Tank like a girl
Jan 05 2010

Trying to be of /assistance

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I know that not all of my readers are predominantly tanks. Maybe some of you DPS will read this, or even healers (because it applies to some of you too).

  • Read ‘Do not spank the tank‘ over in the WoW European forums. Credit for discovering this gem goes to Heartbourne over at Project Lore.
  • When you start running an instance, set your tank as /focus.
  • If you are melee DPS, create a macro to assist the tank. It will start auto-attacking the current target of your focus, which should be the tank:

    #showtooltip Attack
    /target [target=focustarget, harm, nodead]
  • If you are caster DPS, change the macro to:

    /target [target=focustarget, harm, nodead]

Why the macro, you might ask? Just to provide some kind of assistance to the tank. I play DPS as well, and I always try to assist the tank and not pull aggro inevitably. Based on my personal experience, many people don’t care about marked targets, kill order or /assisting, and this macro would be such an easy fix for a lot of people. Try it, you damage dealers. It won’t hurt anyone, and will not kill your DPS.

As personal appeal: Please do not pull for the tank.

I have seen healers, mages, death knights, everyone and their brother pull. If the pace is too slow, say so, without using the gogogo variation.

Alternatively, I think tanks need to be more resolute, stop taunting off people who pull or kick them. I know I will, because it gets tiresome.

Filed under : instances | 27 Comments »

27 Responses to “Trying to be of /assistance”

  1. One nitpick: The new targeting system in macros has changed it to a very Twitter-esque setup: Your macro should look like /target [@focustarget,harm,nodead] instead.

    One thing that I’m curious about that I do on my DK while DPS and I wonder how you’d react – let’s take, for example, HoR, and the spirit waves. Those mages are really damn picky about coming into the alcoves if you’re using the LOS strategy – I like to Death Grip them into a tank’s “aggro generation area” (i.e. Consecration, Swipe, D&D, or TClaps), and then move to the actual priority target (usually a Merc). I usually warn them as I’m doing it, too. Should I be?


    Kadomi Reply:

    That’d be fine for me. I have a DK as well, and I will yank ranged mobs into Consecrate areas myself, in hopes the tank will do a quick pick up. I know I would. Informing the tank in advance is a very nice touch.

    Had no idea about the macro changes, will try to fix. The macro as is does work for me, I use it on all my DPS characters.


    Rilgon Arcsinh Reply:

    Oh yeah, the old target= syntax still works, but the @ syntax saves you 6 characters per target quantifier.

    And yeah, it’s usually just something as simple as a “/p Gripping Caster %t to Tank!” and then DGing. Good to know you wouldn’t get mad at it, at least. :D
    .-= Rilgon Arcsinh´s last blog ..I think I’m getting this “tanking” thing. =-.


    LabRat Reply:

    Given that I was plotting on specifically asking the DPS DK I sometimes run with to do this…


  2. Baruti says:

    First off… to Rilgon..
    I would love you for it! When I play on my DK, I Deathgrip mobs to the tank as well and hope they like it.. I do like it if I’m tanking (on my warrior).
    But do remember Deathgrip has an aggro in it forcing the mob on you for 3 secs.. I’m not sure if it can be taunted off you (I’ll try that soon to see if we can) but eitherway be prepared to be hit for at least 3 seconds before it’ll face the tank (with decent AoE-Treat) if you don’t hit it after the Deathgrip)

    More on the subject toward Kadomi.
    When I tank heroics on my Warrior, I have a lot of speed in the runs… Still, the occasional rogue feels the need to pull a new group every so often.. I usually just act like I didn’t notice and taunt just after they die! (So the mobs go for the healers!)
    It seems to work because they never blame me for their deaths and usually just “lol” in /p.
    And after that, I never saw em do it twice in the same run! (Learn the hard way you rogue! :P)


    Rilgon Arcsinh Reply:

    Yup, I usually follow my DG with a personal cooldown of some sort – either AMS (usually this, since it’s casters I’m gripping), Vampiric Blood, or if it’s a really big-nasty, IBF.
    .-= Rilgon Arcsinh´s last blog ..I think I’m getting this “tanking” thing. =-.


  3. Baruti says:

    Correction on my previous post:
    It says “so the mobs go for the healers!”
    Obviously this should be “so the mobs DON’T go for the healer!” XD


  4. Csara says:

    I would LOVE more /assistance when tanking.
    Especially in guild runs (damn warlocks).
    And, as a dps, I always try to be hitting the main target and I try as hard as I can not to pull aggro (though as a cat druid, swipe-spam is addictive).
    I’d really love for other dps to extend me the same courtesy…
    I wish people would think about tanks and aggro more like they did in the TBC days, a little respect would be nice. Since I’m the one that volunteered for the role.

