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Posts with tag tanks

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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Ask the Devs Round 9 mitigates your tanking questions

Ask the Devs is back for Round 9, which deals with the most awesome role in WoW ever -- tanking. Of course, coming from a tank, that might be a bit biased -- but deal with it, healers and DPSers. I've got creatures to keep from punching you in your squishy little faces.

Of note this time around is Blizzard's tough time dealing with tanks wanting threat stats (hit and expertise) and the current struggle with making it work. Currently, in cutting-edge content, threat stats are pretty good for initial aggro, but over time, Vengeance does its job admirably and keeps bosses on tanks with relative ease. I think that design decision is hitting the sweet spot, but it begs the question of why even have the threat stats in the first place?

Blizzard also discussed the mastery bonuses for each tank. The devs feel that death knights and druids are doing pretty well, all things considered, and that paladins and warriors have a similar problem in "capping" mastery, but that paladins are more susceptible to problems. There is still the sentiment in the community that Blizzard needs to add its own visual threat meters or some type of aggro status, but there is a reluctance on Blizzard's part to clutter up its own default UI -- understandable, but this may potentially be a part of Blizzard's forthcoming (but not discussed) "how to tank" solution.

Buried in this discussion, however, was a little tidbit about patch 4.3. Blizzard states that the design for the patch 4.2 legendary, Dragonwrath, has wide appeal to a number of staff-wielding ranged DPS classes. However, it then mentions the "patch 4.3 legendary" and its more narrow appeal. Will we be seeing a tanking legendary in the near future, or potentially another healer item? We do know for sure that it will not be as widespread, class-wise, as Dragonwrath, so we can only sit back and assume. What is interesting, though, is that patch 4.3 also looks to be a raid tier and not a patch 4.1-style dungeon content update. Could patch 4.3 be bringing us the War of the Ancients raid that we have been eagerly anticipating, especially with the return of Nozdormu and his crazy time antics? Only time (heh) will tell.

Also, don't expect a new tanking class any time soon. Hit the jump for the full question and answer session.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Ask the Devs Round 9 wants your tanking questions

At precisely noon today (that's right now!), Ask the Devs Round 9 will be up on the official forums. This time, the devs want to know what you want to know about tanking. Are you interested in the incoming 4.2 change that strips dodge from agility for warrior, paladin and death knight tanks? I'm personally interested in why they bothered to do that. Maybe you're more curious about the general direction of tanking in 5-mans, raids and even tank specs in PVP, or you're wondering about how good mastery is going to be for your paladin tank in 4.2.

Whatever your questions are, now is your chance to answer them. So go! Go, my legion of the tanks, go and get the developers' aggro and do not let it go until your questions are answered!

The news is already rolling out for the upcoming WoW Patch 4.2! Preview the new Firelands raid, marvel at the new legendary staff, and get the inside scoop on new quest hubs -- plus new Tier 12 armor!

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

Shifting Perspectives: Tanks, bribes, and player behavior

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, we are not sure if we can be bribed.

As most of you are probably aware, Blizzard recently announced a new incentive structure for the dungeon finder system called the Call to Arms. In essence, it rewards players for performing what is then the most-needed role in the dungeon finder with a BoA bag containing gold, flasks, and, potentially, mounts and pets.

The Tuesday Shifting column covers the two roles most likely to receive the "goodie bags" -- tanking and healing (I don't think anyone's laboring under the delusion that groups can't get off the ground due to a lack of DPS) -- and the ensuing firestorm on the forums caught my eye. Predictably, players have mixed feelings about the change. Many (I think correctly) blame players' rudeness and uncooperative attitudes for driving off the tank population, but even more are indignant that Blizzard is "bribing" tanks for something they feel should have been addressed by role redesign.

Examine all the arguments in their totality, and I think there's only one real conclusion: I don't believe that Blizzard failed in its effort to make tanking more interesting and enjoyable.

