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Dev Discussion #47 - Tanking: Threat Mitigation

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  • GutzgoreGutzgore Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited January 8
    PVE Tanking Threat:
    -I prefer tanks being the lead role to grab initial aggro and maintain it throughout the fight. It gives the group some structure and also the tank a job that helps to make the class feel like you actually are a tank.
    -I want the tank to be able to control positioning based off aggro, so initial aggro and maintain is important to this aspect of tank play.
    -I do prefer that tanks maintain aggro to some degree, but not so much that you can't have fun playing the class and other abilities/mechanics. In other words, give me the abilities to either grab ST or AOE mobs at the beginning of the fight. Then during the fight, there may be reasons aggro gets pulled off me and I have to regain aggro when lets say a DPS is just really killing it, or a healer does massive heals or some mechanic from the mob/boss requires it. There should be some sort of system to make threat slowly decay, and spikes of decay that may come from other players and their decisions/abilities or other variables that you need to react to. Like maybe a big boss spell that is interrupted causes a sudden threat change. This allows for some management of aggro, but makes it fun. What I don't want to do is constantly be concerned that I'm going to loose aggro. I just want to react here and there when aggro may be lost, but generally this is not an issue.
    -Another aspect that makes threat fun is when additional adds spawn or another mob aggros on accident and you have to grab that aggro.
    -Tank swapping abilities are important when multiple tanks are in the group of course. I want to see these threat mechanics in boss fights etc.
    -Some damaging abilities need to generate more threat. I do want to see tanks be able to provide sufficient damage. Its really fun when you can aggro a mob do a bunch of AOE damage and mitigate a bunch of damage.
    -Please give me big ass shields! I love those big ole shields that cover your whole body, and give us more shield abilities. I'm thinking like how the shield looks on a Nova class in BDO. Yes we active block, but give me abilities that can further the use of my shield and its mitigation or damaging abilities. What a bout a shield spin, bash, charge, throw, buff, spikes. How about a shield wall? where you can slam your shield into the ground and use it as a wall, like a way to LOS a boss or something and the group can get behind it. Shield slide? Maybe my shield gets extra large to mitigate more damage. lol. idk.
    -I would like taunting ability variety. For both ST and AOE I want to be able to leap, charge, teleport to the target and have abilities that pull or teleport enemies to me. I want to see the use of melee/ranged taunts and ones that make use of the sword/shield. Like a shield bash of some kind or sword strike during a charge or hammer smash during a leap. I have to say, that gap closers like a charge that do some damage, taunt and rush the enemy are so fun to use!
    -The use of tanking stances that maybe helps to mitigate damage but also increase threat are fun. Then if I need to, I can switch to a combat stance in which I can do more damage (Im still tankish, but not as much in tank stance).
    -As a tank, I want my role to be unique and needed in group play. I don't want others to be able to slide in and fill my role like a fighter. In some games even healers can tank. This just undermines the class, and I don't want AoC to do this. Aggro and damage mitigation are the key pieces in general that make tanks stand out. I hope AoC can innovate on what's come before it.
    -I do want to see a combination of physical and magical damage mitigation. Maybe these have varying affects on threat as well.
    -There is a balance here to consider. Trying to get and hold aggro, active block, managing stamina, managing damage mitigation (abilities outside active block), doing damage, being able to interrupt, positioning of enemies, and fight mechanics there can be a point where the task loading of a tank might become too much. Again, not sure the balance here, but I would caution putting too much on a tank on top of mechanics as well. In fact, I believe this some of the reason a lot of players wont play a tank. If you can make the entry into tanking easy, mastering it challenging but the class overall fun and engaging, this would be the goal.

    PVP Tanking Threat:
    Generally threat is useless in most games in PVP for the tank. You may be able to get a leap off for example to do some damage and helps to close the gap, however the threat piece is just missing entirely. I can't think of any game actually where threat works in PVP.

    -Here is an idea. Make it useful by forcing a player for a short time to only be able to damage the tank. Sure they can run around, but the only target for like 10 seconds that can actually take damage is the tank if you were taunted. Maybe there is a visual que for the player affected by the taunt, that shows them that the only target that can be damaged for its duration is the tank. This effectively makes tank threat in PVP work. This maybe works for both ST and AOE. I actually could imagine being on the receiving end of a tank PVP taunt. Once taunted the visual que comes up on the tank, the camera auto snaps to the tank momentarily so the affected player also knows they were just taunted and by who (its a taunt, so the camera snapping to the tank momentarily kinda makes sense, but would not be permanent). I can imagine this making it feel like I was just taunted. At that point you have 2 options as the player affected by the taunt, either run or fight till the duration of the taunt wears off. Maybe its a bad idea, but just a thought.
    -I would like to see tanks be able to share damage mitigation to the group, so that they can actually become a serious threat in PVP. Abilities that transfer player damage to them, or shield your group or provide good CCs.
    -Tanks tend to become undesired in PVP and in fact it can be difficult to complete PVP quests/content because of this. I hope to see some innovation in this area in particular. I don't have the answers, but at least there is one idea.
  • BotBot Member
    I think the concept of tanking should be different in PvP vs PvE. However either way, I think the ability to 'taunt' (force enemy to target you) is essential for both. For PvP I think an aoe shout that forces people in a radius around you to target you and maybe a pull move that forces them to target you would be cool. Either that or something like a Shen taunt in League to add some skill to it.

