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)
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.
Note: There are fights with tank swaps or incoming adds, or similar mechanics, when threat may matter mid-fight. This is intended – encounter design varies widely.
Honestly I can agree with this, I have a DK Tank and a Warrior tank in my guild that I run with all the time. They are both way below me in ilvl, but still for the most part can hold aggro pretty darn well. I can understand that DPS don't want to have to throttle their damage, but in the case of massively out-gearing someone else, they need to realize what is going on. I think in this situation it might be a good idea to possibly later on in the game, make it to where end-game heroic 5-mans have different brackets. This would require a lot of work though, it would mess with queue times, which are already being complained about, and would also require the "Average Item Level" system to be debugged so that it only detects the ilvl of what is currently equipped. I could go into a whole schpeel about how to straighten out the queue times, and how to straighten out what happens when a player equips higher ilvl just to get into a higher bracket to get carried. However, thats not a discussion for here... The point I'm trying to get to is that, yes you are very right... A buff to vengeance would only make it seem like they are turning into a DPS that holds aggro.
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.
Whoever came up with the idea that druids are the weakest tanks, obviously have never had to heal a druid tank. I know personally, that I prefer to have a Paladin tank or a Druid tank, tanking when I am on my priest. These two classes are very good, and don't take too much damage. When it comes towards the threat issues, I might be able to see where aggro could be an issue with a mass amount of mobs, but honestly even then, it's still not too much of an issue. Yes they don't get as much threat off of charge and thus might not be able to hold aggro as well right off the bat, but one of the major things that has been stated for Cataclysm is that Blizzard doesn't want to make it so that Tanks are 100% Guaranteed to hold threat it the DPS just explode from the beginning and start blowing CDs immediately.
Q: What are your intentions with each tank's mastery and mastery in general? – Migol (NA)
A: Mastery is intended to be a defensive stat for tanks. We want it to be at least in the same ballpark of value per rating as avoidance. To go into a bit more depth on each tank:
Death Knights: We’re pretty happy with how mastery has turned out. It does have the oddity that it scales down in value with your mitigation, but also up in value with your health. But it does indeed scale up pretty smoothly in value, and doesn’t have any unintuitive breakpoints or anything, so we’re happy with it.
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.
Paladins: Mastery is an attractive stat for paladins, but has some design problems. It scales very well, but due to the nature of our combat tables (and being able to “fill them up”), you can get “block capped,” which is a massive performance benefit. Worse, Protection mastery scales with itself, since there are no diminishing returns on block chance, and the amount of rating you need to block cap goes down as your dodge and parry improve, allowing you to put even more of your stats into dodge or parry. This sort of feedback loop is something we always try to stay away from, so we plan to change this in the future. We tried several alternatives for 4.2, but weren’t happy with the results. Any change which made mastery weaker (such as subjecting block to diminishing returns or changing what it does) would have required mitigation compensation for paladins elsewhere (with all the design risks inherent in making such changes), as well as asking many players to extensively re-gem or re-forge. We’ll ask players to do that when the need is great, but we didn’t think this problem crossed that line. The major risks are that Protection paladins become too powerful or too weak or that gear with mastery will at some point be rejected once characters are over the cap. We don’t think any of those problems will manifest themselves in the 4.2 content.
Warriors: Warriors’ mastery is in a similar boat as paladins’, except that it still provides a notable benefit past the cap and scales much slower, making it much more difficult to “block cap.” That delays, but doesn’t remove the problem.
Honestly really the only thing I say here is that I can agree with most of the information here... Mastery has definitely been a nice stat to be added among tanks, the only thing I don't like about it, is that if an item has "Mastery" and "Expertise" on it, it gets rolled on by both tanks and DPS. Still though, that is just a meh issue, and more of a personal issue of tanks rolling on something they may not need because they want an extra set for "Threat-Tanking". Thus making it more of a loot issue, and not an issue with the actual stat itself.
Q: Will we see a tanking Legendary sometime soon? – Pedoso (NA)
A: The tanking community both loves and hates when this question comes up, but it received a lot of votes, so we’ll answer it. The answer is not soon, but probably eventually. The problem with tanking legendaries, of course, is that the shield-users and non-shield-users tank with different weapons. That’s not a deal breaker, but it is a consideration. We could allow the legendary to be transformed from a one-hander to two-hander or we could just design an item for a more narrow audience (such as a shield). The 4.2 legendary has fairly wide appeal, and the 4.3 legendary will have much more narrow appeal. We don’t want to fall into the trap of making legendaries too formulaic.
