Tank vs dps, round 5

Lono commented yesterday that he feels the hard mode flashpoints in SWTOR are overtuned, with the ‘hard’ part relying mostly on boss enrage timers. What this means in practice is that that the group needs to provide more dps, which means that it’s the dps who get the extra difficulty. He proved this by healing a hard mode successfully in his offspec and with dps gear (ie. the requirements on healers were very low).

I’d concur with this. We’ve run Black Talon in hardmode successfully, but in Boarding Party we couldn’t get past the first boss (it’s the group with multiple elites). So two issues:

  1. a tuning issue, some of those hard modes are either overtuned or are tuned with the expectation of specific types of dps and
  2. the difficulty isn’t spread across the roles evenly

My perspective is based on playing a dps juggernaut, and I’ve had some experience at playing melee dps in WoW so I don’t believe  lack of dps is down to my incompetence. It could be that the instances favour ranged dps over melee, or that juggernaut dps isn’t up to scratch, or that I’m not in full PvP or raid gear, or that my guild mates are rubbish (which they aren’t). However, groups in SWTOR only have 4 players so if an encounter IS favouring one type of dps over another AND is tightly tuned then they need to fix it, because otherwise it’s making things too hard if even one of your dps is ‘the wrong type.’ And personally, I’m not going to sit around whining about being forced to PvP to get gear upgrades to run instances in, I’ll just quit or play an alt once I feel I’ve given it my best shot and it wasn’t good enough.

It’s also confusing to the player base when the gear requirements for raids are lower than for flashpoints, and if that was intended then it’s something that needs to be made clearer. I have strong feelings about this from TBC when tanking heroics (if you weren’t playing a druid so had access to good crafted tanking gear) was absolutely horrible until you had Kara gear.

Tobold has taken this opportunity to throw some hate at dps players and snarking about lack of responsibility. This is just bizarre to me. So much hate. I have no issues with tanking, and spent a lot of time doing it in WoW. I’d probably be tanking in SWTOR except that we have a fair few tanks already and dps  are needed, and I know fine well what my responsibility is as a dps player. Do so many tanks and healers really hate the dps players that much? I don’t recall that I ever did – well maybe the really rude guys in random PUGs but that’s because they were really rude.

Maybe I was jealous that I had to endure gearing up from raiding to tank heroics where they could just hop in as soon as they hit level 70 (this is TBC, remember). That was in fact still a tuning issue, and it wasn’t right then, and it isn’t right now even if this time it’s the tanks/ healers getting the easier ride.

But on another level, he’s not seen how the emphasis has been shifting to dps in WoW over the last couple of expansions. More enrage timers, more need for top dps just to be able to clear normal mode raids, more raids failing because they have good tank and healer players but can’t get the dps … it’s been a trend. (Not a good one, I hasten to add. I think with X good players of any role you should be able to clear a raid/ instance where X can be less than the total if it’s not absolute cutting edge end game.)

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32 thoughts on “Tank vs dps, round 5

  1. What spec are you running as a juggernaut? My guild groups haven’t had any issues with enrage timers, and we started out doing it with DPSers wearing tanking quest gear. The only time I’ve seen a HM Flash enrage was with a couple of pug DPS.

  2. My perspective is based on playing a dps juggernaut, and I’ve had some experience at playing melee dps in WoW so I don’t believe lack of dps is down to my incompetence.

    You can say that, but without DPS meters, how would you even know?

    The funny thing is, everyone is talking about how overtuned the content is without really giving a baseline as to what that means. The lack of Recount was celebrated in SWTOR, but look where it is at now: there is simply no way of knowing if X class is OP or if Y class is gimped. The consequences of low DPS remain, with or without meters.

    • Yeah. This what I was going to say. What is the point of the requires you reach certain levels of a metric if you aren’t going to provide any means of gaining a feedback on said metric.

      Being to ask to put out x number of damage per second without being able to see how short of said damage you are and or having the information to see what sort of adjustments can be made is bad game design.

    • You’re right, and without a dps meter you can never know for sure. But even meters tend to skew towards high AE damage over single target and won’t allow for fights where ranged have an advantage (just giving two examples that have often come up in my experience, the meters have never been that great for trash or boss fights involving multiple spread mobs.)

