Things about being melee I wish more PUGs knew

Heres why I think LFG is good.  It teaches me that people still don’t know some very basic things about this game.

Its Nexus.  I’m tanking on Enalla the Bear.  Theres a DK in the group.  He’ll know who he is if he ever reads this.  I probably seemed a bit grumpy, but if I spent more than 3s typing the warrior pulled something.  I did try to explain.  He does the following:

  1. Stands in front of the mobs.
  2. Targets everything except the skull.

Now I’m going to explain why these are bad.

If you want to be a melee you’re going to spend a lot of time staring at backsides
There is a reason for this.  In fact, theres more than one.

Reason 1: You do MORE dps from behind
Yes thats MORE dps.  Now I know people do stupid things to increase their dps.  But this is a smart one you can do.  The reason is that mobs can parry and dodge just like your tank can.  Only, parry only works in one direction.  You can only parry mobs that are standing in front of you.  And mobs can only parry you if you are standing in front of them.  So if you stand behind them, all you have to worry about is dodge.

This is why you have expertise.  If you have 26 expertise or more, raid bosses can’t dodge you.  So basically you eliminate parry and dodge by standing behind a mob and hitting the expertise cap.

Reason 2: Save the bears!
Now theres a mechanic in the game known as parry-haste.  This means that when a mob does a parry, it shortens his swing timer.  So when Big Bad hits once every 3 seconds thats 3 hits in 9 seconds.  However, if he gets a parry in, chances are you might get hit more often in 9 seconds.  It’ll be more than 3, but not as bad as 6.  In a good scenario the tank is the only player being parried.  So parry-haste is kept to a minimum.  In a bad scenario the melee stand in front of the mob too.  For every melee standing in front of the mob, the boss gets more chance to whack the tank.  Not all bosses have this (Gormok famously doesn’t after Blizzard forgot to turn it off at first and he ate some tasty tanks for breakfast), but some do and its just one of those things you shouldn’t risk.  I don’t like being hit!  Bears bruise you know.

Reason 3: You take less damage back there
Now this is the most important in an instance.  Allow me to explain.  Many mobs and bosses have special abilities designed to hurt you.  Thats why you have a tank in the first place.  Those abilities can mostly be divided into three types:

  1. Abilities that only hit the highest threat player, i.e. the tank.
  2. Abilities that hit anyone randomly.
  3. Abilities that hit in a frontal line/cone.
  4. Tail swipe.

Now 1 and 2 are taken care of.  The tank is taking type 1 and everyone is taking type 2 no matter where they stand.  Its type 3 you need to worry about.  If you stand behind the mobs, you don’t ever have to worry about it and neither does your healer.  What about type 4, you ask.  Doesn’t that mean its bad to stand behind mobs.  Yes, but I as far as I am aware only dragon bosses have tail swipe and not all of them!  In those rare cases, stand just in front of the rear leg.  Dead DK = Low on meters.  So we are back to the more dps thing.

Skulls are there for a reason
Now when I mark something with a skull, the reason is that I want you to hit it.

You see that mage over there, the one thats not moving closer.  And is still casting.  I have a choice.  I can taunt him once and hope no one else hits him while I control these other three mobs.  Or, I can run to him, pull him off you, and watch the other three mobs run wild on the healer.

If you pull threat through imba dps.  Then I will do everything in my (admittedly limited) power to save you.  You’re doing your job.  Pulling threat isn’t ideal, but neither is it totally unexpected.  I play a ret paladin, I’m sympathetic.  If you pull through AoE, ok I can live with that too.  I understand the problem.  Its probably that you have this uber gear whilst I don’t.  You also might be playing your main at which you are skilled, whilst I’m playing alt no. 3 at which I’m not so much.

However, if you pull aggro because you decided to go hit another mob even though I explicitly marked one…  Well then what happens is I ignore you and let you die while protecting the smarter party members over here.  You pull it, you tank it.  Still a good rule.

If you’re tired of looking at backsides, you really should glance at your feet/warnings once in a while …
Case in point.  Its Forge of Souls Heroic.  I’m on Akandra the Disc Priest and I have another DK.  Who stands in the purple stuff Devourer of Souls.

I heal him.  I type: move!

I heal some more.  I type: OUT OF PURPLE!!!  No joy.

I’ve got a tank to heal, plus the other dps.  There doesn’t seem to be much interrupting and the DK isn’t stopping dps for Mirrored Soul either since hes not moving anywhere for anything and that weapon keeps on swinging.  I’m going to lose someone.

Executive decision – let the DK die.  Reason – he is the player exhibiting the most stupidity at that point in time.

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7 thoughts on “Things about being melee I wish more PUGs knew

Add yours

  1. I would put these things into 3 categories:
    1. Things you should know even if you’ve never played WoW before
    2. Things you should learn on the way to level 80
    3. Things that you discover through reading blogs, theorycrafting, being mentored/coached/yelled-at by more experienced players, etc.

    Standing in bad stuff that hurts you, and is likely to kill you, is definitely Category 1 material.

    Controlling aggro and following the tank’s markings is something you should pick up along the way (Category 2).

