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Splinter Topic: Modern MOBA Tanking moving towards 'useful' parallels

AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
edited June 2023 in General Discussion
Forgive me for not wanting to just discuss this in the other thread, but it does have some reason for separation. If you care, poke me, if not, onward.

If you're not familiar with the context due to not playing SMITE, know that I'm discussing basically stuff from that and Predecessor (try for their latest Dev Q&A, for some 'Dev curated gameplay' looping while they are talking, just to get a look at what it plays like 'physically' which is the thing that matters for this topic).

Tanking in MOBAs usually comes down to 'choose a CC Bruiser and build Tanky items', but we do have a bit more proper Tanking these days, and I've been studying it lately since I play a 'Tank' in Predecessor (and played the same Tank back in 2016 when the original game this is based on was released).

Tanking in MOBAs comes down to blocking the opponent from damaging an objective or drawing their attention to you overall. The first is usually physical execution and the second is usually tactical. Only discussing Physical.

Not Bruisers
The first thing that matters here is that Predecessor Tanks aren't generally Bruisers, you can build them like that, but their base abilities don't usually match up to it. SMITE has a lot of characters, I'm sure others will comment. The other thing is that most Bruisers are hard to build properly into Tanks. This is interesting for me because the game has basically 3 abilities and a Passive (then your Crest and your Actives which are equiv of "Weapon Skills' or Procs usually).

Not Always Health
Building more Health doesn't make you a Tank. Not Health by itself. This seems obvious, but the more important thing to look at here is that Tanks aren't always building Health, or even Regen. They benefit from it, but you're usually calculating how much of it you need based on many things due to the game having relatively low healing, basically Health just determines how long you survive. There are reasons why it is sometimes better or worse than Armor or defensive Actives.

This basically comes down to five things that I'll try not to overexplain, I just want to know if you like the idea of it or if it goes against your Tank Philosophy or personal perspective of them.

1. Tanks often build Cooldown Reduction
Everyone loves Cooldown Reduction, but characters that work well as Tanks tend to have slightly shorter cooldowns than damage dealers and abilities that can be used in protective methods, so you want to be able to use them more often in situations that require true tanking (protecting teammates or dying for them).

2. Tanks often build On-Hit Itemization
When a Tank can't manage by just positioning/body blocking and CDR mentioned above, they build for 'stuff that happens when they hit people with their basic attack'. If you're up in someone's face bodyblocking anyway, this is among your best options. There are lots of these, even some that go right back to CDR.

3. Tanks often build On-Incoming-Damage Itemization
Probably the biggest difference from the 'build' part. This is the thing that makes you a Tank here. You get some benefit, often defensive, from taking damage. A direct payoff for building defensively enough to take multiple hits or focusing your CC on 'making sure only one person is hitting you at a time'.

4. Tanks often have strong 'Temporary Disengage' Tools
Instead of giving them low mobility, Predecessor specifically tends to give Tanks some Movement because the key is to give them control of when they are taking damage. If they want to engage with it and trust their tankiness, that's fine, if they want to 'tank whatever by walking up to the enemy and have their disengage ready when the enemy has dumped cooldowns or mana on them' that's fine too.

5. Tanks usually use all of the above to ride the line between surviving and falling in an encounter/teamfight
This is the final point that is simple enough to lay out this way. A Tank isn't usually strong enough to not die. They're calculating how much energy or time they can waste on the opponent side first. That's the thing they are "Tanking". The opponent has two options when I approach them with one 'DPS' behind me. They can spend energy on me and hope I die but then be disadvantaged against the DPS who has not used their abilities yet, or they can try to damage me without their abilities, facing my on-Hit Itemization or On-Incoming Damage Itemization. To do neither is usually wasting time outright, (which is fine, but in any situation where we consider a player to be 'Tanking', your opponent letting you advance without even trying is also successful Tanking).

Anything else is too specific, and the post is already long as usual. lmk what you think of the five points, the first two things (the non-numbered ones) are just there as a reminder that 'Having High Health' is not directly related, and that at least in 3D MOBAs with Body Blocking, Bruisers are not what I am talking about even though you could apply almost everything I mentioned (I guess the main difference is that a Bruiser/Fighter's toolkit doesn't benefit as much from the CDR and if your Bruiser is using any Disengage they were given, it's probably because something went wrong).

For those who don't have time to go watch any gameplay, if this is relevant to you, Predecessor is an Action Combat game with minimal 'Tab Targeting', has Body Blocking, and the 1v1 TTK is 20-34 seconds, but take that last datapoint with a grain of salt because TTK is always hard to explain/estimate when a game contains both 'Super Sustain Melee' and 'Literally Chunks off a Percentage of your Health' characters.

Anyways thanks for data if you engage. Hope y'all are having a great week, both Intrepid and the Community.
Sorry, my native language is Erlang.


