SWTOR Tanking Primer Guide



Star Wars The Old Republic Tanking Primer Guide by Gankstah

While not exclusively for the Tanking community this thread is specifically modeled for the tanking community in mind.

This is NOT a Tanking guide. I’m not here to tell you how to do your job as a Tank. This is NOT an itemization guide. I’m not here to tell you how to gear your Tank. I’m here to give you information in order for you to make educated decisions on your own. Likewise, my goal is not to fill your head with “X” class is the best Tank. My goal is to accumulate factual information for the Tanking community as well as a list of FAQ’s which I observe posed by the community all in one nice, tidy and easy to find place.

If you discover any information within that is inaccurate please feel free to PM me with said inaccuracy (because I might miss your post) and it will be fixed, crediting you, ASAP. This thread will be heavily monitored by myself and I encourage others to do the same. Discussion and freeform thought is always encouraged. Berating one another for differing opinions is not.

________________INDEX
________________

LEXICON
SKILL TREE CALCULATORS
GAME CALCULATIONS
PRIMARY STATS
DAMAGE TYPES
ROLLING “TO HIT”?
BASELINE DR/SHIELD/AVOIDANCE
MEAN MITIGATION
MODS FOR TANKS
CRIT IMMUNITY THEORY
PLOTTING ROTATIONS
THREAT THEORY
FLASHPOINT STRATEGIES
OPERATION STRATEGIES
FAQS
AUTHOR’S NOTE

LEXICON

DR = Damage Resistance: This is the % that incoming damage is reduced by. If your DR is 50% and you are hit by a 100 dmg blast you only suffer 50 points of dmg.

DFR = Defense Rating: This is a stat found on tanking armor and directly affects your Parry/Deflection on a 10:1 scale. That is to say, for every 10 points of DFR you gain 1% Parry/Deflection.

Avoidance: Avoidance is the negation of all damage from an individual attack via in game mechanics such as Parrying or Deflection.

SKILL TREE CALCULATORS

Popular calculators are Torhead and DarthHater.

GAME CALCULATIONS

  • Armor Damage Reduction = AR/AR+(200*Level+800)
  • Deflection/Parry = (5% Base Chance) + 30*(1-(1-(0.01/0.3))^((DFR/Level)/0.55))
  • Shield Absorb = (GeneratorBonus) + 50*(1-(1-(0.01/0.5))^((AbsorbRating/Lvl)/0.18))
  • Shield Chance = (GeneratorBonus) + 50*(1-(1-(0.01/0.5))^((GlanceRating/Lvl)/0.32))
  • Accuracy = (90% Base Chance) + 30*(1-(1-(0.01/0.3))^((AccuracyRating/Lvl)/0.55))

– Credit for the above calculations goes to LagunaD over at SithWarrior. To see a more extensive list of calculations head on over there or see this thread authored by Freehugs.
– Thanks to JDee and Freehugs for helping to maintain accuracy.
– You can also find a spreadsheet at SithWarrior which helps to automate the process; Credit to Sujin for taking the time to create and maintain this contribution to the community.

PRIMARY STATS

Primary stats are assigned by your core class. Str = SW/JK, Aim = BH/TR, Cunning = IA/SM and Will = SI/JC.

  • Crit% from Stats: 5+30*(1-(1-(0.01/0.3))^((Stat/Lvl)/2.5))
  • All Primary Stats yield +0.2 bonus damage per point

DAMAGE TYPES

There are four damage types in TOR: Kinetic, Energy, Internal and Elemental. There are three important things to note about damage types:

  • Force powers and Tech powers, unless otherwise listed, are considered Kinetic damage.
  • Armor increases DR to Kinetic and Energy damage only.
  • Some skills and abilities increase specific types of damage (i.e. Dark Blood in the Immortal tree).

What does this mean? This means that certain trees will have a DPS advantage vs. tanks. Trees with a high yield of Elemental and Internal damage which bypasses our high armor rating. Examples would be Lethality for Agents (Elemental), Madness for SI’s (Internal) and Advanced Prototypes for BH’s (combination of both).

