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  • Group Tactics - Playing Well Together

    This post is provided as a guide to understanding how group tactics work best, with a focus on aggro management roles. While this is most evident in a 5 man group, it applies to raids as well, although large 20+ raids typically require more specialized tactics.

    I have a heightened awareness of the role of aggro management because of playing a warrior. The whole purpose of a warrior as main tank is to gain aggro, hold aggro and have the survivability to stay vertical while the rest of the party dps’s and heals. Gaining aggro on multiple mobs is even trickier and requires that the entire party understand and cooperate to keep things working.

    Definitions:


    Main tank: The reason why you need a main tank for a dungeon is that when fighting single targets (bosses), there is no tactic a damage-dealer can use to reduce the amount of aggro he produces (except to stop attacking). You simply need someone who can out-aggro anyone, with high enough armor to make healing effective. Also, if a healer is being mobbed, and is forced to start healing himself, it can create an aggro lock that is almost impossible for anyone to break.

    Off-tank: An off-tank is a player that can safely and effectively tank one enemy. Depending on the situation and composition of your group, this may apply to anything from warrior to paladins to rogues or range-spec hunters. Basically, if you are fighting more units than the main tank can handle (damage- or aggro-wise), an off-tank needs to step in. As stated in the tips and tricks below, try to go for a target that isn't being attacked, it will be much easier for you to pull, and you will not need to attack it continuously to keep it locked on you.

    How To Play Well Together

    The character that initially gets the attention of a mob gets a bonus to his or her threat levels. Thus, it’s going to be important to let warriors do the pulling. "Pulling" is a term that refers to gaining the attention of mobs in the hope that they can be pulled back to a safe area, thus letting you pound on them without having to worry about them escaping and drawing the attention of any other nearby enemies. This is usually accomplished by a warrior's charge or by a gun or other ranged weapon, which will let you grab the attention of an enemy.

    Of course, you won’t always be able to get a single enemy at a time. Most of the lower-level instanced dungeons will have good spacing on the foes, but when you start hitting the dungeons for players at level 40 or above, you’ll find yourself running into many groups of enemies that cannot be separated, meaning that you’ll have to face two or elite foes simultaneously. This is where crowd control comes in handy. If you have a class with some sort of crowd control ability (meaning an ability that can temporarily remove a foe from battle, like the mage’s Polymorph or rogue’s Sap abilities), then you can cut the number of foes by a bit and let your party concentrate on the others until the crowd control runs out.

    Whether you have one enemy or many, it’s important to know what precisely causes threat. The most obvious threat-builder is damage; if you hit an enemy with a spell or weapon, you’re going to generate aggro, making it likely to attack you. The more damage you do, the more aggro you build up. This is why it’s important to use the /assist command to be sure that you’re targeting the enemy that your warrior is currently fighting; if your warrior is both damaging the enemy with weapons and using his Taunt ability consistently, then he should be able to hold the monster’s attention no matter how much damage you’re dealing. Some abilities generate more aggro than others. Mages can generally out-DPS all of us, but at the risk of generating more aggro than anyone else. Some hunters produce so many crits that they become the big aggro generator. Smart play says: MANAGE YOUR AGGRO GENERATION to let the MT keep aggro and the mobs away from everyone else.

    Also note that it’s difficult for a warrior to hold aggro on multiple enemies at a time. If he has two or more enemies attacking but is only able to attack/Taunt one of them, then the other will likely slide off and attack the first party member that deals damage to it. Thus, you likely don’t want to go around spamming area-of-effect damage spells unless you’re sure that you can deal with one or more of the foes if they wind up whacking on you.

    One of the less obvious sources of aggro, though, is healing. Mobs hate it when someone gets healed, and they’re likely to go straight for the healer if they haven’t already been attacked. Even if they’re currently being Taunted and attacked by a warrior, mobs can still be jolted loose by powerful healing spells, such as the priest’s Greater Heal. For this reason, most healing classes prefer to go for weaker healing spells that can be cast quickly and more often, such as Lesser Heal or Flash Heal; these will give you less aggro with only slightly less efficiency, while still leaving you with the option of a big heal in an emergency. Regeneration spells like Renew or Rejuvenation probably earn the least aggro of all, since they spread their healing effects over a long period of time.

    Typical Desired Sequence of Events:


    Encounter mob. Before engaging, the Leader assigns targets and crowd control roles (sheep, sap, shackle, etc.). Leader specifies where the mobs will be fought.

    MT pull with charge or ranged weapon (unless leader designates hunter pull, or other character to pull). Sap, if being used, will precede the warrior pull. Warrior maneuvers mob to desired engagement area. Polymorph or shackle spells are usually applied immediately after the warrior pulls.

