GC's latest blog, Active Mitigation Playstyle

General Discussion
Prev 1 7 8 9 18 Next
Although the revelation that things are going to get "harder" for tanks makes me a sad panda, it doesn't really surprise me in the least. The Development Team has never shown a good understanding of what could be considered tanking issues/disparities in "current" content. This lack of understanding problem dates from somewhere around Live Beta up until today.

Will I stop tanking if a bunch of changes turn me into a "Fun & Active" tank?
No, probably not.

Will any of it make sense?
No probably not.
There's a couple of things that need to be understood about Death Knight tanks.

Death Knights go up to the boss and say "Hit me. HIT ME!" They take that negative and turn it into a positive by damaging the boss and recouping some of the damage they just took. Most healers ought to jump for joy when they find out they have a Death Knight tank, because if that Death Knight is doing their job, the healer doesn't have to work as hard at their job as they do with Paladins, Warriors and Druids.



What you dont realize is that while that model works fine in 5 mans, and continues to work well in raids it fails in HM raids. DKs have been balanced for their self healing by having less armor than the other tanks. They're expected to take more damage and then heal it back after

In HM that starts to fail because often times there is no after. The bosses hit really hard so when the Death Knight goes up to the boss and says "Hit me. HIT ME!" the boss hits him so hard he kills him before he heals it back with death strike. If the DK does survive the heavy damage on completely unmitigated (no shield) low armor and gets to death strike. Death strike gets parried/dodged. DK dies. The DK has to move because of some raid mechanic and is a little slow on the DS. DK dies. While some players love the stress and knife's edge tanking of that playstyle, healers hate to see the tank take massive spike damage to be followed by a theoretical self heal because as the damage gets heavier that self heal can't be relied on to come soon enough or consistently enough to keep the tank alive.
LOL, why change blood (or tanking mechanics) right now? threat generation-its a joke
/cast outbreak
/cast pestilence
have them start in death and decay with an occasional heart/rune strike and i wonder how easy it is for that arcane mage to pull off... and if they did, we have death grip and dark command... of course, threat generation is SO easy, I've pulled off better geared tanks (mostly prot pallys-yes they had righteous fury up) without taunts-aka my normal tanking rotation when pulling
as far as mitigation:
ever heard of dancing rune weapon (especially glyphed)? icebound fortitude (talented)? stam spamming? yes that last one can be a no-no if you have poor parry/dodge, but the self heals via rune tap(again glyphed) and death strikes-and the proc'ced sheild are self-heals
in short, blood IS fine, if you dont want an interactive tanking style-roll a pally, i shelved mine because pally tanking was TOO EASY and consequencely boring to play, let blood DK's keep their interactive play style, its what sets up apart, its what makes us fun to play
yes we can be a challenge, but in 4.2 when all but Firelands is /faceroll, this 'challenge' is gladly welcomed

There's a couple of things that need to be understood about Death Knight tanks.

Death Knights go up to the boss and say "Hit me. HIT ME!" They take that negative and turn it into a positive by damaging the boss and recouping some of the damage they just took. Most healers ought to jump for joy when they find out they have a Death Knight tank, because if that Death Knight is doing their job, the healer doesn't have to work as hard at their job as they do with Paladins, Warriors and Druids.



It doesn't quite work that way in practice.

A Simplistic example (As I understand the issue):

D.K. Tank vs. Paladin Tank

Paladin takes 100 damage in 4 hits of 25 each over 8 seconds.
Paladin heals a minimal amount of damage.
Net = 100 damage in 8 seconds.

Death Knight takes 100 damage in 2 hits of 50 each over 4 seconds.
Death Knight heals 25 damage with Death Strike.
Net = 75 damage in 4 seconds.

Which is easier to heal?

Granted, this is an oversimplification, but hopefully it helps get the point across.

Interestingly enough, in a fight where the boss hits incredibly hard, but attacks slowly, Death Knights actually do amazingly well.
To the best of my knowledge the fight where that break point is achieved does not currently exist.

Edited for clarity.
I dont see what all these DKs are complaining about. Just learn to play your character I (amoung plenty of other DKs ive seen on my server) have no problems holding threat and mitigating damage. We are given more than enough self heals to compensate for lack of block. Rune Tap, Death Strike, Lich Borne (if specced for it), Death Pact. Our main source of mitigation self healz and gives an absorbtion shield I mean come on what other tank class has this? Sure our Damage taken might be a little spikey at times but thats why we have Vampiric blood on a small CD to use from one trash group to the next. Trash is honestly the only time i see spikes in damage. Boss fights are a joke a DK tank. Stop complaining and play the damn class correctly less QQ more PEW PEW
I am an extremely active healer in the randoms. When I see a DK tank I wonder whether they are going to be excellent or horrible. There does not usually seem to be a middle ground.

