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What AT is best for tanking multiple groups? 'cause "Tank" ain't it.


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I'm curious to see what sorts of solutions people have come up with for handling multiple packs and which ATs work best for dealing with agro cap problems.

 

I'm returning after 5ish years, and it looks to me like the threat cap has been clamped way down on Homecoming.  This keeps a tank from holding threat on more than 16 targets, taunts or no taunts.  In an 8 player TF/SF this means it only takes one extra pack to have problems a tank can't solve with agro on the healer, on anyone who used a rain power, etc.

 

That makes my tanks feel about as useful as a brute or scrapper in most situations- if you're just there to get your face smashed by the EB/AV during the period where they can't be controlled, you don't need the overkill levels of defense and resistance that tanks trade damage for.

 

I'm not sure how best to handle this as an individual who wants to defuse alpha strikes and manage agro as a primary role in a team.  It seems like the best plan is to eschew something like a Invuln/SS Tank for a Spines/Fire Brute, because burning down all the minions gives you more space in your agro cap to actually tank the boss/lt mobs and occasional EBs.

 

I've also been eyeing Mastermind sets and considering soaking the alpha in bodyguard mode, then letting agro fall where it may and hoping that 6 extra bodies are enough to soak up stray attention while I focus on support.

 

The best option seems to be relying on Confuse, which avoids the agro cap by having enemies agro one another rather than a tank, but reliable AOE Confuse powers seem limited to Plant, Mind, and maybe Arsenal control sets.  That means playing a Dom or Controller, which can't soak an alpha strike themselves - you get a 'sleep it first' playstyle that feels awful in group content.  If I could get a solid AOE confuse on a MM that would be ideal but I don't see a way to do that.

 

Has anyone had success in keeping all the fire off the squishies?  What approach, and what AT, worked best for you?

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You're not supposed to take ALL the aggro.  Other AT's have to learn to pull their weight.  That means that they do stuff other than just polish off the mobs that are glommed onto the tank, like shooting fish in a barrel.  I would think it incredibly boring if I never had to worry about drawing aggro as a controller, defender, or whatever.  I just want the tank to hold enough aggro that I can reliably deal with some spillover.  If the tank his properly doing their job, and I'm playing attention, then I can do this.

 

The Tanker has been significantly buffed in recent days.  So much so, that players frequently complain that they are now over-powered in comparison to Brutes (while I don't really agree with this assessment, myself, it is none-the-less commonly discussed in the current meta).

 

I play Brutes, Scrappers and Sentinels WAY MORE than I play tanks, though.  So experienced tankers are really best positioned to reply to your questions here.

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Since well before Live servers shutdown my main Lightslinger, Energy/Energy Blaster could peel aggro off Tankers. I don't think it's a Homecoming specific thing. And even if an extra group gets tagged, the minions and lieutenants should be defeated almost instantly, allowing the Tanker to reestablish aggro.

 

As for keeping all the aggro off the squishies, if they're attacking or buffing/debuffing, at least a little aggro will always go their way.

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Well if a player is Level 50, they can use their Incarnate powers to roll their face on their keyboards and nothing will stop them. Barrier, Ion Judgement, in a team setting, nothing stands a chance.

 

If it's sub- Level 50 gameplay, players can try taking advantage of the damage meta currently in place (spam AoEs) and the Tank will actively have to search for anything to Taunt that isn't an EB/AV.

 

If you're looking for getting more than 16 targets attention, try a Mastermind or an Illusion primary powerset. Summon Lores, grab temp pets, or try coordinating with the other Tanks, Brutes, Scrappers, Kheldians, or Soldiers of Arachnos on the players team. 

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1 hour ago, kryori said:

Has anyone had success in keeping all the fire off the squishies?  What approach, and what AT, worked best for you?


If you're unable to defeat the mobs fast enough, then lots of CC abilities is the best way to go IMO. Because whilst the aggro cap lets you keep a certain number of things stuck to you like a magnet... AoE mez and/or knockdown abilities can neuter enemies that are outside of that aggro limit - they don't need to have you on their hate list for you to keep them permanently debuffed/mezzed. Permadoms are king here; with Controllers a close second.

Lots of buffs and debuffs is an alternative - debuffing foe Damage and Accuracy; and/or buffing your teammates survivability. Defenders, Corrupters, Controllers, Masterminds and even VEATs will all be decent here... but personally I've had the best experiences on HC playing Teammate Support with an Illusion/Time Controller - multiple solid AoE CC abilities and debuffs, Perma Phantom Army, softcapped defense to your entire team with Power Boost and Clarioned Farsight + Group Invis, plus Chrono Shift and Temporal Mending for Healing. It's pretty damn powerful.

