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Reader Comments (16)

Posted: Jul 11th 2010 8:30AM Serious Table said

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I used to be adament about threat-generation on many of my characters in many games, but World of Warcraft ran into a... how would you say... threat inflation problem. I'd have to do maybe two or three cycles of four moves, and I'd have so much threat I could really AFK for the boss fight, make a sandwich, and come back. The damage dealers can't do that, the healers can't do that (barring heroics), so I think there needs to be a change in the way threat is handled. I personally believe it SHOULD be an active thing, or tanks will become lazy and then suddenly complain when it gets 'hard'.

Posted: Jul 11th 2010 8:59AM (Unverified) said

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I like threat to actually matter. If it isn't possible to pull the boss off the tank threat may as well not exist.

On a side note; please don't link stealth whines about Paladins and call it "eloquent". Especially when they go on to say in the comments section that the Hunters and Rogues he plays with won't use Tricks of the Trade or Misdirect unless asked too (WTF?) but he holds threat fine without them therefore using those abilities are a waste of time (Uhhhh...) but threat is fine and doesn't need to be made harder :/

Posted: Jul 11th 2010 9:31AM Averice said

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Yeah, I agree with Ameliorate. As soon as I hit that initial whine about Paladins in his blog it was just... this isn't eloquent lol.

I don't know if "threat decay" is needed, but a change to threat most definitely is. I mean, as Blizzard themselves recently said, there is a lot more that tanks have to look out for in terms of CD useage, positioning, and movement than they did in previous expansions raids. So it's not like tanks haven't been working. But when threat doesn't matter anymore, it kind of reduces the effort necessary by the rest of the raid imo. It reminds me a bit of another issue, where CC is being added back into the game, similar issue, and I'm just as for it. Threat should matter in WoW raiding.

As for the best threat mechanics in any game I've ever played or seen? I really can't say. The entire concept of threat is kind of silly, but at the same time very necessary. No matter how many variables are thrown in, the boss fight will always feel heavily scripted as long as the system of threat is used, but it's not like I've seen any better systems out there. Even GW2 coming out will still use threat, they just won't have healers, from my current understanding.
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Posted: Jul 11th 2010 9:22AM Minofan said

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Old fashioned aggro management is... old fashioned!
Like the inability to jump, XP death penalties, item degradation and so on, once you've played without it you can never quite wrap your head around it the same way again.

Hopefully enough developers will stop dropping it an as a lazy substitute for active gameplay (or respectable AI) that it will be forgotten in an MMO generation or two, but in the mean-time I don't personally see any point in WoW rocking the boat.
If they do want to make tanking more active, they could probably achieve more more thinking outside the meters (e.g. spawn a few randomly located underlings who respond to proximity rather than aggro) thank looking at ways to tweak the metrics.

Posted: Jul 11th 2010 9:34AM Audacious said

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Tanking in its current most popular form is as stupid as healing is. The most heavily armored but least damaging guy in a group yelling and screaming at a mob to get its attention while he cherry picks it and his friends blow it to hell just seems dated and unnecessary.

The fact that these two roles are the hardest to find whenever a group is forming is an indication, to me at least, that they're unpopular and fundamentally poorly thought out.

It isn't out yet and I've yet to see it in action, but Tera's concept of positioning oneself to keep an enemy away from the squishy party member's beside you, Final Fantasy XI's aggro bouncing + evasion tanking (in this game, a single large heal can pull a mob off a 'tank' that's been holding threat for minutes), and the upcoming Guild Wars 2 are titles that did (or will) handle aggro more elegantly, imo.

Posted: Jul 11th 2010 9:42AM Audacious said

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I replied prematurely on the Tera part.

I meant to say that tanks in that game physically keep enemies away from party members, by pushing them and with shield bashes and swings of their lance. So it's not a matter of aggro, but of being incapable of reaching the enemy's real targets.
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Posted: Jul 11th 2010 9:56AM VioletArrows said

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The thing I've come across in tanks and healers being unpopular is that games don't *teach* people how to be tanks and healers. Yeah, some of us will go out and do the extra reading to learn, but the majority (read: casual players and new to online gaming) think that mmos are self-contained (all information and resources needed are already inside the game.) More often than not, people run around solo, which means KILL it is priority one, DON'T DIE is two with actual healing not even being an option for most, and threat management is non-existent. Some games are trying to be better about teaching threat mechanics and group dynamics to the lone wolves somewhere along the way, but up to now, everyone's comfy with dps because it's all they know and it all comes crashing down at endgame.
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Posted: Jul 14th 2010 5:14PM breezer said

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QQ more Spinks... good lord.

Blizzard's trying to make the game more challenging and engaging for once. Let's see where this goes before decrying the end of warrior tanks.

