Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How to pull

Some internal info for The PuG first, real post is below the line. The guild has 3 Cataclysm heroic achievement, Tol'Vir, Vortex Pinnacle and yesterday Stonecore. All done by my group (Stonecore was done with tank + 2dps + me queued as DPS + random healer). It means, that outside my groups no one was in a heroic with at least 3 other guildies. While it is completely allowed, it's quite strange. I was in several normals with 1-2 randoms and most (not all) were seriously inferior to the guildmembers in terms of raw DPS, standing in the bad and being annoying on chat. So I asked around why guildies prefer LFD randoms instead. The answer was mostly "too few come when I call for them". Actually few come when I call for them too. However it is merely because people are busy doing their stuff and not standing idly in Stormwind waiting for you to ask them. When I ask for them, I get usually one or two instantly. I invite him and keep on doing my stuff. Then I "LF2M whatever" again and get one more 5-10 minutes later. And the last one later.

You can quest, craft, do daily, hunt enchants and gems, do archeology, clean your bags, check out on the justice/valor vendors while in a group waiting to be full. Waiting 20 mins (while doing other interesting things) for a group to fill up at least to 4 is not much sacrifice compared to the gain: smooth run. Not because they don't mess up (though they mess up much less than the average LFD fodder), but because when you remind them that the green stuff is bad, the dragon has a tail and the skull on one of the monsters is not just for aesthetics, they learn instead of "cba just pull ffs stop nerdraging lol".

I was in several instances (mostly normals during leveling) and was shocked to notice that several DPS and even tanks have no idea how to make a CC-pull. I don't mean they did not pull that particular group right, they did not even know the concept of CC-pulling. In Vanilla and BC lot of people never raided or did heroics. In WotLK everything was gogogogogog. So let me outline the basic concept of CC-pulling.

CC means to turn a monster into a harmless form. It's still alive and on full HP but causes no harm. If they would be in their normal form, they would simply cause too much damage to the tank, and the healer would go out of mana. Some pulls are simply impossible without CC, even with 2 healers, like 2 whirlwinding ogres in a melee heavy group or healer add doing 50K HPS.

All pulls start with marking. It is usually done by the tank, but can be done by anyone who is familiar with the instance and knows how to CC. Always tell the group which mark means what. It's especially important if there are 2 of the same class present. One convention: skull means kill target. The tanks should keybind it and place it on the target they want dead.

The peel-off-pull: This is the easier, but still more rarely used, simply because it takes more time. Remember: 10 peel-offs are shorter than 10 inplace-pulls + 1 corpserun. The steps are the following:
  • targets are marked
  • tank pulls with ranged ability that leaves no dot up on any CC target or AoE on the ground.
  • tank runs back
  • CC-people cast their CCs
  • tank turns back when the active targets are away from CC and tanks them
  • they die
  • tank breaks one of the CC and the group kills them
  • tank breaks next CC, and so on
  • rogue can sap without pulling (if there is no stealth detecting pet around). Distract ability allows the rogue to turn the enemies away. Sap does not work in combat.
  • in peel-off pull, hunters don't use trap launcher, they place the trap front of themselves and shoot the target with distractive shot
  • healers can CC, but they may miss, so don't tell them to CC something that must be CC-ed
  • The CC-ed mobs will hate the DD for being CC-ed, so if they break early, they jump on them. DD must always be ready to re-CC them, or if it's impossible, they must move behind the tank (so the monster runs to the tank)
  • Not CC-ed mobs will follow the tank as no DPS put aggro in him. Healers should not heal until the tank turned back and established aggro on not CC-ed enemies as the skull have one gunshot aggro, X has none. If you heal that 3% damage that the tank got from a ranged enemy, you get aggro.
  • It is very helpful to keybind "focus target", and make your CC-target focus. Then use a macro "/cast [target=focus,harm,nodead] whateverspell". This way you always see if they break CC and can re-CC them
  • If one of the CC is close to the tank, the tank should pull the active enemies away. Even if he doesn't break the CC with a cleave ability, one of the DDs surely will.
Ranged and caster enemies will not run after the tank but cast spells on them. Beware that roots don't stop them shooting, and hunters must use launcher. If skull or X are ranged, the tank must run behind the corner, breaking their line of sight. They still want to attack the tank, running after him, into his melee range (since he is waiting behind the corner).

