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Dev Discussion #44 - Tank Participation



  • To me, tanking has always been about protecting your party. Whether it was stopping a boss from moving somewhere, or taking the most damage so the damage players can do their rotation. I personally love sword and board tanks, mitigating damage, potential cc with a shield bash or shield charge, and some damage with the sword. In pvp mmos I rarely play tanks because they are often ignored. If you wanted to implement a way that tanks are still useful in AoC pvp, I would suggest that "pull" skills still work against players. For a much shorter duration then that skill would have in pve, the player hit with this "pull" or taunt is drawn towards the tank and can only hit them. Or something like that.
  • CorpierCorpier Member
    edited August 17
    In regards to having multiple main tanks vs having a main tank and off-tanks, I think both are good and it depends on the fight. For content with multiple big bosses and mechanics like tank swaps I think multiple main tanks are good. For content with only 1 big boss and lots of adds/small boss(es) having a main tank and off-tanks is preferable. However, if I had to pick one option or the other for all content, I would pick having a main tank and off-tanks since its easier to build wider variety of content and mechanics around flexible off-tanks than it is to make all content require the same numbers of main tanks.

    In regards to the tanking role more generally, I prefer active/reactive tanking, and prefer when playing the role is more than just being a damage sponge. Beyond just mitigation and threat, a tank should embody control.

    Tanks should not be able to be competitive damage dealers or group buffers/debuffers while performing the tanking role, because to give them those abilities devalues the roles of dps and supports. I could understand giving tanks, especially off-tanks outside of a tank stance/build, some capacity for damage/buffing/debuffing/healing. It would even make sense for classes with non-tank secondary archetypes. Yet, I don't think tanks should be playing multiple roles at the same time. If content isn't gated by role requirements/quotas (which non-instanced content likely won't be), what is the point of bringing a dps (outside of specific high damage dps-checks) if a tank can do 80% of the same damage numbers as a dps and is more than twice as survivable as said dps? Especially if a non-instanced pve dungeon run could become a group vs. group pvp fight at any second?

    I prefer to play a tank when the role feels more like a battlefield general, controlling the fight. Tanks should not be playing one-button taunt and block simulator. Mitigation should have active and reactive components, such as using the right mitigation self-buffing skills or blocking at the right time. In addition to mitigation, tanks should be manipulating the ebb and flow of combat. Things like positioning of bosses and mobs, pulling in ranged enemies, crowd controlling mobs with slows, roots, and stuns, and of course managing threat.

    A lot of games build tank gameplay around managing threat in ways that are often not fun and just annoy dps who have to significantly throttle down their damage with only a few short windows to actually unload. When tanks manage threat, it should be engaging, fun, and make sense. Others in this thread have mentioned the idea of reactive threat with npcs reassessing priority targets during fights when they reach specific health thresholds or mechanics. I think that is a great idea as long as tanks are given the tools they need to manage dynamic threat with multiple abilities with different ways to gain and hold threat.
  • ThatGuyPowersThatGuyPowers Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited August 16
    I'm personally only used to the traditional main tank and off tank in mmo rpgs that being said it would be very interesting if there were encounters in game that made you focus on having more tanks in a group than usual especially if the different tanks in game all had different playstyles i also think tanks should hit like a pool noodle but have a massive amount of cc and taunts to hold something still that's all I can really add to this topic I main utility supports in mmos :b
  • donweeldonweel Member
    edited August 16
    For my play style, when I tank it is all about holding agro so taunting and that sort of thing to keep the hate up, damage for hate is no good as tanks are not damage dealers. That being said multiple tanks stealing agro from each other presents a problem. As well you need to be robust so plate proficiency and hitpoints along with some means of damage mitigation.
  • MrPocketsMrPockets Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Vaknar wrote: »

    Dev Discussion - Tank Participation
    Would you prefer more traditional MMORPG main and off-tank roles, or would you prefer to see combat experiences with several tanks fighting?

    For this specific question, I think variety is king. There should be encounters that fulfill both of these fantasies.

    Now, if we want to get into details of the tank role itself...

    Getting threat for free is boring

    Don't give me all the threat just because I'm playing a tank. Let a player's choice in skills/build matter. Tanks should have specific skills that help either build or maintain threat. Give me the tools I need to determine WHEN I need to use those skills. If I want to just hold threat and let my DPS kill things, I can use threat abilities. But another player who wants to actively manage their threat, while doing other things (extra damage, CC, support, etc) should also be able to. A poorly played tank class should cause the party stress.

    Tanking big boss hits with properly timed skills feels really good

    Knowing that I just blocked X amount of damage because I reacted with the proper skill makes me FEEL like a tank, and that I just did my job.

    Actively protecting an ally also feels good

    Blocking projectiles, interrupting an ability, providing shields, taking damage in place of someone else. These are all things that feel really good, but it requires bosses/mobs to actually target other party members with abilities. PLEASE don't leave these types of mechanics to raids only, it is a huge waste of a tank's skills. If I'm playing with 1 other friend, and we fight an enemy out in the world, let that enemy target the non-tank with something the tank can perform their role, and protect them.

    Building off tank specs/classes is fun

    I think there is a reason the vanilla "shaman tank" or the FF14 "monk tank" are so appealing to is because those classes feel like they shouldn't exist, but players can make them a reality. With AoC's class system, it will be super important for those classes that blur the lines between actually be usable. This means that some encounters should require that off tank role to be fulfilled by someone who's running a dps/tank hybrid.
  • George_BlackGeorge_Black Member, Intrepid Pack
    edited August 17
    Abilities that generate agro. Various cooldowns and various durations tied to good looking weapon swinging and shouting animations to equip the tank with the right abilities to give it its unique identity and function. Not a fan of agroing players in PvP.

