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#9556944 May 26, 2014 at 04:36 PM · Edited 4 years ago
34 Posts
Choose Your Destiny – Picking the Right Tank Class in Wildstar

Wildstar Version

Tanking in most MMOs is like paddling a canoe gently across a still lake while the sun lightly caresses the treetops of a nearby aspen glade. Tanking in Wildstar is like flying a rocket tank down a mountain while blindfolded and doing a keg flip. Whether you prefer to soak up hits and infuriate enemies with plasma rifles, oversized girder swords, or pocket-dimension Wolverine claws, each of the three tanking classes in Wildstar can bring a unique set of pros and cons to the table when you’re looking to fill the role of a damage sponge. But how, you ask, HOW can you possibly decide on which class to play for your laser-flinging, Rowsdower-tipping, adrenaline-fueled masochistic conquest through the dungeons and adventures that await you on the planet Nexus? By reading this guide, of course!

This article attempts to assign a relative value to the various benefits of each tanking class in Wildstar. While ultimately all tanks can be used to great success, players often struggle to determine which class fits the needs of their raid group, bachelor party, and yes, even themselves. To try and help motivate the decision of which class to play at launch and beyond, I have created a series of metrics that can be used to gauge the relative worth of Engineer, Warrior, and Stalker tanks across a broad spectrum of utility. These categories are designed to help you, the reader, determine which class best suits their needs and playstyle so that they can get the most out of their time spent on Nexus. While this list is by no means exhaustive, it should prove to be a valuable resource when attempting to get a good idea of which class is right for you. The categories that each class will be judged in are as follows:

Class Innate Ability: This is a metric that gauges the relative strength of each class’ Innate ability in terms of defensive bonuses and active effect. Higher scores are granted to Innates with powerful passive mitigation and threat generation bonuses and strong active components with short cooldowns.

Threat Generation: This is a metric of a class’ ability to generate additional threat per point of damage dealt. Threat generation is arguably the most important statistic for PvE tanking classes, as it represents how well they can hold aggro on a target. Higher scores are assigned based on the number of multipliers available through skills, AMPs, and passives that maximize the amount of threat generated.

Armor: This is a metric of the class’ access to the armor stat to reduce incoming damage. Armor in Wildstar reduces all forms of incoming damage, be it physical, technological, or magical in nature. Higher scores are granted to classes with higher base armor values and stronger armor multipliers.

Deflect and Deflect Critical: This is a metric of a class’ access to deflect and deflect critical rating. Deflects cause tanks to take no damage from an incoming attack, while deflect critical directly reduces an attacker’s chance to crit their target. Higher scores are assigned to classes with better access to each stat.

Taunts and Intimidates: This is a metric that gauges a class’ access to taunt and intimidate effects, used to force NPCs to target the tank. Higher scores are granted to classes with shorter cooldown Intimidate effects and overall capability of the class to taunt foes.

Defensive Cooldowns: This is a metric that gauges a class’ ability to survive on their own through offsetting incoming damage. Innate abilities are *not* included in this comparison. Higher scores are granted to classes with more powerful self-preserving abilities on shorter cooldowns.

Group Damage Mitigation: This is a metric that measures how well the class can reduce damage aimed at players other than the tank. Higher scores are granted to classes with the ability to better protect their allies.

Group Damage Modifiers: This is a metric that values a class’ ability to improve the damage of their group mates. Higher scores are assigned to classes with more potent buffs or debuffs that boost the damage dealt to a target along with the accessibility of these modifiers.

Area of Effect: This is a metric that gauges each class’ ability to target a large number of enemies simultaneously. Higher scores are granted to classes with the ability to damage or taunt larger numbers of targets regularly.

Interrupt Armor: This is a metric that measures how much access a class has to Interrupt Armor, both for themselves and their party members. Higher scores are granted to classes with abilities that generate group-wide Interrupt Armor on shorter cooldowns.

Crowd Control: This is a metric that measures the relative value of each class’ access to crowd control effects. Higher scores are granted to classes with a greater number of CC types, longer duration effects, and shorter cooldowns on their abilities.

Mobility: This is a metric that gauges a class’ ability to maneuver quickly and effectively in combat. Higher scores are granted to classes who have low cooldown movement abilities that allow them to cover distance rapidly.

