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Office Hours: Tanking Threat Mitigation - Wednesday, January 18, 2023 at 11AM PST

RoshenRoshen Moderator, Member, Staff
edited January 25 in Announcements
Join @Roshen and @Vaknar over in the Ashes of Creation Discord for a voice chat during our next Community Office Hours on Wednesday, January 18, 2023 at 11AM PST (Convert to your local time). This event should last about one hour.

For this session, we will be using Discord Stage. Every 8 minutes, we’ll be bringing up small groups of players.

DISCUSSION TOPIC

Our main discussion topic is tanking threat mitigation during the Wednesday, January 18 Office Hours. This is the current Dev Discussion topic. You can find the forum thread with the current discussion here.

In this session, we’ll break each of the 8 minute segments up to focus on one of these conversations:
  • Let’s Talk Aggro - What do you like, and what do you not like about managing aggro/threat in games you’ve played.
  • Tanks Managing Threat - Do you enjoy holding threat as a prevalent part of combat? Would you prefer threat mechanics to be a part of combat initiation, or something to manage throughout the entire duration of combat?
  • Damage Dealers Managing Threat - What do you like and dislike about DPS players managing threat in group or raid situations?
  • Healers/Support Managing Threat - What do you like and dislike about healers and support players managing threat in group or raid situations?
  • Unique Threat Mechanics - How do you feel when raid bosses or other significant NPCs have unique threat mechanics? Are there specific ones you’ve enjoyed (or strongly disliked) from other games?

Thanks again! We look forward to chatting with you all soon!
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Comments

  • DolyemDolyem Member
    edited January 12
    I won't be around but here's some feedback

    Let’s Talk Aggro - What do you like, and what do you not like about managing aggro/threat in games you’ve played.

    I like that it adds another or even several layers of combat variables that the entire group needs to take into account to be successful in an encounter. With enough skill you can overcome a difficult boss, or even do something as simple as save another player you are passing by who is about to be overwhelmed by 1 or several enemies, creating a great experience for yourself and for others.

    Things I don't like would be manipulating the threat mechanic to make things too easy. Such as tank and spank gameplay and even AoE farming in some cases. Make it difficult to keep that mobs attention if there's a character obliterating the entire group enemies with a single ability.

    Tanks Managing Threat - Do you enjoy holding threat as a prevalent part of combat? Would you prefer threat mechanics to be a part of combat initiation, or something to manage throughout the entire duration of combat?

    As a tank I want threat generation to be engaging, not just pressing 1-3 buttons over and over. Threat should be managed through both, initiation and throughout the entire duration of combat, with a bigger focus on the latter.

    Damage Dealers Managing Threat - What do you like and dislike about DPS players managing threat in group or raid situations?

    As a DPS I see myself as something that wants to push beyond 100% at all times. But without obstacles, that's too easy to achieve and boring. Have an obstacle like threat to consider while nuking an enemy keeps me on my toes and more careful with how I utilize my ability rotations.

    Healers/Support Managing Threat - What do you like and dislike about healers and support players managing threat in group or raid situations?

    Not much of a healer so I can't say for sure, but I'd be bored as hell if all I had to worry about is spamming heals.

    Unique Threat Mechanics - How do you feel when raid bosses or other significant NPCs have unique threat mechanics? Are there specific ones you’ve enjoyed (or strongly disliked) from other games?

    I love mob specific threat mechanics. Random unpredictable threat switches for set times are great to create panic. Class focuses, role focuses, proximity(nearer or farther) focuses, positioning, buffs, debuffs. All of these are great for influencing aggro and threat to make players adapt mid fight. Whether or not they work depends on the encounter designs, and whether or not they can be exploited. That being said, fun should be the focus, not just difficulty.
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  • Razor001Razor001 Member
    edited January 14
    I've noticed in other games that players tend to like taking DPS roles, I'm curious to know if there will be incentives for players to take non DPS roles such as tank, healer and support roles. Not sure if this question is in the scope of this discussion, but here it is.

    Edit: Ah, I see my comment doesn't really have anything to do with the discussion but I can't seem to delete it.
  • I won't be able to make the discussion so

    "Let’s Talk Aggro - What do you like, and what do you not like about managing aggro/threat in games you’ve played."

    I like the added precision that needs to be taken account of when doing events like raids, having to manage different enemies Aggro throughout a fight makes for a more engaging experience.

    Things I don't enjoy would probably be a single player monopolizing the threat system to make fights way to lackluster, such as a player spamming AoE skills to gain threat and control of a situation. This makes the game needlessly easy and boring from an interactive standpoint.

    "Tanks Managing Threat - Do you enjoy holding threat as a prevalent part of combat? Would you prefer threat mechanics to be a part of combat initiation, or something to manage throughout the entire duration of combat?"

    As a rabid tank enjoyer, I enjoy having to manage the fight in more ways than just 'Wack BBG' then press 1-2-3 over and over. Threat should be controlled when initiating combat, and throughout the entire encounter.

