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 Post subject: Threat Level Midnight
PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 4:58 am 
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http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/3300854#blog

No more need for threat meters?

I wonder how this will play out?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:37 pm 
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I suspect it will depend a lot on what sort of active survival abilities tanks end up with.

I mostly agree with Blizzard's comments that threat isn't really a central part of encounters anymore. Firelands especially. I do think that there is room for threat to be a valid part of the game for tanks, but it usually fits in only when a portion of a fight is tank-and-spank on a newly pulled mob. Those are becoming a rarity.

It will fix the really undergeared tank part of things. It will fix the annoying "our tank can't threat properly, so I as dps have to just stand around for a bit every now and then. great fun, that" occasions. I think it might lead to more tanks in the LFD thing, though not by as much as people are hoping... the main reason, IMO, people avoid tanking is that tanks are given the leader role in dungeons, being the person who sets the pace in nearly every single group out there. Plus I hate tanking heroics in case I have to AFK! Much easier to AFK for 60 seconds as a dps who no one misses. Tank AFKing shuts down the whole group often enough... but I digress. :p

All of these potential benefits can wind up not mattering all that much if tanks don't really have much to actively do, though. Something beyond the mechanics of each individual fight (which IMO still will be the biggest parts to playing, I think) to separate the good tanks from the barely capable tanks. You could argue that threat didn't do that anyway, and you'd probably be right... but they have an opportunity here to make an improvement. We shall see how that works out.

This whole transmogrify thing is something I'm a whole lot more disappointed in, though! I may be admittedly in a minority here, however, but... grar. I saw what armor dyes did to EQ, effectively killing the ability to tell anything about anyone based on their armor overnight. It's not that I"m being all judgmental about people, but it's... meh. Never liked it. We'll see if people ever stop looking the same after that gets added into game. How long will we see all Paladins wearing T2 or T6, for example... Ah well. As a Druid I can support this after a fashion since it comes part and parcel with this soul void bank thing which lets you keep 100 (or more?) pieces of gear in. I have kept just about every weapon I've owned since Burning Crusade, not to mention all visible pieces of T7 on up, and every Druid shoulderpiece from all raids (except old Naxx! :() and even a dungeon set or two. So. I will finally have bank room again. Hooray!

I knew I shouldn't have just vendored the T8 Rogue lookalike shoulders and hat just the other day, though!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:53 pm 
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Eh, fairly certain World of Warcraft is dying the slow death :P

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:09 am 
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Interesting.

Really this just highlights the changes to raids over the last couple of expansions. If you remember even only back as far as Karazan, most boss fights didn't constantly require you to move around and look for crap on the ground. One of the focuses of the tank was to drive their threat up asap and to keep ahead of the dps. This required *gasp* teamwork.

These days, Blizzard seems to be more interested in forcing everyone to run around and focus more of their attention on the environment instead of on the boss and combat rotation. To that end, doing this will make tanking a little easier, tho in all honesty except on some aoe pulls, threat hasn't been an issue for any competent tank since... well forever. Or maybe vanilla.

Honestly the only positive change I see out of this is that it will let me go nuts as a dps in a pug random with a crappy or undergeared tank. Whee... :roll:

Sadly, I think Khross is right. Largely for me due to the raids in this tier being some of the most un-fun raiding I've ever done.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:06 am 
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Bah. I opened this thread on a lark (generally, I don't read the WoW forum here, as I don't play WoW), but I'm definitely NOT in sync with that blog.

Threat mechanics aren't about the tank. They're about the DPS. The blog is intensely concerned with the question "does reducing the role of threat mechanics make tanking boring?" -- and that's fine, it should be. But it's completely overlooking the question "does reducing the role of threat mechanics make DPSing boring?"

I tend to think that, yes, DPS has become unidimensional and much less skill-oriented over the last several years, across the MMO industry. The focus on ability rotations as the way to "engage" the DPS player fails, IMO. Pounding a certain pattern for 5 minutes straight is boring, boring, boring, even if you try to make it more challenging by prompting the player to move around, or switch targets, etc. The point is, DPS play has become only about maximizing DPS, with no other considerations. There is no cost/benefit analysis to be done when answering the question "should I do more DPS/stretch myself to attain the most DPS I can?" There's zero downside, because the role of threat has already diminished so dramatically. Threat isn't a threat.

In EQ, you judged DPS players on a much different, and, I would argue, much more interesting set of considerations. The question was not "how much DPS can this guy bring to the raid?" It was "Can he do *good* DPS, while not putting the raid in danger by pulling aggro?"