    When it comes to PvE I feel like the ability to maintain agro should be its own sort of combo system. Like how in other games if you do x skill it applies an effect that when followed by y skill triggers a combo effect. It would add skill to tanking in my opinion. I think the big thing MMOs get wrong is tanks tend to be the least skillful relative to other classes. There are amazing tanks then solid tanks then really, really bad tanks. Not much of a range of skill whereas you can look at assassins or mages and see a wider range of skill usually.

    Ultimately a tank should have a way to force you to not ignore them.
  • Zand3rsZand3rs Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    My really short and best answer is that the best tanking system i have used in a game actually comes from Elder scrolls online.

    Its engaging, makes you do stuff on the fly, its well balanced and fun.
    No reason to try and make something new and better when there is a perfect system.
  • Some interesting threat mechanics at the start of combat does sounds awesome, and personally I like the idea of managing threat to be similarly paced to a healer managing a parties health.
  • The best tanking experience I had was in Tera. In Tera I could play the Brawler and it was just so dynamic. As a Brawler, you had to block at the right moment - and that was just very enjoyable for me.
    Also, there was aggro drop, which meant I had to do aggro management. I also had enough mobility to mob. It felt much more dynamic than other tank classes.

    I'm hoping for a similar experience or even more movement from a Bard-Tank. Just a tank class that doesn't just stubbornly hold up its shield while watching Youtube videos on the side - although I know of people who prefer just such a tank class. I hope that there are just different types of tanking and especially: The tank should then also be a full/off tank and not "Everyone kind of does everything and then we'll see".

    In general I love tank classes, because I love dungeons and being the lead of the group. I love to run in, mob things around me, hold aggro, stun in the right moment and keep my group save while my healer tries to save me :) I hope there are cool boss mechanics that keep me on my toes.

    But it is also important that the mechanics are clear - regarding visibility and a clear counter action opportunity (either intuitive or otherwise explained) -, so there isn't just random stuff happening and I am like "wtf this isn't fun..." (after multiple attempts...)

    I just like tanking that's more than standing still.
  • itwashearitwashear Member
    edited January 9
    While there are a lot of different ideas here I think it would be helpful to step back a bit and look at the bigger picture. the way the tank plays fundamentally sets the stage for how combat works and plays in general so its way more important to decide that before figuring out how the tank plays for example is the ideal pull 3 mobs or 15? if 3 then having to see what each mob is doing and needing to use a defensive is a good system but if its 15 you cant see what every single mob is doing and it just wouldn't work well. Same for aggro if you only have to worry about a few mobs then a more active threat system keeps the tank on the toes but if your fighting large groups and someone is doing crazy single target dmg to one your not it works much less. If large pulls are the norm threat needs to be more passive using an aoe needs to be mostly it unless something goes wrong. And lastly if positioning is super important that changes everything again the very first thing that needs to be answered first is what does party combat look like and go from there.

    finally my actual option on the matter is you ether use what other games and done in the past and just refine it a little or do something all your own trying to do it half way is probably the worst choice.

    bit of a random idea that could be fun is having threat not be much of a thing and mobs care way more about what's in front of them for example someone hits it with an arrow its running at them when a tank stands in the way so they are now hitting the tank unless someone then jumps in front of the tank. I think it would make things feel interesting and different but lots of potential down sides or issues that would need to be worked out.
  • Finally, after some back and forth with support have my account in good standing to comment.

