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Discussion - Let's discuss 6 boxing without a conventional tank (1 Viewer)

What should I put in my last two slots?

  • Dru/Nec

    Votes: 2 6.7%
  • Dru/Mag

    Votes: 2 6.7%
  • Sham/Nec

    Votes: 5 16.7%
  • Sham/Mag

    Votes: 11 36.7%
  • Bst/Nec

    Votes: 10 33.3%

  • Total voters
    30
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Mischief, 85 Bard/Wiz/Mag/Enc
I've been slowly adding to my crew over the past year and I'm up to 4 but I have been often boxing a friend's Druid who has been gone for a month or two but still paying his sub and uncertain of his return. I am a Bard main, so my group has just been progressively building off of that main box. I started with adding a Wizard so I could do AOE pulls and fell in love with the class, so that's sort of the second main. No forms of automation are currently being used on either of them. I then added a Mage because I needed some form of tank with taunt, but I'm stubborn and wanted more damage. Lastly, I then added an Enchanter for all the goodies they bring for casters, plus mezz and more pets for the Mage.

Now that I'm down to the last two spots, I know everyone is saying PUT AN SK IN THERE, but like I said earlier, I'm stubborn. I feel like I could put a second Mage in there and just put Druid in the last spot and still be able to get a lot done. If the Chanter has a charm there's basically 3 pet tanks there to protect the group. Now, I know that this might not be conventional and I would never expect even 3 pet tanks to be able to hold aggro as well as a PC tank... but how bad would it be? The Bard alts to a Pally and the Wiz alts to a Cleric and all these characters are pretty much full BiS. So, it's not like I don't have access to a tank, but I just wouldn't use it often for group missions, collections, hunter, that kind of open world group level stuff.

I do enjoy a challenge, but I just want to hear some other people's opinions on running a full caster group without a convential tank. I don't want to handicap my experience with this decision, but I feel pretty confident in my ability to do it. Please, knock me off my pedastal.
 
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nec and bst --- you can drive on the nec and use it instead of the sk
I've heard Necro a couple times, but I don't know how it makes sense with all this burst damage. Maybe it's my fault, Necro is one of the classes I have the least amount of hours on especially in these later eras. I'm not opposed to learn if it makes sense though? And the Bst is for the mana regen, more pets, and pet buffs?
 
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Beast adds a lot and a necro might be sub-optimal for group dps but will blow the doors off on longer encounters like missions. Plus the necro pet is no pushover especially with mage toys.
 
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I'm also stuck a little confused about the suggestion to not bring a real healer. Is a Bst and pet heals really enough to keep a group alive? I'm sorry, but I just haven't heard of a comp like that. Would love to hear some additions, reasoning, or any other suggestions as well.
 

Sic

[sic]
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I'm also stuck a little confused about the suggestion to not bring a real healer. Is a Bst and pet heals really enough to keep a group alive? I'm sorry, but I just haven't heard of a comp like that. Would love to hear some additions, reasoning, or any other suggestions as well.
feels weird being like "i know everyone is saying but i wanna do something different" and then asking about the suggestions =p

you sound like your mins is undecidedly made up. :p

use a nec/bst and shm for the last two slots then
nec has a rez, and other utility - it "plays" a little like an sk from a driving perspective --- you pull, send pet hit some dots then go pull another while rest of group is handling stuff in camp - i did that for a long time before a tank.

real tank >>> pet tanking >>> lfg in the lobby

but you don't want a real tank, and didn't want to handycap yourself

you're already at a damage disadvantage with both an enchanter and a bard --- double priest or double CC is overkill
 
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I once tried 4 mages, an enchanter and a druid.

Royally sucked because pets just cannot AE aggro. So many bad pulls resulted in a total wipe. The chanter would go down first, then the druid, then each mage in succession.

And I leveled them all to about 81 so it wasn't just an overnight trial sort of thing. But it was fun in a masochistically manner!
 
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feels weird being like "i know everyone is saying but i wanna do something different" and then asking about the suggestions =p

you sound like your mins is undecidedly made up. :p
My mind is actually very much not made up. That's why I wanted to hear some advice from people who have more experience than me with boxing. I'm asking about the suggestions because there's some things that I don't have knowledge about that that I would love to learn. If had my mind made up I would have finished the 6 box setup during the Extra-Life bonus.

real tank >>> pet tanking >>> lfg in the lobby

but you don't want a real tank, and didn't want to handycap yourself
I literally said in the first post, please knock me off my pedestal. I feel like I could be very successful with a full caster group, but I don't have sufficient experience or knowledge pertaining to boxing compositions and I want people who do to help me make the right decision. I am not completely opposed to putting an SK in that spot if it's truly the most optimal and I am handicapping myself by not doing it, but I've just been able to do anything I've wanted to without a real tank so far. We're also reaching an era on Mischief where I have no experience with in a few months so even more so I'm not sufficiently informed to know how these classes evolve.

you're already at a damage disadvantage with both an enchanter and a bard --- double priest or double CC is overkill
Fuggin sick, dude. Thanks for telling me my composition is already trash. 🤣 Not sure what to do about that. At least the Bard alts to a Paladin sometimes. I brought him for twincast aura&flare, slow, and automated CC. The twincast aura alone made him feel like a viable addition to the caster group, but what can I say. I'm a moron.