The content below is highly opinionated. All of the scoring and comments are based on personal observations, experience, and crowd-sourcing, but ultimately compiled by me. I have attempted to remain as neutral as possible, but everything in this guide is subjective when it comes down to it. You are welcome to disagree, but nothing in this break-down should be inherently right or wrong. It is merely my interpretation of the facts that I am presenting to help assist those who do not have as full of an understanding of the game yet. If you would like to voice your opinions or ask for greater detail on mine, that is encouraged. Being an ass hat is not.

Engineers are heavily armored “ranged” tanks, who use a combination of technology and combat training to see battles through to the end. Engineers act as something of hybridized tanks, with specialties in both damage mitigation as well as damage avoidance, and a tool kit filled with healing buffs, shield restoring effects, and minions to offload damage onto. While Engineers are inherently a ranged class, and sport longer telegraphs than the two melee tanks, they will spend the vast majority of the time right up in a boss’ grill, like their Warrior and Stalker counterparts.

Class Innate Ability - (8/10)
Any self-respecting Engineer would never consider leaving home without their patented MK IV Exo Suit, and for good reason! In Provocation mode, this suit grants the Engineer 200% additional threat generation, 5% resist all, and a mountain of extra health passively. When activated, the Engineer’s suit transforms and rolls out into a battle mech that generates 10 Volatility per second and reduces incoming damage by 55% for 10 seconds.

Threat Generation - (8/10)
On top of the threat bonus granted by the Exo Suit, Engineers get a 10% bonus on threat generated by Volatility builders (Flak Cannon and Ricochet) and a 35% bonus to threat generated by the Volatility spender Particle Ejector. While this extra threat generation is nice, it’s relatively small compared to the modifiers available to the other two classes. This becomes immaterial, however, when Engineers pick up the Enmity AMP, which increases threat generation by 25% for 3 seconds every 5 seconds. This AMP allows Engineers to comfortably use any and all abilities and build additional threat per point of damage, rather than focus on the abilities that have an inherent threat modifier.

Armor - (8/10)
Engineers naturally wear heavy armor, granting them some of the highest base resistance values in the game. On top of that, their tier 3 Support AMP Boosted Armor allows them maintain a 12.5% increase in their armor at all times, so long as they receive a heal once every 5 seconds. None of the skills in the Engineer’s arsenal further boost their armor, but this buff alone allows them to maintain some of the highest armor ratings possible.

Deflect and Deflect Critical - (6/10)
Engineers have a number of ways of boosting their deflect rating and avoid bring critically hit, but none of them are particularly noteworthy. Skill-wise, the most impressive by far is the Blunder debuff applied by Unsteady Miasma, that gives enemies a 25% chance to be deflected. This does not appear to be a flat debuff at the moment, however, merely multiplying your current deflect value by 1.25, typically giving a net gain of 3-5% deflect chance. (Were this to be changed to a flat debuff, then Engineers would get a 10/10 for this ability alone due to its *incredible* damage mitigation at next to no cost.) On top of that, tier 4 Bruiser Bot grants the Engineer an extra 3.5% deflect chance as long as it’s alive and the utility skill Recursive Matrix can be used to grant a small deflect bonus. Additionally, Engineers have access to the Repeat Business AMP, which grants you nearly 10% deflect critical, but requires you to be deflected yourself (very bad), and the Dirty Tricks AMP, which grants you an additional 15% chance to deflect attacks for 5 seconds after taunting a foe, which can be maintained with a ~33% uptime. All of these amount to a relatively small increase in deflect chance, though. so Engineers will get the bulk of their survivability through damage mitigation rather than avoidance.

Taunts and Intimidates - (9/10)
Engineers have an Intimidate on a 15 second cooldown, allowing them to taunt foes and shoot to the top of the target’s threat list with ease. Additionally, they have a powerful 10-man taunt skill, but this carries a steep 45 second cooldown. This is an inversion of both the Stalker and Warrior tanks, who have low cooldown taunts and high cooldown Intimidates, and ends up working out very well for the Engineer. Since Intimidates are extra powerful taunts, and there’s very little reason you’d want to only pull aggro off of a target for a few seconds with a regular taunt, Engineers blow the other two classes out of the water in this category.

Defensive Cooldowns - (6/10)
Other than the class Innate, Engineers don’t have many options for keeping themselves alive when in a jam. The only active form of defense comes from the Utility skill Personal Defense Unit, which applies a strong absorption shield and prevents a killing blow from occurring while it is active, while reducing incoming damage by 25% - 65%. Otherwise, Engineers rely on strong passive bonuses and procs from AMPs, such as Try and Hurt Me! And Dirty Tricks to heal and avoid damage or skills such as Repair Bot and Disruptive Module to replenish shield capacity slowly over time.

