I've been thinking about tanking mechanics. As I'd want this game of mine to be more realistic, tanking would have to be vastly different than it is in most others. In WoW, the guy with highest threat has aggro. Doesn't matter that other people are doing things which logically would be much more threatening like stabbing the mob repeatedly or riddling them with arrows or worse....healing the guy they are attacking so that he NEVER DIES. As a player, if another mob is healing the guy I'm trying to kill, I immediately change targets and kill that damned healer.

Ideally, I'd want a game that feels like you are fighting opponents with real AI. If you were fighting something like a dragon or a giant serpent or bear or something without much intelligence, sure the standard tanking model works great. The tank stands there and waves their arms loudly and does all kinds of flashy things to hold the mob's attention. But when you are fighting something like the warlord of a keep (or a Lich King), then you would assume that an intelligent being would say to themselves "It's kind of futile to attack this guy while that person over there in the dress is wiggling their fingers and casting healy magic on them" and go kill the one in the dress.

So what if different actions had different threat values assigned to them based on the situation? Healers would likely have spells like illusion magic which prevents enemies from seeing them casting healing magic on different people but casting heals on the target the mob is currently focusing on would have vastly greater threat than casting it on someone else. As fights go on, the threat that damage causes would go up relative to threat of people in the raid. A rogue dealing 10K dps vs. a tank dealing 3.5 for example would quickly anger a mob. 10K dps would cause 10k threat per second, and for every second they do more DPS than the tank, the amount of threat that causes would go up by .1K. Pulling aggro would be an eventuality. Maybe the DPS would have abilities which suppresses pain in the target (such as a rogue poison or a warlock curse), meaning it won't feel the damage as much and cause less threat. Or maybe the tanks would have to have high DPS to maintain threat.

It's possible that with this model that tanks would need several abilities which cause massive amounts of damage (and therefore threat) on a cooldown. It's possible that any given fight would need several tanks to taunt off each other with these cooldowns so that they could be healed effectively (healing the mob's current target will cause the healer to be instantly targeted). It's even possible that all of the tanks will need to be DPS at the same time or DPS will need some kind of tanking survivability, even if just temporarily.

The whole idea is that for a game that makes some kind of logical sense, the "tank and spank" fight needs to go away. It's unrealistic. It's boring. To be honest, I think it breeds thinking in players that they don't have to pay attention to what's going on around them as long as their threat meter says "Hey, you're good." Raids don't really feel like a bunch of players working together, it feels like tanks and healers working together with a bunch of other guys just running around doing whatever, and I think that needs to change.

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 4/12/2010 12:55:00 PM


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