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Dev Discussion #44 - Tank Participation

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  • Question at hand - Main Tank/Off Tank or many tanks fighting
    Just make the tanks be tanks and not design them to be specifically one of these roles or bind your thought process to these roles.

    What i'm most worried about - PvP Tanking
    The big thing we tank players care about is controlling the pace of play. This in the case of PvP means CC, which is more than stuns and can come in the form of slows, roots, silences, disarms, pulls, and all that jazz. These also make PvE tanking more interesting due to kiting and such.
    Damage wise we should be capable but not overly threatening, but respectable. When combined with our CC options and defensives we can fight evenly-ish with Damage.
    Tanks should be designed more for group PvP and scale extremely well there.
  • DorfessDorfess Member
    edited August 17
    I don't mind being able to tank in PVP it just comes down to whether or not they are unkillable. If a tank can acheive being unkillable by just having a pocket healer or worse does not even need a healer can completely kill all fun. Don't get me wrong nothing is more of a thrill than acheiving a 1VX in a openworld PVP setting. I do think you should be able to 1vX if you are more skillful than the foes you are facing, and I don't think you should be able to 1vX just because you are a tank. Even if tanks did no damage at all in PVP nothing is a bigger buzz kill than just hitting essentially a training dummy AKA tank when you are jsut trying to have a good time doing whatever PVP activities. I also do not think a tank should single handedly beable to turn the tide of a battle maybe more so of a cordinated group with a tank can turn the tide of a battle.
  • DygzDygz Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    edited August 17
    Vaknar wrote: »
    Would you prefer more traditional MMORPG main and off-tank roles, or would you prefer to see combat experiences with several tanks fighting?

    When we say 'tank' and 'off-tank' we are referring to the role of tank, and not the Archetype of the same name (Tank) in Ashes of Creation ^_^ Hope this helps!
    I don't know enough about the Ashes design of group content to know what the distinction is going to be.
    I especially don't know why it matters when we have 8 versions of x/Tank.

    I mean... yes. I would definitely like to see opportunities to have a group comprised of:
    Dreadnought, Guardian, Shadow Guardian, Sentinel, Spellstone, Brood Warden, Apostle and Siren

    I would also love to see opportunities to have a group comprised of:
    Minstrel, Scryer, Bladedancer, Sorcerer, Bowsinger, Charlatan, Enchanter and Argent.


    That seems to already be integral to the Ashes class design.
    Sure, there might be other Primary Archetypes who can off-tank.
    But, if the balance of the game is to have one of each Primary Archetype in an 8-person group then several types of Fighter/x or Cleric/x should also be able to off-tank, but not be able to tank better than a Tank/x main tank.
    Just as a Fighter/Cleric or a Tank/Cleric should not be able to heal better than a Cleric/x.

    Is the real question:
    Should the game be balanced so that Fighter/x or Cleric/x could be the main tank instead of just Tank/x??
  • akabearakabear Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Nothing wrong with a traditional approach, a tank is probably such a primary class in all games that to do other than traditional may not bode well

    With each class, I would like to see an ability that benefits the group outside of regular combat.

    In Dragon Age Inquisition, the tank had the ability to charge, which was the only class capable of breaking a wall in a dungeon to provide access to a new area. I would very much like to see aspects like this included in the game which would then make certain classes integral to a part for access to certain areas.
  • SjeldenSjelden Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited August 17
    Threat is an artificial way for players to dictate the engagement.

    While possibly more complex, I would love to see a combat system that is slightly more logical. A tank should be a frontline warrior that prevents the enemy from reaching the less protected party members.

    In the glory days of D&D, attack of opportunity achieved this to some degree. A similar system would be awesome, where threat is not the means to keep attackers on the tank, but rather the risk of opening oneself up to attacks. Disengaging from a tank could open a special attack that deals massive damage (or have special effects like root and snare, or dots). Wether NPC's or monsters avoid disengaging from (or moving through) a tanks threat range could be dictated by other factors, like hate for a particular party member, or intelligence.