    Unfortunately, the anonymity of random dungeons doesn’t help with the accountability side of things.


  5. FerrioClef says:

    Aha! Thank you!

    I’m currently leveling an Enhancement Shaman and running instances with my guild, and I used

    /assist focus

    in various ways, either by itself, or combined with a /cast Stormstrike macro, but I’ve noticed that mashing either button occasionally didn’t get the tank’s target, even though I could SEE him fighting other mobs. I’m guessing that the “assist” feature must work differently than just targetting by itself (maybe something to do with the swing timer?). In any case, I’ll update my macros with this one and play around with it.


  6. Lashe says:

    Nice idea on the macros, I will definitely start using it when I’m dps’ing.

    I really don’t understand why tanks get so much grief in groups. And the dps wonder why they have to wait 15-30 minutes to get a dungeon? Tank shortage!! How about you don’t drive away the ones that are actually showing up to tank, and maybe some more will decide they want to do it, and the queues will reduce for everyone.

    Sorry, feeling a little ranty this morning xD


    Kadomi Reply:

    Rant away, you know my feelings on non-tanks who think it’s cool to pull for them. Grar. :)


  7. Kaeleb says:

    I play a hunter as a main, but have been experiencing things from the tank perspective on an alt since the introduction of the dungeon finder system, and what I find many people don’t understand, or simply reject, is that aggro management is the responsibility of the entire group, not just the tank.

    If a dps isn’t assisting, isn’t monitoring their own threat, and just generally doing anything they can to help the tank maintain aggro (misdirects, tricks of the trade, aggro dumps, even throttling dps back a bit) , then they aren’t doing their job correctly. Trying to top the meters does your group no good if you get people killed in doing so.


  8. Askevar says:

    “You yank it, you tank it”

    I get so tired of people pushing me to go when I’m tanking. I take it easy on the first three pulls or so to see how my healer works with me, and I’m then usually able to settle into a nice fast paced chain pulling rhythm. One I won’t get into if we’re having to rez the rogue or hunter [it's usually one of the two, no offense] every pull because I let them eat it because they did pull.

    Heck, I’ve even had healers pull. If I’m stopped I’m likely waiting on either 1. healer’s mana; 2. a cooldown of my own that I’d like up for the next aoe pull.


  9. A few notes from a dpser in 5-man instances because I think it’s useful to see the other side (this does not apply evenly to other tanking scenarios).

    First, I always take the tank’s target on the first mob in a group unless a) the tank has marked otherwise or b) there is some situation I know about that demands I kill something first (a mind control mob in MT while leveling or the priests in HoR at 80).

    After the first mob dies, I take a random target unless there are mitigating circumstances. Why? Because it doesn’t matter. At the very worst, I’ll pull agro at the end of the fight just before the creature dies, and I don’t care about a hit or two. Delaying until I know which mob the tank, who may be target-switching, is going after is a pointless waste of potential dps time.

    The tank will hold agro through the majority of the fight if they’ve been generating sufficient AoE threat for the first mob, and overall all 5-man instances are AoE-tanked these days with extremely rare exception. On my melee classes, the least important thing is where my white damage is hitting. On my caster classes, I’m more likely to be casting pure AoE spells anyway with no regard for targeting after the first mob is down.

    Now, there are other circumstances. My DK routinely taunts, and I don’t want the tank to worry about it. If you see someone deliberately pull agro, assume they have a reason and go with it. If they’re idiots, tell them after they’re dead. But I’d rather have a dpser (even me) die because they taunted off the healer than to allow the inattentive tank to wipe the group.

    It’s all a matter of everyone being aware of what they’re doing and why, not simply following one set pattern of behavior. dpsers should be aware of how and when and why to take the tank’s target, but sometimes that’s not the right move.

    As for pulling for the tank. I 100% agree. There are times you want someone other than the tank to pull, but those times have nothing to do with going faster than the tank is comfortable with. I despise tanks that go faster than the healer is comfortable with (except in timed events like CoS), but even more I hate non-tanks that try to pace the tank.


    Kadomi Reply:

    Interesting view from the other side. As DK I mostly use DG in situations to bring ranged mobs into the tank’s reach or to save a healer, but ultimately I prefer a tight control over a pull where DPS focus fire instead of randomly picking targets. While AoE threat is a lot stronger these days, you can’t always rely on it.

