+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 22 1 2 3 4 5 11 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 326

Thread: The "Main Tank": The Counterintuitive Pillar of MMOs

  1. #1
    Plane Touched Kendricke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    283

    Default The "Main Tank": The Counterintuitive Pillar of MMOs

    The party was in trouble now. The great wyrm advanced upon the small army of heroes as they summoned forth spells and readied their bows. Just then, Ragnar ran out from behind a boulder and yelled "YO MOMMA!" at the beast and it turned, ignoring the dozens of attacks now striking it from behind in order to fix all of its attention upon the small dwarf who was now shaking his backside in the dragon's general direction....

    Tank and Spank. It's the foundation upon which most MMO combat has been based for the past decade. Fighters are required for groups and raids because of a combination of two factors: meat shield and aggro magnet. It's the latter which always frustrates me, because it's so counterintuitive. It makes little to no sense that a monster (particularly ones which large forward area of effect attacks) would ignore a large mass of attackers in order to concentrate on the one guy who seems hardest to kill - indeed, the one person that everyone else is helping to keep standing.

    In fact, it's so counterintuitive that in PVP, this never happens. The opposite occurs. The tank goes down last. Healers go down first. Some games include taunts which shift your attention forcibly - locking your targeting upon the fighter against your will (and better judgement). However, that only serves as a workaround to the larger issue: the "main tank" concept is borked from the start.

    Of course, this leads to other issues in social gaming, because if tanks aren't around, groups don't form. Of course, most games only require a couple of tanks for raiding (will there BE raiding in Rift?), which means that tanks end up becoming a less desired class to play (meaning less tanks for grouping). Groups without tanks rarely do well, because content is designed around the concept of a main tank holding hate and being equipped to handle the incoming damage.

    That last point is also a particularly sore point, because it also leads to this idea that only tanks are typically equipped to handle the biggest, baddest attacks - even magical attacks. In most MMOs or games, fighters are typically painted as being little more than sword-stickers. They don't tend to be particularly well versed in much of anything that doesn't include making the sharp end go into the bad guy. Meanwhile, wizards and sorcerors and warlocks (oh my!) seem to die the moment anything uses harsh language in their vicinity.

    Will Rift simply perpetuate more of the same?

    *-Opinions expressed in this post do not represent any current or past employers

  2. #2
    Plane Touched Kendricke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    283

    Default

    Suggestions:

    Personally, I'd advocate toward a different approach, a more intuitive approach (if it's actually possible at this late stage of the game - who knows).

    For one thing, I'd remove the concept of aggro as we know it and create fighters as a melee/buff class that protects anyone within their aura or group. You'd want fighters in your group because just having one of them near prevents you from taking lots of damage...EVEN IF YOU'RE THE DIRECT TARGET of an attack. Fighters wouldn't have to fight to keep hate because that wouldn't be their primary tactic in order to protect their groupmates. Oh sure, they keep taking the hits and the damage...but that's because they're now in the business of jumping in front of attacks that take place within X range of them or upon their own groupmates (not because they're forcing the attacker to target them directly).

    Meanwhile, I'd recreate mages as a counterbalance to fighters by turning some/many of them into a spellcaster/buff class that protects anyone withint their aura or group against certain types of magic (think Shadowrun PNP RPG). In fact, I'd basically include fairly good group buffs for any/each class to encourage more grouping (without forcing it).

    *-Opinions expressed in this post do not represent any current or past employers

  3. #3
    Plane Walker irongamer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    424

    Default

    Oh sure, they keep taking the hits and the damage...but that's because they're now in the business of jumping in front of attacks that take place within X range of them or upon their own groupmates (not because they're forcing the attacker to target them directly).
    This is an interesting idea.

    It almost comes across like this:
    1. There would be a visual indication if the mob is attacking a party member directly.
    2. The warrior could have a number of skills to choose from to deflect damage, absorb damage, share damage or jump in front and take all the damage.

    It almost sounds like playing a healer and watching health bars though... heh

    These skills would be an addition to the general defensive bonus a party would get from warrior buffs.

    Some ideas for mechanics around the mob attack indicator and defensive skills:
    • The graphical indicator could be based on a skill or on level. The higher the warriors ability to read a mobs attacks the more accurate the mob attack indicator. So over time warriors could read the mobs attack very well.
    • Some defensive skills would be in a chain or depend on doing some combat damage in order to refresh the defensive skill.
    • Defensive skills may be limited by range

    I like the topic but I have my doubts about Rift doing anything ground breaking in the tanking/combat department.
    Last edited by irongamer; 04-28-2010 at 08:43 AM.

