[3.33] Revenge is sweet! And whose responsibility is threat anyway?

How is everyone enjoying the new WoW patch?

It has been primarily a balancing patch (you can tell this because paladins got nothing) with the addition of a random battleground finder, and some tweaks to make crafted gear cheaper and reagents more accessible. Plus increasing the demand for frozen orbs which come from heroics (i.e. nudging bored players back into the LFD tool).

bestpatchchange

Also, the best patch change of all is that the login screen now reminds you that your battle.net account name will be your email address.

This is handy for people (like me) who keep typing in their old user name by mistake.

How about that Revenge, kids?

Protection warriors did get some love via a tweak to Revenge, which now does a lot more damage. And if you pick up Improved Revenge, it even turns into a mini cleave rather than a random chance for a short stun.

To give an idea of how much difference this makes, I logged in after the patch and queued for a heroic on Spinks. And it was the first time I’ve ever topped the damage meters while tanking (I was on about 3k dps). Since Revenge was part of the standard rotation anyway, at least up until the last patch, the real beauty of this change is that you don’t have to change much about your playing style. Veneretio suggests shooting Revenge up to the top of the priority list. And then it  just – magically — gives you crazy damage and threat. The damage, at least, was warranted and brings us more in line with other tanks. The threat is a nice bonus but was not in any way necessary.

For example, the other thing I did after the patch was run the weekly heroic raid, which was Patchwerk. I pulled threat off a paladin tank who was wearing threat gear, without trying. And I was in full tank gear because I forgot to switch. First I laughed, because it was so ludicrous. And also because single target threat for tanks is a measure of e-peen (as in ‘phwoar, look at the threat on that!’).  Then I noted that I’d have to be careful not to pull threat inadvertently when we have a fight that requires us to swap tanks. Death Knight tanks also picked up an insane single target threat boost this patch, so will be in the same boat.

Which roughly means that in WoW at the moment, the only players who actually need to be careful and watch that they don’t go over tank threat are … other tanks.

The usual question when warriors get more damage is how it will affect the class in PvP. Will players find a way to work this into overpowered arena combinations? And for that we need to wait and see. Because Revenge can only be used after a block, it may simply be a learn to play issue. Don’t melee the shield warrior. They can still be disarmed, crowd controlled, nuked, and otherwise taken out of play.

Who is responsible for threat?

I was thinking about how the responsibility for threat management has changed in WoW over time. (I’m relying on memory to check when these changes came in so please correct me if I am wrong.)

In vanilla WoW, it was the tank’s responsibility to generate enough threat to distract mobs from the healers, and the dps responsibility not to out threat the tanks. It was completely normal for dps to back off a fight, wait for three sunders, or otherwise sit around twiddling their thumbs while they waited for tank threat to build up. Alliance was vastly overpowered compared to horde because all of their dps caused 30% less threat due to paladin buffs.

In TBC, dps classes gained more abilities to control their own threat. Active threat reduction cooldowns became more prevalent and more widely used. So instead of having to wait for tank threat, dps classes could hit their cooldown (to reduce their own threat) and keep nuking. Paladin threat reduction buffs were available to horde as well as alliance. Hunters also gained misdirect, which allowed them to add more threat to another player (i.e. a tank). This helped immensely with tricky pulls such as Gruul. If a hunter pulled with misdirect, then the tank got an immediate threat lead right from the start.

Incidentally I do love misdirect and tricks of the trade. It’s awesome when you’re in a fight with an aggro wipe and someone can help you to pick up the boss again quickly. I like the notion of controlling the fight as a team effort.

In Wrath, tank threat got beefed up significantly, and also rogues picked up a misdirect-equivalent of their own. Suddenly more dps classes could actively help with tanking (by controlling where the threat was directed) but at the same time, the idea of dps being forced to ease off for threat reasons was mostly eliminated. It just isn’t a big part of the dps role any more.

And although tanking is fun and more fluid than ever, it’s also easy as a tank to feel that in some fights you could be replaced by a lump of rock, or a pet. The hunters and rogues would misdirect to you, and the lump of rock could probably take the hits without needing to block or parry anyway, let alone use Revenge.

I do wonder where the devs plan to go with this. Will they go further with the lump of rock paradigm, making it even easier for a group to complete an instance with a poor quality tank? Maybe healers should get in on the act too, and be able to redirect some of their healing aggro?

