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Archive for April, 2010

Foundational skills are basic things that help you tank better. Other classes make use of these things so if you have played WOW a while you will already be good at them to varying degrees. But they are all skills that will make you better as a tank as you get better at them. Most of these are useful for a DPSer or solo player but are even more critical for a good tank.

Aggro range estimation

 This skill is simply the ability to look at a critter or group of critters and know where you can stand and not ‘aggro’ them. Or, alternately, where you can stand TO aggro them. This also includes the ability to figure out which other critters will chain aggro off the one you pulled. All players pick up some degree of this skill as they play the game. You can’t help but have a minimal ability to do this. However, not every player gets really good at it. Tanks, by getting really good at it, become much better tanks. Getting good at this skill will enhance all of the following things: strong consistent pulls, the ability to not accidently grab extra packs, choosing the best place to fight, knowing when to do what kind of pull, and the ability to know when your DPSers are in danger of aggroing adds.

Memorizing a good way to do all the pulls in a given instance can be a crutch used when you aren’t actually good at aggro range estimation. It works well and can get you by. But if you are good at estimating on the fly you are just simply going to be a better tank.

Personally I am one for visualization. Imagine every critter has an invisible circle around them. That circle’s diameter varies based on the difference between your level and the critter’s level. If you enter that circle the critter will spot you and ‘aggro’. Now imagine that when the critter aggros it sends up a ‘pulse’. When this pulse goes out anything in that aggro circle that is allied with that critter will also aggro on you. In addition to that some critters that are hard wired to stay in aggro will all aggro at the same time regardless of how close they are to each other. This is how I think of things working. The mechanic might actually be a little different than that (I have never looked into it) but thinking of it this way is very helpful.

Most of this can only be learned through practice and experience. The point of bringing up the topic here is to get new tanks thinking about these things. It is critical a tank learn from mistakes and grow. A DPS can often get by with making the same mistakes over and over. Some helpful friendly tank might keep saving their butt. A tank cannot afford that and must learn from his mistakes. Maybe not the first time you make it and maybe not the second, but sooner rather than later.

Patrol path knowledge

Knowing where and when patrols move and turn is important. This goes hand in hand with simply memorizing the layout of instances and remembering all the pulls in an instance (also a useful tank skill).

When you start tanking you will find you learn a lot more about what groups are ‘linked’ and will all aggro together. You will also learn, probably via wipes, what groups have a patrol that goes between them. Patrols often ‘bridge the gap’ and cause those agro pulses to jump to the patrol and then jump to the other group. Simply by timing a pull poorly you can get 2 or 3 groups in your face. You also can learn over time how to estimate when to pull a patrol so that it does not aggro anyone with it. Mostly this is timing and the ability to estimate distances without stereo optic depth perception. Of course it can also be done with pure memorization.

Camera control

Long time gamers probably come to WOW with a reflexive ability for camera control. People new to gaming, or new to games with camera control, had to start from scratch. The stages of camera control go from utter bewilderment all the way to pure reflex. If you feel like you are still not great at it don’t let that stop you from trying to tank. Tanking is something that forces you to get better at it. But it does not require you to be uber to start tanking.

Practice using both the right click ‘character turn’ and the left click ‘camera’ turn. When not tanking, or just not meleeing, you can often get away with not using your camera independently of your character’s direction. What I mean is, for example a mage might only face his camera while turning his character. In fact, if he uses just the keys to turn his character then he might not use ‘mouse look’ at all.

As a tank you should be using your mouse and movement keys at the same time. This may seem awkward at first if you have not been doing it this way already. Why do it? Two simple reasons, the keys can’t turn your character fast enough, and you need to be able to look around and maintain situational awareness while still facing your primary target.

For example I run up to a boss start the fight, and then rotate just my camera around to see where the adds are going to spawn from. Now I will be ready for them.

Or I might be rapidly changing targets as waves of attackers come at us. This could require me to turn completely around instantly to face a new target. Only the mouse gives this fast and independent control.

