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Thread: [Cata] Tanking (and Healing) mechanics

  1. #1
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    [Cata] Tanking (and Healing) mechanics

    So I was bored at home and started thinking of the incoming changes on how tanking and healing are going to be changed in the future and it left with me a lot of ideas as well as questions. I know this is a bit early, as Beta hasn't even started yet, but atleast it would be a good exercise

    The Changes:
    * Apart from the fixed chance to Miss, Dodge will be the only way to full avoid an incoming swing.
    * Parry will reduce an incoming attack by 50% in damage, as well as the next attack.
    * Block will reduce a fixed percentage of an attack, starting at 30% and most likely increased by talents such as Critical Block.
    * Avoidance totals will be far lower(the minimum will be ~5% per avoidance). This will come from both steeper rating conversions as well as the fact that 'boring' talents such as Anticipation and Deflection will be changed/removed.
    * Healers will have to start choosing between the cast time, healing per second and healing per mana of their spells rather than just spam their highest healing output spell blindly. (=Mana Matters)
    * Healers will be allowed to react on damage taken rather than cast heals 'just in case'.

    First thoughts:
    The first thing that popped to my mind when I read the Parry changes was "Diminishing Returns!!". Either the next incoming damage will simply reduced by 50%, which means that the more Dodge/Parry/Block you have, the less it reduces totally. Thus the better your gear, the less effect 1% Parry has as a total. The other option is where you gain 100% Parry chance for the next attack, which means you'll 'lose' the ability to block, reducing overall value of block chance. This ofcourse raises problems for things such as Critical Block. I will eagerly await to see what kind of model they will use once beta opens up
    Second thought that came to me was "So Bears are all-or-nothing tanks? Bears will only be able to Dodge (or be missed), so how will they counter this spikyness for the healers? Either they will need a larger health pool to allow healers more breathing room, or they will have to have more Armor to make up for the parry/block mechanics the other tanks have. Either way, this would put them far on top on the EH list, which can cause potential balancing issues (I'm thinking 8-9 healer raid setup to go through a Patchwerk kind of fight). The only viable solution (besides letting them Parry) I see would be to rework Savage Defense to absorb a percentage, similar to the block/parry mechanic, but at the same time, it should not be benefitting from increased avoidance chance, as it does now. That would be unfair to the DR of Parry the other tanks are stuck with (and will eventually cause disparity due to gear level).

    And last but not least, I am looking forward to the proclaimed shift towards healer mana efficiency and the less bursty nature of boss damage. Most interesting will probably be how much avoidance will be worth vs stamina. Will avoidance stacking be thing to do once a boss can't hit you for more than a third of your health pool? Will healer mana last on simply choosing the right spells or will tank gear have a big enough impact on it to shift the current gearing dogma to dodge/parry/block?

    So what are your thoughts on the (proposed) changes? What do you expect, hope for or bet your money on?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ion
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    What I dont understand is for healing there making it a little bit less face roll, healers will have to carefully select which heal to use, much like in TBC days with the downranking system.

    As for tanking there saying dungeons will be less AoE faceroll, and threat wont just be handed out with Misdirection and Tricks. Meaning tanks will actually have to be good at generating threat, and DPS need to be good at CCing and not breaking it.

    Now I'm all over it, but wouldn't this make the game too hard for all the bads they seem to cater to?

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    From what I've read, they are tailoring the game to bad tanks.
    Think about it. They are claiming mobs will hit less hard, health totals will be higher for all classes, armor will be higher for all classes.
    Losing aggro won't be that big a deal anymore, and almost all classes will be able to take few swings before dying - so bad tanks won't wipe the group as easily.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kahmal
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martie View Post
    From what I've read, they are tailoring the game to bad tanks.
    Think about it. They are claiming mobs will hit less hard, health totals will be higher for all classes, armor will be higher for all classes.
    Losing aggro won't be that big a deal anymore, and almost all classes will be able to take few swings before dying - so bad tanks won't wipe the group as easily.
    Except they'll take MORE damage than the tank would have and risk running the healer OOM.