Unlike some healers, what I have seen is skilled DK tanks are very good and make life for me very pleasant in heroics.

But when I do get the bad ones, it is very bad. I really feel for less experienced and geared healers faced with healing them.

There is a learning curve for anything new always.

And after a serious problem of virtually weekly major changed to the game, now we have this.

Do the developers ever get outside the laboratory and into the actual game?

I am a lawyer. There is a similar joke about law school professors. They know all the book stuff. But they are clueless in stepping into a real courtroom and actually trying a case themselves.

So seem to be our current developer team.
08/16/2011 03:02 PMPosted by Barnwell
Sounds like the changes are meant to make tanking easier, which should encourage more people to try it out, seems to me.


Yes, they are, but the issue is that the dev blog also notes they like the DK method, and might move with that.

Active mitigation style tanking will make today's tank shortage look laughable, nobody is going to start tanking with that change.
Please remove this added 200% threat bonus and this change to Vengeance. We don't need it or want it as warriors. Stop holding our hands so much , Some us that pay for this game , fewer as it may seem every passing day still do enjoy a challenge!
There's a couple of things that need to be understood about Death Knight tanks.

1) We're Death Knights. It's a Hero Class. Its playstyle is meant to be more complex in some fashion than the other classes. In return for accepting that, we get to start at a higher level, we get a free mount and riding training, we get customized and optimized gear to take us into Outland, and we get to be powerful enough that Outland, even group quests, is largely just a time sink for us. We don't hit a legitimate challenge until we get to Northrend.

2) The current Blood model works. It's fun because it's involved, and it requires some thought. The Death Strike mechanic is at the core of a Death Knight's survivability as a tank. Death Knights take more damage than any other tank, but that's balanced out by our ability to heal it in an active fashion, not by casting a spell with a cast time, not by HoTing ourselves up, but by literally generating threat and healing ourselves while we do it. In short, the hallmark of a good Blood Death Knight is that they know when to use Death Strike for its maximum effect. Even glyphed, using Death Strike consecutively isn't optimal; the second and subsequent hits give us some health back, but we get a lot more if we let the boss beat on us a couple swipes before we use it again.

Ghostcrawler wasn't saying in his blog that Paladins, Warriors and Druids should get self healing via an active ability. He was saying the active and involved nature of the Blood tanking method should probably be replicated with the other tanking classes. It makes perfect thematic sense to me for a Paladin to heal themselves from a strike, but it's too much when we realize that a Paladin's survivability is a lot more about mitigation and reduction than it is about parrying and healing, which is where the Death Knight's tanking style is centralized.

To be honest, it even makes sense to me that a Druid might get some self healing from swiping as a bear. But again, it's too much when you take into account their other tanking abilities.

Death Knights go up to the boss and say "Hit me. HIT ME!" They take that negative and turn it into a positive by damaging the boss and recouping some of the damage they just took. Most healers ought to jump for joy when they find out they have a Death Knight tank, because if that Death Knight is doing their job, the healer doesn't have to work as hard at their job as they do with Paladins, Warriors and Druids.

Part of the problem here lies with issues for point #1 above, however. There are a lot of people who don't realize there's a lot more finesse and involvement with playing a Death Knight. They went through the opening quests in Wrath of the Lich King, they overpowered Outland, flailed a bit before finding their rhythm in Northrend, and then settled into being top damage outputters by the time they hit Icecrown Citadel. Many Death Knights settled into the "I just have to keep my diseases up" mode of play, and while the diseases are vital to us, they're just one part of our overall toolbox.

I apply those diseases because their ticks generate damage, which generates threat. I have to watch my Runic Power, I have to watch my runes, and I have to keep an eye on my surroundings, all while keeping an eye on my healer's mana bar.

I don't mind if I don't have to worry as much about threat; the monster should want to hit me. I don't plan on going AFK because threat is so automatic now, but I note that this is awesome that my DPS can feel a little better about unloading after I take those initial first couple of seconds to get my threat. Bosses die quicker, the DPS sees bigger numbers on their screen (which they like), the healer feels accomplished because I survived the fight, and we progress on to other things.