But as I already said, you CAN get started learning to tank without already having this skill. There are a lot of ways to set up your controls so don’t hesitate to try something new. For example if you are left handed you can still use WASD just by moving the keyboard over, or you can use the arrow keys. I will talk more about keys in the ‘user interface’ post I have planned.

Here are a few tips for getting better with camera control.

Play with your smart camera settings. Sometimes a small tweak might make things more to your liking.

Scroll the scroll wheel! In close tight instances zoom way in. This will cut down on disorientation as the camera bumps along the ceiling.

Slow your mouse movement rate down. High mouse sensitivity can be extremely disorienting. When you rapidly move your camera the whole WOW screen jumps to a new direction. Now your brain has to catch up and figure out how far you turned and what new things you are looking at. Did you turn 180 and are looking back the way you came? Or did you turn 270 and are looking at some branching tunnel off to one side. A small decrease in mouse speed can really help your brain handle those rapid turns and cause less disorientation.

When my wife was brand new to wow she had her mouse rate set sky high and was always getting turned around and lost, even if she was standing right next to me. One quick twitch jerks your camera too far, your brain receives two images that are not related and has to do work to piece it into a complete picture of your surroundings. If instead you pan at a rate that lets you see everything as it goes by, your brain can build a completely understanding of where you are, what you are facing, where everyone else is around you, and which way you are headed.

Maneuvering your character

Maneuvering goes hand in hand with camera control. Practice using the mouse to turn. Practice using the keys to turn. Practice ‘strafing’ with the Q and E keys. Practice strafing while looking in some other direction. Try running diagonally while looking in some other direction. A good skill is to be able to navigate around a corner or winding staircase while looking in some other direction.

When tanking

Don’t forget that small steps backward can save you from having to turn completely around.

It is better to have all the targets in your forward 180 degree arc. Stick your arms straight out to the left and the right. Draw a mental line straight out from them to the end of the universe. Everything in front of your arms is in front of you. In WOW you can only dodge and parry attacks from in front of you. I think block too, but I forget. Also if you tab between targets that are in front of you then you don’t have to turn to hit them.

Running through a group and then turning around on the far side is sometimes handy. (other times it gets you killed)

Many abilities require the groups to be in a certain place or proximity. Shockwave, Captain America shield throws, and many others work better when you can position the pack where you need it.

NOTE: On positioning packs. There is an issue where server lag causes the critters to run behind you. What happens is you start to move, lets say one step backward, and the game client sends that to server. But you stop moving right away. Then there is a lag before the server gets the update saying you stopped. Meanwhile all the critter AIs started moving to follow you. Because of the tiny lag you took just one step but they take 3 and are now behind you. On trick I use is if I am trying to adjust the pack’s position, I use more strafe and move in circles and arcs. Then the critters are using turns to follow me and they don’t overshoot with turning. So instead of taking on step back to be sure they are all in front of me I might take on strafe step right and then turn left slightly. Sometimes it works better.

General knowledge of other classes

This one is so vague that it almost does not rate being on the list. But it is an importation foundation for a tank. It really helps a tank BE a tank if they know a wide variety of things about the game. If they are solely focused on their own class and don’t have a working knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of other classes then they will not live up to their potential as a tank. How much knowledge you get concerning how other classes play is up to you. Some of it you will pick up over time and other stuff you will have to seek out, ask about, or read about. I will do some posts some other time giving the highlights of each other class from a tank perspective. Look for ones on ‘know your healer’ and ‘know your dpsers’

All these skills are in addition to the ability to use taunts correctly and to generate good threat levels. (see Taunt and Threat guide)

Another key tanking skill is ‘situational awareness’ but that one is big enough to rate its own post.

Another, more advanced skill, is using ‘cooldowns’ really well. I will also cover that in a later post.

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Cc me the minutes

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My last post on personal situational awareness promised a follow on. Last time I was talking about you being aware of things that affected you in your role as healer; your spec and gear, your buffs and debuffs, the big purple ooze at your feet. This time we’ll broaden the outlook and pay attention to the things around you.