    There are a few ways I think Tank threat Mitigation could be approached but in a more game play way instead of just purely threat levels:

    One, Tanking should take a new look at abilities that are usually deemed tank busters. Large damage that if a cool down from a tank or healer is not used kills the player(Tank). Turn this into a sort of mini game. For example, a tank buster ability from a dragon sends a fireball to a location in the boss room. The tank needs to move ASAP to this location or it hits the raid and kills or seriously injures most of the party. Using this format instead of the normal move boss away from raid he hits my face I bubble and we repeat. Moreover, this same idea of a tank buster ability via mini game can be used on a per player basis. At some point in combat a DPS/healer/Non-tank is targeted with a strong ability. The tank needs to get in between the boss and player to take the hit and prevent a death. Maybe this isn't a tank buster ability but a serious threat to those not in a tank role. In conjunction with this targeting ability, the boss hits the next most threatening hero most likely a top DPS. With DPS fluctuation the target changes or maybe stays the same but if say this ability hits the same target as before(back to back) the ability is stronger and increases if the top threat is the same person to the possible point of a tank being unable to safely cover the ability. This X factor puts a very interesting mix into the fight. Who holds second, third, fourth threat so we can rotate XYZ target ability. Do DPS slow down or something else happen.

    I am using the tradition threat levels used in many games, but adding a bit of flavor to threat that if not managed properly will end in a wipe.
  • KillendelKillendel Member
    edited January 9
    Threat should be some composite value composed of Damage and time, and perhaps some consideration for the visual effect and Eye Catching, or Threatening Appearance of certain spells or actions which would be deemed the "Threat" Stat. I think taunt should wipe the threat table or some other comparable effect. Tanks should have optimal ways to generate threat at a moments notice and even from range, but I think the trick to an interesting Tank dynamic is to have a distinct level of difficulty consistently present to out Aggro your DPS. and the DPS should have to be considerate of how and when the damage should be dealt. I would even implore the use of Line of Sight with the Eye catching nature I would like to see with threat generation. And really find some tricky timing sequences with the cooldown of threat resetting and threat generating skills and position those time frames up against the peak damage windows of DPS, so that people have to actually work together.
  • MisfitMisfit Member
    I know that it's probably far too late for anything to be done about this, but one of the glaringly obvious weaknesses of the game, to me, is the racial options.

    There's so little choice and even less difference between them. You can choose between European humans or Arab humans, dwarves or... kinda Maori dwarves, elves or... like... antler elves, orcs and... I guess, tall goblinish orcs, or the beast people (which are by far the most interesting race). Mostly I think that, instead of making 2 of each race, there should have been more effort put in towards creating entirely different races.

    I doubt that my opinion is popular or very welcome, and I doubt it's going to be able to help anything at this point. I just wanted to point out something that really stuck out for me. Who knows, maybe it could help somehow in the future.
  • DolyemDolyem Member
    Misfit wrote: »
    I know that it's probably far too late for anything to be done about this, but one of the glaringly obvious weaknesses of the game, to me, is the racial options.

    There's so little choice and even less difference between them. You can choose between European humans or Arab humans, dwarves or... kinda Maori dwarves, elves or... like... antler elves, orcs and... I guess, tall goblinish orcs, or the beast people (which are by far the most interesting race). Mostly I think that, instead of making 2 of each race, there should have been more effort put in towards creating entirely different races.

    I doubt that my opinion is popular or very welcome, and I doubt it's going to be able to help anything at this point. I just wanted to point out something that really stuck out for me. Who knows, maybe it could help somehow in the future.

    Not sure what this has to do with this discussion. Maybe make a separate discussion about your concern
    GJjUGHx.gif
  • PowurshotPowurshot Member, Intrepid Pack
    I've been playing MMORPG's for 21 years. I've main tanked for most of those beginning years and here is my opinion worth as much as you paid for it.

    Things I've observed:
    1. Inevitably a tank rotation will be derived that produces maximum threat.
    2. DPS that have threat sinks that are too powerful will allow them to spam their strongest abilities/rotations - because the obsession with minmax is real.
    3. AOE tanking is a problem because of the fact that you also have single target threat generators which means some of the mob will not have the same threat on it and aoe dps/healers can pull threat from you.
    4. Crowd control and damage have often had the same amount of threat.

    My thoughts on those observations:
    1. All threat generating abilities should generate the same or nearly the same amount of threat. - OR - Make it based on Checks. Example: one game I play does this: Threat is constant and based on criteria in order of precedence - You have the highest of a particular stat, Proximity, if you're wearing a shield, damage, healing. Some thing similar to that maybe.
    2. DPS threat sinks should be minor and a high cooldown so they have to actually pay attention to what they're doing. Damage of an ability should be related to the length of it's cooldown and it's threat generation.
    3a. Heals should not generate threat because they're not directly interacting with the mob.
    3b. More intelligent mobs should respond differently to threat. Where a dumb animal might only notice the tank in it's face and take less notice of ranged dps, a humanoid caster might be intelligent enough to know where the biggest danger is coming from.
    4. Damage threat should be related to the amount of damage and consistently correlate. Crowd control should be an escalating threat - the more you do it, it should increasingly annoy a target that is continuously hampered.