I personally have 2 tanks, and think that if there ever is a tanking legendary... That it honestly shouldn't be a weapon... Tanking is all about the defense, and it should be part of the armor... That being said, most would automatically assume shield and think that half the tanks are left out immediately.. Well... Who says it has to be something that you equip in your hands? Why can't the tanking legendary be a trinket, ring, or necklace? That way, all the tanks across the board can use it, and if "Looks" is something you are concerned about at that point.... Make it proc something that looks cool and stays up, or make it give a buff that gives a permanent glow or something. That would be awesome, in my opinion at least... ((I loved the Tabard that came from looting the chest off Arthas when someone in the raid obtained Shadowmourne... Whats to say we couldn't get something like that again, except permanent?))
Q: Are there any plans to teach players in-game how to tank when they are at an early stage, or at least at some point in the leveling process? – Romner (EU-EN)
A: A system to teach players how we intend for them to perform their roles is something we realize we’re lacking. We have some pretty cool plans to help solve this problem in the future, but we’re not quite ready to make any announcements, and Ask the Devs just wouldn’t be the appropriate venue anyway.
Dunno what to say here, other than new players will learn as they continue in the game. There isn't much you can do about that, except maybe put some tanking quests into the game at lower levels. Put quests in the game that let you choose which role you want to play while escorting NPC's from point A to point B. If you select the tank role, the NPCs may have a lower than usual health pool than the other two roles and if you don't hold aggro, you will obviously fail the quest.
Q: Do you plan to bring other tanks to the same level as Death Knights who have a lot of advantages over other tanking classes (easier to heal, quite a number of various safe abilities, etc.)? - Меланори (EU-RU)
A: Death knights are a somewhat different style of tank compared to the others. They take significantly more damage than other tanks, but then heal/shield that extra damage back instead (and sometimes more). Due to taking more damage, and that damage coming in spikes, they’re also the most likely to die to unexpected burst (such as when they don’t have runes up to Death Strike, have no cooldowns available, and fail to dodge or parry a few attacks in a row. 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.
I have to say, this is the first part of the Q&A that I disagree with completely... I honestly think that DKs are probably the the worst tanks in the game. Their avoidance ratings aren't as high as other tanks, including Druids. Their armor rating isn't as high as other tanks, due to lack of armor increasing talents. Their mastery stat isn't a passive stat, it is tied into a skill that continuously changes because of other specs in the class. I've personally SEEN beginning DK Tanks who have a higher item level than warriors, die to something that the warrior would laugh at. All-in-All... I refuse to tank on my DK, and tank on my Warrior when I feel that want come up.... I am stuck with spamming 1-2 buttons on my DK tank, and can't even use one of the major abilities tied in with the spec (Heart Strike) that often. Then again, I haven't tanked on my DK since well before 4.1 and it may have changed since. Either way, I love tanking on my Warrior and doubt I will ever go back to tanking on a class that even the creators of the game admit have a higher likelihood of dying due to burst damage. That's just a bad concept...
Q: Is there any chance that we can see damage reduction numbers being used in the statistic UI, just like shield absorb amount of Discipline priest? – 首領先生 (TW)
A: The default UI should show the damage reduction from armor against a creature of equal level. We’ll look into also showing the damage reduction against a +1, +2, +3/boss-level mob, like we do for hit or expertise. Beyond that, there is typically passive damage reduction from talents/stance/presence/etc., which should be relatively easy to combine with armor to find your damage reduction.
I think the question here was more meant to see numbers, instead of percentages... Though on a personal note, I don't really care. What I think they were trying to ask was to see something like how a resist works, where you see "-14500(5000 Resisted)", but instead would see something like "-23586(15000 Reduced)". That way, they could just get better numbers on statistics. I don't think they meant the actual damage reduction percentages provided.
Q: Have you ever considered adjusting DPS HP? Seems that while their large pools of health help them on "accidental" situations, a fair portion of the time they can take aggro and tank adds without consequence. – Jainel (LA)
A: We’re generally happy with how well DPS are able to tank (which is to say, not very well). We like that they can take a hit or two (depending upon content) before dying, and that the penalty for that happening is a huge drain on healer mana.