I once tried 4 mages, an enchanter and a druid.

Royally sucked because pets just cannot AE aggro. So many bad pulls resulted in a total wipe. The chanter would go down first, then the druid, then each mage in succession.

And I leveled them all to about 81 so it wasn't just an overnight trial sort of thing. But it was fun in a masochistically manner!
The way that I currently am able to do it is I have the Bard at max AC for the era and I will pull ~10 yellows and pull them all in, AOE mezz, then blow them up one by one. It's not like I don't ever have a bad pull and die but I can go for hours without deaths sometimes. And if I'm in a zone with like dark blues then I can just kite pull and AOE.

If I switch the Bard to Paladin then I'll just AOE the group down even if it's 10 yellows. That's why I keep a tank available just in case if I want to really go balls to walls. So, I do understand the value of a tank. It does make big pulls a lot easier.
 
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If you're maining a Bard at 86 you get your first Barrier which will proc a 4~ second stun. Build your Bard speccing like any other plate tank and be sure to have a healer. Max out shield block and equip the best shield that you can.
 
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If you're maining a Bard at 86 you get your first Barrier which will proc a 4~ second stun. Build your Bard speccing like any other plate tank and be sure to have a healer. Max out shield block and equip the best shield that you can.
This is unironically kind of how this all started. I drive with the Bard and I can't change that, it's my main and my favorite class so I can play it better than automation with my eyes closed. I'm at ~1900AC w/o a shield, so ~2200 w/one. That's only about 100 AC less than my pally. I've got the best possible mitigation gear, 25% hate mask, AAs maxed out so he's incredibly tanky. He can pull and then tank a group for long enough to get tash&mezzes up and then the Mage pet is usually taking aggro with pet taunt or the mob is bouncing between Bard and the pet. I know it's kind of a joke that a Bard can kind of tank, but with the right setup he's a pretty good off-tank for group lvl content.

I really wanted to love the Necro idea, but I also really don't want to drive with one and I feel like his DPS/utility would consistently suffer with the Mage/Wiz bursting everything in group level content if I don't drive him. I've talked to a lot of people over the past couple days though and I feel like I've been at least semi-reassured that the no-tank idea is actually viable. Plus, I've got the Pally if I really need a tank. Just the idea of my alt group halfway thru the xpac when I'm AA capped being SK/Pal/Shm/Enc core is kind of cringe. Plus, with the recently acquired knowledge that I am running "CC overkill", it only makes sense that I just throw more damage in there to compensate. From what I've heard and experienced, I don't think there's much I won't be able to do? Idk, maybe I'm wrong. Would still love someone to knock me off the pedastal and tell me how I'm completely wrong and need a tank though, lol.

giphy.gif
 
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I currently play Pally shm brd nec mag wiz. So super caster-heavy. I recently got the itch to play around with a Bst because why not lol. So i switched pally out for a bst and yes, the pet tanking with a mage and bst pet is viable but I feel the difference of not having my pally tanking. The biggest difference is missions, it's a ton easier to do the missions with a real tank vs having to manage pet tanks on multiple targets at once. With pets, it's the lack of AE threat that makes it rough. So can I get through most quests and some missions without a real tank? Absolutely, but it requires a lot more micro-managing and work vs hitting an AE threat ability on my real tank while the Bard CCs if I even bother with CC. With a solid tank, as long as I don't pull more than 20 mobs in a zone I can get through it fairly easily now.
 
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I currently play Pally shm brd nec mag wiz. So super caster-heavy. I recently got the itch to play around with a Bst because why not lol. So i switched pally out for a bst and yes, the pet tanking with a mage and bst pet is viable but I feel the difference of not having my pally tanking. The biggest difference is missions, it's a ton easier to do the missions with a real tank vs having to manage pet tanks on multiple targets at once. With pets, it's the lack of AE threat that makes it rough. So can I get through most quests and some missions without a real tank? Absolutely, but it requires a lot more micro-managing and work vs hitting an AE threat ability on my real tank while the Bard CCs if I even bother with CC. With a solid tank, as long as I don't pull more than 20 mobs in a zone I can get through it fairly easily now.
Well, hopefully the fact that I'm running Bard+Enc then there should be enough CC control to make sure I'm not getting pummeled by adds. It's been working so far, and although I've been using a tank merc+heal merc for my last two slots, the tank merc is really just like another pet, lol. It does require a lot more work compared to just AE taunt and do dmg, but I think I'm pretty determined to make it work now. At least until it doesn't any more and I can just switch the Bard to Paladin and act like it never happened. ;)

I still wish sic would have explained the Bst+Necro option a little more though. Seems pretty interesting to run without a real healer or tank.
 
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My mind is actually very much not made up. That's why I wanted to hear some advice from people who have more experience than me with boxing. I'm asking about the suggestions because there's some things that I don't have knowledge about that that I would love to learn. If had my mind made up I would have finished the 6 box setup during the Extra-Life bonus.


