Tanking for Dummies

Throwing Rage to the Curb
July 29, 2009, 12:01 am
Filed under: Analysis, Strategy | Tags: ,

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, Rage, as a system, is downright broken.  The mechanic is unsustainable without introducing constant tweaks and nerfs.   It needs to be replaced.  Scrapped.  Put out of its misery.

Or what have you.

But what should replace rage?  If you were to turn rage into a resource generated over time, you simply have Energy, ala Rogues.  If you make it too finite a resource, you end up with something too much like Mana.  So what can used that maintains that kind of frantic fast paced play we’ve come to expect?

Personally, I think looking for a resource to manage is a red herring.  We need something dramatically different.  We need…

The Combo System

What I am imagining here is a system of actions and reactions, not unlike a fast paced card game.  In this system, your options vary depending on your stance.  In, say, Berzerker stance, you have a basic attack which we shall call Slam.  If you connect with your Slam, you then have access to a higher level, more powerful ability which might be called Bloodthirst.   And, if you connect with your Bloodthirst, you might have access to a still more powerful ability which might be called Boot to the Head.

This seems simple enough, but let’s say you had another option on the same cooldown as Slam.  Let’s say you had something called Battle Shout which increased your party’s damage for a certain period of time.  And let’s say, if you had battle shout up, you might be able to then have access to another ability called Rampage which would buff you even further.   And maybe, if you had Rampage up you might have access to another ability called OMGWTFPWNINTEHFACE.  You begin to see how this might have add complexity.

Similarly, we might consider diverging paths of this sort for Defensive stance.  A Chain of threatening (and damaging) abilities such as Heroic Strike -> Devistate -> Shield Slam, and another of avoidance based abilities (based on shields of course) Such as Shield Block -> Shield Wall (or Spell Reflect) -> THIS IS SPARTA.  The best part about this, I think, is that it might also give a special feel to Battle Stance if you, say, had a damage chain and a debuff chain.  Say, Overpower -> Mortal Strike -> Bladestorm and Demoralizing Shout -> Sunder Armor -> Disarm.

The key to understanding this idea is that you can only pursue one section of these combos at the same time.  This could be particularly interesting if, say, you have to choose whether to apply Shield Wall or Spell Reflect (Or Mortal Strike or Rend).  Balancing these choices requires skill and frantic button pushing of the type we’re used to, with a much more rational way of balancing warriors against other classes – through the applied use of cool downs, how long they are, and what chains you have to pull off in order to use more powerful abilities.

I think that the advantages this has over the current Rage system are obvious.  It does away with the “penalty” for stacking avoidance when tanking and allows DPS warriors to not loose out so painfully on fights which necessitate movement.  It presents a mechanic that is uniquely separate from the current resource management type systems, while simultaneously making it relatively easy to keep Warriors in line with other classes.  I dare say that it might also free Warriors who are leveling from the gear dependency we have now, which would be a bonus.

So, dear readers, am I on complete crack?  Or if rage needs to be scrapped is there a better alternative?


9 Comments so far
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This ideas slightly relates to how Blizzard originally thought how Warriors should work before the rage resource came into play. They didn’t like the gameplay idea of smashing buttons as they lit up and repeating the button smashing and needed a resource pool so a warrior could do everything without a penalty.

Plus, I don’t want to have to deal with a combo cycle trying to “Disarm” a target, but have to spam two abilities that don’t help me when Disarm would had won me a pvp match.

I may not be uber geared Heroic Ulduar raid every night kind of guy, but I rather have Rage over a warrior’s version of Wack-a-Mole.

Comment by Teaspoon83

Your suggestion reminds me a lot of melee combat in dark age of camelot, which isnt a bad thing. Most all melee combat was based around style (ability) comboing, often with conditions to open the more powerful ones like attacking from the side or behind, or that the enemy just dodged an attack, and so forth.

Was darn fun :)

Comment by Vads

Odd. My iPod touch shows the comment I posted but when I head over to my computer it doesn’t show it at all. For safety sake, I’ll repost my thoughts on your system. If it shows up as a double post, my apologies.

Blizzard’s original idea for the warrior was punching the buttons that lit up with no resource of any kind. Everything was pretty much cooldown based but players would then be at their computer tapping the buttons that lit up. It wasn’t a mechanic they liked so they implemented the Rage mechanic so that a player had to decide “Do I want to use the 15 rage I have to keep Sundering, Intercept, Shield Bash?” and all the different warrior abilities out there.