    PvP. CCs

    Active blocking for the Tank class. Can only be used when equiped with Shield, two handed sword, spear/polearm, maaaaybe dualSWORDS.
  • Hrothmir_RuneforgeHrothmir_Runeforge Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Multiple tanks would be great, like an aggro system that needs to have 2 or 3 tanks balance their aggro on 1 boss or one has to hold the boss the entire time and one has to pick up adds
    Many games don't even use aggro anymore and I think that it's a more fun way to tank.
    I'd like to even see tank subclass be full tank options.
    Thane Hrothmir Runeforge, Son of Orik, Son of Hrothgar, Current Runeforger and Thane of Clan Runeforge

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  • George_BlackGeorge_Black Member, Intrepid Pack
    When it comes to off-tanking I think it would be a bit refreshing if the Devs designed scenarios in which the main tank needs saving. It needs somebody to to step up and be a hero.
    Spawning adds, or splitting the group or resucing the main tanks stats with debuffs has all be done before.
    Is IS up to the challenge of making detailed off-tanking content?
  • I think tanks should have control and more cc than any other role( cc must be absolutely balanced in pvp and pve). Actively blocking is fantastic. Passively blocking is boring. It's more immersive and it feels better to actively block for anyone. Especially tanks.
    Glad that's already a thing. I think tanks should be able to hold aggro of more than 1 thing. Also I think tanks and healers should still be able to solo reasonable stuff or more so have ok damage but obviosuly not high dps or any ability to scale very high. I think in a pvp setting tanks should not be a big pool of health that just gets melted. A skillful, well geared tank player in pvp should be able to survive against multiple people maybe around 5 for a decent amount of time. Maybe chip away 20% of one's hp but not be able to really kill because a tanks high moment is control, being tanky, feeling big, getting their door beat down and surviving. Hope this is helpful.
  • Hey Dev team! :)

    My opinion on threat management is that it should have some importance in large fights (boss scenarios, big dungeons, raids, etc.), however it should definitely be manageable without malding in most PvE content (for tanks, dps & healers). The OG WoW days of stacking sunders while everyone else waits was pretty taxing on the patience of the tank & the rest of the group. The inverse of modern day FFXIV is that threat is just a single click away and not a major concern in most scenarios, yet a dual tank system for the raid events is necessary in cases. I would opt for the more modern approach and look to FFXIV for the ease of use and focus less on threat management in most cases, while focusing on the "fun" aspect of playing a tank.

    I would love to see diversity in tanking styles, such as the Ninja/Warrior tank (using blink-tanking ninjutsu) from FFXI, along with traditional sword & board styles and 2-handed dps styles... each offering a different toolkit for the player, based on their desired play style. AOE vs Single-target options are great, and having the potential pet-tank (either main or off-tank) would be incredible. Requiring an off-tank for some encounters is nice, but

    Type of tanking styles:
    • 1h & Shield
    • 2h brute/dps
    • Evasion (dodge/blink/magic)
    • Magic (Barrier/Debuff/Drain)
    • Pet

    Thanks and looking forward to seeing the end product!

  • DolyemDolyem Member
    Give us some different forms of tanking. Evasion tanks, defense tanks, High Health Tanks, Magic shield tanks, Minion/pet tanks. Throw some flavor in besides just having the armored guy with a sword and board. Also make the blocking/dmg mitigation a bit more active and involved instead of just popping a cooldown and letting your passives make you chonky.
  • DolyemDolyem Member
    When it comes to off-tanking I think it would be a bit refreshing if the Devs designed scenarios in which the main tank needs saving. It needs somebody to to step up and be a hero.
    Spawning adds, or splitting the group or resucing the main tanks stats with debuffs has all be done before.
    Is IS up to the challenge of making detailed off-tanking content?

    I absolutely love this idea. Could make it somewhat random too where it randomly chooses another tank class type to do the saving so it switches each pull. could be either tank primary or tank secondary being chosen from the raids pool
  • Things I wanna see a tank have for PVE: At least 2 ways for them to generate aggro/threat. This could be further augmented by secondary classes in different ways, such as a tank/summoner having all aggro generated by their summons sent to them instead, a tank/cleric have all healing done both on them or by them generate aggro on them. Tank/rogue could do super dirty fighting and have a debuff that increases allies crit chance on enemies that are targeting the tank. Essentially giving different classes different ways of generating aggro/helping their team so it's not all based on the same abilities that all tanks share. Basically just things that both help tanks keep enemies on them while rewarding them and their team for doing their jobs.

    Things I wanna see from tanks in pvp: A way to protect their allies, maybe through an aura that allows them to take a percentage of the damage that their allies would have taken, splitting the damage between them. A mobility skill that either lets the tank get to an ally in need. A few cc's that allow battlefied manipulation. Such as forming a wall of shields that blocks projectiles and enemy's movement.
  • renadedanterenadedante Member, Intrepid Pack
    Hello Dev Team!

    In my opinion, tanking in games has become too easy. Simply picking a tank role means you have aggro in many many games. It should be a difficult role, it should be that tanks need to be good at what they do to allow their dps to try their hardest, like in older games. I do like main tank, off tank role, however I don't like tank swap mechanics. The main tank should be dealing with the main boss while the off tank picks up the second boss, the adds or deals with specific mechanics.
    When it comes to basic stuff. I don't think it's important for tanks or healers to do dps in a raid/dungeon, but it is important they do enough to be able to do world content or pvp. I also think it's important that the subclass do give varying types of tank. They should feel unique and give you a reason for wanting any of them.
    [NA] Pandemonium| PVE focused | RP PVX | Tulnar | Divine Node
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  • BotBot Member
    I think main tanks and off tanks should serve stragetic purposes. In Archeage something I thought was really cool was this one guild using main tanks and off tanks very well. They used their off tanks to create chokepoints and group up enemies while the main tanks just created a wall to try and get through by disrupting.

    Overall I think nightcloaks, skullknights, and abolishers were great examples of what I think tanks should look like. Not necessarily just health bar pits, but frontliners that disrupt and group up enemies for aoe attacks. I think something that gets lost when designing tanks is making them fun. It's not fun trying to burn through someone's massive health bar while being spam healed. It's also not fun to just stand there being cc'd locked while being spam healed. Tanks and off tanks should be able to maneuver with skilled ones being clear.
  • AnkhAnkh Member, Founder, Kickstarter
    edited August 17
    Lashing wrote: »
    When you first pull, the mob would not be aware of what the biggest threat to it is so it would just hit the tank enemy that is in its face. As a mob gets lower life it would reassess who is actually the biggest threat to it. Meaning a mob at 50% life would view dps players as a better target to hit than the tank.

