A tactical interlude

mmorpg.com has posted up the second part of their interview with Adam Gershowitz (Combat and Careers Strike Team Lead) on the careers system in Warhammer. In PvP, the classes have a rock, paper, scissors set of strengths and vulnerabilities vs other classes that Adam explains like this:

Tanks (Black Orc, Chosen, Blackguard, Ironbreaker, Knight, Sword master)

  • Strong Vs Melee DPS
  • Even Vs Tanks / Melee Healers
  • Weak Vs Ranged DPS / Ranged Healers

Melee DPS (Choppa, Marauder, Witch Elf, Witch Hunter, White Lion, Hammerer)

  • Strong Vs Ranged DPS / Ranged Healers
  • Even Vs Melee DPS
  • Weak Vs Tanks / Melee healers

Ranged DPS (Shadow Warrior, Bright Wizard, Engineer, Sorceress, Magus, Squig Herder)

  • Strong Vs Tanks
  • Even Vs Ranged DPS / Ranged Healers
  • Weak Vs Melee DPS

Melee Healers (Warrior Priest & Disciple)

  • Strong Vs Melee DPS
  • Even Vs Tanks & Melee Healers
  • Weak Vs Ranged DPS

Ranged Healers (Archmage, Rune Priest, Shaman, Zealot)

  • Strong Vs Tanks
  • Even Vs Ranged DPS / Ranged Healers
  • Weak Vs Melee DPS

So this gives us a rough idea of what the different classes might be doing in PvP. The general rule is that you try to target the classes who are weak to you, whilst avoiding the ones who are strongest against you. At the same time, there will be some overall tactic that probably depends on the situation or scenario. If the tactics involve focus fire, then the dps classes will be directed by the group or raid leader to take down specific targets. Maybe this will be killing the healers first, or whichever class is most dangerous to leave standing.

But tanks being strong vs melee dps implies that they have a way to break up the ‘assist train’. (Focus fire is called the assist train for historical reasons, because the traditional method was to have one leader as a ‘main assist’ and all the dps copy his or her targetting strategy by typing /assist <name of leader>). Adam throws some more light on this:

Traditionally taunt is used on silly STUPID AI in PvE, but you really have to twist our arm to make an ability only usable in one half of the game. As such Taunt not only snaps a monster’s Aggro onto you, but it also interrupts any currently casting spells, and gives you 20% more damage against that target until they hit you 3 times.

Spell interrupt is very powerful, but not so much against melee dps. Until you remember that this includes the melee healers. So tanks in PvP will be able to taunt to break up the assist train by weakening melee dps and interrupting heals. There have been previous comments that tanks in Warhammer will be getting some crowd control abilities which should also help. They’re starting to sound pretty darned good.

Warning, this is where it gets hypothetical. I can imagine open field scenarios where melee groups consisting of tanks, melee healers, and melee dps try to maneuver round each other to get to the other team’s ranged dps and healers. But if ranged are strong against those classes, won’t they just be nuking the bajeezus out of the melee while melee are tangling with each other? That’s still a concern of mine and I’ll be interested to see what the beta testers have to say about this when the NDA goes down (which probably won’t be any time soon).

Having said that, I’m also intrigued at ranged groups with (say, for Order) an engineer to put down turrets and barbed wire and a keg, and healers trying to kite the opposite faction through it.

I do wonder if part of the reason that the melee dps classes are still being tweaked is to do with these kind of balance issues. Melee needs to be able to get to ranged. But not without a fight.

Balance of Numbers

It’s interesting also to compare this with the Warhammer Alliance class survey results (analysis here). The survey showed tanks and ranged healers being by far the most popular Destruction classes, with melee and ranged dps scoring high for Order (or else Order players just like classes beginning with W, they’d probably play Witch-Elves if they converted faction).

If this follows through to the live game, which it won’t but bear with me for the sake of argument, then Destruction might have a lot more control of the battlefields with Order being encouraged to flank the melee opposition The lack of dps on the Destruction side would draw battles out longer, but their tanks and shamans would have to play very smart to keep all those White Lions and Witch Hunters and Warrior Priests (see what I mean about W?) from destroying their support. I wonder what the cooldown is on taunt and how many people can be taunted at once …

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2 Responses

  1. I really like the way they are trying to make tanks a real threat in PvP, which is basically the only way that DPS types will be encouraged to target them. I’m looking forward to donning my feathered hat for the first time!

  2. Yeah I agree Unwise. Giving them such a specific and important role can only be good for the game.

    I just like the fact that every class has a particular target and that because of this a balanced group will be necessary.

    A group without tanks should have its rdps quickly taken down by melee.

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