: I’m not much of a leader, and I don’t want those kinds of expectations placed upon me. However, people change and the past me who fusses about everything has changed into someone more carefree.

I had the “f*ck it, we ball” attitude when I tried tanking again just over a week ago. Needless to say, I actually had fun! Most people ask their friends to come with them first to teach them how to tank, but I didn’t do that and just queued for roulettes on my own. I just mentioned that I’m a new tank (using the game’s quick chat because I’m playing in the Japanese server) and my party mates were very understanding, and it made for an easier time in the dungeon.

But this experience is unique to me. We can never force other people to see our perspective. What seems like a piece of cake to us might seem like a whole different buffet to them, which can be overwhelming.

Tank Anxiety is a complicated issue that can’t be solved by throwing players into Savage or dungeons and hoping they learn to love it. Exposure therapy isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer in this case. The best thing to do is to wait for your friends who have tank anxiety to approach you for help and be there to guide them around, especially if you’re an experienced tank. 

If you’re reading this and have Tank Anxiety, when you’re ready, ask your friends! I’m sure they will be more than happy to make things fun for you.


Cedric Pabriga