      I’m just basing my judgement on the notion that I know how to gear and figure out a reasonable rotation based on the tooltips, so chances are I’m better than average. Now better than average may still not be good enough, true.

      • I actually have a vague suspcion the lack of a recount is as much so sw:tor developers don’t have to deal with the same level of theory crafting and subsequent balance fine tuning that WoW has to deal with.

        I also have a similarily vague suspicion that the melee jedi aren’t actually great DPS damage wise because my Smuggler tore things up far more easily than my Sith did but I wasn’t prepared to sit down and pew things to find out.

    • Now I’m sure I remember paladin tanks in TBC complaining about it being harder for them to gear to be crush proof/ crit proof in heroics than it was for anyone else. Maybe you didn’t find that and my memory is wrong.

      • It was harder. In that you had to meet an actual cap for it, and effectively needed external resources to know what that cap was – whereas a warrior tank could just throw on sensible looking gear and be good.

        I know I had my paladin tank uncrushable and uncrittable the same day I dinged him, but that did involve a *little* advanced planning (in particular, running the caverns of time instances a few times while levelling, for rep), a modest amoutn of crafted gear, and a couple of non-heroic instance runs.

        It was worse than all the others, but actually I’d consider it a bit quicker than gearing a fresh 85 tank today. (I could do that without external resources, though).

      • Oh argh, I’m having flashbacks now. There definitely was a defence cap that warriors had to hit. I seem to remember the hit cap also being fairly key because of warriors having lower threat at that point too, but I may be misremembering that part.

    • 102.4% combined block/avoidance for paladins. It took a lot of kara runs to reach that point but crush immunity was kinda overkill in 5-mans. It’s long enough ago that I’m not sure you could get crushed outside of a raid.

      There was a charming bug that zeroed your block/avoidance briefly during any instacast. I noticed that when doing heroics until they fixed it.

  3. If you are talking about responsibility from a Skill perspective I believe you truely need to have meters so that you can accurately see who is keeping up their end of the skill requirements and who isn’t.

    That said I also believe that there should be at least 2 positions in every normal 10 man raid that are considered trivial positions. Current friendly social guilds often recruit players of a mix of skills and ask them to perform at a set requirement. I know I would love to have seen simple positions our raid lead/myself could have moved some of our terrible skill wise players into. The consequences of forcing a standard of difficulty makes those who can’t measure up cause various degrees of drama as people of different skill levels/expectations clash.

    When I talk trivial content I many mean content that allows a few players to output a set amount of damage/healing/mitigation that has a very simple interface that doesn’t respond to increases in gear/stats. Basically a slot to put your bad players or people who struggle with a particular encounter. Essentially the negative effects of damage meters could be largely removed since the people who do terrible on them never end up with the chance to do terrible.

  4. The illusion of a lack of DPS responsibility is based on the misconception that because there’s a lot of them, it doesn’t matter much what any particular DPS is doing, as opposed to the ‘Superstar’ tank or heals.

    People tend to ignore the fact that a good dps can make up for the short comings of a bad tank or heals far better than a good tank or heals can make up for the shortcomings of DPS.

    • One of the bigger reasons why Tanks and Healers actually shoulder more responsibility is because when they do fail it is often more significant. Losing a Dps when you are doing well above the needed Dps to kill the boss won’t lead to a wipe. If you however lose a Tank or Healer you more frequently enter in a wipe scenario.

      If you imagine the split to be 2 tanks, 2 healers and 6 dps for the typical raid it becomes easier to see why certain roles are more important. Lets imagine the Dps push out 10k dps while the tanks do 5k and need to taunt every 30 seconds. Healers do 12k Hps and the boss does 20k dps. If the boss requires 62k dps to be killed you can easily see that a losing a dps early will cause a wipe but if the dps was to die halfway through the fight they would still be victorious. If you however were to lose either you tank or healer you would be dead fairly quickly at any point in the raid. The point to remember is that there are more scenarios where a tank or healer leads to a wipe scenario then a dps.

