Ask the Devs: Tanking – answers

I don’t normally do this, or at least haven’t done it for all the previous “Ask the Devs”, but since tanking is what I like to do most in the game I figured I’d at least poke through these answers. Unsurprisingly, they make me want to bash my head on the desk.

Overall, we don’t want tanks to have 100% guaranteed threat on a pull, so we don’t want to buff that aspect of Vengeance, but we also don’t want DPS specs to constantly have to throttle the DPS they can deliver midway through a fight, so we have to strike a balance.

I saw this answer coming, and I actually agree with it. DPS in 5-mans really just have to learn that giving a tank a couple of GCDs to establish threat before they start laying on the burst damage is not a bad thing. I’ve been in heroics where people would watch me charge into a large pack of mobs and start AoEing before I’d even managed to hit the mob I charged, nevermind hit the rest of them with an AoE ability of my own. And then they complain when they pull threat and die. Ugh ugh ugh. Unfortunately, training DPS not to be stupid is, really, a losing battle.

Q: Have you considered normalizing initial Rage for feral druid tanks? For example, when a warrior uses Charge, it generates 15 points of Rage, which lets them use another aggro generating ability quickly, something that Feral druids tend to be a bit short on. […] Have you considered giving druid tanks an additional tool to pull casters at range? It’s the only tank class that doesn’t have a talent or spell to help in those situations.

Of course they focus on the middle part of the question (which is essentially “can you balance druids to be equal to other tanks”) and ignore the important bits.

Truth is, it is a royal pain as a druid to pull a caster mob. I either have to run up to it, interrupt it and then run back or trust that a DPS with a long-range interrupt will be doing it for me. (Or use LoS or range to pull it back, but considering the trigger-happy DPS issue, it’s very rarely workable to do that.) As a paladin, on the other hand, I can just frisbee it; warriors have a long-range interrupt in talented Heroic Throw and death knights can just yank the mob over with Death Grip.

And don’t get me started on rage generation for bear tanks. As a paladin, I can just run up to mobs (or pull them with the frisbee or Exorcism) and start my rotation, lack of gap closer notwithstanding; death knights can also start their rotation immediately (provided their runes are off cooldown, which is not unlikely given the average space between pulls).

Warriors, the closest thing there is to druids, indeed generate 15 rage on charging; Battle Shout / Commanding Shout are another instant 20 rage on a 1min cooldown. Shockwave costs 15 rage, Thunder Clap 20. Warriors don’t lose rage to anything but natural rage decay.

Druids start out with 10 rage when they shift into bear form because of the Furor talent. Feral Charge costs 5 rage. Enrage instantly generates 20 rage on a 1min cooldown (plus another 10 rage over 10 seconds, which is now usable since they removed the extra damage taken penalty on it). Swipe costs 15 rage, Thrash 25. Bears lose rage every time they have to shift out, for one reason or the other (rebuff a dead person, mount up to speed up movement to the next trash pull, etc.).

The main issue is the fact that Feral Charge costs rage rather than generate it. If you’re starting a pull from caster form and you don’t have Enrage available, you shift to bear form (+10 rage), Feral Charge (-5 rage)… at which point you have 5 rage left and all you can do is autoattack a mob. Meanwhile, the DPS has at best started AoEing, and aggro tends to go all over the place.

I’m by no means a skill-less tank, but honestly, I’ve started carrying around Mighty Rage Potions (yes, the vanilla consumable, all hail) simply to speed up trash pulling and avoid losing AoE threat right off the bat in 5-mans.

The easiest solution to this issue would be to simply make Feral Charge generate 15 rage rather than cost 5, putting it in line with the warrior charge.

A better solution, on the other hand, would be to change Feral Charge and then change Furor. Because to be honest, Furor is a pretty useless talent as it is: 10 rage isn’t even enough for Mangle.

The change I’m suggesting? Make Furor generate no rage on shapeshift, but instead allow it to “save” the druid’s rage when they shift out of bear form. This saved rage should still be subject to the normal rage decay, obviously (so you couldn’t, for example, get out of a fight with a full rage bar, shift out, then shift back in 5 minutes later and be still at 100 rage); but this way, druids would no longer be penalized for briefly shifting out of form between pulls to perform necessary actions. It might make the first pull of an instance slightly more painful for low-level bears, since Enrage isn’t available until level 22, but very lowbie druid tanking is painful anyway until you get Swipe, to be honest – and all else fails they could just move Enrage down to level 15.

And if wishes were flying horses, all my alts would be riding Invincible… moving on.

Q: What are your intentions with each tank’s mastery and mastery in general?

Expected answers are expected. Good to see that they don’t want to mess with mastery for paladins, at least at the moment, beyond the Holy Shield change which is in fact a buff (as explained by Rhidach, among others). My alt tankadin is grateful.

I don’t have an issue with bear mastery as much as I have an issue with Savage Defense, the ability it buffs, essentially punishing avoidance streaks (get SD bubble up -> avoidance streak -> Vengeance drops -> refresh SD with a smaller bubble due to lower Vengeance), but that’s beside the point. Moving on.

Q: Will we see a tanking Legendary sometime soon?

I’m going to echo Rhidach here and say balance issues notwithstanding, I want a shiny orange weapon. Thanks. (Although, being a druid, I am slightly mollified by the 4.2 introduction of a staff that makes cat form a fire cat. Since I’m a tank as main spec, I’d be very happy if the staff also made bear form a fire bear, but I’m not going to look the gift horse in the mouth.)

Q: Are there any plans to teach players in-game how to tank when they are at an early stage, or at least at some point in the leveling process?

Because, as we all know, learning to tank is so very hard. Okay, snark aside, it’s nice to see that they’re considering introducing a system to teach players how2[role]. Still… not hard.

Q: Do you plan to bring other tanks to the same level as Death Knights who have a lot of advantages over other tanking classes (easier to heal, quite a number of various safe abilities, etc.)?

A: […] So in the hands of a really skilled player, they can do some amazing things, but not usually much better than the other tanks. We’d actually like to head more in that direction with the other tanks (making them tie more of their defensive performance to their ability usage), in the future.

Not going to lie, I actually would like this to happen. Great tanks should be noticeably different from good tanks, who should be noticeably different from so-so tanks. As long as it doesn’t bring a series of nerfs in the name of “making things more interesting”, which is always a risk…

Q: Are there any plans to update the leg armor in 4.2 now that the plate tanks receive no dodge from agility? Maybe introduce a new leg armor patch that adds str/stamina, or a mastery/stamina?

WHY ARE THEY ANSWERING THIS? Most everybody who cares has seen the Drakehide Leg Armor by now. (My leatherworking main thanks you in advance for the profits, by the way. Om nom nom.)

Q: Can you make it so that taunt doesn’t miss, just like you did for interrupt abilities? Doesn’t feel as though it would be a complete upset to overall balance.

/facepalm

Welcome to patch 4.0 (not 3.9, Blizzard, good one though, I almost missed that), it’s good to see you finally join us several months later. Good heavens, clueless people in this game – both the person who asked this and the people who voted it up rather than point out to the original asker that they’re too dumb to live.

Also, again, WHY ARE THEY ANSWERING THIS? Way to waste time and space.

Q: Are there any plans to simplify the impossible situation for tanks (8% hit rating, 26 Expertise but all defensive stats at max at the same time) somehow, either through stats on gear or through changes to the game mechanics? Have you considered giving tools to tanks to allow easier capping of hit and expertise to help with threat management?

…and third in the line of WHY ARE THEY ANSWERING THIS? – sigh. Repeat after me: Vengeance means threat doesn’t matter after the first few seconds of a fight, which means threat stats are rated below defensive stats in priority. Makes me feel so warm and fuzzy to see how many people have no clue.

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