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Patience and Attention

March 19, 2010

AKA: The Fuzzy Feeling

So… overgeared DPS! It’s fun to kill stuff dead before you can even finish your rotation, no one can deny that. However, caution must be exercised if you’re in a heroic and your tank isn’t the ICC-25-geared threat monster you are used to working with.

Some courtesy is needed if your tank is still a mere mortal, climbing up the ranks of the gearing process and still lugging around the occasional ilvl 200 blue. Unloading your mighty 7k DPS straight on top of whatever he’s just started hitting is most likely going to peel that mob away from him and straight onto you. Sure, you probably have enough health and firepower to kill that elite before it can do a number on your face, but it’s still putting strain on the tank (no one likes seeing mobs running free) and the healer. Try to wait a couple seconds before wailing on whatever mob the dungeon is populated by. Even more if it’s an AoE pull. Paladins might be the current Kings of Gluing Twenty Mobs To Their Shield, but even one of those might not be able to keep everything on him if you unload the big fat Flamestrike+Blizzard Combo, Chained Seed of Corruption or Divine Storm just a second after he lays down the Hammer. Something is bound to look at you funny in that situation, even if the tank is rocking full T9 and 232 Frozen Halls purples.

So here’s the first part of the title: Patience.

The tank sets the pace of the run: if the DPS are going too quickly, he’s going to lose threat and stress up trying to keep stuff on him. So if your tank is new or far below your gear level, you’ll need to find some patience and accept the facts that for a smoother run, you’ll have to wait a couple Global Cooldowns and forgo some of that AoE goodness to kill what he’s killing first so he can build up on the other mobs.

And under no circumstance pull stuff if you’re not the tank unless he specifically asks you to. Doing that keeps the tank from building up initial threat on the mobs (and from doing nearly anything at all, if it’s a Rage-based tank) and makes controlling the pull more difficult.

As for Attention

If the tank is marking a mob with a Skull (and possibly another mob with an X), it means he wants those two mobs dead first. Maybe the mobs are troublesome and could cause wipes if they last too long (the Flamebringers and Coldwraiths in Pit of Saron come to mind) or maybe they’re healers and would extend the pull beyond necessary if not killed first. Or maybe the tank just wants a little bit of control over the pull. If you’re a DPS, do him a huge favor and use your single-target rotations on those mobs until they die before moving on to the AoE.

Those two concepts are worth double for classes without good threat-dump moves.  If you’re overgeared and playing a class with a longer cooldown on their threat dump, such as Mage or Warlock, or if you don’t have a way to bring your threat down at all, taking care to attack the right targets first and waiting a couple seconds before starting can mean the difference between the smooth, quick Frost Emblem run everybody is interested in and a possible repair bill or disbanded group.

(By the way, Hunters have absolutely no excuse for pulling aggro off the tank at any gear level due to Misdirection and Feign Death having such short cooldowns. Rogues come very close behind on no-excusability (yup, just made that up) with the very powerful Tricks of the Trade bringing both redirected threat and 6 seconds of 15% more damage from the tank.)

Also be aware that if you’re one of those guys who make a point out of unloading their single-target rotation on a non-marked target, one of the most satisfying things a tank can do (from his or her own standpoint, of course) is to simply leave that mob you just pulled on you until you’re either dead or very close to that. Saying “you pull it, you tank it” gives many tanks a nice warm and fuzzy feeling inside, so don’t give them that chance.

In short:

  • If your tank isn’t that well-geared compared to you, be polite and slow down a little so he can keep control.
  • If you don’t have a Misdirection-type move ready, be polite and attack marked targets first.
  • If your rotation is pulling aggro even if your threat dump (if you have one) is always on cooldown, slow down a little.
  • If you’re hopping around like a 12-year-old on speed yelling “gogogogogogo” and running ahead to pull more mobs onto a tank that’s already struggling to keep everything on him, you’re an idiot and one of the reasons the queue for DPS is so long.
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Moenghus permalink
    March 19, 2010 13:31

    Very nice etiquette post; however, I can’t help but think that the people that need to read this the most never will. 😦

    Your post is well thought out and definitely worth posting, though, thanks.

    • March 19, 2010 13:40

      Sadly, that’s true. But even if the guys who really could use what I’m talking about here are never going to read, having it online is still better than nothing. =)

      On the other hand, I know a couple people who are really good raiders and stuff, but who also tend to zone out when doing their daily heroic and just do everything as they would while working with their usual raid team. Even if it’s not deliberate, that kind of behavior should be avoided.

      Thanks for the comment! =D

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