    MT will apply taunt, sunder armor, thunderclap, shield block, sweeping strikes or other aggro-generating actions to establish and hold aggro. The MT needs a bit of time to get aggro firmly established. This should take 3-10 seconds for most mobs. DO NOT ATTACK UNTIL MT OR LEADER SAYS "GO"!!!! It is critically important that ONLY the MT’s target should be attacked. Unless you can handle your target(s) alone, do not aggro them with spells or attacks. This is especially so for AOE spells. NOTE: If the MT was the one who pulled AND if no one else has attacked, ALL THE MOBS WILL BE FOCUSED ON THE MAIN TANK! This is what you want to happen. In contrast, if you pull with a mage pyroblast or other spell, the aggro is directed to the caster and everyone scrambles to find a target to help. Ugly!

    Variation: The MT solos on the big elite while the Off Tank (OT) takes on another target. All other damage dealers assist the OT. Healers keep both tanks up. OT target goes down and all switch to MT target. Nuke until dead. This scheme is commonly used (with some modification) on instance bosses.

    Generally good advice:
    • Spread out a little, if you stand in a tight group the MT can't see who's being attacked.
    • By clicking on a party member and hitting the "F" key, you can see which mob is targeted. A good sequence is to left click on the MT, then hit "F" to automatically select the MT's target. This works for any other character as well.
    • Don't overnuke! If you are being attacked, switch target or stop attacking. (to casters) If you're being attacked, run towards the tank. If you are close, the MT can get the mob off you easier.
    • When you find mobs let the tanks TANK, do not immediately launch a fireball or shadow bolt into the mobs. Let the tanks grab aggro and have at least 5 seconds to build aggro before you start with the fireworks
    • Be very cautious about AOE spells when around sheeped/shackled/sapped mob(s). Damage from AOE will break the crowd control early and generally results in a chaotic scramble. Not a good thing!
    • When you draw aggro, RUN TOWARD THE TANK! You probably can’t get away from the mob very easily but you probably CAN get close to the tank, and you DON’T want to get away from the tank. Avoid the parade of squishy<---mob<---tank.
    • Good DPS classes don’t just unload, they manage their hate by slowing down a little. Playing in a group is the time to focus on PARTY SUCCESS, not in topping the Damage Chart. That’s time to use your wands, unload 2 to 4 mid-sized nukes and then start using your wand. Hunters in particular need to be mindful of their crits. Hunter crits=Big Aggro-->mob chases hunter-->hunter feigns-->chaos reigns while party scrambles to help-->UGLY!!!
    • Even if you’re not the tank, it's your job to protect the rezzers. If a priest is getting hit, just unload with everything on the mob that is hitting the priest.
    • /assist Learn how to use it, learn to love it and make a macro out of it.
    • Keep an eye out for runners.

    Last Word:

    Let the leaders lead. The leader should know and understand this tactical approach and others that may be more suited for a particular encounter. My post is to put forward a standard tactical approach that can be regularly implemented. If you want to see what REALLY works, set up a 5 man baron, scarlet or scholo run.
    Last edited by beep; 12-13-2005, 12:49 PM.
    Beep


    Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do. - (Isaac Asimov)

  • #2
    Re: Group Tactics - Playing Well Together

    There is also a heal priority list Im working on relating to how much mana I have left and how much damage the tank is taking. At all times MT and OT are 1 and 2 on the list. I will spam out heals if I notice another class has pulled aggro and is taking damage I'll keep them up as long as MT are not taking damage. But I'm getting to the point if a class breaks aggro and can't handle the beating they are about to get (usually a mage or a lock ) they are on their own.

    I can't stress enough how important it is help the MT and OT keep their aggro!! Everything works out really well when the MT just sits there and takes a beating. It's also great for the healer as he/she can get a rythm to how much damage is being taken by the MT and go into mana efficient mode by casting the PHAT healing spells.

    Nice post Beep, I hope all will read it.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Group Tactics - Playing Well Together

      Beep, Nice post. I like it a lot. It will help everyone if they read it and follow it. One small omission though.

      Druids in Bear form do have a taunt which makes them A great off-tank, especially when there is no other warriors around.

      Kemo
      Last edited by Kemotaha; 12-14-2005, 02:06 AM.
      Kemotaha

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Group Tactics - Playing Well Together

        Originally posted by Kemotaha
        Beep, Nice post. I like it a lot. It will help everyone if they read it and follow it. One small omission though.

        Druids in Bear form do have a tuant which makes them A great off-tank, especially when there is no other warriors around.

