Ask The Devs #9 - Tanking (Answers)

85 Orc Shaman
3080
taco
90 Troll Warrior
13885

The only positive result.


I dunno what you are talking about I got a huge positive from

They [DKs] also have more personal impact on their own survivability and mitigation than any other tank, by tying much of their performance to Death Strike (and especially optimally timing their Death Strikes). So in the hands of a really skilled player, they can do some amazing things, but not usually much better than the other tanks. We’d actually like to head more in that direction with the other tanks (making them tie more of their defensive performance to their ability usage), in the future.

90 Night Elf Druid
CFT
10670
Among the interesting results of this round of Ask The Devs -

The question about Righteous Defense turned into an investigation of the code around Righteous Defense, and it was found to be bugged.

It was unintended for Righteous Defense to miss, so the bug was tracked down. It is being fixed immediately.

Well at least we got something positive out of it.

Any chance for some real answers to the skipped (although posted) Feral questions, and a complete redo of the "tank utility" and "mastery" answers since both are completely whacko?
90 Tauren Druid
18610
Q: Have you considered normalizing initial Rage for feral druid tanks? For example, when a warrior uses Charge, it generates 15 points of Rage, which lets them use another aggro generating ability quickly, something that Feral druids tend to be a bit short on. Why in Cataclysm was the bear bonus health pool was reduced, as well? Their survivability always depended on the amount of health since they don’t have parry or shield block. Do you have any plans to improve bear tanking in the future? At the moment, it’s considered to be the weakest tank. Have you considered giving druid tanks an additional tool to pull casters at range? It’s the only tank class that doesn’t have a talent or spell to help in those situations. – Pødêrøsø (LA), Вирко (EU-RU), Амелья (EU-RU), Condenacion (EU-ES), Whitewnd (KR)


A: Bears are getting a significant mitigation buff in 4.2 and we’re retuning their damage such that it’s a little easier to hold aggro at low gear levels, and a little harder at higher gear levels. While we definitely don’t expect the community to ever agree on anything, we’ve seen little evidence of a widespread concurrence that druids are “the weakest tank.” There are plenty of druid tanks out there, handling everything from Grim Batol to Sinestra. Tank balance overall is in a really good place. Players may focus on potential problems that could arise in the future but we also have ample time to address those problems should they occur. Gone are the days when we would just release a class into the wild and refuse to touch it again until the next expansion.

Could you at least answer the rage generation disparity question?

06/08/2011 09:26 AMPosted by Kaivax
Protection paladins do bring a lot of utility, but it is quite difficult to make a table comparing a paladin’s Divine Guardian to a Protection warrior’s mobility or a bear druid’s ability to cast Innervate or even Rebirth during lulls in an encounter

Did you honestly just compare a 5k mana innervate to a 10% raidwide damage reduction cooldown?

06/08/2011 09:26 AMPosted by Kaivax
Druids: We’re pretty happy with how mastery has turned out. It scales well, doesn’t have any unintuitive or unfortunate interactions with other stats, and provides solid performance value.

For serious? It doesn't scale at all, and has an extremely unintuitive interaction with Expertise, Hit, Dodge, Vengeance, and even the Mastery itself.

I've believed for quite some time that Blizzard has no idea how Bears actually work. This just confirms it.


^ this

Unbelievable. Really Blizzard? Really?
90 Undead Death Knight
9865
I appreciate that you stepped forward and explained how those questions got picked, Kaivax. But, what you forgot to mention in that process is something that you have emphasized before: your discretion in picking questions.

As stated in the Q&A rules, votes help influence which questions we'll choose to answer but we are absolutely choosing to answer specific questions.


Bashiok said that on the first Q&A. Did you decide to scrap that part of the process? The part where you actually make the call on which questions to send? You could have gotten the question "Can taunts miss," looked at it and sent it back to whoever mistranslated it. You could have looked at the question about replacing leg armors and said, "this will be in the patch notes so its not worth wasting space in this forum." So saying the decisions on what to ask are left to the players is 1) a lie, and 2) looks like an attempt to avoid blame for a mistake.

