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Posts with tag pulling

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

Shifting Perspectives: Pulling 101: Assessing the group


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting feral/restoration druids and those who group with them.

For a long time, I've been kicking an article around on the art of the 5-man pull. Knowing how and when to pull is arguably the foundation of a smooth dungeon run, and it's certainly among the first skills that any tank needs to develop. While a not-insignificant portion of one's ability to pull cleanly only arrives courtesy of experience with a wide variety of players, there are a few rules that approach universal status. Moreover, I expect them to be equally useful when I hit the new Cataclysm dungeons and have to figure out how to tank for a group safely in a new environment with new mobs.

The more I wrote on pulling, the more I realized that the subject can be divided into two very distinct categories: what happens before you pull, and what happens while you're pulling. This week's column addresses the former. Everything I am about to tell you in this column is something that you, as an experienced tank, will eventually do in the space of a second without even realizing you're doing it.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

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

Tips for raiding faster

I am definitely an advocate of the fast instance or raid -- when I played a tank, I pulled pulled pulled (according to the healer's mana, of course), and even now, mostly as a Hunter, I still get impatient. When the healer's mana is full and the tank is not /afk, I sometimes just throw a Misdirect up and go. That's probably why I really liked Naissa's tips for speedy raiding -- she lays out a few really practical things you can do to get your raid moving faster, from only marking skull and X when necessary to only worrying about the healer's mana. It's not the end of the world if the Mage or Hunter has to drink for a second after the pull. While you should always get back to full before a boss pull (and as she says, that's a perfect time to break down the basics, only the basics, of the fight), usually as long as you've got the tank and healer ready, a quick pull will give you time for aggro to settle down as well.

I don't completely agree with her DPS meter remarks -- I do think that beating the raid is much more important than trying to win the DPS meters, but as a DPS player, I like viewing the meters as good feedback on where I should be. If I'm super low in the meters, it's time to look at my gear and rotations and try to figure out why so I can get better, and I think it's valuable for DPS, as long as they can keep their attention on the raid, to do the same thing.

But all of the other tips are great, and in general, "pull pull pull" should be the order of the day. Some groups are better at rolling through content than others, obviously, but as long as you've got a solid tank and healer in play who know the instance and know how to handle what comes, most raids and groups can move through the content pretty quickly.

Filed under: Hunter, Priest, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Raiding, Bosses, Classes

Freezing Arrow and you

Aspect of the Hare has a great post up about "Freezing Arrow for non-Hunters" -- of all of the new Wrath abilities, Freezing Arrow seems right up there with Death Grip as a game changer during instance pulls. But as great as it is (a Hunter can now trap a mob at a distance, which means trapping casters is much, much easier), there are drawbacks that you other group members need to know about, hence AotH's post.

First and foremost, chain trapping is out. On a normal trap, a Hunter can lay down a trap early, and get past the extra 10 second cooldown on getting the trap up again, which means they can have another trap pick up the same mob when the first one finishes its duration. But pulling with Freezing Arrow means you can't lay down the trap early, which means that the 10 second cooldown will always be in effect: there will be ten seconds after the trap comes up before the Hunter can Freezing Arrow again.

There are loopholes, as AotH says: Resourcefulness can help Survival Hunters with the cooldown a bit, and Readiness means a Hunter can throw out two Arrows in a row (but no more than that). And of course positioning helps a lot -- if a Hunter can lay down a Freezing Arrow early and then kite a mob into it, chain trapping is theoretically possible (though with casters, it's going to be really tough, just because you have to move so much to get them to move after you). But non-Hunters beware: Freezing Arrow is good for trapping a mob for about 20 seconds. After that, you're on your own.

Filed under: Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Instances, Wrath of the Lich King

Tips for new Death Knights from a fellow tank, part 2


Dear corpsified bundles of beautifully-armored joy (but more particularly those who tank Azjol Nerub while wearing Expedition Bracers of the Bandit),

We had a little bit of controversy in the first installment, so I'm just going to state this as baldly as possible; if you hated what I wrote last time, there's a good chance you'll walk away from this one thinking I eat babies. Delicious, delicious babies. While I never mean to offend people, I reserve the right to tell them the truth, or at the very least a highly entertaining and plausible lie.

Truth, she be at times an ugly mistress. And she ain't gettin' any prettier as we move from DPS to tanking.