Or will threat generation go even more over the top, more passive threat generating abilities, making tanking even easier?

I’m not sure that either of those options will make tanking more fun for me. That’s the big risk to tanking that I see going into Cataclysm.

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22 thoughts on “[3.33] Revenge is sweet! And whose responsibility is threat anyway?

  1. In fights where you swap tanks you won’t be pulling aggro because in most of those you aren’t getting hit, so won’t be using Revenge!

    Exception I think is Marrowgar where you can block the cleave.

  2. I do like the idea of Healers getting a threat dump/mis-direct :)

    Simmilar to the ‘Growing your own Raiders’ thread we now seem to have a host of bad/mediocre tanks fit for running Heroics (if you’re lucky) or low tier raid content and then there are old skool raiding Main Tanks who know their trade. I fear loosing the old guard and their skills.

    I also miss the skill required for DPSers in threat management, kiting and CC from TBC whereas now, having no other distractions, its more about getting the maximum possible numbers on the charts.

    QQ for when the game was harder? Perhaps.

    • I don’t know how earthshield works with threat, but at the beginning of TBC, prayer of mending was spammable and all the threat from the heals went to the target. So we used to spam it on warrior tanks like crazy in heroics — it healed them AND gave them more threat.

      • Back in TBC ES showed as the tank Self healing and generated threat accordingly.

        I’m not sure if it was 3.0 (pre WoTLK patch) or WoTLK itself that changed that to Healer threat but thats how it works now. It does make for some nervous moments if the tank misses a few times!

  3. I have to confess that I’ve lost my threat management skills. Between ToT and Pally AoE tanks and so on, there’s almost no way for me to accidently pull threat. I also suspect a lot of people are in the same boat.

    Though, thinking on how the game has changed, back in Vanilla one of the things that made rogues terrifying engines of destruction was that they, alone among the classes, had a low cd Threat dump. This alone meant you could bring them along despite the fact that they died in droves.

  4. Cross-game talk but this is the way EQ2 has been for a long time. The tank is a secondary threat generator behind other classes that both buff the amount of hate and transfer their own hate. Ironically in EQ2 Paladins are the ultimate threat-producing tanks because they can select a single DPS in the group and siphon up to 41% of that character’s hate directly.

    Not long ago the devs tried to take this away and make threat the sole responsibility of the tank again. This was met with so much community rebellion that the whole plan was abandoned and a certain amount of ‘career restructuring’ occured withing the devs.

  5. I remember a while a go, some tank nearly crucified my, for bringing up this tank concern…

    But, since yesterday was your Birthday, I do not worry anymore. Although I did recognise yesterdays blog entry was missing, not giving us a chance to congratulate in time…

    Therefore: Happy belated Birthday!

    • Thank you :) I was going to post yesterday but was too busy going out and having fun. Maybe will sneak some extra posts in next week to make up for it.

  6. “I pulled threat off a paladin tank who was wearing threat gear, without trying.” Now you did?

    Warriors had best single-target threat since long ago. Paladins were better only on aoe tanking. Not even mentioning Warrior’s shield slam is like 3 times more powerful than Paladin’s counterpart.

    Death Knights got a boost to compensate for situations when they can’t runestrike, which happens in many offtanking scenarios. Or even on pull, before first Rune Strike proc which is consumed “on next swing” so will take few secs the thread was a bit unstable.

  7. I spent a lot of time during 2008-9 arguing with dps who ripped aggro eventually caving in.

    If you tank it’s up to you to rip aggro. If dps get aggro while you were luring mobs around a corner you have to rush back out and gain control. If dps back into adds you charge over and thunderclap.

    It’s the only way to tank pugs and remain sane. Their incompetence is your user-generated content.

      • It’s been a gradual curve, Spinks, since the game launched.

        People were very respectful of tanks in vanilla and early TBC. Towards the end of TBC people got less content if a tank got aggro: “we’ll just get a paladin next time”. During Wrath it was firmly the tank’s job to keep aggro no matter how badly the dps played. Dps who held back so as not to overnuke lost meter ranking.

        I very much liked the original method because it felt to me like we were a team solving problems together by all playing well. By the time I quit I felt like a kindergarden teacher leading a badly behaved bunch of kids around a museum, having to watch them all the time.

