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Hey everyone,

 

I'm new to PoE and working on figuring out how I want my party configured.

 

First, how many tanks do I need in my party?

 

Second, I've heard a lot of talk of off-tanks. When people refer to an off-tank, how tanky is it supposed to be? Would you still use sword & shield or do you go for a better balance between offense and defense?

 

Thanks,

 

Mocker

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Heya,

 

Depends on how you play and what the rest of your party consists of.

 

I prefer the 1 main tank, and 1 off-tank method. I've done 4 play throughs now, and I really just like having those two tanks at all times that can highly benefit each other. I've done it with doubled up fighters, I've used a duo of Chanters, and now a Paladin & fighter duo, etc.

 

A single tank can do almost everything you need.

 

I like having an off-tank, a character that is also tanky in case my tank is bypassed or one-shotted, etc, that can take over the role, and still be a damage dealer (albeit low) the whole time.

 

My off-tanks, I balance tankiness and damage. So my fighter off tank, for example, takes Weapon & Shield Style, but also takes Single Weapon Style, and any other things that give bonuses to accuracy, while still having a high Per and Resolve, with a good portion mixed between Might & Dex for damage output (I like Dex more, because of how it works with attack speed and you'll be wearing plate, plus I like the extra reflex). Fighters, Paladins, Chanters, Wizards, etc, can all make great off-tanks that still do damage.

 

My favorite "tank" setup so far, though, is a duo of Chanters. They're just silly they're so good. They both are identical and are all-tanked-out in talents, but the key is their songs. They have alternating phrases so that my enemies stay Frightened/Terrored, and any other debuff or buff I want the whole fight, making them even better. Then, to do damage, they drop summons that are the DPS that they bring. So you never have to worry about balancing them to do damage themselves, their summons do it. Phantoms and Ogres are just fantastic. I used Phantoms even late game. Also, they get invocations for revive. They're just the perfect tank to me because of that utility.

 

Currently enjoying Paladin-tanks that are also good off-tanks. Their auras are very useful, they have self-heals, etc.

 

Very best,

Edited by MalVeauX
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Malveaux gave some good general advice.

 

1 tank is more than enough. Provided you know what you're doing, you'll never need more, for any reason.

"Off-tanks" are pretty much just tanky DPS. Things that don't die when sneezed at by the opposition.

 

I will beg to differ on this, especially on PoTD where there are so many enemies. In almost any fight, there will be more enemies than can fit around a single character of any class, whereupon the rest will find someone else to attack. You could have a second melee character be an "off tank," but for PoTD I prefer two tanks for maximum control and smoothness. Granted, one (Eder, an early companion who is a fighter) I have build like Malveaux has, with some offensive abilities/talents too, but for a fighter there aren't that many "must have" tanking abilities/talents, so you can easily do this without sacrificing much in the tanking department.

 

Aside from having two tanks (the distinction between a tank and off tank is somewhat subjective), the other important thing to use is CC (crowd control) spells like prone, paralyze, etc. The positioning of your two tanks is also important. I prefer a custom formation with the two tanks in front spaced two spaces apart, and my four ranged grouped up in two rows starting two spaces behind them. This means there will be very few fights where your ranged are attacked, and you can CC and focus fire the exceptions, like teleporting Shadows.

 

Lower difficulties are, of course, more forgiving and have less enemies, so having two tanks is less important. On hard, for instance, I found I could usually get away with a ranger's pet as an off tank, which allowed me to maximize my party's DPS further. On PoTD, a ranger's pet is going to die very easily.

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You need two for POTD due to the number of enemies, and the AI has been improved to the point where enemies no long run circles around a unit they cannot attack. 

For Hard, you don't need more than one tank. 

Edited by View619
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If you feel you need more than 1 tank, PotD or otherwise, you need to work on your pre-combat positioning and initial attacks. You absolutely do not need more than 1 tank for anything in PoE. The off-tank is really just there for catching strays when something goes wrong, but mostly for bashing heads in.

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You need two for POTD due to the number of enemies, and the AI has been improved to the point where enemies no long run circles around a unit they cannot attack. 

For Hard, you don't need more than one tank. 

 

This.

 

If you feel you need more than 1 tank, PotD or otherwise, you need to work on your pre-combat positioning and initial attacks. You absolutely do not need more than 1 tank for anything in PoE. The off-tank is really just there for catching strays when something goes wrong, but mostly for bashing heads in.

