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Posts with tag aggro

The Light and How to Swing It: The ups and downs of protection's funky aggro

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Protection specialist Matt Walsh spends most of his time receiving concussions for the benefit of 9 other people, obsessing over his hair, and maintaining the tankadin-focused blog Righteous Defense.

Granted, as far as class design goes, protection paladins are sitting fairly pretty (and not just the blood elves). Our rotation is great, our stat priorities produce a fun playstyle, our talents do what they need to. We don't have any serious holes in our stable of cooldowns, and on the whole staying alive isn't really an issue for us as long as there's a healer nearby. If you had to ask me what the biggest source of frustration with my paladin is, I would quickly reply with the inconsistencies of how aggro plays out.

That's not to say that single-target, Patchwerk-like aggro is an issue. Vengeance as-is means that tanks really aren't going to lose threat if they have a lead and they're being punched in the face. Rather, where the look and feel of the system breaks down is on the periphery, and in particular when new adds appear as the clock ticks on those crucial few seconds between spawning and gnawing of the closest healer.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

5 ways to keep your tank happy in 5-man heroics

I recently wrote a similar post about how to keep your healers happy -- now I don't want it to sound like I'm hating on you tanks. See how this is a nice, predictable series? Can you guess what's coming next? I just need to think of another three ways to keep your DPSers happy in 5-man heroics -- but don't worry, I'll run some more heroics and I'll get there.

My first and still allegedly main character is a paladin tank, and I've run a few dungeons in my time. There are some simple things everyone can do to make sure their tank is a happy meaty meat shield rather than a disgruntled defender.

5. Watch your aggro. Remember this from the "How to keep your healer happy" post? Yeah, much as that helps your healer, it also helps your tank. Playing as a paladin, I have one of the easiest AoE tanking rotations out there -- but still, if a DPSer front-loads all their damage into something that isn't my primary target before I've had one GCD to hit the darn thing, even with the new aggro buff, it may well be after you. As a paladin, I can pre-bubble you with Hand of Salvation to decrease the likelihood of this happening or even a Hand of Protection on a caster (or on a melee player to troll them). I also have an arsenal of taunts. However, other tanking classes don't have it so easy -- just give the tank a moment to gain aggro, then attack the thing that they're attacking.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

The new tanking threat paradigm and you

If you're wondering what all the fuss about Ghostcrawler's latest dev watercooler post is about, well, you should probably go read it. Some of these changes have already gone live on the realms, while others won't until the next patch. The basic gist is as follows:
  1. Threat generated by tanks has been increased from 300% of damage dealt to 500%. What this means in practice is if your tank is doing 5k DPS, you'd need to do over 25k DPS to pull threat off of him or her. (You need to do roughly 110% of tank threat to pull once he or she has aggro, so you'd actually need to do 27.5k DPS to pull off of a tank doing 5k DPS.) This change was hotfixed in, so if you're noticing your tank is suddenly doing a lot more threat per second, that's why.
  2. The way Vengeance stacks is going to be streamlined. Vengeance currently ramps up somewhat slowly. In the current model, every time you take damage as a tank, you gain 5% of the damage you take as attack power. So if you're hit for 20,000 damage, you gain 1,000 attack power. As you take more and more damage, this stacks up to a maximum of 10% of your health, so for a tank with 165,000 health, this caps at 16,500 attack power. In the new version, when a tank takes that 20,000 damage, he or she will gain one-third of the damage of the attack as attack power immediately, or 6,600 AP. This is more than six times as much attack power gained as in the current model. Vengeance will otherwise work the way it does now.
These two things combined by themselves mean that, except in cases where the DPS simply blows all their cooldowns immediately upon seeing the trash coming or as soon as they see the boss while the tank is sitting down to eat, threat will be almost trivial for a tank to gain and maintain. In addition to this revelation (which we are already starting to play with right now, as I experienced in a recent pickup Zul'Gurub instance), Ghostcrawler talks about how tanking will be redesigned to remain active with this new design philosophy.

This is really groundbreaking stuff, and it means that patch 4.3 will see the complete dismantling of the legacy of vanilla WoW tanking design. Once, gaining and keeping threat was the most important role of the tank, more important even that survival, and many endgame tanks were warriors 31/5/15 specced into Defiance in the protection tree to ensure threat. These changes can be seen as driving a final nail into that kind of tanking's coffin.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Death Knight

Arcane Brilliance: The mage survival guide, part 1

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week and next, we look at the time-honored tradition of mages dying whenever something looks at them funny and discuss a few ways to break that tradition. Way #1: Stand next to the warlock, pull aggro, cast Frost Nova, then Blink away.