    Recount has this lovely stat called "Damage Taken" that you can post. Good for easily seeing who is standing in fire or pulling aggro. In general, the lower the difference between tank and DPS the worse your tank is (OR the worse your DPS is at getting out of fire)

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    There trying to bring healing back to a "vannilary" type healing mechanic without the downranking, but also there making it so it take more than one hit to take a tank down to ~50% health. I personally think that this could have serious implications, because healers have to conserve mana, and tanks will take a good few hits to be killed by bosses will, healers actually keep tanks at full health or aim for keeping them around ~60% health? CCing i think will be great because many classes have CC that is rarely used in PvE and is therefore not very useful. With Blizz increasing the Health Pool of every role i think tanks wont stack Stamina as extensively as they do today and will try and balance there avoidance stats to make them mean a lot more. I think it will be possible to reach the 102.4 "unhittable"(is this number going to change?) in the later tiers of cataclysm but maybe at a great sacrifice. I think with the mastery system that will buff block could make Block much better than parry, but also without talents for parry/dodge will newly dinged lvl 85 tanks be penalized due to a lack of avoidance? Theres a lot of questions here i know, most of which i doubt you could answer until the beta but i dont think its gonna be very nice for new tanks. With the Release of the Beta not too far away (i believe the Alpha is being release very shortly), We will see a much bigger idea of what were going to have to deal with and how challenging it will be,
    I dont think theyre tailoring for bad tanks, i think theyre trying to get rid of tanks who just go tanks for quick LFD queues. I believe they want tanks to have to worry about healers with every action they make and i am certainly up for the challenge. I dont know how healers will go oom with so many mana-returning abilitys (Hymn of Hope, Mana-Tide Totem and Innervate namely) will these be removed?, but also will healers be turning to Mana Regen over throughput?
    Sorry for the lack of white space and im not actually expecting answers till at least after the beta

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    Personally I want gearing choices to be a lot more optional and more than one simple answer. You don't need to know how much a boss hits for, or how fast its swing timer is in order to know gem pure stamina at the moment. I'd like to see a situation where an effective health threshold returns and its more about reaching just enough health neccessary and then having to gear for as much avoidance as possible, simply to not oom your healers (think reactive healing). It will be interesting if this gearing choice is a lot more about being between tanks and healers - finding out where healers are comfortable for you to start gemming avoidance over stamina.

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    I coulda sworn they said mobs were going to hit "harder" Trash mobs I mean, making it so tanks and DPS dont just face roll through them. Pulling all the mobs w/o CC will get the tank killed in Cata I'm sure they said. Its going to be about managing threat on a couple mobs at once while CCing the rest. This sounds a lot like TBC. Now I was a tank back then, but I heard having a terrible tank in a BC Heroic was horrendous. In WoTLK if your tank sucked in a 5 man it was w/e cause by the time you pulled aggro the mob would be dead anyway. If you pulled in TBC you had to improvise drastically or get one shot, and if multiple mobs will beat down a tank, I'm sure one will destroy a clothie.

    Now I'd love this cause tanking was actually fun back then. But like I said, the casuals will QQ too much wont they? I mean people cry about Halls of Reflection, a mere shadow for what TBC Heroics used to be, CC useful in HoR but nor mandatory.
    Last edited by Kahmal; 05-03-2010 at 12:47 AM.

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    True, the current heroics environment is very ... forgiving for unskilled tanks. But then again, it's forgiving for anyone right now (I did a heroic Strat last night where nobody of the DPS hit 1.5k and me doing >50% total damage, yet we even got close to getting the mount). I do hope that the heroics in Cata will require more effort from the players and that normal instances will be the 'easy' variety.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ion
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Martie View Post
    From what I've read, they are tailoring the game to bad tanks.
    Think about it. They are claiming mobs will hit less hard, health totals will be higher for all classes, armor will be higher for all classes.
    Losing aggro won't be that big a deal anymore, and almost all classes will be able to take few swings before dying - so bad tanks won't wipe the group as easily.
    If at all it's getting tougher. Healers will not be able to sustain tanks taking extra damage or non-tanks taking excessive damage.

    You spank it => you tank it.
    And you better know how to heal yourself too unless you are Prot, Blood or a Bear
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarTotem View Post
    True, the current heroics environment is very ... forgiving for unskilled tanks. But then again, it's forgiving for anyone right now (I did a heroic Strat last night where nobody of the DPS hit 1.5k and me doing >50% total damage, yet we even got close to getting the mount). I do hope that the heroics in Cata will require more effort from the players and that normal instances will be the 'easy' variety.
    I'm just confused as to what damn direction there taking in Cata, they can't just go about making shit more challenging after pampering the WoTLK generation. Those who started playing in Wrath wont stand a chance lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WarTotem View Post
    True, the current heroics environment is very ... forgiving for unskilled tanks. But then again, it's forgiving for anyone right now (I did a heroic Strat last night where nobody of the DPS hit 1.5k and me doing >50% total damage, yet we even got close to getting the mount). I do hope that the heroics in Cata will require more effort from the players and that normal instances will be the 'easy' variety.
    They weren't trivial in the correct gear level (i.e. normal dungeon blues). They may not have been as difficult as TBC heroics were, but they weren't the 12 minute zergfests that they are now. You've got about 100% more health, 50% more armour, 40% higher avoidance and 200% higher DPS since you were in gear that was appropriate (or, well, I have). I suspect that people hitting Slave pens heroic in Sunwell or Black temple gear had a similar contempt for it.
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    I think a lot of people are also forgetting that Blizz said they want an Arms/Fury warrior or Ret pally, etc to be able to tank regulars and some of the easier heroics. Just because mobs are hitting harder does not mean that they will be destroying non-tanks. Health pools will be more similar so as long as the toon can go crit immune with Defensive Stance, Frost Presence, Righteous Fury, they should be able to handle the damage just fine. The key will be a newish sort of mechanic. The group as a whole will need to be able to control the mob pack. Clothies will CC and plate wearers will off-tank mobs to reduce damage to the tank rather than the tank taking a beating from 4 plus mobs. If gear inflation does not get out of hand, this will remain relavent through the majority of the expansion. Even then, toward the end, heroics will be faceroll, but not likely as bad as they are now. So yes, I think DPS will have some responsibility in Cata and there is likely to be a learning curve for this.