Rage offers strategy. Going from a rogue to a warrior, I enjoy the change. Compared to spamming Sinister Strike to Slice N Dice, back to Sinister Strike and finishing with Rupture while avoiding the fires and aoe’s and so forth, rage makes the warrior what it is. We hit and get hit and pissed off as we go, generating our rage.

Now I won’t completely disagree with you. After weapon normalization, rage normalization, running out of rage because of avoidance, rage generation and dps loss problems due to movement in raids, removing pants to get the rage, it sometimes does suck. With more people screaming that a warrior is a liability when a Death Knight can do more, I too thought it was grim. But a complete overhaul doesn’t sound like it is on the whiteboard for Blizzard.

Blizzard is working on it and after what they did to warrior tanks in WotLK with the DPS bump, I have faith that they will nail it. They have got the numbers and they have the community yelling at them to let them know what is up and watching the Tankspot group, Blizzard is listening. We got rage on avoidance and a bump to Devastate’s damage.

Personally, I do not like your idea because it would turn into warrior whack-a-mole with no resource to keep the class in check. Chaining moves together perhaps much like a Death Knights diseases improving their strikes…

Thinking about it, we do have the abilities that compliment each other slightly thru talents. Rend allows for Overpowers, Bloodthirst allow for Instant Slams.

But with your example, I wouldn’t want to be spamming two abilities before I had “Disarm” available to use.

Would you want to have to beat the clock performing Shield Block, Global Cooldown and then have Shield Wall pop up or have Shield Wall available immediately?

Comment by teaspoon83

@ Vads – I’ll fully admit it was somewhat inspired by that, but also by the Defender class from LOTRO. DAOC is still one of my favorite PvP environments.

@ teaspoon – The order I put in is completely hypothetical. I was looking for a powerful debuff for the Battle Stance list, and Disarm was the one I could think of.

I guess where I am at right now is that I am tired of being yanked around in such an extreme way because of (what I see as) a poor game design decision. I’m just not confident that the Rage mechanic is ever going to work in a way that doesn’t get “normalized” with some regularity.

Comment by Tarsus

I’m with Vads and Teaspoon, Combos would make the class too “static”, let’s be honest, the guys at EJ will come up with THE rotation to use, and then we’ll be just like rogues.

I’d rather have them remove the rage requirement on every abilities. Well, there would still be a rage cost, it would just change the actual effect of the skill used.

But then, what does the rage would serve? It would full additional effects to abilities.

For example :

Mortal Strike (0-30 Rage)
6 Seconds cooldown
A vicious blow that deals Weapon DMG + 25 / 5 Rage. The victim also suffer from a debuff reducing healing by 10% / 5 Rage.

The rage cost is capped to the maximum number in parenthesis.

Shield Slam (0-20 Rage)
6 Seconds cooldown
Slams the enemy with your shield dealing ((20% / 5 rage)*Block value) And dispelling 1 beneficial effect per 20 rage

It doesn’t solve the fact that the rage gen would be skewed by having uber gear (dps wise). So for that, I’d cut the rage gen in 2 parts :

The 1st 75 % is generated based on weapon iLvl / Player level and actual Weapon Speed. That way if you are using a an epic, you’d still get a better rage gen than using a green, but that value would need to be very narrow (max 5 rage / swing of difference)

The other 25% is entirely left to the Damage done / Damage taken formula we have at the moment. Yes, it still has the actual problem we have now, but its effect is very limited since it’s contribution is limited to 25% of our rage pool. This in turn would make balancing easier.


The goal would be to allow low rage warriors to do something else than waiting on their next auto attack (albeit at lower efficiency) and somehow curb the Uber geared warrior back within a predictable framework.

Comment by Sheldreyn

I think this sort of scalability is a good idea. It would add an element of strategy provided that you could do something about the rage generation issue.

Comment by Tarsus

Well, the second part of the change would ‘try’ to alleviate that. it wouldn’t be 100% static so we don’t have energy but it would still be balanced (testing would confirm if this is teh case)

Comment by Sheldreyn

Damn Tarsus, for some reason I keep finding people from my server that also blog and I didnt even know it. Actually have read this for a while without realizing it. Ill say hi if I see you in Dalaran….I believe that is /spit to you guys :)

Comment by Darraxus

I’ve /waved to you a few times outside OS, at least back when Axiom did OS with any regularity. Scarlet Crusade is crazy full of bloggers. For reals.

BTW, The traditional reply for the /spit greeting is /rude. ^_~

Comment by Tarsus

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