I’ve definitely noticed (not in combat, but when training mobs) that things will lose interest in chasing me, and go to the healer, even if he hasn’t healed me. Our healer keeps stacking more carnelians to try to stop this, so I can say this “bug” seems rational based on my observations.
In combat, however, I’ve never seen a healer pull aggro off of me once I’ve taken a bite. Definitely in large group situations the single taunt can’t always capture everything, and even when it does, I have 6 seconds to lock them in, so in a very crowded scenario it can be hard.
With the game mechanics of everything knocking me on my but constantly, and being body-blocked by mobs, it’s sometimes really hard to get to the back of a large pack.
- Blocking helps keep me on my feet.
- Circling help shuffle the piles of mobs around so they all get a bite on my shield (which generates threat by the way).
So the most challenging scenarios to hold threat are when I’m pinned in the corner, and can’t hit the mobs in back, and they can’t hit my shield. One of those two things has to happen to maintain aggro.
So I’m not going to say you have a “Bad tank” because it’s sometimes really hard to manage large groups. But I’ll drop some tips here to help out any tanks that are really struggling here.
Block = threat. You do not need to swing your sword to hold aggro, but they need to be hitting your shield. Their damage on your shield equals your threat (so you don’t need to stack STR and you can go 100% CON).
Block = Stay on your feet. No staggers or knockdowns while blocking, unless they get behind you. (this doesn’t stop stuns).
Block = backwards. The things will push you, but many of the things will back up from you, putting the DPS in front. I generally try to keep the fight moving ever so slightly backwards so the things don’t back up behind the DPS and put everyone out of position.
Taunts = 6s of attention. Its up to you to get a good bite, either with sword, or by making sure they hit you while blocking.
Offhand taunt = backup taunt. I like hatchet’s “berserk” taunt as a backup. And sometimes, as the primary. The cooldown is much faster, the range is great, and I get the added bonuses of berserk. (my healers let me “hatchet tank” in most cases, which is my preferred style).
Sword swing = forward movement. This pushing you into the thing, making them back up usually, and usually this means that puts your dps in front of the thing, and the DPS gets hit by the thing. Be careful with this.
Tight Circles for DPS. Have the DPS kite in tight circles around you if they have aggro, so you can pick it up with your sword. You can’t go chasing halfway around the map if you are already surrounded, you’ll end up staggered to death, and never catch them.
Reverse stab = taunt refresh. Large groups can be reverse-stabbed and if you hit 4 or more, you instantly refresh defiant stance. I’ve used “defiant stance -> reverse stab -> defiant stance -> reverse stab” with virtually no cooldown in between to maintain aggro on massive groups, even when there are too many for me to actively maintain shield block or sword attack threat on.
Shield bash = tertiary taunt. This is single target, so less useful, but I keep this on reserve in case I somehow lose aggro on something nasty, or something I havent picked up is being tight-circle-kited around me and needs to be picked up and I can’t afford to drop my shield for 3 light attacks.
3 light attacks
3 light attacks = threat . With the perk to add extra damage and threat on your third light attack.
Red border = aggro (I was 300 hours into tanking before I saw a video pointing this out, I had never noticed). The NPC health banner will turn red on the borders (instead of gold) when something is not on you. As a tank, you should never let anything be not red. Gold borders == failure. If the rest of the party sees red borders, they should kite around the tank in tight circles. Prior to me knowing this, I had obsessively scanned every single NPC to look where it was looking, and see if it was swinging at me, and compulsively switching targets “just to be sure”. Now I just relax and watch for gold.