    This is a fantastic idea, imo, and I would love to see something like this utilized. I changed "tank" to "enemy" because proximity-based targeting makes the most sense here. If someone jumps in before the tank locks down aggro, they should always be punished, even if it's just a scare while the tank pops off threat generation abilities
    Lashing wrote: »
    -Mobs with tendencies or weaknesses that cause changes in threat. For example a mob that particularly hates healers or one that dislikes fire damage. This would make it so not every scenario you face as a tank is the same. In some fights you would need to focus your attention on protecting the Healer while in others you might have to protect the mage.

    This is also a great idea~ A few games have already done similar things (although it's usually just a change in AI if the enemy gets hit with a certain element, etc.) but it's always more interesting when enemies have variation.
    Lashing wrote: »
    Giving a tank the tools to manage the threat of their party.

    -Like how a healer manages the health of their party, I believe a tank should manage the threat of their party. This would take a robust UI for displaying threat and skills to interact with it.

    This and, honestly, all of the ideas in this section are also great. It would be interesting to either have generated illusions that share reduced damage with the tank (so if you have two illusions sharing 50% of their incoming damage and they and the tank get hit by an aoe it does 200% damage total, etc) or make the tank look like a random (or highest threat) party member, thereby turning the boss' attention back to the closest enemy in pve and forcing people to pay attention to where CC is coming from in group pvp
    Azherae wrote: »
    To me a tank's tasks are positioning and mitigation, how exactly they achieve the mitigation is variable.

    If a Tank can just 'do basic rotation and not lose threat against most DPS', I don't usually like the game. If coordination (not necessarily about holding back overall but at least in terms of timing your damage with the Tank's abilities to spike their own threat or absorb yours or Cover you or whatever) isn't necessary, then what's the point?

    Agree to a point. This is why multiple methods of generating threat/aggro are appreciated. Let's be honest: most dps players aren't going to watch what the tank is doing. They're watching the boss, aoe indicators and their rotation. It's part of the tank's job to watch for and cover damage spikes from their party.
    Azherae wrote: »
    If Tanks are very CC heavy and their CC is reliable, even if only on mobs, I don't like this generally either. I see Tanks as those cool people who stand in front of the mob and take MOST of its hits and control 'when it finally hits someone else'.

    CC is a fantastic way to generate aggro in pvp ;) This is why some resistance to CC after each stack or stack caps (especially on dot) are usually a good idea. I would love to be able to stack poison indefinitely, but allowing a whole raid party to use poisoned weapons in that case would quickly break everything. Stun locking is always a great strategy, but the only person who likes when a single character can pull it off is the person playing said character...

    I sincerely hope interrupts are a thing and aren't limited to one class/modifier. In Guild Wars (1&2) mesmers are known for CC, interrupts, dot and general shenaniganery, but they aren't the only ones capable of any of those and it works out really well. If this is the case in Ashes, I fully expect well-organized groups to be able to shut down almost all boss skills which can be interrupted... and it'll work out just fine. There will be other mechanics to keep us on our toes =]
    Adestra wrote: »
    ...I want "adds" to be an actual threat and the tank has to consider how many mobs he can pull before it becomes too much dmg. However to that same extent I would like to see fighters and off-tank classes have a little bit of threat generation to deal with some of the minor adds and be able to pull them away from healers and some of the squishier classes...
    Finally, please make CC useful in PVE content. interrupts were one of the more fun things about tanking in FFXIV, and gave the tank more to do and focus on. I would love to see interrupts brought to ashes, it gave the tanks something to do and focus on and would make some of the abilities used for PVP actually do something in PVE, which would be awesome to feel like players who only really PVE but love tank don't have useless abilities.

    Agreed! This brings back memories of Dream of Mirror Online. Tanks stands still and holds aggro, dps throw everything at the ball of mobs, one person pulls the entire room (or several) as they respawn and the healer never has to target anyone but the tank... I fell asleep so many times...
    Adestra wrote: »
    ...I think that the "taunt" ability should CC players in a taunt like fashion (Target is physically forced to hit the tank, and moves closer to the tank if out of attack range) HOWEVER when used on a player that cooldown should be much longer to make it more in line with other CC abilities. I also personally don't think AoE taunts are a good idea, especially for the reasons I just highlighted.

    Don't know about this one. I'm more in favor of taunt on player characters reducing their outgoing damage against anyone but the tank and/or... here's a novel idea: reducing the color of everything but the tank that cast the taunt. I doubt anyone else would enjoy that, but the flavor added would just be *chef's kiss*.
    Norkore wrote: »
    What makes having multiple tanks interesting is the fact that there will be different types of tanks (based on what their secondary archetype choice is), so that could lead to some interesting team synergies between the tanks...

    It would be refreshing to have more control over my DMG mitigation, for example active blocking, dodging, parrying even (let's say parrying -aka perfect block- if timed right, could grant extra threat on my next attack, or higher passive block chance, or blocking for the next second could cost less resource, etc.).

    ...That said, I don't want "tank stats" to go away, but it would be great if there was a middle road between having more control and stats dictating my tanking capabilities.

    Having a more interactive tanking experience would fit well with having more tanks, and the fact that there will be collision also makes this all more interesting (like tanks could actually body block with their shields to protect their teammates from abilities and attacks, etc.).

    Overall I'd say having multiple tanks sounds fun, just make sure to make the archetypes and class combinations interesting and engaging enough for people to play them.
    Tanks definitely need more love. Quite often in MMOs it feels like the tank archetype is just an unwanted child, a by-product of the holy trinity.
    I'm glad the team is interested in our opinion on the matter.

    ^Seconded! I'm a big fan of evasion tanks but have only seen a few games do it well (and most of them were single player!) and I'm looking forward to running spear and shield!