I'm just kidding; that's a terrible idea. Funny, but terrible. Only do it once, purely for the humor value, then concentrate on downing the boss. Okay, maybe twice.

If you've run a heroic in Cataclysm, you may have noticed something: Nobody's healing you. In Wrath, when I'd take my holy pally out for a spin, everybody got heals. I was healing the tank, the off tank, the off-off tank, the DPS, the other healers, the hunter's pet, the death knight's ghoul, the guy standing in the fire ... they all got heals. Now? Not so much.

These days, healers spend 75% of their time healing the tank and the other 25% praying that their mana bars will go back up. That leaves exactly 0% of their time to spend on keeping your mage alive.

We're on our own, guys. When you see your health bar start to drop in a Cataclysm heroic or raid, just know that it won't be going back up any time soon. Our survival as DPSers is squarely our own responsibility. And what's the first rule of magehood? That's right: Dead mages do terrible DPS. We need to stay alive, our raid needs us to stay alive, and the only way that's going to happen is if we do it ourselves.

"But Christian," you might be saying, "I'm a mage! I wear a dress into combat! A particularly vigorous sneeze could kill me." Those things are all true. But you do have a few tricks up your sleeve that can help stave off death, if not forever, then at least long enough to pump out a few thousand more points of damage before you port up to that last great mage table in the sky.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Blood Pact: Shattering souls

Blood Pact is your weekly warlock digest, brought to you by Dominic Hobbs. "I sense that you have the potential to become one of the most powerful warlocks of this era." -- Strahad Farsan

Before Wrath of the Lich King, one of the biggest DPS-boosting buffs around was Blessing of Salvation. This buff made you less interesting to mobs and essentially allowed you to do up to 30 percent more damage. It didn't help you do the damage, but it stopped you being so limited by the threat generated by the tank. Warlocks who didn't have a paladin to grant this buff were wise to be very cautious with their Shadow Bolts of massive critability.

These days, the tanks innately generate more threat. As such, the fear of having your damage capped by their threat generation abilities is much reduced. However, it is still possible to be threat-capped and if this happens, then anything that reduces your threat is suddenly your best ally. At level 66, you can learn Soulshatter, an unassuming little ability that sits quietly in your spell book until you really need it.

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Filed under: Warlock, (Warlock) Blood Pact

How not to aggro your tank with AoE

Reader UnstØppable writes in with a question I thought would benefit others: "Does the Bladestorm aggro problem ever get better? What I mean is, I've seen it countless times, the arms warrior enters the dungeon, the tank lets out a sigh (sometimes it's me), we pull the first group and everything goes fine, until he hits that Bladestorm button. That's when somehow he manages to pull aggro from every mob and their mom and makes both the healer's and the tank's lives hell or usually ends up dying within seconds."

Part of the problem here is that certain classes/specs have no aggro dump or reduction ability and as a result their big DPS moves generate a lot of threat. Arms warriors, most DPS death knights (at least the blood and unholy specs I've used) and retribution paladins have limited aggro reduction at best (pallies at least have Hand of Salvation but that's a band aid at best) and while tanking threat (especially AoE tanking threat) requires ramp up time, it's very easy to hit the Divine Storm, Death and Decay, Pestilence, Whirlwind or Bladestorm buttons. (Enhancement shamans with Spirit Weapons seem to be okay, I rarely pull aggro even when I go nuts with Fire Nova.)

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Filed under: Paladin, Shaman, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Death Knight

Arcane Brilliance: Mistakes mages make

Welcome to another edition of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that would like to say to warlocks: Look... even when we're alone, we outnumber you.

We belong to the best class in World of Warcraft. I know this because I have a checklist. Do you want to see it? Too bad, you're going to see it anyway:
You see? Mages meet every criteria on the checklist. The fact that I just made the checklist up is unimportant; the important thing to take away from this is that mages are, indisputably, the best class in this game.

But we aren't perfect.

We make mistakes. Five of them, to be precise.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Instances, Features, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Pulling aggro in PUGs: who's to blame


There is no question that as we PUG up the Dungeon Finder system for our daily random heroic we are going to encounter a lot of bad tanks. It's not surprising really. These are people who spend all day every day getting smashed in face, typically by monstrosities many times their size. And more disturbingly, they chose to do this in the first place. So it should be no surprise that these aren't the brightest people in WoW.

However, it's often far too easy for us DPSers to blame the tank for losing aggro. After all, holding aggro is their job! What is strangely easy for us to forget is that not pulling aggro is our job. It's time for DPSers to take a long hard look at just how good a player we are before yelling at the tank.