Group Damage Mitigation - (3/10)
Personal Defense Unit can be used on one other player to grant them an absorption shield, and Engineers can restore shield capacity to nearby allies, but otherwise the class is pretty self-centered when it comes to mitigating damage. Unlike Warriors and Stalkers who either buff allies or debuff enemies, Engineers don’t bring anything to the table to reduce damage dealt to friendly targets. The Blunder debuff caused by Unsteady Miasma and the blind caused by Obstruct Vision can cause enemies to miss attacks directed at friendly targets, but Engineers cannot effectively shield their team mates from damage like the other tanks.

Group Damage Modifiers - (5/10)
What Engineers lack in diversity here, they make up for in potency. The primary Volatility dump for Engineer tanks, Particle Ejector, offers an impressive 20% armor reduction debuff when tiered up to max level. This ability alone is worth an awful lot as it will dramatically improve the damage output of your entire group and doesn’t require much effort to maintain. Each tick of Particle Ejector refreshes the debuff, giving you 3 seconds to perform other actions before swapping back to Particle Ejector to keep the debuff rolling. The Exploit Weakness AMP has a similar but less powerful effect of reducing a target’s armor by 18% for 5s and refreshes every time you tick… but this AMP requires heavy investment in the Hybrid A/S tree and is unlikely to be run by most tanks.

Area of Effect - (6/10)
Engineers are one of the few classes in the entire game that can reliably hit more that 5 enemies at a time. The Support skill Thresher can strike up to 10 foes at once, dealing moderate damage, and potentially piercing armor. Since it has no cooldown, but is limited by the class resource, Volatility, you can spam it regularly every 3 or so seconds to pump out AoE damage to many foes at once. The utility taunt skill, Code Red, can also target 10 foes at a time, but deals no damage* and has an enormous cooldown attached to it.
*Tier 8 deals damage to each target, but is almost never worth the investment

Interrupt Armor - (8/10)
Engineers are able to grant themselves 1 Interrupt Armor for 10 seconds every 20 seconds through the Volatile Injection Skill. Additionally, they can generate 1 Interrupt Armor for themselves and up to 4 nearby allies using tier 4 Obstruct Vision. On top of these, Engineers also have access to the skill Recursive Matrix and the AMPs Protection by Deflection, Hardened Resolve and Can’t Touch This which all reduce the duration of CC effects (with the last one granting CC immunity) to help prevent losing control of their character. Though only the first two skills actually grant Interrupt Armor, Engineers are incredibly resilient to crowd control effects, and can help share this stability with their teammates. Even without these, though, the IA generated by Volatile Injection and the group-wide IA generated by Obstruct Vision makes the Engineer stand out as the best tank for dealing with CC.

Crowd Control - (5/10)
When it comes to locking down enemies, Engineers offer very little. They have a fairly broad spectrum of snares to slow enemies down, but can’t contribute much when it comes to breaking IA stacks or incapacitating foes. Their CC consists of Zap, which is a 2.5s stun on a 30 second cooldown, and Obstruct Vision, which is a point-blank area of effect (PBAoE) skill that blinds nearby foes.

Mobility - (1/10)
While Engineers sport all of the firepower and armor of an actual tank, they also weigh a metric butt ton, making them incredibly immobile. For any non-instant cast ability, Engineers suffer from significantly reduced move speed while attacking, and their access to movement skills is lacking to say the least. Activating your class Innate ability will counteract this self-snare for the duration of the effect, but that still only gives you "normal" levels of maneuverability. They have Urgent Withdrawal, which is a short bunny hop backwards and... that’s about it. The Keep Up the Pace AMP grants a brief 15% movement speed increase, but requires you to land a physical attack and is in no way worth the investment. If you’re looking for mobility, you’re looking in the wrong place.


Stalkers are agile tanks who adhere to the axiom that the best way to block an attack is to avoid it altogether. As such, Stalkers tend to prioritize deflect rating over straight up armor so that they can negate damage entirely rather than just soften the blow. Through a combination of powerful self buffs, high mobility, and life steal, Stalker tanks can dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge their way to victory, no matter the odds.