A couple of people have mentioned this, that your process as you described it doesnt handle when similar questions get posted in the forum, and perhaps split the votes so that questions that people actually find most important, like QoL issues with Blood tanking, dont appear to get the number of upvotes that straightforward questions like "Legendary Weapon?" get. Maybe we're wrong, and people actually didnt vote for these questions as much as ALL of us believe, but that seems unlikely.

As for the answers we actually get back, thats a whole new can of worms, and not one that I think likely to be solved. In which case, what's the point of these sessions, since the answer to every question is, "thats an interesting idea, but look at this shiny mastery over here!"
1 Draenei Shaman
0
[G][85:Baraggia]: lool
85 Draenei Paladin
8505
06/08/2011 07:16 PMPosted by Michaels
We don’t actually recall many four+ tank fights in Burning Crusade


i do, vanilla too
First of all, Vanilla had different raid sizes (and therefore balanced around more tanks) and it's pretty obvious that certain fights, 4H in particular, were terrible in terms of the number of tanks required. Second of all, the question was asking about having to use 5 tanks on certain encounters, and that's just false. No encounter required 5 tanks; some wanted/required 4, several 3, and some less. Maybe "over-tanking" was beneficial for some encounters, but it certainly wasn't required.

Heroic Halfus is similar. We've found him to be extremely easy when 4 tanking, easy to the point that it's too boring to do. We've only done it when our standard tanks haven't shown up and have to use undergeared tanks, but the main problem in that tanks can easily die in that fight basically disappears when you split up the tanking jobs so that nobody is taking a large amount of burst damage. Same goes on 10 man - several guilds 3 tank him.
85 Dwarf Warrior
0
Q: Vengeance is a great tool to help raid tanks hold aggro over DPS, but in 5-man heroics it doesn't stack high enough to keep up with the threat generated by overgeared DPS burst damage. Are there any plans to address this? Are there any plans to help warriors put out more initial threat before Vengeance has been ramped up? Nikelsndimes (NA), Cémanana (EU-FR), Arthur (TW), Mancake (NA), Migol (NA)

[ul]A: We think Vengeance works well overall. It provides sufficient threat without causing the tank to do more DPS than the dedicated DPS characters, and doesn’t let the tank just neglect abilities that cause threat. A full stack of Vengeance probably provides too much threat, but we didn’t think it was necessary to nerf that mid-expansion. Overall, we don’t want tanks to have 100% guaranteed threat on a pull, so we don’t want to buff that aspect of Vengeance, but we also don’t want DPS specs to constantly have to throttle the DPS they can deliver midway through a fight, so we have to strike a balance.


You answered about vengeance, but you did not answer about initial threat.

Initial threat for warriors.... well.... there isn't any initial threat for warriors. DKs and Pallys run in with virtually full resources and dps can open up immediately. Do you want the warrior tank to have to tell/remind all the dps that our initial threat is handicapped and you must give us 6-8 seconds before starting in?
1 Troll Shaman
0
Among the interesting results of this round of Ask The Devs -

The question about Righteous Defense turned into an investigation of the code around Righteous Defense, and it was found to be bugged.

It was unintended for Righteous Defense to miss, so the bug was tracked down. It is being fixed immediately.

Well at least we got something positive out of it.

Any chance for some real answers to the skipped (although posted) Feral questions, and a complete redo of the "tank utility" and "mastery" answers since both are completely whacko?


<snicker>
85 Goblin Death Knight
3800
This is as good a place as any to be reminded that the devs do not choose the questions answered. We've done nine rounds of these, and used the same method to gather and compile the questions every time.

In each region, a community manager locks their local questions thread, sorts the replies (by upvotes), and then copies out the questions that got the most upvotes (along with the names of the questioners). I then take all of the different lists of questions from each region and combine them. Since our goal is to get as many questions answered as possible, when I'm compiling the final list of questions for the devs, I try to find where the #7 most upvoted question from North America is very similar to the #1 question from Russia and nearly identical to the #8 question from Taiwan. There are several of those every round, and they become highly valuable questions in a list of already-highly-valuable questions.