 

How can you not need more than one tank (or other frontline character who doesn't die too easily, i.e. offtank) when there are often fights with 10 or so enemies and only about 5 will fit around a character before spilling over to find someone else? I think you wrote in another thread that you hadn't played the game much or at all recently. View's comment implies that things maybe used to be different. I don't know. I do know how they have worked since 1.0.5, which is when I really started getting into PoE.

 

And for strays (or teleporting shadows or other enemies who get past your front line), I find the most effective way to handle them is to CC and focus fire it. If you have a tank running around just to pick up one stray, he will suffer disengagement attacks left and right and things can easily get messier, not cleaner. It'll mess up positioning of friendly fire AoE spells etc. I keep tanks stationary and the fights are almost always clean and controlled unless I mess something up.

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A tank is a heavily armored slow moving fighter.  This term offtank is new to me.  I have one "tank", two medium armored fighters for mob control.  They move in quickly and hit hard, also do healing and debuffing   My ranged fighters also can move quickly from one spot to another.   Strategy is important in PoE.   If I can get the enemy to a choke point I do so.  If I have enemies who can teleport past I do focus fire on them and use my mob control fighters for taking them out while my "tank" holds the non-teleporting enemies at bay.  I am no expert at fighting and I will use any means I can to win a fight.  I do not believe in fighting fair I believe in winning.

 

Yes I have deliberately put quotes around the word "tank" and I will never have an "offtank" in my party.  I have been playing the game since the Backer Beta and this is the strategy and tactics I have developed.  

 

Sun TzU with only around 30,000 troops was able to defeat an enemy with over 300,000 because he kept mobile and fought to win.  Even in a fantasy game like PoE with magic his strategy and tactics are worth paying attention to.

 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying


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If you feel you need more than 1 tank, PotD or otherwise, you need to work on your pre-combat positioning and initial attacks. You absolutely do not need more than 1 tank for anything in PoE. The off-tank is really just there for catching strays when something goes wrong, but mostly for bashing heads in.

 

Unless you can find a doorway where only one character fits in the entrance while enemies literally line-up and wait, and cannot move past your tank (even when engaged), then you need more than one "tank", a front-line unit who focuses on maintaining a defensive line vs the enemy, in POTD.

 

Unless it's only possible due to the IE mod AI option, enemies will run around your one tank and rush more viable targets now, no longer tripping over each other to get at the "tank" if possible. POTD has too many enemies for one unit to hold back without very narrow choke points. I have seen enemies literally dance around the engagement circle of a front-line unit just so they can get a clear path to back-line characters, they no longer ignore the rest of your party.

 

If I recall correctly, you don't play on POTD since you're not a fan of inflated stats for the sake of difficulty. With respect, I would suggest trying it with the latest patch before making that assumption. 

Edited by View619
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On a lighter note,

 

Does it really matter?

 

Really, unless you're trying to make an optimal team for POTD or something, it doesn't matter much if you have 1, 2 or 3 tanks or even just off-tanks, or any other character designed to withstand a crowd. Right? I mean, this game isn't a pure min/max power gaming atmosphere where one absolutely must use a specific class as the pure tank, where it's fine, and fun even, to try other things.

 

I think context would help a lot. Knowing if this is a casual play through, versus a competitive timed run through POTD or something would make a considerable difference in responses. It naturally sort of went that direction anyways. You have the casual responses and the POTD responses all lined up here as it is.

 

If you want to run a duo of Wizards as both being primary tanks with the ability to drop nasty spells and buffs/debuffs, so be it. You're not wrong for doing so.

 

Very best,

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On a lighter note,

 

Does it really matter?

 

Really, unless you're trying to make an optimal team for POTD or something, it doesn't matter much if you have 1, 2 or 3 tanks or even just off-tanks, or any other character designed to withstand a crowd. Right? I mean, this game isn't a pure min/max power gaming atmosphere where one absolutely must use a specific class as the pure tank, where it's fine, and fun even, to try other things.

 

I think context would help a lot. Knowing if this is a casual play through, versus a competitive timed run through POTD or something would make a considerable difference in responses. It naturally sort of went that direction anyways. You have the casual responses and the POTD responses all lined up here as it is.

 

If you want to run a duo of Wizards as both being primary tanks with the ability to drop nasty spells and buffs/debuffs, so be it. You're not wrong for doing so.

 

Very best,

 

It is true that the game is relatively forgiving below PoTD, allowing fun alternate party compositions/formations, and it's solo-able by a strategic/patient player even on PoTD. However, the OP stated he was new to PoE, so I wanted to give him the advice that I think would lead to the smoothest and most controlled fighting experience. If he wants something else, he is free to experiment like any of us are.