I literally said in the first post, please knock me off my pedestal. I feel like I could be very successful with a full caster group, but I don't have sufficient experience or knowledge pertaining to boxing compositions and I want people who do to help me make the right decision. I am not completely opposed to putting an SK in that spot if it's truly the most optimal and I am handicapping myself by not doing it, but I've just been able to do anything I've wanted to without a real tank so far. We're also reaching an era on Mischief where I have no experience with in a few months so even more so I'm not sufficiently informed to know how these classes evolve.


Fuggin sick, dude. Thanks for telling me my composition is already trash. 🤣 Not sure what to do about that. At least the Bard alts to a Paladin sometimes. I brought him for twincast aura&flare, slow, and automated CC. The twincast aura alone made him feel like a viable addition to the caster group, but what can I say. I'm a moron.


The way that I currently am able to do it is I have the Bard at max AC for the era and I will pull ~10 yellows and pull them all in, AOE mezz, then blow them up one by one. It's not like I don't ever have a bad pull and die but I can go for hours without deaths sometimes. And if I'm in a zone with like dark blues then I can just kite pull and AOE.

If I switch the Bard to Paladin then I'll just AOE the group down even if it's 10 yellows. That's why I keep a tank available just in case if I want to really go balls to walls. So, I do understand the value of a tank. It does make big pulls a lot easier.
Since you asked for opinions/advice, here it is.
Continue to drive your Bard. I love mine and wouldnt change it for anything. There is advice in the thread telling you that you are losing dps with a Bard and a Chanter in group. And that is true, to a point. If you ded, you dont dps diddly. And from what you have written so far, you love to swarm pull. Personally I drive a Bard because I can pick off a specific target out of a mess of mobs and bring it to my group. My Chanter is there in case I mess up, and somehow end up with more than intended at camp.

Now to the original question in your post. Yes. You can run a group using pet tanks. No, you will not be able to swarm pull end game with pet tanks, you will be taking many many dirt naps if you try. I know lots of people going to be upset when I say this, but my SK *is* a pet tank. I dont main him, have little interest in doing so. Bard brings mob to group, SK attacks (along with Mage/BL/Shammy/Chanter pets) and mob dies. Rinse, repeat.

Sic said it best... Tank>>Pet Tank>>LFG in Lobby. Tanks require a *lot* of work: gear, AA's, writing the perfect .ini file, etc etc etc. Pets can be fully geared in 4-5 spells. And are expendable. I spent the time to create a SK pet. But that's me. In the end, here's the best advice anyone can give you:

You do You. :)
 
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Continue to drive your Bard. I love mine and wouldnt change it for anything.
medieval-bard.jpg
Now to the original question in your post. Yes. You can run a group using pet tanks. No, you will not be able to swarm pull end game with pet tanks, you will be taking many many dirt naps if you try. I know lots of people going to be upset when I say this, but my SK *is* a pet tank. I dont main him, have little interest in doing so. Bard brings mob to group, SK attacks (along with Mage/BL/Shammy/Chanter pets) and mob dies. Rinse, repeat.
Totally understand why the concept of swarming without a tank seems unfeasible, but it's not entirely impossible. My average pull size is probably 7 or 8 yellows. With this I'm usually able to tash&mezz the group, wizard+mage pop on them and burn down like 2 or 3 of them, then start AOEing with dirge+wiz funnel+mag beam in bursts together, AOE mezzing in between cooldowns. When I do pull out the Paladin though, I am able to handle a good 12 pack and just face tank them. Makes it signficantly easier with less deaths at the end of the night.

Tanks require a *lot* of work: gear, AA's, writing the perfect .ini file, etc etc etc. Pets can be fully geared in 4-5 spells. And are expendable.
I don't mind necessarily doing the work. The reality that I would probably need to do all that same work again for a DPS alt to the SK for when I play my Pally may be true though. This is all just a cumulative effect of me originally only planning to 2 box, then I just keep adding more boxes ever since they dropped truebox. I didn't properly plan these alts that now I'm raiding weekly with. 🤣 If I had come into the game originally planning to 6 box this wouldn't be such a pain to decide on. I would have said, "Okay, SK/Sham/Bard, let's go from there." but I just didn't plan for my future boxes properly and now I'm here.

I think I'm just going to full send it and if it comes to a point where I am struggling to keep up with content or do things that I want to then I'll alt someone to an SK. I really do appreciate your advice and your time as well.
 

Mishka

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With the new expansion due, you probably do not need a real tank in LS. The 2 missions are pet tankable, and pets are preferred in one of the mission due to the mechanics. Personally I will drop my sk, and add a second mage to the boxed crew. During beta, there was no real use for a puller og any hard content to use a real tank.

So in LS atleast, I think we will see more tanks LFG P

PS You would need a class which uses mana for stun, if you want to bypass mechanics in a mission. (Dru, ench, cle, paladin, nec, hmm)
 
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Would I be able to do Nec/Bst and still drive with the Bard? I'm concerned that if I'm getting aggro on the Bard that he will die without a Dru. This sounds like a lot of fun if someone could explain the strategy as to how it works that would be super helpful.
 
