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1.0 or beta builds had engagement, but not very smart AI for the mobs. So the standard tactic was to send in one heavy deflection tank and everyone else was in naked shooting dps. After some updates, somewhere around 1.05, they added in better AI, although spirits always could flash step to your backlines when they felt like it.

 

I used the primary tank philosophy, but I chose to get a lot closer so needed an off tank to catch enemies in PotD that would go around the front, by trying to circle around each other and get to the tank, when they were blocked.

 

The dangerous situations were generally when my tank blocked a chokepoint, but there were 10 enemies on the other side. If even one slipped past, it would cause havoc on the back. When enemies slipped past, the engagement mechanic allowed the off tank to stop the enemy from moving to the dps.

 

2.0 or white march seemed to have added player scripted AI, but only tweaked the 1.06 AI a little bit. Or perhaps made the AI they used in Caed Nua more applicable to the rest of PoE.

I never had a problem on normal in Caed Nua, the Temple of Eothas, or the Banshee inn clearing--the places where people always complain about the spirits going for the back line.

 

In those situations, it's almost always one or at most two spirits teleport and arrive at the back line. In Cragholdt, I have to deal with four melee-specialized mobs completely ignoring engagement and going straight for my back line every time--often by using abilities that simultaneously knockdown my tanks. It's a very different issue.

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It hasn't really affected my playstyle that much. The only thing now is I'm more aware that my rear line is more vulnerable to enemies rushing at them. I prefer heavy crowd control tactics though, which of course would be the best way to deal with it, but frankly, its a pretty healthy playstyle. Actually using the tools the game gives you is way better than having mooks surround your tank while you auto-attack them with ranged weapons, rinsing and repeating over and over.

 

Most classes though have actual counters to such things nowadays anyway.

 

Wizard? Pop Arcane Veil, bam, now your a tank!

Druid? Shapeshifting is viable now. Transform and make them regret coming to you.

Priest? They have trap spells for a reason.

Cipher? Mental Binding and retreat. Or since they're behind your front line, use Ectopsychic Echo.

Rogue? Use Escape or Coordinated Positioning.

Ranger? Uhh... Binding Roots?

 

Alternatively, just run a full crew of melee. Its actually perfectly viable.

 

My only real complaint with the new AI though is that it makes defensively built characters no longer viable. There's zero reason to bring along a Fighter decked out with all kinds of defensive gear and abilities, since they contribute nothing. Enemies won't attack them as often (Without careful positioning) and they have no offensive presence. In fact, if anything, the game is now encouraging a very offense heavy mindset.

This opinion is from a PoTD perspective so on easier difficulties I will agree that a defensively specced tank probably isn't worth it.  But on PoTD I cant agree.  Just MEAT SHIELD 3 Might tanks are useless.  You can still bring a heavily defensive tank to the fight who can perform well offensively.  You just have to play more offensively.  My current Paladin: 12 Might, 14 Con, 16 Res, 16 Int the rest 10 (I know its a bit too much Int but I like my auras).  Since I do not have high PER in damage dealing situations I use a single handed weapon for the added accuracy bonus.  This also has the added effect of tricking the AI as I have much lower deflection this way.  they start dog piling me and I switch to weapon and shield If I take to much damage.  Also with FoD I am regularly critting in 50 to 60 range on medium DR targets thanks to Ravenwing.  For a "Defense guy" this is more then pulling my weight.  At this point 3 of them will stay on me while the extras have been mopped up by my off tank and dps.  Also in Choke point scenarios like dungeons they can be used extremely well as which is obvious.

 

Secondly, I have Eder who is a "damage dealing tank" he is right on my par with my rogue but I will tell you that even in plate since he is not defensively specced if it is more then 2 mobs he folds like a stack of cards.  Also his Health gets into the yellow very quickly even with is high Con because hes not avoiding damage.  IMO your tank just has to PLAY more offensively now not necessary be offensive as pure tank scenarios still exist cause of terrain and choke points. 

 

Or maybe I am terrible. lol

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Have gun will travel.

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I really like fast runner on my back liners a lot now.  I've always used more hybrid style front liners though, so that didn't really need to change for me.  

 

I also had success using Zahua as a quarterstaff dps, he would stand behind the frontliners and do a lot of damage, but not directly engaged, so he could move off and provide extra support to to back line characters if needed.

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This opinion is from a PoTD perspective so on easier difficulties I will agree that a defensively specced tank probably isn't worth it.  But on PoTD I cant agree.  Just MEAT SHIELD 3 Might tanks are useless.

