Aug 162011

So, GC came out of hiding and posted a long dev blog post on threat. (Read the whole thing.) Summed up, it basically says, “we decided threat management wasn’t a fun situation anymore, so it’s gone. Oh, and btw, we’d like all the tanks to work like DK’s do.”

My thoughts:

  • I disagree with him about throttling. Full-time tanks are welcome to correct me on this, but IMO, what makes the game fun is tradeoffs (Do we bring 6 healers or 7? Do I gear for hit or haste? Leatherworking or Enchanting?). As a tank, having to at least consider threat made things more interesting. As a RL, having to consider who knew how to use threat-reduction CD’s effectively was interesting. Lots of heroic-mode fights are/were exercises in threat management (Staghelm, Hodir), and I don’t remember tanks getting upset over those.
  • That said, I’d have appreciated this change a LOT more in WOTLK, when we had 1) crappy Cower, and 2) died in one errant hit. HP pools have increased to the point where my druid can take a few hits in 5-mans and survive.
  • I do agree, though, that LFD presents unique challenges, due to drastically different gear levels. The threat increase could’ve just been baked into the LotD buff.
  • Long-term, I like the idea of moving mitigation away from passive stats and more towards active stats. They’ve already done that with DK’s and Druids, really, so we have a trend…problem is, two-thirds of all tanks are shield tanks, who will not like change. There’s a reason only one-third of tanks are DK’s and Druids. :)

Comment away!

 Posted by at 12:47 pm

  23 Responses to “Wow. Was not expecting the threat changes.”

  1. It seems crazy that they are changing this at this time. It’s as if they are saying “Here’s a new raid tier, oh, and also all tanks except DKs need to relearn how to play as if it’s a new expansion. Have fun.”

    Maybe it’s not that big of a deal, we will have to wait and see. As a druid tank I wasn’t really caring about hit/exp anyway. Threat increased with gear. As a tank this just feels like a way to make dps easier. For us, it is probably just another cool down that will need to be managed, no big deal.

    Now, as my hunter alt, I like the fact I don’t need to throttle my dps up in the beginning of a fight…but that’s what I used MD for in the first place.

    I feel like my hunter just got a little bit more boring to play with one less thing to worry about.

    Perhaps more dps should have threat transfers like MD and Tricks. Put some burden of skill on the dps, rather then making it easier.

  2. I’m happy about the active management. That’s a long time in coming, though I’d really rather it not be entirely like the DK model which is frustrating. But anything that makes savage defense not quite so annoying is welcome.

    I’m not happy about threat, but that’s because I like threat. I miss the days where putting out good threat meant you were a good tank. I realize that it can be frustrating for others, but I think that’s akin to it being frustrating for a DPS to do badly or for a healer to heal badly.

    Honestly, I wish they’d focus more on the healing side of things. Healing is harder than it’s ever been with fewer tools in their UI than tanking or damage. Healers are becoming the real short straw now, especially in the new model. Threat isn’t an issue and I don’t care if it really is, but healing needs massive improvements in quality of life.

    I do admit – I long for the new days when tank ability is measured almost entirely by how much DTPS the tank takes.

  3. I think LOTRO is an interesting comparison. LOTRO has two tank classes- the guardian and the warden, which play VERY differently. Guardian plays like a WoW prot warrior. Warden has a MUCH more unique and challenging system (somewhat like Age of Conan’s, actually, where you have a few basic strikes, and you combine them together to form all your skills,)
    Warden was much more fun to play (IMHO) but much harder to learn, so it remains the lesser-played tank class (or at least it was when I was playing).

  4. As a healer I like these changes. I’ve noticed in our raids that our dps players are increasing their dps faster than the tanks are increasing theirs. That’s not sustainable. And my healing aggro is insane. If I’ve been hotting people up for a while and adds spawn? I’d better pray my husband’s taunt is off cooldown – oh and that there’s only one add. Not a whole pack of them. Like on Ryolith. Die little firey adds die.

    Anyway. I want my tanks to work to stay alive, not to keep threat. Staying alive means they’re on the same team as my healers and me. It keeps reminding them that moving out of bad, reducing damage, and keeping up debuffs is more important than their dps.

    I’d actually like to see a model where tanks are only doing about 1/5th the dps that a real dps character is doing. Let’s emphasis that there is a real difference in roles between a prot warrior and an arms warrior!

  5. As a long time agro-whore, I’ve been paying people for Salvation, spamming cower on CD (only since it begane to not suck… f’n Cata), and calling for tank taunts when I’m creeping. I typically put up fff at the beginning, wait till the CD comes off, then engage, and still have to call for salv, etc… Doesn’t mean my tanks are horrible, it means A) I outgear them, B) I’m blowing my load, C) I’m better than them at my class, D) I’m going to be throttled which is makes it no fun to play, E) I have a high crit class which, per point of dmg to amount of threat, makes it excedingly difficult to manage early threat, or F) any combination of A-E.

