Pretty diagrams!

GOA have presented us with a fun run-down of team play, in what we can safely assume is the start of a series of useful guides to the game.

The guide covers grouping in open RvR, including handy hints and tips on leading groups and a variety of tactics and skills. I definitely enjoyed it, and look forward to the rest of the series.

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Detaunt-tastic!

Wotcha everyone,

I had occasion to leave my pc, and venture out into the world yesterday.  And whilst on the bus, I saw a little vignette that stuck in my memory.

There was a cat sleeping on the downstairs window-sill of a terraced house, with an old lady unsuccessfully attempting to drag off a small, yappy dog that *just* couldn’t reach the cat (still calmly sleeping outside, on the window-sill), no matter how hard it strained and jumped.  I chuckled.  It was a perfect display of the age-old battle between cat and dog.

A while later, I am reminded of this state of affairs whilst engaging in Tier 2 scenarios with guildmates.  At one point, I am standing alongside a rune-priest guildmate, when we are attacked by an enemy tank each.

Now, the only thing slower than a healer/tank fight is healer on healer, but hey, we’re having fun, so why not?  We both decided to stick it out, so I detaunt the tank attacking me, start the mutual healing that really works between Rune Priest and Warrior Priest (The Healing That Dare Not Speak Its Name), and start smacking the tank that’s attacking my dwarf compatriot.

A couple of minutes later, the tank that had been chain detaunted by the both of us for the last couple of minutes just… left us.  No doubt crying, and looking for someone he could actually hurt.  Leaving us giggling like naughty schoolboys when we finally gain our tank kill a minute later.

So, there we have it.  Give me a detaunt, and I’ll use it.  And then ignore you, up on my window-sill.  In fact, I love my detaunt.  It has saved me so many times in PvE it’s silly, and means that being attacked by two mobs is no more scary than being attacked by one.

In RvR, it means I can survive a little longer when I’m jumped by a couple of people, hopefully long enough for help to arrive.  It means that fights are more tactical, and therefore more fun.  So I applaud it.  All games should have detaunts like this one.

Cheers,
Hawley.

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 …