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Developer Journals: The Fighter Revamp

By Guest Writer on January 27, 2009

The Fighter Revamp
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GU #51, Lucan’s Art of War, will bring a sweeping change to aggro management and how hate is gained. This is a significant change and we want to make sure that it’s as clear as possible.

Why Are These Changes Being Made?

Over time, mechanics have shifted from tanks grabbing and holding aggro because they’re the biggest and baddest thing making the mob angry, to tanks grabbing and holding aggro because they’re being fed hate from other people making the mob angry. In short, the emphasis has been on passive hate gain rather than active hate gain.

The goal is to shift back towards active hate gain and make holding a mob’s attention a more interactive process for the tank.

In order to make this happen, stances are becoming more meaningful. Being a tank in defensive stance will now mean more. Instead of being a damage dealer with a little extra mitigation, you’ll now be a wall of rock standing between the mob and the squishies. Your taunts will be more effective than just saying, “Your father was a hamster and your mother smelled of elderberries!”

Another one of the goals that the team has tried to accomplish with the revamp is to give tanks a more defined role. Before, tanks were all over the place. A little bit of solo tanking here, a little group tanking there, and a heavy emphasis on DPS to gain hate. Now there’s a clearer focus for each tank class. These roles aren’t set in stone and by no means does everyone have to play the same way. A tank can still be flexible in choice of AA’s and how they wish to play. This just makes it easier to match the tank to the job and provides situations where each tank can shine to the best of their abilities.

What Was Wrong With the Way it Was Before?

The role of a tank was blurred. DPS was rapidly becoming the metric by which a tank was judged. Doing their own, siphoning the hate generated by others’ DPS, being fed the hate from others’ DPS.

The team wanted tanks to judge their performance by how well they gained and maintained a mob’s hate instead of how high they could parse. In an effort to make this easier, the team has implemented a hate meter. The hate meter will show the percentage of hate a person has, showing each person how much threat they present to the NPC.

What is the Hate Meter?

The hate meter is an addition to the UI. It will give you a visual representation of how much you’re angering the NPC. The tank will be at 100%. After that, whatever percentage your meter shows will let you know how close you are to the tank.

The higher your percentage the more you’re annoying the NPC. When you start creeping too close to your tank, it might be time to start using your detaunts! The hate meter is toggleable (Ctrl – T or /togglethreatwindow) so it can be turned off if you don’t want to use it.

81% - At this point, you're high on the hate list. This is about the range secondary or off-tanks want to be for peeling purposes, or for quick saves.

99% - You are about to steal aggro. If you don't want to, now is a very good time for your detaunts, or to get up and grab a drink.

22% - This is where you want to live if you don't want to get hit. As a healer, the detaunts drop you very quickly.

100% - Congratulations! You are at the top of the hate list and are the focus of the mob's ire!

What Does This Mean for MY Class?

Fighters are now loosely grouped into single target and group target tanks. While the idea was to make everyone capable of tanking a heroic instance, different tank classes will be more effective depending on the type of encounter.

It also means that spells have been consolidated and that stances have been enhanced to be more effective. Several stand-alone buffs have been merged into stances in order to support the intended use of that stance. For example, stamina buffs are an aid to tanking and would be merged into a defensive stance.

Guardians, Paladins, and Monks will fall into the single target group. They will be the most effective at engaging a single NPC. In raid situations, this would mean that you’d want one of these guys to keep the main NPC’s attention. The same would hold true running through an instance where there is a main NPC who has minions as backup.

Berserkers, Shadowknights, and Bruisers are group target (or AE) tanks. They will be the most effective at scooping up several NPCs and keeping them occupied. They’ll be excellent at off-tanking, but by no means does that mean that they can’t be the main tank in appropriate situations.

Spell Consolidations

Single Target

Guardian

  • The Hold the Line spell line has been merged with the defensive stance lines.
  • The Iron Will Spell line has been merged with both the offensive and defensive stances.
  • The Battle Tactics line has been merged into the Call to Arms line of spells.
  • The offensive stance line will now increase damage done to the guardian and also has a damage-based proc while also reducing the hate gain of the guardian.
  • The defensive stance will now also increase the amount of taunts and increase the hate gain of the guardian.
  • The hate reduction of the Allay line has been reduced.
  • The Assault line now grants additional threat gains.
  • Reduced the recast of the Shout line.
  • The Kick line now generates additional threat.

Paladin

  • The Redemption line now greatly increases your threat with the target instead of siphoning hate.
  • The Incite line now increases threat initially instead of overtime.
  • The Charge line now has a hate component.
  • The Divine Circle line now has a hate component.
  • The Blessing of the Penitent and Blessed Weapon lines have been merged into the offensive and defensive stances.
  • The Blinding Rays line has had its reuse time reduced.

Monk

  • The Martial Focus and Dragon stance lines have been merged into the monk’s stances.
  • The Stare line increase threat by more.
  • The Kick line now has a threat component.
  • The Cobra Circle line now increases threat to any targets it hits.
  • Beckon has had its reuse time lowered.

Group Target

Berserker

  • Berserk has been incorporated into the defensive and offensive stances.
  • The Battle Chant line has been merged into the Bloodlust line.
  • The Bullying Defense line has been merged into the defensive stance line.
  • Uproar has been moved to level 2 to fill in a gap created by the ability mergers.
  • The Growl line is now 10 second reuse and more powerful.
  • The Offend line has increased threat.
  • The Whirl line now has a threat component.
  • Reactive taunt strength of the Insolent Gibe line has been increased slightly.

Shadowknight

  • The Dark Caress and Unholy Weapon lines have merged into the offensive and defensive stances.
  • Defensive stance line will lower damage but increase threat output.
  • Offensive stance boosts damage slightly but reduces hate gain.
  • Sickening Circle will also increase threat now.
  • The Kick line now has a threat component.

Bruiser

  • The Roughhouse and Dodge and Strike lines have been merged into the bruiser’s stances.
  • The Brag line is now more potent.
  • The Kick line now has a threat component.
  • The Blazing Strikes line now has a threat component.
  • The Impose line has faster reuse speed now.
     

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