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Vengeance implementation is counter-intuitive

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Vengeance implementation is counter-intuitive

Postby SmashNHeal » Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:00 am

As a tank who watched iLvl 264 DPS rip aggro from me mid-fight in ICC, I completely understand the need for vengeance. As better DPS gear increased the damage output and hence threat output of DPS, better tank gear did not proportionately increase the threat output of a tank. Thus, the vengeance mechanic was created to allow tanks to hold threat against DPS as gear improved throughout tier levels.

What I don't understand is why vengeance was implemented in such a way that it increases damage output, and thus threat output, based on damage taken. This seems completely counter-intuitive, as one goal of a tank is to minimize damage taken. This design appears to force tanks to make a scary decision when raiding with highly geared and skilled DPS: either allow themselves to take unnecessary damage to increase vengeance and maintain aggro, or minimize damage taken and possibly lose aggro. This decision comes in two parts; gearing and execution.

Gear for tanks has survival stats such as avoidance or mitigation, reducing the percentage of incoming damage that is taken. Better tank gear obviously has higher survival stats, further reducing this percentage. So as tank gear improves with each tier, the percentage of damage a tank takes will decrease. Less damage means less vengeance and less threat. This is happening simultaneously with DPS who are improving their damage output with better gear. At some point, a tank in full tier gear will begin to lose threat to a comparatively geared DPS, merely because of gear stats. While this has not been the case yet in Cataclysm, it could be realized in 4.3 with the combination of the higher gear levels and introduction of epic gems. Thus, a tank will have to start trading out survival gear for threat gear, or re-gem and reforge for threat stats such as expertise and hit. Healers will not be pleased with the results of this decision.

Execution of a fight by a tank is to grab and maintain aggro, position mobs properly, pick-up adds quickly, and minimize damage taken. This is done in part through movement and in part through proper rotation. A tank who is moving so that they always face mobs in order to be able to block, dodge, and parry, will take less damage and have less vengeance. Likewise, a tank who is moving out of fire will take a lot less damage. A tank could easily turn their back to mobs, sit down, or stand in fire to increase damage taken and increase vengeance and threat, but said healers will not be pleased.

The other part of execution, rotation, has a tank interrupting spell casting that can be interrupted and using damage cooldowns for spells (or enrages) that cannot be interrupted, as well as for mechanics in a fight that stun healers or force them to move during high damage periods. This is known as active mitigation, and reduces damage taken and thus vengeance. Tanks could probably refuse to use cooldowns or let interruptible spells hit them in order to maintain high vengeance and threat, but that would most likely result in tank death due to the high burst damage of periodic boss spells. More than just healers will not be pleased.

I recognize that some of you fellow tanks are going to scoff at my post, claiming that the recent buff to the threat multiplier has made holding aggro a non-issue, thus making my argument a moot point. While I agree that holding threat is currently a non-issue, I argue that the multiplier buff is a band-aid to fix a different problem. Furthermore, I argue that the upcoming change to tanking will just exacerbate the decision dilemma stated above.

Ghostcrawler's latest musings regarding tanking (http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/3300854#blog) explained Blizzard's thoughts on two changes to tanking. The first change was said threat multiplier buff, to allow lower geared tanks to hold threat against higher geared DPS, which was found mostly in the Random Dungeon Finder (RDF). While this buff has fixed the problem for now, what happens when 4.3 has been out for several months and a DPS in full tier 13 gear enters the RDF, only to be paired with a brand new tank in a mix of greens and blues? Will Blizzard again buff the threat multiplier? Thus, I argue that this buff is merely a band-aid to fix a mis-match that is present in the RDF, but not in raids...which is where the majority of the decision dilemma lies. Coding the RDF to pair players based on comparative iLvl would be a better solution than the buff, while also preserving the challenge of dungeons for appropriately geared players. A lower geared tank that is carried through a dungeon by highly geared DPS and a healer will probably not learn much about tanking nor the mechanics, as many mechanics will just be zerged or healed through.