    Such a system applies to both PvP and PvE combat, making tanks take a similar role in both engagements.
  • Liniker wrote: »
    There is only one tank Class in Ashes of Creation - If you want people to play this role, and not end up having an unbalanced low number of tanks in the server this class Needs to get some love.

    A tank Should actually TANK. Under no circumstances a DPS should be able to kill a tank 1v1 in PvP with similar gear - a Tank should have enough damage mitigation to feel like a tank, to make a DPS not want to engage and a fight between tanks or tank vs healer should be a stalemate.

    Tanks should be the initiators in PvP with gap closers and AoE CCs, and have the option through augments to specialise in a little more damage, CC or mitigation

    Active blocking should be a thing, active blocking should block 100% of incoming Frontal damage up to a certain amount and then put the shield on a 15 or 30s cooldown - passive block should Always be in place and it would work as normal when the tank is not using active block, tank should be the only class with higher blocking % stats

    skills that reflect incoming damage should also make up a good part of the damage done by tanks,

    remember, if the tank has low damage, it needs to make it up by actually Tanking, having lots of AoE CCs, pulls, gap closers and all the love needed so it won't be like every other game where 2% of the playerbase plays a tank

    I feel like that's too closed minded, at least to my liking and my opinion. I feel like tanks, like any other class, should be able to diverge somehow from their intended role, even if they fulfill it worse of course, by changing gear or some other customizable equipment/skills etc. And also, Ashes of Creation has already done this so I'm simply responding to you, not as a suggestion. If you look at AoC's class chart u can see that there are actually 8 or so tank classes, cuz u can choose tank as your primary archetype then whatever other archetype to create a different actual "class", so there would be like 8 types of tanks already.
  • My main gripe about tanks is that most of their designs are very boring. Most games just slap a shield and sword on a class and call it a tank. Giving them very lackluster abilities that don't feel as epic as the DPS or healer counterparts. Which is mainly why I play a healer.

    I would like to see a lot of different variations in tank design. For example, you could have a cloth wearing tank that uses a summon to hold aggro and cc while they empower it using supportive spells. Whereas another tank might have abilities that allow them to shield users standing behind them in a cone from frontals etc...

    I think having variations like this would definitely be possible. Especially since Ashes of Creation has primary and secondary classes that augment the players abilities.

    With this in mind, I feel as though Ashes should not strictly balance every single encounter for one main tank and one off tank. For me this type of design (especially) for dungeons is getting old. I think there should be a variety of different encounters that may require users to have differing numbers of tanks. Furthermore, I feel as though groups should be able to re-assign people to tanking, DPS, and healing based on secondary class.

    For example, let's say I am a Tank/Cleric. For some parts of the fight I might focus on tanking as an off tank picking up adds. As the adds die and my use as a tank diminishes until the next set of adds spawn, I would hope that I could fill in as a support healer. Helping to alleviate some of the pressure on the healers during moments with high incoming damage.

    Another example could be a Summoner/Tank who fills in momentarily as a tank if someone dies etc...

    I think a lot of interesting things could be done with weaving between primary and secondary classes during an encounter. In my opinion it would also create more interesting gameplay for all roles.
  • Sargarius wrote: »
    Want to voice a concern with the way you have laid out class combinations currently. Loads of dps combos and a few healing ones, But only a single dedicated Tank class aptly named Tank.


