A brief note to my fellow tanks about enemy AI.

There seems to have been a minor change to how enemy AI responds to the movements of the highest threat target.

It’s hard to see on one mob consistently, but if you grab groups of 3 or more, you should be able to see it clearly.

Previously, the mobs would tend to stay in front of you, and spread themselves out in a semi-circle. If you pulled them to you but remained moving forward for a moment, differences in lag would sometimes cause the mobs to overshoot your position, and you would have to do the bear butt waddle, stepping backward to gather them up once more in a semi-circle to your front. Once there, they would stay there.

Additionally, if you did a Feral Charge to a mob just after they had seen YOU, they would start moving in your direction while you overshot them… and depending again on lag, sometimes you would be facing away from them, and sometimes you would actually flip to face back the way you came, staying facing the mob and having them happily be facing you, away from the rest of the party.

Well, recently the enemy AI has changed a little. It’s very subtle, but what seems to have changed is the speed of their responsiveness.

The mobs will tend to move on you, getting behind you, and a simple backstep waddle will not always be a fast solution. They may do a variation on what we used to see with our Hunter Pets in BC, when Pet AI was first implemented to get the pet behind the mob, and you’d see your pet and the mob dance for a bit as each tried to get behind the other.

This may be intended, or it may be a bug, but I just wanted to bring it to your attention so that if you see the mobs getting behind you, you are prepared to move.

Don’t ever forget, having a 50% Dodge doesn’t do you a damn bit of good when the target is behind you. Targets behind you are unaffected by Dodge.

Oh, and FYI, that’s why those pseudo-rogues in the 10 waves of trash in Halls of Reflection suck so bad. Back attacks.

Have a happy!

Update: Veyska brings to attention a Blue post she linked to in the comments that the devs are aware of this, that it is a bug from 3.3, it’s not intended, and they’ll be working on it.

So, thank you very much, Veyska, for your help!

14 Responses to “Tanking technique update”
  1. Gerronimo says:

    Happy Birthday!

    I have noticed this as well. Mobs seem to move quit differently starting with 3.2, and even more so in 3.3. I do indeed notice a huge difference when the enemy is behind me. Never a good place for them to be!

    I’ve found that making SMALL corrections can allow you some room to maneuver. If someone is behind you, take a very small step so that they aren’t. Get them at least beside you in the frontal arc if you can. If I make a large movement the mobs tend to want to readjust to be frustratingly where they were to begin with. If I make one or two small movements they seem to stay in place and I can position myself more correctly without them readjusting.

  2. Copey says:

    I too have wondered about this. It seems I’m moving more then I used to while tanking multiple trash mobs. Kind of makes me wonder if Blizz is stepping up enemy AI since they have been scanning our “non-personal system specs” for a while.

    Though, for one that has been bear tanking since BC it just reminds me of when I had to constantly move so all mobs were in a 180 degree arc in front of me so swipe would hit them (three of them), which is not a bad thing. Not that awesome sauce 360 degree high threat swipe is bad or anything, but it used to be slightly more challenging, and to me more fun.

  3. Cornfedhick says:

    I’ve experiences with this as well. It is annoying, especially in a tight space. Sometimes I’ve had to take several jerking steps back from the groups to make sure they are all in front of me and they’ll continue to try and move behind. I do remember reading previously that AI will move to an anticipated location if the target is strafing (you can reset 4 horsemen by strafing against the closed door) so I wonder if this is a mutation of that.

  4. Spawnofmoose says:

    Apparently it’s intended…. and the biggest pain in the ass so far -.-

    HHoR sucks during the waves AND during the Lich King getaway, aboms will face the party and spew all over them -.-

  5. Veyska says:

    This is apparently not an intentional change from what I understand, though that doesn’t make it any less annoying nor guarantee it will be fixed anything but “soon ™”. :-P

    Mobs getting behind

  6. UFTimmy says:

    I have seen two different blue posts saying it’s not intended and they are looking at how to fix it.

  7. Ratshag says:

    Huh. Until it gets fixed, that’s something warrior tanks will really have to watch for, since Shockwave only hits mobs in front of you.
    .-= Ratshag´s last blog ..Gone Fishin’ =-.

  8. Kaethir says:

    Hrm.

    Good to know, thanks for the heads up!
    .-= Kaethir´s last blog ..Merry Christmas! =-.

  9. Tielyn Pawtucking says:

    I’ve been seeing this too, but I didn’t understand what I was looking at. Mostly I prolly annoyed the group with their carefully placed AoEs that I’d be collecting up mobs in one spot, and then slowly hopping backwards in order to get that one mob out from behind me — especially when it was the mob I’d just taunted off bad DPS aggro control and I’d have my butt to it. I’ve never had to pay attention to the ‘You are facing the wrong way!’ comments this much until now.

    -Tielyn

  10. I’ve noticed this while levelling my bear tank, Mana tombs and pulling groups of 4-5 mobs and some of them end up behind you is really annoying as they don’t move as I waddle arond trying to get them all in front of me.
    .-= ZombiePirateXXX´s last blog ..Merry Christmas =-.

  11. Kaethir says:

    I hadn’t noticed this exceptionally much before…

    But last night, tanking a Pit of Saronwrap, the poison-throwing dudes right before Ick’s minion, whatever his name is… Everytime I tried to move the dudes out of their poison, they kept running to the side of me, or to the back, and I’d have to move again. So a fight that has usually been move-stop-move-stop for me just became a moving fight for the entire set of pulls…

    Irritating, to say the least.
    .-= Kaethir´s last blog ..Merry Christmas! =-.

  12. Cornfedhick says:

    Quote Spawnofmoose: “…..aboms will face the party and spew all over them -.-”

    hahahaha…I’m at work so most sites are blocked but this last part caught me off guard and I almost spit out my breakfast laughing so hard

  13. Navyr says:

    Thank god its a big, i have only tanked HoR heroic once, and it was hell with mobs constantly moving behind me

  14. Poneria says:

    I rarely have mobs end up physically behind me; most of them like to stay IN me. Which annoyingly counts as “behind” me for things like Maul.

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