First off, as a healer, you care about damage that you and the party may take. Anything that will not cause damage or prevent damage from being repaired is inconsequential. In dungeons and raids that means you can ignore… um… the vanity pets that people have out. Usually. Pretty much everything else out there is a potential damage cause or complication. Let me define what I mean by those really quickly:

A damage cause is something that results in a player losing hit points. This includes mobs, cliffs you can fall from, exploding mushrooms, and puddles of goo on the floor.

A damage complication is anything that makes the task of repair or preventing damage more difficult. This would include pillars that block line of sight, curses that reduce healing effectiveness, and things that your party members do to themselves and their pets (for instance when a warlock’s imp is phase shifted and you can’t drop a heal on it).

These two factors work together to make your life interesting. Proper situational awareness will help you know what combination of these factors is in play at any time.

Most of the time in instances, the causes of damage are fairly predictable. Certainly by the time you’ve run Drak’Tharon Keep a hundred times you’ll know which groups you can be afk for and which you actually have to heal, when there’s going to be aoe damage and when you can just let your hots tick. Being aware of the causes of damage lets you heal proactively rather than just reactively, by throwing out hots or shields or timing a big heal to land just when the damage has hit.

Damage complications usually need to be handled as they appear. Again after a few dozen times through an encounter you’ll know that the orb stands on the platforms in OK can block LOS if the tank runs around behind them, or that such-and-such mobs cast silence, and plan for that, but in general it’s the complications that make our job hard because let’s face it, the biggest source of damage complications come from our fellow party members and not the encounter. When the hunter disengages right back into a patrol, or the shaman’s totem shoots a passing sentry, or the tank doesn’t do anything about the mobs that the mage has kindly frozen next to you, that’s when your life gets interesting. Proper situational awareness can help you before this sort of thing happens.

Try to note where your party members are at all times. That way when someone aggros another group, you can be prepared to heal, or be over next to the tank, or even run away and shadowmeld and let them all die, depending on what you feel like doing. This is really hard when you’re focused on health bars and nothing else. You’ve got to ditch healer tunnel vision and broaden your scope to see everything.

Pay attention to debuffs on the others in your party. I’m bad at this; Vuhdo tells me about poisons and curses, since I can do something about it, and special boss debuffs, but diseases? If I’m lucky I’ll notice they’re dying too fast and heal them up. I ought to have a special icon for “something you can’t dispel but might wanna check out” that I apply to their health bars; it would help me with awareness.

Omen or another threat meter – I have Omen and also set Vuhdo to give me an overview of people’s threat. When a dps is pulling a lot of threat, I’m preemptively ready to heal. A paladin or priest healer might be able to use a threat-reducing cooldown on this errant player. Either way it could help prevent a death. On the other hand, if this person is regularly and deliberately pulling aggro, you may choose to let him take some damage and try to send him a message. That can work too. Either way, Omen is a handy healer tool.

Most of my wipes that shouldn’t have happened resulted from me getting too far behind in damage, getting aggro from mobs, or healing the wrong person at the wrong moment. Yes, other people usually did something wrong but I care about what I can do better, not anyone else. It usually comes down to where the immediate cause of wipe was a triage failure – I misdiagnosed what tools to use on what people – but the more general cause was me failing at situational awareness.

Healer tunnel vision kills! I can’t stress enough how important it is to get out of tunnel vision. Do whatever you have to do. Tweak your ui; get mods; disable mods; run a few instances as dps. Try something new and learn to get out of the tunnel.

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Tanking 101: The Pull

So you can hold aggro now eh? You have a rotation that works and the dpsers hardly pull off you anymore? That is good. But there is more.

Let us get into the dynamics of a pull. A ‘pull’ is the act of starting a fight with a particular monster or group of monsters. The pull usually is considered to encompass the initial contact as well as the tank getting agro on each creature. What I mean is the pull includes getting in there, getting things started and getting the fight stable. A tank has to get minimum threat on ever target and not have them pull off him the instant the melee, casters, or the healer start doing their thing. If any of the critters pull off you in the first few seconds then you did something wrong (unless that was part of your plan).

