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Posts with tag Threat

The Light and How to Swing It: The ups and downs of protection's funky aggro

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Granted, as far as class design goes, protection paladins are sitting fairly pretty (and not just the blood elves). Our rotation is great, our stat priorities produce a fun playstyle, our talents do what they need to. We don't have any serious holes in our stable of cooldowns, and on the whole staying alive isn't really an issue for us as long as there's a healer nearby. If you had to ask me what the biggest source of frustration with my paladin is, I would quickly reply with the inconsistencies of how aggro plays out.

That's not to say that single-target, Patchwerk-like aggro is an issue. Vengeance as-is means that tanks really aren't going to lose threat if they have a lead and they're being punched in the face. Rather, where the look and feel of the system breaks down is on the periphery, and in particular when new adds appear as the clock ticks on those crucial few seconds between spawning and gnawing of the closest healer.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

The Light and How to Swing It: The problem with tanks

The Light and How to Swing It The problem with tanks SAT
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Last Thursday, Ghostcrawler tweeted something which caused a bit of a stir within the tanking community. In it he revealed that the devs were looking at some strict caps for Vengeance levels (30% of health for 10s, 50% for 25s) that would prevent tanks from using Vengeance to pursue unintended things like solo tanking a two-tank raid boss or standing in fire to stack really obscene amounts of attack power.

Now, this isn't another column about the virtues or not of Vengeance. That's a pretty mutilated horse at this point, and from the looks of it, the mechanic is not going anywhere any time soon. However, the brief rekindling of the Vengeance debate did once again shine some light on what is a continuing problem in WoW: what should tanks be allowed to do (in terms of damage output) and what can be done to keep players from parlaying excessive survivability into unintended advantages?

What do you do when one third (arguably two-thirds, a lot of this can apply to healers as well) of your players' roles revolves around the mitigation and prevention of damage, and the primary means you have of creating barriers or challenges for players is the threat of character death?

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Blood Pact: A pewpewer's notes from tanking and healing

Blood Pact A pewpewer's notes from tanking and healing MON
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill muses about tanking, healing, and why she really does play a DPS.

I have a confession: I was once a tank. Technically I could have been half a tank, because I think I healed just as often, but once upon a time I rolled a druid with the intent of getting a melee DPS perspective.

One night in Wrath of the Lich King, my first guild had some trouble with kiting the adds on Gluth. So we upped the tank count to 3: the paladin tank moved to the back for holy tag with the undead while the former-bear warrior walked me through my feral spellbook as I sat in bear form on that pipe. I think it was the extra Mauls that hooked me. I became a bear tank with a branch-waving offspec.

I have fond memories of alt or PUG raids where I had cooldown-busting health pools and hero-bear resurrections between Gormok's death and the arena entrance of Acidmaw and Dreadscale. But as my guild tore apart in the beginnings of Icecrown Citadel, I've been back to pewpewing from the back as a warlock. My bear is merely an alt.

But my bear has made my warlock a little stronger.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact, Mists of Pandaria

Vengeance, threat stats, and the future of tanking

Personally, I love Vengeance, even with all of its ups and downs and redesigns. But a recent discussion of Vengeance by math guy Theck over at Sacred Duty has hit the forums, and Ghostcrawler responded with the following.

Ghostcrawler - Why make vengeance so complicated .. really.
We don't want tanks to do awesome damage just for being tanks. We want tanks to do awesome damage when they are actually tanking. That remains the governing philosophy behind the design.

Remember, Vengeance doesn't exist to give tanks something fun to do. It exists solely to make sure tank threat stays high when DPS characters are gearing for higher DPS while the tanks gear primarily for survival. Tanks only need to generate high threat when they are tanking, and typically threat is the most important on the most dangerous opponents, which also tend to be those who hit the hardest.

As an aside, if I was able to design WoW solely for me, threat would still be an important stat to gear for. Raiders would scoff at tanks who stacked only Stamina as being bad tanks because they couldn't hold aggro. It was fun for me back in BWL to try to generate higher threat than the warlocks. I don't think it was that fun for the warlocks though. I don't think it was that fun for the rest of the raid when I screwed up e.g. my Heroic Strike use and caused us to wipe without them feeling like they could do anything to resolve the situation except stop DPS. Fortunately, I recognize that WoW would have far fewer players if I got to design it totally around what I find fun. :)



Here's the thing: I used to gear for threat. As recently as early Cataclysm, before the 500% threat increase, I was arguing for hit and expertise gear on tanks. Threat stats and threat generation were important parts of gearing a tank. A good tank didn't just ignore those stats. Granted, I've always tanked on a warrior, and that's been the lowest damage (and thus, lowest threat) tanking class since The Burning Crusade. But I was always motivated to put out as much threat as I could feasibly arrange and stay alive.

