Hunter Tanking, A Comprehensive Suggestion

89 Orc Death Knight
3260
I've seen the idea being tossed around here and there, and while there is definitely a desire to see Hunter Tanking, I haven't seen a whole lot of thought as to how it might work. This question from the recent live Q&A,
Q: If there's no hybrid tax, what's the point of playing a pure DPS class? Raid/pug leaders will always prefer players that can fill multiple roles. When hybrids like Boomkin and Shadow Priests are out DPSing the four pure classes across most parses, I think something's wrong.
A: We want to make sure there are pure DPS classes in raids. That doesn't mean that hybrids just have to be support classes as they were back in the BC days. But it does mean that you should neglect mages, locks, rogues and hunters at your peril. There may very well be more hybrids, because they just have a chance at more roles, so you can't just look at popularity of classes, but we will take steps to make sure the pures don't vanish.
combined with the new style of talents in 5.0 got me thinking. Changing Beast Mastery to be a tanking spec, as has been suggested in the past, seems just unlikely. The spec is still an interesting and widely loved way to play DPS (whether it is balanced or not is an unrelated issue). Instead I propose the following for discussion, and hopefully, consideration:

A fourth spec for hunters dedicated to tanking. The idea would revolve around,

    1. Having much more direct control of one's pet, likely removing a lot of the automatic skills pets currently use, or even just translating them to something more situational and tank-related while in this spec. These abilities would likely reflect a lot of the core tanking abilities we see in other tanking specs. They would, however, use the pet's focus, and not the Hunter's.

    2. Using (comparitively) low-damage AoE attacks (could be channeled, casted, or instant depending on the ability) from the hunter itself. These attacks would not only damage or negatively status enemies, but buff your pet tank in very specific ways. These could be buffs ranging from momentary shields similar to priests, defense increases, increased threat generation, buffs to damage, or any other number of things that would regularly benefit a tank. The hunter could of course still spend their time with more single target core DPS skills in lieu of buffing their pet when appropriate or necessary.

    3. Given 2, the pet itself would be naturally weaker than say a Warrior or Death Knight, but when given the proper AoE's from the supporting hunter, they would match or possibly excel past other tanks in the specific stat the hunter is providing. This could also be balanced around the AoE's from the hunter providing specific debuffs to enemies instead of or even as well as the buffs to the pet (i.e. instead of buffing spell resist, lowering spell damage on enemies in the area, OR buffing spell resist only a little, AND lower enemy spell damage only a little). These could even have trade offs for balancing purposes (raise defense, lower pet's focus gain, etc) but I figure in most cases, the lower base stats for pets would be enough trade off as is.
Edited by Grollgar on 11/9/2011 8:45 PM PST
Reply Quote
89 Orc Death Knight
3260
This leads to a few things:

First, the hunter would have to keep a close eye on not only their own focus, but their pet's as well. By taking off the automation of the pet's attacks, the hunter instead would be very specifically controlling how their pets use their abilities, and consequently their focus. The rotation, if that were to be the play style, would involve getting the pet into battle, choosing an appropriate AoE, and while that is happening, using the pet abilities in the same vein as any other tank. This means that pet abilities and hunter abilities shouldn't be on the same cooldown (the way intimidate currently is). While abilities on the pet bar currently act that way, if that were to be the place pet abilities go, there would definitely need to be some reworking of how big/easy to use that separate bar would be, including making sure it can fit all the necessary skills.

Of course, keeping an eye on two resource bars would be more of a challenge than the normal Hunter rotation, but I don't think it would be any more complicated than Death Knights keeping track of Runes and Runic Power, or what monks will be doing on their release. This is especially true if the system works similarly, i.e. treating the hunter's AoE's as large focus dumps, and perhaps having the pet's abilities up the regeneration of the Hunter's focus.

Second, this unfortunately leaves a real issue with pet movement, something a bit harder to solve. Any current tank has control over their characters and that's all they need to worry about with moving to particular locations during movement phases of boss fights. While this is already a bit of an issue for hunter pets normally, it would be completely ridiculous if a group's tank literally couldn't move properly to avoid massive attacks, even if they were perfectly aware of them. Current pet movement options would just be too complicated to use when the player has to worry about moving the hunter as well, especially in the amount of time one normally has to react to movement phases.