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You need two for POTD due to the number of enemies, and the AI has been improved to the point where enemies no long run circles around a unit they cannot attack. 

For Hard, you don't need more than one tank. 

 

This.

 

If you feel you need more than 1 tank, PotD or otherwise, you need to work on your pre-combat positioning and initial attacks. You absolutely do not need more than 1 tank for anything in PoE. The off-tank is really just there for catching strays when something goes wrong, but mostly for bashing heads in.

 

How can you not need more than one tank (or other frontline character who doesn't die too easily, i.e. offtank) when there are often fights with 10 or so enemies and only about 5 will fit around a character before spilling over to find someone else? I think you wrote in another thread that you hadn't played the game much or at all recently. View's comment implies that things maybe used to be different. I don't know. I do know how they have worked since 1.0.5, which is when I really started getting into PoE.

 

And for strays (or teleporting shadows or other enemies who get past your front line), I find the most effective way to handle them is to CC and focus fire it. If you have a tank running around just to pick up one stray, he will suffer disengagement attacks left and right and things can easily get messier, not cleaner. It'll mess up positioning of friendly fire AoE spells etc. I keep tanks stationary and the fights are almost always clean and controlled unless I mess something up.

 

 

For disclosure, 1.0.5 is the one I've played last (and probably the most); I don't think I've even got 1.0.6 installed, but I can't check right now.

 

Basically, you just let the tank sorta stand there, covered in defences and armour, not doing much at all, while the others just tear through things, and use choke points when necessary. The only real problems are heavy mob groups in completely open grounds, and teleporters - but teleporters always were, since they enjoy putting their chompers in your wizard.

 

And you shouldn't have your tank running around to pick up lone strays, really. That's what an offtanks are for, or "tanky DPS" - or Nakia's two medium armoured fighters.

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Doesn't what difficulty you play on if you are in open areas because two tanks or three tanks won't be able to do much.  If the enemy can move freely tanks which are slow moving can't chase a faster moving enemy.  You need a couple of fast moving infantry such as priests, rogues, even a paladin and or barbarian if properly equipped.  If you have a choke point the tank can stand there and engage the enemy and you spell casters and ranged members can attack those behind the enemy blocking the choke point.  Thus using the enemy against itself.  This game is set for the player to use strategy.

 

However there is the ancient rule of "If it works it is the right thing to do" so whatever works for you is the right thing for you to do.

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 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying


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Doesn't what difficulty you play on if you are in open areas because two tanks or three tanks won't be able to do much.  If the enemy can move freely tanks which are slow moving can't chase a faster moving enemy.  You need a couple of fast moving infantry such as priests, rogues, even a paladin and or barbarian if properly equipped.  If you have a choke point the tank can stand there and engage the enemy and you spell casters and ranged members can attack those behind the enemy blocking the choke point.  Thus using the enemy against itself.  This game is set for the player to use strategy.

 

However there is the ancient rule of "If it works it is the right thing to do" so whatever works for you is the right thing for you to do.

 

Heya,

 

Realistically though, since this game has nothing random to it, this doesn't really happen unless you let it happen. This may apply if you've never played through. Or if you're reckless. But if you're going around in scout mode and you spot an enemy, it's pretty easy to let the tank go forward, engage whatever, as they will all go after him, give it one round, and then bring the rest of your party in. Only teleporters will likely break off here or there. The rest will be focusing on that initial character that showed up and got their attention.

 

I do open fights often with my current casual play through, by sending one tank to one group, and send the other off-tank to another group, and start the fight on my own terms that way with two "magnets" in the open area. As things move in, I bring in my rogue, barb, and priest and ranger to selectively pick off priests, wizards, enemy rogues and leave their tanks/paladins/fighters for last.

 

Very best,

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For me, two tanks are the minimum.

 

So, if I do not play tank character, those would be Eder and Pallegina. Eder with Defenter ability for +2 engagement and Pallegina with talent that adds +1 engagement.

 

For off tanking, I'm using Sagani's fox companion, to pick of strays.

Spell Fixes compilation for Neverwinter Nights 2, as well as my other submissions for this great game.

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Also, I've seen a lot of people scoff at movement speed, but unless you've got a tank with really pumped Stealth - which is unlikely - movement speed is actually very useful in having the tank run really fast into the enemies once combat starts, ensuring that the tank alone engages the enemies. The rest of the party is then free to engage from range or deploy however you wish.