The in-place pull: it needs less space, need less movement, so it's much faster to do. However any mistake can mean a nasty situation:
  • The CC-people start casting their CC
  • As soon as the first CC hits, the whole pack aggros on the CC-er whose spell landed first
  • The active enemies run to the first CC-er
  • The tank picks them up using some AoE or cleave
Note the importance of perfect timing. The 3 CC must hit at the same time. In the peel-off pull, if someone is a bit late, the target will be CC-ed a bit back. So what? If someone is late here, the target will be CC-ed where the skull stands and the tank will break the CC with his cleave. If he does not cleave/DnD/consecrate the skull and X, they will keep running for the first CC-guy who has good chances to be a clothie. If the skull reaches his target in a peel-off, he'll hit the tank in the back. Bad, but not terrible. In an in-place pull the first CC-er will know what Deathwing felt when he met Theldurin! If hunter is present, it's even worse as the trap has 2 sec activation time after the launcher placed it. If the other CC-ers cast before this time is up, the trap target will run out of the trap range.


Andru said...

You forgot the Line of Sight Pull.

The LoS pull is when a peel-off pull is disadvantageous (caster mobs that don't peel off, and keep shooting the tank from range), and an in-place pull is impossible (camouflaged mobs, big aggro range, nearby patrols, proximity to other unlinked, yet aggro-zonable mobs.)

The pull works like a peel-off pull, with a twist. Tanks marks everything according to what he wants, then runs behind a wall or a corner. All mobs(even casters) then have no choice but to run past the corner, right into the tank's melee range.

While they're running, the assigned DD CC their targets.

It's a very good pull, but tricky.

The advantages are that the Tank can gather them all in melee range with a lot less effort, priming the non-CC mobs for AoE, with no danger to CC mobs. Casters, bane of the tanks, become trivial to handle this way since in melee range, they can be chain stunned.

The disadvantages? The DD and healer must be *VERY CLEAR* that they must not lay a single damage skill or heal on ANYONE, before the mobs have reached the tank. They simply must CC and WAIT.

If a single damge/heal has been cast, the proper recovery is for the moron who did that to run to the tank, past the corner, into the tank's melee range.

I'm wary of executing LoS pulls in LFD. While it was common practice in TBC, WotLK killed it, and people do not know what "Wait, and don't DPS until they reach me." means.

In a guild group, I can execute those easily. In LFD, I have to use an in-place pull, and hope the morons don't butt-pull the other pack, and if they do, that I have enough tanking CDs to handle a WotLK-like double-pack AoE zerg.

Marieth said...

One more thing you maybe should have mentioned: Rogues can't sap their target, if it is in combat.
I know this should be clear, but I have been in different groups, where the group leader (be it tank or someone else) assigns the CC targets and either a) tells me to sap, as soon as one target is sheeped/traped or b) does not say anything, but every time I move in to sap, some other form of CC comes flying by. On the good side, sap does not initiate combat. Also a good rogue uses distract to stop the group, to allow time for pulling, or easier use of CC.

Also it is not generally a problem if there is a beast in the group, not all beasts have stealth detection, BUT normal mobs can have stealth detection as well. A rogue will see little markers above an enemy if it can see through stealth and tell you.

Also rogues are able to sap not only humans, but beast and dragonkin as well, basically everything with a brain (and no elementals do not have brain). It is quite old news, but some people I've been running with did not know.

Olga said...

There's one tricky moment with this tactics. It assumes that tank can catch more than one running mob instantly, which can not be the case. DnD, for instance, has a long cooldown, time between ticks and not so wide range, so mob may just pass it through and continue running to dps-er. To build up a proper rotation, dk need to apply diseases (1-2 gcd), spread them (1 gcd), nuke mobs (here one blood rune should be available). So there's a certain rotation on pull, and if it will be broken by need to taunt or something like that, there will be issues with keeping aggro. Having nothing like thunderclap available it's not easy to catch 3 running to different directions mobs at all.

Sizirri said...

A little tip on marking targets.
Each group member chooses a mark. If he can CC something in the mobgroup he just places the mark on the mob. The tank chooses a skull.
If everyone does this the group wont have to wait for the tank to mark everything.

