Is There an 'Instance Basics' Guide for Tanks?

Discussion in 'Oracle’s Database (Guides)' started by FreezyPop, Feb 26, 2022.

  1. FreezyPop Well-Known Player

    Technically I've been playing DCUO for years now, but tbh most of that time I was sticking to open world and the occasional low-stakes event scenarios. Now that all content rewards source marks, meaning I don't have to desperately try not to let my CR creep me out of relevance as I try to get a few feats, I've started trying to see about actually working at improving both my toon and my playing.

    Back when I started, I chose a tank (Ice) mostly because I wound up wiping left and right when I was any other role. And now that I'm "trying" (my SP are still too low, but I'm working on that), I also enjoy tanking insofar as my primary role seems to be "get as many things to hit me so they don't hit other people," so, hey: turning my biggest weakness into a strength. :)

    I've found a bunch of guides and videos about how to BUILD a 'good tank,' and I know the basics of counter mechanics (even if I have trouble seeing the icons through all the power effects), but I keep running across players chastising me as a 'bad tank' for doing things wrong that I didn't know were wrong. The most recent example was being told I was going too slowly and was supposed to be 'running ahead' with the controller.

    That example could well be just a matter of play preferences from someone who liked moving faster, but it did hit on a recurring question for me: are there guides / videos that talk about the actual progression-through-instances expectations for tanking? In the above example, is 'running ahead' a matter of CC / Drawing aggro from 'ahead of' adds? I have a hard time parsing the chaos of power effects, HP meters, and (trying to) see attack icons for countering, so is the problem that I'm staying too long past the point when DPS can finish a set of adds without me? Am I supposed to group them up just the once and then run ahead (or at least slowly float while I pray for my toon to get out of combat move speed)?

    I realize there are different playstyles, and I don't think there's any Universal Tank Method or anything, but given how often I get a tell or a straight-to-group chastisement, It feels like there's probably a baseline strategy / expectation. I'm on console without a mic or a keyboard, so it's difficult to communicate in-game for help in the game itself; I'm hoping someone may know of a resource / resources I could look at to get a decent grounding in what the usual range of expectations are for tanking through an instance, beyond the general tendency to focus on a spec / rotation (those have also been helpful! They're just plentiful and easy to find :) ).

    Thanks in advance!
    • Like x 3
  2. Drathmor Unwavering Player

    LT has put out some pretty great guides on tanking you will have to look under the powers portion of the forums

    basically biggest rule DONT DIE! tank dies everything starts hitting me and that's no Bueno ;)

    most tanks have a mechanic like was listed in one of your other threads
    utilize mechanic and cycle shields in-between like for atomic and rage

    turn boss away from group always helps

    if someone is down near you move away from them so that all the adds follow you and make it easier to pick the player up

    watch boss for counters any thing that keeps them on their back their not hitting you or others

    to sucessfully tank Gear and knowledge of the instance are key
    might want to dps them a few times until you know what's up before trying to tank a new instance to you
    • Like x 3
  3. xxHELLSTROKExx Loyal Player

    Asking for help is always a great start. And being ice, you’re already the perfect powerset to learn the basics with. With ice, unless it’s a specific fight of only pulling one enemy, you’ll want to run 3-4 shields and the group pull (name is escaping me) and resonanting gale. All tanks pretty much have to be super speed to appease the pugs because they want you always being to the adds 1st. But with resonating gale, you don’t really have to be. Target becomes red as you’re getting close, hit them with resonating and then lunge them. Pop a shield and start weapon tapping/ hit your pull or resonating again. It doesn’t pull them to you technically but if you’re in the pile it will. Personally, I just run winter ward/ hard light shield/ reflection/ shatter restraints (this is the one personal preference spot, I’ll circle back) and group pull and resonating. I run circes mask, manacles, and mystic. Because I run circes, I stick with shatter restraints. It proves the stun on adds basically instantly. It will remove your other ice shields but it won’t remove hard light. So about halfway thru HL, I’ll pop that, stun them then pop my next shield.

    You can go for eye of Gemini style and use either blossom or the super speed movement mode shield. Both work. Can even run both if the content is easy enough for you. Spec dom 1st then your choice on either health or resto. It depends on your playstyle, if you’re running less shields or forgetting to put them up often, spec health. If you’ve got your rotation and are always shielded, spec resto. Again, after dominance.

