There were some hotfixed in changes to Tanking yesterday. The big switch is a massive increase to the threat generation for Tanks to the point where the it is very difficult for a dps to pull threat of the tank now.
At least that is what the patch said. In practice it is mostly true too. I really like this change.
To test the change (and because it was one of my wow nights) I ran two instances last night, the first as dps and the second as tank. Both were the new Troll 5 mans, and both had me teamed with players who were in comparable gear (363+ ilevel).
As dps – I was still having threat issues.
On the surface it was much better, I was not pulling threat straight of the tank after three hits, but I still found major issues when I was lucky enough to get a string of crits on a single target pull. My suspicion is that (a) the tank in the group was not concentrating, (b) he still needed time for the threat to build on the target, and (c) I am a threat whore.
I guess this is the way of it for Frost DKs, and I can adjust playstyle accordingly. I will continue to hold off initially and will concentrate on the peripheral needs in the fight, just in case something goes wrong early. We also had an Elemental Shaman and Balance Druid who were keeping up with me on single target damage, and I think we all pulled off the tank at different points over the run. Overall it was a great run with no complete wipes.
To make the point very clearly – I usually die in every 5 man I do due to threat, sometimes 3-4 times, and last night I didn’t die once in that run due to threat. I dies due to no healing in the DragonHawk phase, but meh – the healer was busy keeping himself and the tank alive and its my job to die
As Tank – I still had threat issues, but tanking was so much better.
Previously I felt like Tanking was like herding cats. You had little to no ability to control where the mobs were going, and your own team’s dysfunction was a major driver in the frustration.This change has made the threat issues on packs much better, and the threat issues I saw in single target basically resolved. Only the most powerful and stupid dps would pull threat from my Death Knight now that I maintain a set based upon maintaining threat and staying alive in equal ratio.
However there were still issues – basically due to bloody stupid actions by the dps players, or situations where threat is not so much of an issue and the dps is meant to just burn through the trash mobs – the large waves of non-elite birds for example. You just burn them and for the most part the tank will do what they can to assist somebody in trouble.
This change is not an excuse for dps to go back to being idiots, and just hammering away regardless of the fight. Dps still need to think before they click.
So what is being solved here? Why is this better?
It was a pain to manage a tank’s Threat stats, Survivability stats (in two forms of mitigation and health stacking), and also then have the Tank responsible for a set of encounter based functions like taunts, interrupts and use of special abilities at strategic times. Fundementally Tanking is a hard job and most people do not like it.
A tank is also doubly burdened with the marking and instructions to the group, and I’ve seen many players join a random 5 man as the Dungeon Guide, but prove to be useless leaders with no real clue.
Taking threat out of the list of issues is a huge boon for 5 man dungeons and will probably do more to increase the player pool in the queues that the goodie bag did. Based upon my experience above I will be tanking more, probably all the time now. I am sure that some players will say that it is a hurtful change in some manner, but I like this adjustment.
Make note too that all the other jobs are still needed. Crowd control is still required, strategies must be followed, leadership is needed, and players can still wipe the group with bland stupidity; but the adjustment so that at threat is almost a non-issue is enough to get me to Tank again.
It has been a long break since I tanked in Wrath, but I’m in for another go now.
By way of refs and implications Tobold has written an outstanding blog post about what it means and why the choice may have been made.