    I feel like this one sums up a lot of the points others are making with which I agree. I know it's been said that the team is "looking at" active blocking to see if it can be done without relying on Blade & Soul martial arts master-level ping reliance, but... this could be one of our "active vs tab target" choices. Block skill that turns off block% stat or something to that effect! Sign me up!
    kryptikko wrote: »
    The tank archeatype generally is focused around controlling the battlefield and taking initiative, most commonly that boils down taking the focus and damage of mobs, however that rarely translates to a pvp scenario, specially a large scale one, where you're reduced to a meat shield (and commonly ignored).

    - To make them viable in large scale siege scenarios, i suggest having builds around aoe buffs (ex. movement speed, damage reduction cooldown etc), the limited range of the buffs can naturally centralize allied groups members around them and put them in a place where they can play a "meta" role like timing their speed buff for the whole group to charge/retriet or defensive aoe buff to counter an enemy group major cooldown (similar gamestyle to Lucio from Overwatch). This will allow for easy to pickup gameplay but very high skill cap around situational awarness and timing, which i argue tank players will enjoy.

    - Stretch/fantasy idea would be to swap out the commond shield offhand with a banner (with their clan crest?) that amplifies or enables said AOE buffs, that will create an interesting trade off between defensive stats and utility, it will create a great fantasy where you see an army with their banners in a siege scenario and will make for cool, badass setup!

    This immediately made me think of banner warriors in GW2. Being limited to one banner at a time (per character?) and potentially having it cast just around the tank (like the equippable idea) would be interesting.

    Dude's got me thinking about trading in my shield. Nicely done, man xD
    First of all, since this is a Tank discussion, Im gonna throw my 2 cents in here and say that Tank should be renamed to "Vanguard" or something. In doesnt feel very fantasy to call an archtype a slang word like that. It'd be like calling Bard "Support". Its fine if the community defaults to calling it Tank anyways, but I dont think it should be officially named that.

    As for Tank participation, I think its important to acknowledge that parties are made up of 8 players, and only 1 of them (with Summoners maybe being able to contribute) are going to be the Tank...

    If you have 5 tanks, each speccing into the resistance of 1 type of damage, and 5 dps, each speccing into 1 type of damage, then 4 of the tanks will be useless, while only 1 of the dps will be useless. Theres an obvious imbalance when it comes to offensive vs defensive stats. Offense only has to build stats that go with their damage types, while tanks need to guard against many damage types.

    Maybe a skill that allows us to select a primary damage resistance (or automagically change said resistance to the next damage type received)? This way we can focus on building up the "defense" stat without needing 5+ gear sets =]
    MrPockets wrote: »
    Building off tank specs/classes is fun

    I think there is a reason the vanilla "shaman tank" or the FF14 "monk tank" are so appealing to is because those classes feel like they shouldn't exist, but players can make them a reality. With AoC's class system, it will be super important for those classes that blur the lines between actually be usable. This means that some encounters should require that off tank role to be fulfilled by someone who's running a dps/tank hybrid.

    And everything else you said, but this deserved to be singled out and seconded!
    “Most persons are so absorbed in the contemplation of the outside world that they are wholly oblivious to what is passing on within themselves.” ― Nikola Tesla
  • BaltanBaltan Member
    Usually I heal but lately I've started tanking (playing FFXIV until alpha 2) and I just want tanks to be tanks, and raids have a main and off tank (like old wow) with their own healer and dps have their own.

    There also really needs to be some sort of penalty somehow for dps that just try face rolling a whole dungeon pretty much ignoring the tank, I've seen that in a lot of MMOs, it's worst in FF and it's crazy annoying. that tank is the wall and leader for the group, you follow behind, you don't pull mobs😮‍💨🙄
  • MIBMIB Member
    Seems like most Tanks are there just to pull aggro and keep the threat centered on them while they are in the face of the big boss enemy hacking away. However, support tanks are possible. Although not a MMO and more a shooter, the Titan class in the game Destiny could throw up a Shield that appeared like a bubble covering the party. This shield could prevent incoming damage. I think a Tank that could shield the party by throwing up a ward shield as support would be interesting. While shielded by the Tank wounded party members could recover health and mana while possibly receiving buffs based on the augments of the Tank. A support Tank combined with a Healer class could provide both protection and healing to get people on the ropes back into the fight. This is not to say support Tanks can't have weaknesses such as excessive damage breaking the bubble/ward from a Boss special attack or perhaps a boss such as giant spider throws off minion ticks that crawl pass the warded shield to engage people in the shield ward with melee attacks. Also, players would have to pay attention to stay in the ward as the Tank may have to move to avoid an incoming special attack by a big boss or environmental hazards such as erupting geysers. The size of the ward may only be big enough to protect a few people close to the support Tank but the radius of the ward could extend farther to protect more people based off level, augments, and equipment. Appearance of the ward could vary depending on secondary class. For example a Tank/Summoner might have small creatures that surround the party like a whirlwind swarm providing protection ie (bats, crows, bees, fairies, imps, etc.)
  • AlzeidoAlzeido Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    I've always loved tanking in MMOs, i saw this anime, Kings Avatar, which is about a player of a popular mmo, with all kinds of unique mechanics in it, like being able to kind up a boss with a wall that looked fragile, that nobody ever thought to do before and them use thrusting attacks to push the boss into the wall and have the wall collapse on said boss instantly killing it. I loved that concept, so in response to what you're asking, i love the idea of being able to pull everything from your team, and even expanding on that by maybe dragging mobs into the group so the nukes can hit them, and frankly the whole concept of threat has always seemed lazy to me, either you have threat and your team goes AFK until a wipe mechanic happens or you lose it and everyone died. its kind of lame, but if a tank could not only reposition mobs, or prevent them physically from hitting your allies, but also reposition terrain or even allies would be great. I'd love to go through a dungeon and be the tank and repositioon debris on the floor to make a physical barrier that mobs couldnt reach your team, or would at least block them. I think that'd be awesome. we could also have some taunting tank. like a Jester class, where the tank has a stun or a poke attack that forces that mob and any mobs he hits after it to focus them and the only way they can drop aggro is by being hit. so they'd be an evasion tank, but not a lame dodge stat, where the tank was super mobile and essentially kiting them around the aren, but if they lose agro it's all over. where its a high skillcap super high reward tank with super high skillcap. I'd LOVE that.