    I'm pre-emptively worried this will cause a stagnant tank meta via lack of options

    Idk much about how the classes will end up being but I imagine they simply wanted to bring more diversity with the names so as to not call all the tanky classes "tank, defender, protector, guardian" etc cuz it could sound repetitive and dull, the classes themselves might end up being adequately tanky in their own way, some more and some less of course, that's the beauty of it, u can choose the tanky type you prefer.
  • I probably won't build a tank BUT I do feel like these type of straightforward classes should be able to trade one stat for another so that the player can have individual fun aside from group fights. What I mean is that in PvP or solo PvE a tank should be able to exchange and lose some of its defensive capabilities to earn some more offensive capabilities. It doesn't need to be worth it, it doesn't need to be meta or the most efficient thing, but I feel like the simple option of it would be interesting and bring some more fun variables for tank players that sometimes wanna do something else than holding aggro for a party.
  • I can't really give any thoughts on PvP tanking, as I have no experience there. But PvE Tanking, I love it!

    Imo, tanks should be a mix of front lines defensive tankness, with various tools for gaining and holding threat, as well as physical CC and some party wide buffs.

    Tank in its purest form, would be that for me. CC things like AoE short stuns, longer duration single target stuns or intimidation. Chains or a pull mechanic. Buffs to parties attack type skills like weapon speed, maybe bleeds, physical stuff.

    Now the interesting thing in AoC for me are the secondary classes that will augment these things. And I think there are some no brainer options that you at Intrepid are already on the ball about. My main thought there though would be just injecting the secondary class identity into the purest tank kit. Things like smoke bombs for a Tank Rogue as the AoE CC. Maybe that would have a longer duration CC but at the cost of losing a lot of threat because once they are out of the smoke they are just gonna attack the first thing they see. Tank Ranger having a pet and more nature based augments. I have no doubt that the minds at Intrepid have all sorts of cool flavorful ways to augment the skills.

    I think where tanking can really fail is lack of active mitigation skills, and gaining and holding threat. Final Fantasy 14 for example has decent active mitigation skills. They give you buffs, you stay alive and or heal. Not bad. But their Enmity stance (tank stance) is SOOOOO boring. Gaining and holding aggro in that game is too easy On the other end of the spectrum in ESO, getting threat/holding it can be tricky. A lot of the taunts are quite short lived. Its not fun reapplying single target taunts to tons of mobs...So a fine balance needs to be there.

    Active block, that is a bit of a tricky one. Its a wonderful concept in action games like ESO. Really do enjoy its function. But for the tab target folk, its not as easy. Really depends how crucial the active blocking really is. If it only saves a minor amount but maybe helps hold threat, then not so bad. But if you need it just to survive as a tank like ESO, tab target folk won't be enjoying it at all.

    Main vs Off tank specs, I think its as simple as "is Tank your primary or secondary class?" Primary should always have much better tanking tools and more threat. Off tankers should have situational tools and maybe more on the buffing side of things? Main tanks more of a CC role? I dunno.

    Long story short, just make sure that active damage mitigation is a thing, as well as holding aggro and threat. Maybe even have passive skills that let you see the threat on targets so players can know what sup?



  • AzhreiAzhrei Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I like the idea of tanking to be engaging. Dps players try to push their damage to the max while staying alive and doing mechanics ( if they’re proper dps) and healers make sure no debuffs are up and the green is high. But, tanks can end up in a boring place. If it is too easy to hold threat we just stand there spamming some rando move. Of course, if it’s too hard we get flamed for not knowing our class. My favorite times as a tank has been when I was in the flow: good mob control with a situational awareness and moving the group, downing a boss after things got hairy. Basically, when I used more of my personal gaming skills and class abilities than just a taunt.

    PS: reactive abilities can be fun too, like something popping up after a dodge or a parry.

