Modern issues with tanking

Tank mechanics vs bosses
Tanks often face bosses where they don’t have more than one mechanic to do, typically being a tank swap. This makes tanking in raids less engaging as you mostly wait your turn to tank and aren’t doing anything actively other than watch your debuffs fade out.

Furthermore, there is also a lack of tank busters which are crucial in encouraging the use of defensive cooldowns and making tanking more engaging. It is perplexing how trash mobs in M+ will make you go through your defensive cooldowns or even make you kite but that bosses will often not challenge you as much. Additionally, healers have tons of externals but there’s often a lack of good opportunities to use them unless you push really high M+.

To create more engaging tanking experiences, bosses should incorporate at least two tank mechanics. This would allow tanks to feel actively involved in tanking during boss encounters, which is currently lacking. This can be running out with a debuff, picking up ads, soaking some mechanic, etc. Movement is also a great way to incentive a more engaging gameplay. Making tanks interact with the group in particular ways unique to a boss can also feel more interesting.

Moreover, tanks can often endure a lot of mechanics with minimal risk that would be fatal for a healer or dps this also makes tanking a bit more trivial

Tank trinket design
A lot of tank trinkets are just unusable or terrible for tanks. Stamina trinkets have rarely been worth using as we scale with our main stat way more even defensively nowadays.
On top of that, when we get a decent tank trinket in raid like rageheart on Fyrakk then we have multiple roles wanting to use it which can also lead to nerfs. I feel tank trinkets should be role locked so more tanks can use them and so they can make them more interesting and powerful.

Tank threat/damage design
Generally I’m happy with current threat design but I feel some aoe spells could use a bit higher threat generation. I feel too much threat/damage is frontloaded into dps cooldowns and not enough in the basic abilities that you should want to use to pick up mobs at all time.
From my class perspective, bloodboil and death and decay used to be staple when it comes to threat but nowadays don’t really feel as good as before. I understand many people have different taste when it comes to tanking/threat design so this part should be more seen as a preference.

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Tank incentives - making tanks more fun to play
Had this talk with some other people the other day.
I think right now tanks in general don’t feel “enough” powerful.

Many tanks I’ve talked with enjoy seasons where they’re allowed to do more damage and be able to contribute to their group more that way, many tank players like dps players like to see bigger numbers.

I understand that making tanks do more damage can be problematic as you don’t want dps to be replaced by tanks which is why I think maybe bringing back some idea of vengeance would make sense but making tanks damage scaling closer to dps could also feel great. One of the season that I really liked personally in term of power was 8.3 with corruption and twillight devastation as a tank felt really fun.

Tank incentives - the carrot
Something also that felt good in Wotlk classic was the idea of adding back satchels of goods for tank and healers at the end of premade dungeon content, this could help incentivize more tanks/healers to play.

Being able to earn runes and gold from queuing in LFR or heroic has been a considerable incentive for many players and personally in WoD it made me do way more heroic dungeons than I needed as they would also drop follower power ups for your garrison.

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I mentioned in another thread, but this one is shorter so thought I would reiterate. One big fix for the trinkets would be damage reflection like codex of the first technique. I provided a decent amount of absorb, increased HP and reflected a ton of damage for m+. If Fyrrak’s Rageheart worked like that only the most degenerate dps would even try to use it.

The on demand nature of threat, it feels extremely varied based on tank I play. Main problem being classes with wind up time, especially if for whatever reason the ability is target capped, can lead to moments where someone gets hit as you chain pull. This could be remedied easily by having certain on demand abilities AOE.

This is especially true for what i call the heave heave go rotations that exist for some tanks, where you have to burn 1-2 globals building before you can actually hit your true AOE buttons. Doesn’t sound like a lot but when a DK has hit death and decay, marrow rend, blood boil, then first heart strike… the ret pally has popped wings, wake of ashes, divine stormed, and divine tolled already… as point of comparison.

The other item I would add as not fun for tanks, is the spray and pray mobs. Think these are on healer naughty list as well. Nothing says fun to a party like we don’t combo certain pulls because an archer is going to rudely pelt our clothies to death. Think simple solution for these kind of mobs mix it up more, tank hit, random hit and lower the random damage. I would also add this is what caused the rise of the DH/control meta.

So if I was giving my main points to work on:

  1. Please, make better tank trinkets. I personally believe shield with damage reflection would be one example of a great damage with defensive.

  2. Giving certain builders a splash effect, such as Fracture and Marrowrend to aid in snap pick ups.

  3. Rotationally, like all wow classes, tanks are not immune to bloat. Not a fan of i press a button to just stand in it and hope a mechanic doesn’t happen. The consecrate change on Alpha is a good step, still like those to feel more impactful when pressed.

