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The Rules[edit source]

Note: moved from article's page

I copied this from a post on the Bioware Social network.

Do you mean you have Taunt up or Threaten up? From my experience Threaten is a near useless ability, and Taunt is more or less an instant aggro. From my cursory look at threat in the toolset - and I am not a programmer by any means - here's the basics:

For warriors and mages 1 damage = 1 threat. For rogues 1 damage = 0.8 threat.
Threaten doubles threat from damage, I think Frightening Appearance triples it, not sure.(edit: your article cites a 100% increase in threat from Threaten, yet here you say you're not sure. I've looked at the specified abilities in the toolset on the PC and found no such information to support this claim. Please provide the source for this data or clarify the article.)
Taunt generates an immediate 300 threat on everything in range, increased to 400 with Frightening Appearance.

I haven't had any problems holding aggro with Taunt only on my Nightmare playthrough. I'm ignoring Threaten altogether so far.

When an enemy first perceives (each of your) characters they assign a random value of threat between 0 and 10. If you are not playing on Nightmare, they then assign an additional 5 threat to anyone wearing light armor and 10 threat for medium and higher (this is based on the item in your chest slot). Note that massive does not grant a bigger bonus than medium or heavy. I guess cloth by omission gets 0. They then add an additional 5 threat to anyone equipped with melee weapons. As you can see these are piddly amounts and unless I'm missing something only serve to make enemies initially focus on your tanks/warriors - a light breeze will pull aggro at this point. And as you can see, on Nightmare you only get random aggros.

As far as I can tell the "wear massive armor" thing doesn't actually do anything? But you'll be wearing it (or heavy with a dex build) anyway so whatever.

Enemies attacking a character with 20% health or lower have a 50% chance of sticking to that character even if you would otherwise pull aggro. Enemies attacking a character with 10% health or lower have a 90% chance of sticking to that character even if you would otherwise pull aggro. (edit: is this merely from observation or is there a source you can cite for these statistics?)

There is a sort of limit to the number of times an enemy will switch targets. Every time they change targets, they'll stick to it for 5 seconds, increasing by 5 seconds for each switch (until it resets after it reaches 25 seconds). I think this is what explains my experience with Revenants, who chase people around even though they're not doing damage any more (running for their life) while everyone else is still piling on dps. The other time this is most noticeable is right after a mage aoes and pulls a bunch of aggro and you have a hard time getting them off. All this applies less to enemies using ranged weapons (don't know if this includes staves/mages or not) who are free to change targets faster.

Using abilities generates threat on top of the damage it deals. This varies depending on the ability. 100 extra threat on Arrow of Slaying, 100 on Taunt (? seems weird but I guess it's there, making it a total of 400 threat, 500 with Frightening Appearance), 50 on Walking Bomb, etc. And on hard or nightmare, Walking Bomb generates double threat on use, so 100. From my experiences, finding this out does not surprise me...
Although the wiki says the extra threat from abilities might be obsolete, so I can't say if that's how it actually works.

Also, besides the threat mechanics, enemies also have behaviours. Depending on the enemy they might try to avoid melee, avoid nearby enemies, prefer to use melee or ranged weapons, give chase or not, etc.
P.S. I have no idea how Dog and Shale work with Threat.

Stackable Increased Hostility Item Bonuses; Heavy Armor Threat[edit source]

  • I'm under the impression the 'Increases Hostility' bonuses from equipment are stackable. I can think of no viable way to prove it, but empirically, Alistair equipped with Ageless + Cadash Stompers seems to generate significantly more threat, than the same Alistair with Ageless alone. Of course, that could be an optical illusion, so to say, but if so, it was quite a persistent phenomenon :)
  • Based on my experience, the in-game hint of 'heavier armor draws more hostility' is completely off the mark. The enemies usually go for the mages, even if the mages are yet to cast something. No complaints: that's a perfectly reasonable tactical solution, to be sure. I'm just saying that hint should not be taken seriously, and, as such, probably should either be moved to a footnote, or get no mention at all in the Threat article. Unless we are trying to mislead people, that is :) IN 01:21, February 6, 2010 (UTC)
You can take a look at the combat scripts in the Toolset. It has the code for hostility target selection in there. -- tierrie talk contr 09:24, February 8, 2010 (UTC)

(1) Unfortunately, I cannot. I happen to be one of those unlucky guys experiencing severe system reboots/crashdowns with Toolset installed.