Tanks have significantly more responsibility, both in groups and raids, and they face the competing directives of maximizing mitigation (to keep their healers happy) and maximizing threat production (to keep their DPS happy). I've healed dozens of Death Knight tanks at this point, and while the average pugged DK tank has gotten noticeably better, there are still a few trends you'd want to be aware of as a healer. The problems in beta right now are made worse by Blizzard unintentionally overselling the ease of tanking on a Death Knight in 5-man runs. Many people seem to have interpreted the statement that they should be able to tank well with Blood, Frost, or Unholy specs as being tantamount to saying they can tank well regardless of how their talent points are spent in those trees.

Any experienced tank can tell you right now that this is not true, but people believing that it is is how you wind up with 11K-life Death Knights taking 7-8K enraged hits from Keristasza in the Nexus. If you've never tanked before but you're interested in tanking on a Death Knight -- or pragmatic enough to know you'll probably wind up tanking a certain number of 5-mans on your DPS Death Knight -- I hope this article helps you avoid what I went through in May 2007 when I started tanking and sucked at it.

I came to the beta to slowly lose my mind trying to heal insane tank damage and gulp Extra Strength Tylenol. And I'm all out of Extra Strength Tylenol.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Instances, Expansions, Features, Humor, Raiding, Guides, Classes, Talents, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: Silly, unconventional, and amazing dungeon runs

One of my favorite memories of WoW came from a year and a half or so back, when Alex and I were both leveling a pair of DPS Warriors as alts, mine a Gnome female, his a Night Elf male whom he RPed as being absolutely insane and having an unhealthy love of cheese. We had a friend who was leveling a Druid, another who was leveling a Shadow Priest and a third who was leveling a Warlock. So, it seemed on a lot of nights, all 5 of us would get together and take on whatever dungeon was in our level range. We conquered most of the mid-level dungeons once or twice this way, with no tank -- Alex would just charge ahead screaming and pull a bunch of mobs -- and somehow (we were never sure how) we generally killed them while staying alive. Often, neither of us Warriors made a special effort to tank, we just somehow DPSed them to death before they killed us.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Instances, Bosses, Leveling, Alts

Phat Loot Phriday: Rifle of the Stoic Guardian


A gun... for tanks. But that speed makes things a little weird. Maybe some of the theorycrafters in the crowd can come up with some good reasons for that one (or just debate my own) in the comments.

Name: Rifle of the Stoic Guardian (Wowhead, Thottbot, Goblin's Workshop)
Type: Epic Gun
Damage/Speed: 120-224 / 1.90 (90.5 DPS, which is the highest on a gun, save for the Arena PvP guns in S3 and S4 -- except most of it comes from that low speed, see below)
Abilities:
  • +31 Stamina, which might make you think this is a PvP weapon, except for:
  • Equip: Increases your dodge rating by 20. Which is a weird little stat -- with the stamina added on to it, that means that this gun (named after a "Stoic Guardian") is basically meant as a Tank pulling gun -- it'll let you shoot bullets and give you about the bonus of a minor trinket to dodge and Stam.
  • But if that's true, what's up with that speed? You might think that a high DPS would mean this gun is good for a Hunter, but that's not quite true across the board -- especially for BM Hunters (a.k.a. Hunters that rely on their talents and abilities to do damage), a bullet pouch will often make this gun too fast to sneak special shots in, which will actually lower the DPS you can do.
  • But on the other hand, from what I understand, weapon speed doesn't actually affect what happens when you first fire the gun. So the idea here may be that a Warrior, pulling, should have a fast enough gun to get a few shots off during the pull, in order to build up more threat. Why else would Blizzard give tanks such a fast gun?
How to Get It: Drops from our old friend Teron Gorefiend, who we last killed for the Soul Cleaver. He's in the Black Temple, there's a Know Your Lore about him, yadda yadda yadda, you know the drill by now. Drop rate on this is about 15%, but the good news is that if you need this (as in, you're a tank who often pulls at the late endgame), you'll probably be able to get it.

You might have to fend a few confused Hunters off for it, though. But the dodge rating and the Stamina (not to mention, as we said, the title), should make it pretty clear that this weapon is for a "Stoic Guardian," not a "Pet-loving Peashooter."

Getting Rid of It: Sells for 10g 79s 6c. Will disenchant into a Void Crystal.

