None can tank… All can tank!

Blasphemy!

With the addition of the final Heavy profession, the Guardian, I became increasingly curious about the mechanics behind threat for Guild Wars 2.  The MMOs that I have had the pleasure of tanking all use similar styles, but Arenanet has gone and thrown those styles out the window to make room for their own creativity.

Q: Is there any taunting mechanism, similarly to what other MMOs have? Will there be “tanks” in GW2?

Eric: No, there is no taunting mechanism. There will be “tanks” in the same way that there were tanks in Guild Wars. That is to say, a tank in Guild Wars 2 is a character that can take a lot of damage and has some way to protect allies. A warrior fits that description since he has high health, heavy armor, and several defensive skills that can protect allies from harm.

This is from a Q&A session back in June (of 2010 if you hadn’t guessed).  Translation: having lots of health and thick armor will be an incentive for you to get in there and soak up the damage for the rest of your team.  This leads me to ponder about other professions.  What about characters that have very low health?  Or those that wear leather and cloth?

Tanks will be in the game, but not in the ways we’ve previously experienced. I did some research on Guild Wars tanking (since I have practically zero Guild Wars experience) and came to this conclusion:  Most, if not all, classes will be able to tank to varying degrees if they come prepared and know how to handle/adapt to the situation. Players familiar with and privy to traditional styles of tanking will gravitate towards the Warrior.

[patrickvp] Can you talk about the agro mechanic? Is it DPS based, armor based, random, or something else?
[IsaiahCartwright] Currently its a combination of DPS, Positional, and a bunch of other factors. Currently how close you are to the enemy is the biggest factor.

Another quote from a Q&A session held by GW2Guru.  I underlined the mystery bits to elicit your own speculative wonder.

The forums at GuildWars2Guru have had several discussions/debates on the subject of tanking.  By most accounts players feel that positioning and conditions (or control) will be the main factors that influence threat.  Conditions include (GW2Wiki):

There is much more to this style of tanking than previously expected.  Compared to traditional methods, which are becoming bland and repetitious, the GW2 “tank” (or GW 2ank, “twank”?… I am still working on it) brings a new level of complexity to player-mob interaction.

The abilities available to the Guardian allow for a unique and versatile class.  Using spirit weapons to stun or quickly aid in dispatching an enemy.  Marking areas with symbols to boost your allies or hinder your foe.  Setting up wards to stop your pursuers in their tracks and bolster your teams defenses.  Blessing your companions with an Aegis that will block the coming blow.  These are but a taste of what the Guardian is capable of.  Though, a player who isn’t aware of his surroundings can be overtaken with a few well placed attacks.

One of the main differences between all our professions are their base stats.The guardian has way less health than a warrior, but he has a fast hit point regeneration. So deciding when to grant the “Resolve” virtue to your allies becomes a very tactical decision.

You need to take hitpoints into account, not just armour – The guardian actually dies way faster than a warrior if played the wrong way.

These are snippets from a thread Martin Kerstein (German Community Manager) participated in shortly after the unveiling of the Guardian.  Even though the Guardian is a Heavy profession it is noted to have weaknesses.  Tanking as a Guardian would involve strategic hit and run tactics in order to persevere.  Honestly, I’m not sure how I would play a Guardian at this given moment.  There is still more to be detailed.  We’ll probably see something this year at PAX and other expos.

The Guardian design has great appeal and I anticipate mastering the profession… and getting my butt handed to me by mob and player alike in the process.

– Thrangis
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  1. Blog Carnival | Professions Then and Now | Guild Wars 2 Editorials, Magazine, Media & Podcast | GuildMag

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