Sunday, October 10

Anatomy of a Wipe in 10 Easy Steps

Following up on the last post . . .

Yes, another PoS wipe with one angry player going all nerd ragey and quitting the group.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think anyone should be wiping a lot in PoS. Seriously. It's not a terribly difficult dungeon run.  My issue is with the person who causes the wipe in the first place, nerd rages, and still doesn't understand how the wipe happened.

The Story

Our random consisted of a DK tank, a Druid healer, a hunter (no idea what flavor), a mage (frost judging by all the ice being thrown around), and me in Arms.

Over all, a pretty solid group.  The gear levels are pretty wide, so it's not going to be a walk through, but as long as everyone doesn't SIS*, we're good.

The wipe occurs on the hill.  We set up for the first pull and the tank kindly marks the two fire guys that like to kill everyone instantly and suck the healer dry.  Me and Hunter beeline for the skull, mage-boy hits the X first. I figure at least he hit a marked target, so we're good.  The tank has to pull a mob off the mage and heath bars start dropping, but by then hunter and I can start aoe, so we mow the bad guys down.  Easy enough.

So we pull the second group, and again Hunter and I are on the skull, but mage-boy is pounding away on random mob #4. He yanks aggro. The tank can't see him. Bam, down goes the Mage while the healer tries frantically to keep him and the tank up at the same time. The healer pulls aggro, and Bam down he goes. DK frantically tries to get it under control, hoping me and Hunter can just burn them down, but five mobs pounding away with no heals isn't gonna work. Down he goes.

Now hunter and I are popping cooldowns, I'm in Def trying to tank and half a second after the tank eats it, Hunter FDs. At this point I'm scrambling around for the Vanish key. Oh, wait, I don't have Vanish. I have... oh @#$! it.

WTF Happened

So why did this happen? Let's break it down.

On that particular pull it is absolutely essential to obliterate the two fire casting guys. Unless you have an ICC geared healer and/or tank, the damage output from that group of mobs will kill your tank fast and the healer just can only just barely keep him up. Thus, the tank marks the kill order and DPS follows the kill order.

Mage boy hit a mob the tank wasn't going to worry about. The tank had enough AoE threat on that target to hold him through normal healing, but not enough to keep aggro if someone started pounding the mob.  The tank is concerned with holding the mobs that DPS is suppose to be hitting.

Mage boy is also standing practically on top of the mob he's unloading on, which increases his threat significantly!  So naturally he pulled.

Now the tank is taking a massive amounts of damage, and the mage has joined him on the hit parade. As the tank turns to try to pull the mob off the mage, he starts taking shots in the ass, with no chance to Dodge or Perry, thus taking even more damage.

The healer, meantime, has gone from steady measured heals to panic spam heal mode.  As he pours heal after heal into the mage and the tank at the same time, HoTs stacking up the longer the mage stays alive, he's dramatically increasing his threat.  At this point, the healer is number two on the threat meter.  Guess where that mob is going to go?

Now the healer is in a no-win situation. He can protect and heal himself. Or he can keep the tank up. Or he can try to do both.  I can think of a few PvP healers that could pull this off. But most PvE healers are dead meat.

Now the tank has virtually no time to recover the stray mob. The healer takes a couple of shots, chooses to heal the tank, and down goes the healer.  Probably faster than he thought possible. The tank is desperately trying to get everything under control when suddenly none of his buttons are working and his toon has decided to take a dirt nap.

This is how most wipes occur. They almost always start with DPS doing something they shouldn't be doing. Almost Every Single Time.

10 Step Program

Step 1. DPS pulls aggo.
Step 2. Healer heals DPS (increasing threat).
Step 3. Healer tosses massive panic heal to Tank (increasing threat).
Step 4. Healer has to decide to heal tank or DPS.
Step 5. Healer chooses to heal tank, chucking in some AoE heals (increasing threat).
Step 6. DPS dies.
Step 7. Healer is now tops on threat for that mob (and possibly others).
Step 8. Healer dies.
Step 9. Tank dies.
Step 10. Rest of the DPS dies.

Run back and try again.

In Wrath, in this senario, either the tank is expected to pick up the stray mob, or the healer is expected to drop threat or heal through the whole mess.  DPS basically has no responsibility except to pour as much damage into the mobs as possible.

Prior to Wrath this wasn't the case. It started getting that way toward the end of BC. Now with Cataclysm changing everything back to the way it was, DPS is simply going to have to adjust.

Turn off your DPS meter.  Turn on your Threat meter.  Be prepared to survive.

No more free rides DPSers.  Time to L2P.

Since we've been over proper DPSing a bajillion times, next time we're going to look at an old form of crowd control that hasn't been used in 5-mans since the early BC-era; it's called Off Tanking. In particular, Arms Warriors are looking like they might be pretty darn good at it!


*Stand in S#&!


  1. Thank you thank you thank you thank you!! I cannot express how much I needed to read this and everything being said is how I feel (without all the rage I had!)

    Last night a couple of guildies and I went into PoS and wiped ferociously on the same damn pull because the two random dpsers couldn't understand that, yes, they have to pay attention to what they're doing now. I'm a Prot Warrior and have been head-desking for the past week with randoms thinking no one understood that Blizzard has gone back to the old ways of doing things.

    So, again, Thank you!! And much love!

  2. Cool post =)
    Being a huge fan of TBC heroics/raids, i finally went to explore WotLK content, & i just can't stop wondering. Ppl dont think anymore, they succeed to pull mobs while i'm charging, & all the marks are usually ignored. CC - what is CC?)).. When i ask them to calm down and attack skull, the reply is often like "will you move faster?" O_o

  3. @randomria:

    I really feel for all tanks right now. I'm pulling threat on Pally tanks! It's kind of nice not to be worrying about DPS meters though. I didn't realize how out of practice I was until I glanced over at Omen and it took me a few seconds to figure out what it was saying!

    I'm thinkin' it's time for tanks to go back to the old adage:

    "You spank it, you tank it!"


  4. @Tor_te:

    LOL! That's "gogogogogo" guy!

    around 2:22. :)