As far as Tankers go here... Rad Armor is a standout due to Ground Zero's target cap; Bio Armor due to the -damage debuff from Parasitic Aura and Genetic Contamination; and Dark Armor due to Oppressive Gloom and Cloak of Fear, etc. A number of primaries have AoE mez; but Stone Melee (Fault and Tremor) and Ice Melee (Ice Patch) might be a good idea. The Epic pools also have a fair number of pets and pseudopets.

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I'm not sure how to parse your question. On one hand you ask which AT is best for tanking but then lead by saying you want to hold agro on more than 17 mobs. Also, 16 mobs being tops has been a thing since the game was live 20 years ago. You can extend this by an extra 5 with Taunt, which, apparently, ignores the limit (so I hear, I never pick it so I can't chime in).

 

Why would you pick a Tanker then? Early feel-like-a-superhero thanks to their emphasis on defense allowing to crank the difficulty while in the teens, or even in the single digits, W I D E  AoEs which are very pleasant, Fire Melee (two PbAoEs which is a rarity in CoH). The Stone/Fire Melee in my signature can go to 0x8 by level 13 which is not a common thing to do.

 

 

Since no AT can hold agro on more than 17 mobs you have nothing, sorry. At best play a Controller/Dominator and for a few seconds you can CC two groups but don't expect it to be perma since hard CCs have big cooldowns.

 

If your worry is how your team crumbles if two groups are agroed then play a buffer that will keep the team safe. I think even a humble Force Field can stack enough defense that even most flimsy ATs can survive surprise agro. Debuffs can be a play but these have cooldowns, activation times, and they rely on the player to juggle things, but passive buffs will simply be on all the time.

 

 

Realistically most teams don't care about this extra agro you speak of. A chunk of the population has IO-ed builds who can take at least take a modest amount of beating. But, most likely, there is enough damage going around to pulverize any extra agro. Lastly, the penalty for dying is light and it teaches the one who agroed an extra group to be more careful in the future. That's how we all learned.

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6 minutes ago, Haijinx said:

Why is this thread?

 

Because is not borscht.

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Primarily on Everlasting. Squid afficionado. Former creator of Copypastas. General smartalec.

 

I tried to combine Circle and DE, but all I got were garden variety evil mages.

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when i play tank i tend to take my responsibility quite seriously!....like a parent with 7toddlers at the mall, keep my eye on em at all times,

 

i bounce around like a beach ball, furiously spamming tab and taunt....i not there to deal damage,

 

and personally i love the challenge of trying to drag 2mobs into a 3rd, creating one big fine mess.

 

 

...anyways, probably not helping with what you asked, here's a pic

 

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3 minutes ago, Sovera said:

I'm not sure how to parse your question. On one hand you ask which AT is best for tanking but then lead by saying you want to hold agro on more than 17 mobs.

 

I'm not necessarily trying to hold agro on 16+, I'm trying to prevent more than 16 targets from going after the rest of the team - traditionally this was stuff like kiting a whole map yourself and diving into a dumpster to break LOS on a pack of werewolves, turning a hard corner into a location-based knockdown patch like Ice/ or Fire Control bring, stuff that didn't require a hard taunt to keep an enemy from firing at the group.  That kind of approach leads to any little tickle of damage spreading packs of foes across my entire team, leaving me running around meleeing things one by one and getting no value out of my AOEs; it makes it feel bad to be playing a tank. 

 

So I'm looking for ways to 1) soak an alpha strike and 2) keep squishes from being hit by stray mezzes, grenades, etc - the things that aren't dangerous to a melee AT but can take a ranged AT out of the fight.  I don't think playing a Tank is a good way to do that anymore, so I'm asking for recommendations on how to deal with large numbers of targets without losing the ability to soak that initial retaliation from a 54x8 sized pack in a TF.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, kryori said:

 

I'm not necessarily trying to hold agro on 16+, I'm trying to prevent more than 16 targets from going after the rest of the team - traditionally this was stuff like kiting a whole map yourself and diving into a dumpster to break LOS on a pack of werewolves, turning a hard corner into a location-based knockdown patch like Ice/ or Fire Control bring, stuff that didn't require a hard taunt to keep an enemy from firing at the group.  That kind of approach leads to any little tickle of damage spreading packs of foes across my entire team, leaving me running around meleeing things one by one and getting no value out of my AOEs; it makes it feel bad to be playing a tank. 