    "Damage Dealers Managing Threat - What do you like and dislike about DPS players managing threat in group or raid situations?"

    I see a DPS role as someone who is enjoying the thrill of combat and enjoys watching the health bar of a Boss get nuked down, having something like a constant threat ranking would keep them on their feet and change how they cycle their utility.

    "Healers/Support Managing Threat - What do you like and dislike about healers and support players managing threat in group or raid situations?
    "

    Whenever I have played a supporting role in a MMORPG, I have found it boring to just press a button as someone gets close to dying. I feel like whenever you cast a supporting skill that directly impacts an encounter, like if one of your teammates is about to die and you cast a burst healing spell. You should gain a certain amount of threat. Or if you cast a buffing skill you should also gain some threat, I feel like this would make the encounter more interesting and allow for more required coordination between teammates.

    "Unique Threat Mechanics - How do you feel when raid bosses or other significant NPCs have unique threat mechanics? Are there specific ones you’ve enjoyed (or strongly disliked) from other games?"

    I really love having encounter specific threat mechanics. Random moments when the Aggro will jump based on role, and positioning makes for a great way to make the players adapt to a situation mid fight, having something like a threat wiping skill that then makes them go a random character would add a lot of enjoyment, this would make the game more difficult while still being fun.
    The Ogre
  • SonicXplosionSonicXplosion Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited January 18
    Unique Threat Mechanics:
    • Damage Type: Demons scared of holy damage, so target users dealing that, fire-based monsters scared of water damage, etc (I want to emphasize this shouldnt just be pushed under "Damage Amount", similar to how noticing a spider is next to you wouldnt cause you pain/damage, yet you would still want to get it away from you, these Damage Types are like the monsters phobias)
    • Damage Amount
    • Distance: Farther away, less aggro
    • Boss Intelligence: More intelligent might have more sophisticated patterns, like targeting healers, less intelligent might just swing at anything and everything
    • Weather: Rain/snow/sandstorms might affect visibility of the boss, making players farther out take less aggro
    • Seasons: Might affect the adds that a boss spawns
    • Day/Night
    • Player Race: Maybe a minotaur boss aggros onto dwarves more
  • DiamahtDiamaht Member, Braver of Worlds, Alpha One
    Let’s Talk Aggro - What do you like, and what do you not like about managing aggro/threat in games you’ve played.
    - I enjoy the management aspect, the feeling of something I have to account for other than just a rotation. Being responsible for something during the fight gives added satisfaction when you are successful.
    - I don't like the single button design that a lot of games go with now. You just hit the "Taunt" button when it comes off cool-down, or worse you just set yourself in "Tank Mode" permanently and mobs will automatically know that they are supposed to attack you and only you.

    Tanks Managing Threat - Do you enjoy holding threat as a prevalent part of combat? Would you prefer threat mechanics to be a part of combat initiation, or something to manage throughout the entire duration of combat?
    - Managed throughout the engagement for sure. When the DPS is about initiate a major nuke, the tank should know that there is something he needs to do immediately after to maintain the mobs attention, and he should also need to consistently protect the healers who are under constant threat. But for this to work, he will need a variety of tools to do it.

    Damage Dealers Managing Threat - What do you like and dislike about DPS players managing threat in group or raid situations?
    - Nothing complex, I like setups where dps are required to account for agro and dislike when they are allowed to forget about it entirely.
    - They should be given the tools to disengage when they pick up unwanted attention, but it should always be possible for them to gain that attention. Whether its stuns, "smoke bombs", leaps, kicks, bashes, illusions or what ever it is, the DPS should have a toolkit designed to distract and disengage and should need to use it during longer engagements.
    - This plays into group mechanics as well, really good tanks in a well designed agro system will be sought after and rewarded for making the groups life easier. If its too easy to gain and keep a mobs attention, or too easy to avoid that attention then who cares what the tank does, anyone could play it (and who would want to, since the job is so easy and therefore unrewarding).
    - Shorter answer, agro management should be something the tank and dps BOTH have to account for, and should BOTH have good tools for it. If one side stops caring about it, in a longer fight, there should be consequences.

    Healers/Support Managing Threat - What do you like and dislike about healers and support players managing threat in group or raid situations?
    - Healers and support players should be under constant threat of picking up agro, not just after a healing or damage spike. I've enjoyed systems where the tank and the healer both have to manage mob attention through the entirety of the fight, and gotten extremely bored when it was something you could forget about after a certain point.