    What i'm craving from Ashes isn't just non-P2W, its originality. creativity. and not "oh this is like x and y vame merged!"
  • AntVictusAntVictus Member, Alpha One
    Vaknar wrote: »

    A lot of posts here have been a bit off topic from what I can see.

    With tanking it can be a little more traditional with just a main and off tank, and the reasoning behind that is pretty simple. Tank, much like Healer, are two of the least played roles in MMO's always have been always will be. So adding in something that might require 4+ actual tanks is really going to be a hassle. Best to just keep it simple.
  • ZericZeric Member
    Lashing wrote: »
    While I do not really disagree with anything you said, I do quite agree that tanking/aggro management should be more dynamic, I do disagree with your premise; tanks should be the only person with aggro management skills.

    FF11 had the Thief gain a skill at level 30 call Trick Attack. Trick Attack did not add damage to the Thief's damage nor did it add any status effects or buffs(ally or enemy). All it did was make the next attack, by the Thief, add the enmity gained to the person in between the Thief and the enemy. This would be combo'ed with other skills to boost the damage of the attack often resulting in the tank never losing aggro again against ordinary mobs (if the tank did at least basic aggro management).

    This is what I think should be happening, more than giving tanks all the aggro control; aggro control should be spread out to some/all the classes. Aggro control should be an active team effort. DPS should have at least 1 skill that if utilized correctly either help the tank keep aggro or keep aggro off themselves. Sure with less geared/good tanks, DPS players would need to gimp their dps for aggro control, but that should not be the expected nor optimal strategy.

    Healers/support classes could have a spell/ability that increase/decrease aggo gain on an ally's next action.
    DPS could dodge aggro gain or pass their aggro onto someone else.

    But most importantly, a tanks aggro control should be more dynamic. A tank should be rewarded for doing the simple, intuitive things a tank would be expected to do.
    Such as, when the tank is in between the enemy and the party member gaining aggro the tank should gain a portion of that gain. Since the enemy would have to travel through the tank to reach that team member and the tank is preventing that with his positioning that should irritate the enemy.
    When the enemy turns to attack the dps attacking from the rear and the tank stuns the enemy, the tank should gain bonus aggro for disrupting the enemy's intended action.

    This would also allow for more interesting gameplay in general because the developers could use these simple things to make a greater difference between behavior difference in mobs. A more aggressive mob might ignore the aggro gain from these two example while more intelligent mobs might target the tank even more knowing it cannot get to the real targets until the tank is dead.

    And with such interactions, it would allow for more dynamic aggro control, in that, the tank would not need to have absolute/maxed hate at all times. Playing a dance with aggro and stunning a mob as it makes an attack on another team member, keeping correct positioning between enemy targets and team members, or sealing the enemy's movement when the enemy is making a run for another party member.

    Also, the tank keeping itself alive and keeping control of aggro should not be considered the same thing. A simple example would be blocking incoming damage to the tank with a shield would not increase aggro, but blocking an attack on an ally would.
    Perhaps allowing the enemy to make hits would increase aggro as it would think it can kill the tank fast enough (easy kill) that it would then have time to turn on the tank's allies after taking the tank down.(A type of blood tank skill)

    After all is said, I would say tanking should be more about the timings of things than about smashing the player's head on the keyboard and hitting all the aggro skills. Even something as simple as hitting the enemy's flank with an ordinary attack/skill should generate more aggro than just bashing your head on the keyboard.
  • GondorGondor Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited August 17
    There's a lot of commentary around PvE tanking, and little about PvP, aside from the dangers of excessive mitigation and effective HP.

    I'm going to cover some PvP related tanking insight in other MMOs that (I think) have done it well, and will try to include interesting mechanics from various MMOs outside from the usual culprits.

    To start, I would urge and plead with you, please don't pigeonhole tanks into sword and shield. Sometimes people want to be an uwu blademaster, or want to play a utility bruiser role - a tank-lite.

    Tanking comes in many forms for PvP, and at its core, tanking is damage mitigation. I want to point out explicitly that damage mitigation doesn't have to be how much can the tank mitigate themselves by numbers. If the presence of a buff removing, punter or gameplay-inducer means people have to stop attacking to focus them or move away - that in itself generates "threat" and is a net damage reduction for your party as the opponent's focus is no longer on them.

    The biggest danger for gameplay with tanks in PvP is either they are too tanky, not threatening enough, or their dynamic can be ignored (like ret tanks). In games where mitigation is too high, you can literally say, "ignore their tanks". The tanks will do nothing, they're just a speedbump, letting them run amok is less of a headache than dealing with them - just kill their friends. Likewise, you don't want tanks to be a super brawler where they do great damage and have great mitigation.

    A good example is retaliation tanks - mechanics where they absorb damage and return it. Ret tanks are great for busting zergs and can scale way too hard, but quickly fall down in organised play where it doesn't take much to ignore them - and that's a real feels bad. This isn't to say "tanks need to be meatshields, CC bots or damage monsters" - there are lots of interactive ways tanks can bring gameplay and value to the table.

    Good tanking mechanics in MMO PVP:
    Warhammer Online

    Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (as you may know) was a PvP focussed MMO primarily on the group size of 6. PvP was mostly open world (RvR), and while raids of 24 were common to be run in PvP, it was a classic raid UI and limitation - buffs and skills would only affect your group members. I think it's one of the standout games for tanking in PvP - it tried a lot of things and really tried to solve tanking in PvP issues at the time. IMO it set the bar for tanking mechanics in PvP, but some of those lessons have been lost by no knowledge about these mechanics and their implementation or by core product differences (PVE vs PVP).