 

So I'm looking for ways to 1) soak an alpha strike and 2) keep squishes from being hit by stray mezzes, grenades, etc - the things that aren't dangerous to a melee AT but can take a ranged AT out of the fight.  I don't think playing a Tank is a good way to do that anymore, so I'm asking for recommendations on how to deal with large numbers of targets without losing the ability to soak that initial retaliation from a 54x8 sized pack in a TF.

 

Yeah, that agro-whole-map-into-a-dumpster died very early in the game. Issue 3? Someone correct me. I joined at issue 6 and played up to issue 14 and the plug was pulled at issue... 23 if I recall correctly. So that tactic has been dead for a long time.

 

There is not a lot that you can do other than do damage. If you go hit the new group that was agroed the new ones will focus on you and the previous group will ignore you now.

 

But, realistically, if the whole team was hitting the first group then there is not a lot of it left after the initial volley of AoEs. We're talking 3-4 half health lieutenants and a boss? If the group has a Scrapper or a Brute the agro will shift to them.

 

This is one of the reasons I insist people, Tankers, buffers, etc, all slot their attacks because even a Tanker can jump into a group, use Build-up, use their AoEs, and have a group half dead.

 

 

The Tanker role is to soak the alpha. But in today's meta almost anyone can do that. A Scrapper, a Brute, even a Blaster (oh, how the times changed). That's the real role of the Tanker. Perfectly holding agro is not strictly needed. But being the person that takes 16 mobs all shooting at once IS needed. Someone has to go in first. Now a Controller can CC and eliminate the need to soak the alpha, an IO-ed up Scrapper or Brute can do it, so it does not need to be a Tanker.

 

 

Based on our conversation I think you'd like to play a Plant whatever. Controller if you want further buffing the team, Dominator if you want to do damage instead. All because Plant has an absurdly OP power in Seeds of Confusion that can be made to recharge in 15-20 seconds and that basically CCs a whole group. AND it's available at level 8 😛

 

Making it available every 15-20 seconds is as ridiculous as it sounds since it's up for every group and in a pinch you can use it on a second group if it's agroed before the first has been finished.

 

Lets not forget Plant has more than Seeds of Confusion if the agroing happens to happen before those 15-20 seconds have passed so they can land something else to keep agro down, count the seconds until Seeds is available again, and then re-CC the new group.

 

A Plant/Kinetics would allow you to buff the team to their gills in raw damage, recharge, endurance recovery, and Plants would keep the team extremely safe with the Seeds.

 

It is, in fact, why I don't like playing with Plant characters since there is nothing to fight back against.

Edited by Sovera
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5 minutes ago, kryori said:

I don't think playing a Tank is a good way to do that anymore, so I'm asking for recommendations on how to deal with large numbers of targets without losing the ability to soak that initial retaliation from a 54x8 sized pack in a TF.

My main is a tank. Recreated copy of my main on the retail servers.

 

First of all holding aggro really hasn't changed since the aggro cap was put into place back around 2005. The only thing that's changed is that active mobs will still attack you if you're over the aggro cap instead of just walking away, but that's something you'll only see if you solo.

 

Secondly, no AT is better at holding aggro than a Tank. Period. Full stop. End of story.

 

There are a couple of ways to juggle over the aggro cap. Things like Footstomp, Handclap, Whirling Hands, Nemesis Staff. Basically anything that allows you to disable enemies, if only for a few seconds, then you Taunt another group of enemies. I've been able to keep as many as 25 enemies focused on me this way. But you're not going to hold more than that and you're not going to hold them on you for very long, so your team needs to kill them ASAP.

 

So no, you cannot herd the entire map into a dumpster anymore. Not with a tank and not with any other AT. You haven't been able to do that in CoH since 2005.

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26 minutes ago, Songseven said:

when i play tank i tend to take my responsibility quite seriously!....like a parent with 7toddlers at the mall, keep my eye on em at all times,

 

i bounce around like a beach ball, furiously spamming tab and taunt....i not there to deal damage,

 

and personally i love the challenge of trying to drag 2mobs into a 3rd, creating one big fine mess.

 

 

...anyways, probably not helping with what you asked, here's a pic

 

Just for the sake of putting my two cents in.

 

The concept Tankers don't need to do damage because their role is to tank is a rather obsolete idea. Even in WoW where healers and tanks are dedicated roles they are expected to do damage. It is, in fact, expected and accounted for that each person will do at least % damage. There are heavy discussions about which tank does most damage since it influences the picks for raids.

