A Visual Indication of AoE

To be filed under “Why didn’t I think of that” is a post by Brokentree over at Wayward Initiative, performing a very simple and yet helpful service;

Showing the DPS what each tanks’ most common AoE looks like.

The subtext goes back to a recent post there by another of the multitude of Wayward Initiative bloggers, Pugging as DPS.

The post is brilliant; it gives a visual example of what Tank AoE looks like, so that DPS have some idea what to wait for before they unload on the group.

I’m a sarcastic old Bear, so that’s a post I totally should have thought of first.


Because what it’s saying is, “Hey, you idiots keep pulling aggro off the tank in PUGs, time after time after time, in the first two seconds of each pull, before the Tank has ever even had a chance to reach the bloody mobs. But maybe the problem isn’t that you’re a complete f’ing moron. Maybe the problem is you just don’t know what the AoE effect looks like. So I will teach you. The more you know. GI Joe!”

That’s sarcasm to be proud of.

Look, there’s a foolproof, simple technique that will ensure you do not pull aggro off the mobs on the tank.

It’s called patience.

If you play as DPS, just wait a few seconds for the tank to get it stuck in before you open up. If you still pull aggro, then either tone it down, or wait a few more seconds the next time.

Try, and I know this is a crazy, out there idea, but try to use your skill to adjust your DPS output on single and group targets to take into accuont the current tank’s Threat output.

It may take you a pull or two to figure it out, but just do it. 

Stop with the “gogogo”. Stop with the pulling FOR the tank unless she asks.

Just be patient for a few seconds on each pull.

Mathematical tests have proven* that the potential amount of time you will save by pushing the group and screaming GOGOGO, or by pulling the groups yourself as DPS, does not outweigh the amount of time you lose from wiping and running back in, or by having the tank tell you to shut up or having the tank leave the group in disgust at your behavior or having the healer stop healing you each time you pull something antisocial so you’ll eat a repair bill.

If you are DPS and have a 15 minute queue time, and you want to get each Heroic finished as soon as possible so you can requeue, pushing the speed of a group and destabilizing the run is not going to save you time. 

Neither will screaming “you suck” at the tank if you pull aggro by not waiting, nor will screaming obscenities at the healer if you, as the tank pull half the instance in your 22k health/non-defense capped gear and die.

I will hammer this home until everyone seems to get it;

“Why is there never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to release and run back in?”™


If you’re the tank, learn what you can safely pull and hold before taking too much damage too fast. And go slow enough for the healer to keep up.

If you’re the DPS, wait until the tank has had a chance to tag everything before you open up, and hey, brilliant idea here, how about making your primary target the same one the tank currently has targeted? Chances are excellent that’s the one getting the lion’s share of the tanks threat output.

There are even mods/addons that make it easy. X-Perl unitframes let’s you turn on target of target display for Party mode. You can easily, at a glance, see what EVERY person in the party is targeting.

I love comparing, as the tank, what I’m targeting against what the rest of the group has targeted.

“Oh hey, how about that, every time I mark a Skull, the Mage is on something else and pulls aggro on it. Every time. Let’s see how he likes it when I stopped Growling.”

And healers… well, I’m sorry. That’s about all I got for you.

Oh no, wait, I do have one piece of advice.

If you go Engineering, you can get Rocket Boots enchanted on your feet. It really helps keeping up when the tank thinks his leet 22k health means heals are optional on the next sequence of groups. 

*Based on my slowing down every time I get one of those assholes.

17 thoughts on “A Visual Indication of AoE

  1. As a healer I woudl like to remind tanks with 40plus k hp that the rest of us can not survive a three group pull, and as I frantically heal the dps that got aggro by standing within 30 yards of the unaggro’d mobs being pulled to the next next group, we will wipe. You have to pull not only what you but also the group as a whole can survive.

    As a tank, I apologize to the dead dps I didn’t frantcially keep aggro off of each and every time we res them. I don’t /dance on their corpses in public, though the healer and I might be snickering to one another in tells. Usually after a few deaths they finally start opening up on the MOB I MARKED WITH A SKULL and only after I GET IN MELEE RANGE of it. Other times they quit and we replace them in zero point zero zero five seconds with someone who has a clue.

    As a melee DPS I have to note that it’s hard to keep high on the meters with a tank who is ueber. They push the pace, we still have to hold a moment as they race in, and stuff is dead sometimes faster than we can switch targets. Which is all ok till the tank then razzes us for being fail dps at a gear score 2k lower than his whlie obeying the rules about what we can hit.



  2. I have very easy solution: at the start of the instance say “if somoene ninja pulls or says go go go I will stop and wait 2 mins doing nothing” and actually do it.


  3. @Arrowrest, Indeed I too want to see the return of THINKING to 5-man content. You never saw this kind of crap during the Burning Crusade when unless you were running with an endgame geared tank and decent healer, you couldn’t make it to the first boss in some heroics without wiping if you didn’t use crowd control and playing smart allowing plenty of time for the tank to get the mobs and establish aggro, and not zerg rush crap like no tomorrow. The other thing that completely pisses me off are the people that expect you to move fast and skip bosses because they ‘don’t have time’ to run the whole instance.

    I was in Gundrak a while back on my paladin, chain pulling non stop because that’s just my style of tanking, I’ll move as fast as the healer can keep up adjusting my pace to that of theirs and in this case the group was capable and willing to move at a lightning pace, so we ended up clearing first boss to last minus Eck in 10 minutes. We skipped Eck because as I was running from Moorabi to Eck the healer started yelling “no not that way” “no eck” I asked “Why? He’s easy as hell.” the reply I got was “I don’t have time”… uh…. I replied “if you don’t have time you shouldn’t be running a dungeon” and the response I got was “well with your gear score you don’t need the extra emblem”.. again, uh.. yeah I still needed 2 items for my tank set from emblems but whatever I skipped the boss. But that kind of attitude just royally pisses me off, I have no trouble what so ever skipping whatever the majority of the GROUP decides they want to skip, whether or not I need the emblems, but you do NOT queue up for a god damn dungeon if you don’t have the time to run the whole thing, if you don’t have the time then you’re wasting everyone elses time by being there.

