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Threat, its mathematics and mechanics?

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Threat, its mathematics and mechanics?

Postby Tordan » Mon May 03, 2010 12:45 am

Thought I´d get the attention of Theck at least with that subject. ;)
I´m trying to understand just how threat works. I understand that whacking a mob on the head or healing a player generates threat to a greater or lesser degree.

As a tank does different things, the amount of threat on my target/targets build up but does not dissipate over time, yes?

Is there a certain level where my generated threat will not be surpassed by that generated by the DPS:ers, i.e. is there a "signal" that indicates to me that I can leave that target alone and move on to another one without risking that the first will turn towards the DPS:ers that are finishing it up? Something like a quota between the amount of threat and remaining HP on the mob? I´d assume that this is a very fluent situation with variables like DPS vs. remaining mob HP. Do I need to compare my threat lead with remaining HP? If I run with strong DPS I can leave the target earlier because they´ll burn it down quickly, but is there some sort of "safe" level where the mob won´t leave me at all before it´s dead?

Are the attacks/tools that tanks used designed to generate a lot of threat, or is the amount of threat created in a direct relation to the amount of DPS one generates? The answer should be obvious since we have one tank to three DPS:ers in a 5-man group, but I want to be sure :)

How does healing-threat work? Does a healer "spread" threat to all mobs in a certain range, or is it somehow related to mobs that have aggro on the healed player/s?

I hope my ramblings are somewhat understandable :)
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Re: Threat, its mathematics and mechanics?

Postby Boyfriend » Mon May 03, 2010 1:24 am

Each mob has a counter for every player how much threat that person has. This starts out at 0 usually, unless there's some specific mechanic; there might be a very small amount of proximity threat for pulling a mob; but I didn't check.

As players perform actions that generate threat this 'threat' counter of that mob for that person rises.
Dealing damage to the mob usually causes the threat counter of the mob for the damage dealing player to increase by 1 per point of damage dealt (threat modifiers apply).

The mob also has a current 'target' which is what it's currently attacking.
If another player has more than 110% of the threat that a mobs target has AND is in melee range the mob will change it's target. If another player has more than 130% of the threat that a mobs target has, even if he is not in melee it will change it's target.
Many threat addons don't show the RAW threat but 'effective' threat and 110/130% will appear as 100%, but this is just so people who don't know how it works can understand it more easily; this will make 'taunt' appear to generate threat but it's actually an illusion, taunt simply sets your threat to the current targets threat and changes the mobs target (and the former target then has to generate 10% more to get from 100 to 110% to steal the mob back)

Nowdays for most skills the threat generated simply has a % modifier; Defensive Stance/Righteous Fury/Frost Presence/Bear Form simply multiply your threat generated by some number, some abilities also get an additional multiplier (the ones with 'causes high amount of threat' in their tooltip).

The threat counter accumulates indefinately, there is no fixed point at which you have to no longer worry per se; but effectively once a mob has less hp remaining than your threat lead it should be impossible for a dps to pull off you (since the mob will die before they catch up) unless they switch to some tanking stance.
Since the threat counter is independant for each dpser it means that if you have more than one dpser on the mob you need a smaller threat lead as the mob will live less before it dies. (You only fight the highest dpser for threat, all the others are basically 'free')
When you decide if you can leave the target you should think about how long you expect it to live vs. how long you expect a dpser to catch up to you. More dpsers on a mob will make this easier, since time to live will go down but they won't catch up any faster. Individual good dpsers have no effect on this, as both time to live aswell as time to catch up goes down.

IIRC Heals generate half the amount healed in threat divided evenly on all mobs currently in combat with the healer. So a healer healing the tank for 25k greater heal will generate 12k threat on 1 mob, or ~4k on 3.
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Re: Threat, its mathematics and mechanics?

Postby theckhd » Mon May 03, 2010 7:20 am

Boyfriend pretty much covered it all. For a generic DPSer, threat is just raw damage. Some specs have threat-reduction talents that make this smaller than 1 threat per damage. Tanks have stances and talents to make it larger than 1 threat per damage (Rightous Fury, Defensive Stance, Frost Presence, Bear Form).

Taunt sets your threat on a mob to be equal to the highest-threat player and gives you "aggro" (i.e. you're now it's primary target), as well as giving you a 3-second "fixate." A fixate just means the mob is forced to target you for 3 seconds. If after 3 seconds, another DPS is higher than 110% of your threat (130% for range), they'll gain aggro and it'll go chase them. Otherwise it'll stay on you.

As far as I'm aware, Omen shows raw threat (as I've had players at 120% or more without actually losing aggro).
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Re: Threat, its mathematics and mechanics?

Postby Gamingdevil » Mon May 03, 2010 8:49 am

theckhd wrote:As far as I'm aware, Omen shows raw threat (as I've had players at 120% or more without actually losing aggro).