    PPS: sorry for posting so much, tanking is the best and I am very interested in how you are doing it. I appreciate the fact that you’re open to ideas and feedback.
  • AnkhAnkh Member, Founder, Kickstarter
    Vaknar wrote: »
    tank_participation.gif?h=250

    Just realized I was off topic, too... mostly because this seems like a silly question (to me). Tank primary population will very likely be lower than any other archetype, so Tank secondary should definitely be useful! (especially considering people could swap secondary to off-tank for a raid that requires it, then go right back). Requiring 5 Tank primaries for a raid would likely just be a bottle neck or an advantage to large guilds!
    “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
  • With the PvX style that Ashes seems to be aiming for I would definitely like to see combat experiences with several tanks fighting as a big focus.
    Whilst tanks in games traditionally are mostly threat generation and damage mitigation, threat has always proved a bit odd in PvP instances.
    I'd like to see tanks as more of a battlefield control with CC and possibly some sort of obstruction to support PvP like caravans and sieges. This would be things like a Phalanx which can extend further with more Tanks preventing enemies from getting to ranged characters or a caravan.

    One of my favourite builds for tanks is always damage reflection where a good portion of you damage is built from enemy mobs hitting themselves against spikey armour.
  • SolmyrSolmyr Member
    I'm pretty new to MMOs, so I don't know all the meta and jargon. I've gathered that tanks are supposed to protect their teammates, but a lot of these suggestions seem to revolve around standing there essentially being a very distracting punching bag.

    Again, pure noob perspective, but I feel like a more active defense would be more engaging. Stuff like a 'get down mister president' ability where you jump in front of a targeted teammate, making bubble shields to give your party breathing room, tackling/tripping/throwing enemies, and generally being reactive in preventing damage. Something like that seems like it would feel more like a fight and less like an exercise in herding brain dead AI.

    Of course with all the classes this game has planned, there's probably room for all kinds of options.
  • Tanks are an essential part of holy trinity when it comes to MMOs. For me tanks are often overlooked and can be often replaced by fighters specializing in defence. I would love to see tanks be not just a source of damage mitigation, but also to visually inspiring on the battlefield, their skills should almost act like a visual / audio que to their teammates (e.g in the anime Log Horizon where guardians use Anchor Howl or Castle of Stone) so the dps know what is about to happen and can coordinate on this and would give the tank players of feeling like they matter in a dungeon of raid setup.

    But all classes, in my opinion, should have a signature visually and audio impactful skill that acts a way of communicating your intentions to other players, not everyone like to talk during raid.
  • TrubiTrubi Member
    edited August 18
    Damage should be shared.

    I imagine that this could be a good way to incorporate a multi-tank encounters without forcing it with arbitrary mechanics like a stacking debuffs or multiple enemies.
    When attack is performed and it is AOE damage, the damage value should split between all targets that are impacted.
    In this way you can let people to have a lot more freedom in party composition and class build configuration.
    As you could run a multiple light tanks(off-tanks) that would be tactically sharing the hits that would kill any of them outright, if the damage is not shared. Or you could run a single heavy tank that can withstand the blows.
    Another thing that I would like to see is something that I've experienced in TERA. Tanks had ability to protect their allies by creating a protective zone in a cone behind them, when blocking and at certain mechanics, party would have to run and hide behind their tank to survive.
    Or if we take tab targeting approach it could be AOE barriers that tank would be able to place or would be placed around him.

    Mitigation matters.

    I would like to see tanks, being literal tanks. Something like you would imagine in modern warfare, other classes would be a foot soldier in comparison.
    Every attack should have significant difference when impacting a tank versus any other class.
    Main source of balance I would see in a tradeoff, where you would sacrifice mobility and agility for damage mitigation.

    Thread management.

    This should not be just thread generation, but also thread mitigation. Tanks should be masters of the threat.
    They should be able to manipulate the threat table, here are few examples:
    - generate threat for themselves
    - reduce the threat generated by their party
    - completely drop threat for a single ally
    - freeze the threat table for a short period
    - lock the opponent from switching the the target for a short period

    UI is important.

    It is important to see the health bar moving, but it is just as important to see what is the current state of the threat perceived by the opponent.
    Don't hide things. I hate games that are trying to increase difficulty by obfuscating information instead of improving their encounter design.

    Content gating.