Setting up a pull

Scope them out:

The first thing to do is take stock of your target pack. Most mobs are in a pack. How big that pack is and what kinds of critters are in it have a large effect on what sort of pull you want to do. It is critical to take these things into account. The tank has to make the decisions on how to deal with these things. Tanks that don’t do that wipe their group. In many or most cases there is no other person in the party that can deal with the effects of a bad pull. If you can’t pull well you cant tank.

Some of the things to take note of are:

Are there casters in the group?

What kind of range to the casters have?

Does the group patrol?

Do any of them have a fear ability?

Do any of them do a ‘knock back’ effect? (Rinos that charge)

Are there any beasties in the pack need to be turned away from the party? (dragons that breath fire in front of them, snakes that do a multi target poison, etc)

This is the short list but there are others. What you, as a tank, do to set up this fight and shape it is called ‘controlling the battle space’. The job of doing this solely belongs to the tank. Some other classes can help but only working with the tank.

The surroundings:

The second thing to look at is where you are and what is around you and what is around the pack you are going to attack. The most critical thing is what other packs might join the fight. This threat is variable. If packs are far away it is low. If packs are far away but patrol then it might be higher. If the creatures in the target pack do a fear or ‘knock back’ then the risk is very high. As the tank it is your job to know the area and be aware of what could happen. It is your job to take steps to lower those risks. It is also your job to be ready for the worse case situations. If a patrol comes at you from behind, it was your job to know they were coming, see them coming and to round them up as soon as they join the fight. A good tank has eyes in the back of their head. This is called ‘situational awareness’. It is the same skill that soldiers on a battle field, fighter pilots and cops need. The skill is the inability to be taken by surprise. You can’t be taken by surprise because you already expected the surprise and have a plan to take care of it. And when that plan goes wrong you have a back up plan. But lets get back to the pull…

The shape of your pull:

There are many kinds of pulls. Every tanking class has several options available to them starting a pull. Not all tanks have the same options. Since there are tank classes I have not played I might miss some but here is the list. Keep in mind there are more tricks to a pull than this and there are variations.

Straight pull:

The tank runs in to the pack and starts hitting them. Every tank can do this pull. What attacks and abilities they use once they get to the group depend on what class they are. I will not get into those. We are just talking the pull itself. Sufficient to say that the tank needs to get agro on every target in the pack as they do the pull.

Pros: Simple. Easy. Able to be done with no rage, RP, or mana.

Cons: This pull is slow. The dps or healers might pull off you between the time you start running forward and the first attacks you make. There is a gap between the time you get close enough to the mobs for them to notice you, and the time you get within melee range. When you are in this ‘gap’ an healing or buff effects cast on you will cause the critters to gain agro on the healer.

Some variations on this pull are able to compensate for this.

Charge pull:

This pull is the bread and butter of warrior and bear tanks. It involves using a charge ability to dash in there and attack right freaking now! This pull compensates for the slowness drawback of the straight pull. The tank closes that gap between initial agro (they spot you) and the first melee or aoe abilities you do. By blowing past that gap you get the fight started fast and have a much better chance of a clean pull.

Ranged attack pull:

This involves the tank standing in one spot and casting a range attack at the pack. It might be a shot from a warrior’s gun. It might be a bear’s growl or farie fire. It could be that icy touch thing DKs do. There are a lot of ranged attacks that a tank can use to start the fight.

Pro: this pull is great for moving a group to you and getting them away from other packs that are dangerously close.

Con: This pull, by itself, is very risky. It combines the ‘gap’ issue of the straight pull with the fact that most dps, faced with a bunch of critters running at them, will start attacking. Also, this pull does not pull in creatures that have ranged attacks. Those ones will only move to you partway (or not at all) and then sit there shooting arrows or fireballs at your head. Only it will not be your head because as soon as the healer heals you that creature will shoot fireballs at their head.