        Kemo
        Good point!
        Beep


        Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do. - (Isaac Asimov)

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Group Tactics - Playing Well Together

          In addition/clarification:

          Tanks can hold aggro on multiple mobs, but only so long as they are focused on a 'primary' target that the group is also engaging. I've held several (3-4) mobs at once by using druid Swipe (warrior's cleave) and Demoralizing Roar (warrior's Demoralizing Shout) to keep the 'adds' aggro'ed on me, and used my taunt to keep the primary target.

          In panic situations, taunt (10 sec cooldown), Bash (60 sec) and Challenging Roar (10m, warrior's Challenging Shout) are options to retain aggro on the adds. I've also found casting a large heal or two will often pull aggro off a healer, and keep the healer alive
          So many scripts, so little time!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Group Tactics - Playing Well Together

            Originally posted by Rose
            In addition/clarification:

            Tanks can hold aggro on multiple mobs, but only so long as they are focused on a 'primary' target that the group is also engaging. I've held several (3-4) mobs at once by using druid Swipe (warrior's cleave) and Demoralizing Roar (warrior's Demoralizing Shout) to keep the 'adds' aggro'ed on me, and used my taunt to keep the primary target.

            In panic situations, taunt (10 sec cooldown), Bash (60 sec) and Challenging Roar (10m, warrior's Challenging Shout) are options to retain aggro on the adds. I've also found casting a large heal or two will often pull aggro off a healer, and keep the healer alive
            What's true for the Bearform Tanking is even more true for Warrior tanking, with slightly faster cooldowns...'cept the Warrior can't cast a heal:row__632:
            Beep


            Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do. - (Isaac Asimov)

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Group Tactics - Playing Well Together

              I'm starting to play instances more frequently now and found this post invaluable. Could someone discuss the role of the "main assist?" I am unsure how the MA and the MT interact. Should party members set their assist macros to assist the MA or the MT?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Group Tactics - Playing Well Together

                Originally posted by beep
                This post is provided as a guide to understanding how group tactics work best, with a focus on aggro management roles. While this is most evident in a 5 man group, it applies to raids as well, although large 20+ raids typically require more specialized tactics.

                I have a heightened awareness of the role of aggro management because of playing a warrior. The whole purpose of a warrior as main tank is to gain aggro, hold aggro and have the survivability to stay vertical while the rest of the party dpsís and heals. Gaining aggro on multiple mobs is even trickier and requires that the entire party understand and cooperate to keep things working.

                Definitions:


                Main tank: The reason why you need a main tank for a dungeon is that when fighting single targets (bosses), there is no tactic a damage-dealer can use to reduce the amount of aggro he produces (except to stop attacking). You simply need someone who can out-aggro anyone, with high enough armor to make healing effective. Also, if a healer is being mobbed, and is forced to start healing himself, it can create an aggro lock that is almost impossible for anyone to break.

                Off-tank: An off-tank is a player that can safely and effectively tank one enemy. Depending on the situation and composition of your group, this may apply to anything from warrior to paladins to rogues or range-spec hunters. Basically, if you are fighting more units than the main tank can handle (damage- or aggro-wise), an off-tank needs to step in. As stated in the tips and tricks below, try to go for a target that isn't being attacked, it will be much easier for you to pull, and you will not need to attack it continuously to keep it locked on you.

                How To Play Well Together

                The character that initially gets the attention of a mob gets a bonus to his or her threat levels. Thus, itís going to be important to let warriors do the pulling. "Pulling" is a term that refers to gaining the attention of mobs in the hope that they can be pulled back to a safe area, thus letting you pound on them without having to worry about them escaping and drawing the attention of any other nearby enemies. This is usually accomplished by a warrior's charge or by a gun or other ranged weapon, which will let you grab the attention of an enemy.

                Of course, you wonít always be able to get a single enemy at a time. Most of the lower-level instanced dungeons will have good spacing on the foes, but when you start hitting the dungeons for players at level 40 or above, youíll find yourself running into many groups of enemies that cannot be separated, meaning that youíll have to face two or elite foes simultaneously. This is where crowd control comes in handy. If you have a class with some sort of crowd control ability (meaning an ability that can temporarily remove a foe from battle, like the mageís Polymorph or rogueís Sap abilities), then you can cut the number of foes by a bit and let your party concentrate on the others until the crowd control runs out.

                Whether you have one enemy or many, itís important to know what precisely causes threat. The most obvious threat-builder is damage; if you hit an enemy with a spell or weapon, youíre going to generate aggro, making it likely to attack you. The more damage you do, the more aggro you build up. This is why itís important to use the /assist command to be sure that youíre targeting the enemy that your warrior is currently fighting; if your warrior is both damaging the enemy with weapons and using his Taunt ability consistently, then he should be able to hold the monsterís attention no matter how much damage youíre dealing. Some abilities generate more aggro than others. Mages can generally out-DPS all of us, but at the risk of generating more aggro than anyone else. Some hunters produce so many crits that they become the big aggro generator. Smart play says: MANAGE YOUR AGGRO GENERATION to let the MT keep aggro and the mobs away from everyone else.

