Note: I posted the build info on my frontline tank and a video link for anyone interested in more details.
The biggest issue as a tank in PvP in New World is that you will be constantly staggered or stunned which prevents you from blocking. Then to top it off blocking is punished more than it is rewarded. Blocking can be good in some cases (such as blocking ranged attacks) but it has a huge negative that when your stamina is depleted you will be staggered (i.e. block being broke). Since both block and dodge consume stamina you can't do both and unlike most light DPS builds tanks don't get the benefit of constant stamina regeneration. Basically doing the thing a tank should be doing, blocking, is punished in PvP.
The question as far as solutions is whether block and dodge should both be tied to stamina. For the sake of my "fixes" we'll assume block and dodge will continue to be tied to stamina (though the ideal fix would be to break them apart so a tank can dodge and block from separate pools).
The first fix would be changes to how the armor classes get bonuses/penalties in New World. Right now Light Armor is the dominant selection because it gets +30% damage/healing and access to the light dodge roll (which is honestly the best defense in the game). Both Medium and Heavy just get punished with less damage and healing and smaller dodges with the only offset being more damage reduction. Damage reduction is unfortunately pointless when your own outgoing damage is so severely reduced and light DPS being able to greatly increase their damage as a natural part of their builds (mortal empowerment, empowered, rogue, attunement, etc).
What I'd propose (note medium would be in the middle of these numbers)
- Light armor has a -30% penalty to stamina (total and regen rate)
- Heavy armor gets a +30% bonus to stamina (total and regen rate)
- Light dodge takes more stamina
- Heavy dodge takes less stamina
This first set of fixes goes a long way to making blocking more lucrative and concentrates the defensive gameplay to heavy armor. Light armor still has some defense in its dodge, but no longer has never ending dodges that allow it to do whatever it damn well pleases.
The second major fix I would have would be that heavy armor offers protection from constantly being staggered. There is enough stuns, pulls, and slows/roots in the game that heavy armor players can't get out of. Give heavy a break on stagger as well; especially if they have a shield up. Stagger should be for light armor players as it makes sense if you have less armor you are more likely to be staggered by an attack.
The third fix would be to remove stagger when your block is broken while using a shield. Just drop my shield; don't make me lose control of my character. Keep stagger on block when the block is any other weapon than shield.
Another area for improvement is melee hit registration in PvP. Right now range has all the advantage because it so hard to hit with melee attacks unless you have light dodge roll to constantly ensure you can close the gap to the player. For your average melee by the time your attack animation starts and by the time it hits your target has moved out of range. Its crazy sometimes how collision detection will prevent you from getting closer to a target but by the time your attack animation triggers the target is out of range (you literally cannot get close enough to hit in these cases).
It is simply too easy for targets to walk away from melee. Make it easier to hit with melee just like bow was made easier to hit with and how musket is a hitscan weapon making it easier to hit with. And with the next patch there is a possible change where if a target is hit with melee the time until they can return to sprinting is dependent on their armor weight; fortunately with heavy getting the upper hand.
Basically my approach is that light armor needs penalties and not just bonuses; this will go a long way to heavy armor having more of a purpose. On top of that just improving the feeling of PvP combat so that melee can be more successful and players wanting to tank in the thick of things aren't constantly just flopping around because of staggers.
Have some heavy thoughts? Share them.
New World Frontline PvP Tank Build
This build is adapted from the frontline tank build covered in this video which also covers how to play a tank in PvP. I consider this the definitive clinic for anyone looking to tank in New World PvP.
Attributes: 200 STR/300 CON
Weapons: Sword and Shield / Warhammer
Armor Weight: Heavy (duh! tank build)
Key Perks for Weapons
- Sword: Any damage attunement (flame, frost, arboreal, etc) - attunement means Fortifying Shield Rush procs twice which is major for damage reduction.
- Hammer: Trenchant Recovery and ideally Leeching Path of Destiny (get leeching on armor otherwise)
- Shield: Accelerating Defiant Stance (nothing more fun than a tank moving at warp speed) and Sturdy as you will block alot
Key Perks and Notes for Armor
- You want to favor heavy orichalcum armor that has more Physical Resistance than Magical Resistance; use Cut Pristine Opal gems. This is explained in the linked video.
- Amulet: Divine/Health - you do a lot of healing so divine is key
- Armor Slots
- Resilient x5 (required for any PvP armor for any build)
- Physical Aversion x3 (in the current meta with bows/muskets this goes a long ways)
- Fortifying Shield Rush (combines with attunement on sword to get 2x fortify stacks)
- Sundering Shockwave (nice to have)
- Leeching Path of Destiny (if not on hammer)
- Refreshing as a 3rd perk where you can get it
- Freedom x1 can help but is not required since you can take the damage
- Note: I currently use 3x PvP reward track heavy armor pieces that have Shirking Heals