  4. #4
    Champion
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    519

    Default

    One thing that made tanking fun in VG was a "Taunt immunity debuff" on any mob taunted preventing chain taunting, made tanking important to do right and not possible to cover up short comings with chain taunting.

    Also no easy "jump to the top of threat table" either, thanks.

  5. #5
    Rift Disciple Wisdomandlore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    114

    Default

    IMO, all aggro mechanics are attempts to get around having actual collision detection. Tanks should have to physically stand in front other characters to protect them. Have lots of knockdown and grab attacks to push tanks out of the way or deal with a character going after the weaker members of the party. The only way to make a big monster focus it's attention on you would be to hurt it, not to stand there and shout at it. Developers would be free to move away from the standard platemail tanks, as different tanks might be better in different situation. A Fencer tank would be good at protecting one member and fending off melee attackers. A martial artist/monk/grappler tank would excel at tying up enemies. A tank with lances would be good at warding off large attackers. And the traditional heavy armor tank could deal with large groups of enemies.

    This would also free up developers to make squishy classes a little less squishy. Give all classes some basic defense skills to protect themselves for a little bit while the tank tries to reach them. It would also create more excitement. Instead of waiting for the tank's taunt to cooldown or the healer to drop his aggro, the tank would desperately try to reach the healer and distract or kill the monster.

  6. #6
    Telaran Cronn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    61

    Default

    I kinda like how TERA is doing it, that tanks "tank" by standing between monster and group, not by spamming some ability. I think it is like that..

  7. #7
    Rift Disciple
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    163

    Default

    I really don't like the idea of tanking in general. It came from PnP D&D and was taken to extreme levels of absurdity in EQ and other MMORPG's that followed. I really wish more games would go towards the Diablo style where every class had survivability and you could run a boss with any class combo.

  8. #8
    Rift Disciple Chempo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    166

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FalloutBoy View Post
    I really don't like the idea of tanking in general. It came from PnP D&D and was taken to extreme levels of absurdity in EQ and other MMORPG's that followed. I really wish more games would go towards the Diablo style where every class had survivability and you could run a boss with any class combo.
    But then there would be no point in group make up. And the game would have no depth.
    Howdy

  9. #9
    RIFT Fan Site Operator Raive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    2,918

    Default

    This is a very interesting topic...should go into the Class discussion area. It seems to me this thread is leaning towards a more flexible position when it comes to tanking. The phrase "tanking" derives from being the heavy artillary of the group (and I'm not talking about dps). People who play tanking classes have the same reasons why people play healing classes, they want to protect the group. Where the tank is the front man and the healer is the backbone. Tanking has come leaps and bounds since EQ tanking so lets not get that twisted at all. As for the diablo comparison, I can't see that happening in any form in an MMO where all classes have survivability...like the above poster that would throw a few things out of way and would be a headache to balance.

    Tanking these days is bit more than just spamming one ability, in fact I don't believe you can really "spam" one ability anymore as most abilities are slapped with good cooldowns. Thinking back on my time in EQ/EQ2/VG I don't ever believe anyone could ever just click a button and have instant 100% agro even with VG's force taunt (even without the immunity you could never maintain it due to long cooldown timers). The aggro mechanic works the same way as your standard dps mechanic just in an opposite motive. As for the whole Mob -> Tank -> Group vision is kinda blown out the window as you know mobs love to have those frontal AEs so 9 times out of 10 it goes Group -> Mob -> Tank.

    As you know this is coming from a tanker standpoint. Developers are getting more creative in what tanks can do in terms of utility, dps, and protection while doing the standard agro generation. I don't think straying far from that would be ideal...at this point in time.

    #retiredBear #teamBBCs #puffForeverMad

  10. #10
    Sword of Telara souper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    831

    Default

    People often criticize taunting as unrealistic. Trion should just put in the description, "You mutter a sacred chant, psychically manipulating the enemy into attacking you." Mwaha, that would end the debate.

    Anyway, I don't expect Trion to veer too far off course. This game is definitely a successor to the EQs and VGs out there, games that have established the genre and certain mechanics as core. People still enjoy them too. I'm not really a tank player though so whether a massive revamp is necessary or not, I do not know, but I don't see something like collision detection being any more realistic when a 6foot man goes against a 30foot dragon.

  11. #11
    Shadowlander Rubberpoliceman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    29

    Default

    I'm not convinced the tank class is "Borked" but I do see how it is not as useful as other classes. But this does beg a question: Is that necessarily a bad thing? Its been working for generations.
    While I have a feeling that the holy trinity of tank/dps/healer will be a core part of R:PoT, the OPs concern is still very valid.