Class Innate Ability - (7/10)
Tank Stalkers will almost always want to be using Nano Suit: Evasive as their stance, to maximize their threat generation, damage mitigation, and deflect rating. When operating in this suit mode, Stalkers generate 200% additional threat, have their resistances increased by 10% across the board, and have their deflect chance boosted by a flat 10%, but must sacrifice 20% of their Assault Power. Their Innate ability allows them to take 15% reduced damage for 5.0 seconds when exiting stealth in combat, on a 25 second cooldown, resulting in a very small boost to damage mitigation over time, but allowing you to regularly help offset large incoming hits. While Stalkers can stealth in combat by using their Innate ability, it will not accomplish much for tanks, as it does nothing for threat generation, and hostile enemies will still be aggro’d to you.

Threat Generation - (7/10)
Like all the tank classes, Stalkers generate 3x the threat per point of damage they deal in their defensive stance. On top of this, regular tanking abilities such as Whiplash and Frenzy receive ability-level modifiers boosting threat generation by 25% and 50% respectively, but they lack any additional threat generation modifiers through AMPs. This is somewhat offset, however, by the fact that Stalkers have quite a few ways of regenerating their health and shields in combat, and each point of healing that a mob perceives also generates threat, so there’s more to Stalker threat than initially meets the eye.

Armor - (5/10)
As a Medium armor class, Stalkers are inherently lagging in this department when compared to their Warrior and Engineer counterparts. This means that they’re at about a 15% flat resistance deficit relative to heavy armor, but try and make up for this through alternative defensive options. Stim Drone is the only ability that provides a boost to armor, applying a buff that increases armor by 4% per stack (12% max), but this requires an enormous investment to tier the ability up to its max level. None of the AMPs directly boost armor, either, so Stalkers can only really improve this stat via gear and outside sources.

Deflect and Deflect Critical - (9/10)
The Stalker tanking stance already grants a mountain of deflect, but this is further extended by many of the Stalker abilities and capitalized on by several AMPs. Frenzy, when tiered to level 4 or above, grants a 12% flat increase to deflect chance for the duration of the channel, allowing you to boost your odds of negating an attack regularly. The Support capstone ability, Amplification Spike, grants the tank and his nearby allies another flat 10% to 18% increase in deflect chance for 8 seconds on a 15 second cooldown. Additionally, Stalkers have the ability Steadfast, which is a low cooldown buff that increases personal deflect chance by 35% to 55% for several seconds or until your next deflect, and Preparation which is a short channel that heals and boosts deflect chance via a stacking buff applied every 0.5s. And while all three tank classes can improve their deflect and deflect critical chance through tier 1 Support AMPs, several of the Stalker’s tier 2 AMPs allow them to restore health or boost their Tech stat upon deflects, making them stand well above Warriors and Engineers in this category.

Taunts and Intimidates - (7/10)
Stalkers have access to a low cooldown taunt and an Intimidate on a substantially longer cooldown. Reaver applies a taunt effect to its target every 15 seconds and can affect up to 5 foes, while Razor Storm can be used on up to 10 targets at a time to bring you to the top of the threat tables, but is on a much more prohibitive 30 second cooldown. The Stalker has the longest-lasting Intimidate effect in the game, with Razor Storm having a 6 second base duration, and being able to be tiered up to a whopping 10 seconds, but this is generally unnecessary, so the benefit is of relatively little worth.

Defensive Cooldowns - (7/10)
While somewhat dominated by random number generation (RNG), Stalkers have relatively strong defensive abilities due to their capacity to completely negate incoming damage and short cooldowns. Steadfast can be used to fairly reliably completely block one incoming attack, or grant the Stalker nearly 100% deflect chance for 2 seconds, and is on a very short cooldown. Amplification Spike acts as an all-purpose defensive skill as you tier it up, boosting deflect chance, deflect critical chance, and both physical and technology resistance, allowing you to soften incoming blows, or avoid them altogether. None of their skills are quite as potent as those of the Warrior or Engineer, but they tend to be more readily available, so it’s a trade off between magnitude and frequency of use, and Stalkers place more stock in the latter. The tier 3 Support AMP Last Stand completely flies in the face of this, however, by offering an incredibly powerful survival skill with a hefty cooldown. When dropping below 1% health, this AMP will kick in, preventing death for 3.5s and healing large sums of health every 0.5s, but can only proc once every 2 minutes.