There are ways to get rid of those cons which I will get to in a minute.

Deathgrip pull:

This is the same as a ranged attack pull except it is done by a Death Knight. The ranged attack they start the fight with is ‘death grip’. It has all the pros and cons of the ranged pull except that you also get to pick on target and have it come right to you instantly. This is a very good pull for groups with just one ranged caster.

This could also be done as a ‘straight pull’. In that case a DK will death grip one of the critters while he is moving into the pack. Or he might do it just after he moves in, but still as a part of the initial pull. This is an outstanding method for gathering up groups that are spread out and contain casters. Knowing which mob to grip and where to grip them is a critical skill for a DK tank. It is what separates a so-so dk tank and a really good one. Often a good choice is the critter in the pack that is farthest away. This clumps them up around you fast.

Shield throw pull:

You will see this one a lot with a paladin tank. Like the grip pulls there is a skill to knowing which targets are the best ones to throw your shield at. This pull can also be done as a standing pull or while moving in during a straight pull.

That covers most of the basic pulls. Other abilities can be done during those pulls as variations. For example a bear who is good can get off a fairy fire on one target while she charges a different one. In effect this is combining a ranged pull and a charge pull. DK and Pallies get some of their best results by using combinations of abilities as they move in with a straight pull. Bears and Warriors tend to use a charge pull and then throw an AOE as a follow up.

Advanced pulling

LOS pulls

What is LOS? LOS means line of sight. Basically this means hiding where the pack can’t see you. This is used to force the ranged attacker creatures to run to where they can see you. When properly done an LOS pull will take a spread out group of caster mobs and bring them in to the party in a nice tight pack. This pulls, more than any other, needs the cooperation of the party. A DPS or the healer don’t hide with you, or start doing their thing early, the critters will stop coming to you and start casting fireballs at your parties heads. There are ways to vary the LOS pull and mix things up. But the basic LOS pull is this: the tank will use a ranged attack on one of the creatures and then will turn and hide. So technically the LOS pull is a ranged pull. And it is specifically designed to compensate for the ranged pull weakness; casters not coming to the tank. There are many pulls were LOS is not only an excellent choice. Many tanks don’t use them. Really good tanks know when and where to use them and do them as needed.

Cooperation pulls:

Healer LOS

One interesting thing to note is that a healer can do a LOS pull by himself. For this the tank stands out in the open and does a ranged pull. As the creatures start beating up the tank the healer will hide near the tank and start casting heals on the tank. This will agro the caster mobs on the healer and they will run in.

There are a lot of other pulling tricks that can be used if you are tight cooperation between the party and the tank.

Hunter Misdirect

Sheep pull

Counterspell and taunt

Tricks of the trade

Trap pulls

Remote control pet pulls

Mind control pulls

Death grip and taunt (with DPS DK)

Multi tank pulls

Multi GROUP pulls

And many more.

Maybe in a later blog I will talk about more advance pulls. I originally was going to talk about that in this one but I got carried away explaining the basics.

Before I go let me say don’t get complacent. Don’t just find one pull that works and stick with it. There are many ways to pull, even with a given pull type or single class. Try stuff. If it does not work, try something else. Having the ability to start different fights in different ways will make you a better tank. A lot of group wipes could have been prevented if the pull had been executed differently. Don’t just assume it was someone else’s fault (that stupid hunter stood back there and the pat came). Instead think about what YOU can do different to make things succeed. The mark of a good tank is being able to make just about any group work no matter how bad the heals and dps is. If something fears and you bring adds, next time pull that group farther back. If the caster over there keeps shooting the healer, find a place to LOS that pull. Try different things and find what works. Then try other things. The more tricks you have up your metal (or fur) sleeve the better you will do.