Join me after the cut as we take a look at why pulling aggro is the fault of the DPS almost every single time.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Arcane Brilliance: How to be a good PUG mage

Welcome to another installment of Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that is incredibly proud of mages. We are, after all, the only class in the game that can conjure our own 5-man group, as evidenced by the picture above. And though our mirror images may not be too bright, I'd still take them over about 3/4ths of the folks I PuGed with last night.

Holy crap. I'm not even kidding. It was like some kind of idiot convention, and I was the keynote speaker. I came in with some prepared remarks, like "Don't stand in the green stuff that looks like poison, because it is poison," "when he begins spinning his giant sword around like a whirlwind, it's because he's doing Whirlwind and you should get out of the way," and "Warlocks drink their own pee," but ended up just sighing and shaking my head a lot.

This whole Dungeon Finder tool is incredible, right? My head has been spinning since the patch dropped, marveling at the ways it has already changed the game, both for good and ill. Suddenly, PuGs are the norm, not the exception. Each instance is a complete unknown, and not just because you don't know which one you're going to get. Is that rogue going to inexplicably decide to eschew his formerly stealthy ways and take up tanking? Who knows? Is the pally healer who just joined specced ret? It's not as unlikely as you think. Did that warlock really just go afk during the boss fight, then return only to need the Frozen Orb and drop group? Yep, he did. Outstanding.

It works the other way, too. There I was, minding my own business, happily spamming Arcane Blast on some kind of giant disgusting undead guy, only to see him turn and begin lumbering over in my direction. OK, I thought, I'll just stop casting, let the tank snatch him back up. Only that doesn't work. I look over at the threat meter to see that I have like three times more threat on that mob than anybody else. In fact, the only two other names on the threat list were the tank and the healer. That's right, I had been pew pewing the wrong giant disgusting undead guy. The fight ends with me reduced to a stain on the floor, and nobody to blame but my own stupid self. Sometimes, when you can't spot the nub in the room, it's because the nub is you.

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Filed under: Mage, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Features, Classes, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Increase threat in five easy steps!

It sounds like an infomercial, but actually Righteous Defense has a great post on how a pally (or any class, really -- his advice is for pallies, but it's common sense enough that any tanking class can use the tips) can step up and increase their threat as far as it will go. I always enjoyed tanking when I did it (and now that I'm leveling up a pally, I'll hopefully be bashing heads in and taking damage again soon), and the key to tanking is just awareness: awareness of where the mobs are, who they're targeting, and where they should be. Increasing threat is really a passive kind of upgrade -- as long as you're hitting your spells right, using the glyphs designed to keep you at the top of an aggro list, and specced and hit-capped for the gear and abilities you're using, keeping threat up is pretty simple. It's just the positioning and dealing with surprises that can be hard.

The last point on RD's list is worth repeating for everyone: use your trinkets, as often as possible. Imagine that, in the next patch notes, you saw a spell under your class listing that did what your trinkets did (added a ton of spellpower or increased armor by 500) and went on to say (infomercial style again) "... at a cost of no mana, focus, rage or ." Wouldn't you be spamming that sucker as often as possible? Get your gear straight, use the right abilities, and break out your trinkets whenever you can, and keeping threat should be no problem at all for any given class.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Tips, Virtual selves, Raiding, Bosses, Buffs, Death Knight

Priest Q&A: Tackling the Shadow Priest answers

Our resident Holy Priest guru tackled the healy bits of the Priest Q&A recently, and I've been mulling over the various Shadow commentary in the meantime. Going into the Q&A being fully aware that it wasn't intended to be a list of changes coming to the class, and more a look into the current design around the classes, I honestly wasn't too disappointed with the Shadow items. It's a case where, with a few exceptions, I think Ghostcrawler (and the other developers) actually know what's going on with the spec quite well. You can try and call me out on that, but hey. It's the truth. As far as Shadow was concerned, it wasn't too far off.

The general spec overview at the beginning of the Q&A was pretty spot on. It's easy for us to get momentum in PvE and lay down the damage, but the nature of PvP/arena doesn't really let us do that. Our long buildup time is harsh. We don't lend ourselves well to stop-and-go. We're pretty much all about the 'go' and a little bit of 'stop' sets us back to where we started. There's really no picking up where you left off. If the opposing team locks you down for a little too long, you pretty much need to start over. Your offensive momentum is irrecoverable. PvE usually doens't have to worry about that. Now, from this point forward, I'm going to address each Shadow-relevant quote point by point.

