Monsters in WOW have anger management issues. That’s why they feel the need to bash you over the head with a big stick, just for walking past them. Well OK, sometimes their anger is justified, such as when you are firing arrows at them, but the fact remains that for whatever reason they have a lot of hate.
Hate, threat, aggro, what are they and why do they matter (apart from being bad for ogre karma)?
Hate and threat are used interchangeably and mean pretty much the same thing. Inside his head, every monster in WOW has a hate (or threat) list – his personal little black book (well more like a slate – he’s not very advanced). He lists all the players in there who have done something to him, either directly or indirectly, and gives them a numerical value, or ranking, depending upon how much each one has annoyed him. If you are the player that has made yourself enemy No. 1 on that list, then you are they player he is going to come at with that big stick.
Aggro is what you do to the monster to aggravate him and get on his hate list. Ogres are sensitive souls; there are more ways to annoy them than you might think:
- Obviously you can stick arrows in them, hack at their arms with swords, set your pet to bite their ankles, or similar. This would annoy anyone.
- You can jeer at them. Ogres don’t like to be jeered at. By this I mean spells or abilities which are designed to generate permanent or temporary hate – some do damage as well, some are just name-calling. Warrior abilities like sunder armor and revenge generate a lot of permanent hate, other abilities like taunt and challenging shout generate temporary hate, good for getting the ogres attention away from the squishies, but not very long lasting.
- You can debuff them. Either by giving them a negative buff (e.g. viper sting), shouting demoralising things at them; or by stealing their toys, with purge or spell steal or arcane shot for hunters, which get rid of the mobs own positive buffs. I can’t think why, but for some reason they don’t like this.
- You can hit a monsters friend. Some monsters are loyal (ah sweet). They hunt in packs, you try pull on and start hitting on him, his friends will come running to the rescue. These are called linked mobs, annoy one; annoy them all.
- He doesn’t like you aftershave – or you smell like chicken – one of the two. You walk too close to him (proximity aggro), he catches a whiff of you, and next thing you know it he’s charging you with that big stick of his. In a group situation, some of the group may be close enough to get on a mobs hate list but not all of the group (if they haven’t done anything else to him, and if they skulk in the back).
- You can heal someone who is on the monsters hate list. If you heal someone who as made himself unpleasant to five monsters, you are now tainted by association, and are now on the hate lists of all five monsters, not just the one he is currently hitting with the stick. This is the, you hit my friend, so I’ll hit your’s scenario. (Healing aggro generates a lot more threat than proximity aggro; therefore if a tank runs into a pack of three mobs and only starts hitting one, the healer is likely to pull the other 2 off the tank as soon as s/he starts healing said tank.)
Ok so, solo that fine, you deal with it, but what about in a group in a dungeon? Here, anger management, along with crowd control, becomes the most important thing you do. It’s the difference between a stroll in the park sniffing the flowers in Botanica, and every trash mob hitting every member of you party over the head with the big stick, causing wipes, gripes, moans, and armor repair bills.
Anger management – how to do it
• You control the number of mobs who start scribbling your parties names in their little black books (this ones about controlled pulling, standing back behind your meat shield (sorry, tank), and not getting proximity aggro).
o Not to go into detail here but this is about marking targets, deciding in advance who is going to pull, and everyone else standing well back and paying attention.
• You control how many mobs with hate lists are running loose waving their big sticks around (crowd control – a separate equally important issue)
• You control who is at the top of each mobs hate list (this should be the tank and/or the designated off tank. It should not be the healer, the mage, the ‘uber’ hunter, the rogue, or the dps pally who wants to show he can get aggro better than the tank, or the hunters pet (if not in a deliberate off tank role).
oLet the tanks go in first. Let them build up some aggro before laying in with your dps. Assist the tank or off tank, don’t hit the mobs that are just stuck to the tank with proximity aggro. Make sure your pet’s growl is turned off and he is set on passive, so that you are controlling what he will attack. He should not be pulling aggro off the tank. Time your heals. Use your aggro dumps, feign death is the best in the game, know how to use it effectively (see more below). And most of all use a THREAT METER. Stand at maximum range – ranged dps and casters generate less threat from maximum range, than from casting the same spell/attacks from close range.
Anger Management Tool – The Threat Meter
A threat meter is an addon which shows you the hate list of the mob(s) you are fighting. It shows all of your group members, how much hate you have, and ranks you on the hate list. Enemy No. 1 is the player then mobs are probably hitting on right now, or if not, are about to charge at. The threat meter is dynamic, and shows the changing threat. As the mage hits three crits in a row, he zooms up the threat metre from fourth to first place, and finds the big bad wolf leaping over the tank and heading straight at his squishy self.
OMEN is currently the best threat meter addon available. You can install it from curse gaming:
It helps if every member of your party has it and if people are running the same version, so update it regularly.
Most groups would not do 10 man content with anyone not running a threat meter. Blizzard have acknowledge the importance of threat meters and will be introducing a standard one in Wrath, although whether it will have the functionality of Omen is yet to be seen.
Why use a threat Meter?
Threat meters allow the whole group to maximise their effective dps while controlling who the mob is beating on:
• The tank can use it to know when he is loosing aggro, or someone else is rapidly gaining aggro, and therefore know he needs to taunt or do some other aggro generating move.
• The healer can be throwing those heals around, but be aware of the additive threat they are generating, and when they need to either fade, back off, or shout for an intervention.
• It is essential for the dps. Using the threat meter allows you to squeeze out the maximum damage possible, without pulling the mob off the tank.
How to effectively use the threat meter as a hunter
• Tank runs in, hits a sunder armor or three*, you send in your pet and begin to shoot. You are way below his threat – time to open up. Hit your big skills (for me this is bestial wrath, rapid fire, and my bloodlust trinket). Watch the meter as your are firing (as well as watching the mob you are crowd controlling, your pets health and half a dozen other things you need to be aware of).
• You have crept up to number 2 on the meter, below the tank, and are still gaining aggro – time to dump it. Hit feign death. You have hopefully fallen to the bottom of the meter again, time to jump up and continue to let the boss have everything you’ve got, another round of big hitting spells – no auto shoot for this puppy. [Notice the difference: the use of feign death to shed the aggro BEFORE the mob has peeled off the tank and headed for you. So much better for you, for the tank, and for the healer, who had seen the mob coming for you, thrown a shield around you, and was likely to be his next target as soon as you fell at high feet in a feint.]
• Feign Death resisted or on cooldown? There are a couple of things you can do. Firstly ease off, maybe move down to auto shot for a shot period, or even stop shooting all together (yes you heard me, I almost never have to do this on my hunter, but have to do this all the time on my elemental shammie who has no aggro dump) – better to do less dps than pull the mob and cause a wipe. Better yet, try misdirecting some big shots onto the tank, this should help raise his aggro back above your’s (see my misdirection macro – if your tank is your focus, this is very quick to do). Disengage also sometimes drops a little aggro, but is not much use at the moment.
*when running with a warrior tank, our kara group has a rule, no one shots before they see 3 sunders on the target. I tend to send my pet in on 2, and then am ready to shoot on 3. When running with our pally tank, I find waiting about 3-4 seconds is usually enough for him to glue the mob to him. We don’t have a bear tank, but from leveling my bear I would suggest waiting until you see the mangle debuff and 2-3 lacerates.
So go get a threat meter! Help those mobs out there manage their anger. Manage anger, don’t let it manage you :>