For this, I thought of having a "teleport/leap to me" ability, that causes the pet tank to follow very closely to the hunter's movement, making it much easier for the player to avoid movement based attacks. The ability could also refresh the pet's charge move when used, so once the phase is over the tank can get right back into the fight. Of course, I can see this ability being easily abused to avoid normal close range AoE attacks better than any other tank could, so perhaps some sort of cool down or key to activation is in order. As I mentioned, this is a bit harder to solve, but I think it's definitely doable.

Anyway, I feel this would allow for some serious differentiation on how one could go about tanking, while not changing too much of the core functionality to make it unfeasible. On top of that, we all know that pet tanking has kind of half-way been a thing since all the way back in Vanilla, but this would give it a much more official role. And, personally, I would absolutely love to be a dedicated tank as a Hunter. I normally tank about 30% of the time, but with a hunter tank option? I'd be tanking for groups significantly more often.

So let me know what you guys think. I'm curious to hear if anyone else thinks this would be a viable option to tanking.
Reply Quote
85 Draenei Hunter
11335
Hunters can tank already. Please stop making stupid suggestions.
Reply Quote
90 Blood Elf Hunter
7155
He means to be able to que as Tank. That's not a bad idea really. I'd love to get instant ques as a hunter.
Beast Mastery could include some skills to increase the pet's threat and reduce the CD on Misdirect when transfering to the Pet.
Reply Quote
85 Troll Hunter
5740
it's def feasible. turtles can already tank quite well if threat redirection is donr correctly. the issue really is movement. its hard to move pets and have optimal positioning with the current pet commands.
Reply Quote
90 Draenei Paladin
2950
People have suggested this numerous times. 1%* of Hunters think it's a great idea, 1%* of Hunters think it's an atrocious idea, 2%* of non-hunters think it's a terrible idea, and 94%* don't care about it either way. I'm in the first 1%.

* Numbers altered to include people not on forums.
Reply Quote
85 Night Elf Hunter
9060
He means to be able to que as Tank. That's not a bad idea really. I'd love to get instant ques as a hunter.
Beast Mastery could include some skills to increase the pet's threat and reduce the CD on Misdirect when transfering to the Pet.
You're right, it's not a bad idea. It's a horrible idea. A large number of hunters can't even handle keeping their pet out of trouble, let alone use it for a tank. So many people hate hunters already. This would only make it worse. Chances are, many people will just leave group if their random queue pops and they zone in to find out their tank is a hunter. So much for your instant queue.

Reply Quote
85 Draenei Hunter
11335
Hunters can tank already. Please stop making stupid suggestions.
Reply Quote
85 Night Elf Hunter
9060
People have suggested this numerous times. 1%* of Hunters think it's a great idea, 1%* of Hunters think it's an atrocious idea, 2%* of non-hunters think it's a terrible idea, and 94%* don't care about it either way. I'm in the first 1%.

* Numbers altered to include people not on forums.

So all the people that don't read or post on the forums don't care either way? I beg to differ. Spend ten minutes in trade chat and you'll find that 4 out of 5* hunters will disagree with that statement. The other 1 out of 5* don't play a hunter.


42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
Reply Quote
90 Dwarf Hunter
Zen
11220
I usually make fun of this suggestion mercilessly everytime it comes up, but I'm in a cordial mood.

To really work as a main, queable tank, you'd have to base it off a persistent Eyes of the Beast type ability, so the hunter has direct control over the pet. Having the group tank controlled by a combination of attack/return/move-to is so awkward and unattractive it would make Hunters the laughing stock of the main tanking world.

While the hunter was in the body of the pet, the hunter's own body would essentially have to become the pet, just following and autoattacking, in order to keep it from being completely helpless. And maybe a pooled health pool in this form, so the tank has a big tank-like health pool and the hunter body isn't susceptible to accidental death.

I'd suggest that the enhanced Eyes of the Beast confer some extra tanky abilities and stats on the pet so the pet doesn't become OP as a tank when functioning in its traditional role -- no way Blizzard would approve a full-powered hunter running around with a full-powered tank all the time.

This would make Beast Mastery similar to the curren Feral spec, capable of both dps and tanking depending on the form and how specced. Since Druids are getting a fourth spec. in MoP, that raises the question of whether leaving Beast Mastery more or less as-is and adding a fourth tanking spec. -- Beast Embodiment, say -- would be a better option.