      • I think you can define responsibility in different ways. Back in TBC as a tank, I was expected to do the marking, lead the group, sort out the CC, hold aggro on multiple mobs with appropriate amounts of threat, do the pulls, etc. It’s not just a lot of responsibility but also a lot of work. (Too much, really.)

        In raids, the only responsibility you have as a tank is to move the boss around and use your cooldowns appropriately (you may also need to do interrrupts etc). The responsibility for the tank not dying might be shared between several different people, as will responsibility for helping the tank keep threat. Although it will be v obvious if you position the boss badly so you have a lot of personal accountability.

        And the tighter a boss is tuned, the less you can afford to lose a dps. Similarly, if a game is set up so that a dps can do some pinch tanking or healing, you can survive losing a tank or healer towards the end of the fight. So it does depend.

        But basically I don’t think tanks have all that much responsibility in raids.

      • The issue is that tanking and healing are a binary affair. You either do it or you don’t and, to be honest about it, once you can tank one thing, you can tank anything provided you have the gear. If you fail when tanking, it’s because you failed at tanking.

        DPS is dynamic. The needs of DPS change every single fight and, this is important, your DPS will never, ever be good enough. You are never doing enough damage, even if you’re doing enough to kill the boss; As a DPS, you can succeed at a fight and still fail at DPS because every extra point of DPS makes the fight easier.

        To use your example, your DPS should be doing 15k. The more dps you do, the less room there is for the tank or healer to fail at their job so your tanks and healers need not be as good.

      • The thing is, though, the whole “expected to mark, lead, sort CC, etc.” is a social convention, not a game-mechanical one. I’ve lead quite successful instance runs and raids as DPS with tanks who’d never set foot in that dungeon/raid before, and found the tank’s instructions are generally the simplest (“Stand over there, face the boss the other way, save your cooldowns for when this happens”).

  5. responsibility to beat enrage timers fall back on tanks and healers. (cant find em now) but dev vids talked about healers doing damage… to make it more fun. So to beat enrage timers, tanks need to take less dmg, so your healers can pew too.

  6. First of all, thanks Spinks for this. I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling that way and you explained it better than I did. I was pretty pissed at the time of my posting.

    @Dwism: if that is truly the design they intended I don’t see it as much of an improvement since you put even more pressure on roles I feel already have enough on their plate.

  7. I kinda love the extra responsibility SWTOR puts on DPS. Its made me appreciate excellent DPS, and be more vocal about that appreciation – even for little things like hitting the right target. Its nice to see dps have the same opportunity for reputation-building that I got as a tank in BC days.

    Sidenote: which BP boss? Most of the add bosses have some silly trick to avoiding the enrage timer… but on the first boss (lightning robot) if the dps avoid the yuck, the healer can spend most of the time dps’ing (like Dwism points out). Its definitely different, but my healer-alt feels expected to contribute to dps on most encounters.

    • She mentioned a group of elites, so I figure it’s either Skar’swhatever, or the Storm Squad. Storm Squad’s actually a somewhat difficult fight if you don’t understand the mechanics, but the enrage shouldn’t be a significant issue if you properly avoid the grenade damage. Everything else in the instance is a step away from being a tank and spank.

      • The strat we used was run the untankable guy out of grenade range for a burn. The two DPS focus on him, the healer sits in the middle, healing the DPS, tank and himself. No one other than the tank or healer should be hit by a grenade at this point. Once the untankable guy dies, every switches to the grenade guy, with the tank interrupting the healer. Melee DPS should be at max hit box range, behind the grenade guy, and on opposite corners if you have two melee DPS. The healer should be out of the spread. Burn the grenade guy down, then switch to the healer.

        If you cluster up, you’ll get butchered, but the enrage timer should only be an issue if someone’s derping on the interrupts.

  8. I don’t entirely disagree with the comments about the onus being on DPS, my thought is that if tanking and healing are so easy, perhaps the onus should be on everyone to do more DPS.

