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Can someone explain the aggro system to my friend here?

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So i tried to get one of my buddies to play GW2 but he only likes playing  as a tank. He wants to be a warrior or a guardian and I tried to explain to him the how the threat system in this game is very different from wow and other mmos with a similar threat table and that playing either of those two wouldn't really work so good. I told him about the Chronmancer, but he doesn't like the concept of a "mage tank". Can someone here explain the aggro system in better detail so i can show him?

Edited by Magnedeus.4713
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apart from specific encounters (raid instances, etc, where its probaly better thought of as a encounter mechanic vs a player role), i think its better to imagine that enemy mobs in gw2 dont really run on any specific aggro system and will usually target whatever suits them at the time. what im trying to say is that while there probably is some system in place to tell enemies what/who to target, there is no confirmed method to actually control it (wiki page honestly seems to be a copy-paste of common aggro mechanics in other mmos, which arent entirely applicable to gw2)

one of the more provable general aggro mechanics is dependent on the skill range of the skill the enemy mob currently wants to use. if its a 130 melee skill then its likely not going to run over to a target 1200 units away when theres another target already within 130 range but if its a range/gap closer skill, then any player within range is techincally at risk of being targeted

like before its probably better to pretend whoever is specifically targeted is rng, although i have noted that some mobs tend to target the same target (if within range of skill) for an indeterminate period of time and "doing x" (can stop doing dmg/run away/downstate & come back for example) does very little to change that. i say this because i have been on the receving end of it many times, regardless of whether i was dps/heal/memeing/playing like an absolute joke (because lag) and so i am fairly skeptical of parts of information listed on the aggro wiki page

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The Wiki page is accurate, the problem is there's no universal system, different enemies choose and prioritise targets in different ways, and some will even change their prioritisation based on which attack they're using. There's also no way to tell what system a specific enemy uses except trial and error.

Trying to make a dedicated tank character is further complicated by the fact that enemies often prioritise the character doing the most damage, groups typically prioritise stacking to share boons and other support over spreading out to make sure one person is always closest, and the very few taunt skills in the game don't work on bosses with defiance bars.

In some raids you can have a fairly conventional tank because the bosses will target the person with the highest toughness (which is nothing to do with your profession, it mainly depends on which stats you choose for your equipment), but that doesn't even apply to all raids.

I think the closest your friend could get to a traditional heavy armoured tank is something like a support/DPS firebrand build. One that focuses on giving the group quickness and stability (and other boons) and crowd controlling the boss rather than simply doing damage. It's not the usual 'stand in front and absorb the damage with a healer protecting you' tank but it's the same general idea of protecting the group and disabling the boss so other players can focus on damage.

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Most enemies seem to prioritize specific attacks and will use those first if they aren't on cooldown and if there are suitable targets in range.  So you could, for instance, stand at melee and enemies that prioritize melee attacks will tend to attack you instead of your friend at 1200 range.  But that's pretty much the extent of tanking control.  You're just hoping they don't attack somebody else.  

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This is for open world. For raid and strike tanking this is irrelevant.

Condi rev, I like herald. Demon/glint, mace/axe and staff. Trailblazer gear. I guess dwarf or centaur also work or are useful in some situations instead of glint.

You can tank and sustain anything. You can pull 5 enemies to you. You can pull enemies in a line with axe 5. You can knock back enemis with staff 5, you can knock back enemies with glint elite. You can chill enemy groups (glint utility works great, aoe, ranged) , you can blind them with staff. 

If you take dwarf you can taunt but I think its single target. 

You can take conditions from friends and transfer them to enemies. 

I also like tanking in mmorpgs and other games and this spec controls like crazy. It only works on enemies without defiance bars up to including elites though so its more of a fun build than something competitive. It works also in dungeons and fractals on trash mobs but again fun, not optimal. 

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