Ask The Devs #9 - Tanking (Questions)

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has there been any thought to altering the way vengeance works? what about something like changing vengeance so it works opposite of how it currently does, so that tanks will start the fight with a decent threat lead, but still have to work to keep their threat level up? (i know this seems a little nuts, but the current implementation is lame) there have been times in tank-n-spank scenarios where i literally feel as if i can get up and make a sandwich towards the end of the encounter, but at the start of it am helpless to hold aggro.
As i was made aware lately on checking the forums and WoL parses .. DK have a high skill cap to be "viable".

Those are not exact numbers by any means, but in general what we see in game is something like this:

- super awesome DK tank is "slightly better" than the "good" tanks of the other classes.
- average DK tanks are extremelly worst than "average" tanks of other classes.

To put it simple:
- descent tank of any class, can tank heroic content and succeed.
- descent DK cannot tank heroic content and succeed, he'll either be destroyed or be carried by god-like healers.
- only very good DK tanks manage to tank heroic content and succeed.

Question: Is there any plan to adress the issue that currently, only very good DK players (that understand deeply the mechanics of the class) are suceeding in tanking. Making only the good players to be viable progression tanks, while the "average" player is subpar, and extremelly worst to be healed, compared to others "average tanks".

Currently we have to work much harder (in player skill) than other tanks to achieve the same result
05/25/2011 01:06 PMPosted by Epitaxis
Tanking is a high-pressure role. The eyes of the entire group are upon the tank. Any failures are usually blamed on the tank(and the tank can often blame themselves, even if nobody says anything). I often will own up to my own mistakes, just so the tank is aware that it wasn't their fault. I hate this default condition. What kinds of ideas are blizzard considering to reduce the crushing sense of responsibility on tanks, and the inherent problems of the LFD tool which allows people to act incredibly poorly toward other players with no consequence?

This, btw, is why tanks rotations/priority are not more complex. It's bad enough having to learn a phase three mechanic on a difficult boss only AFTER everyone else has mastered their own mechanics for the rest of the fight without having to keep a complex/twitch/reactive priority going.

And a question to go along with this: Blizzard, is it possible that you can start planning raid bosses so that the off tank doesn't have to learn something new in phase 3 of a middling complex fight? It was crushing to call the raid at the end of the night without having downed Nef because I had no idea how to go about something (kiting the adds out of the shadowflame) that takes us 5-7 minutes to get to because it only takes place at the end of the fight.

(10 man raid, so we don't get a 3rd tank for it)
Awhile back one of the blues was quoted for saying we were balanced around using 6-7 death strikes per minute. Are you guys even aware that to be even with equally geared skilled players at that level that we need to be closer to 9? Dk's only getting 6-7 are falling considerably behind.
As a tank, I found the most daunting hurdle was going from 5-man heroic tanking to raid tanking. Heroics are relatively straight-forward: all the enemies need to be hitting you, and not anyone else. Raids - however - require a greater degree of coordination between two or more tanks for each encounter, and there is no real "training" to this style other than diving head-first into it, which usually includes wiping a few times. Few healers or DPS are willing to "train" a new raid tank on the nuances of raid tanking, as it's a larger time commitment for one person. While there are no quick solutions, are there any plans to increase accessibility for tanks who want to jump into raiding, but don't have the requisite "tank-teamwork" experience?
Vengeance has issues.

I am a high dps player, I give the tank 2-5 seconds head start then start attacking. 20-30 seconds in I start getting threat warnings or pull aggro. After 1 min in the fight threat seems to be fine. Without any threat drops myself, if we have a geared tank who has good avoidance stats they simply do not gain vengeance fast enough.

Vengeance scales poorly with avoidance abilities or gear. Is there any plan to adjust vengeance to stack when a player dodges also? Or maybe give the tanks a vengeance surge ability to use at the start of a fight that only resets out of combat?
With the exception of druids, players picking tank specs as one of their two specs are limited to only one useful PvP talent build. Are there plans to make it so that picking a tank spec does not reduce your PvP utility compared to other roles? (Especially considering you can't even train dual-specialization until level 30, being a PvP tank seems a poor choice.)
Echoing what others have said on this thread, is there any plan for hit and expertise to be more attractive to tanks so initial threat is not as much of an issue? One option I think would be a good idea would be to have a passive spec ability or talent that increases your dodge/parry ratings equal to, say, 50 percent of your hit/expertise ratings. Alternatively, are there any plans to tie Vengeance closer to avoidance, rather than damage taken?
Its been around 6 months (give or take) since the new talents went live and people have jumped into serious content (not Wrath raids or leveling).