A short note on using a ‘taunt’ ability as a ranged attck for a pull. Avoid doing this. It is better to have your taunt off cooldown if (when) the dps messes up your pull. Because a taunt on a target not in combat does no ‘threat’ using it makes it more likely that someone will pull off you. This advice does not fully apply to taunts that damage the target.

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He is going places

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Situational awareness, or  “looking at more than just health bars so you see the puddles of goo on the floor”, is insanely key to being a good healer. So key in fact that I would further break down the topic into personal situational awareness and global situational awareness, the later being “seeing the goo that everyone ELSE is standing in”. So I’m breaking this up into two posts and starting with personal.

Imagine you’re looking at your WOW UI. There at the center of the screen, what do you see? You. It might be a dwarf priest, a Tauren shaman, a Draeni paladin, or a Tree (by the way, save the trees!), but it’s you. Too often in healing we are so busy looking at everyone else (at least, everyone else’s health bars) that we forget to look at ourselves.

To learn to escape tunnel vision we must be more aware of ourselves and our surroundings.  It makes a great story when we can say “… and then I realized I was wearing my fishing pole!” or “Then I remembered I hadn’t switched out of my PVP healing spec!” but in truth, when you say that, you have failed. Personal awareness is your first goal when entering an instance or a raid.

Your pre-flight checklist:

Am I in healing mode?

Healing gear?

Healing spec?

Tree form?

Am I ready to go?

Buffs ok? (what do your party members bring?)

Mana bar up?

Phone off the hook, dog outside, baby changed?

Is my party ready?

Identify the tank

Classify each dps player

Mentally categorize their resource type (more on the last few when I do the global situational awareness topic)

Communicate

Tell the tank “I’m ready to go”. Let him know after pulls if there were too many mobs or if you need a second. Remind the mage not to stand in fire.

This is in ideal world. In the real world, the tank has pulled three patrols before you’re actually in the instance, the mage is already dead, and the paladin doesn’t speak English and has given you Blessing of Might. So while you’re running to catch up, do as many of these things as you can, while firing off whatever “Oh Crap” spells you have and wondering if those Frost badges are really worth it.

During the Run:

Your location may vary fight to fight. In general, you want to be close to but not in melee range. If you’re too far away, then when the mage pulls aggro, frost novas the mobs next to you, and blinks away, then you’re in trouble. If you’re closer in the tank will have an easier time. On the other hand, sometimes you’ll want to stay back. Do you know that a mob throws chain lightning or fears? You might stay farther off. For a rule of thumb, never get so far behind that if the tank charges he goes out of range.

If you know an encounter cold, you might think about where you should stand to best help the tank. For instance in Utgarde Keep on the Prince fight, stand so that the tank is between you and the door where the skeletons spawn. When they aggro on you, they will run over the tank who has an easier job of picking them up than if he had to run over to you.  If you have a good tank friend, ask him about fights and where particularly you can stand to help him out.

Stay out of the fire, obviously. If you’re having tunnel vision, make your own health bar nice and visible so when you start taking damage you notice – and then move! Most fights you probably know cold by now anyway. You’ll know when a boss is going to do a move that means you need to move. Watch where you stand when you’re fighting dragons (head and tail are bad, stand on one side). Just run down an encounter before it happens so that when you need to react, it takes you less time

Remember your own defensive cooldowns: chances are when the party takes an AOE, you’ll take damage too. Throw a defensive cooldown ahead of time if you can, like Barkskin, to give yourself breathing room. Or have a shield or a hot on yourself already.

Watch your aggro: Try not to heal the tank until he’s got aggro. If you do pull, bring the mobs to him. Don’t count on him seeing that one that’s hitting you, take proactive steps. Again, if you have problems with tunnel vision, make your own health bar really big and obvious and when it starts going down, figure out why.

Afterwards:

Assess the run. If you were going with a friend, talk about it with them. Were there avoidable deaths? Places things could have been smoother? Figure it out and file it away under “next time”. Mistakes are for learning, not recrimination.