Anonymous said...

CC is back! WoW is challenging again. I am so grateful the abortion that was WotLK is over. The last time we used CC was our 2nd pull in Naxx. After that it was just nuke away!!! The fun was gone. All content in Cata can still be beaten, you just can't face-roll it any more.

We are still seeing fools come in and then ninja-leave after 1 wipe on a new heroic boss even they have not seen yet. We just laugh.

Existence Guild Journal said...

Nice post, it is enlightening to read what I was actually already doing all those years in whilst tanking (skip Wrath). I do agree that the corner-pull should be added since that is one of the best methods versus caster heavy mobs even if it requires even more execution from the group. Also I have to say that it feels like I meet a lot less Morons in the LFD-method then before in wrath. It could be that they just aren't doing dungeons yet or that most realize from their peanut brain that things have changed a bit.

Ðesolate said...

As a Paladin-Tank I prefer sheep / frog / icetrappulls. That´s just because the captain america-shield ignores cc´d targets. That way you get all the left mobs (unless they are more than three) and silence them (would be step 2 inplace pull).

Easier for me.
When I pull the group my shield bashes and silences the not-cc´d targets as well, so in worst case 2 hits + silences are wasted.

Since I don´t have any aggro issues i can also avoid any tanking cc breaking aoe-effects in usual, so a mob near to me sitting in a ice trap or beeing furry is no thread. So a missing cc is not fatal.

As a DK-Tank i prefer BloodBoil to catch up non-ccd mobs. But in that case the cc has to keep the mobs out of my range since BB applys a dot.

As a frost-dk (second spec) I usually boy up some time for the tank by simply freezing the mobs breaking through. I avoid that when a cc misses since it applys the frostplaque

Oh yes and @healer please avoid prehotting in cc fights, that can be very annoying when a cc misses. Most tanks can throw up a cd / pot / selfheal to manage the short time until the mob is under control again.

Caramael said...

As a Shaman healer you could (should?) spec into Elemental Precision, which will give you two reliable CC abilities (hex and bind elemental).
I haven't done this myself, yet, but so far I've also seen just one hex miss in a heroic, so I'm not sure if it's really worth it.

chewy said...

Very small addendum to Marieth's excellent description of Rogue CC capability.

The rogue should also be applying TotT (Trick of the trade) to the tank so if the SAP is broken the mob generally runs to the tank.

All other party members, particularly tanks, would do well to recognise "distract". The number of times I've gone in for a sap and watched the distracted mobs run off. Distract does not equal SAP.

Ulsaki said...

Good post. Not really much new to pre-Wrath players, but a nice summary nevertheless.

The downside of in-place pulls is that it's not retard-proof. There are plenty of bad DPS who seem to think they can do AoE attacks with complete disregard for nearby CCed mobs.

Still, it's always funny to read "MAGE CC FFS", only for them to go quiet when I point out "I did, you broke it 5 times".

I'd also agree with Andru that LoS pulls should be mentioned as well. If you have a lot of silences / interrupts you can substitute a LoS pull for an in-place pull, with proper positioning and awareness.

Riptor said...

I personally find the Peel-off Pull a bit risky. The CCd’ Mobs are very close together so your accidental Scattershot, Tab-Living Bomb, etc can easily break more CCs than necessary.

Also I really dislike you positioning on that one. In my Opinion, regardless if Peel-Off or In Place Pull, DPS should never up Front closest to the Mobs while the Tank stands way back with the Healer.

In the Peel Off Pull (my personal Favorite) you should always try to LoS. Its very easy once you get the hang of it and it draws the actual DPS Targets closer together which makes it easier for the Tank to grab them and as well lets DPS “spread their Wealth” among them (Shadowfury, Starfall, every kind of Cleave/Dot Spread and all that good Jazz)
Except for Stonecore and in some Parts of Vortex Pinnacle you can LoS almost every Caster Trashpack although in most Cases it’s really better to CC them anyway as they do some nasty Stuff that make your Fight longer than usual. (Swiftmender, Shadowlancer, Darkcaster etc. come to Mind).