 

Once we finally get indivdual/combat Stealth, I foresee this getting even more useful, with Rogues being able to sneak up after the tank has engaged, and immediately take out 2, maybe even 3 of the weaker enemies.

 

PoE is opening, opening, opening, opening.

 

Edit: With the Rogues, I was thinking two rogues. It's obviously not likely that a single rogue would be able to take out 3 enemies right away. I had this image in my head of my own PC rogue with the CNPC rogue, working together.

 

For me, two tanks are the minimum.

 

So, if I do not play tank character, those would be Eder and Pallegina. Eder with Defenter ability for +2 engagement and Pallegina with talent that adds +1 engagement.

 

For off tanking, I'm using Sagani's fox companion, to pick of strays.

Pallegina is my off-tank. I've found the +Engagement Talent to be completely superfluous, though, and does very little in terms of making enemies stick to you. They rarely "unstick" from you, and if they do, they will likely have done that whether Engaged or not.

 

Pallegina with Medium/Heavy Armour and a two-handed sword worked wonders, built for support and DPS-ish, staying power secondary, and Edèr as the blitz-tank (it's funny to see him just starting to leg it like crazy when combat starts, because of the silly "Combat Only" states not kicking in until it does).

Edited by Luckmann

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Heya,

 

Realistically though, since this game has nothing random to it, this doesn't really happen unless you let it happen. This may apply if you've never played through. Or if you're reckless. But if you're going around in scout mode and you spot an enemy, it's pretty easy to let the tank go forward, engage whatever, as they will all go after him, give it one round, and then bring the rest of your party in. Only teleporters will likely break off here or there. The rest will be focusing on that initial character that showed up and got their attention.

 

I do open fights often with my current casual play through, by sending one tank to one group, and send the other off-tank to another group, and start the fight on my own terms that way with two "magnets" in the open area. As things move in, I bring in my rogue, barb, and priest and ranger to selectively pick off priests, wizards, enemy rogues and leave their tanks/paladins/fighters for last.

 

Very best,

 

First, I want to point out that you don't even have to be in scout mode to get the element of surprise 95+% of the time. It's relatively rare that enemies will detect you before you detect them. I have the option set to autopause when I detect an enemy, so I can stealth when this happens and they still don't see me.

 

Other than that, my strategy is very similar to yours, with maybe one major difference (see below).

 

Also, I've seen a lot of people scoff at movement speed, but unless you've got a tank with really pumped Stealth - which is unlikely - movement speed is actually very useful in having the tank run really fast into the enemies once combat starts, ensuring that the tank alone engages the enemies. The rest of the party is then free to engage from range or deploy however you wish.

 

 

Pumped Stealth unlikely — well, here's one of the unlikely ones :D. The skills I take on each of my party members are: 3 Athletics to minimize combat fatigue, and the rest divided between Stealth and Lore, except for my cipher who has Mechanics in place of Lore. I'm at level 8 now. I will stop at 10 Lore/Mechanics, and I believe that will put me at 8 Stealth for all my party. Currently my two tanks have 6 base Stealth, brought up to 8 with items. I just don't see any other skill investment being as awesome. What, Survival for a pitiful duration increase? More Athletics for the extremely rare case that I've traveled far and couldn't benefit from a reset on my Per Rest spells anyway?

 

Some enemies are better at detecting you than others. With my current Stealth values, I'm able to walk right up to some enemies, literally starting the fight with my tanks in place. That's of great strategic value. In other cases, I can get closer than I could otherwise, still making a strategic difference even if less dramatic.

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Interesting, I have a friend on another Board who has a different strategy.  He gives his tank some extra stealth and then positions him or her near but not too near the enemy.  He uses his spell casters to debuff the enemy,  set seals and other hampering spells.  ranged attacks to start the combat.  If in a spot with a choke point traps can be set with the tank near that spot.  His melee support is also near there.   

 

In an open area the party is spread out but the strategy is basically the same.  Melee fighters do not rush in to engage the enemy.  The enemy comes to them.  Usually in a weakened state by then.

 

The OP asked how many tanks.  One tank is my answer.  The OP then asked about the  "off tank  (whatever that is) how much they should be tanked.   They should be more aggressive than the fighter tank, have speed.   Paladins and barbarians are great for this role, I also like monks and am currently using my Priest of Berath as my support melee fighter, medium armour unique DR 9 and the sword Justice.  With her spells and buffed up abilities she is very formidable.  I can usually move her around as needed. I have grown very fond of her.  I also have plenty of food and potions for my party. 