First question:

"Q: Since a lot of the damage a Shadow priest does builds with damage-over-time (DoT) spells, are you concerned about them being well-rounded enough to do adequate damage in shorter PvE encounters, 5-player dungeons, or in the Arenas?

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, PvP

WoW Rookie: Tanking for beginners


New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.

You've always wanted to be the eye of the storm: a World of Warcraft tank. You're working your way up toward level 80, quest by quest and zone by zone. Maybe you've consulted a leveling guide and done some research around the internet, and you're sporting a shiny, efficient leveling spec. Or maybe you're taking things more casually, experimenting with different specs and abilities on your own and devoting most of your energy to soaking up the sights and the lore, meeting new friends and settling into your first guild.

Either way, you're beginning to feel the first tendrils of apprehension curling around your ankles. You haven't been able to get many instance groups to knock the shine off that new armor. Heck, maybe you're not even tanking-specced yet at all. What's going to happen when you hit 80? Everyone's going to expect you to know the pointy end of the sword from what's under that fluffy tail you feel inclined to tuck beneath you ... What can you bring to the table with absolutely (gulp) zero experience?

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, How-tos, Features, WoW Rookie, Death Knight

Breakfast Topic: Exploring the World of Warcraft


One of the things which kept me in Azeroth -- at least long enough for the addictive side of the game to set in -- was the promise of exploration. I originally rolled a human mage and still remember at level five, being taken all the way from Elwynn Forest to Darnassus. Bear in mind though, this was back before The Burning Crusade when being Alliance meant traveling from the Eastern Kingdoms to Kalimdor took a good forty minutes if you didn't have the flight paths or a mount. You had to get the tram to Ironforge then run the gauntlet of death to Menethil, catch the boat to Theramore, get another to Auberdine and then fly or get another boat to Teldrassil. The whole trip really showed me how big the world was, as well as teaching me all about threat and my ability to aggro everything in a three-zone radius.

So when I rolled my druid, the day before the expansion hit, I was determined to see as much as this beautifully crafted world as I could. Yes, I essentially had a death wish. I was exploring Outland with an honour guard of my guildies at level 10 (and hearthed in Shattrath), I ran through the Arathi Highlands at level thirty, swam through Un'Goro Crater in my forties and was pushing the boundaries of Shattrath by my fifties.

However along the way I found some amazing places: the crystal filled cave at Marshal's Refuge, the boughs where the Dragons of Nightmare can occasionally be found, the first time you run into Azuregos in Azshara, the Twin Colossals of Feralas -- well the eastern one at any rate. Then when I got my flying mount I really started exploring properly.Nagrand alone is full of nooks and crannies and I adore the beauty of Crystalsong Forest.

So come on, readers, I want to know if you've explored all the hidden places of Azeroth and Outland. Do you have any favourites? You do? Great, be sure to tell us about them in the comments box.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Light and How to Swing It: The Tankadin for Dummies Again


Where were we? Ah, yes, tanking. Last time, we took a look at some basics of Paladin tanking, namely a few things about survivability. That's just the tip of the iceberg. When I said tanking was the most technical play style in the game, it's because tanks have to look at more factors and study more things than healers or DPS. Aside from working towards important gear requirements, a tank more than any other player must understand how a fight works. While many encounters are survivable with a few DPS not knowing too much about the fight ("get out of the void zones!"), a tank who doesn't know anything about a boss is likely to wipe the group or raid.

In many ways, a tank is the most important member of a team. The cornerstone, so to speak. Because even though healers are indispensable, there's never really a 'Main Healer' position the way there is a 'Main Tank'. That's why a tank's responsibility goes above and beyond what players in other roles have. We've already examined for a bit how to build up your survivability. Today we'll look at three things: generating threat and the tank spell rotation.

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Filed under: Paladin, Guides, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Ask WoW Insider: Instance running 101

Here's a question for you all from Percinho about my absolute favorite thing to do in game: five man instances. He and his guildies are about to run their very first instance (or they were when he sent this to us at ask@wow.com), and he wants to know your very best tips for instance running:

For the first time we have 5 players with level 60+ characters and so have decided to run some instances. None of the guild have extensive experience of instancing as we tend to mainly be solo-ers, or group up in twos and threes just to quest. We're heading to the Ramparts in Hellfire Peninsula with a Warrior, Priest, DK, Rogue and Mage. What we're after is some tips for successful instancing that we may not have considered, those things that every veteran knows that wouldn't even occur to instance-n00bs like ourselves.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Odds and ends, Instances, Ask WoW Insider, Bosses

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