Monday, February 8, 2010

Mob Handling Notes from Wailing Caverns

When I was running Wailing Caverns last night I was forced to do a lot of fancy mob handling.  WC is chock full of casters, and they know not to come running when you slap them with a Faerie Fire.

One common method used to force the casters to actually come to you is to use a Line of Sight (LoS) tactic.  Since they can't cast at you if you're not in line of sight, you hit them with a Faerie Fire, then back around a corner and they'll come running over.

But using an LoS is not always in the cards.  Sometimes, as is frequently the case in Wailing Caverns, you have dangerous multi-caster pulls, where you have to keep multiple mobs on you that don't want to move.  If you're fortunate enough to have a patient and cunning party that will back up and let you use an LoS ambush, that's great.  But sometimes you just need to throw caution to the wind and get into the thick of things.

It's during these situations that effective aggression management is so important.  One of the things I always try to do is to use Faerie Fire (Feral) on as many targets as I can, and preferably early in the fight.  FFF actually generates threat, unlike Growl.  Having the Glyph of Maul is useful for building threat against a large number of opponents, if you take the time to frequently change targets to spread the love around a bit, but casters are very problematic because they don't line up in front of you the way you'd like them to, and you can't kite them around by walking backwards.

In 3.1, Swipe was changed to affect all mobs in a 360º area around you, a major improvement from Burning Crusade, in which its area of effect was a frontal cone.  This helps in the beginning of a fight, especially if you have spare rage from an earlier encounter.  However, it costs 15 rage with 5 ranks of Ferocity.  Unless you are literally surrounded by mobs, this is not a very good skill to use in terms of threat-to-rage ratios.  Compared to Maul, which costs 5 less rage and generates far more threat, Swipe becomes, at least at the early levels that we're talking about, an emergency button to be used only in special circumstances.  Not until much later on will it become a mainstay, front line workhorse of an ability.

So, barring the frequent use of Swipe to maintain aggression on multi-caster mobs with meat shields tossed in, and potentially adds or patrols, what I do is keep tabs on my threat meter.  If I have at least 3x as much threat as the next guy, even if I'm dealing with a caster, I just leave them and go to the next caster.  Try to get two mobs in front of you if you can, but focus on the casters because the melee mobs will follow along with you.  If you see a caster going after one of your party members, use FFF to suck them back into your threat well.  And if you really start to lose control in a heavy melee situation, because we're in the level 10-19 bracket here and don't have a cooldown to force every nearby mob to attack us, just punch Demoralizing Roar to at least hamstring the attack power of the nearby mobs.

Two more tips for Wailing Caverns.  First, armor doesn't mitigate magic, so building a massive effective health pool is the best defense against these sorts of encounters.  Eat your buff food.  Second, save your Bash for when the druids try to use their sleep spell--losing your healer or one of your dealers in a big fight could get you squished.

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