Posted: Jul 11th 2010 4:03PM Its Utakata stupid said

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*Does the WoW chicken emote*

A bit of a chicken poop of not posting that on her site? :)
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Posted: Jul 11th 2010 10:16AM Drannos said

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I usually avoid the squishier classes, but as I also shy away from heavy armor, threat is something of which I'm acutely aware. Particularly because Middle Earth as a whole, and the monsters in particular, seem to have no sense of humor. Burglars tend to grab a more-than-fair share of threat.

I've always understood threat, but thought that it was the "lazy" way out. In a lot of ways, the prioritizing of targets is a pretty straightforward thing for players - why can't the same be true of NPCs?

Posted: Jul 11th 2010 10:22AM VioletArrows said

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I understand aggro and threat as a necessary evil; if it weren't there, I'd pull a Free Realms and just waltz right through every quest and place without touching any of the mobs because why would I if that's not what I'm there for?

I find it hilarious that Hello Kitty has meaner mobs than Free Realms; mobs will *adorably* chase you across the map and beat your face in while squeaking and making angry puffs. XD You can't even be mad because it's so funny and cute.

As for serious group mechanics, I'm dps for life. I tried tanking and healing, I can do either in a pinch (and I'm talking, oh damn the tank's dead sort of pinch), but it's way too stressful to look after 4/5/9/14/24 other people on a regular basis. I don't know if threat mechanics are supposed to be that way (I frequently hear it takes a personality type or frame of mind), but there can definitely stand to be some improvement somewhere.

Posted: Jul 11th 2010 11:16AM (Unverified) said

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I think there're legitimate ways to have a totally threat-free system with very limited complexity. For mobs, the trash would simply start attacking the people closest to them during the pull. From there, the trash would periodically select a random target to start attacking based on their AI. Some trash might select their target based on distance (more or less distance = more or less likely to attack), others will have AI that increases their chance to start attacking support or ranged damage (chance reduced by talents, gear, status effects, spells, etc.), or others will simply attack one target relentlessly until one of them dies (forcing the tank to tactically disengage if they're taking too much damage and need a second to get capped on HP or wait for defensive cooldowns).

Also, every boss should have their own patterns and AI so that they aren't just more powerful variations of trash with a gimmick or two. Some would follow the patterns I just described, or they could be more intelligent and try to kill off the support or damage first while being kited/slowed/stunned/etc. This kind of fight would be great for giving tanks damage-reduction buffs to anybody they are adjacent to, or snares + damage penalties on the boss rather than standing in front of it and using a rotation. Others would simply be a spellcaster in the center of the room sending out beams/flames/etc. in various patterns prompting a positioning game. That doesn't even need an aggro table!

I play a warrior in WoW. While I enjoy playing the game with other people I REALLY wish I could do more than my high-threat rotation that only really changes based on whether I'm tanking trash or bosses.

Posted: Jul 11th 2010 12:49PM Joshua Przygocki said

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No matter what, you need threat if you want to have groups... otherwise it's just no fun and makes tanking pointless.

And do you realize that the reason people don't take seem to take damage is because they are being healed or a tank has the threat... your system makes it impossible to keep a group alive. You cant have an elite trash mob from a high end raid just running around hitting mages, healers can't heal through that, maybe if it were just one mob on one mage, but think about every clothy in your group being attacked by trash. Threat just needs to work so that tanking requires more than spamming that one rotation. tanks should periodically lose threat as the fight goes on.

I think every attack should generate a specific amount of threat no matter what class you are, tanks just have the highest threat generators and the skills that force the enemy to attack them.
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Posted: Jul 12th 2010 7:31AM Drannos said

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Joshua, your argument is entirely based on the current system of threat, and the current trinity of Tank/Heal/DPS. What some games, like Guild Wars 2, are looking to do now is get rid of this trinity and completely change up the way the game plays, and hence the strategy.

While I don't agree with everything Bonarator says, I agree that proximity should play a lot more of a role, at least for melee mobs. Get a wall of fighters in front to protect the squishier players in back. And watch out for ranged mobs...
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Posted: Jul 11th 2010 4:07PM Its Utakata stupid said

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My bets on that their will be even a more pronounced tank shortage in Cat if this goes live. But let's see how this play's out; I would like to lose this bet.

Posted: Jul 12th 2010 4:02PM (Unverified) said

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Back in the day of EQ I there was aggro. Which is why I loved my Enchanter class. I started as an enchanter the day the game came out. It was great being able to crowd control, always needed for groups and more than one was just ' the more the merrier' Being able stun .. mez Stun clear aggro list stun mez. I think games that leave aggro out all together are just no fun at all. I like the fact that there was a class for aggro control unlike DAOC (which I also loved to play) I basically went from playing Everquest to Dark Ages and really missed the ' enchanter ' class. I think there certainly does need to be aggro in games. And there should be an entire class dedicated to mitigatging it. Instead of skills.... for certain classes.. negating the need for the enchanter alltogether in my opinion is a sad sad thing.

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