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Of course a Bard would ask this question. First you should play what you enjoy. But there is content. Group content you'll be cutting yourself out of without a traditional tank of some kind.
 
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Just want to make sure I understand your composition,
Bard, Chanter, Druid, Wizard, Mage + ? ? , You only have room for one more, unless that druid is going away?

Let's assume below is your composition and you are looking for two more spots:
Bard, Chanter, Wizard, Mage

This is how I would approach it if I am the one setting up a group for exp grind: (this is how I do quick mental calculation back in the days of dreadlands and karnor's castle)

Here's my first impressions:
1) You obviously have no issue with mezzing or crowd control. You should not have oh shit moments unless the mobs are not mezzable. (then this group is toast or in a really bad shape...)

2) Your DPS are casters. Wizard will need the ability to aoe with no aggro to fully utilize DPS with highest efficiency. (assuming the mobs you are
hunting are not resistant to magic)

3) You have no healers, so you need a healer of some kind. if you only have a mage pet as a tank, then you need to have the ability to heal that pet (mages has that, but it will take away their mana for dps)

4) Your group is very squishy and you are not able to heal reliably to save yourselves. Your tank(temporary) is your healer (bard)

5) You have a slight problem. Your wizard needs to aoe in order to be the most mana efficient but your setup is only allowing it to do a one on one mob kill due to your double mezzer role here. Wizard can do single nuke efficient as well but they are most efficient as aoe nukers.

Here's what I think and why others are recommending certain classes:
Highest Recommendation since you want an unconventional group...: Necro + BeastLord
Why this combination:

1) Necro have a pet, can pump mana into wizard (highly recommend using necro in this way : pet + mana + temp pet tank on a slowed mob) . only time necro does not pump mana into a wizard is if you have a named mob with high health. In this instance, necro is suddenly the most mana efficient due to the dots.

2) Beastlord have a pet, can slow mobs, some dots, have some group buffs (especially group sow), a poor man's shaman with a great dps pet.

3) Both of these roles will benefit from chanter + bard mana song + Mage weapons + Damage Shield. Thus, more synergy.

Other important Notes:
a) Both the chanter and the beastlord need to cast at the same time, chanter tash and beastlord slow. You don't have a healer so you will need to have runes or something that will absorb damage.

b) This is a pet heavy team and pets will be your expendable resources, not your players. Be prepared to sacrifice a pet in order to save the group. You have pets from Mage + Necro + BeastLord + Chanter (Normal Pet or Charm? Again, I would not charm unless you have a healer or you are confident your bard can regain aggro temporarily while your chanter attempt to recharm)

c) Mage should have an earth pet to at least have some sort of tanking capability since all your characters are squishy including the bard.

d) Remember to always play your mana + health song as a bard no matter in or out of combat. Do not underestimate this because each mana = dps for your caster group. Your little combat boost will never be greater than mana for your entire caster heavy group.

e) Your wizard is THE MOST mana efficient dps. It really shines when it can aoe without drawing aggro. Your setup prevents aoe. So, it's better to just use your most mana efficient bolt spells for the one on one mob nuking. I will only use AOE nuke for emergencies. (your group is about to die from a train of mobs unless you expend all your mana and try to kill as many as you can)

f) You have a get out of jail card: Wizard Evac. So if things got tough, Evac and try again

g) Remember to use mage to upkeep your damage shields on your main tank pet and bard. Treat Mage as Pet Tank healer.

h) Your chanter should NOT charm if you don't have a healer. You have no ways of healing yourselves.

i) Bard needs to be pumping mana to this heavy caster group at all times to ensure highest dps efficiency and uptime. Bard is only to be used as temp tank or temp mezzer in oh shit moments.

j) I would personally use chanter to pull in your setup. Keep your bard playing mana song to the group. Chanter can also steal mana if I am not mistaken.

Alternative Combos: (you need some kind of dedicated healer for the oh shit moments due to how squishy your group is.)
Druid + BST/Necro (Have druid upkeep damage shield as well in addition to mage (i forgot if they stack)). Druid can also heal and nuke. Beastlord can also slow and have a pet. Druid also has a rez too.
Shaman + BST/Necro: Shaman also has a 90% rez but can only rez outside of combat. Will fulfill the responsibilities of a main healer. Especially at High level. He/She can also buff the whole group and all your pets. Shaman no longer needs cleric at high levels. Shaman can also continually cannibalize and remain at high mana at all times.
Cleric + BST/Necro: Cleric can rez during combat. Has 96% rez. Excellent buffs and lots of healing capabilities. Necro will benefit from the healing to get mana.

Additional Notes:
You should pay for a Shaman/Cleric to buff your entire group and your pets if you chose to go without a shaman. Or have your cleric merc do that for cleric buffs. Really depend on the last two spots are pet heavy or not.

