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Threat Gauging in 3.0
05/12/2008 à 22:05
Ever wondered how that awesome warrior could handle six different creatures at once in a dungeon? What about the druid who did the same thing yesterday or even that paladin, or death knight, who took on six and then took on three more just for show? There's an insider secret to the trade and it's one without a name. Yeah, that warrior was doing it. The main tank in that world first guild has been doing it all along. That guild on your realm who just downed Malygos? Yep. It's so good even my grandmother does it. It really
So what is it? It's what separates the warriors from the peasants, the big dogs from the pups, the scrubs from the pros. Interested? Good. It may take some time, or perhaps you already possess all the necessary skills. Regardless, the info is out, and you can read all about it for three easy installments of
. Sorry, no C.O.D.
Read on for free! (Limited time offer)
. It's something many tanks learned naturally and something others learned through research and experimentation. I have seen some great tanks chugging along at end-game, but couldn't explain a single detail about what they were doing or why they did it. Then there are some tanks who know all the numbers, can explain every little detail, but fall short at the execution phase. My goal is simple: to explain what exactly this is and how to put to work for you in Northrend.
is the art of estimating how much threat has been dealt to a creature. Think of it as a mental threat meter for each creature. Before version 3.0, this was the main way a tank held aggro. With the advent of the recent expansion, threat has become streamlined.
Tanking in 2.0
Warriors dealt with a host of abilities which dealt fairly low damage, but were held high for their threat. Most of the warrior's abilities were single-target, high threat, and low damage. An example would be
. The actual damage was fairly low, but the threat was really high. In order to tank several creatures at once, a warrior would need to switch targets often. This sometimes created a chain reaction effect in which the warrior would lose aggro on the main target. When trying to get the main target back, the warrior would then lose aggro on the secondary or tertiary target, and so on.
Through the use of
druids were capable of holding on to several creatures at once without changing targets too often. They still changed targets like the warrior, but not quite as much. Druids had an easier time dealing damage in non-standard tanking gear for most small group content. Still, even when in full-tanking gear their damage was a good contribution to the raid.
Paladins had an entire series of reflective spells to aid them when tanking.
, etc.—the list goes on. They were the number one choice for insane, catch-all tanking situations. The main factors consisted of the fact when a paladin was struck in combat several abilities or talents would deal damage back to the attacker. For area of effect tanking, this was king. It required little concentration other than the main target or two.
Threat Gauging in 3.0
Now, we have something like a total-tank-equilibrium. That is, all tanks are now balanced to be within acceptable margins of each other in terms of capability and practicality. This is great news, especially since death knights are capable of tanking as well. All tanks are now capable of surviving, multi-target tanking, and kicking major booty.
Because of all these changes, threat gauging is now more important than ever . So naturally, one has to ensure they understand the basics behind this system. It's pretty simple, but hard to explain. Through the knowledge, understanding, and use of all abilities a tank is able to judge how much threat has been applied to any target at any given time. It extends beyond this simple principle, which one could argue as "learning to play" a certain class. A good tank takes notice of the other four or more players around him or her as well.
Let's pretend we're in a group of five. Our tank is taking care of three zombies pretty good. The healer is spot on, the damage dealers (DPS) are doing their job (stabbing, shooting, and setting stuff on fire). Then, a patrol comes around the corner. Our physical damage dealers are behind their target, as they should be to maximize damage dealt, and accidentally body pull the patrolling creatures. At the same time, the healer lands a large heal on the tank. Uh, oh! The patrol immediately changes target to the healer. This is a typical scenario, which I have no doubt most readers have experienced in a group at one point in time or another. Let's breakdown a few things going through the mind of a good tank at this point.
There's a patrol coming, I better back up for the damage dealers,
They are too close, the patrol is going to be pulled,
I'm taking constant damage from the creatures I'm already tanking,
My area-of-effect ability ready,
My healer is going to land a huge heal at any time now,
The group attempt to AOE all of the creatures,
I had better generate some massive threat over all creatures,
I need to ,
I'll be a monkey's uncle if I'm going to take a durability hit over this!
Man, I'm so awesome.
There's over a half dozen things at any point in time a tank could be thinking about. The size of the heal incoming, the spells or abilities being used by damage dealers, how strong those abilities or heals are in terms of threat, and what's going to happen in the next three seconds. All of that, plus managing the priorities of spells/abilities to actually tank a target. Nevermind the things the creature or boss is doing. Imagine thinking about all of these things at once, for each creature being tanked. Suddenly it seems clear; estimating the amount of threat per target from what is going on in one's surroundings takes time and experience.
out there, how much of your attention goes undivided towards the game? Do you understand a lot about the other classes or their abilities? Do you play with the same tank on a regular basis or have you "seem them all"?
reading this, what is your trick to threat gauging? Do you focus on this heavily or just passively? How about during raid encounters? Do you find yourself asking some of these same questions as the list above? How about the statements above? /grin
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