EverQuest Tank Guide

EverQuest Tank Guide by Tearsin_Rain

this is a writeup i originally made for my guild, which i posted on the SK forums as a guide for new tanks, and people seemed to like it so i posted it here in the old Guides section, which is now archived.
since F2P may be getting EQ some new players soon, figured i’d repost this so it’s a bit more prominent – so that this information can get around, since IMO it’s all quite important stuff for people to know.
this writeup is ostensibly a beginner’s how-to guide to raiding for a knight, so is focused on raid concepts and situations, but has a fair bit of universally applicable stuff as well.

Overview of topics:
1. How hate and aggro works.
2. When to get aggro
3. When not to get aggro
4. How to go about getting aggro / not getting aggro
5. What to do when not tanking
6. Add control: the several faces of what we do

1. How Hate and Aggro works:

All mobs have a Hate List. Think of this as a spreadsheet – the spreadsheet has the name of every person the mob AI is aware of, and a numeric value assigned to them. The person with the highest number is the person who the mob attacks.

Special notes and rules about hate and how it works:

1. The person with the highest numeric value on the hate list is who gets attacked.

2. To make a mob change who it is attacking, you need to have +3 hate more than the currently highest person on the hate list (ie, if a rogue gets aggro and has 1000 hate, you need to generate 1003 hate to make it attack you)

3. Taunt sets your hate as equal to the highest person on the list +1 – meaning that taunt, by itself, can NEVER change aggro from someone else to you.

4. Pressing taunt when you’re already on aggro does nothing.

Special notes and rules on how mobs deal with hate and how their AI works:

1. The first action you performed on a mob with no hate list is hard capped – you can not generate more than 150 hate on the first action against a mob. There are 3 exceptions to this rule, and 3 exceptions only: Sk terror spells, paladin stun spells (not AAs), and paladin crush spells – these all bypass the hard cap and give you the full amount of hate listed in the spell, so these should *always* be the first thing you use against any mob.

2. Mobs have a dynamic hate modifier based on several factors and actions, and certain types of mobs have additional rules. Example: mobs assign dynamic hate values based on proximity, so moving away from a mob actually reduces your hate on it and gives bonus hate to people closer to it. Undead have a double value for this proximity bonus. sitting gives you bonus hate, but only while you’re sitting. certain mobs are flagged as ‘smart’ and assign bonus hate to heal spells and debuffs.

Generating Hate: the numbers behind the sparkles.

1. DD spells give 1 point of hate per 1 point of *base* damage – ie, the number listed in the spell. Bonus damage from focus effects/mods do NOT cause additional hate. bonus damage from critical hits do NOT cause additional hate (this includes procs).

2. Heal spells give 1 point of hate per 1 point of healing done – the bigger the heal, the more hate it generates. A heal cast on someone with full HP will generate effectively 0 hate.
(Note that some mobs are coded to have a hate modifier regarding heals, but these inconsistent in the game world and not something you normally need to worry about)

3. Rune spells give 2 points of hate per 1 point of rune to every NPC that has you on its hate list – meaning that runes (and rune procs) are basically AE hate.

4. Stuns scale really weird and are very difficult to figure out how much hate they generate. Basically, stun spells generate hate based on a formula which uses the mob’s max HP as a modifier, so it’s functionally impossible to work out the exact hate value of a stun spell. Also there are lots of weird rules about whether the stun lands, or if the mob is immune, or level capped (exception to this being #6 below).

5. Melee gives a set amount of hate *per swing* regardless of whether you hit, miss, are dodged, parried, riposted, how much you hit for, and whether you get a critical hit (ie, how much damage you do per hit, and even if you hit at all, means nothing – it’s a set amount of hate per swing).

The formula for how much hate you generate per swing is: damage + damage bonus (times hate mod, if applicable) = hate per swing.

6. The exception to ALL of these rules are what are called ‘hate override’ spells.

These are: SK Terror spells, pal crush and stun spells, war aggro disciplines.

*If you go to lucy.allakhazam.com, you will see these spells have a special ‘hate generated’ field, any spell with this field bypasses all other normal rules for hate generation and always gives the amount listed.

7. Hate mods (ie, from masks or buffs) add their listed % to *everything* that you do… spells, melee, healing, everything.

Applying these concepts to the game:
(For this example we’ll use a Paladin with no hate mod using a Ritual Impaler and a Rogue using top end HoT raid weapons)

You pull a mob using Crush of Repentence rk2. You now have 3178 hate.

When the mob arrives you turn on attack. Your Ritual Impaler is (159+20) = 179 hate per swing.

