A bunch of changes to the way taunts work went live today on Test.
My personal summary is that the gamedevs have decided to do something about the way tanking is done these days.
Starting primarily in Ruins of Kunark, many tanks have gone to using offensive stance while tanking. For the plate tanks, especially Guardians, they can do this because they have really good armor, and have built up their avoidance to the point where it’s nearly as good as brawlers.
It hasn’t been just about bragging rights on the parse, though. One point of damage equals one point of hate, so doing more damage helps a tank hold aggro better, which allows the rest of the team to go harder. In some cases, much harder.
SOE has decided to cut back on this, it seems. Certain hate-building skills have now been consolidated into the tanks defensive stance. For Guardians, this affects Hold The Line, which won’t exist any more outside of defensive stance. Iron Will has been merged into both offensive and defensive stance. One guesses that the boost to STA it grants will be greater in defensive stance than offensive. Finally Battle Tactics (boosting group members’ health) has been merged with Call to Arms (boosting group members’ offensive skills). One wonders if this combination allows a tradeoff between health(defense) and offensive skills(dps), or if this combination was just a cleanup.
Turning to the tank class I play regularly, Brawlers have some revamps to their Achievements that look pretty welcome. Monkey Dodge now buffs parry as well as defense skill. This plays well with the TSO gear that increases riposte chance, and is quite welcome. Many of our combat art lines have had a threat component added. Roughouse, a threat and damage melee proc, and Dodge and Strike, a buff to AGI and STR have been merged into the stances. Again, I presume they tilt the effects more to offense or defense depending on which stance. Our basic taunts have been made more effective.
Overall, taunts and detaunts can now have critical hits. Which is a very good thing. Damage, which equals hate gain, can be critted, why not taunts and detaunts? Otherwise they lose importance in hate management. Also, it says “hate gain mods will no longer affect taunt adjustments.” I’m not sure what that’s about, though.
The timing of this update suggests that it was the first game fix they turned their attention to after the release of TSO. I have been posting about this topic for nearly a year, I might have wished for it sooner, but I’m glad to see the attention now.
However, I expect a lot of unhappy people out there. I forsee some tanks who, ahem, skim through the update notes getting pasted and wondering why. And I can well imagine Guardians who have Master versions of Hold The Line and Iron Will, but Apprentice 1 versions of defensive stance scrambling madly after the very few Master of their defensive stance. Keep your sword handy.