The role of the tank is relatively straightforward: find the most dangerous enemies in the area and look as delicious to them as possible. The idea is to keep the heat off your squishy friends while they do their nerdy wizard stuff. It sounds as though that’s going to be harder to do in Battle for Azeroth because it’s changing the way tanks amass threat.
Enemies in World of Warcraft all have a threat table, which ranks characters in a party based on their attacks. Usually, enemies will attack whoever is at the top of the list, and tanks get bonuses to their threat generation that helps make that job a bit easier. In Legion-era WoW, a tank’s threat was ten times their damage per second. Certain items and abilities can shoot that number up even higher, up to 20 times their DPS.
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In Battle for Azeroth, however, baseline threat generation for tanks has been reduced to four times their DPS. That’s a significant cut, and it’s going to take more work for tanks to keep additional enemies off their allies during boss fights.
For tanks, this is going to lead to a lot more running around and being smart about using taunts and other threat-increasing abilities. For everyone else, it’s going to mean keeping a much closer eye on secondary mobs, especially during tougher boss battles.
There’s a concise breakdown of the numbers available over at Wowhead if you’re interested in the specifics of the change.
Battle for Azeroth is currently in beta and is set to launch on August 14th.