    Great work so far - looking forward to playing again.
  • NaztyNazty Member
    I really like having certain eninitt skills and having do do certain ones to generate a lot of threat while you have skills that do t do enimty. Aion had a really great eninitt skill system. Along with having one aoe and one single target to allow the use of using your skills to know what needs to be done. But I really love aion tanking vs all other mmos I have played. Had the feeling of saying you are THE Tank!!
  • VaknarVaknar Moderator, Member, Staff
    edited January 9
    Here is a follow-up question for you non-tanking players :wink:

    For non-tanking players, are you fond of having to play your role with threat in mind?
    community_management.gif
  • JustVineJustVine Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Vaknar wrote: »
    Here is a follow-up question for you non-tanking players :wink:

    For non-tanking players, are you fond of having to play your role with threat in mind?

    When not tanking? Yes. The game is boring without having to worry about threat.
    Just dAndy.
  • HonshuHonshu Member
    edited January 10
    Vaknar wrote: »
    Dev Discussion - Tanking: Threat Mitigation
    For people who prefer to play the tanking role, do you enjoy holding threat as a prevalent part of combat? Would you prefer threat mechanics to be a part of combat initiation, or throughout the entire duration of combat?
    I do enjoy holding threat being prevalent parts of combat. Threat management being a factor in groups is an important element of chaos and skill that allows good tanks to shine by keeping mobs under control and good DPS to ensure that they maintain good damage while allowing the tanks to do their thing. It should be a constant factor throughout an encounter.

    To illustrate what I feel is a failure of making tanking interesting in an MMO, look at Final Fantasy 14. For those unaware, agro management for tanks is as simple as entering a "tank stance" that augments the agro generation on all your skills. At that point you simply spam AoEs if you're fighting multiple enemies, or follow a set single target rotation that is literally no different from if you were focusing on damage if you are fighting a single target. The majority of skill in a fight is expressed through performing the fight's mechanics while using an optimized "rotation" of skills throughout to maintain optimal levels of DPS.
    The failure point here is that you generate so much agro that it is quite literally impossible to lose agro to DPS players if you are simply pushing buttons. Since DPS players can't out-agro you, you have firm control of all monsters you're fighting at all times. Since you have firm control of all monsters you're fighting, part of the skill of dealing with an encounter is removed; DPS players don't have to pace themselves, and tank players never have to try to act as group firefighters by trying to regain control of an unexpected agro loss situation. This removes skill expression from both categories of players and ultimately makes encounters feel static and boring as a result.

    The ideal for me in an MMO is something like vanilla World of Warcraft, where sufficiently geared, determined, and even lucky (thanks to crits) DPS players could grab agro from tanks by accident, thereby complicating a fight.

    In summary, I believe agro management is important to PvE game design in MMOs because it creates a more complicated encounter that allows greater skill expression from tanks and DPS players both. Good examples of this would be vanilla World of Warcraft, where tanks had to keep their agro generation pace with that created by the higher damage of DPS players, and a sufficiently greedy or determined DPS player could rob agro, and create an unfavorable game state as a result (a squishier less durable teammate attracts direct attention from enemies). For DPS players, it creates a "push your luck" style of gameplay where a good DPS has to balance his ability to deal damage with his desire to let the tank take the brunt of the enemys' attention. For tanks, it means you have reason to have more than one tank (perhaps one tank cannot hold the attention of all the monsters in the encounter), and it means they have to pay constant attention to their surroundings and act as party firefighters (oh no, the DPS got a big crit and now one of those monsters are beelining towards him to smash him flat!).

    Bad examples of this would be Final Fantasy 14, where tanks never needed to worry about losing agro except possibly to other tanks, which removed a source of potential complications during an encounter, and removed a means of skill expression from both tanks and DPS.

    [edit]
    After prompting from another poster in this thread, I spent a little time reading about The Elder Scrolls' Onlines' agro management system, and frankly I think it sounds like exactly what the doctor ordered.

    Details may be read about it here, with a summary copy/pasted from that thread here
    https://forums.elderscrollsonline.com/en/discussion/391895/a-guide-to-aggro
    TL;DR
    Excluding special mechanics, mob aggro table is based entirely on a combination of "who hit me first" and an astonishingly short attention span. The person who first taps the mob, either by hitting it as they pull or simply having a heal tick after it's been alerted to your presence, will get somewhere in the range of 7 seconds (+/-2) of aggro on that mob. At that point, if that person is still attacking without interruption, they will maintain that aggro until they are interrupted. If, however, that person does nothing after that first tap, the mob will swap to whoever has attacked them most recently at that point in time.