    Content should not be gated behind level or equipment. That is just so lazy. Let the people complete the content at any time, or die trying.
    I should be able to attempt any encounter without restrictions. If me and my team, want to take a risk for potentially high reward and engage in content designed for higher levels or higher equipment tiers, we should be allowed to do so.
    If we want to sacrifice our time for a fun challenge, let us!
    If we want to run 4 tanks in a party to manage the damage received from higher tier encounters and sacrifice the dps roles to do so, let us!
    If I want to bring under geared and under leveled friend to play with me the content I'm currently working on. We should be allowed to do so. If I'm willing to carry the burden of having morale support accessory with me, let me!
  • 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 think it's good to see multiple tanks in play in larger encounters, at least sometimes.

    Also, I like the idea of people who might not be playing a tank to kind of be a half decent tank in a pinch, in larger encounters or smaller ones as well. To use world of warcraft examples, the fury warrior who threw on a shield and taunted the boss to save your run on the final boss after the tank went down in UBRS. Or the healing druid who went bear and and tanked some Garr adds in Molten Core, to return back to healing after they were dead. Non-tanks being able to jump into the role into a pinch means they need tools (like taunt) and better than average mitigation, either base or with skills. The lack of tools is what prevented Paladin from filling that role back in vanilla.
  • 777777 Member
    tank/cleric (or other) could have a spell that binds him to an ally for a certain time and the tank shares the damage with the ally bound by the spell.
  • ZahmbiZahmbi Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited August 18
    Career Off-Tank here. MMO I have played for the longest and got the most done on was ESO, where I off-tanked everything from beginner raids to top 0.01% achievement runs.

    ESO's tanking is set up completely differently from most other MMOs. There is no threat, some abilities just taunt the enemy to only attack you for the next 15s. This simplicity in maintaining aggro does, however, allow tanks to participate in actual fight mechanics. Here is a list of everything that would be expected of an off-tank in a fast-strats/hard-mode fight vs one of the bosses in the ESO raid Sunspire:

    1. Apply your debuffs to boss/buffs to group via AoEs.
    2. Pick up the 2-3 adds that spawn that take reduced damage from anything but specific AoEs dropped upon the death of other adds that do 50% of their health. These adds can one shot you, if you miss your dodge.
    3. Hold these adds far enough away from group that their cone and AoE attacks do not hit group, but close enough so that you can still buff the group/debuff boss. This means that you will have little or no healing during this time, so you must be self-sufficient.
    4. When the boss enters next phase, position these adds between randomly placed other adds which, upon death drop the aforementioned 50% damage AoEs, then drag the first set of adds through them.
    5. Position with the rest of the group to not wipe each other during the AoE phase that does massive damage, even when not overlapping with someone else.
    6. Repeat steps 1-5, except next AoE phase, you will still be holding and dealing with the adds, adding additional damage and strain on your resources.
    7. Repeat steps 1-5 again.

    This fight is considered one of the greatest off-tank challenges in the game, and is possibly the single most glorious encounter to play through as one. It is constantly engaging, as you nearly always have something to do. Whether it be juggling taunt on half a dozen different adds, to maintaining buffs/debuffs, to dealing with DoT damage residual from the AoE phase, to doing it all at the same time. This fight requires permanent concentration as you are often alone and dealing with a considerable challenge that shifts frequently, thus preventing it from getting boring.

    TL;DR:
    An off tank is still a tank, not a just a buff-stick in plate armor. Even if we are not dealing with the 40-foot-tall turd monster who's name is at the top of the screen, doesn't mean we do not want to always be tanking something ourselves. Main tank grabs the big bad? Cool, I'll take the half dozen adds that, combined, hit even harder.

    ESO has some phenomenal raids for off-tanks that I would suggest checking out, such as the aforementioned Sunspire (specifically the bosses Lokkestiiz and Nahviintaas), the mini-raid Asylum Sanctorium, and Rockgrove.
  • StazeStaze Member
    Hi everyone.