Filed under: Items, Odds and ends, Raiding, Phat Loot Phriday

Five tips to minimize raiding downtime

I'm a rather avid raider, putting in a solid 20 hours a week on my Warrior. One of the major things about the time spent raiding is that it can be very precious. There is only so much time that 24 other people, plus appropriate class substitutions, can be available each week. It's critical that the time spent raiding is used well.

Unfortunately, using raiding time well is about as much of a challenge as is downing Illidan. In preparation for this article, I've spent the past three weeks keeping track of the down time in raids. We raid Sunday through Thursday nights, from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. We experience a downtime of about 51 minutes for each raid, which is about 20% of the time. Down time is defined as the time that my character is standing still, not attacking, not moving, and not being MDed to.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? I'm not really sure.

Tip #1: Chain pulling

Personally, I do my best at the main tank to chain pull and push the trash through as fast as possible. This works out 99% of the time, however the 1% of the time it doesn't work out can grind the raid to a halt. Case and point: The trash to Supremus isn't too bad, and is a lot of packs where the MT, OT, and Pally tank each have some mobs to tank. There are also some ranged dragons that the Warlocks tank. These pulls can go very fast, and are very predictable. Pulling slowly we can do this in about 40 minutes, while chain pulling each group, we can push through in 15.

Tip #2: Fully self buffed, all the time

It doesn't take much to buff yourself. Every class has some buff they can apply to themselves, be it food buffs, spell buffs, or shouts. The key here is that you can find a minute or two to always buff at least yourself, if not others. Although, it might not always be possible to buff others as you're going along - and that's okay with most raid leaders for trash pulls.

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Filed under: Tips, Raiding

Insert cute pet story here

About 3 months ago I got my first pet. His name is Max, and is a grey domestic short hair cat. He was a stray that was scratching at my apartment door on a very cold November evening. At the time it was decided that he was just going to stick around for the night, but he grew on us so quickly that we weren't able to let him go. He now is a happy member of my family, and just like the rest of them, he has to put up with me playing World of Warcraft.

Except, it's not really "putting up with" WoW, it's more like "intensely interested in what's going on." Max will often times spend the whole four hours of the night's raid spread across the desk staring at my computer screen. He'll react to the sounds, the bright flashes of light, and occasionally even other in game cats. When someone says "lol" and their character laughs, he'll jump and stare down the speaker the laugh came from.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Humor

Phat Loot Phriday: The Decapitator


After a short hiatus last week (due to the Friday evening patch 2.4 mayhem), the phat loot is back, this time with an axe that not only has one of the best names in the game, but can give you a little ranged help as well.

Name: The Decapitator (Wowhead, Thottbot, WowDB)
Type: Epic One-Hand Axe
Damage/Speed: 167-312 / 2.60 (92.1 DPS)
Abilities:
  • Improves crit strike rating by 27
  • Use: Hurls the axe through the air, directly at a target's head (very "vorpal," if you get that reference). Causes 513-567 damage with a 3 minute cooldown.
  • It's a 40-yard range, instant cast, so definitely very nice for pulling. Shows up as a black version of the Paladin's ranged attack.
  • And it was rumored that this was counted not as a melee attack, but as a spell. However, players have apparently confirmed that spell damage does not add to it, although we're still not sure if spell crit helps the percentage. Maybe commenters can shed light on that one-- I don't have this one around for testing.
  • Bosses, as you may expect, are immune to the throw. But it is pretty easy to put together a macro which will let you use the throw ability to pull, and then switch over to your usual tanking weapon.
How to get it: Pretty simple-- drops from Prince in Karazhan. People are downing him with PUGs nowadays (and odds are your guild, if they're raiding at all, has like three groups clearing it every week), so hope for the 13% percent drop chance to kick in, win the roll (tanks and shammies might be rolling on it, but by now, everyone who wants one probably already has it), and it's all yours.

Getting rid of It: Sells to a vendor for 12g 44s 56c, and disenchants into a Void Crystal. That's all I got-- I guess you could destroy it if you want, but this is the kind of item where the proc would probably come in handy at almost any level. Have a good weekend.

Filed under: Shaman, Warrior, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Raiding, Phat Loot Phriday

Ask WoW Insider: Who pulls?