A rogue begins to attack the mob. (103+20) = 123 hate per swing main hand, (108+20) = 128 hate per swing offhand.

If we ignore haste, dbl attack, triple attack, and flurry for the sake of this example you are swinging 17.1 times base per minute, generating 3060 hate per minute from melee.
The rogue is attacking roughly (28 main, 25 off) 53 times base per minute, generating 6625 hate per minute from melee.

This of course is actually MUCH higher for the rogue due to haste, double attack, triple attack, and flurry… and a bit higher for you for the same reason – this is also ignoring shaman DD procs, bard DD procs, proximity bonuses, weapon procs, etc.

If you figure that after haste and buffs and procs the rogue is generating about 15,000 hate per minute, that’s about 250 hate per second (compared to your roughly 65 hate per second).

In this example that means your 1 hate spell + melee gives you about 10-15 seconds (barring proximity issues) of lead time before the rogue pulls aggro off you. The end result is that versus an average high end geared dps class you have approximately 5-10 seconds before their hate overtakes yours and you need to drop another hate spell to keep ahead of them.

1. When to tank or kite:

The role of knights in a raid can be summoned up pretty easily at its core:

Warriors tank the big hard hitting named for each event, knights control anything that spawns that isn’t the big hard hitting named.

Now, exactly what it is that we’re controlling and how we’re controlling it varies from fight to fight, and sometimes varies even further when it comes to SKs vs. paladins, but you can basically go into a raid with this general guideline… if it’s a named, it’s for the warriors – if it’s anything but the named, it’s for us.

As a secondary rule to that, taunting off a non-tank person trumps all other considerations – so, you need to know the names of everyone that is a tank, and be prepared to start taunting stuff if it has anyone who isn’t a tank as its target. (see section 5 for additional notes on this)

It’s generally a good idea to generate some hate on things even if you’re not tanking them and not trying to, in the event that the person tanking it dies… this is to make it easier for you to then pick up the mob, or possibly even just have it turn to you when the other tank dies.

Now one other thing of note here is that a paladin will sometimes be assigned to cure/rez/backup duty, and in these situations OTing becomes a secondary priority – though you need to always be aware of where mobs are and if they seem to be in a pack of non-tanks, and pick one up if need be.

2. When not to tank or kite:

A general rule of thumb here is if the mob has another tank on target, don’t try to tank it. Tanking isn’t a competition to see who gets hit the most – and since mobs can only have 1 person on target, they only need 1 tank. Tank flip-flopping (hate going from one tank to another) is undesirable, exponentially so on harder hitting adds with lots of HP, because it means the healers need to switch targets to the new tank, and often that’s going to be a slow process and the new person on target is going to die from lack of heals.

3. How to go about getting aggro / not getting aggro:

This section plays into what spells you have up so there is some flexibility here.

Getting aggro:

So, you need to be tanking something! Whether it’s a pre-assigned mob or you’re just watching for adds, when it comes to getting and keeping aggro it goes something like this:

0. If mob is on a DPS, healer, someone that isn’t you and isn’t another tank, press taunt.
If it is does not have anyone on HoTT, skip this and go to 1.
(if it’s on someone else and taunt fails the first time stop your rotation – since taunt alone won’t give you aggro, you need to be able to follow up taunt immediately with a hate spell, so you have to have one available and not be on a spell gem lockout).

1. Your highest hate spell.

2. Immediately followed by your AA hate spell (snare for SKs, stun for paladins), to have it cast during your spell gem lockout period.

3. Your next highest hate spell.

4. Confrontation
(This is arguable for Paladins, as the buff is inconsequential and many sources indicate you’re better off using the time to cast something more effective. However, SKs will want to use this at least once to get the buff up)

5. If hate feels unstable, or if the mob is flipping, earnest force/another terror spell.
(this rotation should take about 5-6 seconds and nets you roughly 10k hate)

Keeping aggro:

Ideally what you want to have happen is you drop hate spells to get a big enough lead on the DPS that you can begin casting non-hate spells – such as heals, splash, defy, denouncement, dots, lifetaps, etc – whatever helps the healers have less damage they need to cover to keep you alive.

So when you’re tanking something after you’ve dropped that initial hate-dump, you want to basically be trying to heal, debuff, etc in between hate spell refreshes, and then casting one any time it’s ready to be cast.