    We should have a variety of tank depending of their 2nd class.
    A tank/mage could be better at tanking magic damage
    Tank/Bard could buff him and his allies with defense for example
    Tank/Summoner could summon an entity that helps at generating threat

    It's just few example but that's what I think first when I think to tank and 2nd class in AoC
  • For my part the tank is a very important role in an mmo, whether pve or pvp. but also a support tank depending on the situation (raid, gvg, castle siege, dj, ect...) by giving a buff or various bonuses.

    but for a tank to be useful it needs some basic useful spells,
    1) a kind of slash for mono + small heal depending on the dps %.
    2) a spell that smash on the ground for multi target + with a % of aggro
    3) 2 defensive spells (which will change depending on the 2nd class) 1 physical spell and 1 magic spell depending on the situation
    4) a grap to catch a mob far enough (which can also change according to the 2nd class)
    5) an aggro spell (which can also change according to the 2nd class) if a player of your group dps too much.

    to give you an example of the spells that change according to the second class, we can take the example of the paladin, it will be powerful against the undead, demon and any monster that are in the "dark side" but weak against humans, dwarf, etc...

    he could play a role of support tank with for example a short sword and a religious book which will give various buffs like a small care against diseases or just healed the player, a buff where he reads his book which blesses the weapon of the player to inflict sacred damage in more (damage of care or magic or physical).

    if we take another example number 5, the aggro spell for the paladin could become a spell that he casts from a religious book (like tearing out a page of the book a kind of small exorcism prayer that makes the mob angry and force it to attack the paladin rather than the other members of the group).

    In addition to that, the book will be limited in use, we can ask a player who has a profession of scribe or the same kind to create a more powerful religious book, etc...

    sorry if you don't understand something, I use a site to translate in english
  • mcstackersonmcstackerson Member, Phoenix Initiative, Royalty, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    More tanks sounds like it could be better, especially when considering a raid should have 5 of them (5 groups). Also like the idea of in raids, it's other tanks that are helping mitigate damage from the big boss instead of just healers. lastly, i like the possibility of getting away from the concept of a main tank that you funnel everything to and instead have a group of tanks that are all important.
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  • BarabBarab Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    My biggest Tank concern is regarding their role in pvp. I think it's fairly well established what tank mechanics are valued and work within a group/raid setting in terms of pve.

    What I have experienced over the past few decades in regards to tanks in most mmorpgs pvp is they just get ignored. Opponents whittle down the dps, range, support/heals etc then move to the tank(s) since most tanks in these mmos pose little to no threat with at the most their sustain dps with little to no true group support. They are just low dps damage soaking sponges with little threat.

    Warhammer Online (WHO) had, in my experience, the best tank mechanics in pvp. Take the Ironbreaker for example.

    1. Taunt - You enrage your opponent, interrupting any currently building abilities and forcing monsters to attack you. While taunted your opponent will take 30% more damage from your attacks. This effect will fade after 15 seconds or after your opponent has hit you 3 times.

    This worked in pvp on players. If you ignored the tank in pvp you did so at your peril. Great at interrupting spells and range skills.

    2. Guard - Only usable on other players. You defend one of your groupmates and try to take attacks meant for them. As long as you are within 30 feet of them, any damage that they suffer will be split evenly between the two of you, and 35% of all hate that they cause will be redirected to you.

    What a great tank buff ability. Had to stay within a set range to be active, provided support, and provided another reason to not ignore the tank.

    AE Snare/Roots were other tank skills in pvp that as an opponent if you didnt deal with the tanks asap you would pay a price.

    Besides often being ignored tanks in many pvp mmos were easily kited by range dps classes. Range dps classes are always the most popular played in mmos because of their easy mode stay safe in range with mobility kiting any target play style. Tanks need gap closers and chain pulls at the very least if range dps isnt required to be stationary.