ROLLING “TO HIT”?

The way TOR works when it comes to “rolling to hit” is that there are two rolls. The first roll is to determine whether or not any given attack is defended via your defense stat. In other words, if it misses. If the attack isn’t defended then a second roll is made to determine whether or not the attack is a crit, a shielded hit or a normal hit.

The “flow” of how this system works results in a crit never being shielded and a vice versa. As your Shield Chance and the Crit Chance of the attacker rises the odds of a normal hit landing is reduced until it is pushed off of the table. When the odds of a normal hit landing reach zero it becomes a push/pull struggle between Shield vs. Crit on the results of any given landed attack and Crit is the high man on the totem pole.

To illustrate this visually use the following examples:

Code:
Example 1
Roll #1 Roll #2
Avoidance   20%                   Crit    20%
Hit              80%    --->>   Shield    50%
                                            Hit     30%
Code:
Example 2
Roll #1 Roll #2
Avoidance   25%                   Crit    30%
Hit              75%    --->>   Shield    70%
                                            Hit      0%
Code:
Example 3
Roll #1 Roll #2
Avoidance   30%                   Crit    35%
Hit              70%    --->>   Shield    65%
                                            Hit      0%

Understanding this concept is essential to understanding your Crit Immunity as described in the section Crit Immunity Theory.

BASELINE DR/SHIELD/AVOIDANCE CALCULATIONS

Before reading further it’s IMPORTANT to note the following:

  • For the sake of my sanity I’m only listing the Imperial side of the 3 archetypes. Since they are direct mirrors of their Republican counterparts the math is exactly the same. You’ll just have to swap out class/skill names yourself. If you want Republican lexicon do the damn math yourself you Republican DOGS!
  • I cannot stress enough that these numbers are SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Two months ago these numbers were very different than they are today. I want you to remember that before going ape **** on the forums, “ZOMG SW IS SO OP!” blah-blah-blah. What we see today may not be what we see tomorrow.
  • I’m putting this here for information comparison purposes only. This is in no way indicative of a “X” class is better than “Y” class. The following numbers are only one part of a very large picture. Many abilities (particularly high CD abilities) are not factored in for a reason. There’s a lot that goes into making a tanking class and DR/Shield/Avoidance is just one part.
  • The provided calculations all assume Level 50 Premium armor values. The BAV (Base Armor Value) is representative of a full suit of each armor class (i.e. Heavy and Light).
Code:
Modified Armor Value (MAV)

SI: (BAV Light 1909)*(Stance 2.5) or 1909*2.5 = 4772.5*(Eye of the Storm 20%) or 1.2*4772.5 = 5727

SW: (BAV Heavy 3601)*(Stance 1.6) or 3601*1.6 = 5761.6

BH: (BAV Heavy 3601)*(Stance 1.6) or 3601*1.6 = 5761.6*(Rebraced Armor +16%) or 5761.6*1.16 = 6683.5Note: Armor bonuses are multiplicative exceptions to TOR's mountains of additive calcs.  Now, we plug our MAV into our DR calculation (found in the Game Calculations section) to come up with our Base Armor DR (BADR):

Base Armor DR (BADR): SI = 34.65% | SW = 34.78% | BH = 38.22%Modified Base Armor DR 

TOR handles passive skill bonuses additively and NOT multiplicatively so let's plug in current DR passive skills:

SI: (BADR 34.65%) + (Sith Defiance 2%) = 36.65% 

SW: (BADR 34.78%) + (Stance 6%) = 40.78%

BH: (BADR 38.22%) + (Stance 5%) + (Ion Shield 2%) + (Power Armor 2%) = 47.22%Resistance: Elemental/Internal DR

As mentioned earlier in this thread, Elemental/Internal DR does NOT factor in Armor.  So after subtracting Armor and adding passive Elemental/Internal bonuses we get the following:

SI: (Sith Defiance 2%) + (Charge Mastery 9%) = 11%

SW: (Stance 6%) + (Dark Blood 4%) = 10%

BH: (Stance 5%) + (Ion Shield 2%) + (Power Armor 2%) = 9%Situational Modifiers

These are situational modifiers from abilities that directly affect DR.  I mention these separately because the effects are longer than the CD so they can be applied constantly but are situational as not ALL targets on the board will be under their influence at ALL times.