Group Damage Mitigation - (7/10)
Stalkers have very little to offer their teammates in terms of direct protection. Amplification Spike can boost the deflect chance of nearby allies and offer additional defensive bonuses as it is tiered up, but requires a steep investment and has limited range. But while they may lack defensive buffs for their team mates, Stalkers do carry a few interesting options for reducing the damage output of their target, which can accomplish much the same thing. Decimate applies a debuff that reduces a target’s damage by 10% - 18%, while Nano Virus can be used to apply a stacking debuff that considerably reduces a target’s critical hit severity. On top of this there’s the standard taunt mechanic that causes damage dealt by the target to deal 25% less damage to anyone but the taunter, so Stalkers can protect their teammates reasonably well, but most do it in a more aggressive manner than their more heavily-armored brethren.

Group Damage Modifiers - (6/10)
The Stalker Support abilities offer a few debuffs that improve damage dealt to a target. Razor Disk is a ranged ability that reduces an enemy’s armor by 10%, and can be maintained after tiering it up to level 4. At tier 8 it also reduces the target’s deflect chance allowing player’s to strike the target more consistently. Frenzy, when tiered up to max level, applies a stacking physical resistance debuff, but has a poor uptime due to its steep suit power cost. The Utility capstone ability, Bloodthirst, can be tiered up to improve allies’ Assault and Support Power as well, but is a relatively small boost and requires a heavy investment.

Area of Effect - (2/10)
Almost all of the Stalker Support abilities affect 5 targets, meaning Stalkers can deal with small groups, but have no way of reliably building threat on large numbers of enemies. Razor Storm can be used to strike 10 foes at a time and apply an Intimidate, allowing you to grab aggro initially, but it will be difficult to hold on to, as the skill has a very long cooldown and nothing else in the Stalker kit can hit more than 5 foes at a time.

Interrupt Armor - (4/10)
Stalkers have atrocious Interrupt Armor availability through abilities, but a decent way of generating it for themselves via the Iron man AMP. Ability-wise, tier 8 Tactical Retreat grants 1 Interrupt Armor for the duration of the improved stealth, but the duration of this is extremely short and Tactical Retreat clears your entry on nearby threat tables, causing you to lose aggro… which is the last thing you want to do as a tank. The Iron Man AMP is located in the Utility tree, and grants you 1 Interrupt Armor for 15s after being CC’d twice within a 10 second window. In PvE, such an occurrence is extremely uncommon, but this happens quite frequently in PvP. Since both of these only affect the Stalker and offer no benefit to group mates, Stalkers have arguably the worst Interrupt Armor access in the game.

Crowd Control - (8/10)
Stalkers have access to a wide array of crowd control effects, but all of them are relatively short in duration and sport long cooldowns. Stagger can be used to stun enemies for 2.5s in melee range, while False Retreat can be used for a 2s knockdown at a similar distance. Collapse can be used as a both a pull and a root, but the root component at tier 4 is special in that it breaks upon the target receiving damage and is unaffected by diminishing returns. Stalkers also have Tether Mine, which is a ranged, deployable Tether that restricts the movement of targets for a long period of time.

Mobility - (9/10)
Pounce and False Retreat together give Stalkers some of the most powerful mobility possibilities in the game. Pounce can be used for an extremely quick 25m forward leap, while False Retreat causes its user to leap backward 15m, and then allows several seconds to re-activate the ability and return to the starting point, essentially giving the Stalker 3 leap skills. These can be used on their own or in conjunction to rapidly maneuver between wide spaces and remain exceptionally mobile.

Warriors are melee-ranged, heavily armored juggernauts who take a brute-force approach to tanking. With a focus on damage mitigation and powerful defensive cooldowns, Warriors make excellent walls of steel that can absorb the heaviest of blows and shrug them off without a problem. If pain is just weakness leaving the body, then Warriors must believe that pleasure is pain entering the body… or something like that.

Class Innate Ability - (7/10)
The Warrior stance Juggernaut is the defensive version of the Innate offering 200% additional threat generation, 5% higher resistance to all damage, and additional maximum shield capacity passively. When activated, the Warrior takes 50% less damage and is granted 100% additional threat generation, but deals 25% less damage. This results in the threat generation being something of a wash, as dealing reduced damage but generating extra threat doesn't really improve or diminish your overall threat generation, so this ability is primarily used for soaking up more damage. Halving incoming damage is extremely strong, however, and with a 1 minute cooldown you’ll be able to use it several times during boss fights to help ease the burden placed on your healer.