    As overgeared prot warrior I am back to having rage issues, so in low rage situations, it can get hairy for me.


    Diraan Reply:

    Agreed, and ssomething else to consider is the fact that the tank is Expecting to have the first target and have to work at keeping it. I am a prot warrior having the same rage issues just expressed, and having them compounded by the plethera of Ret pallies pulling off targets seconds into a pull. If everyone would focus fire at least the first you are completly right in the thinking that the tank will have enough of a lead on any target chosen, but when was the last time you saw any mage, lock, hunter, shaman wait to hit the aoe key in a heroic. Kadomi is just asking us all to take a second and think about the reason we all are in the5 man in first place (gear, rep, EoT) and just go with the flow.


  10. Maritime says:

    When I tank I change targets all the time, this macro wouldn’t help much. I put up a skull and if they pull the skull off me I take it back, anything else they get to keep it.


    Kadomi Reply:

    Routinely, people will completely ignore the skull I mark. Hence the macro would at least help with picking the initial target very easily.

    But then, I guess, people who would use such a macro are likely the ones who would follow a kill order.

    Still, I often run with tanks who won’t mark at all, and it personally helps me to assist them.


    Maritime Reply:

    Maybe I’ve been lucky. I don’t even use a skull if it seems like DPS is following my target anyway, which is often the case.

    Since I started using the TidyPlates_ThreatPlates addon having sloppy DPS has been a much smaller issue. I’m all for DPS that knows what they are doing, but its nice having tools in place that make it easier to handle the scrubs.


  11. The Rokk says:

    I had always assumed that /assist macros were the norm when in groups. I have one set up on all of my support characters when they’re in group. As soon as I pop into an instance, I look to see who has the shield by their profile pic and make them my focus.

    But then, “methinks I assume too much” as they say.
    .-= The Rokk´s last blog ..The Tale of Tragon =-.


  12. LabRat says:

    I wish more DPS and even healers would get the concept of there usually being a very good reason why the tank isn’t going as fast as the last kamikaze in plate they ran with. Might be waiting on a cooldown, might not trust the group yet (and with good reason, wiping is much slower than pulling at an overly sedate pace), might just be damn tired and not capable of dividing their attention between sixteen mobs, some of which are casters and some of which are already going for the healer, might just be inexperienced.


  13. Paul says:

    Thanks for the macro. I have a lvl 71 Pally Tank wanna-be. Still learning the ropes on how to tank. Sometimes I seem to move to slowly for some and they run off and start pulling mobs. Should I sit down and watch them fight alone?

    I also listen for the sound of a player drinking. That is a good indication that a caster is OOM. Too many tanks pull the next mob while the healer is trying to replenish mana.


    Baruti Reply:

    If they pull for you, let them die and taunt just before it goes for the second person (usually the healer who does try to save their asses!)
    Blame it on reactiontime. (Hey, I was waiting for a reason!)
    My expirience is that they hardly ever blame you tho and just “lol” and don’t do it again for the entirety of the run! ^_^


  14. Kudos says:

    When a dps pulls for me I just watch my threat so I’m right below him. He dies, the mob turns on me and the healer doesn’t have to worry. (ooops, sorry Mr. dps, I couldn’t quite get the mob off you in time.)

    DKs that DG a pesky caster in front of me get my approval, and a shockwave to stun the mob so they don’t get beat on during the 3 sec. Hell, any class that takes time out of their dps rotation to make my life easier gets a big thank you.


  15. [...] love tanking with my guild, they know me, I them, and there’s none of the “gogogogogo” everyone is writing about. But whilst I’ve tanked most of the Northrend 5-mans, and one wing of Naxx, [...]

  16. [...] ever been here on any toon, have no idea what to do, panic! But then I realised I just needed to /assist the tank, pop Tricks of Trade on them, and away we go. Luckily I had done some jousting with Bane [...]

  17. Arencey says:

    Very good stuff, there is almost nothing ruder you can do to a tank then pull a wave, as a tank if I’m not pulling then odds are I’m doing something else, when dps pull waves because the tank isn’t it’s like trying to force the tank to drop whatever he(or she) is doing and attempt the frantic job of trying to rip aggro off of you. I try to be a firm tank however, I let dps die when they do things like this but I would be lying if I said it hasn’t lead to me getting booted a few times.

    /sigh I don’t know what it is about the tanking role that makes people in this game think they can be rude to you, when I get into randoms the healer usually sits at the start either low on mana or just sitting there and I don’t see people rushing him, but usually within 2 seconds of the healer finishing his drink some rude bastard is rushing me.


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