Tobold's Blog
Thursday, February 14, 2008
WAR tanks will have a taunt that works in PvP

The Greenskin has exciting news about tanks in PvP in Warhammer Online: they will have a taunt that actually does something. In this case it reduces the damage that the taunted character does to anyone else but the taunter by 50% for 30 seconds. The Greenskin muses probably correctly that in the hectic of PvP many people won't even notice they have been taunted, much less change their target because of it. But at least the tank did something useful to protect the healer or mage on his team.

Now can I please have that functionality for my World of Warcraft tank?

Right now in WoW the arena and battlegrounds are marked with big signs saying "tanks must stay out". Their taunt and other aggro management abilities simply do nothing at all, and if they PvP anyway, they'll find that none of the PvP rewards is of any use for a tank. The best thing a warrior can do if he wants to PvP is to change to arms / fury, and collect a good dps plate set plus weapon. But as a "tank" he currently isn't welcome in PvP in WoW. I'm happy to see WAR is handling that better.
I'm quite sure that City of Heroes/Villains has something similar. I can't remember exactly what it did, but I think attacks were redirected to the one who taunted.
"The Greenskin muses probably correctly that in the hectic of PvP many people won't even notice they have been taunted, much less change their target because of it. But at least the tank did something useful to protect the healer or mage on his team."

Throw in collision detection, and the tank becomes even more viable. Plus, the fact that MOST people will ignore the taunt just further helps the skilled PvP players separate themselves from the mob. The 50% debuff is even more useful in that way than a direct 'face me' taunt like we have in WoW.
hopefully there will be a bold animation so you will realize you've been taunted. maybe they can actually switch your focus or turn you to face the tank.
Actually, as a tank, I find I'm darn useful in PvP, in battlegrounds at least.

(Yes, I'm sure I'd be as much use as a chocolate teapot in arenas, but my guild aren't really into arenas, so hey.)

AV: Everyone needs a tank to, well, tank! Enough NPCs that you're useful.

WSG: Tank + healer = unstoppable flag-runner. I might not be as quick as a shaman, but I Just Will Not Die.

AB: See above re Just Will Not Die. Again, with a healer I've held off 11 of the 15 Horde players on the game for 30+ seconds.

EotS: Who cares?

It's vitally important, as a PvPing tank, to master the lost art of player aggro. Simply put, most players will get tunnel vision as soon as they attack someone - they'll continue attacking and chasing them until they're dead, no matter what else is going on in the battleground.

As a tank, or hell, even a Holy Priest, you can put that to great advantage. I've held 4 Horde at an otherwise unchallenged control point in AB on my own before, simply by charging in at them again and again. See Alliance player ->kill Alliance player -> WTF, he's not dying! -> Keep attacking, rather than doing something useful.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team has 4 less Horde to worry about.
Heh heh
WoW PvP tanks = "Tanks but no Tanks"
I like that idea. Now when will WoW implement it?
In the WoW battlegrounds I find tanks guarding the flags sometimes. In games like Alterac Valley where people tend to group up to take flags the practice isn't that useful. But in Eye of the Storm and Arathi Baisin a well equipped tank can usually prevent the flag from getting capped long enough for help to arrive.
In CoH/CoV, taunts also work in PvP. The effect is that the taunted character auto-targets the tank, and tnen cannot target anyone else for a few seconds, I'm not sure how long.

The Placate power that Stalkers get, which is essentially a de-taunt, also works in PvP by making the Stalker untargetable for a few seconds.
What could make this really work is that for the taunted target everyone but the taunter is greyed out.
I just hope they design this in such a way that if it is indeed useful in PvP, it can't be taken advantage of in an undue way.

For example, the intent probably isn't that you can be taunted by one tank at a distance, and then when you run up to confront him, you're taunted by another one some distance away (and so on, making you either accept the penalty or keep running between them like a ping-pong ball).
A simple alternative would be to give everyone within a short radius of a tank some sort of damage mitigation bonus, making tanks priority targets for the enemy.

This would lead people to cluster round tanks for protection, make tanks key enemy targets, and would be relatively simple to balance.