SI: (Wither 5%)
SW: (Sonic Barrier Value Unknown)
BH: (Combust 4%)Shield Chance

For the purposes of simplicity we are going to assume a GlanceRating of 0.

SI: (Shield Base 5%) + (Stance 15%) + (Dark Ward 15%) = 35%

SW: (Shield Base 5%) + (Stance 15%) + (Shield Specialization 4%)  = 24%

BH: (Premium Shield Base 5%) + (Stance 15%) + (Shield Vents 2% + Empowered Tech 10%) = 32%Shield Absorption

For purposes of simplicity we are going to assume a AbsorptionRating of 0.

SI: (Premium Shield Base 20%) + (Hollow 4%) = 24%

SW: (Premium Shield Base 20%) = 20%

BH: (Premium Shield Base 20%) + (Ablative Upgrades 6%) = 26%Avoidance: Ranged Deflection & Melee Parry

For purposes of simplicity we are going to assume a DFR of 0.

SI: (Base 10%) + (Premonition 2%) + (Lightning Reflexes 4%) = 16% or 21% w/Discharge

SW: (Base 5%) + (Guard Stance 6%) + (Blade Barricade 6%) = 17% or 22% w/Smash

BH: (Base 5%) = 5%

– Thanks to Xalkyrie, Talyn_Rahl and MercArcher for help in maintaining accuracy.
– Thanks to Astares for clearing up DFR/Lexicon issues.

MEAN MITIGATION

First off, what is Mean Mitigation?

Mean Mitigation is the average mitigation you have after factoring DR, Avoidance and Shield Chance/Absorption. This gives you the average (or mean) mitigation you have. To find your Mean Mitigation use the following process:

Code:
A=Avoidance <Not Decimal
B=Shield Chance
C=Shield Absorption
D=MBADR

((((100-A)*B)*(1-C))*(1-D)) + (((100-A)-((100-A)*B))*(1-D)) = T

100-T= Mean Mitigation

Example:Sith Inquisitor Assassin

A= 16 <Not Decimal
B= .35
C= .24
D= .3665

((((100-16)*.35)*(1-.24))*(1-.3665)) + (((100-16)-((100-16)*.35))*(1-.3665)) = 48.74

100-48.74 = 51.26% Mean Mitigation

I’m sure people are curious so here are the other two Mean Mitigations: SW 53.21% and BH 54.03%. We aren’t factoring in in-depth processing of Resistance or Criticals. This is only a generalization OR average. Specific parsings will yield +/- results. So please don’t come back here saying, “You’re wrong! I parsed at 84% against boss such-and-such!” before thoroughly understanding the definition of average/mean.

If any math wizards out there want to figure out how to simplify ^that^ or make it more accurate than be my guest. Heh, I’m no math pro. I know enough to figure some things out but beyond the easy stuff I just walk away. Anyway, just let me know what you come up with and I’ll be sure to have you credited for your hard work.

Mean Mitigation w/ Crit% Factor

The following is a Mean Mitigation calc submitted by Baltazarr which takes into consideration your target’s Crit%. He was also kind enough to provide a chart illustrating mitigation change with Crit% variance.

Code:
A= Avoidance  <B= Shield Chance
C= Shield Absorption
D= MBADR
X= Mob's crit chance (so if mob has a 48% chance of critting then X= 0.48)

(1-A)*(B*100*(1-C)*(1-D)+(1-B)*(X*150*(1-D)+(1-X)*100*(1-D))) = T

100-T= Mean Mitigation%

Example:Sith Inquisitor Assassin

A= .16 <B= .35
C= .24
D= .3665
X= .25

(1-.16)*(.35*100*(1-.24)*(1-.3665)+(1-.35)*(.25*150*(1-.3665)+(1-.25)*100*(1-.3665))) = 53.07

100-53.07= 46.93% Mean Mitigation

MODS FOR TANKS

For purposes of this discussion in order to prevent confusion we will group mods into two separate categories. Standard Mods and Modulators. Standard Mods are found on most sets of armor. Modulators are mods that have slots on critical success armor pieces and some high level looted armor.

