Pie at ForTheHorde had a great post about avoiding tardness as a Hunter by practicing, practicing and practicing a bit more.
His point was that while leveling and grinding we tend to fall back on lazy practices which will inhibit our ability to excel in instances and raids.
Fundamentally you can get away with sloppy play while soloing. Likewise there is rarely a need to challenge yourself, and on those occasions when a solo pull goes pear shaped, there is a good chance you will accept a ghost run rather than practice “wipe recovery”.
Noobaggedon the Magetard
Reading this post so soon after my Noobaggedon post, it really struck a cord. It occurred to me that I am a sloppy Mage, a Magetard (not a term you hear every day).
I think a part of the problem comes from the very “glass” nature of being a Mage and had been accentuated in my case by both being a Fire Mage and a suicide PvP Mage (and it doesn’t help having limited playtime… But that is ultimately just another excuse).
When I die, I think nothing of it and neither to my group mates. If someone is going to die, it will probably be the dps with the least health, right? Last in line for heals, and 1st to pull aggro.
Here are some of my failings as a Mage:
- I can’t kite.
- I can’t AoE grind.
- I have shite situational awareness.
- I prefer to stand fight or die, than run, kite and kill.
- I am sloppy with my cooldowns.
- I forget my gems.
- I don’t bandage.
- I forget invisibility & iceblock
- I can’t remember by keybindings
- I forget Fire and Frost Ward.
- I forget to Counterspell (doesn’t the rogue interrupt?)
- But I know where my polymorph is!
Kiting takes practice, especially if you don’t have the additional tools that Frost and Arcane can find hidden in their trees.
As I have had a small window of playtime, and I have always raced to get to instancing/raid level to join my mates, I haven’t taken the time to learn to kite effectively.
If you aren’t max level, start practicing with your final grinding and questing sessions. You have the advantage that you aren’t wasting any time. You need to kill the mobs anyway, so why not hone your skills while you are at it.
If you are already maxed, then either practice while doing your dailies, or go find a “safe” mob to practice with.
An old standard used to be the golems in Ungoro crater, and there is no reason you still can’t go down there and use them still, but you will need to downrank your spells.
Have I ever mentioned that I am Fire spec’d, or at least I was. At one point I even “commissioned” an AoE grinding guide from Zupa.
But I never took the opportunity that the end of TBC offered and respec’d to practice.
Now I am FrostFire, and I have a few more frosty tools up my sleeve, but I am totally unprepared to use them.
Practice of course, which is made easier with duel spec. Now is the time to pick up a purpose built AoE grinding spec, because it will allow you more margin for error and practice till you have the knack. Once you have the knack, switch back to your Raid spec and adjust your strategy until you can do it AFK.
Are you standing in the fire, frost or poison cloud? Are you standing watching the explosive, yet avoidable, spear come in your direction?
Well get out of the way!
Blizzard is in part to blame for this. Until WoLK and only for a few non-instanced encounters even now, you couldn’t avoid aimed attacks. If the mob threw a spell, spear etc at you, it would hit or miss purely based on the RNG.
But, there are now some encounters where you can avoid the impact, which is great for building some situational awareness. WoWGrrl has a great post about this.
Track these mobs down and take them on until you get to the point where you automatically move to avoid the incoming damage, then laugh at your group mates when they die in the fire.
Kite & Kill vs. Stand & Die
This is very closely related to the kiting issue, but goes beyond it. Have you stood there while getting thumped by mobs watching your casts get pushed back until you die?
When all you needed to do was pop a couple of abilities and slaughter the mobs?
On those occasions when melee mobs are about to engage with you, practice a bit of frost nova & strafe (with instants while gaining distance), a bit of blink and blast etc until you do it automatically.
While you are at it, visualize you are saving the healer, pulling the healer’s incoming aggro and dealing with it until the tank can get it back.
You are much more expendable than the healer, but why should either of you take a dirt bath.
Win some healing friends… learn how to save them.
When I am raiding I forget my cooldowns (there are so many of them all of a sudden). Not so much during boss encounters, although I am sure I could be using them more effectively (note to self, when the he’ll are you going to write that trinket macro?), rather during trash.
It costs nothing to pop trinkets, combustion, icy veins, mirror image, even mana gems (for your tier piece bonus damage) are fundamentally free. Yet I constantly forget to use them during trash pulls. I hang on to them as if I will die if they aren’t preserved for the last 35% of a boss fight.
While grinding, constantly pop your cooldowns, one per mob until you get to the point you do it on every trash encounter.
Apart from being good practice, the damage meters will look favorably upon you!
Oh… Write a trinket/cooldown macro for boss fights, and practice using it… Why search for abilities at a crucial moment in a battle when you only need one I WIN! button?
- Do you know when to pop them?
- At what mana % can you pop one and return to full mana?
You know you want to do this asap in a boss fight so you have the option to do it again later.
If you have 2 pieces on T7/7.5 you get a damage bonus as well.