Are the Dev's happy with the talents builds that we are using? Are there talents that have obviously missed the mark, and people are taking them b/c there is nothing better to take?
Will we be seeing some talents reworked a little seeing as they serve little to no purpose now?

(i.e. Vigilance helps warriors OT with vengeance, but its rarely an issue. The free taunt mechanic is pointless b/c taunts never miss - many tanks are looking at it and wondering why they bother taking it)
I feel like I'm honor-bound to contribute, even if I'm well past the "upvote zone" here on page 8...

Due to balance around vengeance, initial tank damage is fairly low. This combined with low hit/expertise and resources/abilities balanced around taking or avoiding damage has caused tank solo content (such as leveling) to suffer. In addition, the main appeal of leveling as a tank - that of no downtime and ability to safely engage several NPCs at one - has diminished now that most DPS classes have some method to passively regen their health/mana.

Are there any plans to improve solo play as a tank?
Lets face it a Good Tank at heart is a Defender. They should be tanking because the hear the Calling. Not for a bag of goodies. Yes it sounds Corny. But really don't you want a Hero up front not just a Loot Hound.

That being said, Why can't you put add more vote to kicks? I go into heroics Geard, Enchanted and Ready to Rock. I want to be able to kick if the tank has more than 2 pieces of Rezilance Gear, missing Enchants and Gems. These are Heroics. And too many times Tanks do more harm than good to their group. I'm not saying BIS enchants but atleast come prepared. I Geard my tank thru Rep and Crafts. And to the ones that say I'll gem and enchant when I pick up better gear. All I can say is play on the PTR where you are given everything you need and I don't have to pay repair bills until someone with a kick can get the heroic going.
Would there ever be a possibility of adding a 4th tree to each of the classes, which could be used to add a Tanking tree to many of them (or an alternative DPS or Healing tree to the 4 classes that can currently tank).

With the current design of the Mastery system, this would seem to be much much easier to implement now without impacting the rest of the class overly much than it would have been in earlier expansions.

This would add flavor to those classes that currently have little choice (Warlock, Mage, Hunter, Rogue: all triple DPS trees). Druid could have Bear and Cat split into fully-fleshed trees of their own, while other classes would get something totally new. Warlock and Hunter could focus on their pet as a real tank. Shaman could return to the "tank" concept that was half-built into the original enhancement tree. And if a Druid can tank in leather, there's no reason a Rogue couldn't do the same.

Even if the mechanics between several tank options were then nearly identical (making them easier to maintain and balance), you still have increased the character base that has the option to tank.

And if there's just no real viable way to add a Tank tree to some classes (Priest, Mage maybe) that 4th tree could still be turned into something else interesting to add to versatility and variety (healing tree for mages?).

By doing all this, you would dramatically increase the availability of tanks in the LFD queues, to say nothing of the increased versatility of raid members and an increase in the concept of "Bring the Player, Not the Class".
Will enhancement shamans be ever again able to tank like they (partially or while leveling) did on vanilla? ...or what's the purpose behind "Rockbiter Weapon" and it's "Unleash Elements" effect? ...this could help even further the lack of tanks.
When will tanks be represented and obtain a tanking legendary? The tanking population might be dwarfed by DPS, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be represented at all. As it stands tanks doing good deeds are left unrewarded. The only reward is a personal satisfaction of beating a boss (while it lasts). At the same time, a DPS obtains their last piece to finish their legendary.
Does it bother you, from a design standpoint, that druid tanks stack offensive stats in order to stay alive (specifically, agility), whereas other tanks stack defensive stats to stay alive, and are there any plans to change this oddity?
With Dark Simulacrum being more useful in dungeons and raids, will spell reflect ever get the same treatment? It feels useless as it is now (and has for quite a while). It would be nice to see this ability get a makeover.
When will we see interesting fights for tanks? They've been all fairly dull up until this point, and it looks as though 4.2 will be bringing much fun for DPS, and little for tanks.

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