    Hammers High !! Master Brewer of the Dwarven Hold Mithril Warhammers
  • BarabBarab Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Great post, this was what I was trying to say but you did a much better job @Gondor
    Gondor wrote: »
    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
    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
    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.

    Hammers High !! Master Brewer of the Dwarven Hold Mithril Warhammers
  • I'd prefer there was no tank.

    Nothing against the "protector" or defensive style of character, but I all the artificial threat generation to keep monsters' attention from others is an outdated concept as far as I'm concerned. It generally has to work differently from PvE to PvP so the tank role stay relevant.

    There are cooler ways to protect teammates, like magical barrier, terrain control and CC status. All of which work against both mobs and enemy players.

    But I have no illusion: the trinity is loved by too many.
    Be bold. Be brave. Roll a Tulnar !
  • Hello,

    As a PVP player I will only talk about PVP.

    I stopped playing tank because of the threat system.
    The threat system often works in PVE but logically not in PVP because you can't "force" a human to attack you, you can't generate threat in PVP.

    What I always wanted to see as a tank in PVP is the following.

    1 / A lot of AOE crowd control (even force players to stick to you for some time).

    2 / A real threat system, if you don't get hit your DPS will increase and if you get hit a lot your DPS will decreased (you would see a gauge maybe). This would be innovative, and a great option because it could turn you in a good DPS if no one is attacking you!

    Close range DPS should be "forced" to attack you, and it should be difficult for them to get close to casters/healers once they get next to you.

    It works in PVE as well, NPC should be able to be aware of this.

    3 /You should be able to actively protect your group, with shield (magic or physic one).
    I love the system in DAoC, where you can protect people with your shield, it's awesome!

    4 / As Ashes of Creation has a lot of class, if you are a mage/tank, you can imagine a tank 4playing from behind the line and placing barriers and shields. You could invoke clones of yourself in the battlefield. You could blind people.

    In my opinion, DAoC had one of the best tanking systems, and you always had a tank in a group even in PVP.
  • I speak as a player who played as a tank in all the MMO's I've been through (which were many).
    I confess that the most frustrating part has always been realizing that the tank class is almost always modeled only for PVE, being excluded from PVP.
    In some games where we have large-scale territory battles, the tank still manages to play its role, but when we talk about small-scale battles, it becomes useless.

    My biggest request to the Devs is that they put some love into the tanks so we can play 2v2, 3v3 etc arenas competitively.

    For this it is necessary that the tank fulfills its basic function of taking damage, in this way the tank must not die to a DPS in 1v1, but it also must not have enough damage to kill that DPS. It must be a class that others avoid facing and that within a party fit very well.

    And to be useful in 2x2 or 3x3 the tank must have protection skills for its allies and a lot of crowd control on enemies. This is the role we want to play. The tank built for arena battles should be the most crowd-control classes in the game. Since we won't (probably) have much damage, the only way to fit in arenas is with protect and CC.

    We really want to feel like an indestructible rock with a lot of HP and defense and we want to be able to act as an IMPORTANT support in small and large scale battles, whether defending our allies or with CC. Particularly for me, I don't find a tank with a lot of damage interesting, if your choice is to be a tank, understand that your role is to take damage without dying, use CC and defend your allies.

    About the shield, I think the active block is very valid. Where there is an important mitigation of the damage, depending on the power of the shield.
    I think it's worth having small circular shields for non-tank classes that choose to use a shield and the tower shield, truly heavy, for a true tank.

    The Tulnar and Orc races represent me well, they seem to be races that take damage without dying.
  • I think it would be really cool to see some abilities that a tank can put on an team member to share a percentage of that persons incoming damage, or even some ultimate the puts it on the whole party for a short time and all damage goes to the tank. So if I'm tanking and I have the agro of some mobs and cant peel a mob off of a team mate i could just put an ability on my team mate where I take more of the damage for them for a time.
  • VaknarVaknar Moderator, Member, Staff
    Four horsemen original Naxrammas. Eight tanks assigned a personal healer each. Each one screaming over each other in the voice chat while some pug'd 13 year old from Norway with over 400 ping drowns it all out in skrillex and deadmou5.