I also make sure that the list of questions going to the devs at least has numerous questions from each region. Because some questions can be combined, I often get to send the devs at least the top 3-5 questions from every region, and often the top 6-9 questions from most regions. In this round, that process resulted in 16 questions for the devs, but comprised 26 of the highest-voted questions across all the regions.

The devs answered all 16 questions that they were sent.

Would I have liked to send the devs 20 questions? Perhaps 120 questions? Of course. But I have to pick a reasonable place to end the list when I compile it. That cut-off usually presents itself, and as the compilation grows to 11, then 12, then 13 questions, there is a big dropoff in upvotes. With most rounds of Ask the Devs, that happens at around 12 combined questions. This round, it was 16 questions.

I rather like this process, because ultimately, the decisions that really matter (what to ask, how to ask it, how important it is) are left to the players upfront. The single most upvoted question in the world this round was this one:

Will we see a tanking Legendary sometime soon?


And while it isn't possible to satisfy every individual, every individual does have a say. That's a valuable thing.


I'm waving the B.S. flag on this one. One of the MOST asked questions was asking for taunt not to miss? REALLY?

If this is the quality of QA's we are to expect please just get rid of this feature. It's pathetic. The whole "it's out of our hands on the questions!" is complete nonsense. I'm sure you're going to see plenty of people upvoting blatantly stupid questions in the future Ask The Devs (to mimic the questions picked in this one) so you may as well stop doing them. Which reminds me... I need to go upvote the "will using a weapon increase my dps?" question that I saw earlier. This seems like the exact caliber of question that WoW developers would want to answer.
90 Orc Warrior
8205
They also have more personal impact on their own survivability and mitigation than any other tank, by tying much of their performance to Death Strike (and especially optimally timing their Death Strikes). So in the hands of a really skilled player, they can do some amazing things, but not usually much better than the other tanks. We’d actually like to head more in that direction with the other tanks (making them tie more of their defensive performance to their ability usage), in the future.

This is to me by far the most interesting section, at least as a more casual player. In general, I really like the idea that I can increase my survivability by playing well. Particularly in fights where the tank does nothing but stand there with the boss where the dps has to deal with other things so you have no problem with threat, things can get boring.

When playing a new DK alt, at first I really l enjoyed that i had so many things to do to keep myself up. Between a multitude of CDs plus attempting to maximize death-strike useage, I can always find a way to play better. I really enjoyed the satisfaction of getting off a bunch of deathstrikes and seeing my health go back up!

...but then I realized that, even with all this work, i was no better then any other tank. Sure, working hard to death strike as much as possible seems fun at first... but then I realized that my warrior gets the benefits of her mastery for free, and in a much more reliable way! really took the wind out of my sails
Death Knights: We’re pretty happy with how mastery has turned out. It does have the oddity that...

I guess if they could easily do it, they could do something like "heals for 20% of attack damage over the last 5 seconds. Includes damage actually taken, and damage avoided through dodge, parry, and blood shield absorbs."
06/08/2011 09:26 AMPosted by Kaivax
We have some pretty cool plans to help solve this problem in the future, but we’re not quite ready to make any announcements

Interesting, could be anything.... i wonder what it will be.
06/08/2011 09:26 AMPosted by Kaivax
having so many similar abilities (e.g. a taunt, a short cooldown, an efficient heal) necessitates a certain amount of homogeneity among those classes. But what players (and designers!) really want in a new class is something exciting that no one has seen before. Adding another class that tanked just like a warrior wouldn’t add much to the game – it wouldn’t drive many new tanks or encourage a veteran tank to try a different tanking class. On the other hand, adding the death knight, who tanks relatively differently (though some players might argue still not differently enough) was an enormous challenge and the kind of thing we continue to tweak over time.

This is why, in general, I am not a fan of "new class" or "4th spec" type ideas. Would they really add anything to the game? As pointed out by blizzard, the pressures of homogenization means that it is very hard to do anything that is really cool and unique if it is only available in a new class or 1 4th spec. And not only would adding tank specs to more classes probably not really help, but they would most likely be pretty derivative of current tank specs.
85 Night Elf Death Knight
3390
The only positive result.


