Friday, October 2, 2009

The Basics of Tanking in CO

Tanking in Champions Online is very different from tanking in World of Warcraft. Most of this has to do with the way the designers made Champions less like the holy trinity (Tank, Healer, DPS), and made everyone random. However, a lot of it has to do with the unavailability of information on how threat works in this game.

The trick is not to compare it to World of Warcraft now, but to Vanilla World of Warcraft. Here are a few tips to keep you in charge of threat in this game.

Step 1: Heal Yourself
The threat caused by healing right now is through the roof. The best way to exploit that is to grab yourself a powerful heal and use it. I'm not saying you should always heal yourself, but start off the fight with some strong agro from a self heal like Bionic Shielding, Resurgence, or Psychic Healing. Don't rely on Mindful Reinforcement because it's heal doesn't generate threat (and it's getting fixed anyways).

Step 2: Use the Protector Role
I know it doesn't appear to do much, but the protector role can save your life. Besides, the biggest benefit is the phat energy you get from blocking. The threat boost is unknown, but it couldn't hurt, right?

Step 3: Use a Proper Defensive Slotted Power
Don't use Regeneration or Personal Force Field if you're tanking. Regen doesn't respond well to big hits and PFF folds in less than three seconds flat. Invulnerability, Lightning Reflexes, and even Defiance are suitable for tanking.

Step 4: Use your Challenging Strikes Power Liberally
Challenging Strikes is a 1 point advantage you can pick up for many AoE powers. It adds a flat amount of threat (determined by level, not by Presence as I once thought) to that attack every 5 seconds. This should be a power with decent damage, so you can keep using it even if the threat bonus is recharging.

Step 5: Use Crippling Challenge Sparingly
Crippling Challenge is a taunt ability with a 10 second recharge time. Use it if a big mob is pounding one of your guys, rather than leading with it. If you are on the last guy, you can weave it in for the damage mitigation, but saving another player is more important than making it easy on yourself.

Step 6: Become a Blocking Guru
Get a block power and rank it up. You will be spending probably half your time using this block, and the difference between no block and a rank 3 block is huge. Block specials, block when you're getting low on health/energy, and learn the hand movements of bosses for holds that don't show an icon over their head (I'm looking at you Poe).

Step 7: Be a Leader
This is the biggest part of tanking. Remind everyone that they need to wait for you to get threat, 10 seconds should work pretty well. Keep the pace of the instance. Heal yourself as much as possible to hold threat, but don't be afraid to heal others. Remind everyone that they have a block button, and should they pull threat they should hold it until the bad guy stops beating on them.

Things aren't going to be perfect, but if you do everything you can to survive and have your team waiting for two sunders (lol), you should do fine.

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