    Don’t worry about anyone that runs ahead but try to be quick. Hit the adds with resonating or the pull just before they die and head to the next set while the group finishes them off. If you’re super speed, get used to clicking the L3 button if using a controller. That’s pretty much it for hallways. Chrono emitters are a great thing to have in your belt as are personal dampening fields. I also use a sidekick since they heal and shield you. Ice has no real heal back mechanics/ power so if my healer is mediocre, I’ll sometimes use frost slam instead of resonating since it has a (weak) leg mod. There’s also a white mod that heals when shielding. Not huge but it helps as does circes mask with the 30% resto 200. I don’t love the artifact but it has great stats for tanks.

    Lasso can work but it isn’t a great ice artifact. Fun in hallways tho to drag the adds along for a ride. You’ll get hate or praise from the group, all depends on their powerset really.

    Now as far as what you should be doing: every instance is different. The majority of the time, you’ll be lunging. Best to have a fast lunge weapon, personal choice is 1 handed. But you see a skull, chances are it’s lunge time. Some have slower lunge times than others. The new raid is a great example. The snipers are an immediate lunge on skull. Lois is a slow count to 3 after her skull is up. All you can do is lunge to find out while you’re learning or try to find videos. Obsidian always has them up when something new comes out. As do others. If it’s a non elite instance, it doesn’t really matter but is a great time to learn. Anything else comes down to knowing pvp techniques. Know when to block to knock them down, know when to hold range attack to block break, know when to run away, whatever. Once you know each weapons scripts, it makes the boss not matter. Like a boss using brawling today is the same as a boss using brawling 5yrs ago. Practice in regular or open world. I always go for open world.

    Google like a mad person. There is a lot of info on tanking. And don’t worry about complainers. I’ve had my share as well, in the meantime I’m also completing elites with relative ease. Some players just want you to do things exactly how they want or it’s no good to them. Or jump behind them and throw your pull. When they run away, chase them down and keep pulling adds. When they’re on a knee, ask them if that’s what they were looking for. Or jump behind them and switch roles and tell them to tank.
    • Like x 5
  4. Drathmor Unwavering Player

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  5. DeitySupreme Steadfast Player

    Tanking really comes down to 3 main points.
    -Don't Die
    -Group Adds ASAP
    -Know Mechanics

    The first 2 are pretty much self explanatory. If you are dying all the time regardless of who is healing than it is a good indication that maybe you need to find ways to increase your own survivability. If you are letting adds that spawn hit your team for an extended period of time than you need to work on getting adds away from them. But on top of that you need to learn the mechanics as much as you can. Yes players in general should know mechanics but since you will be the center of attention for enemies than you need to know them a bit more thoroughly. Tank Phantom Zone for example. Ursa has this attack where she shoots a heat vision and turns. If you just have her face away from the group than the HV will turn towards the group hitting them. But if you make her face diagonally Than they never get hit at all. It may not necessarily cause a wipe, but maybe it could.

    Outside of mechanics there are tank basics that is a good idea to learn in general.

    -When you get to a group of adds and there are multiple groups within pulling range than you should try to pull all the groups. This way the group does not have to stop after each group of adds and instead burn them all at the same time. This does not mean drag everything down the hallways. That can lead to mistakes or stragglers kills members. Group things within the area not throughout the map.

    -Making bosses face the opposite direction of the group. Like I mentioned earlier there will be exceptions. For example, stompa does a jump/stomp. If you stay between her and the group you can stop it from hitting the group.

    -Staying ahead of the group. Yes you should try, within reason, to always be the first to get to the new set of adds. If, for example, you can leave one last add to the group to deal with while you go to the next 5 down the hall than do it. Obviously this is not idea if the add you leave behind has mechanics that can kill group members. Or a full health add that hits hard. But if the last add is like at half health and the troll can stun it than you can find better use getting the next group of adds ready. Now key phrase here is Within Reason. If there is a DPS that keeps going ahead of the group because theres only 2 adds there and he can scoreboard chase with the 3 ahead than let them die. You are meant to stay ahead within reason, not to bail out a little scoreboard chaser.