If other tanks get more active mechanics, that's an opportunity for tanking to become fun for them, and not merely rote. Druids, Paladins and Warriors have been tanking since 2004. Shaking that up a little bit should be seen as an opportunity to look at those well-aged classes with some new glasses.


Look carefully, kids. This is a case study on how having little to no relevant experience w/ a tanking model can guide you to making terribly inaccurate and stupid replies concerning it.

Ignorance is bliss. Have fun w/ frost pvp and tanking random 5mans, I guess.
http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/2413-Character-Activity-Stats-Poll-Trip-to-Blizzcon-Contest-MMO-Report?page=11#comments

Since we have the info as does blizz, why are they wanting to make the other tanks like the LEAST PLAYED CLASS IN THE GAME? logic? hello?
08/16/2011 06:25 PMPosted by Daxxarri
Also, I've seen a number of references to making tanking easier in this thread and elsewhere. "Easier" isn't really the goal. The goal is to discard a mechanic which we don't think is working particularly well anymore, and replace it with something more focused and interesting. Doing so should also have the effect of allowing tanks who aren't as geared still do their job when grouped with players who outgear (or even outlevel them a bit). They'll still be responsible for doing a good job, but their absolute ability to hold the attention of the boss won't be a factor; their ability to play well and mitigate damage will be.


Easier should be the goal. Tanks aren't queuing for dungeons.

One of the reasons I applauded this change is because I thought it would make tanking more relaxed and less intimidating for people. If you're going to bring back "the challenge" then we're back in the same rut that we were in yesterday, except the reason tanks won't be queuing is because surviving is too much to handle.
You wouldn't touch Shield Block if someone on Activision's board of directors played a warrior.

Here's a thought: chill with the knee-jerk reactions. Work on DK / bear shortcomings and leave shield tanks alone. Go right ahead and implement boss expertise if you want to spite us. We wouldn't be surprised at all if you went back on your word.

I'm honestly a bit concerned over what my engaging, flavorful, fun, and active tanking workflow will be. Here's hoping it doesn't involve punching a wall in frustration.
I think this could potentially be a step backward not forward. Right now, as Shylena said I see DKs as being very hit or miss as far as ability and it affects how they play. Basically, a good DK might do slightly better than a good anything else, but a bad DK does A LOT worse than a bad anything else. I don't think that is the direction that you want to take for the games most needed class. We need more people tanking yes, but having more of the tanks end up being bad, would just make things even more frustrating and worse.

The threat change is fine, I personally use 2 gear sets, one for tanking raids where I have like .5% hit and 3 expertise and another for tanking heroics where I have like 5% hit and expertise cap. I wouldn't need to do that anymore it sounds like. Threat is never an issue if you gear to hit/expertise cap like I do in heroics. In raids, as a paladin when i'm given the chance before a pull I pop Divine Plea, Inquisition (3 stack from DP), Avenging Wrath, and then exorcism and either run forward w/ an avengers shield, or a 2nd exo. It's usually enough threat that it doesn't matter but our DPS aren't super good or anything either, so i'm not sure if I might have problems with higher class DPS, but I would think probably not (after 30 seconds anyway).

I will say, as a paladin I find it funny that they want to add the ability to give us more active mitigation, funny because I'm pretty sure that's what Word of Glory was doing. We were using our main resource, to gain mitigation (as overhealing shields) or actual heals if we weren't full health. I didn't deem it necessary to get more threat, so I spammed WoG for more mitigation. It was supposed to be a choice between do I need more threat or want to heal, we aren't dumb tanks so we always picked more healing in the raid environment and they tried to limit it lol.

They keep tinkering with the tank spec every patch, it's getting alittle frustrating to play. From the last patch in ICC to now, I've had to change my play like 3 times, albeit sometimes minor changes. Obviously the drop of the expansion was a relearning of how to play the class with the new Holy Power component. I didn't like it, I still don't like it very much, but it was a new expansion and I've learned to live with it. The WoG nerf was a big change, Holy Shield going from passive to "active" (Also known as most paladins have this active ability macroed into crusader strike, i personally have it on SotR so that I can save it if for some reason i feel I need to) would be a more minor one, but a change none the less. Now we're going to mid expansion start tinkering with things some more to make us more active? I tanked through all of WotLK for what, 2 yrs, and I never had a problem being "bored" doing 969 myself. Knowledge of the fights, positioning, picking up adds, when to pop CDs, are all the things that I think should be what makes tanking engaging, moreso than the actual rotation, or FCFS, however it happens that you pick your abilities (I'll admit I haven't tanked on my druid hardly at all since cata came out, and my warrior isn't 85, so my knowledge of other classes is limited).

