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Tanking mechanics in The Old Republic


Brokor's Avatar


Brokor
12.10.2012 , 11:11 PM | #1
I have an assassin tank which i have a lot of fun playing. The class is exactly what i was looking for when i got into the game, an avoidance tank with self heals. I have been playing since launch with few breaks, but i only got into doing Operations recently, about a month ago.

The tanking mechanics leave me indifferent at best, since keeping aggro is a 1-button job (games i played previously needed constant aggro building and not this easy 110% aggro swap).
However, i was really fond of my assassin tank because of the mitigation that came into tanking. Taking as little dmg as possible is not a matter of stacking armor or 1 defence stat, it takes more than that and i liked it. Also i enjoy not needing huge amounts of hp, i have always been a champion of mitigation over health.

I recently did some operations with my experienced guild group. Even though i had never done operations before cause i wasn't interested in pve, i mostly did pvp, my gear was pretty good, and it was not a problem. i have 61+ modifications in all my slots and black hole/dreadguard ears/relics that i bought off the vendor, and all ym gear is augmented.

Doing some operations, it puzzled me how the development team decided to just throw out all tank stats in the most important fights. I have gamed for hours, farmed for commendations to buy gear, only to make my gear obsolete in all the important boss fights.

Bosses like SOA and TFB and others that i cannot remember off the top of my head deal pure dmg, unmitigated by shield, defense or absorb. half my talents, and pretty much all my gear go to waste in such fights. Also, as a class that relies on aactive mitigation (shield/evade instead of pure armor like powertechs) i am plain worse compared to other tanks in those fights.

I do not understand why the dev team would decide to just throw the tanks under the bus like that. I would do a better job tanking tfb or soa, if i changed all my gear with pure dps gear, just with the endurance heavy armoring/mods/ench and change my shield for a focus.

I do not have an experience as a raider in any game, but i have tanked a lot of content across a dozen of MMOs, and i have never seen tanking stats being useless like that (i have seen dps classes being better tanks than tank classes in fights, but still shield chance and avoidance had an effect)


Why did they decide to make tanking gear obsolete in most important bosses, and how can i effectively tank tfb and soa to make up for this handicap imposed on my character? Is there a way to mitigate their dmg as a sith assassin?

Kitru's Avatar


Kitru
12.10.2012 , 11:33 PM | #2
Quote: Originally Posted by Brokor View Post
Why did they decide to make tanking gear obsolete in most important bosses, and how can i effectively tank tfb and soa to make up for this handicap imposed on my character? Is there a way to mitigate their dmg as a sith assassin?
The only boss fight in the game when tank gear is completely superfluous is Soa, and that's because all of his attacks are Force/Tech attacks (so they ignore defense and shield chance and only use Resistance chance, which can only be tweaked by talents and set bonuses, even then, only up to 2%) and deal Internal/Elemental damage (and so use only your I/E DR, which isn't affected by your armor at all). For Soa, the only thing you need a tank for is someone to be your perpetual taunt spammer and keep the attacks focused on a single person (who will then drag the boss around in p3).

For *every other boss fight* however, your tank gear matters. If you're taking massive amounts of F/T damage when fighting TfB, it's because you're fighting the boss on the outer ring of platforms rather than the inner ring (if you're on the outer ring, the boss wails on your with F/T attacks that I'm pretty sure are also I/E damage based; if you're on the inner ring, the boss just wails on you with M/R attacks that you can actually mitigate effectively). The only fight other than Soa that actually approaches the realm of "dear developers, my tank stats are worthless" when properly executed is Kephess the Undying, where most of the damage you can expect to take as a tank ends up being K/E F/T damage (which means that Shadows hate it and the other tanks just kind of shrug it off as normal).

The important caveat here is that, as a Shadow tank, you always have your self heals to fall back on from a mitigation standpoint. It might not be much but, if you're taking damage, your self heals are providing you with some degree of countermeasure against said incoming damage, even if nothing else is. Against Soa, Shadow tanks are actually the best, even if our stats are functionally worthless, because we've got the 2% resistance chance, the best I/E DR, and self heals that account for a pretty substantial portion of our total survivability (and self heals are *never* worthless from a mitigation standpoint). On Kephess the Undying, we take roughly 20% more damage than Guardians and 35% more than Vanguards, but we've got our self heals to counteract that additional damage taken (assuming you can regularly stand still in a non-doom-patched location for 3 straight seconds with Kephess close by every 15 seconds, which hasn't really been my experience, which is why I hate that fight so very, very much).