    I was healing on my shaman the night before that, and I got a warrior tank that went pretty slow, and it took us about 30 minutes to do Heroic Utgarde Keep. I’m fairly certain had that healer got THAT tank, rather then me, he would have had those 30 minutes to spare to get his precious frost emblems and if not he would have (at the time) had a nice long 15 minute long wait until he could get into a different group to start all over. We cleared Gundrak in 10, don’t come at me with that “I don’t have time” bullshit.


  4. Honest to god, nothing makes me more upset in a group as a DPSer then seeing other DPSers with this gogogo mentality. Maybe it’s because I also play a tank but is it really that hard to wait a few seconds for the tank to build aggro before unleashing everything you have on a mob? Not to mention how important it is to being fighting the SAME mob as the tank? I really hope the Cataclysm instances require a little more thought about pulls and crowd control so we can see this “hurry up, do it now” mentality go away.
    .-= Arrowrest´s last blog ..The Art of Feedback =-.


  5. I’m new to WOW and to tanking (though I’m loving it!) and even I’ve figured this out. Most of the Random Dungeon groups have been decent to good but yesterday? Yesterday I hit the worst group ever. People can’t count, refuse to count, pull extra crap without my knowledge then yell at me ’cause they’re getting killed and I’m not holding aggro. Um? What the heck are you doing over here when the little skull is over this character over here? My favourite is the guy who needs to be the top DPS and then gets PO’ed that I’m not holding aggro. Here’s an idea, don’t rush in at the same time as me, ‘k thanks? After the 8th time I’ve had to ask you to back the freak off, I’m going to drop group after pulling everything and then see what happens. (I didn’t though as I’m way too nice).


  6. Thanks for reminding people to wait for their healer. Nobody remembers that sometimes (especially if we’re ressing) combat ends a few seconds later for a healer than for tank/dps… and we still want loot!


  7. I had a rogue that was hitting about anything I hadn’t gotten to yet, and kept whining about “being the tank”. I let him get to about zilch before growling (the healer was sick of him too)…I think it finally sank in, but who knows!


  8. My last boss, the dps absolutely refused to stop pulling; all of them. I pleaded, begged. Nope, you suck, you are a bad tank, you’re not pulling fast enough. So i said fine, replace me. Went afk for 10 min while they debated replacing me. Hope they like the 20-30 min wait they caused


  9. Awww..somebody needs a hug and a misdirect. Seriously though here’s a couple tips for DPSers in pugs. As soon as your phased in, BEFORE buffs, identify the tank, right click his portrait, and select “set focus”. This will create a smaller portrait of the tank next to the normal one. Right click it again and select “unlock frame” and drag that little bugger anywhere you want on your screen. As a hunter, I drag it right above my misdirect button on my action bar for obvious reasons. Then you can right click it and lock it in place if you so wish.

    If you’re not a hunter, the reason you’d want to do this is to make targeting the tanks target an easy task. Click the focus portrait, and hit T. This will target your target’s target (default keyboard bindings) – aka you’ve clicked the tanks portrait so now you’re targeting him. Hitting T at this point will target whatever the tank is targeting. I use this all the time with my fury warrior, who steals aggro just by looking at enemies.

    Even better, create the following macro and assign a button on your task bar for it. “/target focustarget” (without quotes). That way all you have to do is click the button once you’ve assigned a focus target at the beginning of a pug/raid. With that focus assigned, hitting the macro button will immediately make your character focus on the tank’s current opponent.

    Finally, last night I was in a pug with my 73 DK and just happened to get an 80 warrior for a tank. He wasn’t the world’s fastest tank but he wasn’t slow either. I was content to have a level 80 tank that it would be impossible for me to steal aggro from. But some impatient DPSer kept urging him on, including the tired “GOGOGO”. Just STFU and be grateful we have an overgeared, overleveled tank you impatient tool!


  10. I’m just a DPSER who wants to play good! And what was shocking from BT’s post, I run with a bear tank for most raids and I have never, ever noticed that Swipe makes the mobs look red! /shame!


  11. Like you said in a prior post, if I am here reading this; chances are I’m reading many other posts as well.
    It seems that no one says that it’s okay to cast Misdirection on a tank before the pull and “unload” with Volley. It is four seconds of threat pointed at the tank. But, sure; I can wait a few seconds.


  12. I love the visuals! Thanks for the link, and for the much-needed advice about patience!

    Just about anybody can spend a few badges to get some attractive Epic gear, copy a talent spec and rotation from the Internet, and put out respectable dps while standing still spamming their highest-damage abilities. I think the real indication of a good dps player is when they put out good numbers while playing smart. That means: Moving out of fire. Interrupting spellcasters. Using threat-reduction moves when appropriate. Cleansing, cloaking, iceblocking, and so forth to mitigate poisons and other AoE damage. Not using unglyphed knockbacks. Stunning runners before they aggro additional mobs. Standing in a smart place so you don’t get feared into another pack. Someone who can do all that and still put out high numbers, that’s impressive.

    Even a fool in decent gear can put out good damage against a target dummy. What really makes my heart beat faster is someone who can do it in a real fight. If losing a few GCD’s at the beginning of a pull is going to make you look “bad” on the meters, well, I’m sorry, that’s a more accurate measure of your output.

    Thanks for another good post!


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