                Also note that itís difficult for a warrior to hold aggro on multiple enemies at a time. If he has two or more enemies attacking but is only able to attack/Taunt one of them, then the other will likely slide off and attack the first party member that deals damage to it. Thus, you likely donít want to go around spamming area-of-effect damage spells unless youíre sure that you can deal with one or more of the foes if they wind up whacking on you.

                One of the less obvious sources of aggro, though, is healing. Mobs hate it when someone gets healed, and theyíre likely to go straight for the healer if they havenít already been attacked. Even if theyíre currently being Taunted and attacked by a warrior, mobs can still be jolted loose by powerful healing spells, such as the priestís Greater Heal. For this reason, most healing classes prefer to go for weaker healing spells that can be cast quickly and more often, such as Lesser Heal or Flash Heal; these will give you less aggro with only slightly less efficiency, while still leaving you with the option of a big heal in an emergency. Regeneration spells like Renew or Rejuvenation probably earn the least aggro of all, since they spread their healing effects over a long period of time.

                Typical Desired Sequence of Events:


                Encounter mob. Before engaging, the Leader assigns targets and crowd control roles (sheep, sap, shackle, etc.). Leader specifies where the mobs will be fought.

                MT pull with charge or ranged weapon (unless leader designates hunter pull, or other character to pull). Sap, if being used, will precede the warrior pull. Warrior maneuvers mob to desired engagement area. Polymorph or shackle spells are usually applied immediately after the warrior pulls.

                MT will apply taunt, sunder armor, thunderclap, shield block, sweeping strikes or other aggro-generating actions to establish and hold aggro. The MT needs a bit of time to get aggro firmly established. This should take 3-10 seconds for most mobs. DO NOT ATTACK UNTIL MT OR LEADER SAYS "GO"!!!! It is critically important that ONLY the MTís target should be attacked. Unless you can handle your target(s) alone, do not aggro them with spells or attacks. This is especially so for AOE spells. NOTE: If the MT was the one who pulled AND if no one else has attacked, ALL THE MOBS WILL BE FOCUSED ON THE MAIN TANK! This is what you want to happen. In contrast, if you pull with a mage pyroblast or other spell, the aggro is directed to the caster and everyone scrambles to find a target to help. Ugly!

                Variation: The MT solos on the big elite while the Off Tank (OT) takes on another target. All other damage dealers assist the OT. Healers keep both tanks up. OT target goes down and all switch to MT target. Nuke until dead. This scheme is commonly used (with some modification) on instance bosses.

                Generally good advice:
                • Spread out a little, if you stand in a tight group the MT can't see who's being attacked.
                • By clicking on a party member and hitting the "F" key, you can see which mob is targeted. A good sequence is to left click on the MT, then hit "F" to automatically select the MT's target. This works for any other character as well.
                • Don't overnuke! If you are being attacked, switch target or stop attacking. (to casters) If you're being attacked, run towards the tank. If you are close, the MT can get the mob off you easier.
                • When you find mobs let the tanks TANK, do not immediately launch a fireball or shadow bolt into the mobs. Let the tanks grab aggro and have at least 5 seconds to build aggro before you start with the fireworks
                • Be very cautious about AOE spells when around sheeped/shackled/sapped mob(s). Damage from AOE will break the crowd control early and generally results in a chaotic scramble. Not a good thing!
                • When you draw aggro, RUN TOWARD THE TANK! You probably canít get away from the mob very easily but you probably CAN get close to the tank, and you DONíT want to get away from the tank. Avoid the parade of squishy<---mob<---tank.
                • Good DPS classes donít just unload, they manage their hate by slowing down a little. Playing in a group is the time to focus on PARTY SUCCESS, not in topping the Damage Chart. Thatís time to use your wands, unload 2 to 4 mid-sized nukes and then start using your wand. Hunters in particular need to be mindful of their crits. Hunter crits=Big Aggro-->mob chases hunter-->hunter feigns-->chaos reigns while party scrambles to help-->UGLY!!!
                • Even if youíre not the tank, it's your job to protect the rezzers. If a priest is getting hit, just unload with everything on the mob that is hitting the priest.
                • /assist Learn how to use it, learn to love it and make a macro out of it.
                • Keep an eye out for runners.

                Last Word:

                Let the leaders lead. The leader should know and understand this tactical approach and others that may be more suited for a particular encounter. My post is to put forward a standard tactical approach that can be regularly implemented. If you want to see what REALLY works, set up a 5 man baron, scarlet or scholo run.
                Thanks very valuable info

                Comment

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