 

Edit: I think we have lost the OP but it makes for an interesting discussion any way. :)

Edited by Nakia

 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying


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Interesting, I have a friend on another Board who has a different strategy.  He gives his tank some extra stealth and then positions him or her near but not too near the enemy.  He uses his spell casters to debuff the enemy,  set seals and other hampering spells.  ranged attacks to start the combat.  If in a spot with a choke point traps can be set with the tank near that spot.  His melee support is also near there.   

 

In an open area the party is spread out but the strategy is basically the same.  Melee fighters do not rush in to engage the enemy.  The enemy comes to them.  Usually in a weakened state by then.

 

The OP asked how many tanks.  One tank is my answer.  The OP then asked about the  "off tank  (whatever that is) how much they should be tanked.   They should be more aggressive than the fighter tank, have speed.   Paladins and barbarians are great for this role, I also like monks and am currently using my Priest of Berath as my support melee fighter, medium armour unique DR 9 and the sword Justice.  With her spells and buffed up abilities she is very formidable.  I can usually move her around as needed. I have grown very fond of her.  I also have plenty of food and potions for my party. 

 

Edit: I think we have lost the OP but it makes for an interesting discussion any way. :)

 

I do like to buff/debuff near the beginning of the fight. I set everyone to focus fire one enemy, preferably a caster, when the fight opens (but I give some allies alternate commands: see below). I have my paladin tank use FoD (with Shielding Flames) on the enemy nearest her, and Eder, positioned a couple spaces away based on my custom formation, attack the enemy nearest him. I have Durance open with Holy (Inspiring) Radiance, then Interdiction (also talented). By this time, the enemies are all typically in place neatly around my tanks, which basically never move until all enemies around them are dead.

 

On easy fights, Eder opens with Knock Down and my cipher opens with Mental Binding on the first focus-fire target. Needless to say, this target usually dies very quickly. On tough fights, Eder opens by using a figurine to place summons behind the enemy. My cipher, now with more focus built up, casts Ectopsychic Echo on a summon, which I then move around to hose down the enemy while she and the rest of my ranged focus fire enemies who are not in the line of the Echo. Aloth will meanwhile be casting Slicken or debuffing, using Arcane Assault, Minor Blights, etc., depending on the fight.

 

I do enjoy using traps when the enemy is right around the corner of a chokepoint, and my party couldn't all get into the room even with their high Stealth. In this case, I have my party in position so the enemy will have to pass through the doorway to get line of sight, I have my mechanic cipher set the trap in the doorway, fall back, and open the fight by unstealthing.

 

This game allows a wide variety of strategies, and yours works for you and that's awesome. I still think mine is more beginner friendly. Although, as you point out, we may have lost the OP anyway :p.

 

You can get away with just 1 tank on PotD, provided you take a Ranger too. Use the animal companion to hold up the enemies that get past the frontline just long enough so you can focus fire on them with everything but the tank and kill them.

 

 

I was getting away with using a ranger's pet as a second tank in Act 1 on one partial PoTD play through. It would die pretty fast in large fights like in Raedric's hold, but in general it was doable. I guess it depends whether squeezing out the extra DPS is more important to you, or making sure your fights are controlled and consistent as much as possible, no matter how vast the hordes you are fighting. I just did the Cail fight, which others have mentioned as an example of a major fight, and it was super smooth and easy for me on PoTD at level 8. I had no problems with adds on my back row. I think a ranger's pet would have gone down pretty quick and all hell would have broken loose.

 

So basically, there's leeway to play practically any which way you can think up, some strategies just prioritize DPS while others prioritize control and consistency. Personal preference factors in, but I'd say control and consistency strategies are generally easier and more beginner friendly.

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I love discussions like this one.  It gives me ideas of things to try that I hadn't considered.  In my early game plays I did much as Nobear does but I wasn't playing on PotD.  PoE allows so many options and different ways of playing.  Definitely player's choice.   Nobear's style of playing may well be more beginner friendly especially at lower levels before your casters have built up a repertoire of spells.

 

In one of my early games I had a ranger PC with a bear and used the bear as a support to Eder or if a caster or ranged member was melee attacked to distract the enemy.   When I brought Sagani into the party I found this worked well in open spaces but very well in chokepoints.  Eder and the bear, I called it Bruno, usually could hold the chokepoint and the fox just got frustrated running around trying to attack something.  :)  

 

Once you hit level 8 life does become easier.  The more thought you put into this game the more you get out of it.

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