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Threat

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For the enchant, see  [Threat]. For the World of Warcraft #16 comic, see Threat!.

Threat is a measure of an NPC's aggression towards a player. Each NPC has a threat table, and a unit toward the top of the list is usually the target of its aggression. In-game, this is known as having aggro from that particular NPC. The NPC will attack that character if possible, unless something overrides the NPC's target.

Mechanics

Every unit is added to the threat table upon begining combat, and removed at the end of combat. Threat is a positive number beginning at zero upon entry to the table. (Leaving and re-entering combat starts at zero again.) Each NPC tracks opponents using their own threat table.

The following actions accumulate threat while combat continues:

  • Damaging the NPC adds one threat per one damage done
  • Healing any of the NPC's enemies adds one threat per two effective healing done, divided by the number of NPCs who observed the heal
  • Friendly buffs or on-use abilities may add a fixed amount of threat, divided by the number of NPCs who observed the ability

The NPC aggros to a new unit if that unit:

  • Overrides the NPC's target using a Taunt or special ability
  • Exceed's the previous target's threat by 10% while within melee range
  • Exceed's the previous target's threat by 30% while outside melee range

Modifying threat

Some abilities accelerate the rate of threat generation:

Many roles also have abilities to reposition themselves within the threat table:

Finally, many encounters and other NPCs have abilities which modify their threat table in unique ways.

Detailed values

When expanded, the following tables list currently-known modifiers for threat abilities:

Abilities

Threat Auras
Effect Threat Multiplier
Baseline modifiers (all characters)
Damage caused 1.0 * damage done
Healing caused 0.5 * healing done (overheal not counted)
Mana gain 0.5 * mana gained (only certain effects)
Rage gain 5.0 * rage gained (only certain effects)
Death Knight
[Blood Presence] 5.0
Druid
[Bear Form] 5.0
Hunter
[Misdirection] All attacks for 4 seconds temporarily increase the target's threat instead.
Monk
[Stance of the Sturdy Ox] 5.0
Paladin
[Righteous Fury] 5.0
Rogue
[Tricks of the Trade] All attacks for 6 seconds temporarily increase the target's threat instead.
Warlock
[Dark Apotheosis] 7.0
Warrior
[Defensive Stance] 5.0
Threat Modifying Abilities
Ability Threat Bonus/Reduction
Death Knight
[Death and Decay] 1.9 x damage done
[Dark Command]
[Death Grip]
Sets threat equal to player highest on target's threat list.
Druid
[Growl] Sets threat equal to player highest on target's threat list.
Hunter
[Distracting Shot] +110, and functions as a temporary taunt.
[Feign Death] Removes from threat lists of all enemies. (resistible)
[Cower] -?? to pet
[Growl] +?? to pet
[Intimidation] +?? to pet
[Thunderstomp] +?? to pet
Mage
[Invisibility] Reduces threat vs. all enemies by 10% per second for 3 seconds.

Removed from all threat lists upon becoming invisible.

Paladin
[Hand of Reckoning] Sets threat equal to player highest on target's threat list.
[Hand of Salvation] Sets target's threat to 0 for the duration.
Priest
[Binding Heal] 0.5 * healing done (above & beyond base healing reduction)
[Fade] Sets threat to 0 for the duration.
[Holy Nova] This ability causes no threat.
Rogue
[Vanish] Removes from threat lists of all enemies.
Shaman
[Frost Shock] 2.0 * damage done
[Wind Shear] Reduces threat vs. target by 5% of total.
Warlock
[Soulshatter] Reduces threat by 90% for all enemies within 50 yards.
[Suffering] Sets threat equal to player highest on target's threat list.
Warrior
[Taunt] Sets threat equal to player highest on target's threat list.
 