 

It's not that different here, and CoH is laughably easy when compared. Both in mechanics and with most people able to dunk IOs into their build to a point they could almost tank instead of the Tanker, unlike WoW where a squishy is squishy and will die to two swats of a white mob in a dungeon and there is nothing that they can do to improve it. Here we face regular mobs, of which the majority are minions, in a game that allows to cheat the system by being a squishy that is also sturdy. The idea the game is so dangerous and complicated that there is no time left to hit things because tanking is a full time job is definitely not mainstream and we've had lively conversations with Diantane about it.

 

 

With all of this said there game is, as pointed out, easy enough that a character can do what they want. Be it Tanking without doing damage or buffing without doing damage, or playing a Mastermind without pets. It will not ruin the mission. At most just make it slower to finish,

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, kryori said:

I'm curious to see what sorts of solutions people have come up with for handling multiple packs and which ATs work best for dealing with agro cap problems.

 

I'm returning after 5ish years, and it looks to me like the threat cap has been clamped way down on Homecoming.  This keeps a tank from holding threat on more than 16 targets, taunts or no taunts.  In an 8 player TF/SF this means it only takes one extra pack to have problems a tank can't solve with agro on the healer, on anyone who used a rain power, etc.

 

That makes my tanks feel about as useful as a brute or scrapper in most situations- if you're just there to get your face smashed by the EB/AV during the period where they can't be controlled, you don't need the overkill levels of defense and resistance that tanks trade damage for.

 

I'm not sure how best to handle this as an individual who wants to defuse alpha strikes and manage agro as a primary role in a team.  It seems like the best plan is to eschew something like a Invuln/SS Tank for a Spines/Fire Brute, because burning down all the minions gives you more space in your agro cap to actually tank the boss/lt mobs and occasional EBs.

 

I've also been eyeing Mastermind sets and considering soaking the alpha in bodyguard mode, then letting agro fall where it may and hoping that 6 extra bodies are enough to soak up stray attention while I focus on support.

 

The best option seems to be relying on Confuse, which avoids the agro cap by having enemies agro one another rather than a tank, but reliable AOE Confuse powers seem limited to Plant, Mind, and maybe Arsenal control sets.  That means playing a Dom or Controller, which can't soak an alpha strike themselves - you get a 'sleep it first' playstyle that feels awful in group content.  If I could get a solid AOE confuse on a MM that would be ideal but I don't see a way to do that.

 

Has anyone had success in keeping all the fire off the squishies?  What approach, and what AT, worked best for you?

So... there is an agro cap.  Having said that I have a Dark Tank (runs non suppressed stealth 99% time).  I use Taunt and a ranged Targeted AoE toggle debuff to direct traffic.  It is a little easier to get/manage agro on my Ice/Ice Tank, but not much.  

 

again, and I cannot say this enough.  There IS an agro cap.  NO ONE can overcap that.  There are techniques to herd more than that.  

 

You are saying Tanks can't manage agro. That another AT would definitely be better. So.  

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Edited by Snarky
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Posted (edited)
On 5/11/2024 at 8:52 AM, Sovera said:

The concept Tankers don't need to do damage because their role is to tank is a rather obsolete idea.

 

On 5/11/2024 at 8:52 AM, Sovera said:

The idea the game is so dangerous and complicated that there is no time left to hit things because tanking is a full time job

 

sure, i agree with everything you stated, i should have chosen my words more carefully,

 

i guess my point was leaning more toward what i may prioritize, tanks yes, deal damage they can, but lets not underestimate the low values.

 

 

 

Edited by Songseven
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28 minutes ago, Songseven said:

i guess my point was leaning more toward what i may prioritize, tanks yes, deal damage they can, but lets not underestimate the low values.

My Fire Fire Blaster will blow the doors off any toon you got, unless you also have a fire fire blaster.  even then, against large spawns, i bet I could clean a few hundred faster.  

 

Tankers damage is not great.  However, with the AoE and other changes made to Tanks they are quite viable.  Remember some peiople prefer them for +4/x8 farming over Brutes.  Brutes deal decent damage, even after being nerfed 3 times and handed the worst Achetype Enhancer PROC in the game.  Like a toy whistle in a brass band.

 

I love Hyperbole.  But once we get into the "do you think I am stupid" range it starts to get up on my nerve.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Snarky said:

You are saying Tanks can't manage agro. That another AT would definitely be better.

 

For what it's worth, I'm not saying that tanks can't manage agro.  I'm saying that they can't manage agro any better than an AT with better damage.  Their primary powerset is defensive, that degree of defense is unnecessary in a post-IO world, and the only other thing I see mine bringing to the team these days is subpar damage, so I'm looking for ways to fulfill the role of a tank without playing the AT "Tank".