    That's what it should be like

    I've seen several people reference this classic fight. Really interesting observation! I love the scene you've painted for us :joy:
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  • With respect to tanking in MMO's I think most have overly simplified the process, Tanking and maintaining aggro should be more involved than simply turning on a stance or hitting the mob/boss once in a while. Tanks should need to dynamically and preemptively respond to mechanics and the flow of battle.
    Tanks are in many instances viewed as the de facto leader of a given group, they set the pace they soak the damage, with this in mind I think AoC should lean into this by implementing some of the following,
    • Tanks should have skills that transfer hate gen from a given party member to them for a period of time. Eg a dps is about to enter a burst window you pop your skill and enjoy the added hate. This will encourage communication between party members, and encourage tanks to be aware of the flow of battle for their party members as well.
    • Additionally I think tanks ought to have more utility in party wide damage mitigation as well as single target damage mitigation. So that larger encounters can more frequently involve mitigating and actively protecting your party members, Eating a tank buster is cool but if the buster was actually aimed at your healer and you step in and eat that damage for them I believe that leans more into the job fantasy. If your party never feels like they are in danger, you as a tank become replaceable as all you are is a damage sponge. Whereas when there is danger directed at them your skill as a tank can become the difference between a wipe and victory.
    • As many have said here the role of a tank should be focused on utility not dealing a ton of big numbers. Tanks should have unique aoe taunt abilities, and several self sustain skills. However Tanks shouldn't be able to survive indefinitely without a healer. They balance is to ensure they have enough sustains that putting one down when played well is an effort, this encourages developing the skill to manage your CDs and ensuring you don't blow through them all too quickly. With this in mind I think the variety of CD's should be high but the more powerful among them should have a sufficiently long cooldown to balance.
    • Tanks should have high bursts of mobility/gap closers but also have mobility constraining skills. eg. take a ground effect aoe skill for example, imagine the effect only lasts while you remain within the effect, any enemy that steps into the aoe or is within the aoe when triggered cannot leave without taking a large auto crit hit. Any party member within the effect transfers anywhere from 50-100% of the damage they receive to you. this in pvp encourages enemies to stay and fight you as well as encourages your party members to join you in the effect for the shield.
    • Tanks should also have the ability to pull and/or tether enemies perhaps some will have an aoe pull or others single target, but controlling enemy movement should be a big part of the tanks utility, essentially I'd like Knocks, Roots, Pulls, Slows all part of the tanks tool kit, it shouldn't be easy to get away from a tank once they've gotten in close.
    • With the there being several large scale pvp options I think one skill I'd like to see the devs play with would be making moves like aoe taunts when used in pvp settings make you the "Focused target" for your opponents or other skills to force people to deal with you in pvp. Otherwise a coordinated group will simply ignore you for the squishy members like healers etc. there should be a balance a skilled tank should be frustrating enough that you need to suck it up and kill them first, where an unskilled tank can be circumvented and ignored.
    • one other thing in open world I think aoe damage mitigation should apply to any non partied green/purple player not on your target list. If I come across a dps struggling in the wild as a tank and I want to lend them aid I should be able to shield them without first sending them a party request.
    .

    TLDR: Hate absorption/stealing from party, party-wide damage mitigation, single target mitigation, increased amount of raid wide or non tank targeted skills even while at the top of aggro list. increased variety of mitigation skills with varying effectiveness and cd time. gap closers, ground effects, knockbacks, slows, binds, pulls, tethers etc. all part of the toolkit. PVP party frustrating skills like forced targeting or other CC abilities so you can't ignore the tank in pvp. the ability to shield non-hostile non-party members in pve content.

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    The Wolves of Verra
    are recruiting: https://discord.gg/Rt8G3sNYac
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