Friday, December 17, 2010

Threat Management

A recent blue post about threat, you can see that here, basically talked about things we all know already.  Threat should matter.  Two lines in the blue post however got me thinking.  If anything, the horror stories of the new dungeons have a lot to do with threat sometimes.  Usually because people are just entering as soon as they have an iLvl that meets the requirements and not the skills and/or knowledge of the dungeon to actual be able to do it.

The first line that got me thinking was as follows:
If threat generation is too easy then the entire risk of the encounter drops. Newsflash: we don’t actually want encounters to be easy. We want encounters to be fun, and for most players, that includes both rewards and risks.
For such a short sentence they really added a lot of words that are opinion based and said nothing that is fact based.   Who decides what fun is? Who decides what easy is? Who decides what risk is? 

To me the risk of a PuG is getting a tank that can't hold threat a healer that can't heal the tank through big hits and DPS that make me feel like I am trying to down a 4.5M boss all by myself.  That is the risk I take every time I step into a PuG.  PuGs, by nature, have enough risk to start out with.  Is this the risk they were talking about? 

Nope, they were talking about the risk for dying from something during the encounter.  I think that statement missed the mark by a long margin.  Most players, at least most non-jerk players, do not mind dying to a mechanic that they did not perform appropriately to avoid.  That risk is there and it is acceptable.

The biggest risk in the game is not the mechanics.  Mechanics can be learned.  Some will learn them sooner then others and some will take a year and a day before it clicks.  That is just the person and how quickly they adjust.  Some adjust faster then others.  That is life is it not?

The biggest risk right now is that you have a very large chance that one of the four other people in your party will either be a first timer (no problem, we all need to learn some time) or someone that just does not get it.  No matter how good threat management is for a tank if someone just does not get it there is nothing you can do. 

Threat will always be an issue.  One out of the four other people with you is bound be stupid, new or plain unskilled.  It is a fact.  Anyone that runs dungeons can tell you there is always someone either new or someone that just does not get it.  Mind you once again.  I have no problem what so ever with someone that is new and learning.

If they plan to nerf threat any, which that line makes it seem, they are making a huge mistake.  Tanks already have to deal with idiots always on the wrong targets.  Do not make things harder because of some imagined risk of an encounter.

The other line is this one.

On the other hand, when threat is too hard to maintain, it can be exasperating. Tanks get understandably frustrated when the game is asking them to do something but not giving them the tools to do it. The non-tanks in the group also become frustrated, because they feel throttled. It’s one thing when overcoming the boss is challenging. It feels worse when you know that another player is standing in your way, keeping you from achieving your top performance.
This one I know quite well as a DPS main.  However, as a Hunter I have all the tools I need to assure that threat is rarely if ever an issue.  Add to the fact that Hunters where nerfed so badly that you would actively need to work to get threat off even an average tank now. If a Hunter accidentally gets threat now it is 100% the tanks fault as Hunters have no burst. Old school, with mana, Hunter burst was insane, now it doesn't exist any more.  Kind of hard to burst when you are stuck auto/steady shooting after only three shots.

With all the movement in fights now I have noticed that most tanks, even fantastic ones, are having some threat issues.  Most tanks, even average ones, can hold threat off anyone on single target that is just a stand there and maybe dance a little type of fight.  The only problems I have seen, when everyone is doing what they are supposed it, is that healer aggro seems to be off the chart. 

AoE tanking was nerfed along with all (most actually, feral swipe spam doing 50K DPS at 83 would like to have a word with the designers) other AoE in the game.  The concept was everyone is supposed to single target and the AoE was supposed to outpace healer aggro and that is about it.  Well, I've only healed one dungeon so far and I can tell you that is not what is happening.

The tank I had is a fantastic tank.  Guild mate of course (I am still dreading those random people) and someone I have run with a long time.  I know what to look for from tanks.  I also have been leveling a warrior as a tank only so I know the style.  He was doing everything right.  I was waiting (just like I do with DPS) before I threw any heals into the mix.  Shields before battle do not have any impact on aggro.  The first time I throw a heal.  Anything, even a prayer of mending, I have aggro on everything except the skull.  What he hell is that?

So first they talk about needing to nerf damage, then they talk about not enough threat is holding people back.  They did this long ass post about absolutely nothing and said absolutely nothing.

I think tanks need an AoE buff but that comes with a problem.  If they tweak that a bit to much we go back to LK AoE fests.  I do not want that, for selfish reasons really, I like living in a single target world.  You guessed it, no volley means no AoE any more for hunters (unless you are survival).  If I can't have it then no one else should. 

So how do you fix the problem?  Simple, lower healing threat generation.  Simple as that.  There is no reason that throwing a prayer of mending on a tank should grab aggro from a tank on anything that is not their main target.  Ever.  If even all the tank did was emote a spit on the target.

After reading that whole tap dance I am still confused.  Are they going to nerf threat generation like the first excerpt seemed or buff it like the second one might have implied.

I am glad the blues take the time to post but when they say nothing in their post then it was basically a waste of their time and ours.  We, the community, deserve more then someone spitting out tanking facts that even the most casual of casual players already know.  Why was there even a need to post it when they, in effect, said nothing.

Now for one line from that last part that I laughed when I read.

It feels worse when you know that another player is standing in your way, keeping you from achieving your top performance.
Does this mean that they are finally going to find a way to keep people out of heroics that have no clue what they are doing?  Please say it is.

BTW, I have a partial solution to that as well that I came up with while doing dailies yesterday.  There are a few dailies that you have to do 10 times to get the achievement.

How about make it like this.  You need to complete a dungeon 10 times on normal before you are allowed to query up for it on heroic.  You get an achievement for completing it once, make another for completing it 10 times with a reward of unlocking heroic mode of that dungeon.

This will insure that you have actually done the normal version enough to know the basic mechanics and only have to learn one or two more for heroic.  This will also mean you had more then enough chance to get better gear because lets face it, you can get into a heroic without ever stepping into a normal just from quest and rep rewards.  If they really are serious about making people learn to advance, this is the only way to do it.

Would I mind doing it?  Nope, not at all.  Would I mind doing it on an alt being I already know all the dungeons enough from doing them on my main?  Yes, but you know what?  I would be willing to make the sacrifice of having to do it on all my alts as well just to know that the people in my heroic have at least been in the instance before and know some of the mechanics.  Fair trade as far as I am concerned.

Now that is what I really want to see happen.  10 normals per dungeon achievements to unlock the heroic version.  Make that happen Blizzard and you will have really won over a lot of people.  Not to mention I am sure this would also help with many threat issues. People would have lots and lots of normals to learn what the skull means.

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