Items

Threat Gear
Item Effect
WoW Icon update.pngBloodfang Armor 5 part set bonus 25% improved Feint Threat reduction
WoW Icon update.pngNemesis Raiment 8 part set bonus Reduces the threat generated by your Destruction spells by 20%.
WoW Icon update.pngBonescythe Armor 6 part set bonus Reduces the threat from your Backstab, Sinister Strike, Hemorrhage, and Eviscerate abilities by 8%
WoW Icon update.pngVestments of Faith 6 Part set bonus -10%
WoW Icon update.png [Black Amnesty] -540 Threat
WoW Icon update.png [Fetish of the Sand Reaver] Reduces the threat you generate by 50% for 20 sec
The Burning Crusade [Grace of Earth] -640 Threat ~ 30 Yards, 5min cooldown
The Burning Crusade [Hypnotist's Watch] -720 ~ 30 Yards, 5min cooldown
The Burning Crusade [Jewel of Charismatic Mystique] -1075 ~ 30 Yards, 5min cooldown
The Burning Crusade [Muck-Covered Drape] -473 Threat
The Burning Crusade [Prism of Inner Calm] Reduces threat from your harmful critical strikes
The Burning Crusade [Timelapse Shard] -901 ~ 30 Yards, 2min cooldown
Threat Enchantments
Slot Enchantment Effects Source
Back Wrath of the Lich King [Wisdom] Reduce threat slightly and increase Spirit by 10. Enchanting (440)
The Burning CrusadeEnchant Cloak - Subtlety Decrease threat from all attacks and spells by 2%. Enchanting (300)
rowspan = "2" Hands Wrath of the Lich King [Armsman] Increase threat caused by 2% and increase parry rating by 10. Enchanting (435)
The Burning Crusade [Threat] Increase threat from all attacks and spells by 2%. Enchanting (300)
Threat Potions
Item Effect
 [Shrouding Potion] -1500 ~ 30 Yards
Threat Gems
Color Name Effect(s)
UI-EmptySocket-Meta.png Meta  [Bracing Shadowspirit Diamond] 2% reduced threat +54 Intellect
Color Name Effect(s)
UI-EmptySocket-Meta.png Meta  [Bracing Earthsiege Diamond] 2% reduced threat +21 Intellect
UI-EmptySocket-Meta.png Meta  [Bracing Earthstorm Diamond] 2% reduced threat +12 Intellect
 

History

Threat management dominated gameplay during Classic and The Burning Crusade, as well-geared DPS could potentially accumulate threat faster than a dedicated tank who had limited options to gain it faster. This compelled other players to slow their combat and use abilities to lower their threat beneath the tank. In subsequent expansions, tanks received increasing passive boosts to threat generation -- becoming a five-fold multiplier by Cataclysm -- rendering threat relatively unimportant to modern gameplay: now a tank either has aggro or doesn't, but they can easily maintain it once they do.

Until Wrath of the Lich King, threat was a hidden variable reverse engineered by the community and tracked using AddOns which predicted threat accumulation through trial and error. These addons worked by tracking a player's status and actions, and then communicating through AddOn communication channels so other players with a matching AddOn could predict their relative position on the threat table. Patch 3.0.2 added new API making threat transparent, allowing AddOns to perform this function without any special communication or synchronization.

The most successful addon of this kind was Omen by Xinhuan, Nevcairiel, et al. with 17 million downloads[1] at Curse and 4 million[2] at WoWInterface. At the latter, it remains the most-downloaded "Combat Mod". Prior to patch 3.0.2, Omen also used the Threat-2.0 library to predict and communicate threat levels with players using other AddOns.

Patch changes

  • Cataclysm Hotfix (2011-08-16): "Threat generation for all tanks has been increased to 500%, up from 300%. This applies to warriors in Defensive Stance, death knights in Blood Presence, druids in Bear Form, and paladins with Righteous Fury."
  • Wrath of the Lich King Patch 3.0.2 (2008-10-14): Threat is now accessible in the API, changing how addons can display information

References

  1. ^ Omen Threat Meter, Curse
  2. ^ Combat Mods, WowInterface