Adding fourth specs to the pures could be a way to enhance the utility of those specs. What if Mages could heal, rogues could tank somehow, and warlocks gained either a tank or healing spec (a warlock healing spec. could be fun, based all about the transfer of damage and health points)?
Edited by Morobir on 11/10/2011 7:54 AM PST
Reply Quote
90 Worgen Hunter
7035
I love these ideas and actually like to pet tank and want more versatility as a hunter. I have tanked hour of twilight with my shale spider in BM but honestly I want to be able to que as a tank and let's add in some tanking mail gear to give hunters a real chance at tanking in raids the beast fusion idea sounds like the best to cure the accidental death/movement of 2 bodies issues as well bravo & I do hope the folks at blizz are listening to this.
Reply Quote
90 Night Elf Hunter
10475
The only reason I DONT like this idea , is im afraid if it worked and got implemented BM would become the tanking spec and not be good for pvp anymore. Before anyone comes in with 'MM is better for pvp blah blah shiet" check this out. I got into BM in BC and I LIKE IT for PVP, is that ok?

Other than that OP this idea is cool.
Edited by Raygar on 4/30/2012 5:41 AM PDT
Reply Quote
90 Human Hunter
12935
Pets have huge pathing issues beyond just needing to move to avoid certain attacks.
Reply Quote
90 Tauren Hunter
12280
I think this is a cool idea. Add a 4th spec for hunter to tank in. However i see an issue.

Other tanking classes can (in theory) use their respective tank specs to PvP as a Flag carrier or base defender. Hunter pets cannot carry flags, and if the could, players would just target the hunter and the flag would drop.

I suggest that the hunter has a limited choice of tank pets. (Rhinos, crocks, existing tameable mounts mounts, est.)
The hunter could ride on top of their pet and control the movements just like any other tank. The attack bar could change to tank abilities too.
Auto shot could replace auto attack, Distracting shot could replace taunt, and misdirect could give a friendly player's threat to you.

I would think it would play like a Feral of a Warrior tank. Ranged attacks would use a shooting animation, and melee attacks would use pet animations.

As for energy bars, the hunter and pet should share a bar since they are now the same character.
Reply Quote
90 Night Elf Hunter
15765
I think this is a cool idea. Add a 4th spec for hunter to tank in. However i see an issue.

Other tanking classes can (in theory) use their respective tank specs to PvP as a Flag carrier or base defender. Hunter pets cannot carry flags, and if the could, players would just target the hunter and the flag would drop.

I suggest that the hunter has a limited choice of tank pets. (Rhinos, crocks, existing tameable mounts mounts, est.)
The hunter could ride on top of their pet and control the movements just like any other tank. The attack bar could change to tank abilities too.
Auto shot could replace auto attack, Distracting shot could replace taunt, and misdirect could give a friendly player's threat to you.

I would think it would play like a Feral of a Warrior tank. Ranged attacks would use a shooting animation, and melee attacks would use pet animations.

As for energy bars, the hunter and pet should share a bar since they are now the same character.


I could get behind this way of tanking. we control the pet better and the pet is the one that takes the damage instead of us. They would have to limit pet ressing or something for in fights. I also think (with the new system) it should be any pet, just they are forced to spec tenacity in that spec.
Reply Quote
90 Blood Elf Hunter
7380
I think something along the lines of Eyes of The Beast, or maybe a new ability called "Spirit Meld" or something, where the hunter sort of controls their pet, kind of like a Druid, now that I think about it. That would allow it to be more moveable.
Reply Quote
90 Night Elf Hunter
7975
I pet tank every single chance I get. I love it, and would support this.
Reply Quote
Pets derp up so badly on bosses like nef and spine.

Tanking based around pets just wouldn't be practical for all situations unless they completely fix pet pathing (which will never happen).
Reply Quote

Please report any Code of Conduct violations, including:

Threats of violence. We take these seriously and will alert the proper authorities.

Posts containing personal information about other players. This includes physical addresses, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and inappropriate photos and/or videos.

Harassing or discriminatory language. This will not be tolerated.

Forums Code of Conduct

Report Post # written by

Reason
Explain (256 characters max)
Submit Cancel

Reported!

[Close]