Thursday, December 25, 2014

World of Warcraft: How to Rush Safely

During my prior rant regarding being "bad at games" and delving into my personal thoughts on elitist behavior and the like, I briefly mentioned "rushing through dungeons", which I partially attributed to the implementation of Dungeon Finder in WoW, and how it was detrimental. While I wasn't completely clear, I felt I was on to something and as a result, I made a thread regarding the topic to see what other people thought.

The result was the most controversial thread that I've made so far on Reddit. It was obvious my statements lacked clarity since there are valid reasons to quickly finish instances, if only because efficiency in itself can be beneficial. I also left the topic very open-ended and didn't offer sufficient criticism in the original post to improve beyond what I consider reckless rushing through instances in an attempt to be efficient. It is only fair that I rectify this error by providing some tips for running through an instance quickly without endangering the welfare of the group, which should fit within the interests of the majority of players and was the main intention of what the thread was trying to convey.
  • The healer's mana is a valuable commodity. If the healer has no mana, the group will likely not stay alive for long, resulting in a dead group members or a wipe. The time spent running back or resurrecting players exceeds the amount of time it takes for the healer to have an opportunity to take a drink, which they should be sufficiently stocked on.
    • To fully optimize between running through an instance quickly and accounting for the healer's mana pool, wait until the group is out of combat before pulling once the healer's mana starts to get low, even if it's for a brief moment. That way the healer can (and should) quickly take a drink and continue to mana up in combat while the rest of the group roughs out the incoming damage since it's unlikely the group will die within about 10 seconds. The healer can also liberally use his/her mana and cooldowns to catch up on healing, allowing for a cycle of aggressive healing into drinking up between pulls.
    • Based on a practice adopted in Cataclysm Heroic dungeons, it helps to bring along your own food and eat to heal up between pulls if you end up low so the healer doesn't have to top you off, reducing the amount of mana the healer has to spend. This also applies if you have access to other sources of healing.
  • Pull what you can handle. One cause of wipes is when a player, in their desire to run through an instance quickly, pulls a huge amount of enemies and dies very quickly. This is understandable since AoEing down many enemies at once is an incredibly efficient way to deal with them, thus saving time.
    • In the case of the tank, be prepared to not receive a sufficient amount of heals because of the aforementioned tip or because the sheer amount of incoming damage from the enemies pulled is too high. Use defensive cooldowns liberally and utilize tactics such as kiting to ensure your survival while your group kills what you pulled.
    • In the case of anyone else, pulling ahead of the tank is generally considered poor courtesy and while some groups may help out, others might just leave you to die. This is worth keeping in mind when trying to pull extra groups to speed up a run.
  • Don't leave others behind. While some players may not be able to keep up with the group, leaving them behind will more often than not result in lost DPS or healing. This is particularly an issue during boss fights that lock out players, since without the full group the boss will often take dramatically longer, especially in 5-man groups, if not cause an outright wipe.
    • If you're a tank or otherwise control the pacing of the run, try to do a litmus test early on the determine how well the group can keep up and adjust to it. This results in what would probably be the maximum possible efficiency since just rushing ahead without your group has a good chance of wasting a lot of time due mostly to death.
    • Do not kick players watching cinematics. They're not that long and a player may be going through the instance for the first time.
    • On the flip side, try not to run around at a snail's pace either. If it's your first time through a place or you're generally inexperienced, try to at least stay near the group so you don't get locked out of boss attempts or otherwise get left behind.
  • Be careful when taking shortcuts. Not everyone know about shortcuts or is able to play to the specified amount of precision required to take them (Everbloom shortcut comes to mind). In addition, players can make mistakes and accidentally pull the trash your group is trying to skip or otherwise screw up massively. If taking a shortcut is starting to take more time than it's intended to save, it may be better to not take the shortcut.
  • Communicate with the group. Socializing with the group is probably the last thing on a player's mind, but it helps to learn about how experienced other players in the group are and helps speed up a run by telling others about shortcuts and other helpful information. By providing this information, it's less likely other players will make mistakes (such as pulling some trash mobs that the group is trying to skip on accident).
    • Communicating through markers is helpful as well. Use world markers to show a path or mark dangerous areas. Marking crowd controlled enemies was something more rooted in the past and while it may take a bit of time, marking a kill target with a Skull will be of some help. Bind markers to convenient keys to allow for quicker marking. This is also a good alternative if one is not interested in chatting with the group.
Hopefully this will make runs that intended to be efficient safe as well. On another note, have a happy (and safe, but hopefully not brief) holiday season!

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