That post was made in PotD perspective though, but I do agree with you. If you're going to run a damage sponge, nowadays you will definitely want it to have some offensive presance. In my current PotD run I'm running a Barbarian and Monk as my damage sponges, and they're working excellently. My Barb does need a little baby sitting from my Priest (well ok, a lot), but I'm sure that will change once I reach Defiance Bay (*cough* Shod-in-Faith *cough*).

 

It also kinda works since most of the enemies think he is the squishiest target XD

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I'm playing through the new WM content on PotD difficulty using a a full new character and a full party of hirelings. I wanted to do a second play through of the original game anyway (my first was on Hard, very different). The biggest change for me has been the NUMBER of mobs. See, even if my tanks COULD hold onto every monster they engaged, there would still be 3 more dood's trying to flood my backline. Here's my combat tips for dealing with it. 

 

1) use choke points. Never fight in a big open area, you get swarmed and ownd. Use natural chokepoints to funnel enemies up against your tanks (I have a Monk and Barbarian, both oriented for control/debuffing)

2) use whispers of treason. You know theres a cipher in your party, and you can cast whispers right at the start of the fight. My strat is to charm the biggest stupidist looking guy, but try to pick an enemy who is between you and more enemies. He'll turn around and you'll have three ogre's punching each other for 10-15 secs.

3) use ALL YOUR BUFFS. If you do not start every fight by casting 2-3 buffs and 1-2 debuffs you will die. Anything that effects deflection, accuracy, resolve, perception, or recovery speed. Monsters in PotD have bigger stats then you, and if you don't use your spells to balance it out in the first few seconds of combat, some dude with rifle will crit and oneshot your DPS.

4) Paralyze and Knockdown. MOAR CC, even paralyzing some baddie for 5 seconds can be huge. It gives you enough time to heal back some endurance, or reposition your casters farther away. Switch up the type of CC also, it'll take me 3 fetid carcass casts to keep dat Ogre CC'd for 15 secs, or one repulser seal which will know down 3 ogres for just as long, each mob is more vulnerable to a different type of control.

5) Don't be afraid to disengage and run. Talents like Fast Runner, or abilities that give bonus deflection when disengaging can be GREAT for your casters (arcane Veil/Fleet foot for Wizards). When that enemy takes the disengage attack from your tank, pause the game and run your casters away! That baddie is coming for them! Figure out which guy he's running towards and use someone else to intercept of CC him so you can escape.

 

As far as going back to tweak previous parties? I can't speak to that (since i made a whole new party) but I'd just make sure you didnt leave Perception as a dump stat on anyone, as the accuracy is pretty beneficial. I gave my casters some hide armor (wanted that freeze DR) to protect from the WM mobs always throwing balls of cold at me, and made sure to have very careful positioning before each fight starts.

 

Anyway those are my thoughts. Happy Adventuring!

All sound advice but we shouldn't have to use EVERY buff we have in every combat scenario just to get past it.

 

 

I'm running a new Trials of Iron-POTD and certainly don't use every buff in every combat scenario. 

Edited by PIP-Clownboy
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czzzzzzz

I never had a problem on normal in Caed Nua, the Temple of Eothas, or the Banshee inn clearing--the places where people always complain about the spirits going for the back line.

 

In those situations, it's almost always one or at most two spirits teleport and arrive at the back line. In Cragholdt, I have to deal with four melee-specialized mobs completely ignoring engagement and going straight for my back line every time--often by using abilities that simultaneously knockdown my tanks. It's a very different issue.

 

 

I only play on Path of the Damned. Generally the hp and stats are higher on POTD and the enemies are more numerous. The spirits are enough to surround the main tank on all sides, and then the other half of them shoot through to the backline. I also notice that they seem to be using drain spells that buff their deflection or summon new shadows.

 

I heard Cragholdt is the hard version of the expansion content. http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/81708-dps-tanking-party/ has some info on the new tactics I've experimented with. The White March content is very well designed tactically speaking. It is much more challenging than most POTD fights in the core game crit path or even the Caed Nua Dungeon.

Edited by Ymarsakar

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Simple, easy POTD party, but I'd like to see this mechanic fixed if it hasn't already been by the latest patch:

 

5 bards in plate armor stack the flame/slash DOT chant available at lvl 9.

At 20 might it does approx. 10 dps x 5 = 500 passive AoE damage in 10 seconds. Since it's a DOT, it's not reduced by DT. Dragons before the White March have less HP than this.

 

Throw a priest in slot 6 for accuracy/might buffs and occasional heal/cure.

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