    -One major thing people have issue with is over stunning adds. Adds get immunity if you keep using the same type of CC over and over. If you use 2 or 3 stuns back to back than you risk them getting immunity meaning that you can not CC (crowd control) them. In reg this may not be an issue but in elite this can cause wipes. If you can try to rotate stuns. One of the best CC types in knock back/downs. Mix this in with stuns or other types of CC to make sure they do not get immunity. Resonating Gale will probably be your best friend. You could also add frost slam as a nice knock down. You would be surprised how little damage I take as a ice dps in solos/duos because I have a perpetual CC chain on adds lol

    -Recognizing similar mechanics is something important for you to get used to. A lot of similar mechanics can be interrupted the same way. So being able to recognize a type of attack can help you deal with raids you have not gone into. For example. A popular and easy to read mechanic is the single target channel ability that you see throughout DLCs. You can see it in the pod boss in chaos gotham. Or first boss in shattered gotham. Or a lot of places. These sustained beams can be lunged at most of the time to interrupt. Same goes for enemies/bosses using weapon types. If a boss uses Hand Blasters than they will most likely use pulse beam which again is a channel. Or the upwards hit which can be blocked. Brawling enemies like to use heymaker and the hold range block break. Bow like to use flurry shot. One handed like to use flurry. ETC. Learning some basic weapon combos can help you counter enemies without relying on having to see the counter icon over their head. I actually have that icon turned off myself.
    • Like x 6
  6. Max Maximus Well-Known Player

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  7. FreezyPop Well-Known Player

    Thanks, all. I'm not posting much because I'm trying to listen more and synthesize advice vs my own learning style / play strengths & weaknesses. I did want to pop in to express my thanks for the responses, though :).
  8. catplaysxoxo Loyal Player

    What’s your loadout, artifacts, skill points, pretty much tell us everything you have. More than so we usually get players who want help tanking but always leave out the important parts such as the ones I mention. This is something I grabbed from another thread that I typed. Hope it helps.

    While in tank role (shield symbol) you gain +65% defense while not blocking. Having high defense helps you TANK (take hits) meaning obtaining tank gear will increase your overall defense making the +65% worthwhile. You will also find that in tank role your powers cost less.

    Ice Armor: Ice unique tank mechanic. When you use any shield (it can even be Hardlight-Shield from the iconic tree) you activate your ice armor mechanic granting you an additional +35% increase to your defense so 65+35=100. +100% defense and all you need to maintain that is to keep activating your shields. A tank shield is based off of the shield formula using Dominance and Restoration. I don’t have the exact values of that formula but as a tank in this case ice, your dominance will make your shields stronger. Whenever you activate a power while in tank role you generate hate which taunts the enemies.

    As a tank you need a pull. Inescapable Storm is your goto for pulls. As for shields I witnessed that your ice armor last longer than 12 seconds. How do I know this? When I tested ice tanking just for the giggles I only ever needed to use Reflection shield. It has a 12 second cooldown and my Ice Armor was still active. Ice has three shields but only one of them is 12 seconds. Winter Ward and Shatter Restraint both have an 18 second cooldown. Amazonium Deflection and Hardlight-Shield have a 30 second cooldown. The drawback to ice tanking is that it’s a defensive powerset that doesn’t really have healing powers except for Ice Hibernation.

    Fire is all about healing and having high health. While in tank role you gain +50% Health (your base health value goes up) you also gain +50% incoming Healing (your fire powers that grant you heals gets increased)

    Fire Soul: Just by being in tank stance you get +35% increase to defense. It becomes +60% defense when you damage enemies that are on fire. You must reach a certain hit points to get the maximum effect. I believe it’s 11 hits or 15 not sure exactly.

    Rage is a mixture of ice and fire and here’s why. While in tank role your defense is increased by +50% and your health is increased by +20%. While in tank role you get to use Scar Tissue. It’s a passive effect that when you reach a certain hit count your health increases. You get more value the higher your dominance and the amount of Scar Tissue is 40% of your dominance.

    Rage second mechanic is called Fervor which is only activated by using a power that it list in its description. Powers such as Severe Punishment, Redirected Rage and Remorless Recovery. By using any one of those powers your defense is increased by I believe +45%.

    Earth has two methods of tanking the aftershock tanking and brick tanking. While in tank stance you gain +65% defense increase.