4. What to do when not tanking:

This situation really depends on what your job is for that fight – for paladins, if it’s a cure heavy encounter (like SS1, part of SS2, etc) you want to be ‘passive detection’ mode.
(This is less applicable to SKs as when not controlling adds you’re just DPSing, but the same sense of awareness is required)

If the strat does not heavily depend on you paying attention to something else, and part of the event contains add spawns, you want to be in ‘active detection’ mode.

Passive detection:
This is basically keeping an eye on the battlefield, watching out for adds, and watching what adds are doing. This is a purely visual thing – you need to look and see if the adds are facing a tank.

If you can’t easily visually identify this, you need to have a hotkey assigned to the ‘cycle NPC’ command (I personally have this hotkey assigned to the DEL key) and press it over and over cycling through mobs and looking at HoTT to see if the name is a tank or not.

If it’s on a tank, move on – if it’s not, watch it for a moment and if you don’t see a tank name pop up after a few seconds and you’re in a situation where you can/should tank something, start acting to pick it up.
A good example of this would be trash clear starting p2 on Morell, or the various adds on cages of testing, or the adds on SS2.

Active detection:
much like above, you want to make a ‘cycle NPC’ key – but in this scenario you’re standing out front with the tanks ready to tag mobs. you still want to cycle through them and see which one is being tanked and which is on a non-tank, but be more aggressive in jumping on things without a tank on it. A good example of this is the dogs on the maze portion of SS1, adds on SS5, the trash clears and event adds on every Convorteum event.

Sometimes you’re just not going to have anything to do – in these situations you want to turn on attack and hit bash,
Paladins can use damaging (but not large hate generating) abilities such as Glorious Exoneration, Denouncement, Righteous Indignation, etc.
SKs can use DoTs, spear, lifetaps, Visage, swarm pets, etc.

What you do NOT want to do as a paladin is chain cast force or crush (though casting crush occasionally can be fine and adds a bit of damage, so long as you don’t use it so much that you pull aggro – in the event you do draw aggro, utilize Balefire Burst to drop hate.)

5. Add control: the several faces of what we do

In terms of knights being the add control there’s basically 3 ways we do what we do:
1. Straight up tanking

2. Deflection tanking (burn holding, and lock down)

3. Kiting (indefinite, and transitional)

(note, some of these can transition from one to the other depending on the event, so sometimes you may end up doing all 3 to the same mob)

1. Straight up tanking:

This is pretty self explanatory – target a mob, drop hate, get aggro, position it somewhere obvious for the MA, and stand there being hit.

Our most important priorities in this situation are A. keeping aggro, and B. using our spells and discs to help mitigate or compensate for damage taken – self healing, confrontation, defy, mitigation discs if necessary, epic click, AAs, etc.

Examples: the dogs in the SS1 maze, the adds on SS2, the trash on SS7, puppets on MC phase 2 if they spawn.

2. Deflection tanking:

This comes in two flavors – burn holding, and lock down.

A. Burn holding is when we use deflection in order to stop unsurmountable damage while we gather up a set of adds and prep them for killing – the intention here is for one knight to hold all the adds, and for them to be killed before deflection wears off.

Examples: temple adds on PoFear, spider swarms in Well

B. Lock down is when we use deflection to hold back a set of adds temporarily in order to keep them occupied while the raid finishes another kill. It is not intended that our adds will be killed, it is intended that we hold them off from the raid long enough for the raid to win the event.

Examples: insect adds on final boss of SS1, organs on SS5.

3. Kiting:

This comes in two flavors – indefinite, and transitional.

A. Indefinite kiting means what it sounds like – you pick up a mob, you run off with it, you occasionally stop and cast something to make sure you keep aggro on it, then you continue running. You never stop and tank it, you do everything possible to completely avoid taking any damage whatsoever.

Examples: the wisps at the end of SS7, the gnats at the end of SS1, the adds at the end of Al’Kabor.

B. Transitional kiting is basically where we start with indefinite kiting (get aggro, run, stay away from the mob and don’t get hit) but then at a designated time stop kiting and transition into straight up tanking (or having the mob tagged off of us).

Transitional kiting requires that you be aware of when you run and when to stop and tank, which often involves being aware of how many adds are up currently – ext. target window is great for this.

Examples: the assassin adds on the first named of SS1, the two fairy adds on the 2nd boss of SS1, all the adds during SS5, the specters on PoFear, the adds on hall of records in conv, the ice giants on Al’labor.

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1 Response

  1. THank You ever so much!. My wife and I have played eq for 20 years or so, doing mostly single combat encounters. I have just now taken the role of raid tank, and I must admit , usually I feel over whelmed …. I will go to school on your write ups and see if I can’t remedy my confusion ! So thank You.

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