    Unique Threat Mechanics - How do you feel when raid bosses or other significant NPCs have unique threat mechanics? Are there specific ones you’ve enjoyed (or strongly disliked) from other games?
    - I have a hard time naming one that stands out to be honest. Things tend to be pretty cut and dry in MMOs.
    - One that I both like and dislike is the tendency for boss fights to force an attack on the dps or healer. Now there are fights where at a certain time in the bosses rotation it will initiate an ability designed to go after the back line of the party. While it's nice that the threat is being spread around and its a mechanic that has to be accounted for, it's still not something the players control or manage. The boss will perform this attack on those specific players regardless of how well or poorly agro was managed. I think this type of mechanic is great, but it should not be used as a substitute for viable agro design (which is what it feels like now). FFXIV in particular uses this a lot.
  • Could you record these sessions and load them up on some archive so we can visit and listen later? We are craving material as is, I'd love to hear what the community and the staff are discussing in these 1-hour sessions.
  • I'll try to consolidate my thoughts here better than in the live chat (thanks btw :) ):

    From my perspective, a big part of tank fantasy is to protect allies from being attacked or harmed. Holding aggro or having the highest threat on the relevant enemies is one way of achieving that, but definitely not the only possible way. I also didn't necessarily mean that it's an outdated mechanic, but rather overrated and possibly overused.

    There are other possible means for tanks to make sure their party members are safe (not an exhaustive list):
    1. Interception / intervention type of reactive abilities that fully or partially redirect the hits back on the tank, if allies are under attack.
    2. Pronounced use of CC - hamstring, pin, stun, frightening effects, etc.
    3. Forced movement of the enemy. Harpoon type of ability (in WoW we would be talking about DK Death Grip), laso i.e. restrain an enemy and forcefully drag them away from allies, etc.
    4. Being a physical obstacle that blocks or limits enemy movement and/or line of sight. Some games handle this by "juggernaut" or "avatar" abilities, when tank's character model and hit box grows bigger and model collision makes it hard (or impossible) for enemies (and sometimes allies) to pass through.

    Aggro and threat as its metric are useful when dealing with AI controlled enemies, but fall flat in PvP. I believe that in PvP tanks' role is to be annoying / disruptive, rather than threatening, And ofc slightly harder to kill.

    As for unique threat mechanics, I'll repeat what I said in the chat (again, non exhaustive list):
    1. Sudden loss or reset of aggro that forces a swift reaction.
    2. Fixating enemies. Or the polar opposite: enemies who ignore certain character/s (with a special buff or macguffin for instance) and attack anybody else.
    3. Uncontrollable enemies, completely haywire / berserk. They need to be CCed, or their unfortunate victim needs to use defensive abilities and require attention from healers.
    4. Threat affected by distance or line of sight. In other words, enemies who won't attack what they can't clearly see. That means characters who take cover behind terrain features or other characters are less likely to be attacked. This opens some tactical options for the group to form protective circle around squishies, stand in certain distance, break formations, etc.
  • Let’s Talk Aggro - What do you like, and what do you not like about managing aggro/threat in games you’ve played.

    Biggest plus for me is the existence for threat mechanics in itself, because it is another foundation on which class identities can be built and it is the source for significance when making decisions about which ability to use when.

    Tanks Managing Threat - Do you enjoy holding threat as a prevalent part of combat? Would you prefer threat mechanics to be a part of combat initiation, or something to manage throughout the entire duration of combat?

    I think the role of a tank should be to manage threat throughout fights, start to finish. With tank augments being something this game will provide, I'd love to see support classes help managing threat (in boss fights with adds for example; or boosting threat on the secondary tank).


    Damage Dealers Managing Threat - What do you like and dislike about DPS players managing threat in group or raid situations?

    I think once again it is good when a DD is more than a mindless "big number" producing unit to hack away at the life bar of an enemy and threat management is definitely a great tool to bring more depth into their role. That being said, many games didn't have much of an indicator to when threat was getting so high that a target may change their focus from the tank to a DD. It would be nice to have some ways that could hint at damage dealers when they are about to pull aggro. As an example an enchantment option for his gear that it begins to glow the higher the threat is (thanks for the inspiration Lord of the Rings), or for a fighter "dread" that creeps in from the edge of the screen as a black "tunnel vision" effect or for a bard a scary, ominous sound the grows. And maybe for a tank some indicator that he is about to lose aggro of his target. Just some way for a players to know about their current threat generation and aggro within the confines of the game instead of mods that just display a bar.


    Healers/Support Managing Threat - What do you like and dislike about healers and support players managing threat in group or raid situations?

    Same point as above applies to healers and supports in my opinion.


    Unique Threat Mechanics - How do you feel when raid bosses or other significant NPCs have unique threat mechanics? Are there specific ones you’ve enjoyed (or strongly disliked) from other games?

    Definitely something one should do when utilizing threat mechanics, especially for bosses or elite enemy groups. It makes sense that different types of enemies prioritize different target. e.g. for a strong boss unit it would make sense to bind and get rid of the tank first because those could break through their armor (they are THE defense experts after all so them breaking armors/defenses seems natural) and make them more susceptible to other incoming damage so "defense break" abilities should generate more threat for them. When an assassin type enemy fights with a player and that player is healed, I think it would make sense if the healer would generate a lot of threat from from this specific assassin, because the healer basically "spoiled"/"snatched" their prey, provoking a change in aggro or a CC ability from the assassin.

    I think these unique modifications what generates more or less threat is what makes fighting elite enemies much more fun and challenging along with their broader pool of abilities.

    In my opinion threat and aggro are crucial for engaging PvE content.
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