Definitely... I like the idea that as a plate DPS I can pick up an add and tank it by myself for a good little bit, but at the same time I have to realize that I would probably die if I don't get heals. I like that I have the option of actually RUNNING away basically.... Instead of pulling aggro, turning away, and immediately dying...
Q: As far as I remember, about five tanks were required in a 25-man group in Burning Crusade. However, the number of tanks in raids has been decreased to one or two since WotLK. I think this is one of the reasons heroic parties suffer from lack of tanks. What if raids have required more tanks? – 명장한니발 (KR)
A: We don’t actually recall many four+ tank fights in Burning Crusade, and that includes fights like High King Maulgar where non-tanks could perform the tanking role. While we do find some elegance in a design where a 5-player group scales perfectly up to a 10 and 25-player group, that introduces some problems as well. It could potentially extend the tank shortage we see in 5-player dungeons up to raids (to be fair, it’s also possible needing more tanks for raiding would create more tanks for dungeons). A larger problem is that we just don’t want to over-constrain encounter design to always require 4 or 5 tanks. Sometimes it’s nice to have a fight that’s just a single bruiser without requiring a tank swap or meteor-style cleave. Nearly every raid fight in Cataclysm asks for two tank-specced characters, with a few requiring one or three. That’s likely the model we will continue to use. If we wanted to do a fight with many tanks, we’d likely let some of the DPS specs step in.
Meh, don't really care about this question in general, because if I want to tank.... I tank.... If I want to DPS... I DPS... Having a ton of tanks in a fight won't make it so that more tanks queue into heroics... There is a general idea that you can go by here that I think of... Honestly, it takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes for a healer to queue up. It takes a tank less than minute, all the way to 3 minutes to queue up... It takes a DPS 15-30 minutes to queue up... The thing about all of this is... Its not that people don't like to tank, cause people do like to tank, just not all of us... Its more of, once someone gets geared past heroics... They generally DON'T do heroics anymore... I know that's how I am at least... I will only do a heroic if a guildie wants me to do one with them, and my main character is a DPS.
Q: Are there any plans to simplify the impossible situation for tanks (8% hit rating, 26 Expertise but all defensive stats at max at the same time) somehow, either through stats on gear or through changes to the game mechanics? Have you considered giving tools to tanks to allow easier capping of hit and expertise to help with threat management? – Sunyara (EU-DE), Gilbey (EU-ES)
A: We don’t currently balance around the assumption that tanks cap hit or expertise. We’re definitely looking at ways to make reliably hitting more attractive to tanks in the future, though. Currently, missing is just a compound to the issue discussed in Question #1. Getting tanks to care about threat stats, not for the threat benefit (but for a mitigation benefit), is one potential direction. For example, DKs want to make sure their Death Strikes hit because of the mitigation benefit. Druids care about crit because of Savage Defense. We speculated at one point that we could make Shield Block (and now Holy Shield) require a successful hit to do their jobs. We’re not sure we will go that direction, but it’s one idea. We would of course compensate tanks for any potential loss of predictable mitigation.
Honestly, on this one... I'm gonna be kinda short here, but that's because in my opinion it requires very little change... Put higher expertise and hit boosts into the talent tree... Obviously you don't want to cap them off the talent tree alone, because that would make aggro nearly impossible to pull off the tank. BUT Putting a good amount in the talent tree would definitely offer a good increase on things like Death Strike.
Q: Compared to DKs, Paladins are weaker when facing mass magic attacks. A Paladin has no choice but to stack stamina in this situation. Is there any change coming to this for Paladins? – 新垣綾瀨 (TW)
A: We don’t balance tanks around their sustained magic damage reduction, since we don’t typically assault tanks with continuous magic damage. We do frequently intersperse physical damage with a burst of magic damage, usually timed around the cooldowns that all tanks have available, and find that that is balanced. If we ever did a fight like Hydross again where there is almost no physical damage, we’d have to explore some other options.
Just don't do another fight like that, and BLAM... Issue solved... Even in that case where it would pop up, this would only serve to have the "third" tank, where the DK can better fill that VERY rare niche.