I used to hold onto them like coveted candy. The sort you desire so much you don’t eat it until it’s spoiled. Or I would drop them too late in a fight, should I drop it at 80%, 75%, 70%?
When grinding, rely less on food and more on gems. Try to get it to the point that the only time you stop to eat is when either you have run out of mana gems or you are low on health… And as for health…
Are you a drain on your healer?
There are times in raid encounters where less dps, more bandages is a good thing. Sometimes your healers are so stretched that their mission statement should read:
Sacrifice the dps, save the tanks and healers.
Problem is when you are grinding it is easier to stop every 5 mobs and sit and eat… but that isn’t developing your skills now is it?
Used in conjunction with mana gem solution. Don’t eat, bandage! You are picking up cloth from the mobs anyway, so use it as a training resource…
Mana Gem + Bandage for the I lived to fight another day win!
Invisibility and Iceblock.
How’s your trigger finger?
You are so used to being behind the tank in aggro, you have forgotten where the buttons/keybinds are.
Then one battle you rock the dps, it’s a bad pug tank or your tank dies.
Now you are in the crapper in the dark and you can’t remember where the toilet paper is!
1st up maybe you shouldn’t have waited so long to invisibility, but too late now, so next time you are grinding, let a couple get away while you practice invisibility.
Also try out a bit of iceblocking when you are getting hit, maybe even combo it up with a bit of frost nova and blink.
You can’t remember them when you need to.
Use them all while grinding.
Yeah counterspell the melée, iceblock against the caster. Whatever, just use them so you remember.
Better still, use them appropriately!
Frost & Fire Wards
You got them, but do you ever use them?
Solo you destroy the mob before it does too much damage. In parties you have healers, why prevent damage when they can just as easily heal it?
Thus you never use what are apparently useless spells, this if you even have them on your cast bars, you probably don’t even remember where they are, or god forbid, know the keybinding.
But you know what… They can be useful…
Ever been in a fight with random fire or frost damage… No?
How about Sapp and that blizzard?
Sure it won’t protect you completely from death, but it will buy you some time to get out of the blizzard. It will allow your healers the option of not dropping a heal on you… Maybe they can save themselves, and the raid.
Of course once you dodge Sapp’s blizzard and hump the iceblock, what you going to do?
Did I hear bandage…. Ohhh good!
Get into the habit of identifying whether mobs are using Frost or Fire against you.. then get into the habit of popping the wards. Sure the mobs will go down before they do too much damage, but why not make it zero damage, and a training exercise.
Those Whelps near Argent Tournament will get your started with the Frost Ward, find some mobs for the Fire Ward!
I know where it is on my bars.
I even remember the keybind, by do I use it often enough?
When grinding, those pesky casters only get one or two casts off before I incinerate them. So why would I bother interrupting my rotation to interrupt theirs?
When I’m in an instance or raid, our healers out heal (most of) the spell damage, and we can dps the mob down before it does too much damage…
But is that good enough?
KT is possible without interruption, but is easier with it.
Counterspell every opportunity you get. Sure your dps will suffer a little, which won’t matter if you are practicing while grinding, and less healer strain will be appreciated in group situations (and you can always argue your case with a recount or WWS).
It can be hard to coordinate interrupts, but you can use a mid like Deadened to announce them, which serves the dual purpose of waking up other interrupters and letting the group know you are doing something useful.
I’ve been playing for a while so I know what polymorph is (apart from a novelty spell), I have a macro and I know how to use it, but do you?
WoLK… ’nuff said
Go sheep some things. Practice maintaining your sheep while grinding on other mobs.
It’s not enough to sheep once, you need to be able to maintain it am react quickly to broken sheep.
- Sheep pull
- Take on multiple mobs with sheep
- Drown sheep
- Play with it, enjoy it.
- Shock and amaze your friends with your stable of polymorphs!
I used a sheep at a moment request the other night in Halls of Lightning.
Was it necessary?
No, but maybe my pug tank was testing me, maybe he wanted to mix it up, maybe he was just providing me with an opportunity to practice.
Whatever the case, when the tank said:
Pulling – Gnome sheep that!
My finger moved instinctively to the key that has contained my polymorph since the moment I learnt it, and Baaaaah (or whatever sound a turtle makes).
I got a pat on the back and an “Ahhh cool” for that one use of Polymorph.
I didn’t use it again for that run, but boy was I happy that I could still sheep in my sleep.
Are you a Magetard or Magetastic?
Anyway, that wraps up this post. I hope as you read through it you stopped and thought about the last time you practiced the skill. Not so much used it in an instance or a raid (although if you use them often enough, that’s all practice).
Hopefully next time you are out grinding you will mix up the 1111111’s with the odd 69hat12, have a little fun while knowing you are preparing for the big time.
I am going to leave you with Matticus’ signature quote. The reason is simple, if you don’t practice, you won’t even THINK to take the shot. If you have practiced, well you will still miss, but more likely you will be showered with praise for being Magetastic!
“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”
– Wayne Gretzky
Gnomer and Out!
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