LOS stands for Line of Sight. No it is not Line of ‘Site’. (Trust me. I use the term in a technical sense at work all the time. ‘Line of site’ makes no sense.)
Interestingly this acronym means the same thing in WOW as it does in the real world. It means you can draw a straight line from one point to another and it will not go through any walls or mountains or buildings or anything. Simply put, anything you can see is in your line of sight. In WOW that is anything your character can see. In wow this is also restricted to what is in front of you.
Also remember that in wow there is a difference between what you the player can see and what your character can see. Your camera is far over your characters head. Imagine some guy standing 20 feet behind you, and on the top of a tall ladder. This guy would see different things than you can see. It might be that he can see things you can’t but it might also be that you see things he can’t. What if you are standing in a door way. You are just inside the door and he is 20 feet back and on a ladder. You can see everything that is on the other side of that door and he can see almost none of it. This is true in WOW as well. Just after your character steps through a door you can’t see anything they can. Then your camera zooms into the room and you have a view of things again.
So what am I getting at with all this? Camera control is important to being able to use LOS. If you have a tough time with it you can expect to have a hard time using LOS to your advantage.
Now why do we care about LOS? Simple, in World of Warcraft ranged attackers can not shoot directly at a target that they can not see. This simple fact means you can use Line of Sight to ‘pull’ targets to you. You can do this as a tank or while soloing. Any time you want to move a target or pack of targets toward yourself you can use LOS. Of course if they are not ranged attackers then you don’t need LOS to do this. You also don’t need LOS if you have some way to cast a ranged silence. Of course ranged silence effects can be tricky to apply so even if you have such a skill you might want to use Line of Sight anyway.
Line of Sight is an amazingly simply concept that a shocking number of people have problems with. The term LOS usually stands for ‘Line of Sight Pull’ such as in the sentence “stay here I will LOS them.”
Here is how you do an LOS pull.
1: shoot them
That is all. But I keep seeing hits from search lines on our blog about this so I will say more.
First you shoot them. This means you use any ranged attack against the opponent. It can be a taunt, or a shot from a gun/bow/etc, or even a debuff applied from a distance. Any skill or ability that can be applied from a distance. Actually it does not have to be from a distance but it helps. No wait! Stop! Don’t shoot yet. Look at step 2 first. Yeah see that part is ‘hide’. So before we shoot at that pack we want to be standing near something we can hide behind. That is they trickiest part of an LOS pull, finding the right place to do it. Some areas have lots of good places to use LOS and some have none at all.
So where can you hide? Most of the time features of buildings will work. Walls in the game, even ones free standing in the world, are often enough to break Line of Sight. You see, that is what you are doing when you hide. You are breaking THEIR line of sight to YOU. This means in order to see you again and get a shot at you they will have to run toward you and around any obstacles you are hiding behind.
Walls of caves and tunnels also work. Terrain features usually do NOT work. This means outdoors, hills, mountains, even trees, can be fired through. Yeah technically the target can not ‘see’ you and technically they can’t get to you except by running around some obstacle. But they can still shoot you. It is very important to know where in the WOW world you are actually breaking LOS and where you are still going to get fireballs up the patooty.
Stairs are something that breaks LOS but you might not notice very often. Here is the tricky things with stairs and ledges. WOW calculates LOS to your feet. That is right. If you can see all of a target except below their knees you probably still can’t shoot at them. This also means they can’t shoot at you so that is handy to know. (The issue with stairs is very annoying when tanking or healing near the top of a steep set of stairs so use caution)
So here is the new set of steps for an LOS pull:
1: Find a place to hide (that is a real hiding place
2: Stand near it (As close as you can and still hit the targets)
3: Shoot the target (hit the closest one, it does not have to be a caster)
4: Hide (duck out of LOS as fast as you can)
Something more about hiding though… you want to stand near the point where they are going to show up. By that I mean if you are hiding behind a wall, stay near the corner of the wall. As soon as they come around that corner ranged enemies will stop and shoot you from there. They will not keep coming to you. They will run ONLY as far as it takes for them to be able to see you and then they will stop and shoot. Keep in mind that if you are targeting a pack that is spread out some of them might be able to see you at a different point than others. Those ones might stop early to shoot while other ones keep coming. There are a lot of curved corners in ICC where this happens.
That is all there is too it. The simplest pull ever right? WRONG!