The developers have actually recognized that the first 2 operations they developed really sidelined the importance of tank mitigation stats (there were a lot of threads started and rants ranted at release about tank gear being largely pointless in the face of massive amounts of F/T attacks and I/E damage). Thankfully, EC and TfB have both done a pretty good job of ensuring that tank stats are important (Kephess the Undying excluded): EC and TfB have damage profiles that *vastly* favor M/R attacks, especially compared to KP and EV, assuming you do the fights properly. If you're feeling that your mitigation stats aren't important, I'd suggest you look at your strategy and revise it. There's not much you can do about Soa (not that it matters much since it's laughable content now), but TfB is definitely a fight where you're to blame for taking loads of F/T damage rather than M/R.
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Brokor's Avatar


Brokor
12.11.2012 , 12:05 AM | #3
Thank you for an excellent reply.

I will look into my strategies for TFB. If there is a video from a tank POV please point me to it. all i have seen is people tanking on upper platforms, so naturally that is what i did.
I must repeat that unmitigated dmg is a joke, especially when tanks have it so much harder in gearing up (since healers and dps both use crt/power while we use 2 entirely different sets of gear for tnaking and dps)

KeyboardNinja's Avatar


KeyboardNinja
12.11.2012 , 12:30 AM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by Brokor View Post
Thank you for an excellent reply.

I will look into my strategies for TFB. If there is a video from a tank POV please point me to it. all i have seen is people tanking on upper platforms, so naturally that is what i did.
I must repeat that unmitigated dmg is a joke, especially when tanks have it so much harder in gearing up (since healers and dps both use crt/power while we use 2 entirely different sets of gear for tnaking and dps)
I don't have one on-hand, but I'll record and post one tomorrow from the perspective of a shadow tank when we do our HM TfB run.
Computer Programmer. Theory Crafter. Dragonslayer on The Ebon Hawk.
Tam (shadow tank) Tov-ren (commando healer) Aveo (combat sentinel) Nimri (df scoundrel)
Averith (hybrid sniper) Alish (lightning sorcerer) Aresham (jugg tank) Effek (ap powertech)

OlosBC's Avatar


OlosBC
12.11.2012 , 11:26 AM | #5
Yea the only fights where you can completely ignore defensives is soa (which is so easy now its not worth clicking yourdDPS gear for) and ec tanks (if you are on storm caller and do dps-taunt on firebrand. I guess for ec sm if you have Zorn and don't swap as well, but meh. On the rest you'll see a substantial benefit to defensive stats.

I guess I didn't notice tfb kephess was force/tech though, tanking him on my ptech.
Olos - 55 Hybrid Powertech
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Khevar's Avatar


Khevar
12.11.2012 , 12:18 PM | #6
Different fights have different mechanics. Some really work well with Assassin tanks.

One example in the Fabricator in KP. I've healed a Juggernaut tank and a Powertech tank on that fight. The Jugg/PT is much more dependent upon their armor, and healing is a lot more stressful. This is often solved by swapping tanks to let the armor debuff drop off.

But an Assassin can easily tank the Fab without a swap, with my Sorc solo healing the whole fight. The shield/mitigation/self heal really helps there.

HM Fireband is another example. While a tank swap is helpful, it isn't that hard to heal through incinerate armor on an Assassin.

Kitru's Avatar


Kitru
12.11.2012 , 01:03 PM | #7
Quote: Originally Posted by Khevar View Post
But an Assassin can easily tank the Fab without a swap, with my Sorc solo healing the whole fight. The shield/mitigation/self heal really helps there.
Actually, one of the more interesting aspects of that fight is that the armor debuff is 10 stacks of 16% reduction on armor. Since these modification are additive/subtractive from other armor buffs, Shadows actually end up with the most armor thanks to actually having 135% armor (which gets reduced to just 75% by the debuff). Guardians get reduced to 0% armor because the only armor buff they get is 60% extra armor from baseline Soresu form. VGs get reduced to 16% because they get the 60% that Guardians get plus an extra 16% from talents.

