Or: How give rogues a tanking spec would be an interesting choice, and what Blizzard would need to do to complete the role.
(This mostly a repost of a thread I started on the WoW forums here).
It seems that with the new rogue talent trees in Burning Crusades, along with the shrinking raid size, it may now be possible to use Rogues as in offtank capacity, at the cost of DPS. As warriors are the best tanks as well as respectable DPS, rogues could be the best DPS as well as respectable tanks. This would be a nice way to get better class balance in smaller raid sizes, however, there are few things that would still need to be done to make this a complete reality.
What's the spec?
First, let's start off with a reference spec ( 3/13/45 ) for discussion. Talent Link
So what are the key talents that would make this work?
* Lighting Reflexes: +5% dodge
* Deflection: +5% to parry
* Riposte: Disarm after a parry
* Sleight of Hand: -2% to be crit
* Ghostly Strike: +15% to dodge for 7s
* Setup: 45% to add combo point on dodge or resist spell.
* Heightened Senses: -4% to be hit by melee or ranged spells.
* Preparation: Reset key skills like evasion.
* Cheat Death: +20% chance to not die (How many MT's would kill for this? Its +20% not to wipe the raid!)
* Enveloping Shadows: +15% to avoid AOE effects (I.e. Cleaves, Blastwaves, etc)
* Sinister Calling: +10% to Agility
* Cloak of Shadows: +90% to avoid spells for 4s
Superior Magic Damage Mitigation
One interesting note is assuming similar stamina and resist gear as warriors (itemization), Rogues could potentially have superior mitigation against mobs that are heavily spell damage based (as opposed to melee). Warrior have shield wall and a passive 10% reduction from defensive stance, where as Rogues have Enveloping Shadows, Heightened Senses, Cloak of Shadows, and Cheat Death.
The major limitation of a Rogue/Avoidance tank is that is very luck based. This comes down to Consistant vs. Unpredicable Damage. Armor, Block and Shield Wall are 'consistant mitigation' which healers love. In leather, with no shield, damage is still going to be spiky. Dodge, Dodge, Dodge, 3k, 3k, 3k, Dead. Oops, rogue down, somebody pick up the loose mob.
So the ideal rogue would be a fight with many fast but smaller attacks. Lots of fast 1k/2k hits, or lots of mobs with 50 damage hits (ala Fankriss) Huge spike damage fights would be really rough without some form of consistant mitigation. Much of this comes down to Blizzard's fight design in the expansion. If bosses have huge spike damage melee attacks (i.e. Broodlord/Patchwerk), a rogue tank would be like playing russian roulette with your raid.
Don't Leave the Role Unfinished!
In addition, there are still a couple of things which Blizzard will need to change which would make Rogue tanks viable as opposed to just a gimmick. Nothing earthshattering, but small concrete steps which would give rogue's a new viable raid roll. There are two key issues I see, along with a few minor ones.
1) [b]Itemization (Key Issue): To start with, none of this works if we don't have the gear to tank with. We need leather with high armor (i.e. NecroKnight's Garb for starters), defense (need probably +75 to avoid getting critted along with Sleight of Hand) and especially lots and lots of stamina.
2) Threat generation (Key Issue): If we can't hold agro, we can't really tank. Threat generation through damage could easily be the way we do it, just like Paladins. Paladins have a skill (Righteous Fury) to increase their threat generation. We need a way as well, because passive threat generation for us is -29% now. Elegantly solved by giving us a poison that increases threat generation. See Threat Poisons below.
3) Crushing Blows: These guys are going to be the rogue tank killer. Warriors have shield block (which reduce crushing blow chance) and high armor (to reduce the damage). Druid's extremely high armor makes crushing blows less damaging. We on the other hand, would take full damage and have no way to reduce the frequency of them. This I don't have a great solution to, but maybe they can change Heightened Senses to "reduces the chance you are hit by spells, ranged attacks and crushing blows by 4%.
4) Snap Agro: If we are looking at an OT role, this probably won't be an issue, since we can dump energy for threat to start with. Snap agro skills might be left to warriors and paladins. However, it could be solved with a Taunt poison. See Threat Poisons below.
5) Heavy Subtlety Investment (Minor): To get the all the damage mitigation skills in the subtlety tree, you need 45 points. The only 'free' points are the 3 in Enveloping Shadows and 1 in Cheat Death, both of which are key mitigation talents at the top of the tree. Points in Camouflage are wasted, and it would be nice to free them up somehow. Tying serrated to hemo also limits points flexiable. Not a huge deal, but it feels like you need a bunch of unhelpful talents just to max mitigation, when a rogue tanks will need more damage to hold agro (from the combat/assassination tree).