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    Thank you for making the topic, Wartotem. I have been turning this stuff over and over in my brain and waiting eagerly for the Beta so we can start playing with real functionality.

    There is a lot of fuzzy response, as always, people crying and complaining that Blizz is breaking the game, dumbing it down, homogenizing it, blah blah blah. It is inevitable when things are being simplified or tuned away from what you're familiar with, but remember that complexity is not the same as depth. To that end I want to take a step back and see if I can illustrate a picture of where we are and where I think they are going with this.

    Currently, the heal/tank dynamic is like this: Tanks have high avoidance (normally over 50% meaning half the incoming swings do not hit you), high mitigation is standard and not new, however. Tank damage is balanced currently in such a way that tanks will take 2-3 hits to be killed even if they stack health obsessively, and as little as 1-2 hits if they avoid stamina, and some fights will be a 2-hit death even if they stack stamina. That is combined with 1.0-2.0 sec swing times in high-end raids. Compare that with the healing arsenals of healers and you have spells with a minimum of 1.0 sec cast times (usually 1.4-2.0) that will hit for 30-50% of a tanks health. That means that in many situations the only way to reliably keep a tank alive is to heal constantly, and push the largest HPS (heal per second) heal you can manage. And in most situations it is also in the healers best interest to use the fastest tools to ensure the tank does not get buried before their cast lands.

    For healers, mana regen is balanced currently in such a way that you can have access to a great deal of mana, very easily, without particular concern for supporting regen. Holy Priests and Trees still get lots of value from Spirit, Disc Priests are smart to get their socket bonuses from blue sockets (Sp/mp5 or Sp/spirit), and Shamans rely maybe more than other healers on good regen to support their healing. Paladins have an almost unlimited access to mana and generally can manage to never run out, though in more stressful situations they might take a short dip in their max HPS, but those situations are uncommon.

    When you combine healers who don't particularly care about efficiency, with very fast twitch damage where healers can't often afford to cast/cancel (and have no reason to), you get a situation where many tanks simply cease to value damage reduction with the same gravity that we once did. That means that avoidance specifically is shunned for the absolute best health total the tank can manage, and it works just fine in the current system.

    The shift for Cataclysm comes in two balancing aspects:
    1.) Healer efficiency is a concern. When it is possible and bad to waste mana, healers have to use the appropriate spell for the situation. Using the fast heal won't turn out the heaviest hps, but it also is expensive per heal amount. The biggest heal you have is slower, and using it carelessly will lead to heavy overhealing (and overhealing is bad and wasteful to your efficiency). This lets us return to a place where healing takes smarts, and decision making (read: a macro to spam a single spell would not do your job effectively), and healers will be concerned with efficiency and regen as balanced against healing power (the same way tanks have had to balance threat against survival, in the better days).

    2.) Tank damage is being shifted away from fast flux. In other words, the targeted incoming damage shouldn't make your health flip like a light switch, full empty full empty full empty. Instead it will take 3-5 hits for you to actually die. That means a few things on its own. When you have fast-flux, avoidance seems scary because you imagine damage "spikes." Instead of full empty full empty, it becomes full full full empty full empty full full empty. The pattern is less obviously rhythmic and if a healer were to try and use that to their advantage and not heal you, you could die when their attention flickers. Having multiple hits drain your health down, avoidance can be more appealing because if it takes 5 hits to kill you, 40% avoidance means it now takes 7 hits to kill you, and with pretty good consistency, and less of a situation where it can catch healers by surprise, instead healers are grateful when your health doesn't dip because it buys them time. This change also allows you to have less of a dead-set focus on health. Currently, health is the difference between hit dead, and hit hit dead. That feels like a big deal. When the difference moves you from 5 hits to 6 hits, that feels less imperative. Some people may take comfort in not having to handle multiple stats, but being able to use more of an arsenal as a tank makes the system more deep, more interesting. This change also changes how healers see the job of tank healing. Where currently the healer has to virtually drill heals on the tank, they can now see situations where they can buy a moment to move, heal something else, or look after their own concerns. They also may have room to let your health dip so they can heal you up more efficiently, i.e. without grotesque overhealing.