    The whole dodge/parry/parry-haste/expertise thing, though, is not necessarily obvious even to a DPSer that has levelled all the way from level 1 to level 80. I’d put that in Category 3.

    As someone who frequently heal PUGs (in addition to primarily playing DPS), and therefore has to deal with some of these idiocies, I’d also add another item to the list:

    – Not asking for an explanation of a boss fight, when one has never done it before, and is otherwise completely ignorant of its nuances

    I’d put that in category 2. Some RPGs are so simplistic that basically every boss encounter is the same. A new WoW player may assume the same about WoW. But, along the way to 80, they should realize that some bosses in this game are incredibly difficult, or maybe even impossible, unless certain steps are taken, in a particular sequence (e.g. bosses who go immune and/or heal themselves, or enrage under certain circumstances). Therefore, by the time they reach level 80, a player should understand that they need to understand a given fight — anything special about it — before they attempt it for the first time.

  2. Its the joy of pugs 🙂

    To quote a movie i saw some year back

    “Life Is like a Box of Chocolates… You Never Know What You’re Gonna Get!”

    Many instances go on automode now, no real clue on what happened in many of them untill i see the instance completed and badges come in. But its the bad ones, and the extremely good ones you notice.

    Yesterday i had a fun thing myself. Was in old strat and waiting for the encounter to start, as it takes ages. Using my time in /o and /g and passing time. After about 10 min (checked chat log) i notice the encounter still havent started. No one had talked to Arthas to start the damn thing 😀 (including me)

    So even us old timers with WAY to much online time do these funny things at times. Just because we can do most instances in blindfold, dosnt mean we dont do mistakes aswell 🙂

  3. Haha Wahelen – I thought I heard you mumbling something about talking to Chromie on Vent.

    In case it doesn’t come across this is not so much meant to be a complaining article as an informative one for the most part. It does remind me that not all players have the experience of most bloggers/raiders I talk to. I think people forget that some times.

    However, I did try to help both of the DKs in question to no avail. So I get to complain a little bit 😉

    I think every melee should roll a tank and a healer too. You learn so much about what not to do when you have to try to save someone else doing it. Nothing gives you sympathy for a healer like running something on your healer alt and having to try and heal a suicidal melee dps (the pala I have dubbed Suicide Pala for example, who upon being targetted with Mirrored Soul did so much dps he died in under two seconds).

    I am also going to post my nice new UI on here soon which is designed very much with melee in mind. A good UI should help a melee to be more aware of what is going on around them.

  4. Hehe, you arent supposed to tank all mobs in a normal 5 man pug. You get threat on them fast, that threat should be enough to cover 75% of their health before killed. Maybe one of the dudes get aggro, but it wont kill him at all.

    When u feel you have enough threat, you just start moving to new targets while building threat on the mobs you first pulled. That way you have a better flow, and there is little dead time.
    When u stress you master the tanking, cause then you need to master the enviroment. If you cant handle this, then play priest or retri pally.

    Aggro on boss is total different as this kills peeps if they get a hit 😉 But there are very few bosses that you should have any aggro problems.

  5. @ Fabi…. thats the warior way…. pala way : just say “wait” in chat, run like mad round the room take all mobs… than say “Go”… and with a bit of luck ppl understood what you meant, and the place is clear in no time. Or you have a good laugh at the ppl who died. while you solo the rest of what’s left. 😉

    you can actually do that on some bosses aswel though.

    I think I did that on draktharon keep when pulling all adds on the dino boss,(with boss), 2 dps death before I even stopped pulling, me and healer rofled while we finished of the boss and adds. was fun. and the 2 deads got achivement, and stopped complaining. Was full pug run, SO fun.

    @ Wahelen : lol 😀

  6. @ Fabi I think you missed the point of my problem. I had four casters and no way of gathering them together as bear tanks don’t have anything that will interrupt casters. So I would post a skull indicating which target I would be building threat on. A good combination of Mauls and Swipes should keep threat on that target whilst keeping the others on me. If its too far for Swipe I toss a taunt on it until I can move there. Normally a skull means ‘DPS me’ and we all get along famously, but the PUG I had seemed to think it meant ‘I’m terrible and scary, DPS something else’. Theres no point building threat on the first target when your dps are off killing target 2, 3 and 4 respectively!

    But hey, its their repair bills.

    @ Rinc don’t we all know it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But you always have that whole Divine Plea excuse. ‘I just had to pull the entire room to keep Divine Plea up’. Or the ‘I am Rincmaster and I will TANK IT ALL’, excuse. I accept both 😉

  7. I always get dps who start attacking while I’m still gathering mobs when I do FoS. It makes the groups before Bronjahm with the multiple casters all spaced apart annoying to tank. It’s quite possible to gather them all up perfectly for aoe with arcane torrent and AS but not when DPS start in right away. With trigger happy dps I’m forced to run back and forth between the seperate casters since the DPS all have to pick a different one.

    I also hate how far apart the pulls in there are; it makes keeping divine plea up impossible. Makes me glad to be an alchemist and have that endless mana potion.

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