Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tanking in WAR Scenarios

I play a Dwarf Ironbreaker, currently Rank Twelve. I’ve been leveling mostly by doing either public quests or scenarios. The public quest part isn’t that interesting for being a tank: the mechanics are already similar in other MMOs – taunt, fight, debuff, snare, taunt again, etc. The interesting part of my WAR experience, however, has been tanking in PvP scenarios. Below are some observations I’ve made along the way.

You can’t dictate what enemy players will fight but you can get them to want to fight you. IBs have a taunt skill which, in PvP, acts more like a debuff: I will do a percentage more damage to that target until the debuff is gone or they hit me three times. If I put this on the enemy healer and start whomping away, they should probably focus on hitting me a bit. If they are hitting me, they’re not healing. My damage against a healer gets amplified if I have a lot of grudge built up as grudge amplifies my DOT hamstring attack (it’s not called a “hamstring” but the actual name escapes me).

An IB makes a great roadblock. With collision-detection in place, I can effectively pick players off my teammates. If the teammate is running towards me, I step between them and their pursuers. If the pursuer doesn’t change course, they’ll stop dead in their tracks when they run into me, thus allowing my teammate to escape. Hint for others if fighting along-side an IB: if someone is after you and an IB steps in the way, take a couple steps back – you’ll be out of range of the target (if they are melee) while they struggle to get around me and a healer can get a break at healing you (or you healing yourself). IBs can also block doorways and create bottlenecks in halls.

IBs also have an ability called Oathfriend. With Oathfriend on a teammate, my plus-to-armor and plus-to-defense skills also proc on them as well. I’m sure there’s a “best” person to put it on, but since I’ve been PUGing the scenarios thus far, I usually save it for the least clueless person I find (ie: the healer that heals or the other IB that actually tries to protect their teammates). Putting Oathfriend on a Warrior-Priest is a huge benefit for them, unfortunately, most of the WPs I’ve met fall into the nub category and I can’t be bothered helping them if they’re not going to throw an occasional heal around. Two IBs with their Oathfriends on each other is a thing of beauty. Myself and another IB defended a node and led the charge against another one. With a healer in the back keeping us up, the result was one of the most epic battles I’ve been in: two surly dwarves hammering away with axe and shield against the orcish horde (small “H”) while their teammates conquered the objective behind the lines. That was some of the most fun I’ve had in any MMO.

PvP tanking is a new concept for many people and it’s fun for those of us, like me, who are really good at getting in the way and making people angry with us. :)

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