The way standard mods work in regards to defensive stats, currently, is pretty simple.

  1. Currently the highest defensive stat that a mod can yield is +41.
  2. Only one defensive stat may be present on any given mod.
  3. There are two types of standard mods capable of yielding a defensive stat. They are Overlay and Support.
  4. There are five pieces of Armor that can hold Overlay and Support. They are Chest, Legs, Feet, Hands and Head.

This means there is an available pool of 410 defensive stat points that can be assigned via standard mods in TOR at this time. Bear in mind that you can’t just assign them in any fashion that you want. They have to be in 41 point increments. And only if you have the very best mods you can possibly find.

So, to give you an idea of how these stats may be distributed we’ll create a simple chart illustrating what a level 50 character will yield with any given mod combination (MOD = # of 41 point mods assigned, DFR=DefenseRating%, SHC = GlanceChance% and ABS = AbsorptionChance%):

Code:
MOD#      DFR%      ABS%      SHC%

1             1.48         4.4           2.52
2             2.88         8.41         4.92
3             4.22         12.06       7.19
4             5.9           15.4         9.35
5             6.7           18.44       11.4
6             7.85         22.22       13.35
7             8.94         23.75       15.2
8             9.98         26.06       16.96
9             10.96       28.16       18.62
10           11.9         30.08       20.21

Remember that you can never have more than 10 defense affecting standard mods at any given time. So make sure to remember that your total standard mods may never exceed 10. For example: 5 DFR mods, 3 SHC mods and 2 ABS mods equipped on my armor will yield +6.7% Avoidance, +7.19% Shield Chance and +8.41% Absorption respectively. This is not an entirely accurate depiction of possible totals and is intended solely as a “guesstimate” chart for you to eyeball and see approximately where in the neighborhood of defensive totals you might be with any theoretical build.

These totals are additive to previous totals calculated earlier in this thread (see Baseline DFR/Shield/Avoidance).

The second group of mods we want to talk about are Modulators. Modulators can be found on crafted critical success gear as well as some high level looted gear. The way Modulators are handled is as follows.

  • Currently the highest stat a Modulator can yield is +34.
  • Modulators can be equipped to Chest, Legs, Feet, Hands, Head, Wrist, Waist and Shield Generators.

This gives you a total of 272 points to assign to any given stat in 34 point increments. For example, if you wanted to assign 7 Modulator slots strictly to Accuracy then that would yield a 7.63% bonus to Accuracy netting you a total sum of 97.63% Accuracy. Just under 3% shy of TOR’s statistical cap.

Due to the fact Modulators yield a lower stat total than that of standard mods and the inherent nature of diminishing returns with in game calcs there’s no easy way to just plug them into the above chart. At least, not on a forum. You will have to add the total assigned modulator sum to the total assigned standard mod sum to come up with your net stat sum.

For example,

2 Overlays (82 points) + 3 Supports (123 points) + 5 Modulators (170 points) = 375 pointsThen plug that sum into one of the calculations you can find in the Game Calculations section and voila! You have your bonus % to that stat.

– Thanks to Vilda for helping to maintain accuracy.

CRIT IMMUNITY THEORY

Crit Immunity is the premise that at some point, you will eventually hit a level of defensive capability as to be immune to critical hits. In some games this is represented as an actual in game stat. Ex: Toughness in Rift. TOR doesn’t have this kind of deliberate stat mechanic. At least, not to my knowledge.

As described in the Rolling “To Hit”? section any avoided attack cannot land ergo it cannot crit. Any shielded attack is, likewise, incapable of a crit. But we simply can’t add one percentage with another and say, “Voila! We have our crit immunity!” We have to account for Crit Chance and Accuracy.