Also you forgot to mention the currently most powerful CC available: Shadow Priests. They can mind Control almost any Trashmob and not only will their Mob be eaten alive by its friends but they will in most Cases do more Damage with their Controlled Mob than they would do themselves.
Say you have a Mage, a Shadow and something useless as DPS. Let the Mage sheep-pull and LoS. The S-Priest grabs the most annoying/dangerous Mob and mind controls it. The Tank grabs whatever’s left but lets the Mind Controlled Mob tank at least one of his Buddies. The end Result will most likely be the same as with your 2 Heal Strategy. Almost no Heal Mana wasted and the Group never dropped any Health…

Also for Sheep Macros:
You can combine a Mouseover and a Shift Macro easily together.
This then combines three Variations:
- If you have a Target selected pressing the Button will sheep it
- If you have no Target selected it will sheep you Mouseover
- If you use your alternate Key (Shift, Control, Alt, whatever you use) it will sheep your Focus Target without you loosing your current Target
If you’re uncomfortable with Mouseover you can just use another Alternate Key (Shift for focus, Alt for Mouseover).

Ðesolate said...

Following macro is what i prefer for cc (mage):

/script SetRaidTarget("focus", 5);
/cast [target=focus] Polymorph

you can combine it into several subcommands.
for excample:
/script if (IsShiftKeyDown()) SetRaidTarget("mouseover", 5) if (IsControlKeyDown()) SetRaidTarget("focus", 5) else SetRaidTarget("target", 5);
/cast [modifier:shift] [target=mouseover] [harm] polymorph
/cast [modifier:ctrl] [target=focus] [harm] polymorph
/cast [nomodifier] [harm] polymorph

shift = mouseover
ctrl = focus
no additional key = player´s target
And it always sets the moon up.

you can modyfy it as you need it. As taken from wowpedia following script will mark the mobs by pressing and mouse-overing with the marks from skull to moon (you can go down until star what would delete the section "(charm < 6)"

/script if (charm == nil) or (charm < 6) then charm=9; end; charm=charm-1; if (charm==6) then SetRaidTarget("mouseover", 0) else SetRaidTarget("mouseover", charm); end

ardoRic said...

I'm loving being a survival hunter in guild runs. With trap and Wyvern Sting I can single handledly CC most pulls (granted that the sting breaks fast and can't be reapplied very soon).

I've grown to not like Distract Shot (DS) + Trap much ever since they changed DS to be a taunt with a cooldown instead of actually generating threat. Some mobs simply stand on their spot for several seconds after being distracted and will move straight to the healer if no actual threat has been made by me. Even with its many flaws I prefer to trap launch my traps now.

Kelindia said...

Playing a hunter for me for the most part CCing has been brutal to say the least. Most tanks expect you to trap launch your freezing trap into the mobs. This brings up 2 problems.

1) You can almost never hit a moving target with it because you don't know exactly where the mob really is due to latency unless you are running a very good connection like 100ms I expect.

2) You actually can't aim it into a group if all the mobs are together. Say with poly or hex assuming they aren't dotted up already you can still cc them effectively.

Now I know you can distracting shot a mob and place your trap but i've had at least three tanks while doing normal so far grab the mob while i was doing this.

Since most good hunters recognize surival to be the top spec currently you should remember that wyvern sting can also sleep a mob for 30 seconds. Elementals are immune and the mob will be unable to be CC again by most forms of CC because of the dot left over by wyvern sting.

My two cents says freezing trap should be the first CC to go off unless you have a sap. Your hunter can still Misdirect pretty much anything close together with multi shot now so if people CC doesn't go quite right the mobs will still end up on the tank...or the hunter hit deterrence and walks the mobs over.

Just a side note, you can now by items with high item lvls at the honor vendors. So if you have a piece of gear holding you back from heroics or haven't found a item yet to bypass the average item lvl you can also just grab pvp gear.

ardoRic said...

Just a note to hunters (who might have not noticed it), Multi-Shot doesn't seem to hit CC'ed targets (or I've just been that goddamned lucky so far).

Anonymous said...

One thing you didn't mention about LOS pulls and caster mob pulls: if you have ranged interrupt / silence like counterspell, strangulate you can force casters to run towards you without breaking LOS. However this doesn't work on "hunter - type" mobs like those goblin hunters in throne of the tides or spear throwers (forgot which instance).