I really don't want to see a similar situation to DKs. Others mentioned above about if in a HM fight a DK has to pick up an add and miss a death strike bam you're dead. How does that even remotely sound fun to anyone? Like really? I'm not sure if that actually happens or not, sounds like it is probably a bit of an exaggeration, but I don't even want to go near that at all lol.

Just wanted to throw in my 2 copper.
You know what would make threat more interesting? Stop making bosses tauntable.
What I would like to see from our new Active Mitigation.

-using your primary resource should increase the effectiveness of your AM (so that we are not sitting idle or feel like dps/threat is a waste even if we are not in danger of losing agro).

-AM should not be spammy if you hit it every time its available its just part of a rotation and mares well stay passive for all the "compelling game play" it adds. There should be a logic to it e.g based on how powerful it currently is (or will be when used) or because you have excess resources (sort of like heroic strike for warriors) then it becomes a interesting. Hitting it because it procc'd or because you lose out if you don't hit it right away doesn't feel tanky.

-Should amplify the feeling or vibe of the class and feel different from other tanks, i.e don't just give death strike to every tank.



Personally I dont this should have been hotfixed. Its a big change, most classes can now afk if they so choose except for dks.
Right now it's tough for DK tanks because they're the only ones on anything resembling an active mitigation model. The one active mitigation guy is going to look like he's working harder than the passive mitigation guys because, in a lot of ways, he is. If all tanks had worked this way from the start, it would be the norm, and nobody would be worried about jumping onto that model.

We've already established that threat isn't making for very compelling encounter design, and removing it offers us the ability to get creative with some of the mechanics that we're using; both in encounter and class design. In a world with no threat management, and no active mitigation, that doesn't leave a lot for tanks to do though. We think that making tanking more active, and focusing that activity around mitigation (which feels immediately useful) will generate some very rewarding gameplay. We want the act of tanking to be engaging, interesting and fun. We think the path forward will offer more of that for all the tanking classes.

Also, I've seen a number of references to making tanking easier in this thread and elsewhere. "Easier" isn't really the goal. The goal is to discard a mechanic which we don't think is working particularly well anymore, and replace it with something more focused and interesting. Doing so should also have the effect of allowing tanks who aren't as geared still do their job when grouped with players who outgear (or even outlevel them a bit). They'll still be responsible for doing a good job, but their absolute ability to hold the attention of the boss won't be a factor; their ability to play well and mitigate damage will be.

We're aware of player concerns about Blood tanking, and we'll work to ensure that Blood tanking will continue to be viable and effective into the future. On that note, we're interested in addressing some of the concerns that have been expressed about the spec (potentially as soon as the next major patch), though we want to accomplish that goal without sacrificing what sets the spec apart and makes it interesting.


If you make all tanks active mitigation as punishing for all the tanks as you do for dk's. I have zero interest in tanking anymore, or even healing RDF anymore at that point. Most dk's you see have no idea how to manage an active mitigation play style, and are a nightmare to heal. This problem will only get worse as you force it on the rest of the tank player base.

So for your sake and the entire player bases sake. I hope you step carefully here. Cause I can see this issue blowing up in your face pretty easily with how you've handled dk's so far.
Stop saying "the entire playerbase" This is a change that's needed to keep it interesting. Who cares if you won't have an interest. You're assuming. And by chance if they do hold up to it, you'll be waiting on the forums for the day the patch notes hit to jump in on any thread talking about tanks having to manage mitigation. You can't take a major thing like threat away and not make it more engaging in some way.
08/16/2011 06:25 PMPosted by Daxxarri
We're aware of player concerns about Blood tanking, and we'll work to ensure that Blood tanking will continue to be viable and effective into the future. On that note, we're interested in addressing some of the concerns that have been expressed about the spec (potentially as soon as the next major patch), though we want to accomplish that goal without sacrificing what sets the spec apart and makes it interesting.


As long as devs are aware of dk tanking flaws and don't make all the tanks feel exactly the same, then I'm at least willing to see what happens with warriors, since right now tanking as a warrior feels lame compared to the number of things I -can- do on my dk.

Join the Conversation