“One-Half, Pull!” – Tips for fast paced dungeon runs.
Just like the slave-driving Bender once did, many group leaders (often perceived as the tank) will not only crack the whip, but find an even faster way of doing it. You’re stuck. You’re helpless. You’re just trying to help accomplish the goal and you end up feeling like you’re the only one doing any work at all. Does this sound familiar? If so, I believe I have the solution(s) that you may be looking for. Please try to remember, I’m not giving the slave drivers pointers.
Communicate before a problem occurs.
This one may seem obvious, but I continually see groups that don’t speak to one another about anything other than “Recount for last fight Damage Done etc. etc. etc.” I try to let a group know my intentions/needs before the buffs (although some will start pulling the instant they zone in… /sigh) even go up. Things like “I will keep pulling new groups unless someone says something” or “Please make sure I have at least 15k mana before pulling trash” can help set an easy guide for avoiding bad pulls. A member of my guild has a tanking macro for groups he gets into with the Dungeon Finder tool that reads “Please target my target, I will do my best to avoid switching too often. Also please allow me to drop consecration before you begin your attacks.” It’s definitely not fool-proof, but at least no one can say he didn’t warn them. Also be careful about how you communicate. If you are the kind of person that uses “lol” instead of periods at the end of sentences, be aware that this can be construed as an attitude of arrogance or nonchalance. Most people I know don’t appreciate that. If you are the kind of person that is used to issuing orders that are followed, adding a “Plz” at the beginning will change the way they are received, which can also lead to an increased likelihood that your “suggestions” are followed. For example saying “Use your army of the dead on phase three” might prompt a Death Knight that isn’t used to that strategy to initially say “no” or to just ignore your request, but asking “Please use your army of the dead on phase three” could open the door for the Death Knight to at least ask “why” if they don’t agree with you. The point is: communicate clearly and courteously before the problem or the system can’t help but break down.
Bring lots of water.
When I am healing I use a method that I call the “topping off” method. In a normal dungeon run, that is to say a run that moves at a mild pace, a healer can do several pulls without needing to stop for mana. In a fast paced dungeon there is no such luxury. With the topping off method, you drink at every possible opportunity for as long as you can until you reach full mana. For example: your group is in combat. As the fight reaches its end the tank begins to walk off towards the next pull, leaving the DPS to clean up. You, as the fight nears finishing, begin to look at your water on your action bar and wait for it to light up so you can start drinking before combat begins. If you are drinking prior to combat, nothing will stop you until you take action and move/cast or are attacked. This makes sure you have enough mana to deal with the unexpected. This helps keep the group moving along. The sad truth is that if the tank and DPS are ready to pull and you have to ask for mana, they will assume the waiting time is your fault and make life tough on you.
Give the tank more time to generate threat.
We can often get caught up in the rush rush of things during a speedy run. It may not feel like we are starting our attacks prematurely, but I have taken notice that the players that tend to pull the most threat are also the quickest on the draw. If the DPS pull threat, the healer will use more mana and need to stop more often, especially of they are not using something like my topping off method. Something that goes along with this is when a DPS or healer tries to push the tempo of the run by pulling for the tank. Maybe this has worked for you, but in my experience upsetting the tank is a good way to slow down the run. Most tanks have some type of AoE attack they use to maintain threat on multiple targets. Death and Decay, Consecrate, Swipe, and Thunderclap are all visible indicators that a tank has established some AoE threat. You either see them apply a spell on the ground, the enemies change color, or you see a spell effect go off. Wait for this, and you’ll probably be in the clear. It also never hurts to ask a tank what to look for.
Don’t fight more than you have to.
I see way too many groups fight EVERY mob in the entire dungeon. This is not necessary (unless you need reputation or experience, in which case you don’t belong on a speed run) and can result in a very long and drawn out dungeon. This wasn’t as much of an issue when we used to have to use the Looking for Group channel to pick up some annonymous tank. Sadly now, it’s just too common. Just make sure that if you’re going to pull quickly, don’t take a step backwards by pulling more groups than you need to.
Don’t treat the group like a car you’re about to replace.
There are many strategies when it comes to buying a new car. Many people reach the decision to buy a new car when they have enough money available. Sometimes, even though they can afford to buy a new car, they will keep driving their current car until the car just dies. The idea being that they can continue to save money for an even nicer car the longer they hold out. This is definitely not the case with your dungeon group. Don’t run the casters until they are out of mana all the time, or you will have to replace them (because they leave you) or even worse, they won’t get the mana they need and you die, thus making the run take longer. It’s incredibly ironic (and not the “ooh I would not have expected that to happen” ironic, I mean the real ironic) when a group does this because while trying to make the group faster they actually make the group slower!
What to do when my advice yield zero results.
How bad do you need this group? That bad, huh? Ok, there’s still hope. Are you familiar with the concept of Passive Resistance? No, not like passive resistance to schools of magic. Passive Resistance means to reject an Authoritarian governing body through acts of non-violent civil disobedience. In short, it means to refuse to cooperate without doing something damaging on purpose. This is probably one of the most painful and difficult means to an end, but it always (for fast dungeon runs) works. We all start with the 15 minute Dungeon Finder Cooldown, which gives you 15 minutes to get your way. Tank pulling too fast? Let them get themselves killed. DPS pulling threat off of you constantly? Let them get themselves killed. Healer not refilling your health (as the tank) before each pull? Just stand there until they do. So long as you’ve stated your case (See Communicate before a problem occurs.) you won’t have anything to worry about. What can they really do? They can’t kick you out. They can’t (sorry DPS, you don’t really qualify here as much) carry on without you. You’re letting them know that if they are going to push you around, you’re not going to budge. They may not like it, and they may push the limits as much as they can get away with, but it’s better than struggling to keep up and having a stressful time of it. The worst thing I’ve ever seen happen in this type of strategy is that a tank will pull and then d/c to get everyone killed, or a hunter/rogue will direct mobs towards you to get you killed. What have they accomplished? If they remain in the group, they are wasting their own time. If they disconnect, then you can kick them. The bottom line is, if they want a fast run, they’ll cooperate or leave. Otherwise, the group grinds to a halt (NEVER happens) and everyone just sits there until you grow tired and leave. You think this is a despicalbe method? Tell that to Ghandi or Martin Luther King, Jr.
If you do end up leaving a group, have this Bender inspired macro ready:
/p Oh, no room for [Your Name], huh? Fine. I’ll go make my own group…with blackjack, and hookers. In fact, forget the group and the blackjack! Ah, screw the whole thing.