    With that being said, I’m up for a threat change, however, I do not like that it’s going to make my tanking more boring. If the tanking changes too much, you’ll lose some quality from yoru tanking, which will reflect on pick-ups, etc, and just begin to make, overall, the gameplay lackluster.

    The question I have to ask… does this mean I can start on the boss when everyone else does?

    F’n feral threat…

    • All true.

      (Actually, riding the tank’s threat is a lot more fun as a ranged DPS, where you get 130% and some reaction time if you accidentally pull. Not so much for melee.)

  6. Yeah they needed to do something. Our DK tank is ranked for dps on almost every fight. That being said I am still having to cower early in fights quite often. Did they need to do this probably not. This honestly seems like a way to dumb the game down for the dungeon finder non hardcore group of players. It is going to make add fights a complete joke.

  7. I have to admit I dislike the proposed threat changes. I guess I just like more of the onus to be on the players. If threat is a problem, why not give players a way to fix it, rather then saying “here, let us take care of that for you”

    Druids are a nice example, because (as far as I know) we are the only tank with a cooldown – berserk – to help with threat. It was a good feeling as an undergeared tank to go into a pull you knew was going to get hairy, pop zerk, and get everything under control.

    Take the cooldown off cower. Undergeared feral DPS will never need it, extremely well geared ones will be able to use it to effectively manage threat without “throttling back” and going on auto-attack.

    I just think there are tools the players could get to fix these issues, rather then Bliz taking threat out of our control.

    • Berskerk isn’t a unique threat cooldown — for example, the warrior tanks I raid with (10m) regularly use Recklessness on pulls. It helps, but I still find managing early threat frustrating, because it’s arbitrarily random right now, especially if a fight is a dps race. Later on, threat almost never matters. I’m hoping the Vengeance changes will help a bit. As it is, Vengeance just doesn’t seem to scale intuitively with gear, especially if you favor survivability.

      I think threat is interesting as a mechanic, and I’d like to see it still matter, but I think it’d be more interesting if it sometimes came into play later on into a fight, where abilities like Cower could reduce a significant amount of threat, instead of the little it does early on. Perhaps tanks could get an additional flat threat bonus at the beginning to allow for some early RNG, instead of a larger continuous threat bonus, either as a new cooldown, or as some kind of automatic mechanic. I agree it would be better if it could be left as a challenge to players, but I suspect they are going to need to add or re-tune abilities for a lot of classes if they want to go that direction. If they can make tanking a more “active” role, I’d be interested to see it.

  8. I actually did a full post on this today! That’s just how interesting those news are!

    Anyway, I’m hoping they -don’t- back down from the ideas they tossed out. As a mainly tank player, I’d -much- rather my performance was based on how well I can avoid or reduce incoming damage than how much threat I can put out.

    Back in Wrath, healer mana was pretty much infinite, but DPS damage was scaling WAY better than Tank damage. So you really had to put out threat to have your raid working smoothly. In Cataclysm, healer mana is a precious resource and DPS don’t scale -that- much better anymore due to Vengeance (it’s still a bit flaky early in the pull). Considering how that paradigm has flipped, I’m really happy with not having to worry about threat but helping out the healer by taking less damage.

    Threat really isn’t an issue when you’re geared or have good players with you, so this change (not counting the future redesigns) will really only affect LFG-goers. Anything that makes tanking randoms less frustrating (and thus increases the pool of tanks) is good in my book! Sure, I’ll be missing out on Call To Arms packages with more tanks around, but it’s for the greater good!

  9. Saying that removing threat will make tanking and dpsing more boring is just not getting the whole picture. They are REPLACING the threat management so you they can focus the encounter design on cd management for both dps and tanks.

    As a DPS, having to worry more about using Dash/Stampede and some in-combat Prowl (how awesome would that be?) and as a tank, having to worry more about rage management for survival cooldowns instead of a fix timer.

    The way I see it, the upcoming add fights will be focused on all dpsers surviving for 5-10 seconds on their own while the tank picks the adds and tanks should mind their rotations to have enough rage to use their cds in the right time IE: A crappy tank with a crappy rotation will generate lousy cds or not be able to cd at all and will die.

  10. Meh, as long as I can still bearcat.

  11. This change is based on numbers. The number of subscribers. What they are doing is trying to stem the loss of subscribers. Blizz had around a 10% loss over the last half year. On some other sites I posted long posts about this and how it tied to the other expansions and subscriber increases.

    Bottom line is right now Blizz sees that tank/healer classes make up a historic low percentage of their subscribers. That means they had to do something or DPS will quit (no tanks/healers long wait times) and more tanks/healers will quit.

    Ask a healer if Cata has been fun for them. Ask a tank to compare previous expansions with Cata and which is more stressfull. This change is all about trying to expand the tank base and then the healer base to stem losses in subscribers.

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