  8. Afterthought: it also applies the other way around. If you play a dps and wait considerately for the tank you will rank lower on the meter than the equivalently geared guy who just spams all his biggest nukes as soon as he sees the mobs.

    A good dps is someone who is high on the meter. A wipe due to overnuking is a sign of a bad tank.

    For me it’s a less enjoyable system than the old one.

  9. I have WoW set to remember my user name. If someone can get it, I have bigger problems–my computer is in my bedroom.

    They also added an authenticator blank under password. Of course my happy fingers still hit enter after password–but the authenticator pop-up still pops-up. Good UI programming if you ask me.

  10. Regarding the patch — I play a Paladin as my main. At least we got no nerfs. The rest of it? /shrug

    As for threat — if I pull aggro on my Paladin it’s usually because I hit Beacon of Light too late (or too early). Beacon is a mega-threat producer. I’ve had Ony come running after me because I put it on the tank as he was running towards her. That’s a scary sight!

    On my warlock it’s sometimes harder to tell who’s fault it is when I pull aggro. I usually view it as my fault, unless I’ve waited 5 seconds or so and still drawn aggro for casting haunt.

  11. At least an offtank pulling aggro doesn’t usually get immediately squished. Using a boss as a kitty scratching post has a way of going bad fast if aggro changes.

    That said, I kinda like the situational awareness necessary to keep from drawing aggro. I don’t mind aggro dump moves, since they allow me to make mistakes and not cause a wipe. It’s better not to make mistakes, sure, but having a way to reactively escape is good, too.

    • What I really enjoy in MMO combat is where I feel rewarded for paying attention to the boss and my environment. Where I may need to play differently or use a different ability because of something that happened in the world around me (I don’t enjoy playing characters with fixed rotations, but I did very much like healing, and tanking is sometimes even better.)

      So I quite enjoy the idea of needing to watch my threat on some fights (ie. leave revenge off the priority list for a few seconds), switch from single target to AE tanking, or ramp up the threat up on others.

  12. @Akasza

    As the paladin in question (I believe the quote was “Jesus, your threat, Spinks!”), I’ve most of the time had few threat issues. It’s only been in the last few months that I’ve had the other face of barely being able to keep up with others in threat – frequently loosing, for example, DBS back to the Runed tank even when using Avenging Wrath. Also, my feral colleague is getting her sweet revenge back at my AoE overpoweredness by swiping ghouls on the Lich King back from me. I suspect she’s rather enjoying my outraged cries into the bargain.

    For threat in general – again, DBS is the only normal fight I have ever had threat issues with.Excluding stupid mistakes like DPS (particularly Hunters) opening fire while I’m pulling a boss into position or something, DPS can’t touch me, nor any of the other three tanks, which is something I’d really like to see brought back in. Even Festergut’s Gastric Bloat debuff ensures that the one fight in iCC where we really might have to pull our A-game with threat is a tedious “Taunt at 9, cooldown at 3″ fight.

    This is why heroic Lady Deathwhisper is the awesomest fight of the expansion – being untauntable. She represents a mechanic wthat was prevalent in vanilla and TBC, that for some reason was completely repressed in Wrath (seriously, which completely brilliant developer had the genius to make Grobbulus, Sartharion, Ignis, Rotface etc Tauntable?). Lanathel had the potential to keep some form of threat-management involved… while instead we can quite literally go afk except for two 5s intervals after air phases *without anyone, including the other tank, noticing*.

    • I have to say, the threat advantage didn’t last long :) Last week we were back to business as usual.

      I didn’t mean this to sound smug because it just doesn’t matter which tank is on top on threat. But it was kind of nice for one shining moment to feel like I wasn’t playing the lowest common denominator of tanks (which has been what it has like for most of Wrath and probably will continue to be until … well … who knows?). I like my warrior and it’s been fun, and it’s been perfectly competent to handle all the content so far.

      But I’m not really happy with always feeling as though I’m working twice as hard and never being quite as good. Realistically, that’s silly because like I say, who cares which tank gets more threat from their standard rotation/ priorities? But I think there’s some of that behind feeling that some of the other tanks might like a share of feeling what it’s like to be effortlessly on top.

      Also, I’ve no idea on heroic ICC because I don’t have a 10 man group and will prolly never see it ;P Which is the other main reason I’m pretty much done with raiding now.

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