April 6, 2010

Becoming self aware

Filed under: wartalk — Alex @ 7:01 am

A conversation I had with someone from across the realm border last night provoked this post. We talked for a short time about what makes a good player, good. I’m staunchly in support of the “field awareness” theory. Again I’ll reference my Guild Wars days, if you didn’t know how to watch the field you couldn’t play any class well. That principle is lessened in WAR because of the much greater numbers (Guild Wars was mainly 8v8), it is still painfully obvious to me who can, and who can’t.

There are a number of techniques that a good player will always do. Quick assists and not overextending are two of the most simplified. We all know what those are, and hopefully can do them. More advanced (and less noticed) tactics include pre-kiting (NOBODY can do this), smart target switching, and a general awareness of the fight going on around you.

Pre-kiting should come naturally. I play an MDPS, so it’s painfully obvious who possesses this unique talent and who doesn’t. If you see me running toward you and you don’t want to die, go ahead and start running. I’ll let you in on a little secret here: I have to be in melee range to hurt you! If you start making distance before I even get next to you the chances of your survival begin to skyrocket. Here’s a little tip for all you MDPS out there. Don’t charge right at your target like a torpedo to a fat little submarine. The quickest route between any two points may be a straight line, but it’s not always the best. If you know someone is going to pre-kite you, make it look like you aren’t going for them.

Something else that bugs me is when someone will continually bash on a guarded target or pretend like that detaunt didn’t just happen. It’s OK if your target doesn’t die! No, really, it is! If they’re guarded then chances are you aren’t going to kill them by yourself anyway, so book it and find another squishy. Detaunts only last about 15 seconds, but for that duration your damage is completely useless. Go kill something else, come back in 15 seconds, and teach dat squishy that you aren’t afraid to save him for later.

This last one, a general awareness of the field of play, is probably the most important. First point: tanks. Everyone screams about not hitting tanks. Why are you beating on the tanks? Well, this message gets dragged through the mud and contorted a little bit. Should the tanks be your first target killed? No. Should you let those same tanks run right by you and unleash their menagerie of CC on your backline? Also no. In Guild Wars, the act of peeling melees of your backling was termed, “backlining.” Learn to backline. Learn to love to backline. Your healers will learn to love you. Now, this does require that you have that whole “self aware” thing going on. You can’t start seeing red and ignore everything except that juicy bag of arrpees (see: almost any Archmage). This applies for pretty much everything. Is there a Bright Wizard free casting off to the side of the fight? Go stabbity stab on him for a bit. Stumpy little Runepriest hiding behind a rock and AoE healing his ass off? Knock him out of his hiding spot. You get to be creative with this tenet of good playing. See something that needs done? Go do it. And for God’s sake, don’t run straight into the guarded and SE spamming Bright Wizard. That will never, ever end well.

This post is obviously written from a Destruction MDPS point of view. However, the general concepts that I’m talking about can be applied to both sides equally. (Except for Runepriests being short, you guys have the monopoly on that one) Moral of the story, be smart. Take the blinders off, get a full view of whats going on, and be a better player.


Ability list has no ETA except when it’s done. I’m probably going to pull a Blizzard on this one. It’s ready when it’s ready.


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