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How Do Tanks Work in PvP?

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Classes
How Do Tanks Work in PvP?

z-monty's Avatar

12.08.2012 , 10:52 AM | #1
Just as the title says, I'm curious about how to work my lowbie tanks in PvP for 10-49 bracket and then the eventual 50 bracket. Also, I'm not complaining or anything about tanks being useless in PvP or something, I just mainly play as heals and DPS, and each time I take my tank into a warzone I feel like I'm not doing things properly. Any help or suggestions that could be given would be appreciated!
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KeyboardNinja's Avatar

12.08.2012 , 11:32 AM | #2
Short answer: not well. Tanks do have a number of good tools which work in PvP, specifically guard and taunt. These mechanisms allow a tank to ensure that an opponent either isn't doing much damage to anyone, or is forced to focus the tank down. Together with the control and stun mechanisms that tanks get, this gives tanks the tools to perform their job in PvP.

Or so it used to be. Unfortunately, everything changed in 1.2. Expertise and Trauma (the PvP debuff) were rebalanced to dramatically reduce healing and increase damage. This resulted in a dramatic drop in time-to-kill, and a serious nerf to a healer's ability to keep up with the damage. The meta-game shifted dramatically as a result. Whereas tanks and healers used to be the most important members of a warzone, they suddenly became severely marginalized in favor of DPS. The name of the game became (and remains) focus targeting and bursting down your opposition as quickly as possible. Without viable healers and tanks, this became a strategy with no viable counter other than bursting even faster than your opposition.

This also resulted in the over-emphasis of certain classes in competitive PvP situations. Classes with low-setup burst (eg powertechs and smash warriors) became the most valuable members of your squad. Meanwhile, since tanks have no burst damage of any sort, players very quickly discovered that running hybrid specs and wearing DPS gear was the closest thing they could get to viable tanking in PvP. The DPS gear allowed them higher damage, without being too much of a sacrifice in terms of mitigation due to the fact that such a large percentage of damage in PvP is force/tech, and thus cannot be shielded or defended.

Unfortunately, this in turn had its own effect on the meta-game. Classes with heavily physical-based damage profiles (snipers and marauders) were designed to be countered by tanking classes with the mitigation to shut them down. However, since all the tanks were wearing DPS gear, there was no counter to these classes, and thus they proliferated and remain a serious balance problem in competitive PvP.

And so it continued. Healing remains a severely gimped role in PvP. Too many healers means you lose the warzone, flat out. Most competitive healers go a hybrid spec, allowing them to do damage. Without healers, tanks are just glass cannons without the cannon bit, and therefore a net drain on their team.

The only tanks you will see in high end PvP are hybrid shadow/assassin tanks wearing DPS gear. This only works because shadows/assassins do a huge amount of damage, even in tank spec, and have an enormous suite of utility abilities which offset the fact that their damage is quite a bit lower than damage dealing classes. In other words, they're not really tanks at all, but annoyance DPS.
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Wefi's Avatar

12.08.2012 , 12:02 PM | #3
Depends how it is played.

If you friends with a healer. good.
If you like Dying over killing. Good.
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Malkavier's Avatar

12.09.2012 , 05:03 AM | #4
You'll do great as a ball carrier as a Jugg tank. What I tend to stress is though, you *will* need a pocket healer.
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