I hope this helps. Of course, you do not have to follow everything I recommend but you must at least acknowledge the weak points of your setup and it's strong points. I hope this at least brings you insight on thinking as a fully functional cohesive unit instead of I am a bard main.
 

bolerus

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an all mage group is something to behold.

Personally my group is Mage main (currently 120) mage 2 (114) chanter(113) wiz(108) cleric(108) and sk (112)

I play on test, and the mage has the latest -1 expansion, the rest have max 115 expansion at the moment, once I have gotten my head around redguides (only joined today) ill probably buy some expansions :)

before i found this, i would generally have a group of the 2 mages, and the chanter. dependent on what i was doing, usually self healing (the mage delayed heal is very powerful) but now i have a new dynamic to learn
 
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I am very confused why you have an issue driving with a tank? You can have hotkeys activate all the bard abilities from the tank. I also have no idea why you would want to handicap yourself without a tank. Can you do a lot of content without a tank? Uh probably. Seems very unnecessary. This whole game is built around tank, healing, cc.
 
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What content are you trying to clear?

You stated you're on Mischief, which is about to go into UF. UF starts at Korafax level and only gets harder from there.

UF is very group centric, most mobs summon, they start hitting at 7k I believe and come with lots of special abilities / AE's. Props to you if you can manage, but I see this group being on the struggle bus trying to do any new content.

Personally I would go Pal/Dru with that setup, with the chanter doing slows, paladin covering group heals and druid as main healer + adps for casters.
 
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yeah once you gear them up and get the group to a high level of function, its probably gonna be able to handle most things you could with a tank. you're just gonna have to face alot of sticking points that you wouldnt have to with a tank. your progression at a certain point will either take more attention/skill/gimmicks, or just have to take a more winding path to get through some of the harder content. i mean, you can do most of the content with a trio if you put in the extra effort, so theres really no question of "can it be done?". of course it can. question is if you wanna put in the effort and why.

the main issue i foresee with it as that i expect that alot of the harder content is going to be done Via backtracking. theres always some way to grind past a sticking point and then do the content while overleveled, benefiting from the stronger pets and such. i feel like you would miss out on all the times i had leveling up where i had to work to make my tank handle the current level appropriate content. i feel like with pet tanks you're just gonna be having to wait until youve outleveled the missions in order to do them. maybe pets are stronger than i give them credit for.
 
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Multiple people suggesting I should add Paladin.
The Paladin I play is on the Bard account. That's the whole reason I have been so persistent on making a team without a traditional tank is so that when I alt to him, then I am not running two tanks. I wish with all my soul that they would bring back account transfers so I could correct the mistake I made putting the Paladin on the same account. I've done a significant amount of work on him already and just making a new one would be reversing months of effort. Unfortunately, these decisions were made in the before time when I was only planning to 3 box at most, so I had two sets I would switch between when my mains capped out. Now I'm raiding on both sets [Brd/Wiz & Pal/Clr], each with a different guild.

I'm really trying to just make the best of the situation possible. Maybe there will be content I can't handle and I'll end up running the group with the Paladin more often than with a Bard. I can't be sure of any outcome here, but over the course of the past week I've talked with a few dozen people about this and have come to the conclusion that it is possible. That's the main reason why I started asking around and canvasing a little asking people if they had any experience doing this and had success. To my surprise, despite a little half or more of all responses I've gotten have just been telling me to roll a real tank, there has been another group of people who have been very encouraging and offered viable strategies based on their personal experiences. I've learned a lot, and I think that despite there being a few missions here or there that I can't do, I still can always alt the Bard to Pally and do the content worst case. This is especially easy to do on a free-trade server because they share most of their non visibles. The Bard might miss out on an achievement here or there or something but I think that it's an overall solid plan?

Unfortunately, I still can't fkin decide what to do for my last two spots, but I am going no tank at this point. I've really boiled it down to Mag/Sham, Dru/Nec, or Bst/Nec, but the Bst/Nec comp scares me and I don't want to end up investing all this time into setting it up and then be horrible at it. That's why I'm really still leaning towards the Mag/Sham, just because it would be just adding more of what I'm already doing pretty much. Mage brings stronger pet, burst which is more wiz/mag synergy, more AOE, plus I already know the class and have the plugin. Necro has rezz, group mana, FD, more swarm pets, but I don't have any experience playing the class in this era. Every time I think I've made up my mind, I hear another point that makes me sway again. I try to be a decisive person but this one is just friggin hard.
@brilucdestiny
Thank you for the detailed write-up. Your time and contribution to this thread is very much appreciated. I spent a ton of time searching the forums for other people's opinions on these non-tank caster compositions and I think this thread will act as a very good resource for anyone who has the same question as me in the future.
 
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Necro for sure as one of them. There comes a time where mobs outlast the burst of a group and it is just amazing to know that the other end of the spells is going to be falling over no matter what.
 
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Just want to make sure I understand your composition,
Bard, Chanter, Druid, Wizard, Mage + ? ? , You only have room for one more, unless that druid is going away?