    This sort of system keeps fights tense and interesting. I think I like the sound of it, though I haven't played TESO myself.
  • Vaknar wrote: »
    Here is a follow-up question for you non-tanking players :wink:

    For non-tanking players, are you fond of having to play your role with threat in mind?

    Yes, it makes it so you can't just roll your face across the keyboard doing your skill rotation without consequences. You can potentially do max damage output as long as your tank is good enough to match or surpass that threat generation
    GJjUGHx.gif
  • ExpiredMilkExpiredMilk Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Healer/DPS player here! Wanted to answer the follow up question, I think playing the other roles with threat in mind makes things more interesting; if you’re an archer and draw aggro you could lead that mob back to the tank to pick up in his next Aoe before using a repel ability to jump away. I think it gives more chance to actually have to move around which to me makes things more fun! If you’re a mage and your conjuring some powerful spell the enemies could see this and start to aggro toward you or notice and spread apart meaning you should have a set up of stunning or rooting the enemies in place first before executing the big explosion, this could be a really cool way to encourage how classes work together instead of just pumping DPS till thing ABC dies. Having maybe more elite enemies like a captain that occasionally guides his troops to switch targets during combat and give the tank a chance to interrupt them from giving the order in some way, or cause the tank to use an ability that takes 50% of damage from the player they link too or grant a shield etc. until things get back on track. This would also cause the healer to shift priority and the dps to have to decide if the captain or mobs surrounding them would be better to kill first. Finding ways to make trash pulls more fun and interesting would be great! Making each combat encounter a mini puzzle to be solved on the spot. This goes for healing too so maybe look at more ways to encourage party wide damage within trash pulls like an enemy that can shoot a volley of arrows or a giant with a club big enough to cleave everyone around them in a circle or a demonic sorcerer that can cast some form of magic missile that hits 3 random party members the more damage people take the more wack a mole I get to play instead of just spamming the one damage ability I have and waiting for the tank to take damage. Which is fine but wack a mole isn’t as fun when you know which hole the mole comes out of every time.
  • Vaknar wrote: »
    Here is a follow-up question for you non-tanking players :wink:

    For non-tanking players, are you fond of having to play your role with threat in mind?

    Yes, threat should be a careful balancing act between all players. Tanks trying to hold agro as long as possible while Dps and support roles are trying to avoid it. Yet neither can be 100% successful.That's where the challenge part comes in. It should be a struggle, not a walk in the park. Non tank roles should be required to use their skillsets, defensive, utility and movement skills to avoid potentially lethal damage from boss/mob mechanics and abilities.
  • SjeldenSjelden Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited January 10
    Threat management in PvE engagements have from past MMO experiences had a tendency of being one (or a few) spammable attacks coupled with a snap-taunt.

    Personally, I would much prefer threat management to be a reward for correct gameplay.
    If you, as a tank, manage to interrupt a mob from casting or disengaging - using stuns or blocks at the right time, is one example of "correct" gameplay.

    Having mobs (and especially hard-hitting mobs) glued to the tank, makes clearing much smoother for the group.

    A good tank should make the healers job easier, both because they take less damage due to correctly timed blocks, and because they prevent damage to party members.

    A good tank should unlock the groups damage potential, as balancing damage and threat management should be a risk for DPS-classes.

    Adding threat generation to active abilities avoid including skills that only affect PvE mobs.

    I am excited to see what solution you drum together! :smile:
  • ParamoxParamox Member, Alpha One
    Having abilities that create large amounts of threat for tanking purposes to be weaved into rotations by sacrificing damage output always seemed best to me.

    Taunts aoe/single target are also important as it can be really frustrating not being able to get a mob off of someone and watching them die.

    Lastly tanking without mobility is like cooking without seasoning. If Tanks can reposition themselves fast with their own toolkit then tanking and repositioning the boss can feel smooth and fun and not like reverse parking a big truck with beeping sound.
    Jumps and dashes are great for that. Intervene in wow did this great. It is a charge but you target a friendly raid member, charge to them and put yourself between them and the enemy, taunting them off of them. It is not only a great tool for positioning but flavour wise it is exactly what a tank would do if they were not restricted to only certain actions.

    An in-game meter that shows you and also all your raid members how far along they are to potentially pull aggro would be great too. It gives DPS a proper way to see where they are at in regards to that.

    It is also nice if DPS have abilities that lower their aggro output. Maybe channeling something can reduce your threat but it comes at a DPS loss so one has to be mindful of that.

    Maybe heals can cast supportive spells to lower the aggro of one group member.

    This is all well tested by other games but if you want to try something new, maybe spells / damage cast onto the boss that came from outside it's field of vision do not increase your own aggro but the aggro of the zone that that damage came from. If the boss gets poked to much in it's left back flank it will at some point turn to that area, focus a random target and go ham. This would promote movement around the boss, confusion etc. and might lead to a very dynamic fight feeling.