Death grip works on all, if the death knight is not your usual "arthasdklol" and sees the ranged mob free, shooting the healer, he can grip him to the tank and it's one of these moments when you're excused from the "never death grip as dps" rule.

Guthammer said...

I have 4 charms key bound:

B = Skull
B + shift = X
B + crtl = square
B + alt = moon

Skull, of course, gets the most use.

Steven said...

Something for DPS to keep in mind is they have cooldowns that can save their life if there CC breaks or the tank misses an add.

Vanish, Feign Death, Iceblock, snares, silence, etc. Need to be careful which to use as you don't want to send the mob to the healer.

The main risk with the In-Place-Pull is resists, no so much CC resist but resist or misses from the tank. All the mobs are running at the CCer and thunderclap misses 1 mob. The CCer now may have something trying to eat their face. This makes some CC classes nervous about in place pulls.

Both can work. Pull-Offs put max pressure on the tank and healer at the start of every pull but this is expected.

In-Place pulls put pressure on the CCers, extra pressure isn't expected.

That is if a In-Place-Pull goes bad, damage will spike much higher unexpectedly. If the pull-off-pull goes bad, high damage just presists longer than normal.

Anonymous said...

Also, just to note for mages, I know you may not want to replace a glyph with something that doesn't supply a greedy buff; however, glyph of polymorph can really help out if you wind up with moron CC breakers or in the event that things go bad and you need to poly another target.

The Gnome of Zurich said...

Yup, when running my shaman under the normal tank everything and aoe, I would always keep an eye out for caster mobs that I could interrupt with wind shear and cause them to run to the tank.

Learning to play in BC, I just always do this when running with others who get it. Even in wrath heroics where everything is easy, I would use LoS pulls on my tanks to get more groups together for mass AoE fun.

Knowing the mechanics made things go faster under the ez mode dungeons as well because of this, but of course was not safe in randoms, as it would take more time to explain how to behave as a dps/healer than to just do it the way everybody else was doing it, chain pulling single pulls plus whoever people bodypulled in the meantime.

Merric said...

I would also like to add that level 85 rogues can assist with an "In-place line-of-site pull" using the level 85 ability Smoke Bomb.

To perform this, the rogue stacks on the puller, uses smoke bomb, and the puller uses a ranged ability to pull the pack.

Casters cannot target the puller, as he is in the smoke bomb area, and must therefore run into the smoke bomb area. Neat trick.

Anonymous said...

Is Warlock Fear considered OK for CC in Cata? I know if you cast fear in Wrath, even if there was a legit panic that called for it, you were beguiled for it. Just wondering if CC means just hex/sheep/etc...

ardoRic said...

@ last anon,

anything that sends mobs running away uncontrollably is not reliable crowd control, almost by definition. Fears are only usable as a valid CC when there is NO CHANCE WHATSOEVER that the mobs will run into another pack.

And now the real reason I'm posting, I made a mistake earlier: Multi-shot DOES indeed hit CC'ed targets. I just had some lucky shots that made me think otherwise. But I do believe pet thunderclap doesn't break CC, but I'll need to put it to a test some other time.

Ygg said...


Regarding the Wyern Sting dot left after the sleep is over: you can replace that dot by applying Scorpid Sting: it doesn't do damage and overwrites the other sting. (At least it used to do when I played a hunter)

Ygg said...

Also a Scorpid Sting (or any sting) don't break CC - only the ticks that do damage do that, so you can shoot Scorpid Sting on a CC'ed mob (to remove a dot sting that hasn't ticked yet) as long as you're moving so as not to trigger an auto shot. I haven't tested this in Cataclysm or WotLK but it used to work like that.

ardoRic said...

Currently there is nothing like a Scorpid Sting on the hunter arsenal. We effectively have no way of removing the 6s dot after Wyvern Sting is dispelled.

Shobbs said...

@ Olga: As a DK I usually open with IT, drop DD, hit BB, and then Pestilence. You want to get their attention, BB does a great job of that.

Katherine said...

@ardoRic "Fears are only usable as a valid CC when there is NO CHANCE WHATSOEVER that the mobs will run into another pack."

Warlocks can glyph for fear to root them instead. It's a perfectly viable CC when glyphed. I should perhaps digitise my CC chart, I would find it invaluable to have if I was a tank.