    Why not consider this simple, yet elegant change to mitigate his worries? "Any class with a defensive capability can tank with a few strategic adjustments such as stance, shield, armor choice, evasion and protection skills."

    A plate wearing soldier arms a shield and draws aggro by bashing it against the enemy. Meanwhile its thick heavy armor protects it from attacks, and a smaller parrying sword deflects wild swings.
    -or-
    The nimble monk draws aggro by a few carefully timed stinging attacks, while in defensive stance, he dons heavier armor which limits his offensive capabilities while he concentrates on evading attacks.

    What about a mage tanking for another magic-using mob? Who says a plate/shield bearer is the best person to draw attacks from a sorcerer boss?

  12. #12
    Champion MuckyPup's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    438

    Default

    Not sure why everyone want's to reinvent the wheel whenever something new comes around.

    Although I appreciate that the traditional tanking is not something you enjoy, it is pretty well established as the best method so far, for an individual to not only protect thier group, but feel useful in a sense.

    There really has to be a proven method to achieve these results before any company would stick thier necks (and wallets) out too far. I will wait until I play the game, before I start calling for changes, or ciritisizing it.

  13. #13
    Sword of Telara souper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    831

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rubberpoliceman View Post
    What about a mage tanking for another magic-using mob? Who says a plate/shield bearer is the best person to draw attacks from a sorcerer boss?
    Yeah, a lot of the problem is the way these MMO developers write their encounters. It's not really the fault of the aggro management system that most fights turn into tank-n-spanks but the fault of the designers for scripting their events that way. Most fights are designed with a tank holding the mob as healers heal and damage dealers do damage with only a few special encounters breaking the normal group dynamics. Trion has the opportunity to spice things up a bit and make more encounters less "traditional role" dependent without having to resort to large risky changes to the established system.

  14. #14
    Rift Disciple Thallius's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    114

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Wisdomandlore View Post
    IMO, all aggro mechanics are attempts to get around having actual collision detection. Tanks should have to physically stand in front other characters to protect them. The only way to make a big monster focus it's attention on you would be to hurt it, not to stand there and shout at it.
    Agreed. Aggro techniques should have a minor infuence, at best, in most encounters. Intelligent creatures, humanoids for ex., would most likely try to kill the healer, or the wizard first.
    MMOGs Played:EQ, DDO(SubBased), WoW, EQ2, EveOnline(Trial), FE

  15. #15
    Champion
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    519

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Raive View Post
    This is a very interesting topic...should go into the Class discussion area. It seems to me this thread is leaning towards a more flexible position when it comes to tanking. The phrase "tanking" derives from being the heavy artillary of the group (and I'm not talking about dps). People who play tanking classes have the same reasons why people play healing classes, they want to protect the group. Where the tank is the front man and the healer is the backbone. Tanking has come leaps and bounds since EQ tanking so lets not get that twisted at all. As for the diablo comparison, I can't see that happening in any form in an MMO where all classes have survivability...like the above poster that would throw a few things out of way and would be a headache to balance.

    Tanking these days is bit more than just spamming one ability, in fact I don't believe you can really "spam" one ability anymore as most abilities are slapped with good cooldowns. Thinking back on my time in EQ/EQ2/VG I don't ever believe anyone could ever just click a button and have instant 100% agro even with VG's force taunt (even without the immunity you could never maintain it due to long cooldown timers). The aggro mechanic works the same way as your standard dps mechanic just in an opposite motive. As for the whole Mob -> Tank -> Group vision is kinda blown out the window as you know mobs love to have those frontal AEs so 9 times out of 10 it goes Group -> Mob -> Tank.

    As you know this is coming from a tanker standpoint. Developers are getting more creative in what tanks can do in terms of utility, dps, and protection while doing the standard agro generation. I don't think straying far from that would be ideal...at this point in time.
    Agree with this, if they make tanking require focus to perform at 100% with no easy shortcuts to get to the top of the threat tree, then tanking remains a perfectly reasonable mechanic (and yes devs can still create lots of fun sitations to mess with our brains). Complex and inventive mechanics towards tanking are critical to make it an interesting class to play. Spamming "+1000 threat, +1000 threat" over and over takes tanking back to the dark ages.

    Making mitigating damage a more active role is part of this, rather that just a passive factor depending on how much steel you are wearing.

    One excellent mechanic i saw was for the paladin in allods where you could "store" incoming damage for 10s and on top of that manipulate the stored damage to spread a critical strike over multiple hits. Mechanics like this make a tank a tank and not just a hp and ac target dummy.

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 22 1 2 3 4 5 11 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts