New hunter pet taunt and tanking shortage

| Thursday, January 7, 2010
I was going to call it Guard Dog, but that's taken. Guard: The pet will automatically attack and taunt mobs which attack the Guarded target.

This would have a limited duration or chances to activate in a given time, something to make it less mindless and less prone to abuse. BM hunters or tenacity pets would have more charges or shorter cooldown, hopefully to the point that a BM hunter with a tencity pet can be a decent heroic tank.

Iapetes and I have been batting this idea around of expanding the available tanks by allowing DPS classes/specs to do some moderate tanking. I didn't like it much at first, but it actually might address a serious problem: the shortage in heroics and the excess in raids. This would add tanks who are good enough for heroics, without changing the supply in raids.

Still, evidence remains that tanking isn't a matter of availability. We have DKs and there's still a shortage. We have dual-specs and there's still a shortage. Druids can tank in their kitty gear. DKs can tank, with a mitigation/avoidance loss (but still more than enough for heroics) with their DPS specs. Tanks have instant queues, which are themselves indicators of a shortage. Something about tanking just isn't attractive to the majority of players.

On the other hand, there is almost certainly a non-trivial minority of players who would tank if they had just one more spec or didn't need to devote a spec. I had the idea of a dedicated PvP spec; a third spec not intended for PvE and purchased with honor or arena points, but I have no idea how to prevent this just being a third PvE spec. Iapetes suggested that the crit-immune talents coming in Cataclysm could be low enough that DPS specs could take them. This would likely be overpowered in PvP or require coding to disable them in PvP. And if DPS are seeking to maximize their damage, they would need spare points to pick it up unless it was tied to a damage/tanking talent already, such as divine strength.

I don't think adding more tanking options will fix the shortage, but it would at least help a bit. And who knows, maybe I'm wrong and there's actually a huge number of players who just need one more spec or less grindy gear options or a pure class player who hates leveling too much, but a respec would work.


lethal said...

Iapetes suggested that the crit-immune talents coming in Cataclysm could be low enough that DPS specs could take them. This would likely be overpowered in PvP or require coding to disable them in PvP

I don't think so. Currently Druids get 6% from survival of the fittest, which only applies to melee, and is much less than what resilience affords PvP players. It doesn't elimiate crits, it just reduces your chance to be crit by the exact amount of mobs 3 levels higher.
Placement would likely be same place as Druids, halfway up the tree. Too far for DPS to take

Shintar said...

I'd love a "guard" option for hunter pets, and not even for tanking. It could already be quite handy for things like "protecting the healer" for example. I know I've wished for such an option more than once, going back to my RTS days where there was often an option to set a unit to guard a certain target.

Klepsacovic said...

@lethal: Since it would probably be OP, it would end up deep. In other words, Iapetes is wrong. :)

@Shintar: That's actually where we first got the idea; setting guard on a healer to give hunters a bit more utility. Already the great hunters drop traps hunter the healer when they expect problems; it would be nice to expand on that.

Jmab said...

I love hunter tanking, but it's always been hard to be taken seriously, even if you do it very well.

The other issue is that the healers may complain and say that it's hard to heal a pet because their portrait is so small in the group-list. I think a good way to fix this is to add a tenacity pet talent that allows the pet to share damage with the hunter, maybe at a percentage. Say the pet gets hit for 10,000 damage, and transfers 80% to the hunter (so the pet really takes 2,000 damage and the hunter takes 8,000 damage) Then the healers just have to heal the hunter, while the hunter heals up the pet. -- Or it could be twisted the other way around so that any Overhealing done on the Hunter goes to the pet.

Anonymous said...

I have a resto druid that I set the secondary spec to bear tanking...but that was only so I could go solo places like ZG. I tried tanking hVH, and it went fairly well, but even in somewhat decent gear (most iLevel 200-226), I still had a hard time because the 5500 gearscored rogue kept pulling aggro. Granted, I'm inexperienced at tanking and my gearscore is a lot lower, but I don't really feel like having to grind a tanking set so that I can handle the more difficult dungeons like the new icecrown ones. I'd rather wait something like 2 minutes longer and just queue with my resto spec.


The temptation for making Beastmastery the "tanking" spec is strong... because that's what Hunters are already doing. The pet tanks, Mending and bandages heals it, while the Hunter him/herself whittles down the enemy and sets traps for CC. They're their own self-contained group, and it's frustrating when the microcosm doesn't scale to the macrocosm ("My pet tanks for me solo just fine, so why can't I use him to tank in groups?"). My Tenacity crocolisk is a hell of a tough customer, and I off-tank with him often; I just wish the versatility of the Hunter performing all roles for himself could be expanded into a hybrid class.

Copernicus said...

A lot of tanking is about the mindset. Some people just don't want to stand out front and be a meat shield, where when you make a mistake, it's obvious and often times fatal to the entire group.

For me, it's almost like a family group. I'm the big papa bear roaring at the enemy, holding their attention, while the kids are nipping at their flanks, tearing them down. Mama bear is in the back, supporting me, keeping me alive throughout the battle. By being the tank, I'm protecting the group, protecting my family.

Yes, I know there is some gender discrimination in that, but it was the best analogy I could come up with to express my feelings.

Klepsacovic said...

@Jmab: A sort of soul-link ability? That could help with the problem of hunters having low effective health.

@Anonymous: There's not much gain from having healers switching to tanking; I'm mostly thinking of DPS switching.

@Dire Human: A lot changes in group play. Healers become far more useful. Relative gains mean relative losses.

@Copernicus: You've clearly never heard of what a momma bear does to anyone who gets in the way of her cubs. No greed, religion, or anything else can evoke a comparable level of "You WILL die now."

G-Rebel said...

I agree with Copernicus in that tanking is a mindset. Much like healing, it's a job that carries a lot of responsibility with it and many don't want to be the center of everyone else's ire.

For others it may just be the feel of the game. I don't mind healing or dps, but I've played warriors and paladins and druids a lot and just don't feel comfortable with the mechanics of tanking. But I still think it's more mindset than feel, that's just me.

LifeDeathSoul said...

actually, hunters do have the viability to be good tanks. My gorilla had equal amount of health and probably an equal amount of mitigation compared to a equal level DK. It's just that it's a wee bit harder to keep the aggro.

Granted, you do need to spec right for it. I feel hunter pets do have enough taunts already as it is. You have Thunderclap, you have Taunt, and for BM hunters you do have Intimidate. Granted they do have pretty long CD, but if you do use the pet right, he can be a pretty viable tank :)

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