Threat Generation - (6/10)
Many of the Warrior’s primary Support abilities generate 130% threat per point of damage dealt, with Atomic Spear generating 175%, giving Warriors a modest boost on top of the standard 200% additional threat offered by the Innate. In addition to this, Warriors have the Full Force AMP, which grants them 25% additional threat generation for 8s with a 15s cooldown. Moreover, the tier 8 bonus for the spammer Menacing Strike gives the Warrior a chance to restore health, and several skills and AMPs restore shield capacity, all of which counts as healing and generates more threat as you go. All of this adds up nicely to give Warriors a solid amount of total threat generation, but comes in the forms of slow, heavy-hitting attacks, meaning threat generation is spiky and goes up in steps, rather than smoothly along a curve. This differs from Engineers and Stalkers who have attacks that hit once every 0.5s, allowing them to generate smaller amounts of threat more frequently, which is of particular importance at the start of a fight, or when a tank is first getting aggro. If other players heal or DPS too strongly at the start of a fight, they run a reasonably high chance of generating threat more quickly than the Warrior, resulting in them pulling aggro. Threat generation over time should be very comparable to that of the other tank classes, but requires a bit more care when first grabbing aggro due to its spikier nature.

Armor - (8/10)
As a heavily armored character, Warriors have the highest base armor in the game, along with Engineers. Moreover, they can further increase their armor by 7% with tier 8 Polarity Field and by another 25% for keeping their shield above half of its capacity via the Fortify AMP. These combined give Warriors the highest armor values in the game, but are somewhat situational. The size of the telegraph for Polarity Field does not scale with the size of the enemy, so for larger bosses you’ll end up standing *inside* the enemy’s model in order to benefit from the field, which is often impractical. The Fortify AMP requires your shield to remain quite full, which is generally a difficult condition to meet unless you’re running with a Medic healer or have group mates with additional shield regeneration to help supplement your own. Either way, Warriors can be made to sport the most impressive armor values in all of Nexus.

Deflect and Deflect Critical - (6/10)
As mitigation-based tanks, Warriors focus much more heavily on softening incoming blows than avoiding them. As such, a Warrior’s access to deflect rating is somewhat sparse, but available through skills, AMPs, and gear. Tier 4 Plasma Wall boosts deflect chance by a flat 7% for the duration of the channel, but is only available for 3 seconds at a time every 8 seconds. Both deflect and deflect critical can be increased by 5% by maintaining more than 500 Kinetic Energy through the Full Defense AMP, however, which should be a very easy thing for Warrior tanks to do.

Taunts and Intimidates - (6/10)
Warriors, much like Stalkers, pack a 5 man taunt on a 15 second cooldown and a 10 man Intimidate on a 30 second cooldown. The taunt, Plasma Blast, has a range of 30m, allowing it to be used to pull groups of enemies from a distance, but can be something of a hindrance in multiple-tank encounters if not aimed well. The Intimidate, Atomic Surge, is a point-blank area of effect (PBAoE) skill that deals damage to nearby enemies and places you at the top of their threat list.

Defensive Cooldowns - (10/10)
Warriors have some of the strongest defensive cooldowns in the game, with powerful effects and relatively short cooldowns. Expulsion is a self-cleanse that removes 2-3 debuffs and deals damage to nearby enemies on an extremely short cooldown, giving Warriors unparalleled capabilities for removing unwanted effects from their characters. Defense Grid drops a large field on the ground that massively reduces incoming damage to all allies standing in the area. Unstoppable Force is the Warrior’s CC break that not only removes all crowd control effects, but also grants complete immunity to incoming CC effects for several seconds, allowing the Warrior to plow through a battlefield without any fear of being locked down. Bum Rush is a mobility skill with a 12 second cooldown that reduces incoming damage by 28% for 3 seconds on use, allowing it to be used regularly to shrug off damage. AMP-wise, Warriors have plenty of options for staying alive as well. Reserve Power will replenish a large portion of your shield capacity after your shield is depleted once every 2 minutes. Health Sponge causes incoming heals to restore 57% more health when you’re below 30% of your max HP. To the Pain will prevent you from dying, and surge you back to a high health value, but apply a 15 second DoT of the same magnitude that should give your healers plenty of time to get you back into a healthy state. Be it passive or active, Warriors are very difficult to bring down.

Group Damage Mitigation - (9/10)
When it comes to group-wide damage mitigation, nothing can come close to matching a Warrior. Their ace in the hole is Defense Grid, which reduces damage taken by a massive 21% for all characters within the field of effect. This field is on a short enough cooldown to have it ready for any player or boss’ burst damage, and can be used to greatly improve a team’s survivability. Beyond this, however, Warrior’s have a more spammable protection ability in Plasma Wall, which can be channeled for 3 seconds to reduce incoming damage by 30% to targets standing behind the Warrior, and boosts Deflect Chance by 7% to boot. The utility tool set also packs Sentinel, which reduces your own armor in order to provide a powerful boost to the armor of the lowest-health ally in the area. All of these can be used independently or concurrently to allow Warriors to dramatically reduce the damage dealt to their allies.