In addition, since rogue tanks are going to need high stamina values to make up for lower armor, vitality (31pt combat/+4% stamina) would be an ideal talent. Unfortunately, its out of reach for this spec.
As mentioned above, we need some way to increase our threat generation. The most elegant solution is poisons. Here are two poisons that would do the job. The first we need, the 2nd would be useful, but probably workable without.
Use: Coats a weapon with a poison that lasts 30 minutes. Each strike has a 30% chance of poisoning the enemy, increasing all generated threat generated by you towards the enemy by 59%. Hemorrhage and Ghostly Strike abilities you use on this target will generate a high amount of threat.
Note: This basically gives us the threat generation of a warrior in defensive stance, without defiance. In addition, it lets Hemo/GS act as sunder/heroic strikes for threat generation. Without this poison, or a mechanic like it, we just won't be able to hold agro without our passive 29% threat reduction.
Use: Coats a weapon with a poison that lasts 30 minutes. If the target has Aggravating Poison on it, each strike has a 1% chance of poisoning the enemy, taunting them to attack you for 1s. Has no effect if the target is already attacking you. Increases the cost of Shiv by 20 energy.
Note: This poison would be used on the off hand, along with the new skill "Shiv", which allows you to spend 40 energy to apply your OH poison. It would in effect give us a taunt ability, though it comes with some conditions. The added energy cost to Shiv, and the low application chance means you need shiv to apply it, and you can't do as often. Duration of the taunt is less important than a way to snap agro.
Minus % to be crit
Paladin's are getting -5% to be crit, and druid's may be getting it (according to speculative leaks). If rogues got their sleight of hand talent buffed to 5/5 for -5% crit, that would radically simplify the need for new itemization, since we wouldn't need to stack defense. Again, the same set armor could serve both druids and rogues (since neither would need +defense on it).
Given the presence of resilence, it make a much better target stat for rogue tanks over defense, which has wasted effects that we don't want. Plus we know we are getting PvP itemization which has resilience.
Based on known information here http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/threa â€¦ p;pageNo=1 , here is what we know.
* @60: 25 Resilience Rating (RR) = 1% Resilience (R)
* @70: ? Resilience Rating (RR) = 1% Resilience (R)
* Crit Frequency Reduction: Reduces the chance you will be critically hit by R %
* Crit Severity Reduction: Reduces the damage dealt to you by critical hits by 2R %.
So at 60, it would take a combination of Sleight of Hand (-2% to be crit) and 75 Resilience Rating to be uncrittable by level 60 mobs. I'm assuming we would need sleightly more for level 63 mobs (maybe 80-85 RR or so). We don't know the numbers at 70 yet, but it seems like it might be an obtainable number.
The PvP Arena sets already have a high amount of resilence and stamina, both of which are stats we would want our hypothetical 'rogue tank' itemization. The complete Gladiator's Set for rogues has +145 resilence rating right now according to http://www.thottbot.com/beta?set=577 by way of comparison.
Blue posters have already stated they are not planning anymore posion beside anethetic (-threat), so we are still left in a lurch for a way to increase our threat on our own. However, with the hunter talent, Misdirection, we do have a way of increasing our threat, beyond our own damage.
Smaller raid design could greatly benefit from having multiple classes which could act as tanks. With the talent trees Blizzard has laid out, Rogues are potentially 90% there as a potential tanking class. With a few more changes plus viable itemziation, there is no reason why rogues can't get their turn in the tanking spots.
Your thoughts and comments on this are welcome.
Special thanks to Celandro and Kalman for putting this idea into my head, and their feedback on refining it.
* Balanced Enraging Poison so that it would not be a completely spamable agro lock.
* Added info about -% to be crit talents based on paladin and possible druid trees.
* 10/18/06 - Updated to add Resilence and Misdirection to the discussion
Enraging Poison plus Shiv would be too good - anything tauntable we could hold permanently, since Shiv has a 40 energy cost, and Enraging lasts 6 seconds. However, Shiv combined with a high threat poison - call it Irritating, and give it an N% chance to proc a threat increase of 300 or whatever - might be interesting (e.g. Aggravating MH, Irritating OH - Shiv becomes a Sunder-like skill, only without the debuff). If we did get a taunt poison, it would have to be a 1-2s duration taunt, or Shiv would simply be too good.