    Tanking in Warhammer was one of active mitigation - you did things to be tanky, but if you did nothing, you weren't tanky. It featured a Guard mechanic for tanks, amping their use and purpose considerably. Taunts in Warhammer were also critical to the core functionality of tanks in PvP as an actual taunt (surprisingly).

    The taunt mechanic was also a "You do less (like 30%) damage, or take more damage (like 15) until you hit the casting tank X (usually 3) times". The damage reducing taunt was aoe, the damage increasing taunt was single target. This led to tanks being either the "tip of the spear" for a single target DPS train, or a brawler that could protect the group with a short damage reducer to counter spikes, or save people in trouble - the aoe taunt was a really good oh noes button when someone was getting trained. These taunt buffs couldn't stack or cover each other - they would be overwritten by another tank.

    Guard was a togglable ability that split the damage and threat of your guardee with you. e.g. If you guarded a sorcerer, and they were getting hit, you would intercept 50% of that incoming damage. You could only guard 1 target at a time, and in a group size of 6, knowing how to "guard swap" was a core skill for great tanks. As the name implies, you'd switch your guard to people being targetted or were in trouble - the other DPS, tank, or healer, splitting the damage they were taking with you and coming in hot to save their life.

    Guard on its own did fix some of the tank shortages in MMOs, as they were always useful and not limited in spots. Even in PvE raids, the innate ability to split threat enabled DPS to go harder and gave a reason for tanks to be in every group. It also made threat and mitigation require careful management - the tank relied on the threat their DPS generated, an unguarded DPS could out-threat the tank, so you'd often have tanks trying to push aggro, without going over the top of the MT. I think this could be an avenue to explore - allowing non-MT style tanks to actively reduce the threat of other DPS. Move the burden of managing their threat from DPS & MT to the other tanks and managing the threat of others. Let the MT focus on primary mitigation and aggro, while OTs manage party mitigation and DPS threat.

    Splitting 50% of the incoming damage with a guardee seems overpowered in PvP, but Guard had a simple counterplay mechanic - range. You could only intercept damage and threat if you were within X distance. Warhammer featured forced movement and repositioning skills quite heavily, and they were heavily featured on tanks. Warhammer, notably, lacked the prevalence of speed buffs and gap closers that you see in more modern MMOs, so being put out of position via a punt was a big deal.

    Warhammer tanks had excellent punts (pushbacks/knockaways) that you could either punt other tanks away or punt vulnerable targets towards your own lines and away from their tanks. I want to point out that there's is a significant difference in feels bad from a pull to a punt - a pull has less counterplay, you can't always see it coming from a mob of 15-30, but when you get pulled, it comes out of nowhere and there's often little you can do. A punt, on the other hand, if you see a tank next to you, it puts your headspace into danger because you recognise the threat - instead of casting you to look to move - your focus shifts to the tank. If you get punted, it's because they beat you at the positioning game. The tank has to place themselves between you and their team to directionally knock you away into the worst possible position, and not towards your friends.

    Warhammer tanks also brought exceptional utility - there were 3 different tank types, and they buffed or debuffed specific schools of damage, like certain types of magic. Each tank also had different buff removals (enchantment vs boon vs blessing), that were on some of the lowest CDs for their skill type, making tanks critical in breaking through single target walls, and putting them above DPS. Some of the tanks also had access to outgoing heal debuffs - Warhammer had heal debuffing for both incoming and outgoing heals. Incoming was usually for DPS - so they could hit a target and try get that kill. Outgoing was so tanks could tag a healer and lower their output. They stacked, and you'd often need to stack them to kill a healer with cross heals.

    Durability for tanks in Warhammer was based off % mitigation, instead of flat amounts. Avoidance in WAR was a zero sum - you either took the full hit or you didn't. This had a double effect of making bubble shields extra strong on tanks and a perfect oh noes button since they applied after mitigation, but also made tanks susceptible to being burst if the right criteria were met.

    In Warhammer, everyone has similar base levels of % avoidance spread across Parry for Physical, Dodge for ranged, and Disrupt for magic. These avoidance chances could get quite high, but were mitigated by "strikethrough" (hard counter) that would cut down the %, available natively or via gear and skills. Basically, to kill someone efficiently, you had to use your buttons properly.

    Tanks with a shield got an additional avoidance check - Block. This would be performed before the checks for Parry/Dodge/Disrupt, and could check vs all damage. All damage, including Guard, was checked against avoidance, but shields made it check twice. E.g. you had a 30% chance to block the entirety of a magic attack and then a 30% chance to disrupt the damage you didn't prevent with block. Tanks could provide additional avoidance to people through directional skills - most players will remember Hold the Line, where you amped the avoidance of those behind you in a cone.

    Avoidance is where tanks got their tank from, but if you wanted to kill a tank, you'd apply some strikethrough (this debuff was usually 10% to all schools, or specific to 1), OR both blocking and parrying were front-half only, meaning you just had to get behind the tank (or spin them, take your pick).

    This brought a high degree of play and counterplay, where tanks didn't want to be flanked or opened up, DPS would take the risk to get behind them, but they were highly effective and thematic holding the doorways of castles or keeps.

    Guild Wars 1
    Guild Wars 1 didn't have a traditional tank/threat role, but relied on gameplay mechanics to mitigate damage across the party. Sometimes these mechanics were really strange in PvE, but the PvP role of tanks meant they were threatening by virtue of access to unique or otherwise rare buffs and debuffs.

    Guild wars PvP was 4v4 arenas and 8v8 organised play - but there were some battles that were up to 64 with 4v4v8 or 8v8v8.

    Paragons weren't your traditional tanks - they were similar to a bard, with a lot of utility and mitigation focussed around the "next attack" style mechanic. We see a lot of this influence represented in GW2 Guardians. Paragons were still tanks, featuring heavy armour and good self-sustain while bringing enough utility to be threatening.

    Their mechanic was the traditional bard, with songs, shouts, and refrains. Paragons were critical in certain encounters and always a welcome force multiplier in the PvP arenas. Paragons demonstrate how reactive skills can help party-wide damage mitigation while bringing utility and damage too.