I do believe that developers are struggling to deal with a problem created and driven almost entirely by player behavior. Modern heroics aren't fun, not because the content is bad (it's not) or overtuned (it's fine), but Cataclysm combines parts of The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King 5-man experience that don't play well with each other. The dungeon finder contributes to these problems, but not in the way that you'd think.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Death Knight

Patch 4.1: Blizzard unveils dungeon finder Call to Arms

Blizzard just posted a huge announcement to the WoW community site, unveiling the dungeon finder's newest evolution -- Call to Arms. Aimed at reducing the time for dungeon queues, the new Call to Arms will give players the opportunity to queue for level-85 heroics as "needed" roles (tanks and healers) to shorten queues and be rewarded with goodie bags containing gold, rare gems, companion pets, and mounts like the Deathcharger's Reins, Swift White Hawkstrider, and more.

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Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

Lichborne: Death knight tank pre-raid gear guide


Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. Join World of Warcraft's first hero class as we head into a new expansion and shed the new kid on the block label.

So a few editions of Lichborne ago, we talked a bit about stat priorities for death knight tanks. Because of that, I probably won't go over it much more before we head into this week's gear guide, but I did want to give you a quick refresher course. Let's run it down one more time:
  • Stamina is still king, but not as much as it was in previous expansions. You may find that there comes a time when more avoidance or absorption is better than a higher health pool, as the extremely high health pools and new boss design philosophies of Cataclysm mean, for now, that you'll rarely die from a couple hits.
  • In the mastery vs. avoidance struggle, you'll essentially need to experiment to find your best balance. Which stat is best for which tank will depend on personal playstyle and competency, healer and raid competency and composition, and other factors. You should take a balance of each, but where that balancing point is will vary. Recall that Death Strike is getting a slight nerf in patch 4.0.6, which will in turn nudge the balance more toward avoidance for most people.
  • When gearing for avoidance, try to keep dodge and parry percentages as close to each as possible, as they have the same diminishing returns. This means you'll always want to raise the one that's lower for optimal effect. You can do this by regemming and reforging instead of regearing in many cases, especially now that solid gems in every slot isn't 100% mandatory.
  • Hit and expertise are not as mandatory as they are for most DPS, but you may find they help you with threat. That said, you should never go beyond 8% hit rating and 26 expertise. If you're mastery-heavy, you'll want to focus a bit more on these stats, as missing a Death Strike could prove catastrophic.
With all this in mind, let's take a look at some of the stuff you should be rooting up as you prepare to tank the first tier of Cataclysm raiding. Note that while some ilevel 333 items may be decent stopgap options for a raider with an experienced raid group that doesn't mind a bit of undergearing, I've left them off this list, and you really should just try for the higher-level options. Finally, don't feel too guilty if you can't afford some of the crafted or world drop BoEs on this guide. Most raid groups probably won't hold it against you, and in some cases, they're arguably inferior to or only marginally better than BoP drops anyway.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

Officers' Quarters: Be kind to your tanks and healers


Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook, available now from No Starch Press.

If you've queued as a DPS for the dungeon finder lately, you've probably marveled at the estimated time and wondered what happened to all the tanks and healers. Maybe fewer players want to tank when crowd control is necessary; maybe fewer players want to heal when mana must be managed. Maybe it's the fact that gear is more critical at this point in an expansion, so people are shy about signing up for those roles. Or maybe all the tanks and healers are skipping the unpredictable dungeon finder crowd altogether and looking for guilds to join.

Whatever the cause, dungeon finder queues for DPS are absolutely brutal at the moment. If you don't want to wait 30-plus minutes for every run, you're going to need tanks and healers in your guild who are willing to run heroics. You may wonder, why wouldn't they be willing to run heroics? After all, the content is fresh, the upgrades are flowing, and most people still need justice and/or valor points.

The question isn't so much whether they want to run heroics; the question is whether they want to run heroics with you, right now.

