Monday, November 12, 2007

Aggro in Ulda

I played my hunter all weekend, soaking up the last of the delicious double experience I'd saved up with her. I had a couple things to do in Uldaman still, since my last pug there was unable to complete it, so I put my name on the LFG list first thing on Saturday.

I got an invite after an hour or so, and joined a group consisting of a mage and another hunter. I recognized the other hunter -- we had quested together briefly in Stranglethorn a while back. I don't remember which quest specifically, but it was one where we had to kill a bunch of trolls, and we got our butts kicked. We'd send our cats in, and within moments, we'd be stormed by angry mobs that had been standing just around the corner where we couldn't see, I guessed. After a final suicide run to retrieve our bodies, we fled the scene, getting chased by a pack of gorillas as we tried to get to safer ground. I thought it was completely hilarious at the time.

So, recalling that fondly (unsuccessful though it was), I was looking forward to this Ulda run. When I joined, that made the group two hunters and a mage, so as far as I was concerned, as soon as we picked up a tank and healer, we'd be ready to go. Moments later, the hunter invited another mage. Hmm. I supposed my cat could tank, but I'd never be the first to suggest it. I just made my way toward the summoning stone and thought I'd wait to see what happened.

It seemed like it took a very long time to get a fifth. I think this is in part because we somehow were no longer on the LFG list for Ulda, and when I suggested that the hunter advertise in the LFG channel, he said he didn't know how. Instead, I think he just started looking for folks in the right level range and whispering to them. Must have been successful, because we finally got a fifth, a druid, who greeted us by saying, "Um, guys, I can tank or heal, but not both." Yeahh....

I seriously considered dropping from the group so they could find a fifth that would be more appropriate, but since it had taken us so long to get five together, I decided to go ahead and give it a try. At least if I stayed we'd all be playing instead of waiting, and if it was clear it wasn't going to work, we'd just call it quits. One of the mages pointed out that we should have pretty good DPS and crowd control capabilities, so as long as we communicated well, we should be fine. (I liked her!) I suggested that the leader (the other hunter) mark the pulls so we'd all know what was what. This ended up not happening.

Instead, it was decided that the other hunter and I would have our cats each tank a different mob to split up the aggro. So, at the beginning of each pull (some of these with six mobs ready to charge us), the plan was that we'd each mark a mob with our hunter's mark, signifying we were ready. Then, we'd release the cats and ideally, the DPS could focus on the two marked mobs first. In theory, this probably could have worked. The problem, however, was that the other hunter was specced Marksmanship, not Beast Mastery, so this meant that he was doing a lot more damage than his cat. He possibly could have compensated for this by delaying his fire and letting the cat build up some aggro, but he didn't make an attempt to do this at all. Each pull went like this:

1) He'd put up his hunter's mark, and then I'd put up mine. We'd both send our cats in.

2) I'd wait a few moments for my cat to growl before shooting. He would start shooting immediately, sometimes before his cat even got to the mob.

3) My cat would effectively tank its assigned mob. He would pull aggro on his mob and usually most of the others in the area, and they would come rushing over to our party.

4) My cat and I would kill the one mob I'd marked, and then I'd hurry my cat back to try to help sort out the chaos in the area where we were standing.

5) Lather, rinse, retrieve corpses, repeat.

The mages did try to sheep whenever they could, but mostly it was futile. At one point I asked the other hunter if he was using multi-shot, given that he was pulling so many mobs to the group on every single pull. He said he wasn't, so it just must have been due to poor decisions in timing/choosing his other shots. One of the mages finally asked to be leader so that she could mark a few mobs for sheeping. This helped quite a lot, but I swear, this other hunter pulled every single mob that my cat wasn't tanking on every single pull. It was unbelievable.

(Note, I did download AuldLangSyne, and while it isn't quite what I expected, it is kind of cool. Whenever you apply notes to another player, it includes them when you hover your pointer over them. So, in this case, hovering over the other hunter would make it say:

HisName
Level 43 Blood Elf Hunter
Moron

It made me smile every time.)

We wiped only once, but like I said, those poor mages had to collect their bodies many times during the instance. It was taking us long enough, too, that those retrieving their bodies had respawns to deal with, so the whole group had to go back to help at one point. The mage who was leading us showed us the back way in to speed up later body retrievals, but I was beginning to doubt our ability to handle the final boss, given the way things had gone up to that point.

We made it to the final room, and the mage now in charge suggested that the other hunter have his cat tank the boss while mine took care of all the adds. Seriously? I whispered her and said I thought my cat might be able to hold aggro better on the boss. I told her I was worried about the other hunter's cat doing any major tanking because the other hunter had pulled aggro to himself on every single pull. "Hold up," she said, and whispered a thanks for the suggestion. The way she said it, I thought she might be discounting the idea at first, but then she reversed her orders. My cat would tank the boss, and the other hunter would take care of the other stuff. Whew.

It was really a very close fight, but we brought down Archaedas in one attempt. It was awesome... my cat managed to hold his attention through lots of growling and some well timed intimidations. Both the druid and I kept her healed enough that she was still there at the end of the fight. She was down to 10% of her hit points as Archaedas fell, and I was down to less than half of mine thanks to some roaming adds I happened to engage during the fight. One person died (either a mage or the druid -- can't remember now), so ... not too bad. Way better than I was expecting.

Archaedas dropped the Stoneslayer, and again, in this group, everyone was rolling greed on bind-on-pickups whether they planned to use the items or not. I really prefer to pass on BoPs unless I plan to use them, but I finally said, "what the heck" and rolled greed and won it. I didn't feel too badly about it since it's doubtful that anyone other than the other hunter or I could use it, and the other hunter had just won Grimlok's Charge earlier (in a roll that I passed on).