What we know for certain is you cannot attain an Accuracy Rating higher than 100%. So in order to determine a true Crit Immunity we have to assume an Accuracy value of 100%. So, assuming that Accuracy and Avoidance are directly related, that is to say it’s as simple as subtracting Avoidance from Accuracy, then the following is true:

  • Accuracy – (A)voidance = Hit%
  • Hit% * (C)rit Chance = Odds of being crit
  • 100-Odds of getting crit = Crit Immunity %

Or

100-((1-A)*C)= Crit Immunity %Put simply “Crit Immunity” is basically the odds of any given attack both landing and critting. Using the examples given in the section Rolling “to hit”? we come up with the following Crit Immunity results:

Example 1 = 100-((1-0.2)*20) = 16 or 84% Crit Immunity
Example 2 = 100-((1-0.25)*30) = 22.5 or 77.5% Crit Immunity
Example 3 = 100-((1-0.30)*35) = 24.5 or 75.5% Crit Immunity Rapha_Ehyeh was kind enough to whip up a spread sheet illustrating various Crit Immunity plots for readers to eyeball in order to get a better understanding of how this theory functions. It’s a work in progress so any questions regarding this utility should be directed to him.

PLOTTING ROTATIONS

In theorycrafting on forums you’ll normally find all sorts of different styles of Rotation Plotting. What is Rotation Plotting? Rotation Plotting is basically planning out what abilities you are going to use in a series of GCDs before you actually use them. Essentially it’s a list. You’ll see theorycrafters doing this a lot because they like to squeeze every ounce of resource management out of every second of combat that they can.

Simply put, it’s all about efficiency.

It’s always good to have a series of rotations in mind when you’re playing. Spamming your abilities all willy nilly without any sense of organization leads to empty resource pools and, if you’re tanking, loss of aggro. For instance, when AoE tanking you don’t normally want to go more than 2 GCD’s without doing some AoE aggro damage. When you’re DPS’ing you don’t want to run out of resources just to be sitting there looking at the rest of your group like, “Ok, I’ll just sit here and wait for my Bounty Hunter to stop over heating, good luck guys!”

So, to get the most bang for your buck, rotations are plotted for different situations. You’ll have rotations for AoE aggro, single target aggro, opening rotations, sustainment rotations, rotations for PvP against specific classes etc. etc. The possibilities are numerous. Here is what a typical opening rotation plot would look like:

  • Enrage/6>Charge/8>Smash/5>Scream/6>Sunder/7>Crushing Blow/3>Backhand/3

Now, you’re probably looking at that, especially if you’re not a theorycrafter, and wondering to yourself, “Kaaaay…?” It’s actually really simple once you understand the key ingredients or what we call, “markers”. One marker is very obivious: “>” clearly means “Next” but it also indicates something important: A GCD lapse. GCD, if you don’t know, means Global Cool Down. What that means is the span of time that you’re locked out of doing anything after you fire off an ability. Some exceptions do apply but we won’t talk about that right now.

In TOR the GCD is 1.5 seconds. That means that if you fire off Smash you have to wait 1.5 seconds before you can fire off another ability.

The next marker is “/#” where “#”= a given number. That number is typically what your resource total is. So if you’re a Sith Warrior then “/4” means that at that time you have a total of 4 rage sitting in your pool. Now when you see “/#” that means that is your resource total AFTER the ability that it is listed with gets fired off. For instance, using the above example, “Enrage/6” means I have 6 Rage in my pool AFTER Enrage was fired off.

Finally, and this one is a less common occurrence but is usually inserted as a courtesy, you have “__” which indicates a GCD where Resource gain has occurred AUTOMATICALLY. For instance, again using the above example, Sith Warriors gain 1Rage every 6 seconds in Soresu Form (or 3 seconds if you spec for it). This is automatic and independent of any Rage they might gain from Rage building abilities. Again, this isn’t AS common but it is common enough that you will see it from time to time. Mostly because people will be asking, “Hey yo maff dont add up yous gots too much rages yo!” Using “__” saves you the headache of having to explain why the numbers are what they are every time you post a rotation.

