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Reloading... Threat Level 500

Posted Wed, Sep 07, 2011 by Boomjack

Welcome back to the 70th edition of Reloading...! 

Please remain seated.  It’s all about threat or perception of threat or the perceived perception of threat.

I’m John Hoskin and I’ll be explaining DEFCON today.  Enjoy the ride!

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” – Sun Tzu
                                                                                                       
Everyone can use a feel good moment to start the day.   Let’s go with this…


Thanks for taking some time out of your day to read this column.  I truly appreciate it.    If you happen to use Twitter, you can follow me @BoomjackTTH.   I rarely use Facebook, but I do occasionally post gaming related tidbits on Google+ where you can find me under my real moniker John Hoskin. 


 
If you play a tank in World of Warcraft you know that the way  or rather the amount of threat generated has changed.   In the past a tank generated threat by using appropriate skills at appropriate times.  It was a juggling act.    Perhaps more importantly, it required a team effort.   If the DPS members of your group attacked the wrong target or ramped up their damage too quickly then they would pull aggro and bad things would happen.    If your healer threw a heal on your while you were rounding up a group, the mobs would tear off and tear up the healer.

With the new change making any threat producing ability for a tank generate 500% threat most of the worries are gone.    Is this a good thing?  Byron doesn’t think so in his recent articles Blizzard Removes Threatand Tanking in World of Warcraft without threat.   He even goes so far as to have his son literally faceroll the ability keys and still keep threat.   Funny stuff. 
So why in the name of all that is plate armour are there still PUG tanks who can’t hold aggro on single target mobs?

This change took the fun out of tanking for good tanks like Byron, but has it helped the less skilled players fulfill their role?  I’m not sure that it has and compounding the problem is that we still have a shortage of tanks in the LFD queues.  

In theory, making tanking easier should allow more players to tank and shorten the LFD queues.  In practice, it just means more unskilled players cheating the iLvl requirements with PVP gear or bags full of high level gear for their other spec and causing grief for the rest of the people that have to group with them.   There are a lot of problems here and when they all come together in the perfect storm it can get ugly.
  1. We have a shortage of tanks
  2. We have potential tanks cheating the iLvl  system
  3. We have instant queue times for tanks which causes non-tanks to queue as tanks.
  4. We have DPS who don’t let a tank gain aggro.
  5. Insert about a dozen more.
Why do we have a shortage of tanks?  Obviously it isn’t as appealing a role as dps or healing, but why?  

Have you cheated the iLVL system to get into a dungeon you were not technically geared for?

Have you ever queued as a tank knowing full well that you aren’t geared appropriately?

Do you as a DPS player allow the tank to gain aggro or do you just blast away?  Do you use crowd control appropriately?

Was threat generation really the problem?  I don’t think it was; neither does Byron.

A generally agreed upon theory in game design is that essentially at the core of any design is a pattern.    Human being love patterns; our brains simply can’t get enough of them.    Whether you are playing Tic-Tac-Toe or running a rotation as a dps gamer in a MMOG it is the pattern that is the hook.    How many casual games have you played for hours, finding it hard to put down simply because you wanted to finish one more “pattern”.    Plants versus Zombies anyone?  How about Angry Birds?   Zuma?

Is the core gameplay of being a tank or a dps player much different than those games?    Isn’t being a healer just really tower defence with towers that heal instead of kill? (Ok, maybe that’s a stretch).

I’d love to read your thoughts on this topic.

I previously posted about Need and Greed and a dilemma that I had regarding some companion pets.    Here are some emails that I received on that very topic.
“I don't know if gender matters when it comes to playing Wow, but when it comes to trade chat, passing on items, and playing fair, I do believe some women have the advantage over the men.  I have been in many pugs where men "Need" before everything, including incorrect gear, and farmable items.  I have a general rule for myself walking into a Pug situation, where I pass on gear that is not mine, and I only click need, if I truly need it.  In your example of the Spider and Wolf pup, I have them both, so I would have passed to give others a chance.  I have never been kicked from a Pug, but sometimes I wonder if anyone notices the generosity behind the silent "pass" that takes place everyday” – Kari
Kari poses a great question.  I often notice who passes on an item, but I don’t always even look if that item is something that I can’t use.   Do you notice?  When grouping meant sticking to the players on your own realm I got to know the other players.  With cross-realm LFD I barely remember a person once we leave group.
“I would have rolled. Not because I'm a ninja and want all loot, I will pass more than your average bear. If someone needs something they should choose need, that's the whole point of the loot system. The reason I would have needed on this roll was because everyone else did when they shouldn't have. I also wait to see how others are rolling so I'm not ninja'd. NO ONE should have rolled need on a vanity item like a pet. WTF does anyone need a pet for. It's not essential. I would be quite pissed to see people needing on such an item.Everyone would be told needing on an item like this is not allowed, and if it happens again I will leave the group and not group with said people again.” -- Justin
I always wait to see if anyone needs on a non-essential item before hitting the Need button.  The maelstrom crystal in the new Troll dungeon is a great example.
“i would choose greed I'm a sharing kinda person and I have plenty of time to play WoW so I will eventually get whatever it is that we're rolling for at the time” – Scott
and…
“As a WoW player myself and being that im a avid collector of pets .. i would have rolled NEED on both regardless of the fact that i won the spider or not .. the odds are equal for everyone that rolls .. and im not ashamed to say that even if i were in a full guild grp they would have expected their lovely guild master to need on both and laugh in their faces, especially if she got lucky enough to win both.” – Mandy
It’s always different for me in a guild group.  I roll differently, and perhaps even play different.   Should it be that way?  Probably not, but it is what it is.
“I would not have rolled on the 2nd option.  It is only fair that others have an opportunity to gain a reward from every quest. If i had gained a reward already i would digress and let the others have a chance at a reward whether guild, friends or pug otherwise you might as well call it greed or greed lol.” – Gary
and last, but not least…
“I would have passed to avoid the drama of a PUG gripe feast centered solely on a pet that i kinda want. its one of those times i know that if i rolled, win or lose i would hear about it. but at the same time its a sure drop not a rare chance. so i may have rolled and if the gripping began i would just drop group and move on with my day. As you said leveling is to easy now.” -- Benjamin
That’s it for today.  Thanks again for reading and as always, may your dreams be big and your worries be small.

Until we meet again,
John “Boomjack” Hoskin
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Nerfing such a central part of the game just dumbs it down for anyone.

I was a warrior tank in WoW, and perhaps I flatter myself but I considered myself a good one, and threat generation was as simple as knowing your abilities and using them accordingly. If threat was pulled it was either because you weren't doing your job or the DPS wasn't doing theirs. Simples.

Tanking, and healing, isn't seen as sexy as DPS, and possibly because they're more difficult and need the player to be on the ball, but that's exactly why people like my gravitate towards those classes.

As for tank being in demand, yes we are, but that's generally because good tanks get to be known and I dind't have to join LFG, I was invited by people I'd grouped with before and knew I was reliable.

In short, if you wnt a tank, know your class, group often and don't be a jerk.

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