MoP Beta – Active Tanking Changes Needed

I copied over a DK to the Beta Servers last night and I have looked at the tanking abilities of all 4 current tanking classes.  I don’t know if I will have a pre-made character copy available for a Monk as I already used 4 to create a Paladin, Druid, Mage, Warlock with base level gear and not the Hodgepodge I have on the live servers.

I have yet to tank with any of the 4 other than the instance run that I did the other day on the Druid.  I did however switch to the tanking spec on the others and looked at the abilities that were available and honestly I am not impressed.  The active tanking model has been in place for DKs since their initial implementation, and it was interesting because it was the only tank that used the model.  Now that all 4/5 will be using the similar model it is really weak on the other classes especially the single resource classes Warrior and Guardian Druids.

I mean weak as in an uninspired system, I am not saying that it would be ineffective, effectiveness can be forced by tweaking numbers.  I am talking about the interrelation between the abilities and resources or lack there of in the Warrior and Druid.  There is at least a little interactivity with the paladin abilities and I think that is because for an active tanking model like Blizzard is trying to implement only works when the class has a dual resource system.

  • Paladin : Mana/Holy Power
  • DK : Runes / Runic Power
  • Monk : Chi??  Can’t find enough information at the moment and don’t have one in Beta.
  • Warrior & Druid Guardian : Rage….

I think for the active tanking model to work well, especially in the case of Warrior and Druid Guardian, most abilities need to have 2 of the 3 basic concepts involved with tanking incorporated into them.  To quote my earlier blog post with this concept.

There are 3 main components to the one resource system that Warriors and Bears find themselves in.

  1. Resource Generation
  2. Factor 1
  3. Factor 2

In the case of Tanking the Factors become Threat and Mitigation, in a DPS role they become Damage and Debuffs.  In the case of the warrior class what is mitigation for tanks can be Debuffs for the DPS version I am thinking of a damage dealing decrease that some classes get, I can’t remember off the top of my head at the moment if there is such an ability at the moment.

So with 3 options and pick 2 we get 3 combinations.

1 & 2, 2 & 3 and 1 & 3, all abilities that have no cool down or a short cool down should do one of the 3 combinations.  The magnitude of the effect should be based upon the length of the cool down, GCD ignored of course.

Giving Us for Tanking:

  • Resource Generation & Threat – (A)
  • Resource Generation & Mitigation – (B)
  • Threat & Mitigation – (C)

Taken from this post.

As it was not the point of the post I got a little wordy and vague there the 3 factors upon further reflection can be found in any tanking system active or passive.  In the case of a passive tanking system most of them are outside of your control other than threat in earlier WoW expansions.

This model actually already exists with the DK and Paladin tanking implementation.  Some of their abilities generate one or both resources while doing something else.  Actually this is the main play feature that has made DKs able to work as an active tank and to a certain extent really to work at all.  Almost all if not all of their abilities while generating threat or activating a defensive ability produce Runic Power if the ability costs runes.  Freebies that do not cost runes do not generate runic power but can sometimes replenish Runes which then allows more runic power to be generated.

In the case of the Paladin this is less obvious because mana usually starts full and there are ways to get it back relatively quickly and Holy Power is constantly being acquired and used.

So with all of this taken into consideration a good working model would need to have the following decision pattern IMO.

A little warning, I work a lot in C# and JavaScript and because of it my pseudocode has morphed into a bastard hybrid of the languages I work in and some form of written language. It was the fastest way I could think of getting the decision tree out there because I could spend hours going OCD on a flowchart if I let myself.

Start
Do I need to use a cooldown?
Yes
{
	Use the cooldown
	Go To Start
}
No
{
	Do I have enough Resource?
	Yes
	{
		Do I need Threat or Mitigation?
		Threat
		{
			Use High Cost Threat Ability
			Go To Start
		}
		Mitigation
		{
			Use High Cost Mitigation Ability
			Go To Start
		}
		Both
		{
			Use Threat and Mitigation Ability
			Go To Start
		}
	}
	No
	{
		Do I need a Large amount of Resources or just More?
		Large
		{
			Use Main resource Generation Ability
			//May have a little threat and or mitigation but not noteworthy.
			Go To Start
		}
		More
		{
			Do I need more Threat or More Mitigation
			Threat
			{
				Use Threat and Resource Generating Ability
				//May be main resource generation ability or maybe not.
				Go To Start
			}
			Mitigation
			{
				Use Mitigation and Resource Generating Ability
				Go To Start
			}
		}
	}
}

With the DK now the above decision path works for the most part, there may be a few options that do not exist at the moment but I think for the most complete and adaptable system this is the bare minimum that should be used. I did not get into Single versus Multi-target tanking because it seems from the abilities in the beta all tanks are going to use a Single Target rotation and throw the AoE abilities in there periodically but the are not really part of the Resource/Mitigation interplay the are purely threat abilities at the moment. It would be nice if they became at least Threat/Resource Generation but we will have to wait and see.

Posted in Game Mechanics, World of Warcraft

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