SO! Given our above rotation you can see:

First, he fires off Enrage netting him 6 rage. This happens before combat has started. He then Force Charges bringing his total up to 8 and starting combat. He Smashes bringing his total to 5. The next GCD generates 1 Rage bringing his total to 6 Rage and he uses Scream. Now the total doesn’t change here. Why? Probably because he has Battle Cry so Scream is free. Next he Sunder’s bringing his total to 7. Why only 7 and not 8? Again, he’s probably using Soresu Form (so one less Rage Gen) and he probably doesn’t have Enraged Sunder. His next GCD he uses Crushing Blow bringing his total Rage to 3 and closes the rotation with Backhand netting him 3 Rage. Finally, the closing GCD was a Rage Generating GCD so he generated 1 rage but he probably has Backhand spec’d so it only costs 1 Rage.

As you can see that’s a lot of “What if’s?” to account for. Which is why it’s customary to post a build with a rotation OR if the topic of the thread is a specific build then any rotations posted without build links are automatically considered to be applicable to the OP build. It’s not a perfect system and usually each board has it’s own idiosyncratic tendencies but in general these are the three most common markers you’ll see in Rotation Plotting.

THREAT THEORY

For purposes of this discussion, Threat is the value in which any given action provokes a mob into attacking, Aggro is the state in which you acquire hostility from a mob and it begins attacking you. What we know about threat:

  1. We know that all damage has a threat rating of 1.
  2. We know that all healing has a threat rating of 0.5.
  3. We know that all abilities listed as “does additional threat” have a threat increase of 0.5.
  4. We know that tank stances increase all threat ratings by 0.5.
  5. We know that in order for aggro to change targets from melee range, the aggressors threat pool has to be trumped by a rating of 1.1.
  6. We know that in order for aggro to change targets from range, the aggressors threat pool has to be trumped by a rating of 1.3.

Now that we have laid out what we know let’s take a look at what we don’t know.

The first thing that immediately springs to mind is how Factor C and Factor D react to one another. That is to say, is threat modification additive or multiplicative? This question results in three wholly different sums. If it’s simply additive (0.5+0.5) then we get a threat rating of 2. If it’s multiplicative based on threat increase BEFORE stance modification (0.5+(0.5*0.5)) then we get a threat rating of 1.75. If it’s multiplicative based on threat increase AFTER stance modification (1.5*1.5) then we get a threat rating of 2.25.

The next thing to consider is the function of Factors E & F. If the hypothesis is correct then this is both a blessing and a curse. It means established aggro will be harder to lose but it also means that aggro lost will be harder to reacquire. What these factors do is create more realism and less “ping pong” effect when aggro is being lost/gained like you might have experienced in other MMOs. When you lose aggro, you’re going to have to work to establish it again. What this means is targets that are pulling aggro from the Tank have to completely dump their rotations (probably for 3 or 4 GCDs) in order for the Tank to create a large enough deficit that you do not threaten to pull aggro again. What this also means is that Taunt is a more precious commodity than previously understood.

Another factor that is unknown at this time is how exactly threat is distributed to other non-primary targets on the board. Other MMOs (such as Rift and WoW) for instance split threat generated by healing evenly among all targets. So if you have 5 targets and you heal for 2000 you generate 1000 hate which is then divided up 5 ways amongst the targets for 200 threat per target. Whether or not TOR behaves this way is unclear.

Yet another factor which is unknown is whether or not taunt mechanics generate a threat value. We know that they force affected targets to attack the caster for 6 seconds but it is unknown whether these mechanics hold actual threat values themselves.

– Thanks goes to Freehugs for his input on this topic.

FLASHPOINT STRATEGIES

Warning: The following section contains linked content containing spoilers. If you do not wish to have content spoiled for you do not follow the links provided.