Welcome everyone to Ask WoW Insider, where your questions get answers every week. Last week we looked at whether there are really people without alts, and this week we turn our attention to group strategy. David wants to settle the matter about who should be doing the pulling in groups:
Now, this may just be me, or does it seem strange when people talk about hunter or mage pulls? I understand that in certain cases there is a need to have a hunter pull, especially with Misdirect, but when it comes down to it, any time I run something I never get to pull (Hunter here). Not that it's much of a complaint, more of a curiousity. For the most part Warriors will have a ranged weapon, Bears will use Faerie Fire, and Pallies will go with Avenging Shield. I just usually find it more complicated to pull with a hunter and then have the tank grab the aggro, when they all have ranged capabilities for pulls. I might also have been spoiled with all my tanks, as it has been months since I've PuGed a tank and we never seem to use CC in any instances anyways. Thought this may be a viable question, or maybe I'm the only Hunter out there that has been spoiled like this?
What say you folks -- should hunters or any one class be doing the pulling in instances or in groups? Are there classes that should never pull? Should warlocks have "Wait for sunders!" mandatorily tattooed on their virtual eyelids? Who should pull -- let's hear it!

Think of the glory and fame that could await you here on Ask WoW Insider -- your name up in lights! If you'd like us to link to your guild site or personal blog, we are happy to promote you if we choose your question. So send 'em in to ask AT wowinsider DOT com!

Filed under: Instances, Quests, Ask WoW Insider

Breakfast Topic: Who should pull?

WoWGrrl's main is Hunter. She pulls for her group. No brainer, right? But then she rolled up a Warrior and found she was still acting as the puller. Same with her Mage.

She realized she was pulling because, well, she was good at it. In her mind, the Hunter should pull if they know what they are doing. When she pulls with her warrior, she has to build up rage and against multiple opponents, usually chase the mobs to get them off the clothies.

So the question is, if your designated puller isn't doing the job, do you pull yourself or just pull out of the group?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Instances

Jumping up and down

Are you a jumper? I am.

Some people just do it all the time. The easiest simple move in the game-- every character can do it at almost any time-- is to hit the space bar and jump. And some people do it constantly.

Of course it drives some others nuts. 9 times out of 10, there's probably something better you could be doing than jumping-- even in an instance, you could be crafting, or summoning, or drinking for mana, or organizing the groups, or getting food and water ready, or organizing your bags. Why are you jumping? Stop it, you're giving me a headache!

Then again, I jump all the time. Usually, it's actually to signal impatience-- if I'm ready for a pull and we're not pulling, I'll start with the jumping. And if I ever feel helpless-- I've been spell interrupted, or I'm silenced, or in PvP, where there's nothing for me to do while I'm sitting stealthed defending by a flag. Some times when I'm surrounded and getting murdered in PvP, I'll jump just for the heck of it, like a last laugh against death (sometimes I even do the /laugh emote at the Paladin that's tearing me apart). Or sometimes I'm raidleading and I want to get the raid's attention. There are lots of good reasons for jumping around.

But many times, there's not, and I do it anyway. Are you a jumper?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Humor

How to Pick Up Women, WoW Style

Reader Sylythn dropped this in our comment box, and we thank him for it: Jahan from Firetree has written a guide on the forums called "How to Pick Up Women, WoW Style." For males out there (or females, I assume, with just a few modifications) that can control aggro in any 5-man instance, but can't get a date, this is the guide for you.

Unfortunately the guide itself is too long for me to reprint here (sorry, those of you at work, you'll just have to come back and visit us this weekend), but it provides some general tips for making sure the "loot drops." Jahan has set up a strategy where, when pulling women in groups of 2 or more, the offtank is able to take aggro on the trash mob, leaving the main tank to engage the primary target. A rogue may come for larger groups, and his strategy is to, if possible, pull the secondary boss off, vanish away in his separate car, and collect his own loot drop. If you know what we mean.

And after the bar instance has been run, Jahan has another guide: How to Date, WoW Style. It covers such topics as buffs necessary for the dating encounter (I can personally recommend the Just Paid and Old Spice buffs), and what to do to get through the Restaurant Phase, the Movie Phase, and the all-important last 20% (you'll want to pour on DPS, but watch that aggro).

Both guides are great stuff. Can't wait to see his next guide on Heroic Mode dating, which I'm guessing involves a special ring just to get attuned.

Filed under: Tips, Virtual selves, Humor

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