    When you combine the two? Healer mana matters, that means that the value in not taking damage, and disrupting incoming damage flow becomes increasingly valuable. You can expect your health to still be a fairly quick game, this does not mean that you won't die expediently, nor that healing the tank can be ignored for periods of time, and picked up later without care.

    So, now you take 1-3 hits to be killed, and you take 1-2 heals to be filled up from a given hit.
    The concept set point they're discussing is that you take 3-6 hits to kill, but you take 2-6 heals to fill. Less insta-gib risk.

    My response to it all?
    I am an avid healer and an avid tank. When they took away downranking, a part of my soul died. Why? Because in BC it was a skill to balance how much healing you could put out with how long you could heal for. You could measure where you stood on the two aspects, power and endurance, based on the outcome of a fight and your mana. If you run OOM, you don't have enough spent on efficiency. If you can't keep someone up (rarely a problem once sufficiently geared) you didn't have enough power. If you had significant over-healing you needed to be more savvy with which heal you were using, and or careful to be healing where it was needed. Healing assignments really mattered.

    I am hoping that the new spell design really gives you the tools so that you can feel comfortable healing, not like your tools don't match your need. Provided that, I won't miss downranking.

    As a tank? It kills me that taking less damage is so small a concern right now. The thing I enjoy most as a tank is where *how* you invest in your tools matters. It is nice when you can be a less valuable tank if you don't support your balance well. It makes me happy that the value is being returned to taking less damage. As a matter of how, we'll have to see how the specifics work out.

    There are some very important questions that we'll need answered before we can really get into the nitty gritty of values. Particularly with how block and parry are applied (if Parry is kept as a 50% damage reduction on two hits). If Parry can be differed to the next actual hit, or if it can be wasted if you dodge/miss the next swing. If Block and Parry can stack, or if they will differ, i.e. 30% off of 50% will be less valuable than 30% off an unreduced hit, but it is still a value, or it could even negate the block possibility.

    I'm psyched for the concept of instance pulls as well, and that they are suggesting the move away from 'faster=better' thinking. If you have to be careful with how much you tank because you can get crushed it makes pulls more interesting and dynamic. Rather than just AoE spamming from tank *and* dps, it lets CC regain its value, and makes kill priority interesting and meaningful again (it is still marginally meaningful right now, but clearly not enough, as I am regularly blown away by how many tanks don't even know what to tank/kill first). I think that element puts the focus back on smart play, rather than fast play. Twitch is fun for some people, but it often makes it hard or meaningless to be smart/careful/well-played, and for some people they just can't keep up because of things beyond their control like computer quality and latency.

    The way I see it, their goals for rebalancing have the potential to open up a lot of the game that has been relegated into marginal values. I am all for that. I doubt it will change the impatient nature of many players, the casual/hardcore discrimination, or the blind "ARRGGHH THEY NERFED ME" responses to every little change, but I can hold on to my dreams.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satorri View Post
    The way I see it, their goals for rebalancing have the potential to open up a lot of the game that has been relegated into marginal values. I am all for that. I doubt it will change the impatient nature of many players, the casual/hardcore discrimination, or the blind "ARRGGHH THEY NERFED ME" responses to every little change, but I can hold on to my dreams.
    My thoughts exactly
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    I don't know what it would be like having "avoidance matter". I started tanking a little over a year ago. However, I believe that they are moving to having total avoidance more like 35% in the final tier of Cata. With that goal in mind, will gearing/gemming/enchanting to go from 22% to 23 or 24% avoidance really "matter" more than stam?

    I am ok with changing dynamics, just not sure it will work from a tank gearing standpoint with all of the separate goals combined.

  16. #16
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    It is all in the balance. 1-2% avoidance is 1-2% less damage taken, and when value is placed on requiring less healing? Yes, it significantly changes the scales.

    What remains to be seen is where all the numbers will fall, how the various survival tools will actually work, and how they will be balanced relative to the damage taken.

    Don't worry about it working, we're actually heading back toward semi-familiar territory but with some other nice tweaks coming along in the process. Since Blizzard sets all the sides of the balance it can't *not* work, it is only a matter of how it will.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horacio View Post
    Who f-ing divided by zero?!?

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