Pretty sure these days Omen pulls the threat directly from the game (since Blizzard has its own threat meter now) and thus should be modified threat.
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Re: Threat, its mathematics and mechanics?

Postby theckhd » Mon May 03, 2010 9:14 am

Gamingdevil wrote:
theckhd wrote:As far as I'm aware, Omen shows raw threat (as I've had players at 120% or more without actually losing aggro).


Pretty sure these days Omen pulls the threat directly from the game (since Blizzard has its own threat meter now) and thus should be modified threat.

That's what I just said.

In other words, omen shows raw threat (what the game keeps track of) as opposed to the "effective" threat that Boyfriend mentioned (scaled such that 100% is the point at which you pull aggro).

I don't know of any addons that use "effective" threat, but I've only ever used Omen.
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Re: Threat, its mathematics and mechanics?

Postby Gamingdevil » Mon May 03, 2010 9:17 am

theckhd wrote:
Gamingdevil wrote:
theckhd wrote:As far as I'm aware, Omen shows raw threat (as I've had players at 120% or more without actually losing aggro).


Pretty sure these days Omen pulls the threat directly from the game (since Blizzard has its own threat meter now) and thus should be modified threat.

That's what I just said.

In other words, omen shows raw threat (what the game keeps track of) as opposed to the "effective" threat that Boyfriend mentioned (scaled such that 100% is the point at which you pull aggro).

I don't know of any addons that use "effective" threat, but I've only ever used Omen.


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Re: Threat, its mathematics and mechanics?

Postby Boyfriend » Mon May 03, 2010 9:36 am

The game provides both raw aswell as effective threat. The API functions let you specify which one you want; I wouldn't be surprised if there was a toggle in omen to switch what it used.

I just wanted to mention it because it exists.
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Re: Threat, its mathematics and mechanics?

Postby Hokahey » Mon May 03, 2010 10:20 am

Okay, I'll do my best to answer the questions you asked.

Yes, threat is a static number on the mob, the amount you have made doesn't depreciate if you just stop attacking the mob or healing.

There is ordinarily no set number that makes an enemy permanently yours in terms of aggro. Stopping active threat generation on a mob to move on to the next is a judgment call. Personally, if DPS is high enough to where threat is a serious issue, I don't worry about it in heroics because the mob will be dead by the time it reaches them 99% of the time, and is usually unlikely to kill the aggro hog even if it does.

DPS v. Threat generation. The only time this really comes into play is when a) you have 2 abilities competing for priority, and 1 has a special threat modifier, while the other generates higher overall DPS, and b) you have a substantial lead on threat. A good example would be a DK altering the standard DPS rotation to do additional attacks with Icy Touch while tanking. They lose substantial DPS, but gain extra threat. Or a Frost DK expending more RP on Frost Strike, and not as much on Rune Strike, gains DPS, but loses threat. To my knowledge, this is not really an issue for Paladins. The ideal is to only generate enough threat to not "cap" DPS of other players, then to focus primarily on DPS beyond that.

Healing threat is effective healing done, divided by 2, then divided by the number of enemies in combat with the group. Healing spells that did not restore health to anyone in the group generate no numerical value of threat.

However, if you pay careful attention to mobs in pulls, you'll note that there is a sort of "activity aggro" that doesn't appear to hold a numeric value, but seems to take precedence over "proximity/alert aggro" (aka "body pulling"). Basically, undamaged mobs will go to the closest person/the first person who initiated combat with them, unless someone casts a spell on another player (a buff or heal that restored no health), then it will go to the person who cast a spell/buff. This must occur while the mobs are in combat with the group, but before anything has damaged them. Anything that takes place outside of combat doesn't count.

Blizzard takes perverse glee in bending these rules or altering them for certain mobs, so be alert to mobs that behave unusually.
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Re: Threat, its mathematics and mechanics?

Postby Meloree » Mon May 03, 2010 11:01 am

theckhd wrote:
Gamingdevil wrote:
theckhd wrote:As far as I'm aware, Omen shows raw threat (as I've had players at 120% or more without actually losing aggro).


Pretty sure these days Omen pulls the threat directly from the game (since Blizzard has its own threat meter now) and thus should be modified threat.

That's what I just said.

In other words, omen shows raw threat (what the game keeps track of) as opposed to the "effective" threat that Boyfriend mentioned (scaled such that 100% is the point at which you pull aggro).

I don't know of any addons that use "effective" threat, but I've only ever used Omen.


Skada, by default, uses effective threat. There is a toggle to turn it back to raw threat, which I prefer. Otherwise it's tough to tell if the warlock is going to die by running to melee range.
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Re: Threat, its mathematics and mechanics?

Postby Tordan » Tue May 04, 2010 6:32 am

Thanks all for your explanations. I also noticed the toggle in Skada and have it set to raw threat.
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