    Aftershock Tanking are powers that you combo into such as Jackhammer, Upheaval and Earthquake. By comboing them your defense is increased by an additional 55% which is called Stone Skin. You will spikes coming out of your body indicating you activated stone skin.

    Brick tanking gives you Earthen Bond which causes 50% incoming damage to be transferred to your pet. I used both tanking methods for Earth and although I like seeing big numbers with aftershock tanking I found brick tanking more manageable and easier to tank. Brick doesn’t just take 50% damage from you it also taunts enemies and pulls them. Makes things easier in my opinion.

    Last Atomic. My favorite tank power and I believe to be incredibly rewarding when done right.

    While in tank stance you gain +90% defense increase. All your attacks causes you to heal yourself by 2% of your health.

    Quark Aura: While active you get 25% damage absorption and atomic combos heal you for 40% of your dominance. Three things that I noticed from atomic.

    1. 90% defense increase just by being in tank stance and not doing anything. That’s more than any tank passive without doing anything.
    2. You get to heal yourself by doing damage via your atomic combos. You’re doing two things at the cost of one simply by performing atomic combos.
    3. Your aura absorbs 25% damage. Mix that with a shield and it becomes valuable.

    Just by this information alone you’ll get a good idea on which tank you want to try. When you have enough experience you’ll see what gear mods will help you. For example atomic gives you 90% defense. The neck mod gives you 10% so in total you have 100% defense base value.
    • Like x 2
  9. FreezyPop Well-Known Player

    I feel like I have a decent understanding of what build expectations are from guides here and on YouTube. Mostly I've been wondering about my expectations vs others as to how one generally progresses through a mission barring special mechanics (and I think I have a better idea of that now, thanks all. I think I've not been as entirely off base as I'd feared). I'll throw the current build details in here since you asked, though.

    My current builds are generally modifications of the ObsidianChill ice tanking guide(s) (I made some deviance in places to accommodate things that give me personal trouble when trying to play). I have four armories, but only listing the two tank builds I use for missions:

    CR 357 (I still have a few items to get of the martian gear, and only started getting / leveling OP gear with this latest ep since I was always behind the CR curve previously)

    SP 327 (yes, this is sub-par and after a very brief dalliance, I won't be going anywhere near elite, but I don't have a lot of survival issues in regular for the most part. I think that's thanks to Ice being shield-heavy, and thus one of the more single-stat friendly tank powers. In any event, I've been moving this needle faster after the recent changes that made all content source mark relevant).

    Origin Augments: Dominance 312 x4
    Adaptive Augments: Legion of Doom Dom 28 x2 (swapped for varying levels of completion augs in other adaptive aug content).

    Movement: Flight (I'm well aware that Super Speed is the "meta," but despite several good faith attempts, I just can't control my toon well enough; I wind up literally upside down and sideways attached to walls and ceilings and random objects. Folks may be annoyed by the speed of flight, but I'm a lot worse at keeping up in SS since I'm usually fighting to figure out where the heck I even am ;) ).

    General Hallway / Add load out:

    Mesmerizing Lasso (previously Inescapable Storm)
    Resonating Gale
    Frost Slam
    Hard Light Shield
    Winter Ward

    (utility belt: Breakout trinket, Supply Drop, Chronometric Emitters, Tier 3 Motherbox).

    Generally with this I use the "gale at range" trick -- still getting a feel for how far away I can do that -- so I usually only need a pull when adds are especially spread out.

    Boss Fight Loadout:

    Mesmerizing Lasso
    Amazonium Deflection
    Hard Light Shield
    Winter Ward
    Shatter Restraints

    (utility belt: Tier 3 Motherbox, Orbital Strike, Personal Dampening Field, Sidekick with shielding boost)

    Boss fights are where I tend to need as many shields as possible. Since Bosses can't be pulled, it doesn't hurt to turn Lasso into a hard taunt here, and the artifact change lets me still yank adds if a boss fight happens to have them while keeping that extra slot open for shield(s).

    Arts for both:

    Mystic Symbol (121)
    Manacles (199)
    Lasso (128)
    Bottled City Soder (6)

    I realize the Lasso gets an iffy response from folks, but the fact is, I wasn't seeing any better survivability with Everyman (120) or Circe (119), and Inescapable Storm is a much more chaotic pull. Like with Super Speed, I'm more than willing to concede this is a Me thing, but every time I had to pull adds with it, they seemed to scatter sideways even as I pulled them closer, which then required me to pull several extra times before they were close enough for Gale to be useful.