    As this means the threat generation would not be tank vs DPS but rather tank vs a group of DPS in each area around the boss this would only be doable with the aforementioned tools to lower threat. Maybe fog veils, smokebombs etc make it so that not only a class themselves lowers their aggro but the entire zone and all party members in it have the accumulated threat lowered. This would lead to threat becoming a dynamic group mechanic and not just "tank is higher than me do I can ignore it"
  • HandOfUnityHandOfUnity Member, Intrepid Pack
    The general opinion within our community is that the Tank should have options within the Tanking role, above and beyond the basic idea that a Tank is just a damage sponge. The threat mechanic is a staple within the
    Tanking role, however this can be further enhanced by giving the Tank various options to generate and hold threat. The ideal situation is a Tank that has multiple ways to hold and generate threat thus allowing the Class to be more flexible within any given situation.
    HoU_Option_1.png
  • Vaknar wrote: »

    Dev Discussion - Tanking: Threat Mitigation
    For people who prefer to play the tanking role, do you enjoy holding threat as a prevalent part of combat? Would you prefer threat mechanics to be a part of combat initiation, or throughout the entire duration of combat?

    I have been on and off with tanking, mostly in WoW.

    In TBC, tanking was fun for me (warrior) because I could hotkey mark targets quickly; without this, threat would not have been fun. For example, F1 = skull (first kill), f2 = X (second kill), f3 = moon (sheep CC) and f4 = star (sap CC.) I could mark a group within 1-2 seconds easily.

    Why did I mark? Two reasons.
    1. AoE threat abilities had a target cap and did not generate enough threat to keep them off my DPS using AoE or single-target abilities.
    2. You could actually die if too many mobs are hitting me.

    In recent expansions, threat is far less of an issue, but tanks also do massive amounts of damage in multi-target scenarios, which can also be fun. Further, they are responsible for their own survival to a large degree.

    All that said, I feel this topic revolves more around how much you want to spread your players attention. I already touched on this, but to make it easier to track, here are the current 3 at hand:
    1. Threat
    2. Damage
    3. Survivability

    As a tank, doing all 3 effectively is what's important; if one of these is out of your hands, tanking is far less fun. That said, I believe it would be good to prioritize these 3. To me, it would go: Survivability > threat > damage. If we use this simple formula, what is the answer to your question? It's surprisingly close to another feedback post I made on these forums.

    Let tanks choose.

    Choose what? If they want threat or survivability. Character customization is what keeps me in a game, as it allows me to continuously adapt rather than follow a linear path a dev cleared for me. I mean yes, a few signs to guide me are fine, but ultimately the choice would be best. I'm gonna have a bit of fun with this and give an example of two potential talent choices which would be exclusive, and emphasize this point:

    Option 1: Gladiator's shield
    Your shield mitigates an additional 10% damage from enemy melee attacks.

    Option 2: Gladiator's fury
    Your sword attacks deal 20% more damage and generate 20% more threat.

    Super basic and probably not balanced, but that would depend on the content, wouldn't it? If you get obliterated by mobs without the block DR, the damage and threat wouldn't mean much. If the mobs are always easy to manage and you always survive, you'd always pick damage and it'd be a false choice (which isn't something I like :| )
    Edit: Here is a follow-up question for you non-tanking players :wink:
    For non-tanking players, are you fond of having to play your role with threat in mind?

    Keep an eye out for our next Dev Discussion topic regarding Training!

    As DPS, I think if I DPS too early and die that's my fault and is fine. Or, I should have a cooldown to live until the tank gets threat. From a healer's perspective (been mostly healer the past 16 years) it's also important for the tank to be able to get threat of a random mob off me that's been pelting me the entire fight.

    Ultimately, threat should matter, but a competent tank should not have issues regaining or keeping it beyond the first moments of a fight.

    Oh also a side-thought.... taunt-like abilities should *never* be able to 'miss.'
  • It seems the "holy trinity" is inevitably connected to "threat" in PvE and especially bossfights, which would make AoC the "yet anothet holy trinity with threat" game.

    How about we do something differently?