Let's assume below is your composition and you are looking for two more spots:
Bard, Chanter, Wizard, Mage

This is how I would approach it if I am the one setting up a group for exp grind: (this is how I do quick mental calculation back in the days of dreadlands and karnor's castle)

Here's my first impressions:
1) You obviously have no issue with mezzing or crowd control. You should not have oh shit moments unless the mobs are not mezzable. (then this group is toast or in a really bad shape...)

2) Your DPS are casters. Wizard will need the ability to aoe with no aggro to fully utilize DPS with highest efficiency. (assuming the mobs you are
hunting are not resistant to magic)

3) You have no healers, so you need a healer of some kind. if you only have a mage pet as a tank, then you need to have the ability to heal that pet (mages has that, but it will take away their mana for dps)

4) Your group is very squishy and you are not able to heal reliably to save yourselves. Your tank(temporary) is your healer (bard)

5) You have a slight problem. Your wizard needs to aoe in order to be the most mana efficient but your setup is only allowing it to do a one on one mob kill due to your double mezzer role here. Wizard can do single nuke efficient as well but they are most efficient as aoe nukers.

Here's what I think and why others are recommending certain classes:
Highest Recommendation since you want an unconventional group...: Necro + BeastLord
Why this combination:

1) Necro have a pet, can pump mana into wizard (highly recommend using necro in this way : pet + mana + temp pet tank on a slowed mob) . only time necro does not pump mana into a wizard is if you have a named mob with high health. In this instance, necro is suddenly the most mana efficient due to the dots.

2) Beastlord have a pet, can slow mobs, some dots, have some group buffs (especially group sow), a poor man's shaman with a great dps pet.

3) Both of these roles will benefit from chanter + bard mana song + Mage weapons + Damage Shield. Thus, more synergy.

Other important Notes:
a) Both the chanter and the beastlord need to cast at the same time, chanter tash and beastlord slow. You don't have a healer so you will need to have runes or something that will absorb damage.

b) This is a pet heavy team and pets will be your expendable resources, not your players. Be prepared to sacrifice a pet in order to save the group. You have pets from Mage + Necro + BeastLord + Chanter (Normal Pet or Charm? Again, I would not charm unless you have a healer or you are confident your bard can regain aggro temporarily while your chanter attempt to recharm)

c) Mage should have an earth pet to at least have some sort of tanking capability since all your characters are squishy including the bard.

d) Remember to always play your mana + health song as a bard no matter in or out of combat. Do not underestimate this because each mana = dps for your caster group. Your little combat boost will never be greater than mana for your entire caster heavy group.

e) Your wizard is THE MOST mana efficient dps. It really shines when it can aoe without drawing aggro. Your setup prevents aoe. So, it's better to just use your most mana efficient bolt spells for the one on one mob nuking. I will only use AOE nuke for emergencies. (your group is about to die from a train of mobs unless you expend all your mana and try to kill as many as you can)

f) You have a get out of jail card: Wizard Evac. So if things got tough, Evac and try again

g) Remember to use mage to upkeep your damage shields on your main tank pet and bard. Treat Mage as Pet Tank healer.

h) Your chanter should NOT charm if you don't have a healer. You have no ways of healing yourselves.

i) Bard needs to be pumping mana to this heavy caster group at all times to ensure highest dps efficiency and uptime. Bard is only to be used as temp tank or temp mezzer in oh shit moments.

j) I would personally use chanter to pull in your setup. Keep your bard playing mana song to the group. Chanter can also steal mana if I am not mistaken.

Alternative Combos: (you need some kind of dedicated healer for the oh shit moments due to how squishy your group is.)
Druid + BST/Necro (Have druid upkeep damage shield as well in addition to mage (i forgot if they stack)). Druid can also heal and nuke. Beastlord can also slow and have a pet. Druid also has a rez too.
Shaman + BST/Necro: Shaman also has a 90% rez but can only rez outside of combat. Will fulfill the responsibilities of a main healer. Especially at High level. He/She can also buff the whole group and all your pets. Shaman no longer needs cleric at high levels. Shaman can also continually cannibalize and remain at high mana at all times.
Cleric + BST/Necro: Cleric can rez during combat. Has 96% rez. Excellent buffs and lots of healing capabilities. Necro will benefit from the healing to get mana.

Additional Notes:
You should pay for a Shaman/Cleric to buff your entire group and your pets if you chose to go without a shaman. Or have your cleric merc do that for cleric buffs. Really depend on the last two spots are pet heavy or not.

I hope this helps. Of course, you do not have to follow everything I recommend but you must at least acknowledge the weak points of your setup and it's strong points. I hope this at least brings you insight on thinking as a fully functional cohesive unit instead of I am a bard main.
Overall, I liked the post. Your advice about Bards however, couldnt possibly be more wrong. mana and health song is so far down on the list for Bards, I cant imagine anyone wanting to use it, unless your group is in med mode.
I run a 11 song melody all the time... 4 DOTs, 2 DDs, Crescendo, and 4 group songs...
Lets take a quick peek at why Bards are universally loved:

Aria of Phi: 47% increased spell damage for casters. 25% haste for melee. increased chances for triple attack and flurry. Hardly a "little combat boost"
Song of Suffering: 14k proc for group melee hits

I wont bore everyone with the continuing list, but you get the idea.