Group Damage Modifiers - (8/10)
While Warriors are typically lauded for their excellent damage-boosting capabilities, these are mostly from the Assault tool set, and therefore low priority pickups for most tanks. Even so, once a tank is able to hold aggro reliably and is very confident their healer can keep them alive, it behooves them to focus their efforts towards increasing the party’s damage to burn through content more rapidly. To that end, the Warrior tank can start dipping into the more offensive side of things and bring some incredible benefits to the table. Jolt gains a strong technology resistance debuff at tier 4 that can be maintained to greatly improve the damage output of Engineers and Medics, and to a lesser extent Stalkers and other Warriors. The Assault ability Smackdown reduces enemy resistances by a flat rate of 10% and has fantastic uptime with no investment required. The Utility capstone ability, Power Link, provides an amazing 18% damage boost to you and 4 other party members for 10 seconds out of every 25. Additionally, the Assault and Hybrid A/S AMP trees both have very powerful debuffs available, with the former housing Armor Shred, an 8.6% reduction to resistances with a fantastic uptime and the latter housing Overwhelming Presence, a 8m aura that reduces enemy deflect chance by 6%.

Area of Effect - (4/10)
While the Warrior doesn’t possess many spammable abilities for hitting large groups of targets at a time, they do have several abilities that can hit up to 10 targets simultaneously. Like the Stalker, the Warrior has an Intimidate with a 10 man PBAoE Intimidate through Atomic Surge. But on top of this they also have Polarity Field, which can generate one or two fields around targets that tick and deal constant damage to enemies within the telegraph every second for 10 seconds and Shield Burst, which is another PBAoE that deals damage in a small radius around the Warrior. These allow Warriors to grab aggro on a large pack of enemies and continue to build up threat on all of them simultaneously without struggling to hit more than 5 foes at a time.

Interrupt Armor - (6/10)
Warriors possess several strong options for granting themselves Interrupt Armor, but struggle to provide the same support for their team. Skill-wise, Warriors can use Emergency Reserves to provide themselves with one Interrupt Armor, and can spread this to their teammates at tier 8. Tier 8 Whirlwind also grants 1 Interrupt Armor for the duration of the channel, but is an extremely unlikely pickup for support Warriors (or Warriors in general). AMP-wise, Warriors can take Impenetrable, which grants 2 Interrupt Armor for 10 seconds when the defensive stance Innate is activated. And while technically not granting Interrupt Armor, the Warrior CC break, Unstoppable Force, grants complete immunity to CC effects for several seconds.

Crowd Control - (7/10)
Warriors bring a strong mix of soft CC effects, able to help control their enemies, but are a bit lacking in terms of strong lockdown potential. Kick is a 3 second knockdown on a 20 second cooldown, allowing it to be used more frequently than most other CC in the game, but can be easily broken with a dodge roll. Flash Bang applies a 5 second blind from up to 20m away, causing enemies to suffer from obstructed vision and have a 25% chance to be deflected. Grapple is a low-cooldown pull that yanks 2 targets towards the Warrior, and roots them for 1.2 seconds. This root is special, however, in that it breaks upon damage, and does not trigger diminishing returns. The Warrior also has a long-lasting Tether that can be used to heavily impair the movement of a single target for long periods of time as long as the tether post remains intact. So Warriors excel in supplemental CC, but have a hard time locking down a target as their only hard CC is a knockdown, and they lack a strong root to combo it with.

Mobility - (7/10)
With a bit of hybridization, Warriors can become incredibly mobile, able to carry 3 short range (15 – 20m) leaps on very low cooldowns. In the Support line, Bum Rush is a 15m dash that propels the Warrior forward quickly and can be tiered up to have 2 charges. In the Assault line, Leap is a 20m forward jump that can be tiered up to remove all movement impairing CC effects. These two alone are very strong movement abilities with shorter cooldowns than those of any other class, but can be brought alongside each other to give the Warrior unparalleled maneuverability. Throw in snares and move speed buffs from AMPs, and you have one speedy wall of steel.