    Yeah, maybe it is overtuned because that (everyone should be doing good DPS) is an expectation of the designers? Common comments are that tanking is easy and so is healing – maybe some resource (and mentality) shifts are required for putting out more DPS as that role…

    Maybe it points to some bad class balance? I know as a Powertech (Bounty Hunter tank spec) I often come out on top for damage done in PVP scenarios (as does my other friend who plays a Powertech). Juggernauts, on the other hand, not so much? (Lonomonkey might have touched on this lightly)

  9. On the topic of tanks hating on DPS, I generally do so out of the simmering frustration that ALL of the gear rewards I got were only relevant in one area of the game. I raided and PvPed; as a MT, I was always undergeared compared to DPS-only opponents who could leverage their pewpew raid gear while I had to gear up twice.

    Healers also benefited from raid gear in PvP, of course, but after healing a few times myself and experiencing the helpless panic of going OOM (and taking it as a personal failure regardless of whether people were taking unnecessary damage), I cut them some slack.

    DPS though? Give me a break. As Simon Jones said, tanking is binary: you either hit your defensive cooldown during the uber attack, or you wipe. Letting Slice N’ Dice fall off for a few seconds? (Usually) Doesn’t matter; even when it does matter, someone else can cover for you.

    In one-tank fights I always offered to let the OT take over so I could switch to Ret and relax while actually seeing gains for improvement in skill.

    • Tanking is no more binary than DPS is. While the punishment for failing split second decisions as a tank is much more catastrophic than it is for a DPS, However, that does not absolve the tank of the need to maximize their damage output while not compromising their survivability. A good tank does everything a good DPS does, and more.

      As an example, and I go back to WoW for this, because we can actually see our output there, I, as a protection paladin, do over 20k DPS on Ultraxion, I’m not decked out in Heroic gear, as I’ve been extremely unlucky with loot (Still using the Nefarian normal shield after over 70 kills of bosses that drop better shields. I’m not bitter about that. At all.) However, I’ll run DS in pug groups on my alts, and I see tank who are better geared than I am doing 8-12k DPS. Particularly in ten man raids, where tanks are a larger portion of the raid’s damage, the amount of damage being left on the table by tanks who are simply being lazy in their button pushing is a significant amount. What would you say to a hunter or rogue who was knowingly leaving 10k DPS on the table simply because they don’t want to tighten up their rotation?

      • None of that tank DPS matters if you don’t hit Divine Protection (etc) at the prescribed times. No one can cover for you (healer cooldowns notwithstanding). That’s what is binary.

        You are right that an extra 8k DPS from the tank is great – on top of him/her already successfully completing their primary task – but the margins are way different. I’m not talking about a rogue that never uses Slice N’ Dice, but a rogue that spaces out for 10 seconds or whatever and lets it fall off. Or doesn’t pop a cooldown until 10 seconds into a Heroism. That same poor performance can be compensated by, say, the tank. It doesn’t work the other way around; ending a fight sooner with good DPS helps the healers, not the tanks.

    • Healers get off lightly, to be honest. I’ve played all three roles and once you have your head around healing, it’s the more relaxing role. Plus as you say, you can heal usefully in PvP in the same gear.

      And as far as tank dps goes, I don’t disagree, but tank classes in WoW are not balanced around their dps. So what does it mean if one tank class can do several thousand more dps than another? Is the raid stupid for bringing the class that will make things harder? (As a warrior tank, this came up a lot for me, my raid never minded but I felt bad.) It’s also very demoralising when class balance is off on some secondary but important aspect, because however hard you work, you know that rerolling the other class would be more effective.

      • I wasn’t talking about my paladin vs some guy’s warrior. I’m talking about other paladins. Same spec, same rotation, and they just don’t feel the need to apply themselves to their rotation because “It’s not their job”. And because of that, in excess of 5% of the group’s total DPS disappears into the ether of apathy. That’s what I take issue with. A protection paladin’s rotation is harder to execute properly than most DPS spec rotations, but that’s not an excuse to not at least put in the effort.

      • One thing I really give Bioware credit for is actually giving tanks a role in PvP. You’ve got multiple tools for mitigating damage to your teammates, and the game tracks how much damage you’ve prevented. They gave taunts the functionality that if you tank an opposing player, and they attack anyone but you, they get their damage reduced by 30% for the duration of the taunt. Combined with AoE taunts a tank can drastically alter the conclusion of a teamfight.

        Now, if you’re saying that you’re upset because you have to farm up a DPS pvp set in order to play DPS in PvP, then I have little sympathy for you.

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