One song of note (pun intended) would be Crescendo. has a 30 sec cooldown, but its in my melody for a free hp and mana boost.
 
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I really appreciate everyone who helped me with this decision and the people who were open-minded enough about non-meta play styles. I felt like it was necessary to update this and add a final note of my own in case anyone is like me and spends hours searching everywhere about the overall viability of a composition that does not have a traditional tank, and scouring every post to acquire as much information possible.

First and foremost, I want to state that I am not advocating that you go play this yourself. I am not saying that this is BETTER than running a traditional group with Tank/Heal/CC/3 DPS, but I do want to speak on the viability because I have found the entire experience very interesting. I ultimately decided to go with a 2nd mage, so my group composition is Brd/Shm/Enc/Wiz/Mag/Mag. The Bard is in near full BiS gear and 100% obtainable AAs and one of the Mages' (they both have highest EM focus available) pet is always an Earth. These, along with swarm pets, act as the main tanks and absorb 95% of the direct damage. Like I stated in OP, I drive with the Bard and manually operate 2nd screen the Wizard. We're in UF and I was able to complete every mission, along with the majority of the bonus challenges. There's some of these fights where you have 3 yellow cons that are ultimately unmezzable, and what I always do is as such:
  1. Setup and position group then set camp.
  2. Pull the desired mobs with the Bard, if there's 3/4+ then I would have a shield equipped for this initial pull.
  3. As I enter camp with the mobs, the tank pet will be sicced onto the group and acquire the majority of the aggro, Bard switches back to dual wield.
  4. The Bard, being the only melee, acts as the secondary tank for the mobs that did not social aggro the pet. This will keep the mobs from ever detaching and attacking the healer.
  5. Wizard and Mages just blow them up, usually so quickly that it goes from 4 mobs to 2 before they're really able to lay too much damage.
And effectively, offense is the best defense with this group. For example, if the Bard is tanking 3 mobs and only one is on the pet (bad pull) then he's not going to be able to tank for very long w/o a shield. So, it's either pop something on the casters and smear the baddies, or switch back to shield on the Bard and possibly use defensive cooldowns. (Last Stand, Shield of Notes, etc.) I've taken this group to Convorteum and done all the open world bosses they have in there as well. With proper positioning and aggro control, I've been able to do them all.

Now, while I may have been able to do all of the content, I assure you that I wiped much more than I would have if I just brought a traditional tank. While I was able to do the no death challenge on all the missions, it may have taken a few deaths to learn and understand how to conquer some of these challenges. Some of these challenges WOULD have been trivialized by simply bringing a real tank and I am very aware of that. However, I have been pleasantly surprised with just how easily I've been able to do all of the content in such a difficult expansion. And who knows, maybe sometime down the line I'll eat my shoe and encounter an event or mission that I am unable to do, but for now that has not been an issue and I honestly don't foresee group content from any upcoming expansion really being an issue.

So, while the question of whether you SHOULD run a group without a conventional tank is entirely dependant on yourself and what you want from the game, I do want to make it entirely clear that it is very much possible to create a viable group that can go toe to toe with any conventional group without bringing a "tank". You should be prepared to endure a greater challenge than a conventional group, but it is very rewarding and (at least, for me) extremely enjoyable and fun. I am not encouraging anyone to do this, but it works for me.


If anyone has any questions about my experience and would like to learn more then feel free to DM me your Discord and we can talk there.
 
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As others have said a few times already, do what you actually enjoy and what gives you satisfaction in the game. But, Im assuming you wouldn't be asking this question if you were dead set on your composition.

I run WAR/SHM/BRD/ROG/MNK/BER with zero raid gear. In my own opinion nothing beats having a Warrior for ease of use and survivability. I use him as driver and puller and breaking a camp I will just rush in and pull whatever handfull of mobs are there without a second thought. 10 mobs, def disc, AE taunt and let the crew beat them down one by one mezzed or not doesn't even matter but the BRD is working Mez anyway.

I will caveat that I have no experience with SK or Pally and I know there are guys on here that swear by SK as the ultimate group Tank and Im sure they can make the case. Again, this is just my opinion since you happen to be asking for opinions.
 
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Skipping a tank might work for older, easier content. HoT gonna be a different beast. If by BiS means you have raid gear. Well then you could do the expansion with 6 shamans.
 
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I played a mage exclusively for 22 years. Once I started here...I dropped an SK in the group as the tank. (SK/BER/BRD/MAG/SHM/ENC) There really isn't a better option for tanking a group setting IMO. My SK in just group gear can pretty much just stand there and take so much abuse its crazy. He solo'd Shalowin in the Heros are Forged mission for the last 10% when an errant note nuked the group. I love the mage still but my darn SK is a beast. If you have BiS on your guys...it would be insane how badass an SK you could have.

In your group if you wanted to add a DPS and light heals...try a BST and PAL.
 