    Paragons skills such as "They're on Fire!" reduced the damage you'd take from burning foes, or "Shields Up!" and "Stand your Ground!" raising the collective defence of the group, or "Brace Yourself!" preventing the next knockdown to the group. My personal favourite, "Can't Touch This!" caused the next few touch-type skills to be used against you and your allies to fail. There were plenty of healing and restoration skills, like a classic Bard or Paladin, but I'm focussing on examples of party-based damage mitigation.

    Paragons are also a good example of utility a tank can bring - allowing others access to buffs or debuffs their class or build may not have natively.

    Warriors in GW1 were more your traditional brawler - but a great example of how a tank in a PvP environment can be a strong disruptor, and subsequently provide damage mitigation for your group.

    Warriors had good access to less common debuffs like Deep Wounds (Reduce max HP by 20%), lots of knockdown and interrupts, and loads of mobility. Their countenance was they didn't pack any non-offensive utility - they couldn't break enchantments, or remove debuffs, and had to rely on others. They were a nugget of angry armour, designed to get in there and force opponents to deal with them.

    Warriors were exceptional linebreakers or punishing poor positioning (get caught out of range of heals, or no one able to peel for you and you were toast). The key insight here is that by being disruptive, and good at locking/exploiting vulnerable targets, Warriors were a critical target, forcing focus to shift to them. This is it's own form of tanking - they had damage mitigation, but their tank duty came from being so disruptive that you had to manage them.

    55 HP Monk
    55 HP monks were a bit of an anomaly - a cornerstone tank for a lot of harder game content, they didn't work in PvP - but I'll outline how they worked because it's really interesting. Guild Wars 1 had a skill called Protective Spirit. This skill was an enchantment (buff) that capped the amount of HP you could lose via incoming damage to 10%.

    Like with most MMOs, healing was a flat amount, instead of % of HP missing - so by lowering their total HP pool as far as possible (55 from 400s) through "cursed" gear, the monk could reduce incoming damage from any attack to 5. Now, this didn't work against degeneration skills (the equivalent of dots), but regeneration and purge/cleanse skills would help mitigate that.

    Where the 55hp tanks struggled was vs anything with enchantment removal - cover enchants were key, but if you were caught during the refresh before you got your enchant up, you'd be 1hk0. You'd also get caught out if your purge was misused.

    It's an interesting style of tanking - it was way up there on the mitigation but required careful planning and rotation to manage the buffs effectively.

    There were plenty of PvE issues with the build - it had a retribution tank component that worked really well in PvE. The more damage it took before mitigation (e.g. the front of the calc), the more reflected damage it'd do. Against big classic hard threats, this worked great cause it'd chunk monsters. Against players, you could ignore them.

    TLDR: This post is turning out to be massive, as other open PvP games handle tanking differently. The point is that tanking is about threat generation and damage mitigation, but those two concepts are just that - concepts. There are other ways to generate threat against players instead of through mechanics and other ways to mitigate damage than just flat reductions. Playing in the space of psychology is where tanks need to end up because it creates better gameplay than "groan, another meat popsicle".

    To sum, if I had to make a list of what makes tanks fun in PvP:
    • Reactive skills - e.g. like "Stand your Ground!" or "Aegis" from GW1/2 where you provide a short party-wide window (instant cast, 3-5s) to block, reflect, or mitigate, the next incoming direct attack. Taunts that buff/debuff output until hit
    • Toolbox/Utility beyond classic CC - buff removal, stance removal, enchantment shattering. I'd suggest instead of removing 1 buff at a time, consider making them remove 2 - it depends on how much buff stacking becomes a thing with cover enchants, but removing multiple raise the counterplay bar, since you will need 2 cover buffs. Guard mechanics can also fall under this - for both damage and threat management.
    • Movement control - knockaway/knockback and snares, over lockdowns, to help let tanks peel. Should tanks be the CC heavy class? Probably - but no one enjoys sitting there for 3 seconds unable to do anything while getting wailed on. Less stuns, and more silences, snares, knockbacks - the kind of CC where the afflicted can still wasd. Pulls are almost always a bad gameplay experience.
    • Gap closers - I can't stress this enough - it is probably the most important bit of kit in a tank toolbox. If you need to linebreak to disrupt or get back into position it's absolutely critical. It adds a good depth to gameplay when you're mitigating damage.
    • Tanks that are actual linebreakers. Being a meat shield doesn't make you a linebreaker. If you have to waddle up under fire, everyone after you will have the same experience. Linebreakers need to quickly gap close and then cause enough disruption so that more vulnerable melee can follow up and engage.
    • Heal debuffs - it's a design challenge; should DPS have both damage and a heal reduction to further self amplify, or should they need to cooperate with someone to pull it off? You could do incoming and outgoing heal debuffs. Unlike Warhammer, I'd consider putting incoming heal debuff on tanks for a classic mortal strike effect and to balance out the teamplay toolkit for DPS.
    • Threat can be psychological instead of gameplay - if there's a tank nearby that has a heal debuff or punt, you'll recognise the danger and play accordingly.

      Thanks for everyone's time on this ridiculous wall of text - bottom line is that Tanking in PvP often oscillates between unfun or too strong because of being too much on the tanky side or meat popsicle.
  • It depends on what tanks bring to the table, and how players engage with the role of 'tank'. Is it something exclusive to having the main/sub-archetype? Or will more classes have threat amplifiers/taunts? This is a very difficult question to answer without knowing more about class kits/general design. If it's only Tank as an archetype that can tank, then I think having mechanics that require more tanks is an anti-fun contrivance. Let players bring as many tanks as they want, possibly easing the stress on the otherwise required standard tank pair? Sure, depends on the structure of the content. I imagine open-world dungeon groups are going to have more than one tank for PvP business regardless. But *requiring* more than two tanks? No, *unless* other archetypes are able to fulfill that role without taking Tank as a sub-archetype.
  • ZericZeric Member
    AntVictus wrote: »
    A lot of posts here have been a bit off topic from what I can see.
    That is because the topic of multiple tanks vs tank + off-tanks is kind of esoteric.
    I would bet, most people who are not tankers or doing lots of end-game/super end-game stuff wouldn't even know the functional difference between multiple tanks and tank+ off-tanks even is.
  • DjCtaviaDjCtavia Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    It's a tricky question!
    There you're not making it easy since you're not doing a traditional 5 party members in a group but 8!