So there you have the strengths and weaknesses of each tank class and Wildstar. They're all strong choices, but excel in different areas of the game. Engineers are immobile but beefy ranged tanks who use their extended reach to maintain excellent uptime on targets. Warriors are brute-force brawlers who can mitigate mountains of damage aimed at both themselves and their teammates. Stalkers are dexterous combatants, able to completely avoid incoming attacks and outmaneuver their targets. Each tank will see its ups and downs in different encounters, and different content will favor one tanking style over another, but ultimately, every class is viable and can handle any challenge with the right team behind them. Even so, here are my personal rankings for each class in different portions of the game...

  • PvP Node Holder: Warrior > Stalker > Engineer
  • Warriors are quite mobile with access to several leap skills and have fantastic damage mitigation. As such, they're able to quickly navigate to the fights they're needed at, and hunker down to defend a node. With a myriad of health and shield restoring effects and constant damage reduction, they make excellent node defenders, though their lack of range means they'll have to hug a capturable objective quite closely. Stalkers are also quite solid, and have the added advantage of being able to stealth to escape or camp a node unseen. They offer their team relatively little in terms of damage mitigation, however, and are a bit squishier than their Warrior counterparts as well as more susceptible to CC. Engineers are extremely difficult to CC and have more range so they can re-position constantly and still be able to tag anyone trying to capture a node, but don't have much team presence. They can certainly sit on a node alone for a long time, but contribute relatively little to a teamfight compared to the melee tanks who can better CC foes and assist their teammates in larger engagements.

  • PvP Mask Carrier: Engineer > Warrior > Stalker
  • In terms of getting to a mask, Stalkers are fantastic and Warriors are solid, but what we're really interested in is how well a class can carry the mask. This means mobility is completely off the table, as leaps and teleports cause you to drop the mask on the ground. As such, damage mitigation and self-preservation are the name of the game. Engineers have fantastic CC resilience and access to Interrupt Armor, an incredibly low-cooldown CC break ability (with a strong absorption shield to boot), and several AMPs that dramatically increase the amount of healing they receive. Warriors are a close second with their excellent damage mitigation skills, Expulsion which allows them to constantly remove debuffs, and solid access to Interrupt Armor for themselves, but not their team mates. Stalkers are excellent mask carriers, able to deflect attacks and avoid enormous amounts of damage, but will have bigger incoming damage spikes than the heavy-armor tanks, making them more difficult to heal. Additionally, their Innate ability grants far less damage mitigation when activated, so they're much less adept at really soaking up damage when heavily focused.

  • PvE Pick Up Group (PUG) Dungeons: Warrior > Stalker > Engineer
  • Most players do not have fantastic DPS or healing rotations, so you can generally get away with poorer threat generation and focus more on damage mitigation in pick-up groups. To this end, the Warrior is a great choice for dungeon runs with a random group, as you'll be easier to keep alive and can bring a host of CC effects to guarantee interrupts when you question your group's cognitive capacities. Stalkers are much the same, able to CC enemies to reduce incoming damage and guarantee interrupts, but might be a bit more difficult to heal, due to their spiky damage intake from deflect RNG. Engineers are solid but don't generally have great builds at lower levels (when you're most likely to be PuG'ing), and don't offer much to their group. Few CC skills coupled with poor mobility can really hamstring the Engineer if their group mates aren't playing particularly well.

  • PvE Raiding: Engineer > Stalker > Warrior
  • Engineers have the most flexibility when it comes to generating threat, an awesome active Innate skill for soaking up damage, and can boost their incoming healing substantially. All of these lend themselves greatly to tanking, and make the Engineer stand out as a well-rounded tank that will perform strongly in any encounter. Stalkers have less in the way of straight-up damage mitigation, but are able to deflect attacks passively, and selectively deflect particularly dangerous attacks with Steadfast. Additionally, the Weaken debuff applies by Decimate is extremely strong, and they have a 3.5 second invulnerability AMP that can save a raid from wiping if the tank gets pushed too low. Warriors are still great raid tanks, but have slightly spikier threat generation which means your DPS and healers will have to start fights more cautiously, rather than going ham from the get-go. Most of the great utility brought by a Warrior is generally also carried by a DPS Warrior, though, so things like Smackdown and Defense Grid may be wasted when the groups get large.


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#9560913 May 27, 2014 at 01:06 PM
2 Posts
Nice work!

How about a table that shows the score of each Class, side-by-side?

#9561723 May 27, 2014 at 04:08 PM
34 Posts
Good call, rfarris!

I had put together a quick little side-by-side comparison for the reddit submission, but didn't actually copy it over here. I'll edit that in shortly.
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