So now I'm forced to consider: Is this a case where Ghostcrawler should be designing for himself? Yes, I understand the argument that it's not fun for DPS players to have to throttle themselves. But are our only options Vengeance and massive threat or throttling?

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Death Knight, Mists of Pandaria

The Light and How to Swing It: An updated look at the prot paladin rotation

Casting Holy Shield
Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

With some of the buffs from 4.3 (specifically the buff to Seal of Truth, when Judged) along with ever-increasing stats and item levels, our rotational priorities have changed as well. In order to keep everyone up to date on the latest theorycrafting being brought down from Mt. Sinai from Theck over at Maintankadin (as well as a refresher for the rustiest among us), this column today will look over single-target and AoE threat rotations and talk about what is the most optimal way to roll face.

First things first -- the right setup

Talenting is important when it comes to producing threat. If you're sacrificing a key DPS increaser like Reckoning for a monstrosity like Hallowed Ground, you're going to be doing yourself a disservice in the long run. No matter how cool a damage-dealing talent sounds (Eye for an Eye is case in point here), unless it brings the proper numbers to the table in the sims, it's not worth it if optimal play is your goal.

This is the pretty standard setup. I included the three heaviest-hitting prime glyphs in there as well. With regard to the talents, you can also go a little deeper by swapping the second point out of Pursuit of Justice and finishing off Grand Crusader. The second point is worth about 241 DPS with 2% hit/10 expertise.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Arcane Brilliance: The threat hotfix and you

Jim from Threat Level Midnight
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're applying a hotfix to Arcane Brilliance. Beginning now, any warlock who reads Arcane Brilliance will be overcome by intense feelings of self-loathing and an irresistible urge to reroll a mage. The column's actually been functioning this way for some time now, and we thought we ought to just make it official.

I figure it's about time we discussed the threat hotfix, mages. And before we go any further, I should point out that from now on, the threat level is always midnight. The hotfix has been in the game for a few weeks now, and I would have brought it up long before now but I got kinda sidetracked daydreaming about the whole transmogrification thing. Now that I've spent a few weeks going through all of the pretty dresses in my wardrobe and deciding which one I want to wear on my next date with Ragnaros (he's a passable conversationalist, a snappy dresser, and the dates are so much more fun now that he's bipedal ... but he tends to shout a lot, and he's a lousy tipper), I'm ready to talk about what amounts to the complete removal of one of the most basic MMO battle mechanics from the game.

Now, removal isn't the right word, I know. Threat is still technically in the game, but it no longer really matters much.

It's been sort of difficult to wrap my mind around, to be honest. It's as if I woke up one morning and discovered that I no longer needed to wear pants. For so long, pants (or a reasonable pants equivalent) were pretty much a requirement when leaving the house, but now, pantslessness is considered the style. Do I still have pants in my closet? Sure, but I only keep them in there to hide my porn beneath.

So how does this new status quo impact us as a class? And is the change good, bad, or does it lie somewhere along the spectrum between those two extremes?

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Dev Watercooler: Bloody mitigation

In Ghostcrawler's last Dev Watercooler blog entry, tanking and threat were given a new focus when it came to World of Warcraft encounter design and gameplay experience. Threat for tanks was greatly increased, and the focus for tanks in the future seemed to hinge on active mitigation versus a combination of threat generation and damage mitigation.

Today, Ghostcrawler (lead systems designer Greg Street) posted more thoughts about overhauling tanking. He delves into what active mitigation means for the WoW team, some potential models that the future of tanking can hold for many tanking classes, and a deep, introspective look into what it means to hit buttons as a tank. Plus, he goes in-depth on how these major changes ahead will affect death knights first.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Is it time to kill tanking?

Please note I said "tanking" and not "tanks." If you know a tank, give him or her a hug. He or she isn't clad in cold metal or an angry bear that will tear off your face because of you; it's those pesky mobs.