The second change, which may come in 4.3 or the next expansion, is the idea of active mitigation as the norm. While some tanks already have active mitigation (referenced above), the uptime is short enough and the cooldown periods long enough to allow the tank to take enough unmitigated damage to maintain moderately high levels of vengeance and threat. But if the upcoming changes are such that active mitigation is the norm for our rotation and boss mechanics are designed so that a good tank will have a lot more uptime of active mitigation, our vengeance appears to be headed south with the change. Given that DPS will only increase their damage and threat output with better gear, we tanks cannot afford to have our vengeance diminish via class mechanic changes.

So, what is my proposed solution? Re-code vengeance to increase based on damage avoided or mitigated, so that it would scale with better tank gear, much like damage output scales with better DPS gear. Tanks could then choose survival stats when gearing, gemming, and reforging, and be rewarded with higher vengeance for doing so. This change in vengeance would also work in harmony with the proposed upcoming active mitigation changes by rewarding tanks for properly executed active mitigation, vice working against it. Big incoming damage? Activate your damage cooldown at the right time and be rewarded with higher vengeance and threat, not to mention living through the encounter. Your healers will thank you. And so will the DPS. While I am not sure of the algorithm and coefficients required to make this change scale properly, I believe the philosophy of scaling threat output with the things that tanks do best (i.e. minimizing damage taken) is more intuitive to gearing and execution as a tank.

What do you as the tank community think about this? Or better yet, what do the developers think about it?
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Re: Vengeance implementation is counter-intuitive

Postby theckhd » Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:24 am

This doesn't really belong in AT&C, as far as I can tell. It's not really Basic Training either though, so I'm moving it to General.
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Re: Vengeance implementation is counter-intuitive

Postby fuzzygeek » Tue Sep 13, 2011 1:30 pm

SmashNHeal wrote:What do you as the tank community think about this? Or better yet, what do the developers think about it?


There have been several threads about the poor implementation of Vengeance ever since it was announced and implemented. We've always had issues with it -- especially those of us who start fights with a CD up while healers are running to position and whatnot.

Yes, it's kind of stupid. Yes, it can be better. Yes, it's counter-intuitive. The paladin community has been kvetching about it for ages. Given it looks like you created an account today to cross post something you wrote for somewhere else, you're probably not familiar with the long discussions on vengeance that have happened here. As the Barenaked Ladies are wont to say, It's All Been Done.

We have no special insight into what the developers think, other than what they've publicly stated: they like vengeance, but think it needs some tweaks. Why they like it, what tweaks they want, what they don't like -- that I don't think we've seen any blue posts or interviews about. Making statements about what the developers think without citations is generally counterproductive.
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Re: Vengeance implementation is counter-intuitive

Postby Sabindeus » Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:06 pm

fuzzygeek wrote:Yes, it's kind of stupid. Yes, it can be better. Yes, it's counter-intuitive. The paladin community has been kvetching about it for ages. Given it looks like you created an account today to cross post something you wrote for somewhere else, you're probably not familiar with the long discussions on vengeance that have happened here. As the Barenaked Ladies are wont to say, It's All Been Done.


Is there anything new to be said on this topic or should I lock it?
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Re: Vengeance implementation is counter-intuitive

Postby masterpoobaa » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:54 pm

*reads*
Well written, but nothing new. Lock it guv!
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Re: Vengeance implementation is counter-intuitive

Postby Mannstein » Wed Sep 14, 2011 2:33 am

SmashNHeal wrote:So, what is my proposed solution? Re-code vengeance to increase based on damage avoided or mitigated, so that it would scale with better tank gear, much like damage output scales with better DPS gear. Tanks could then choose survival stats when gearing, gemming, and reforging, and be rewarded with higher vengeance for doing so. This change in vengeance would also work in harmony with the proposed upcoming active mitigation changes by rewarding tanks for properly executed active mitigation, vice working against it.

In before the lock.

Just to say, Welcome SmahNHeal, despite the points you raise are well writen and thought, as all ready stated, this has been discussed "ad infinitum" here. my advice is to necro one of the old ones and add your point if after reading you think that is new sugestion... there are dozen of sugestions there and since this discussion is "old", i believe your proposal is allready ther from another user.

P.S. Guys, don't be so harsh on the new guys (myself included)... :D
P.P.S. Sabindeus, you are now authorised to lock.
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