I dunno what you are talking about I got a huge positive from

They [DKs] also have more personal impact on their own survivability and mitigation than any other tank, by tying much of their performance to Death Strike (and especially optimally timing their Death Strikes). So in the hands of a really skilled player, they can do some amazing things, but not usually much better than the other tanks. We’d actually like to head more in that direction with the other tanks (making them tie more of their defensive performance to their ability usage), in the future.


To be fair, our "skill" with Death Strike involves the following:

1. Not using runes to spread diseases which reduce melee damage from the raid boss in order to use more death strikes.

2. Sitting on Blood Runes and not using them so our Runic Empowerment ability refreshes runes for Death Strikes; which prevents us from using Blade Barrier as innate mitigation. (Blue posts have acknowledged these two as acceptable strats for hard hitting bosses)

3. Getting a mod that tells us when to use Death Strike based on calculations of damage over the last 5 seconds. These mods calculate client-side, and are never 100% accurrate.

4. Praying that your Death Strike cause doesn't miss or get parried which can happen often even on a tank that cares about hit/exp (which the Devs says that don't balance tank survivabliity around even though DK's and Druids need it to help survive and Warriors and Pallys don't).

I love DK tanking and I love using DS to heal/shield myself as part of my surviving. But I'm a Dungeon/BH go'er right now. I can only imagine what hell it would be for DK to have to give up so much standard tank mitigation just for "Moar Deff Strikes". Which, apparently, is exactly what the devs want.

Also, the "In the hands of a really skilled player" I find particularly disheartening. Yes, in the hands of a really skilled player, DK's can solo Yogg and Twin Emps. We've all seen what some really skilled players can do in this game that millions of people play and study obsessively. But it seems to run ass-backwards to some of the devs previous mottos of not making a particular spec/class too complicated to play well; especially for the tanks.

I want the devs to say just how much *skill do I need to be able to tank "not usually much better than the other tanks"?
Edited by Balthius on 6/8/2011 9:00 PM PDT
90 Dwarf Rogue
15380
I rather like this process, because ultimately, the decisions that really matter (what to ask, how to ask it, how important it is) are left to the players upfront. The single most upvoted question in the world this round was this one:


I've got a question.

With the ATD 10 list up (and now complete), you've got a new issue on your hands. Class population is not equal, and each class is working (very) hard to upvote their class' questions as high as possible.

This will undoubtedly result in the classes with higher populations reaching the top of the upvotes, while the lower population classes will lag behind despite their best efforts. How will you resolve that issue this time around? This is the 1st time that all 10 classes have a real involvement in the Q&A individually, as such, there's a much broader line of questioning being made. There's a lot more to cover. And there's a lot more people to disappoint.

Your current system may not work for AtD10, and I hope that's a consideration when questions are selected this time around.


This person brings up a good point. Paladins for example are one of the most played classes so it's more than likely a question about Ret dps would be answered over a question about Rogue dps since Rogues are one of the least played classes. I have a feeling there is nothing that's going to be done about this though which is a shame. I wish Blizz would just take questions for each class, sure it's more questions but so what?
Edited by Onni on 6/8/2011 8:52 PM PDT
85 Tauren Paladin
9805


This is basically how I feel about this. Of all the legitimate issues the tanks have, and they're all well discussed in the tank forums, these are some preeettttttttttty awful questions, to put it lightly. We don't care about DPS HP.


I found that question to be relevant since I find myself DPS tanking heroic Al'akir (10) and Chim. It seems extremely stupid to me that encounters like that exist; I'm a DPS, not a tank, but in order to meet the DPS demands of the fight, a plate DPS has to tank those adds.

That is the only part/concept of that fight that I thoroughly do not like. I do not like going outside of my chosen role on a fight, but if I need to, I'd much rather have to go Prot than deal with trying to tank with my DPS spec/gear.
Edited by Ashrial on 6/8/2011 9:23 PM PDT
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