    ===== PvE =====

    It's pretty hard to tell how we the role of Tank to be played. Because we're used to the trinity: DPS/Healer/Tank. Coming in general 3/1/1.

    It's a wide opportunity for having different type of party. Maybe a party would prefer a solid tank (only 1) based on his Primary and Secondary class that has more abilities for damage reduction and taunting. So there could be 2-3 healers and 4-5 DPS?

    Maybe a party would go for a Tank and an Off Tank because they want a bit more DPS, bigger Health pool or even more taunting for a better crowd control if there is a horde of monsters? I feel like there are tons of reasons for choosing a 1 man Tank party or 2 Tank.

    I expect some classes to have more potential on certain aspects than others. A Tank with primary class Tank and Secondary Mage should have more Magic Ressistance. A Tank Bard having more crowd control spells. etc... I can't imagine all the possibilities you can go to if you want to make every class having a good mix of spells.

    You do not need to create a new wheel. However, you can create it to your liking!

    ===== PvP =====

    On the PVP side, I barely found Tank useful. The main issue on other MMORPG is they do not take in consideration people playing as tank would play in a Battleground or as a PK.

    On this side I expect maybe some spells to have "side effects" on players, instead of Taunting slowing the target?

    Maybe a spell that could force someone to lock you if you cast a spell on your ally and they try to target him. Sharing the incoming damages of your ally. etc...

    I don't think Tank in PvP should have more "Damages" since they should have to sustain. But they need a purpose on the battleground for annoying the enemy.

    ===== END=====

    Thank you if you make it until the end, also very glad to read the comments of the community, it's an interesting thread I didn't expect!

  • FiklesFikles Member
    I think the idea of several tanks has a right to life.

    For example, bosses can have AOE damage that will ignore the main tank. And for this will need secondary tanks, dps characters will be around these players so that at the time of AOE attack boss this additional tank could protect the players standing around him pulling some of the damage on itself. That would also require him to have a skill, as it would be important for him to pull his skills at the right moment.

    - To do this, for example, may suit the archetype of the tank (tank + cleric). This class will not pose a threat to the boss and can not be the main tank. But he will be able to protect other players from receiving massive damage. Also, this type of tanks will be useful in mass PvP, as will protect his group from receiving damage.

    - On the role of the main tank fit archetype (tank + tank), this archetype will be purely PvE raid-oriented. He will have a lot of opportunities to reduce damage on himself, as well as different variants of taunt.

    - For the role of aggressive PvP tank will be suitable archetype (tank + fighter). For this class the priority is shifted from tanking to damage. He will be able to burst into opponents at the expense of jerks and knock them down casts, push them to the inconvenient side, as well as inflict average AOE damage.

    - The role of debuffing tank can take archetype (tank + bard). He will need survivability, so that he could be in the first rows and put AOE debuffs on the opponents.

    - Archetype (tank + mage) can be aimed at protection from magic damage. For example, cover the area with a magic shield or put personal shields.

    And others by analogy.

    Thus due to the possibility to change the secondary class, the tanks will be able to choose the build that will be most beneficial to them in upcoming situations.
  • EmberstoneEmberstone Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Vaknar wrote: »
    Dev Discussion - Tank Participation
    Would you prefer more traditional MMORPG main and off-tank roles, or would you prefer to see combat experiences with several tanks fighting?

    I'd prefer several tanks because if you're talking AoC classes i want all specs, tank/tank, tank/ranger, or tank/bard etc be viable for all PvE encounters. At the end of the day these specs should all be able to soak/prevent dmg/CC/taunt but all in their own way. Perhaps one spec gets more taunts or cc, ways to AoE soak or group mobs together.

    In PvP they should be able to CC, soak incoming damage and put up shields or shield walls to take cover behind against ranged attacks. Be the relocating safezone on the battlefield that dps can return to and healers support from.
  • As a complement to normal tank/offtank system, i would like to see the possibility for shield walls against bigger bosses, like dragons. Maybe 2-3 tanks locking shields together, Could be for a shorter phase and the offtanks deal with add control the rest of the time.
  • Lashing wrote: »
    -Like how a healer manages the health of their party, I believe a tank should manage the threat of their party. This would take a robust UI for displaying threat and skills to interact with it.
    Agree with most of the first comment, but this part will not work. Healer has constant number of players to support. But for tank, list of enemies will be changed and their number can be significant. To manage all the enemies aggro will be too hard.
    Maybe it would be better to show the top 3 threats for every enemy near their name or health, so everyone in party will be able to check their own threat level and to be care when it will grow too high.
    According to block/dodging abilities, the tank will have to much to do instead of threat management, I think.
  • AeriusAerius Member
    edited August 17
    Another echo in the constructive din.

    A balanced compromise, please. It should be clear who the tank is (or tanks are), but they should be able to perform reasonably outside of simple mitigation and threat control, especially considering tank viability in PvP group and 1v1 play.

    I see no harm in having multiple tanks in many situations, but it should also be healthy to have some group scenarios where only one tank is necessary or even optimal. Other games do well in content where a couple of tanks are able to coordinate for tanking duties, swapping threat and roles, positioning enemies, etc. This can add an extra level of appreciated challenge and involvement if it's not overdone. It could also be a good tank training opportunity for off-tanks to fill less intense tanking roles to assist a primary tank, though the fear for this precedent would be that some classes would be designed as inferior tanks, where the preferred method would be all tanks can main-tank, and all can also off-tank, with the difference being duties instead of capacity.

    For PvP, tanks should be able to compete 1v1 not through outright DPS dominance, but through utilization of their benefits to counter the detriment of their somewhat reduced DPS — such as well-timed CC, comfortable self-sustain healing, battlefield control, and mitigation/absorb.
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