  4. My hot take, Tank Offensive CDs should not be longer than 2 minutes. This complicated because brand, wings, incarn, etc… have MASSIVE defensive value, but hear me out… in keys most pulls are a minute or less. You have dps classes with 1, 2 and 3 minute CDs. DH is a hot mess of overpowered things, but 1 minute fire brand is the right move and should be stapled to all tank specs. World of 60-90 sec offensive CDs I think would lead to more engaging fun play even in raid.

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I think I can agree generally that most M+ bosses are a bit of a snooze fest outside of a few outliers (Chargath, Crawth, Jade Serpent 3rd Boss). Honestly I think finding a middle ground between bosses being safe and dangerous would be fun, but keeping it reasonable that a tank should be able to cover it with their own CDs (Jade Serpent 3rd boss is probably an example of this being too intense where you were reliant on syncing up with your healer’s external CD to cover a gap in your own CDs).

I think making use of concepts like healing absorbs and incentivising you to break an absorb shield on yourself (like the giant boss in Eye of Azshara) are more interesting concepts that don’t require you to move a boss around in a way that can feel annoying to the group - something like a tank specific soak could be interesting too.

For trinket design I think it’s becoming clear that the loot pool is overloaded with a lot of trinkets that tanks are going out of their way to avoid looting - I think I have spent most of my vaults opening as my DPS spec to avoid rolling some of the weaker defensive trinkets over the last two expansions (Bladedancer’s Armour Kit and Inexorable Resonator come to mind). I think trimming down tank specific defensive oriented trinkets could go a long way to making tank trinkets feel ‘better’ (especially with the move to nerf cantrip effect damage by 66% on trinkets)

Examples of what I think could work in terms of trinket design would be adding a consistent offensive counterbalance to every defensive trinket and trying to keep them smaller in number - I think examples of these working well have been Fyrakk’s Tainted Rageheart and Blood-Splattered Scale in terms of overall reception. Shard of Annhydle’s Aegis is also a design that I think many tanks recieved well for how it would enable a large pull even if it did not offer much damage and I think that Enduring Dreadplates has done well to iterate further on this notion. I’d also like to point out an interesting design concept we are starting to see with trinkets like Ward of Faceless Ire and Cinderbrew Stein where we are able as tanks to offer some level of support to our team - fantastic option. Personally, as a tank, I would rather focus on my own offensive power and be able to express my own playstyle by being able to maximise my own damage, but I have played with a lot of people who aren’t as comfortable doing that in the tank role and would be more happy to increase the group’s damage by buffing up their team mates in some capacity. I was a big fan of Conqueror’s Banner / Kindred Spirits / Blessing of Seasons / Ashen Hallow in the tank role as it added a group empowerment element that in theory could allow you to empower your group while keeping yourself comfortable - and I’d like to see where this could be expanded on in the modern class design.

I personally don’t agree with the notion of locking these trinkets solely to the tank role as I have found when playing DPS in a keystone that having an extra defensive cooldown has been much more potent than taking extra damage options but perhaps mirroring the 66% effectiveness could be an effective counterbalance. Having tank specific trinkets however may be necessary to explore strong offensive options with defensive components which while in my opinion allows for less expression in gearing it will allow for design flexibility from the developers.

I do think that this 66% nerf does need to come with a general comb through of what trinkets this will affect as my current biggest worry is that as a tank in a raid I am already going to be behind a DPS for a lot of trinkets and that if one of these nerfed trinkets becomes my BiS trinket for damage that I will always be passed over a DPS for this item because it is so much weaker for me - currently a lot of cantrip effects like Manic Grieftorch / Cataclysmic Signet Brand are just as potent for me as a tank as they are for any DPS and while I appreciate the effort in trying to position these towards DPS players if they are still ahead of tank specific trinkets at 66% effectiveness it will add a high element of friction which will most likely make me feel at odds with the group I would raid with due to loot friction.

I mostly feel that it would be easier to tune and make better tank trinkets without having to think how healers and dps will use it. Having an extra defensive as a dps or healer can feel great but it’s not like they can balance content on dps/healers using a tank trinkets. I understand why people would go to such length to progress content but it feels counter-intuitive imo. Tuning them to be worse for other roles could work but it would still mean tuning tank trinkets around dps/healers using them which at that point I think a 33% nerf is not enough.

Honestly I completely understand the reasoning behind this argument, and I think to an extent the reason having a tank trinket can feel great as a DPS in a dungeon is more to do with the fact that currently the M+ environment is very strongly based around being able to live one shot mechanics and will probably be overkill in a less bursty damage environment - but I think having some level of skill expression in gearing is something healthy for the game to have.

Something that could also be worth considering is the notion of absorb trinkets scaling with maximum health (maybe even quadrilaterally if you really want them to work much better for tanks) as currently a 535 Rageheart will absorb more than a non tank’s health pool while it will only be around 2/3 to 3/4 of a tank’s health pool.