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Battleground Leadership

How is that title for an oxymoron? Nonexistent right? Impossible even!
Sort of yes and sort of no. See like other leadership situations you only have as much authority as the people around you are willing to give you (see my tanking leadership post for more on this). In a battleground that is zero. So what is left? What is left is going with the flow… mostly.

So I just read a great post by Cynwise on simple battleground strategies. One very critical point he made is that execution is more important than the actual strategy. I wanted to expand on that point. The thing is that almost any strategy CAN win a battleground. The critical thing is not which you pick (as long as you are not going for the dreaded nekkid rush). The critical thing is executing well the strategy that is there.

The astounding thing is that the strategy can work even if there is no strategy there. Have you ever been in a WG where all the ‘morons’ run around in the center while one or two people that are actually good went around them and ran the flag? Did you think those one or two good players won the battle DESPITE everyone else? If you thought that you were wrong. What happened was a very sound battle ground strategy. By controlling, or even just semi-effectively attempting to control, the center of the map, the bulk of your team limited the movement of the enemy, slowed their ability to get to your base and perhaps even intercepted enemy flag carriers. The only thing left to make that an effective strategy to win is to have a few players run in and get their flag. So it works or can work. The bulk of your team may have had no concept of that. The flag runner might have even though he was going for the solo win. But in reality they were executing a simple and effect strategy.

Now let us say you are in this battle and not sure what to do. You think everyone is a moron for not defending so you go defend and grumble in chat about it. Then when the 3 rogues jump you and take the flag you blame everyone else for not defending. Is it their fault that you decided to use a completely different strategy? Then because there is one fewer person controlling the center their flag runner runs past. You blame them again for being ineffective despite the fact that you deliberately weakened their force by taking one more person (you) away from it. On the one hand you are sort of right. They didn’t defend well and they didn’t stop the runner… but you did things that did not help the overall picture because you were fighting your own team by running off and doing some other strategy.

We have ALL done what I just described at one time or another.

What if instead you stay near the center. By being near the bulk of the players you might help turn the tide there. To be more effective and to help the whole you also call out when you see them with the flag and you help slow the flag runner down. You are working WITH the masses instead of swimming upstream. By doing things that help them do a better job in the center (calling runners etc) you are helping the overall strategy. Or maybe you go run their flag, or some other thing. The point is not the particular strategy. The point is that you assess the situation and adjust your personal tactics to work WITH everyone else rather than just griping in chat about how dumb they are. You are probably right. But even if you are the smartest one there you are wasted if you just run off and try to run some solo strategy that you can’t actually do solo.

So what should you do? You should constantly adjust your strategies to be complimentary to what everyone else is doing. EVEN if you think what they are doing is dumb or ineffective. Additionally you can work to push the mass in a direction or take steps to make them more effective. No one is defending in AB? YOU defend. And you call out incoming as early as you can to give the others time to help you defend. Doing what you should do is a form of leadership. It is leading by example. Does it always work? Hah! No way. But it does help. The key is not to grit your teeth and just stubbornly execute your own favorite strategy. Instead constantly check the map, see what everyone else is doing, and update your personal plan based on that. Adapt and overcome but do it by working WITH rather than against. A weak strategy well executed will always defeat a team trying to do 3 strategies at the same time. You adjusting your personal actions can at times be the final stone falling into place to turn a rabble into an executed strategy.

No one is driving a demolisher? YOU drive it. But either drive where you don’t need defenders or keep near your team so they can defend you, even if it is accidental on their part. No one is defending? Decide if they are doing an effective rush that you should join, or if one person defending will be effective. And then do something that works with the whole. No one capping and guarding AV towers? Do it! And call out as early as you can when you are getting attacked. Lead by example but not by going against the flow. One person defending towers can be effective. One person charging the general and dying, not so much.

How to win Battlegrounds:
-Know the basic strategies.
-Adjust your personal actions to adapt to the group strategies.
-Where possible, help increase the effectiveness of the strategies being executed.
-Do NOT attempt strategies that are incompatible with the whole, or weaken the whole.

Execution > Strategy

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