    How about instead translating "tank" as "damage sponge + threat generator" to "damage sponge and protector". What if instead of "taunting" the boss, the tank can instead do:

    - body swap with the current target to take "one for the team"
    - "inspire" a player temporarily so he can take a nuke or get away from the danger
    - provide "stability" in an area making it harder for effects to fall players over (gw2's guardian reference)
    - "shout" in the right moment to cleanse the fear or wake up a player
    - buff nearby player's resistance as long as he's "above XYZ% hp"

    I'd like to see tank being a reactive class rather than just hitting "taunt" from time to time, making a boss fight just about looking at the boss' hp bar while you do your rotations from behind the tank player. Lets have all players be endangered equally more or less, but give the tanks the ability to "cover" players actively rather than just facetanking the boss all the time.
  • NavvNavv Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I see tanks to be a supportive role there to absorb damage and protect their party.
    If this isachived with threat/aggro to keep monsters off your party then :+1: . But for me keeping track of threat is either a lot of micro managment or not an issue at all and often comes down to not being fun and just a normal skill rotation. If it's done correctly it can feel like a "dance" or a rythem game where you are keeping the monster on you while also interupting the enemies intents.
    Aggro as boss mechanics or specific monster patters is fun when they clear aggro or decides to target someone else and the party have to adapt to the situation those moments are fun.
    Having to optimize gear for threat generation instead of damage or damage reduction is also an option can could be fun for the tanks. Taking less skills that generate threat inherently but having gear that helps out to create interesting builds options.
    In PVP threat is wierd. The "threat" that a tank have in PvP is their ability to absorb/reduce damage for their party and their supportive abilities.

    As a healer I hate threat (in pve) xD Sooo many times does it happen that someone walks a bit too close to the enemy and they get aggro and take some damage.. At that moment intuitively I want to heal that player to keep them safe (Or they already had a heal over time on them) but being punished for it. Cooldowns, resource managment and positioning is what I personally already have to think about. adding aggro that goes against my inital thoughts feels never good.
    Or having to wait for the tank to have enough aggro untill it's "ok" to cast spells never felt nice.
  • Threat should always be a concern throughout the fight. From my experiences playing tank in classic wow to classic wotlk, tanking became a snooze fest because of how much less you needed to think about threat. When threat isnt a problem, you completely remove the most engaging part of playing a tank. Not only from a mechanical gameplay point of view, but also from a point of view from progression. When threat is a scarce resource that needs to be carefully managed throughout a fight, gaining upgrades feels so much better. Going from barely being able to hold threat to a comfortable ability to hold threat feels amazing. I don't see how that could be achieved with threat being only an issue on pull.

    From a dps point of view, although threat throttles damage, it gives the role a shred of responsibility. When I play dps, it's not like I want to be to have stop my damage to help tank, but I'm aware that without threat as a problem the tank is just sitting there doing barely anything. I think dealing with threat as a dps is fine when there is a way to reduce threat that isnt just stand there and do nothing. A personal cooldown to reduce threat, or an external cooldown from a tank or support. If it has to come from another player, it would give a role another job to do which might make it more interesting. It would also create something that needs to be communicated within a fight which makes voice chat communication more interesting.
  • tl;dr;

    Q: For people who prefer to play the tanking role, do you enjoy holding threat as a prevalent part of combat?
    A: yes
    Q: Would you prefer threat mechanics to be a part of combat initiation, or throughout the entire duration of combat?
    A: yes, both.

    Longer:
    Context: Blood dk in WOTLK (private servers) and have HC curve for g'huun & few mythic bosses under belt same patch.
    Favourite fights were: IICC 4th boss, BQL & Prof putri
    Uldir: Taloc & G'huun


    I think threat should always be a factor. Question is how big. For once, I enjoy managing cooldowns & juggling agro with other tanks 'cos stacking debuff.
    I also enjoy that when the DPS goes nuts with a raid wide burst spell (think heroism/bl + everybody popping CDS) and they creep up on your threat so you need to actively think about it and work on it. Maybe even tell the top guy to hold back the DPS for a second or two.
    Also, threat imho should be extremely delicate for the first 3-5 seconds of a fight. Tanks building agro should be a thing, and anybody who doesn't catch the memo should be reminded that they're not a tank, by getting slapped round by bosses a bit.

    Overall what i want: spells / abilities for both tanks and non-tanks that can build significant agro, what should be an easily represented numeric value, or similar. Furthermore burst phases should be interesting for tanks too by making it not a faceroll to hold aggro.
    Boss phases where they do something cool & their agro table resets is, a coll mechanic imho.
  • I typically slot into the role of a tank when playing MMO’s, and have a lot of experience with different mechanics that make up the “dance” of holding threat. Please (I can’t emphasis enough) consider adding in a visual indicator for threat management.

    It could be as simplistic as a dot over an enemies head to indicate threat levels.