Anyway, it makes total sense to me why that hunter and I had such problems in Stranglethorn Vale before. It's also becoming clearer to me why hunters have such a reputation for not knowing how to play their class. Seems like I've run into so many clueless ones recently.

(My hunter is now at 47! Whee!)

8 comments:

Exanimo said...

Actually a Marksman's pet should hold better aggro then a BM one as they have higher attackpower which buffs Growl. Likely he just had crappier gear, growl turned off or opened with something like an Aimed shot?
Anyway, he seemed to be one of those Hunters giving the rest a bad name... or looking at it more possitive; giving us another chance to shine :P

Ess said...

Ah, interesting. Clearly I don't know anything about the Marksmanship spec. :) Whatever he was doing, it wasn't conducive to allowing his cat to tank. Quite a mess!

It does make me want to set a good example when I'm playing my hunter. I'll continue to try to do so.

Daggorn & Champ said...

Nothing worse than having someone break the aggro if a pet is tanking. Including one's self. We ran into a similar problem when three of us decided to run Hellfire Ramparts for the fun of it. We made it with two wipes, the first a bad pull by the mage (I took over at that point) and the second was the druid tree kept healing the tank (which was my raptor) and poof, bye bye squishy druid. after that told him not to heal constantly only when the tank dropped to 50% if the mend pet couldn't keep up and not to heal myself or the mage unless we were getting nailed a lot.

but yeah, haven't grouped with another hunter yet so it should be interesting when it happens. and as was said, gives those of us who have an idea of what to do a chance to shine!

Psycho & Chaos said...

Using Multi-Shot is situational. If its you and the mob and you know your not going to anything other than a bunny with it, go for it. (Yes theres a story behind that one.) Other than that I agree with you. Marked down for never group with again unless you are looking for stress.

Ess said...

@Daggorn & Champ

I'm starting to wonder if he didn't understand that his cat was supposed to be tanking.

It's true though... if we know what we're doing, we can impress people and change their minds about the hunter class stereotype. I still don't totally feel like I know what I'm doing, but I'm getting better at recognizing the mistakes hunters make.

@Psycho & Chaos

I agree, multi-shot isn't all bad. I asked because I wondered if he had it in his shot rotation and didn't notice he was using it. (I don't know how he wouldn't have noticed though, given the outcome every time.)

Love the bunny story! Hee!

Lalecize said...

Heya Ess!! Nice blog!

I feel your pain having a level 70 rogue myself, they are notorious for being "tards" also.
I didn't understand why people held this view, until i rolled my pallytank alt and grouped with several "roguetards". Seriously the annoyance can be huge! This is usually no fault of their own, and i have a lot of time for "roguetards" and "huntards" if they are keen to listen.

Hunters also have similar issues, i think largely because they are one of the easiest classes to solo. Ultimately pet on growl and tanking in solo = great, in an instance hunters have to really learn a whole other style of play.

What i really love about your story is that you were up for a challenge - that being having no tank, and giving it a go with your pets tanking.
You gave it a whirl, you organized, planned and strategized.
I sense a very good level 70 hunter coming through the ranks :)

Sorry for the essay but theres nothing i like more than a good challange.
For example last night in dun'garok me and my healer mate hal saw the room full of elites higher level than us (one the boss is in). We had 2 random DPS'ers and a warlock friend with us.
I said "Hal are you thinking what im thinking"
"uh huh"
And with that i aggro'd the whole room and we took it :)

While not levelling my first toon, im on my second - a pallytank on aman'thul and also have a blog about his adventures :)

http://sealofrogueshness.blogspot.com

Keep up the good stories :)

Ess said...

Roguetards... heheh... I call them "rouges." :)

I got a lot of good tips from folks early on in my instancing career. When I start a new class, I do a lot of reading on the side now (in blogs and forums, anywhere I can get it!), but before discovering all these resources, I'd usually say going in, "I haven't done many instances with my hunter yet, so advice is welcome." I'd get the same advice over and over a lot of the time (growl off, pet on passive, dismiss pet if we have to jump), but it's good to reinforce that stuff for myself and anyone else in the pug who might have an alt of my class.

I also love a challenge! I confess I'm bummed when someone offers a level 70 character's services to run the whole group through the instance. I like the long slogs through the dungeons, working together as a group, and deciding the best way to approach each battle. Seems like most of the pugs I've played with approach things with much less deliberation than I would were I leading the group, but this is teaching me to improvise. Still positive!

Thanks for your comments, and for linking your blog! Truth be told, I've been reading you for a while now... I have a massive blogroll on my google reader thingie (about 80 blogs being watched, and counting...). Nice to actually meet you! :D

Lalecize said...

Me too! I hate having a level 70 run me through, i prefer figuiring it out myself.

The one time i have run a group on my 70 is when in BFD some mage pressed all 4 flames which unleased ALL of the mobs from each flame. We had about 30 mobs wipe us (who dont reset), and were 3-4 levels higher than me the tank lol.
So in that case my main came and killed a few crabs, but i logged back to my alt before progressing out of that room.

Doing RFK when the other mobs are still red (and resisting my taunts) leads to plenty of fun! haha.

What server are ya on ess (if you want to disclose it) - id sure hit up an instance with you.

As for asking for advice from groups - thats an awesome thing to do. Many people are running alts, and if you say something like that, they won't rage if you make a mistake (a lot of ragers out there) they will understand and explain it :)

One of the good things about wow, is the higher the level you reach on your character the more idea people have in general on how to run instances.

We've all seen the "kids soccer match" approach where everyone runs in killing everything...i can tell you - it only gets better.