    With Lasso + art, I've found I get better results (especially when I'm trying not to get too cranky from a group scattered all over a large field simultaneously yelling "tank pull adds" ;) ). I have yet to land in a group that wants to run 2 tanks (I almost always pug, because I can't predict when I'll have play time well enough to be a reliable person for manual grouping), but it's an easy swap to one of my other 120 arts if I need a single pull Lasso again.

    I know the hard taunt only applies to the primary target, but unless I missed something, that doesn't negate the other Tank ability, which is that all powers jump you to the top of the threat table just below any hard taunts once adds are close enough. Obviously mileages vary, but so far I've had more success getting adds where I want them (and keeping them there) this way than I did with Storm.

    Combat: HOL Bot, Lvl 5
    Support 1: Flashpoint Batman Lvl 7, Sole Detective
    Support 2: Calculator-Bot Lvl 5 (Occasionally Cyborg Lvl 8, but I usually don't have power issues when I tank)


    42.4 Dom, Health, and Might.
    I have the first two Affinity Mods in (1% Dom), but since I only have the LoD neck leveled up enough, that only really pops in clamped content (I have one of the Elite rings from Long Live the Legion, which combined with the Affinity mod, bumps my Dom slightly higher under clamp than the higher level 308 ring I'm currently using in end game).

    Relevant Gear Mods:
    Absorption Adapter, Fortified Assault, Accelerated Winter Ward, Hearty, Restorative Frost Slam, Tumbling Master.

    I think it's a reasonably decent build, though obviously I have a long way to go building SP and art levels (the clamp changes have been helpful there for me, since there are a lot of style feats I'm still missing. Between the more randomized styles in clamped loot drops and the much more prolific source mark opportunities, I'm knocking those off slowly but surely).
    • Like x 4
  10. xxHELLSTROKExx Loyal Player

    I’ll start with your AoE loadout. You can ditch either resonanting or slam since they both do the same thing differently. I’d stick with resonanting since you’ll be slow to the adds as flight and you can hit this and group them for the dps and then lunge in. Slam works and gives you some self healing which is nice but really only great for stationary boss fights.

    Yes the group pull is pretty terrible for tossing adds everywhere. Lasso will group them up better but despite how it’s all described, any add that gets tethered does not have aggro to you. It’s weird and they should but they will 100% about face and attack the group. You have to follow it up with something. Lasso is great for a single pull for sure and the heal backs are nice but new artifact is coming that will be much better for self healing. Clarion should be out Thursday.

    Everyman isn’t great for ice since it should only work when you’re health drops and if you’re a good ice tank, your health should never be a factor unless you screwed up. It can work very well in sm and if there’s a lot of shield penetration mechanics. Circes is great during adds and pretty useless during boss fights. I’ll be using clarion/manacles/mystic for bosses and swap clarion for circes during adds/ hallways.

    Sounds like you’ve found what works for you and that’s what’s important. No one style works for everyone. Just keep an eye on your groups health while using lasso. Like trigon fight in Cou type of fights. When those eyeballs come out and you lasso, watch what they do next. Same in tsd with dilf Superman. Those adds come out, lasso them. Then watch them wreck the group. It’s a fun artifact for sure but it isn’t a tank necessity like mystic and manacles. As long as you have those 2, play around and see what’s comfortable.

    I’d read the Clarion test thread tho. I did a lot of testing with ice. It’s amazing. And you can dual role it if you switch to prec which Ice loves for battle tanking.
    • Like x 3
  11. FreezyPop Well-Known Player

    i guess I should be checking my understanding of aggro / tank aggro on this one. How I understand it to work:

    * For non-tanks, generally the hate table is a combination of when you hit an enemy and how much damage you're doing to the enemy. Most of the time, whoever has the most burn is probably the person the enemy's going to target.

    * Any time a tank uses a power from their bar, though, whether it's a damaging power or not, that tank jumps to the top of the hate table for any enemies within X distance of the tank (I'll set aside the mystery of how to calculate distance onscreen in the middle of a fight while I'm shifting zoom and camera angles to try and not miss things ;) ).