If we got threat-increasing poisons, it would pretty much come down to itemization - with an evasion tank, you're basically playing roulette and hoping not to get two hits in a row, but with the benefit of healers generally being able to use more efficient regen strategies - since you don't need to chain cast, you can wear gear optimized around high HPS output and worry less about HPM, overall. If we had enough itemization to support rogues being able to take *one* crit or crush without getting one-shotted, plus threat generation poisons, we'd be there.
This could all end up being a debacle like the Ninja/Warrior profession in FF11, I don't think Blizzard (or the players for that matter) should be looking at such ridiculous avoidance mitigation as a viable way to tank a large amount of mobs, even though we're receiving talents that are pure non-avoidance. Could lead to some really crappy encounter tuning in my opinion?
I'd welcome some utility though. They're dividing and making a lot of the healing classes very unique, along with Paladins being obvious viable tanks in some encounters, etc etc. Rogues are still watching the Damage Meters in '07 though.
Screw tanking, give me more damage talents/skills. If I wanted to tank I'd reroll a warrior.
And we won't get significantly more damage than other classes, because that has PvP implications. It's utility vs. focus, same as always, but it's a viable utility path for us.
Or you could just use a warrior!
29% inherent threat reduction does not a viable tank make.
I'm a warrior and I have 0 issues with rogues being able to offtank if speced for it, so long as after thier cooldowns are down, they aren't as good as other classes at dmg mitigation. With the improvements to warrior protection spec, there is going to be a lot of pressure on warriors to spec that way unless there are viable alternatives.
Andrise, your point was addressed in the post.
Here is a post i did on the official WoW forums
I do think that rogues should be able to offtank in the expansion if they choose to spec that way. Currently a hemo build has a major problem in that the dps is significantly lower than non-hemo build. An easy cure for this is to allow the hemo build the offtank spec. Adding some agro gain to hemo (it does apply a debuff so it should have extra agro already) and some agro gain to expose armor (similar in effect to sunder so probably already has extra agro) and add a way to go into 'tank mode' with poisons and voila, rogue tank.
What is the proposed benefit to rogue tanks?
1) Higher raid dps due to hemo + more ac reduction from improved expose armor.
2) Higher mitigation when cooldowns are used (evasion, etc)
3) Reduced World of Warriorcraft syndrome, introduction of light tank class spec
4) Higher dps from whoever would have been tanking
What is the proposed detriment to rogue tanks"
1) Lower agro threshold due to not having the same agro increase as defensive stance
2) Lower mitigation when cooldowns are not used
3) Higher spike damage due to low AC, high dodge rates, no way to prevent crushing blows.
4) Lower dps from the rogue in question
Done right, it is a very interesting mechanic that would give rogues a different way to be useful than just dps. It will take good itemization (similar to bear tanks but more sta/def/agi/dodge, less ac) and a minor change to allow rogues to generate more agro.
I'm not looking to make it imbalanced, and I don't know if we would need +59% threat, since we would do a lot more damage than a Sword/board warrior. The specific numbers would certainly need to be balanced.
Roles and Class Balance
Of course you could use a warrior! Just bring 6 to all your 25 man raids and tell all your warlocks and shamans they can't come because there isn't room. This isn't about taking an MT role, its about adding flexiablity. And it presents an interesting choice, which a fundamental principle of fun game design.
Think of the encounters in ZG, where you have a large number of mobs that need to be tanked. With a 25 man raid, you can only bring 3 warriors, so if warriors are the only tanks, then your encounter design options are limited. No single tank is taking large amounts of damage, and healers are primarily healing reactively, not proactively, like on a single target boss fight.
It a situation like that, damage avoidance is better than damage reduction, as it prevents the need for heals at all. Even warriors with more avoidance based specs (high dodge/parry) are better in a situation like that than traditional MT specs (high stamina, lower avoidance)
Update: Oops forgot about 10% spell reduction damage, updating.
I think it will all come down to what types of bosses / encounters bliz throws into the expansion, you could design an encounter that would faciliate needing a rogue spec'd for cloak of shadows, or you could make encounters where rogue tanking would be a terrible, terrible idea. Going against everything that I had just said, if we look at current encounters and gear, even with all the new "gee whiz" talents rogues would still be very, very bad at tanking almost all encounters to date. We just don't have the mitagation, or hp to do it effectively at the moment. Add to that the fact that paladins and druids are only going to get better at tanking (or even warlocks if you consider high magic fights), I just don't see the need nor the place for rogues to try tanking save some gimmicky encounters.
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