The Esseles: Early GameRepublic

“When a Republic transport secretly carrying a high-profile passenger is attacked by Imperials, your team must defend the ship and eventually must decide the passenger’s fate.”Guide 1

The Black Talon: Early GameEmpire

“The captain of an Imperial transport refuses official orders to intercept a Republic transport, and your team must seize control of the transport and carry out the mission. Will you kill or spare the captain?”Guide 1a
Guide 1b
Guide 2

Athiss: Early GameEmpire
Guide 1

Hammer Station: Mid GameBoth

“The expansionist Advozsec have recovered the Hammer Station, a powerful weapon developed by the Republic but lost during the Great War. Your team must stop the Advozsec before they can activate the Hammer Station and become a threat to both Republic and Empire alike.”Guide 1

Taral V: Mid GameRepublic

“Imperials are holding a Jedi prisoner who is critical to the Republic war effort. Your team must travel deep into enemy territory to recover the key to liberating this Republic hero.”
Boarding Party: Mid GameEmpire

“When a high-level Republic prisoner escapes from an Imperial prison, your team must track down the target and prevent an audacious attack to destroy the Sith Empire.”Guide 1

The Streets of Cademimu: Mid GameEmpire
Guide 1

Mandalorian Raiders: Mid GameEmpire
Guide 1

Directive 7: End GameBoth

“Mutinous droids on a remote moon develop a technology that could lead to massive destruction for both the Republic and the Empire. Your team must shut down the rebellion before it’s too late.”Guide 1a
Guide 1b

OPERATION STRATEGIES

Warning: The following section contains linked content containing spoilers. If you do not wish to have content spoiled for you do not follow the links provided.

Eternity Vault: End GameBoth
Guide 1a
Guide 1b
Guide 1c
Guide 1d

Hutt Hospitality: End GameBoth
Guide 1

FAQS

Can I tank with any build?

Yes, and no.

You CAN tank with most builds but the builds with a predisposition to tanking will obviously be those builds which contain heavy amounts of skill points invested in their respective tanking trees. It’s been made abundantly clear by BioWare that “hybrids” aren’t intended to be optimal.

The primary difference between the three archetypes is essentially, “Can I garbage tank?” What that means is can I tank without ANY points invested in the tanking tree? The answer is two archetypes can: SW/JK and BH/TRP. Allow me to clarify. Say you and your two buddies are waiting for a tank. You are a JK they are both SMG’s. Instead of hanging around waiting for a tank you can switch to tank stance and still function as a tank without any points invested in your respective tank tree.

Will you do well? You’ll do ok. Could you tank a raid? Proooobably not. I mean…maybe? LOL you could try! It wouldn’t be pretty but you could give it a try. The third archetype, SI/JC, doesn’t have this luxury. A consular wouldn’t be able to “switch to tank stance” and just wing it. That isn’t going to happen. Not at this point in time. There are too many absolutely vital abilities that tanks NEED in order to function that SI/JC’s just aren’t afforded by default but instead have to invest in their tank tree in order to acquire.

To put it simply: SW/JK’s and BH/TRP’s are tanks with DPS trees. SI/JC’s are DPS’ers with tank trees. ALL of them can tank equally well provided they are all equally invested in their respective tank trees. But with zero investment in tanking trees SW/JK’s and BH/TRP’s will actually be able to function (albeit not so well) as tanks whereas SI/JC’s could not.

Why am I mentioning this? Because until dual spec’ing is allowed this might be a deciding factor for the reader. Once dual spec’ing is implemented this point becomes moot as most people will have a Tank spec and a DPS spec. Until then… food for thought.

What is the difference in resource managment between the three Tanking archetypes?

“Rage/focus has the advantage of being very much on demand with good sustainability. You always have what you need when you need it for the entire fight (because you make it as you need it, or as you will need it, at the cost of being heavily back loaded or having a slower start.

Heat/ammo is front loaded and has good sustainability with having fairly reliable relatively ‘fast’ regen at the cost of having little room for spike loads in demand. This is because heat works on a tiered regeneration system where your regen is better when you have less heat to dissipate (or more ammo in the cartridge for Troopers). You could use your resources at a fairly reliable rate but you always have a very hard ceiling, where by if you fell behind on your regen you were reliant on a CD to get back into the comfort zone.

