Manage your aggro for a happy tank

Taking a lead from Wrath of Nature who’s been reading Big Bear Butt I shall respond to the challenge to explain how to survive as dps without annoying the tank by ripping aggro and how to deal with it when I do.

By nature I’m a tank, I’m sure everyone who’s been past this place before has worked that out but I’ve got six 80’s, two of which are ICC25 geared and and another pair who are well geared, certainly enough for the first few ICC bosses on 10-man.  So I’ve seen it all, tanking, off-tanking, tank healing, raid healing, running like a loon healing and nuking the hell out of the ugly in melee and ranged camps.

I like to understand what the other parts of the team are up to when I’m trying to keep the big and ugly from nomming on their squishy faces.

So, for the purposes of this post I shall be considering Wubbles, a decently geared destro warlock, a “DestroGnome” if you will, also known as “Oh my god he’s gone and ripped aggro again”.

Single Targeting

The single biggest thing I can do to help the tank is nothing.  Do absolutely nothing, give him a GCD or two as necessary to get a lead.  There’s nothing like a threat lead to keep a tank happy.  If I really must do something then a quick curse just after the pull is fine, this also helps Omen work out what’s happening by generating threat to track.

With the rotation I’m using I spike threat at about the 4.5 second mark, so watching omen like a hawk is critical, make sure that before I pop the final move in the rotation assess whether I’m going to pull or not.  If I am, choose something else, keep the tank happy, tanks like to be the center of attention and hate it going to someone else.

This might mean I’m not the top of the dps charts.

So what, are the mobs dead, did I pull my weight, is everyone else alive, is the healer cursing or drinking on every pull because of the heavy healing?

It’s all good, an extra 5 seconds to kill the mob isn’t going to kill anyone except a certain class of “gogogogo” dps, and I’ll have words to say about them in a bit.

Multiple Targets

This is more of a problem, depending on the tank it’s highly likely that in a large trash pull there will be several mobs who only have proximity aggro on the tank, opening up instantly with rain of fire will mean collecting lots of new friends who wish to chat and show off their big weapons.

Again, give the tank a chance to spread his love around a bit before opening up with the big guns, spend a few cycles whacking the tank’s initial target before AoEing the universe to death.


Soulshatter: Horribly long cooldown for current heroic running but don’t be afraid to use it.

Caveat: Don’t soulshatter next to the healer, if you don’t play with a healer in the same room let me tell you that they swear like troopers when that happens.

Close to death: Can it be nuked before reaching me?  What about the dots, if I run around like a girl will it give them a chance to take it down?

The biggie, rule #1

Run to the tank

I cannot stress this enough, there’s nothing which annoys a tank more than having to chase a mob all over the instance because the dps is running away.  All the time the tank is chasing your mob they’re not building aggro on the others, which increases the chance of other mobs breaking making his life even harder.

One thought on “Manage your aggro for a happy tank”

  1. I think I’m only in danger of taking aggro off you when I am on Cress, tbh – or possibly on AOE on Bieslook- which is the disadvantage of AOE generally. I *think* it’s not too bad though.

    One of the things I’m looking forward to reading is the Unferth- bear experiment – I’m not sure what level gear you are starting with – or whether you are using different techniques to Ariciel – because I do have threat management issues there. I think that is more likely to be a gear level issue though.

    For threat drop, I think I only have three options with cress – Fade, dispersion (not casting, so not adding aggro, but not really a threat drop) or just standing there not doing anything, whilst my dots drop off. And Fade is just a blind – when the effect wears off, all the original aggro is right there, plus any more that was added – it’s more effective against accidental AOE aggro (like on mind sear) rather than main target aggro. I’m really not counting the fear effect – this is not something for groups – even though I did use it quite nicely in Silvermoon yesterday…

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