    * The only thing that can jump someone higher on the hate table for ~12 seconds after a tank pops a power nearby would be (a) another tank using a power (via the "when" factor in the table) or (b) a Single Target Hard Taunt (I don't think there are multi-target hard taunts, so that may be redundant). The latter can only be bested by another hard taunt.

    * A Single Target Hard Taunt avoids taunting other enemies besides the target even as it taunts them 'better' than the standard aggro effect of a tank.

    If I have all that right, how I think it should work is that Lasso snatches a group of adds and drags them toward me. At that point, while I have CC on the group, I only have aggro from the main target. However, any power I pop when they're in range (including shields), should by all rights jump me to the top of the hate tables for all the other adds in the dragged grouping.

    Is that not how it works? Does a single / hard taunt DEtaunt all the other adds? And / or is detaunting something the Lasso artifact does (and if so, is that by design or is it a bug)?
    • Like x 1
  12. xxHELLSTROKExx Loyal Player

    You’re spot on. I’ve never used the artifact, just seen it in action. And seen it cause major issues, mainly with ice. And I think it’s user error but may be range related? I’m thinking that they pop a shield then hit lasso then go into weapon attacks. Which won’t hit everything so the adds meander off. Chances are, they hit their strongest shield so don’t hit a power bar power? All guessing I just know that it happens often enough that it’s become a problem that a lot of tanks aren’t getting.

    I only use lasso for st stuff. And now that the clarion artifact is out, I know I’ll never try it. The self heals from that are great and it’s got the strongest shield in the game. And then the added extras of more damage out/ group healing. For me it’s easy anyway. I just drop shatter restraints for the weapon buff and put circes in the bank or leave it for adds loadout. Probably be collecting dust.
    • Like x 1
  13. FreezyPop Well-Known Player

    Oh, I'm definitely intrigued by Clarion knowing it works for tanks, though I probably won't try anything with it until there's a double XP week/end (I'm trying to get myself to curb my previous "feed everything to something immediately" tendencies after folks have pointed out just how much more you can get out of saving up Nth). I have a few 120-ish arts that I don't think I'm really using / getting enough out of, so I can feed those to it then. Really curious how it might work on my "open world to survive boss fights" attempt at a prec battle tank build which already uses the weapon buff.
    • Like x 1
  14. xxHELLSTROKExx Loyal Player

    It will work very well. I tested it on a lot of powers. It works great on ice because our health pool is much lower than others. It won’t help with brick earth tanking anymore since it no longer heals pets. (Sorry bout that, I swear I only wanted the shield change!) But now no healer needed for better groups in regular alerts. Tank with this and 3 dps should be able to survive anything. For solo life, you can run this and go ham with prec ice battle tank.

    Fire, it works tho fire has such a high health pool and tons of heal back already that it may not be needed if you’re built well enough and have high sp. Atomic, nah. That’s just might based. Rage, it could work but rage doesn’t really need it. For healers tho, it’s a great 3rd choice if you’re adamant about not running EoG. Paired with page and phr in a hybrid build, solo healing elites should be a breeze. But again, EoG should be the call.
    • Like x 1
  15. DeitySupreme Steadfast Player

    The reason that lasso does not taunt other enemies pulled is because lasso itself is a single target hard taunt. The artifact does not change how it taunts in aoe. So the user would still need to aggro the pulled enemies after being pulled by lasso. For ice in particular it is common for the user to clip lasso with a shield. However this does not taunt enemies farther away. An ice tank would have to follow up the pull with another ability. Mainly resonating gale or frost slam.

    The clarion works fine with ice tanking. Or tanks in general. Ice is not as good as fire because fire tanks are already speccing a lot into resto after health. Ice tanks would probably be 2nd best when speccing evenly with dom/resto since resto also increases shield strengths. Ice tanks have recently been divided on how to spec as ice since some prefer higher health pool while others want stronger shields. In most cases thou, ice tanks would spec into health and dom. If using the clarion artifact it may be worth doing health resto instead.

    As for earth clarion... damn you hellstroke!!!!! you foiled my plans for world domination!!! (for anyone who is sarcasticly challenged... I was DEFINITELY not kidding!!!... ok i was kidding)
    • Like x 1
  16. xxHELLSTROKExx Loyal Player

    I still feel awful about it if that helps :(
  17. DeitySupreme Steadfast Player

    Lol no need. I understand why some wanted it this way