(2) I trust you understand perfectly well the script can be executed in a wrong manner if a source code it is based upon is wrong. I do not doubt you are not mistaken about the combat scripts, such as they are. But, honestly, is the scripted AI behaviour consistent with your own in-game experience? I. e., do the enemies really tend to target (at the very start, before your mages cast any spells) your heavy/massive armor wearers first, then light armor, then mages? If your answer is 'yes', we are probably playing different games (FYI: PC version, patch 1.02) :) If your answer is 'no', we probably need to remove the reference to the irrelevant and, ultimately, misleading in-game hint. IN 10:39, February 8, 2010 (UTC)

I wanted to add to this discussion that in my experience they do follow armor values, BUT they often go for the controlled character for me before heavier armor; I havn't observed them going directly for any of my mages so long as they are not casting unless it is the character I am controlling, additionally my warrior wearing blood dragon armor and no shield always has aggro initially, and if I switch to alistair he always has the aggro. I think its possible the controlled character at the start of combat has a higher base threat; on the other hand though a behavior I have observed when facing the boss ogre at Ostagar is that when he does his aoe knockdown ability, 100% of the time he goes right for the mage despite alistair/tower guard having solid threat on him. This suggests two things: when an enemy knocks a npc or pc down it wipes all threat, and second mages have a high basic threat. If we consider this with the possibility that the controlled character has a higher base threat it could mean that heavy armor only contributes to your threat at the start of combat. Finally, low health seems to generate huge amounts of threat in my experience at least on enemy mages. I play on the PC version. 71.119.62.85 12:10, February 8, 2010 (UTC)

I always play with tactics off, as I find letting the AI battle the AI a somewhat entertaining, but, sadly, not disproportionately effective approach in this game :) So I don't know whether all or none of my characters should be considered 'controlled'. I'm quite positive I never start combat while directly controlling my mage. The tank always makes the first move, while the rogue archer does his prebuff sequence (The Tainted Blade->Pinpoint Strike->switch to ranged->Aim). Concerning knockdown->aggro switch: it's a very good and valid point, overall. I think it actually does happen a lot. Not in my case, though, since my tanks always have Indomitable toggled on. On a side note: I believe mages may generate threat at the start of combat by the very fact they have sustainable spells on. That would be a plausible explanation. I'll try to experiment a bit. IN 12:53, February 8, 2010 (UTC)

Okay, topic closed, I guess :) The solution was to read 'The Rules' post on this talk page attentively. The problem is I play on Nightmare, and on Nightmare only. Heavy>Light>Mage Clothing routine is irrelevant on Nightmare. I'm removing my remark from the main article. I'll put a 'non-Nightmare only' rule reference instead. Thanks for the discussion! IN 13:18, February 8, 2010 (UTC)

More percise information[edit source]

It would help if there was a table listing how much threat is generated by each skill. I'd do it myself, but I don't have access to the toolset.


So, for example, which spells/sustained abilities should you use as an AW to gather & hold threat? I've seen conflicting reports that cleansing aura, miasma, the hexes etc do/do not causes threat.


I'm currently trying to get some answers from the horse's mouth, so to say :) As soon as I'll get a definite reply from Georg Zoeller, I'll add information concerning additional threat generated by talents and spells.

Regarding tanking with AW: strictly speaking, it's sub-optimal. As overpowered as this specialization is, it's simply not built to draw threat. Most of the spells you can cast with your weapon drawn do not generate much threat, while heavy-damage AoE spells that do draw decent threat usually require sheathing your weapon, thus resulting in a waste of time.

P. S.: As a reply to you question on Talk:Aura of Pain. The aura does generate some AoE threat (proportional to damage dealt), and as such, may be used as an opener. However, since the damage it deals is miniscule, it is not a reliable threat-drawing option mid-combat. Refer to my Tanking: An Alternative Approach for some additional technical details on tanking and threat. IN 18:21, February 21, 2010 (UTC)

Any new news on threat & miasma?

It does not generate any additional threat, as far as I can judge from my own testing and G. Zoeller's notes. IN 21:23, March 6, 2010 (UTC)

Well someone has edited this page as it now states that miasma does provide some intial threat. How about cleansing aura? That's the other spell that I hear cuases threat. Was it tested?

There is no threat for Cleansing Aura. Look at the Verification section of the page. Everything has been tested, but that doesn't mean there were no testing mistakes. If you want to check things yourself, look at my talk page. There are some scripts there to log threat values. --69.163.243.32 12:25, March 13, 2010 (UTC)
Actually, there was a lot of work and many discoveries in Threat department over the last week. I'm sorry I forgot to update my answer here. Everything is extracted now directly from the game scripts, so yes, the info is reliable. IN 01:39, March 13, 2010 (UTC)

Threat-Altering Items on the XBox 360 Version[edit source]

I've seen the remarks that the threat-altering items no longer since the version 1.02 patch... but that leads to two questions:

  1. Were they working BEFORE that?
  2. Since us console-users haven't received the same patch that the PC users have (to the best of my knowledge), does that mean that the items work for us as they're supposed to?

~ SotiCoto 02:29, March 25, 2010 (UTC)

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