The tanking system has long been somewhat problematic in World of Warcraft. While it scales to some degree, from 5-man dungeons to 10-man raids, the scaling falls apart when we get to 25-man raiding, which currently demands about the same amount of tanking as 10-man. You can get through most of Firelands with two tanks, no matter your raid size. Majordomo Staghelm only requires one tank, again, no matter your raid size. This means that the scaling from five to 10 works, but as soon as you go from 10 to 25, instead of needing 2.5 times more tanks, you need no more tanks.

The other problem is simply that there already aren't enough tanks for every 5-man group. When the Call to Arms feature was announced for the Dungeon Finder tool, it was created out of the simple fact that we're not seeing the distribution we'd expect in the playerbase. In order for the Dungeon Finder to work without significant group queues, we would need 20% of the people queuing up to be tanks (1 in 5 = 20%). This is not the case.

People simply don't want the perceived group responsibility of tanking. It's why changes were made to CC mechanics that allow groups to CC on the fly without pulling. It's why Call to Arms exists. And yet, despite both of these changes, tanking was still so unattractive to players that threat itself needed to be redesigned. All of this work to try and get people to tank. Maybe the problem isn't the players here, though. Maybe it's the role.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight

Breakfast Topic: A week with new threat

I have to admit it: in the week since the threat changes were hotfixed, I've run a lot more of the Cataclysm heroics than I otherwise would. I don't need to run them; I'm JP- and VP-capped. No, I'm running heroics because I can finally just cut loose.

As a DPS player, I'm fairly bored with ZG/ZA. I've seen the inside of these places pretty much every day since patch 4.1 dropped, and while they're well-designed instances, that's too much. (I've made these feelings plain already this week.) But now that threat's been increased across the board, it is actually fun for me to queue up for one of the random heroics from launch and go full tilt. I still have a nasty habit of counting to three before I open up, but aside from that, I'm ripping into mobs as fast as I can and having a ball with it.

So now I ask you: Are you tanking again? Are you queuing up to DPS or heal, secure in the idea that you won't pull threat? Or have these changes turned you off? How are you handling our glorious threat overlords?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The new tanking threat paradigm and you

If you're wondering what all the fuss about Ghostcrawler's latest dev watercooler post is about, well, you should probably go read it. Some of these changes have already gone live on the realms, while others won't until the next patch. The basic gist is as follows:
  1. Threat generated by tanks has been increased from 300% of damage dealt to 500%. What this means in practice is if your tank is doing 5k DPS, you'd need to do over 25k DPS to pull threat off of him or her. (You need to do roughly 110% of tank threat to pull once he or she has aggro, so you'd actually need to do 27.5k DPS to pull off of a tank doing 5k DPS.) This change was hotfixed in, so if you're noticing your tank is suddenly doing a lot more threat per second, that's why.
  2. The way Vengeance stacks is going to be streamlined. Vengeance currently ramps up somewhat slowly. In the current model, every time you take damage as a tank, you gain 5% of the damage you take as attack power. So if you're hit for 20,000 damage, you gain 1,000 attack power. As you take more and more damage, this stacks up to a maximum of 10% of your health, so for a tank with 165,000 health, this caps at 16,500 attack power. In the new version, when a tank takes that 20,000 damage, he or she will gain one-third of the damage of the attack as attack power immediately, or 6,600 AP. This is more than six times as much attack power gained as in the current model. Vengeance will otherwise work the way it does now.
These two things combined by themselves mean that, except in cases where the DPS simply blows all their cooldowns immediately upon seeing the trash coming or as soon as they see the boss while the tank is sitting down to eat, threat will be almost trivial for a tank to gain and maintain. In addition to this revelation (which we are already starting to play with right now, as I experienced in a recent pickup Zul'Gurub instance), Ghostcrawler talks about how tanking will be redesigned to remain active with this new design philosophy.

This is really groundbreaking stuff, and it means that patch 4.3 will see the complete dismantling of the legacy of vanilla WoW tanking design. Once, gaining and keeping threat was the most important role of the tank, more important even that survival, and many endgame tanks were warriors 31/5/15 specced into Defiance in the protection tree to ensure threat. These changes can be seen as driving a final nail into that kind of tanking's coffin.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Death Knight

Patch 4.2 hotfixes for August 16

Blizzard's Zarhym released a new set of hotfix notes tonight. While many of these should be live as we speak, remember that some of these fixes may require a server restart to take hold. Among some of the highlights:
  • Threat generation for all tanks has been increased to 500%, up from 300%. This is in line with today's Dev Watercooler.
  • Occu'thar has come into a larger supply of PVE gear than he previously possessed.
The full list of hotfixes is as follows after the break.