Force has the best front load but at the cost of being inherently more finite of a resource due to it’s relatively slower regeneration. Once it is gone you would get stuck into a low maintenance routine to sustain yourself. However, you have a nice big cushion generated by a big front load so it’s not as bad as it sounds.”
~ Fraserl

Is there an Anti-Crit/Crit Immunity stat like Toughness in Rift?

There’s no actual stat dedicated to reducing crit chance in TOR. There is only one way for you to actively lower the odds of being crit: increasing your Avoidance rating. For a more detailed explanation see Crit Immunity Theory

Is Tanking hard?

I ran across this post by Dobbel a few years ago and it’s always stuck with me. Albeit I would change the thought process around.

DPS is fun, Healing is a responsibility and Tanking is work.

The reasoning behind my opinion is that no other role has to learn how to “fight” against his own group. That is to say, Tanking can either be easy or it can be hard and your group decides which one it’s going to be. More often than not it’s DPS who decides this. Pulling aggro from the Tank because they’re not focusing the correct target, not paying attention to where they’re standing and pulling adds are some of the more common blunders you will see. And when these happen, who’s job is it to keep the group from wiping? That’s right.

It’s your job.

You’re the one who has to correct that guys mistake or your whole team is going to have to start over. Of course this has a trickle down effect on your Healer as well. Now he has to stress over the Tank taking more damage then he would have normally. Do I heal that fool that pulled aggro? Hell no. He dies. I don’t have the time to be splitting my attention between keeping him alive and keeping the Tank up. If I can rez him later, I will.

The Tanks “work” is most especially profound when in PUGs. Because you never know what you’re gonna get with a PUG. It can either be really easy or it can be infuriatingly hard. Most experienced healers, you’ll spot them, they’ll be following you almost exclusively and staying in the back. They don’t talk much. They’re focusing on those health bars and getting ready to start rotations. The DPS though… zomg the DPS… they’re jumping all over the place, dancing like it’s a disco, jumping the gun on your opening rotation hoping to squeeze some more deeps out of their damage meters.

It… never… ends.

So, yes. Tanking is work, or it can be, if your group makes it that way. And always remember to thank your healers. Healing is a thankless job. Mostly because if you’re a good healer your efforts aren’t noticed by DPS. Tanks know better. Tanks have to pay attention to their health bars in order to get a sense if the Healer is going to lapse. This way the Tank knows if he has to pop a CD in order to compensate for this lapse. It’s understandable if DPS doesn’t say, “Good job” to the healer. But you, the Tank, you know better.

AUTHOR’S NOTE

I hold no claim to fame other than being able to solve a Rubix Cube in under a minute. Which isn’t even good compared to others out there. = ) I’m not a genius. Hell, I’m not even good at math.

I am however a man of principle. I encourage the free expression and transfer of information and ideas. As such any and all information within this work belongs to no “one man”. It is the collective work of many people. Most of it is mine. Some of it is not. What work is mine could not have been accomplished without the way being paved by brighter minds than my own.

As such this work is the property of the community as a whole. I neither require nor expect credit or citation for any information found within. Do with it what you will. I ask only that you do it with grace. Information is the right of all mankind. Do not lord it over those who do not have it.

Share it freely.

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3 Responses to “SWTOR Tanking Primer Guide”

  1. You rock for having compiled all this information! Just made my life a whole lot easier and i didn't even read all of it yet! Ty ^.^

  2. Nvm I found what I was missing … should not decipher math when you have a headache. I read the ^ as a division sign not a to the power of.

    Thanks again for the post

  3. Thanks for the post but I don't get why your formulas are not further simplified.

    30*(1-(1-(0.01/0.3)) == 30 * .96 repeating == 28
    50*(1-(1-(0.01/0.5)) == 50 * .98 repeating == 49

    Deflection/Parry = (5% Base Chance) + 30*(1-(1-(0.01/0.3))^((DefenseRating/Level)/0.55))
    vs
    Deflection/Parry = (5% Base Chance) + 28^((DefenseRating/Level)/0.55))

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