That's a way more interesting playstyle for the DPS, and a way better line to walk. Especially pre-UI addons that peek behind the scenes. There was this sweet spot that you strove for, where you COULD pull aggro (meaning you're capable of doing exceptional DPS), but where you also had the awareness and judgement to NOT do it. It was a fine line to strive to walk: too high, and you get yourself (and maybe others) killed, reducing your encounter gross damage (and being less worthwhile to the group), or causing a wipe. Fail to push that line, though, and the raid isn't performing to maximum capacity. There was a thrill and a degree of pride in learning to ride that redline that separated maximum performance and catastrophe. A thrill that I just don't find when watching the ground for goo, or waiting for emotes to tell me to do the hokey pokey.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:50 pm 
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The EQ way was a lot better, in my opinion, but I'm not sure we can put that genie back in the bottle. Except for maybe the first few months of WoW, we have had threat meter addons so it has essentially never been a part of WoW raiding.

I do think people have made too big a deal about this recent threat change, perhaps including Blizzard. I actually didn't realize it was put in game when it was, since any somewhat capable tank was already putting out enough threat for nearly any equivalently geared DPS. The only exception I came across firsthand was when I was solo tanking Rhyolith10 last week. It was noticeably easier to get and keep threat away from early-AEing dps, especially when the little adds spawn far far away and I don't have a ton of means as a warrior of grabbing all the adds quickly at the same time.

My main is a healer, though, so I'm probably not in the best position to judge threat changes. My alt is my tank!


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:02 pm 
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In EQ, you also had zero control (or knowledge) over whether or not your threat was going to be sufficient to maintain the mob's attention, and your DPSers had almost no knowledge of whether or not they were going to pull threat, except instinct and luck.

I do not believe that is good design; hiding that kind of thing from your players does not make it more interesting, it makes it more tedious, to me.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:07 pm 
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The 'instinct' is part of it. knowing your class and it's weapons and skills well enough to manage agro was an important aspect to being successful in that game.

Having a meter or something to tell me where my 'agro' was relative to the tanks, and other dps would have taken away a lot of what was fun about the game, especially for Rangers.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:08 pm 
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If you don't know 100% where you are at, you cannot perform to your maximum potential.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:30 pm 
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So you just turn on your DPS bot and walk away?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:35 pm 
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I haven't actually played an MMO where you could do that. With random procs and cooldowns, it's difficult to let the machine do it for you. Plus, most modern MMOs aren't just stand there and hit the thing like Everquest was.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:58 pm 
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Raltar wrote:
If you don't know 100% where you are at, you cannot perform to your maximum potential.

Hence, the instinct and experience bit. Having more of both allows you to approach your maximum potential (or, rather, the maximum potential enabled by the tank's threat output) with more confidence and accuracy.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:09 pm 
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The problem is, even the best instinct won't replace the flat-out knowledge given by the threat meter; the confidence and precision. Especially if it's a new tank, for ex.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:33 pm 
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Not disputing that. My contention isn't that playing by feel was more precise or efficient.

My contention is that it was more fun and interesting.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:46 pm 
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I am not very competitive by nature, but when it comes to DPS in an MMO, I get really **** competitive. So anything that helps me know how well I am doing is fantastic. If I have to slow my output, that isn't fun to me at all. I want to go all out.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:27 pm 
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I don't find (the EQ threat model) fun or interesting for three reasons:

1. The primary tanking class's threat was a function of Time On Target and RNG, and nothing else. Nothing they did could improve their threat generation; the only things that they could do would be "Be in melee". People advocated a bunch of tricks and myths, but in the end, the only genuinely effective method was to hit the critter. (This was alleviated somewhat once hybrids became more capable of stepping up, and they finally were forced to give warriors some method of generating threat otherwise)

2. Most classes had one option for dealing with high threat: Die.

3. I don't find being gibbed with no warning, no feedback, and absolutely nothing I could do about it besides possessing the power of prophecy fun.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:47 pm 
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I thought this was going to be a thread about Micheal Scott's screenplay. I'm disappointed.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:14 pm 
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Tank threat would have to be WoW-like or better in terms of complexity, definitely not the old EQ method. Same with having some form of threat dump, which the majority of specs in WoW do... and I'm sure all would if threat was actually an issue.

I think having to just get a feel for threat made for a lot more room for good players to shine. Easy to learn, tough to master deal... I am fond of those things in game design.

Threat meters and WoW threat circa... hm.. was it sometime in WotLK they made it really easy to build single-target threat? At that point threat was a nonissue for most players in almost all circumstances, and the difficulty switched to knowing how to pump out the best dps.

It's definitely not the worst design ever, but eh... I prefer having to rely on some innate skill rather than amount of research you do and how good you are at juggling random things like procs (which is essentially how well you can pull off what you research). But I like playing feral spec (energy balancing fun maybe?) so I can't complain too much. :p


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:48 am 
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so is the next step to have built in dps bots as well to manage your "fun" rotations?


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