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Skipping a tank might work for older, easier content. HoT gonna be a different beast. If by BiS means you have raid gear. Well then you could do the expansion with 6 shamans.
BiS is obviously raid gear, yes. It's Mischief, there's literally loot raining from the sky. I probably should have noted that is a large part of the reason I even did this. Perhaps HoT "gonna be a different beast" but I'll update this post when I inevitably beat all the content with this group.

I've already admitted that adding a tank would trivialize all the content and I'm not advising to anyone that they run the group I am. I just simply wanted to share my experiences.

Just one thing I despise about this community is that everyone believes that everything has been tested and there's only one way to play this game. Every single time I share about my group on any EQ forums, I get a dozen replies from people just telling me that I'm wrong for doing it this way and another dozen trying to tell me it will end up not working. I do fully realize that there's been a traditional way of playing this game that has existed for almost as long as I've been alive, but I just wish people were a LITTLE bit more open minded about off-meta stuff. You don't NEED to have a Tank/Heal/CC/3 DPS even if that's an optimal route to take.

Give me a taco if you agree!
 
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BiS is obviously raid gear, yes. It's Mischief, there's literally loot raining from the sky. I probably should have noted that is a large part of the reason I even did this. Perhaps HoT "gonna be a different beast" but I'll update this post when I inevitably beat all the content with this group.

I've already admitted that adding a tank would trivialize all the content and I'm not advising to anyone that they run the group I am. I just simply wanted to share my experiences.

Just one thing I despise about this community is that everyone believes that everything has been tested and there's only one way to play this game. Every single time I share about my group on any EQ forums, I get a dozen replies from people just telling me that I'm wrong for doing it this way and another dozen trying to tell me it will end up not working. I do fully realize that there's been a traditional way of playing this game that has existed for almost as long as I've been alive, but I just wish people were a LITTLE bit more open minded about off-meta stuff. You don't NEED to have a Tank/Heal/CC/3 DPS even if that's an optimal route to take.
This is a strange way to reply to this thread. You started the thread with 'please knock me off my pedestal' and end with a diatribe on people being more open minded. So you asked for people to tell you if what you were doing was a good idea, then pronounce them with being close-minded if they say it is not. And using the word 'despise' is a bit much, and pretty much disqualifies you from any future requests for input. Why ask the group you despise for advice? By the way - these are not the EQ forums, and most people here are nothing but helpful.

Anyway, I just read this thread, and wanted to point out that your premise was flawed from the start. You indicated that you wanted to avoid adding an SK because adding a Mage was more DPS. I wanted to provide a data point that my group-geared SK using a 2H with proficiency is regularly among the top DPS contributors to my team. Team makeup is SK+BST+ROG+ROG+BRD+CLR. The SK and the rogues routinely trade top spots on fights. I have a second team with Magicians in it, and the SK DPS numbers compare positively with them. Yes, I have invested more time into gearing the SK, but the DPS loss (gain) is not much, and having the SK provides an heavy duty tank option for when it is required.

As others have said - play your game.
 
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This is a strange way to reply to this thread. You started the thread with 'please knock me off my pedestal' and end with a diatribe on people being more open minded. So you asked for people to tell you if what you were doing was a good idea, then pronounce them with being close-minded if they say it is not. And using the word 'despise' is a bit much, and pretty much disqualifies you from any future requests for input. Why ask the group you despise for advice? By the way - these are not the EQ forums, and most people here are nothing but helpful.

Anyway, I just read this thread, and wanted to point out that your premise was flawed from the start. You indicated that you wanted to avoid adding an SK because adding a Mage was more DPS. I wanted to provide a data point that my group-geared SK using a 2H with proficiency is regularly among the top DPS contributors to my team. Team makeup is SK+BST+ROG+ROG+BRD+CLR. The SK and the rogues routinely trade top spots on fights. I have a second team with Magicians in it, and the SK DPS numbers compare positively with them. Yes, I have invested more time into gearing the SK, but the DPS loss (gain) is not much, and having the SK provides an heavy duty tank option for when it is required.

As others have said - play your game.
I asked for advice 2 months ago. I came here to update and share my experience. Perhaps the word "despise" was too much but I did not say I despise this group, in fact I very much love this group of people. All I said is I despise how people respond to off-meta discussions, I don't see how that has anything to do with my qualification for input requests, and your opinion on my disqualification is irrelevant and I will continue to actively post here if I want input. These ARE EQ forums, they're not the main forums but these are EverQuest related forums. I wasn't just talking about the official forums, but good job on your correction.

Also, my premise is far from flawed. The Magician adds more ADPS to this group by way of keeping the swarm pet count above 7. I'm sure your SK does great damage with a 2h and I'm not denying that this is a possibility but you'll also be pretty close to a Bard in defensive stats without a shield. I don't see how it's relevant that your SK does as much damage as your Rogue when there's a signficant gear difference.

I'm still not advocating for this group composition or telling people to do it. I don't see how it offends so many people when I just share my experiences.
 
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Fair enough if your goal is non-standard...try Bard, Wiz, Dru, Mag x3 get alliance and the swarm pet nukes going and kick ass. If you have high level focus the pets are gonna rock it.
 
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