I think that fight is the only time in the entire game where you'll see a Shadow packing more K/E DR than a Guardian or a Shadow. Shadows are just so friggin' disgustingly amazing at it because they get to have the best of absolutely friggin' *everything* mitigation wise (K/E DR, I/E DR, self-healing, shield/abs, def). I'm not sure how the Incinerate Armor debuff on Firebrand works (I'll check out my character info next time we do it though), but, if it's just a 100% armor debuff (rather than something like a 200% debuff so that, no matter how much +armor you're packing, you're still reduced to 0 armor rating, since you can't go negative) that's been coded in the same way as all of the other armor debuffs, I expect that the same exact thing would happen: Shadows end up with more armor than the other tanks by virtue of having it reduced by less, contributing another really rare/weird/abnormal situation in which they become the undisputed kings of all things mitigation.
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KeyboardNinja's Avatar


KeyboardNinja
12.11.2012 , 01:38 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Kitru View Post
I think that fight is the only time in the entire game where you'll see a Shadow packing more K/E DR than a Guardian or a Shadow. Shadows are just so friggin' disgustingly amazing at it because they get to have the best of absolutely friggin' *everything* mitigation wise (K/E DR, I/E DR, self-healing, shield/abs, def). I'm not sure how the Incinerate Armor debuff on Firebrand works (I'll check out my character info next time we do it though), but, if it's just a 100% armor debuff (rather than something like a 200% debuff so that, no matter how much +armor you're packing, you're still reduced to 0 armor rating, since you can't go negative) that's been coded in the same way as all of the other armor debuffs, I expect that the same exact thing would happen: Shadows end up with more armor than the other tanks by virtue of having it reduced by less, contributing another really rare/weird/abnormal situation in which they become the undisputed kings of all things mitigation.
The tooltips for the IA debuff are wrong actually. If you look at the script files, in SM/HM EC, the IA debuff reduces armor by 160% (not just 100%). I'm assuming this is to prevent shadows from just loling through the debuff. In nightmare mode, things are even worse: 160% armor debuff and a 100% increase to damage received. Note that the damage received increase is from all sources, not just Firebrand, which is why you get hit so insanely hard by some of Stormcaller's attacks immediately after the tank swap.

With that said, if you take the three tanks and remove their armor entirely, shadows come out *vastly* ahead in terms of survivability. I've taken IA on EC HM many times without the tank swap, and even without Deflection up, I usually come out of it alive. I don't *like* to do it that way, but I can. I've heard of vanguards doing it as well (probably leaning on their incredibly high shield chance), but it would be mathematically much harder to pull off. Guardians have no hope whatsoever.
Computer Programmer. Theory Crafter. Dragonslayer on The Ebon Hawk.
Tam (shadow tank) Tov-ren (commando healer) Aveo (combat sentinel) Nimri (df scoundrel)
Averith (hybrid sniper) Alish (lightning sorcerer) Aresham (jugg tank) Effek (ap powertech)

Kitru's Avatar


Kitru
12.11.2012 , 02:33 PM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by KeyboardNinja View Post
The tooltips for the IA debuff are wrong actually. If you look at the script files, in SM/HM EC, the IA debuff reduces armor by 160% (not just 100%).
I actually look to my character information when looking at debuffs like that and calculate based off of the listed armor rating compared to my standard armor rating.

If the armor debuff is 160%, then Firebrand is identical to the Fabricator droid: Shadows would have the most K/E because they would have 75% of their armor, albeit light armor, compared to the 16% of VGs and 0% of Guardians. I find it kind of amusing that Shadows are the tanks that are the least effected by armor debuffs pretty much entirely because they use light armor (one would assume that my silk gown would incinerate *better* than metallo-ceramic composite armor plates, but apparently that's just not true... :P).
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Khevar's Avatar


Khevar
12.11.2012 , 02:58 PM | #10
Quote: Originally Posted by Kitru View Post
... (one would assume that my silk gown would incinerate *better* than metallo-ceramic composite armor plates, but apparently that's just not true... :P).
Your silk gown has +100 stylepoints worth of extra protection.

It's similar to the +100 sexypoints of protection on a chain main bikini. It's a secret discovered by the entertainment industry: Style offers more protection than practicality.

Had medieval armorers realized this fact, history would have gone in a vastly different direction.