This week, I'm going to focus on what players and officers can do to avoid stressing out your tanks and healers and help them to enjoy the game along with everyone else.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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

Cataclysm tanking changes expanded

If you read Fox's post yesterday, well, I hope you braced yourself for more changes. Because here they are. When the devs said more specifics were coming soon, they were not kidding us. Also, Fox is mean to tanks, but he's a DPS player; we're used to their silly little ways. Anyway, let's take a look at the newly announced changes, shall we?

Zarhym - Re: Upcoming Tanking Changes
Here are a few additional changes we are making which will be applied in patch 4.0.3a:

  • Guardian of Ancient Kings -- Damage reduction changed from 60% to 50%. Cooldown still 2 minutes (talented). Duration still 12 seconds.
  • Icebound Fortitude -- Damage reduction changed from 30% to 20% (or 60% to 50% talented). Cooldown still 2 minutes. Duration still 12 seconds.
  • Shield Wall -- Damage reduction changed from 40% to 50%. Cooldown still 2 minutes (talented). Duration still 12 seconds.
  • Glyph of Shield Wall -- Now buffs damage reduction by 10% (to 60%), but only adds 1 minute of cooldown.
  • Survival Instincts -- Damage reduction changed from 60% to 50%. Cooldown reduced from 5 minutes to 2 minutes. Duration still 12 seconds.
  • Bear Form -- Stamina bonus lowered from 20% to 10% and Heart of the Wild health bonus from 10% to 6%. Bear health should be close to plate tank health with this change.
  • Vigilance -- No longer reduces damage by 3%, but will still reset Taunt cooldown and provide Vengeance for the warrior.



In addition to these changes, there was much expounding on the tanking design philosophy, which we will cover after that jump I hear so much about. Being a tank (and thus kind of slow mentally, according to Fox ... man, see if anyone taunts for him in Cataclysm dungeons), I need to go over these things in detail.

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

Shifting Perspectives: Pulling 101: Assessing the group


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting feral/restoration druids and those who group with them.

For a long time, I've been kicking an article around on the art of the 5-man pull. Knowing how and when to pull is arguably the foundation of a smooth dungeon run, and it's certainly among the first skills that any tank needs to develop. While a not-insignificant portion of one's ability to pull cleanly only arrives courtesy of experience with a wide variety of players, there are a few rules that approach universal status. Moreover, I expect them to be equally useful when I hit the new Cataclysm dungeons and have to figure out how to tank for a group safely in a new environment with new mobs.

The more I wrote on pulling, the more I realized that the subject can be divided into two very distinct categories: what happens before you pull, and what happens while you're pulling. This week's column addresses the former. Everything I am about to tell you in this column is something that you, as an experienced tank, will eventually do in the space of a second without even realizing you're doing it.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Take your tanking to the next level

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW.com.

Whether you are a first-time tank or a grizzled hardcore raid veteran, a death knight, druid, paladin or warrior, you will find some useful nuggets in these top 10 tank tips.

10. Pay attention to what abilities trigger the global cooldown (and pay more attention to those that do not). For example, warriors can generate threat on a large group by charging a mob in the back and using Thunder Clap on the mobs in the front as you pass through them. This is possible because Charge does not trigger the global cooldown. Likewise, abilities like Concussion Blow and Rune Strike can be macroed into other abilities.

9. Use a unit frames addon. An addon like Grid, which is generally regarded as specific to healing can be invaluable to a tank because of the sheer amount of information that can be concisely displayed. Grab a few additional Grid modules like GridStatusThreat and GridStatusRaidDebuffs and, at a glance, you can see your threat situation, major debuffs, etc. as well as having a handy mouseover frame for the next tip.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Death Knight, Guest Posts

The Light and How to Swing It: Gearing a new level 80 tankadin, part 2


With the Light as his strength, Gregg Reece of The Light and How to Swing It faces down the demons of the Burning Legion, the undead of the Scourge, and soon, an entire flight of black dragons.