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4 hours ago, kryori said:

I'm curious to see what sorts of solutions people have come up with for handling multiple packs and which ATs work best for dealing with agro cap problems.

 

I'm returning after 5ish years, and it looks to me like the threat cap has been clamped way down on Homecoming.  This keeps a tank from holding threat on more than 16 targets, taunts or no taunts.  In an 8 player TF/SF this means it only takes one extra pack to have problems a tank can't solve with agro on the healer, on anyone who used a rain power, etc.

 

That makes my tanks feel about as useful as a brute or scrapper in most situations- if you're just there to get your face smashed by the EB/AV during the period where they can't be controlled, you don't need the overkill levels of defense and resistance that tanks trade damage for.

 

I'm not sure how best to handle this as an individual who wants to defuse alpha strikes and manage agro as a primary role in a team.  It seems like the best plan is to eschew something like a Invuln/SS Tank for a Spines/Fire Brute, because burning down all the minions gives you more space in your agro cap to actually tank the boss/lt mobs and occasional EBs.

 

Has anyone had success in keeping all the fire off the squishies?  What approach, and what AT, worked best for you?

I would suggest you look at Ice Armor. Chilling Embrace can let you "cheat" the aggro cap a bit, because the mobs in a 10' range a constantly being debuffed. Also, Icicles is constantly hitting mobs within 8' range. Both auras taunt on Brutes and Tanks. Even if you hit the aggro cap. Mobs are constantly being pulled back onto the list by the auras. If your primary has an aura that of course helps.

 

The last part is effected use of taunt. Use it to pull mobs off teammates or pull additional groups. Even if the mobs exceed the aggro cap. I think the -range still applies forcing the mobs into melee range.

 

My current preferred "tank" is my Staff/Ice Brute. Staff has a good AE combined with the Ice auras. Mobs stick to me like glue. Staff also has some nice secondary effects that provide nice benefits.

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If I'm tanking and taking on four or five groups, I usually tell the squishies to fall back and maybe focus on runners or wayward minions. If you stick close to me while squishy... I hope you're working on your debt badges. 

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49 minutes ago, Snarky said:

My Fire Fire Blaster will blow the doors off any toon you got, unless you also have a fire fire blaster.  even then, against large spawns, i bet I could clean a few hundred faster.  

 

huh..? you are willing to bet your fire/fire blaster will blow doors off any toon i gots...and you can clean a few hundred faster than what, a tank..?

 

49 minutes ago, Snarky said:

I love Hyperbole.  But once we get into the "do you think I am stupid" range it starts to get up on my nerve.

 

excuse me..?

 

 

having a little trouble understanding tbh Snark..

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2 minutes ago, Songseven said:

 

huh..? you are willing to bet your fire/fire blaster will blow doors off any toon i gots...and you can clean a few hundred faster than what, a tank..?

 

 

excuse me..?

 

 

having a little trouble understanding tbh Snark..

It's best to ignore them. 

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Farming blasters totally exist. Mine is Dual Pistols/ Devices optimized for Smashing Lethal which means optimized for most of the game. 

 

Though Corruptors can do it even better. 

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Songseven said:

 

huh..? you are willing to bet your fire/fire blaster will blow doors off any toon i gots...and you can clean a few hundred faster than what, a tank..?

 

 

excuse me..?

 

 

having a little trouble understanding tbh Snark..

reading is hard.  i know.  just keep trying.   

 

you missed the curve in the road where i said "unless you also have a fire fire blaster"

 

just keep working at it.  go slow.  never be ashamed to ask for help

Edited by Snarky
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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, Snarky said:

reading is hard.  i know.  just keep trying.   

 

you missed the curve in the road where i said "unless you also have a fire fire blaster"

 

just keep working at it.  go slow.  never be ashamed to ask for help

 

exactly how did i miss it, when i quoted you saying it..?

 

                                                                             a7l6s42h5.jpg.8d68c2e7b66850d5d69c3a79a6b9b21f.jpg

Edited by Songseven
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Snarky said:

You are saying Tanks can't manage agro. That another AT would definitely be better. So.  

Joker not sure if serious | Macro of Senator Leahy as himsel… | Flickr

 

 

I think what I'm reading is that ever since the nerf to Tankers, that Dark/Dark Brutes are now the premium Herders, but only if they run Oppressive Gloom and Cloak of Fear.

 

Edited by tidge
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