There is more to it than just that.
One of the big risks about doing an LOS pull is having the DPS or healer agro the targets as they run in. They can do this pretty easily because you have not generated any significant threat on the targets. RDPS shooting something obviously will generate threat and potentially pull off of you. So will a healer casting heals on you. But the heals will only generate threat when they actually heal real hit points. If you are full on health and someone puts a HOT on you then there is no risk. But if you have even a little damage and take some healing it is likely the targets are now on the healer.
There are two distinct ways that someone pulling off you can be a problem in an LOS pull. One is that the targets will stop coming to you. This happens when someone standing in the open draws agro. If someone stands out in the open and gets blasted it is usually pretty clear that they messed up. The other issue is more subtle and possibly worse. Someone may draw agro off you but NOT cause the targets to stop. This can be if they were hiding and the target pack was ranged, or if the pack was all melee. The risk here is that you, the tank, will only have a TINY window to regain agro before those targets hit your ally.
One place you see this a lot is Halls of Reflection. Most people hide in the alcoves and LOS the packs. The risk is that if you are standing there fighting and your healer is hiding, sometimes you get several melee attackers running in at the same time. If you miss time your AOE your healer can drop instantly. It is not always obvious that it was a tanking fail either.
Tanking the first part of Halls of Reflection.
This stuff applies to ANY place you are trying to use LOS and having trouble tanking it. It can be a real problem if your healer can’t handle more than one or two hits. If you find you are in this situation, which healers dropping instantly as you complete a LOS pull, try these things.
-Check your position. You want to be lined up so that the targets have to run though a lot of your ‘aoe circle’ to get to the healer. Draw a mental circle around yourself and consider how long it takes the targets to run through it.
-Time your AOE better. You need to hit it when they are JUST inside the range of it but not before. This gets tricky if more than one target are coming into range and different times. It is sometimes better to let that first one get all the way to the healer if that means you get the next two in range.
-Use other aoe options. There are other attacks you can use. Even non-aoe ones. Try changing targets as they come at you.
-Hit the targets with some extra threat before they come in. Range attacks, etc.
-Pick your targets better. Know which ones are 2-shotting the healer and be sure those get some extra attention during the pull.
-Ask DPS to use CC, or misdirection or tricks of the trade. Death grip, stuns, kites, frost traps… there are a LOT of things the DPS can do to slow them down as they pass though your AOE circle. Buying you a second or two can mean the difference between a dead healer.
-Get the healer to throw bark skin or shield or some sort of mitigation move before or during the pull.
-Ask the healer to not pre hot you or throw any moves until the pack has arrived. This may require you to throw some tanking cooldowns to stay alive.
This is all aimed at solving the problem of the healer dropping instantly on a pull, or taking so much damage they are distracted from healing you. If your problem is something else, use something else. If DPS is pulling agro the easiest thing to do is tell them to stop it. Or let them die.
But I can’t seem to get them to come to me!
Ah, time for some remedial LOS. Look, the line of sight means the line your CHARACTER can see. Zoom your camera all the way in. No, keep going until you are inside your characters head. This is what they see. You camera is much higher and farther back. Your camera sees things your little person can’t see. Try this, draw a line from the target STRAIGHT down to the bottom of the screen. I mean straight down, like if you held a marble where they target is (right in front of your monitor) and then dropped it. Did the marble pass over your character? No? Then turn your screen. Move your camera until the target is straight above your character in the screen. Not sure? Hold your mouse by the cord and dangle it in front of the monitor. Let it hang free and move the cord to line up with both you and the target. Can’t do it without two hands? You are not lined up…. Ok fine, here are some pictures.
Can’t tell if the Line Of Sight is interupted? Check the overhead view. Yup. You are safely hidden.
Looking at it from your own camarea it is not clear if you are LOSing them or not. Checking a view from the side we see that the Line of Sight to your feet is good if you are slighting back from the top of the steps.
How about this one? Looks bad right?
Not bad. Good. The target can’t see you. It is close though.
Yeah real close. If the target was just a little to one side then it can see you.
Don’t wait for a pull that you absolutly have to LOS to try using it. LOS any time. Heck, do it solo… I mean use LOS when soloing. Also use it instances. Keep an eye out for any pull that you CAN LOS and then try it. The more you practice it the better you get. Don’t wait for a fail-tastic HoR run to brush up on your skills.