But Blizzard seem content to simply let warriors be surrogate DPS in battlegrounds.
It makes no sense that they haven't made tanks viable in pvp yet.

It seems they are really shying away from that. If you could be effective in pvp while in resilience type tanking gear with a tanking spec.

I guarantee your tank shortage would be over.
Lotro's latest patch is introducing a new skill for the tanks, where they can protect a single target from damage. Whatever damage their target takes is transferred to the tank instead.
EQ2 by far has the best tank taunt in PVP... the target is actually forced to target the tank for X seconds. Duh. It's excellent and really makes tanks necessary for PvP combat. It also results in some great group fights :)
Thanks for the love, Tobold!

I'm a bit torn on the idea of a "forced target" on the player who taunted you.

On one hand it would be nice in moderation, but on the other, you could potentially lose complete control over your character if someone continually spams a taunt on you, which isn't very fun, IMO.

Maybe some kind of degradation would be good like: First taunt = 3 seconds forced target, second taunt = 2 seconds forced target, third taunt = 1 seconds forced target, and all other taunts = no effect.

I don't like the idea of being locked into combat with a Warrior who is getting healed as as any class (especially a DPSer) just because he's mashing a taunt button.

I think WAR is doing it the best way possible.
Greenskin, what about losing complete control of your character when you get Mind Controlled? Or Feared? Or Stunlocked? Or Banished? Or Sleeped (eg. Wyvern Sting)? Or Frozen? you get the picture.

Getting Taunted by a Warrior and forced to target him for several seconds is hardly losing control of your Toon, not when compared to the above examples. Blizzard are being extremely hypocritical in not allowing Tanks to "Taunt" people in PvP and claiming it's a character control (or loss of control) issue.

Why does Intimidating Shout work in PvP but not Challenging Shout? I say allow Taunt, Challenging Shout, etc, but where it only affects characters within melee range. No Taunting a Rogue from all the way across the battlefield and preventing him from attacking that Priest, but when the Rogue is beating on the Priest right beside you, why shouldn't you be able to slap him upside the head and say "LOOK AT ME!!!"
@Capn John:

In WoW, you're right, it does have a place. But I think it needs to be effective in moderation.

In WAR, I don't think it has a place at all. Numerous devs have mentioned in public places their distaste for CC and how it won't play such a big role in WAR compared to DAOC.

CC should have a strategic place in MMORPGs but I don't think it should be so powerful that you can completely lock players down with it. Preventing people from controlling their avatars too much is a massive hindrance to the fun factor of play.
In WoW, the Arms/Fury warriors still have taunt, so how exactly would this be buffing the tank class? You don't spec to get taunt, it is freely available to any warrior.
See, now THIS is how you should design CC. Not losing control of your actions, but losing control of your *effect*.

Guild Wars showed that PvP was possible without "controlling CC', it's nice to see a mainstream MMO pick up the banner.
If taunt forces focus in PvE, it should also do so in PvP.

If losing focus is undesirable in PvP, then it should be removed as an effect in PvE also and replaced with a mechanic that makes sense in both.

PvE skills should be usable in PvP, but require more actual skill since it is a human opponent.
"they'll find that none of the PvP rewards is of any use for a tank"

That is incorrect actually, but a common misconception. For tanks that do not have access to raiding above Gruul's the honor gear (Vindicators and S1 Arena is very good for supplementing and replacing Tier 4 tanking gear.

While you wouldn't want to have all PvP gear, for example the shoulders and shields that are available are much better than the equivalent tier 4 gear.

The main reasons are gemming, armor and resilience. Resilience acts like 'defense' to get a tank to be uncrittable, and the armor / stamina on honor gear is far higher than the equivalent Tier 4 gear.

PvP is an excellent source of tanking gear. Although, your main statement that tanks are really the only raid class that isn't that fun in PvP.
Such an effect which lasts for 30 sec is going to be hugely overpowered. Or the whole system will be quite chaothic with "counter-taunts" that increase damage taken by 100% for 20 sec, and then it will plain suck.
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