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Filed under: News items, Hotfixes

Dev Watercooler: Ghostcrawler discusses massive changes to threat

The Dev Watercooler returns with a long, meaty, and controversial post from Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street all about threat stats and the ever-changing role threat plays in World of Warcraft encounter design. In this newest blog, Ghostcrawler muses about last December, when he and his team were preparing to revisit and rework threat stats to make them more compelling for tanks. Since then, the developers have changed their minds about the role of threat completely, almost eliminating threat altogether.

Ghostcrawler addresses the biggest point with the most passion -- threat isn't fun. It never has been, and threat stats aren't fun to balance. Personally, as a tank, the most contempt and frustration I have for World of Warcraft comes from my inability to control DPSers who can't stop pressing their buttons for a second. It's just not fun to get mad at unskilled players. Ghostcrawler wants interaction between new and experienced players to be positive, and when DPSers blame undergeared or new tanks for threat issues when they have successfully beaten Ragnaros to a pulp and taken his gear, it doesn't make for a positive experience.

With patch 4.3, threat is going to become largely a non-issue. Threat is being increased to five times damage, up from three times damage. Each tank will be given new active defense cooldowns, much like death knight's Death Strike. Warriors, it seems, will be getting the biggest redesign of the bunch, with rage causing a big problem with how warriors need to spend resources to maximize survivability. DPSers will largely be unaffected and will, in fact, have less time when they have to stop attacking or stop their rotations, because threat will be less of an issue.

Check out the full blog post for more information on the huge changes coming to threat in patch 4.3. There is a lot coming in the future, and we will be testing this stuff heavily on the PTR and have more information when it becomes available.

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The Light and How to Swing It: 4 ways to improve your threat without sacrificing survivability

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 24 other people, obsessing over his hair (a blood elf racial!), and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Last week, we talked about to improve your combat table coverage through four easy tips. This week, I'm going to swing the pendulum to the other direction, away from survivability and toward the Candyland that is threat. Truthfully, in this age of Vengeance, there sometimes doesn't seem to be a particular need to work on augmenting one's threat, but corner cases exist where your personal damage output can be crucial to the success of an encounter.

When it comes to boosting threat, the usual advice is often to gem differently or wear some hit or expertise trinkets. The downside to that, of course, is that you're trading survivability for an increase in damage output. While that might be kosher for heroics or farm content, when the bosses are still dangerous, you want to play it safe. As I'll be detailing in today's column, it's very possible to bring the pain without shooting yourself in the foot.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Ghostcrawler talks tanks and threat

Hey everyone, having fun in those heroics yet? In my own personal (PUG) experiences, things go wrong far more often than they go right. While healer longevity is a major issue, effective crowd control and threat management is growing to be another. Some tanks are just ill-equipped to handle generating threat on supercharged mobs, and some DPSers are just unable to understand the basic rules of threat -- or ignore those rules entirely.

Perhaps it's timely, then, that Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street posted a blog entry about Blizzard's philosophy with regard to threat. The piece is something of a follow up to his previous blog entry on Vengeance and threat. A few of the key takeaways of his latest post include:

Threat Needs to Matter
"We don't think it's too much to ask for DPS and healers to wait a couple of GCDs for the tank to get the enemy under control ..."

"... if someone is nuking or cleaving a random target on a group pull instead of assisting the tank, that's not the tank's fault."

"... overall, we'd like to present threat better since we're asking you to take it seriously in the PvE game."


The post, "Threat Needs to Matter," is worth reading regardless of whether you're a tank or not. The full text is after the break.

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Filed under: News items

Lichborne: The lowdown on diseaseless blood tanking


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights.

With everyone getting used to blood being the sole tanking tree, combined with all the new tanking style changes already here in patch 4.0.1 (and more to come in Cataclysm), we've been working at crunching numbers and figuring out strategies to deal with it all. One of the most interesting new paradigms to come out of this is actually a pretty old one: diseaseless blood. Diseaseless blood DPS did rear its head every once in a while back in the Wrath era, and now it's back for tanking. At both the heroic dungeon and raid levels, death knight tanks all over WoW are reporting diseaseless tanking as a superior playstyle in ease of use, survivability and threat generation.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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