We're still talking about fresh, up-and-coming tanking paladins who have just hit level 80 and are looking for gear. After taking another look back at it, most of last week was concentrating on items from reputation vendors and craftable items that you could either make for yourself or nab off the auction house. I decided that I could have done a lot more with various tanking drops from dungeons and items from the emblem vendors. So, this week we'll take a look at just about everything a level 80 can nab from a dungeon for tanking, and next week we'll take a look at what you can do with all of those emblems you earned up running dungeons.

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

Cataclysm tanking cooldown feedback wanted

Nethaera hit the forums this morning, asking for feedback from tanks around the globe. Ghostcrawler has been having a lively discussion with tanks (most specifically protection warriors) recently, and now they seem to be formalizing the discussion for the wider audience.

Nethaera
We're currently working on the tanking cooldowns for tanks in Cataclysm. We're interested in feedback from the community on what makes cooldowns fun and useful. For example, what is the sweet spot in cooldown duration between an ability with such a short cooldown that you must mash it constantly versus an ability with such a long cooldown? Which current abilities are fun? Putting aside any rose-colored glasses, were there cooldowns in Burning Crusade or classic WoW that you miss in Lich King? What, in your minds, should the role be for talents and glyphs. For example, if glyphs shouldn't reduce cooldowns, what can they do?

Nethaera goes on to remind people that this thread isn't the place for balance discussions necessarily, and certainly not a place to debate who's overpowered. This feedback also won't dictate exactly what the developers will do, it will simply help them make the right decisions. Do you have an opinion? Then head on over to the forums and make it known! Politely, of course.

Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Shifting Perspectives: Tanks and the barrier to entry


Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week, we have cause to reflect on something written by our esteemed colleague Archmage Pants: "Tanking is an interesting thing. It makes you hate everyone else in the party."

It comes as no shock to a longtime player that WoW's social culture is riddled with a number of real-life counterparts, and one of the more troublesome is something called the barrier to entry. In real life, this refers to the difficulty of becoming a qualified professional in a given field, and there are some jobs where the barrier to entry is very high indeed.

Take neurosurgery, for example. Ideally, you want to be completely sure of someone's aptitude for the job before you let them take a buzzsaw to your skull. Society relies on the grueling education and residency required to be a neurosurgeon to weed out anyone prone to use of the word, "Oops."

While there's nothing in WoW that comes close to the seriousness of getting a competent surgeon, most players would acknowledge that there are similarities between the RL and in-game version of the "barrier to entry." I'd argue that the comparison is strongest when you're discussing tanks. Tanks, and more importantly, beginner tanks who could potentially ease the tank shortage that causes lengthy queue times for DPS in the Dungeon Finder, have to hurdle a series of problems in the effort to become geared and experienced. Some of these problems are the result of deliberate design choices on Blizzard's part, but the larger share is the consequence of a playerbase that needs tanks but is (ironically) hostile to beginners.

Everyone wants an experienced professional. Nobody wants to be there for the learning process.

And if you're a beginner tank, there's a lot of crap in your way that Blizzard didn't put there.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Tanking hotfixes being implemented

A recent hotfix has reduced the health on tanking paladins. Meanwhile, devastate is being hotfixed as well to do 20% more total damage rather than 20% more weapon damage (from 100% to 120% total weapon damage presently). There are also some scattered reports that DK tanks have gotten buffs to their Frost Presence as well, but no confirmation from Blizzard on that yet. Ghostcrawler posted that the change to Paladin health was intentional and that an announcement will be soon, and in the warrior thread said that they can't confirm when the hotfix for devastate will drop.

The culprit for the paladin health reduction seems to be the paladin talent Sacred Duty, although this has, at this time, not been confirmed by Blizzard so far as I can find. As soon as there's an announcement we at WoW.com will of course bring it to you.

Edited to include this link to the official forum post explaining the change. Thanks to ummeiko for the fast catch.

Filed under: Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Death Knight

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