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MMORPG's have traditionally used a system of mob AI called Aggro in which a mob will preferentially attack player characters which perform certain actions, primarily that of dealing damage to the mob but later expanded to things like healing friendly characters. This was a simple AI which fit the constraints of early computer processor cycles while producing mob behavior which was better than the most primitive system of just attacking the nearest target or most recent attacker. Such simplistic AI would have allowed trivially easy control of what character a mob attacked making for dull and unchallenging PvE.

Under aggro systems Tanking classes were given special skills which move them up the mob priority list despite a low damage output from the Tank. In essence they break the otherwise effective AI of a mob and force it into inefficiently attacking the character most resistant to that attack. So long as mobs are balanced around this mechanic the gameplay is reasonably compelling mix of puzzle, timing and teamwork and it makes the Tanks role of being a meat-shield far more skillful and enjoyable then it would otherwise be if it was completely passive.

The problem is that these whole dynamic collapses when the opponent is not an AI but instead another player with full awareness of how the game works and full freedom to attack whomever they wish. And yet Tanking IS a viable class in most PvP games because Tanks are built differently in such games so as to make opposing players either rationally choose to attack the tank rather than another target or allow the Tank to create situations in which opponents have no other option but to attack them thus expending offensive potential inefficiently.

AoC would be far better off replicating Tank design from PvP games such as Overwatch and LoL and pairing them with mob AI's that seek to replicate the rational choices that a human would make in combat that cause them to attack Tanks. This will allow Tank gameplay to be consistent from PvE to PvP.

Well established PvP Tank mechanics include targeted pull effects, silence or other enemy DPS reductions, 'vaulting' into the middle of enemy groupings, increased damage potential when surrounded, projectile shields and movement barriers.

Some new methods which might be explored would be 'blinding' type effects on opponents which allow only nearby characters to be seen and attacked. An effect which leashes a melee opponent to remain within a short distance of the Tank. A damage redirection from nearby allies towards the Tank. I'm sure other skills can be created which provide control of enemy damage which would be effective on both players and AI.
4 months ago - Vaknar - Direct link
I appreciate the post!

This is certainly a topic that has come up before and we know it is important! :)

We want to make the Tank Archetype and Tank Classes feel impactful and fun to play in both PvE and PvP. We're excited to show off more of the Tank kit, and the Tank in PvP action as soon as it's ready! ^_^

For the time being, seeing your thoughts and opinions on this subject certainly helps the team! ;)

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