Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tank School - Mob positioning 101

The best questions seem to come up when someone says to you, "Hey I just started a new (insert class). He's level 10. What gear should I look for and what skills should I take?"

While my favorite answer to most questions is "It depends," that doesn't really apply here. For any level 10 you should look for gear that is green. Beyond that avoid intellect if you don't have mana, and avoid agility if you primarily cast spells. Other than that, itemization isn't going to matter.

However, this did prompt a discussion that is worthwhile. A primary skill for any tank of any type is to be able to position a mob where you want it. Luckily you don't have to be level 70 and dressed in full epics to practice this.

Step 1: The Kite
Pick a place and kill some mobs. Only instead of fighting them where they stand, choose where you will kill them. A prominent rock, fallen tree, or dilapidated wagon work well for this selection. Now kill everything in the area, but not more than a few steps from your landmark. Do it with single mobs at first, then pull more. Pull as many as you can handle comfortably.

Step 2: Those Pesky Casters
Then find a similar (or the same) place and pull casters in the area to it. Casters are harder because you will need to interrupt their casts somehow or go out of line of sight. But its doable. Practice, practice, practice.

Step 3: C'mon Baby, Do the Twist
Now train (or kite) mobs to your chosen place. And this time position the odd kills (#1, #3, #5, etc) FACING TOWARD your landmark. Kill the evens, FACING AWAY FROM your landmark. Repeat until you can do this reliably.

Accomplished players know why I've asked you to do this things. There are a number of times in instances, where some one will ask a tank to tank this "right by the fire" or to "make sure he's not facing the party." The thing you absolutely do not want to do is learn those skills for the first time when someone asks. If you routinely practice these skills every few levels as you are coming up, it'll all be second nature.

Extra Points for the Advanced Student:
Just because this post is (ostensibly) about tanking & warriors doesn't mean you can't use it for your own class. Casters could try fights with less than full mana or by keeping an additional mob crowd controlled the whole time. Hunters could keep two mobs in combat, one who is being kited or chain trapped. Warlocks could perform similar things with a less favored minion. The important thing is you're using your skills in ways that help you later. And that you're remaining situationally aware.

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