    Green = Threat held
    Yellow = Threat held but on the verge of switching/ending
    Red = Threat not maintained

    In the majority of games with “holy trinity” dynamics, the tank is considered to be vital for this one dimensional purpose. However, there is little to no other essential “roles” that tanks play that can’t be filled by a beefy DPS or a buffing support. Aside from threat, I would encourage exploring other options for tanks to do to make the role feel irreplaceable and relevant. A typical trend I have seen in games is that as DPS increases for all party members, the significance of a tank decreases. Since almost all combat encounters are time gated based on the health of the enemy, tanks become less relevant as characters become stronger. This is a fundamental flaw in the design of games to only give tanks one essential role.

    I think an exceptional and proper scaling mechanic for tanks (and tanks alone) is to reduce enemy resistances. Call it weakness, exposure, or whatever. But increasing the amount of damage a party can do by decreasing the resistance/increasing final damage dealt to enemies will make tanks an essential, rewarding, and desired role for people to play.

    TLDR: Tanks need an indicator for threat management. Tanks also are typically a one dimensional role that serves essentially one purpose. Increasing role responsibility by giving a weakness/resistance decrease to enemies will help tanks become relevant and a desired role for people to play.
  • Threat on all members constantly during the fight depending on their damage and other elements.

    However from top level gameplay in wow classic for example, where top level dps warriors needed a top level class tank in order to give their full potential and even then still pulling threat and being unable to perform is a very frustrating feeling.
    especially for players that are skilled dpsers in mediocre guilds with an average tank. it would ruin the fun of the game for them if they couldn't go all out.

    yes its fun to have threat but you need to keep in mind an average tank might handicap 4-5 above average dpsers, not even good dpsers. and that would create very frustrating environment for both roles.

    somehow it needs to be managed on top level and on medium level differently. letting the top go all out if the tank is optimal. but in a suboptimal tank with top dpsers it shouldn't halve their actions.
  • TRRTRR Member
    edited January 11
    I think a lot of it actually comes down to abilities. Whether it's just at the start of the fight or a continual component of combat, giving us the toolkit means everything.

    Just a couple suggestions for both PvE & PvP abilities, to make the Tank role active, fun, have a higher skill curve, and actually viable in all forms of play:

    - Ensure the standard tank taunt ability has range (greater than melee range). Getting a boss/mobs into an ideal position can sometimes be a challenging task. I personally HATE needing to move boss/mobs because someone pulls threat, pulls additional mobs, or adds enter the fight. I don't know how AoC will work, but I'm assuming you receive increased damage from attacks behind you (or simply cannot parry/dodge attacks from behind you), and I don't want to die (or let a group member die) because I can't move a unit without getting ganked from the back.
    - WoW Paladins have a spell called "Blessing of Sacrifice" which "Blesses a party or raid member, reducing their damage taken by 30%, but you suffer 100% of damage prevented." It would be cool to implement a spell or ability that functions like this, which could either be single target, proximity based, or AoE ground based. Something like this could save individuals that pull threat, or healers that are targeted in PvP, for example. This could kind of function as a back-up taunt, if your threat generating abilities are already on cooldown, or if there are too many adds to taunt.
    - Alternatively, I really like Narc's ideas for Tanks in PvP--giving tanks an aura based buff that reduces incoming damage to allies.

    Also, I think incorporating an ability or mechanic to drop threat if threat is pulled for healers/DPS. It can be on a long cooldown or something, but if someone pulls threat it generally means they're doing something right; either healing too much (which is essentially just accounting for the groups mistakes) or DPSing too much... meaning their rotation, gear, or understanding of mechanics are above average for the encounter.
    I've seen many braindead DPS pull aggro, then immediately die without using spells in their toolkit to drop threat. However, if they're actively paying attention and have a quick reaction time, I think their life should be saved.

    Edit: I greatly dislike active block and pray it's removed.

  • For people who prefer to play the tanking role, do you enjoy holding threat as a prevalent part of combat?

    I have only ever found 1 game in which threat was designed well which was DDO, a MMO based on Dungeons and Dragons 3 & 3.5. Every other MMO I have played I have always felt threat is passive and unengaging, due to threat being so easy to overachieve without any investment (for example WoW Death Knight goes Blood Stance, yes it increases threat generation, but in reality, it is a massive health and armour boost, and you automatically get taunts, meaning there is no investment to make someone an actual tank vs just passively becoming one by playing that spec). With that in mind, my most enjoyable experiences as a tank have been in TTRPGS like Pathfinder or D&D in which I have zoning, crowd control, and the ability to redirect attacks to myself. Of course these games do have taunts, which are really appreciated for when I am not in a good position to deal with a threat attacking my party, but overall I feel like the tank should be such a nuisance that killing them is a priority in its own right. Sadly this does leave in question the ability to program this kind of behavior for NPCs, as in truth with a TTRPG you have a player behind the NPCs making decisions, and so if it this behavior is not able to be replicated, I would like to see a threat system similarly balanced to that of DDOs.
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