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    NiKrNiKr Member
    Through the lens of L2's tanks, pretty much all of those, except for maybe 4, were true.
    • Several tanks were just cans of def/hp w/o any real dps capabilities (though usually balanced out with some CC or healing)
    • One tank class would sacrifice hp to be that bruiser type
    • Every tank would enchant their skills for reduced CD and would try to get their hands on items that would help with CD as well
    • Tanks would often go for buff-cancelling weapons, so their hits would have a chance to screw people over
    • In later updates tanks got a very strong buff that required them to get attacked for a certain amount to trigger (not really a build, but there was a build for reflective dmg fwiw)
    The movement part is what's missing cause mainly it was the opposite. You'd get super slow movement if you used your Ultimate Defense buff (and even that was only if you enchanted the skill) and iirc no tank had tangible movement buffs.

    And 5 is kinda self-explanatory. As a tank, you exist to annoy your opponent to a point where hitting you would be more beneficial for them in the long run of the fight. And the usage of your tools defines the range of how annoying you can get.
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    KingDDDKingDDD Member
    edited June 2023
    Territory denial/manipulation is what I'd like to see from tanks. Walls to block projectiles, controlling terrain to cut groups, id love to see a game lean heavily other things in addition to the the traditional damage mitigation and cc of previous interations of tanks.
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    KilionKilion Member
    edited June 2023
    I played League of Legends for a while where they have Tanks and Bruisers as distinct physical "archetypes".

    Going through your list

    Tanks in that game had high health but additionally resistances that made chunking them down hard,
    (1) indeed would reduce their CDs because abilities didn't scale much so spamming them was basically increasing their dmg potential without giving up defense,
    (2) abilities and passives that allowed them to deal low-ish, but constant amounts of damage as long as you stayed near,
    (3) could increase their strength when being hit,
    (4) powerful active defense abilities on top and
    (5) were supposed to be so chunky that bringing them close to death required special archetypes and/or builds.

    Bruisers would differ from that in so far as they had high health but significantly less resistances to protect that health bar
    (1) cooldown reduction while welcomed would become secondary as abilities damage and defense potential scaled much more with offensive stats like strength,
    (2) also had on hit effects, but fewer passive damage abilities,
    (3) basically no benefits/effects from being hit,
    (4) no significant defense spells in a classical sense but would rely on movement abilities and through that build
    (5) were/are walking the line between life and death much more than tanks.

    Now of course, there is reason to argue that this divide is so "unnatural" and forced that it required the invention of threat to justify the existence of what was left after the split. But I honstely think it is a viable split a game can make without creating two classes that dont feel "whole" or less fun. In context of Ashes, I think it makes sense to have two archetype in each "camp". These camps being - to my understanding - as follows:
    "Supporters" (Bard & Cleric),
    "Magical DD" (Mage & Summoner),
    "Physical DD" (Ranger & Rogue) and
    "Dmg Mitigators" (Tank & Fighter).
    Of course the methods by which the two classes in each camp achieve their goals differ and I'll just focus on the Dmg Mitigation for obvious reasons. A Tank mitigates damage by litterally absorbing it into the solid rock of raw stats that he is, forcing targets to punch into the most inpenetrable member of the party. The fighter however does so by picking out and eliminating the enemies highest dmg sources (note here that assassin types usually first eliminate supporters). The Tanks mechanics work better/are more intuitive for PvE, the Fighter mechanics work better/feel more intuitive for PvP.

    I don't really insist on this perspective to be taken by everyone, this just came to be what made the most sense in my opinion for why a developer would choose this design approach.
    The answer is probably >>> HERE <<<
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    SummpwnerSummpwner Member
    edited June 2023
    @Kilion Hard agree with everything here. Hopefully there is enough wiggle room in these primary archetypes for augments to shift EG a Mage to include more Supporting or more Mitigation for specific encounters as needed.

    On the other hand, I'm not super convinced. I would assume that a Summoner-Mage would probably deal magic damage through their pets, but I wouldn't assume that a Summoner-Ranger or Summoner-Rogue would also deal magic damage through their pets.

    In general, I like to apply "the summoner test" to these discussions, because they tend to break whatever logic people are applying to their speculations.
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    KilionKilion Member
    @Summpwner When it comes to augments I can obviously only speculate but from what I've gathered from reading the Wiki and listening to the interviews etc so far is this:

    - Augments are going to modify the skills of the primary archetype
    - The skills will be based around the themes of the secondary archetype
    - By choosing a secondary archetype we gain access to 4 "themes"

    If that holds true, a Summoner picking the Mage as their secondary archetype will be able to summon different types of elements that will shift the potential damage (and resistances) of their summones towards Ice, Earth, Lightning and Fire.

    As Beastmaster (Summoner Ranger) will obviously have nature themed summons and probably find the range of their other skills increased. I remember seeing the Ranger making a huge leap and leaving a trail of vines in his path of movement, so maybe the tentacle control spell that I think I saw in some earlier footage would also be able to change to a vine-type spell slowing and dealing poison damage. And while this is a move away from the base theme of "magical DD" I'd assume that is either fully intentional or only the case for a percentage of the overall skills, basically mixing the damage output of physical and magical damage.

    With that being said, this is just me guessing but I am fairly optimistic that due to the Alpha 2 we should be able to get a good feel for what the augments will feel like and we will be able to give feedback on augmentation before it is completely finalized.

    The answer is probably >>> HERE <<<
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    I've played a lot of League, DotA2, and Paragon (Predecessor). I would love to see the action combat tank play style of MOBAs make it's way into Ashes.
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