The Other Side of The Coin

My Brigand is about 50% away from hitting level 40. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been a little busy lately, and I didn’t get to play him at all over the weekend. Yesterday I managed to get in a couple hours of solid game-play, and surprisingly I accomplished quite a bit in that short amount of time.

When I logged on, I intended on trying to get a Nek Castle group going, so I could get my Hadden’s Earring update off of Everling. I’ve been trying to clear out quests from my journal before they turn grey, though I know plenty of people with lowbie alts I can mentor if need-be. Anyway, I asked around and didn’t get much luck on the NC group. I ended up finding a couple people that were interested in doing a Runnyeye Citadel group, and not having been in that zone with this toon, I knew the AA would be great. And it was.

The group setup maybe wasn’t optimal, but it worked. We had a Berserker, Dirge, Templar, two Necros, and myself. The DPS was great, and we did end up blowing through the entire zone, clearing all of the named mobs that were up (if not all that reside in the zone… not entirely sure). I managed to ding level 39, along with gaining two AAs, bringing my total up to 38. Nearly caught up to my adventure level, now it’s time to pass it. The group wanted to do the instance within the zone, but unfortunately our tank was locked out, and none of us really wanted to hang around after that.

This was the second real group I’ve had since rolling the Brigand. Since I’ve been playing primarily after work, and the population of my server is quite low at this time-frame, I have been soloing the entire time. A week ago I managed to snag a Crushbone Keep Throne Room group, and we four-manned that. It went smoothly, as the tank knew what he was doing, and knew exactly what mobs to kill for access throughout the instance. The RE group was my second real group, and though we were successful in grinding xp, and clearing the zone, the tank was sub-par.

Sure, he could keep aggro ok. He also didn’t die once throughout our stay in the zone. He also knew where he was going, and where all of the named spawned. The problem I was having, is he was rushing. One pull, he would walk into a room, body-pull, but not turn the mobs, so I would end up drawing more when trying to pull of my positionals. The next pull, he would grab a whole room; but instead of grouping the mobs and setting them where it would be easy to see what angle their backs were exposed at, he would set them in a narrow corridor. At times, there were simply too many mobs and I couldn’t tell what he was targeting. My DPS was horrible (one of the necros threw out some parse spam here and there, and I was low on the list), partially because of the learning curve of a different role, and partially because the tank didn’t really know what he was doing.

This brings me to a different point, something I hope some other Brigands from the community can give some feedback on. When I tank, I have always insisted that all DPS assist me, so I can do the targeting, and they just do damage. This helps with aggro management, keeping the other classes from ripping mobs from me. This is what I was doing in RE with the Brig, but it wasn’t working as well as I would have hoped. The Necros had it easy, they just click the tank, and then click their nukes. With all of the positional attacks Brigands have, I can’t just sit still without taking a severe hit to overall DPS. But, I can’t do much when the tank is constantly changing targets,  pulling into tight spots, or pulling too many mobs. Granted, our group could handle the encounters, but it was beginning to piss me off that I wasn’t performing to my best potential. At this point, I decided that it was a better idea to manually target mobs myself, so that I know which back I am trying to stab. I didn’t seem to rip aggro more than once or twice, and my de-taunts make short work of rips. So my question is this: Is it recommended as a scout class to target your own mobs, or assist the MT? I would assume the latter would be correct with a good tank, but I could be wrong. Maybe scouts in my groups have all been targeting themselves, without me even noticing.

My old roommate who plays an Assassin told me that he likes fighting behind me because he can always tell what I’m targeting, and that he can tell where he needs to move to get off his positionals. Maybe we just got used to eachother’s play-style, but I have a feeling that the tank I was with just happened to suck.

5 thoughts on “The Other Side of The Coin

  1. I’ve had similar problems. There aren’t many tanks right now at my level (and who can blame them, since they aren’t really needed on raids) and the few I’ve found seemed to demonstrate the same issues you’ve mentioned.

    If I had to guess at causes, I’d say that these are brand new players or alts of mages (because I’m sure any competent scout’s alt would think about positioning). Levelling is very easy right now and so is soloing. Furthermore, due to a lack of population at lowere levels, there aren’t many chances to group. So soloing ends up being necessary.

    So, we have players who haven’t really had a chance to learn the tricks of the trade. Now I don’t mean to make it sound like a job. We all play to have fun. But there are some skills that are basic to a class: kiting/positionals to scouts, rooting/nuking to mages, healing/curing to healers, and pulling/taunting/flipping to tanks. I don’t care what your AA setup is. I don’t care if you mastered all your arts. I don’t care if your setup is “optimal” or “wacky.” But I do care if you master the basic skills.

    I’m always tempted to try to teach them (too much time spent as an Armsman in Dark Age of Campalot), but that could easily come off as arrogance. So I let it slide and pick up the slack. Personally, I generally just /assist the tank and only switch targets if I see a healer draw agro.

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  2. I have never played a character with positional attacks in a group – but know that the tank I always group with in guild is excellent in this respect.

    He always considers his healers/scouts/dps and it makes a huge difference to the success of the group IMHO. Turning mobs so the scouts get their back attacks, protecting the squishies from aggro, watching range and line of sight for healers. Everyone is happy.

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  3. Tanks are supposed to turn the mob for scouts or at least give them ample room around the enemy in a mob-free zone. I’d say at the beginning of groups, ask that the tank please turn the mob. This might save you some trouble in the long run and unless he’s a bad, touchy tank to begin with, he won’t feel downed by this request. Basically you are supposed to target through the tank, but only if he’s good lol. There are many different kinds of bad tank, from ones that don’t know the zone to ones that won’t turn mobs, to ones that insist that since they’re a zerker they should be DPSing in offensive stance even when main tank (I swear those guys RESIST heals…). Either way, unless you’re in a raid and TOLD to target through somebody else, the tank should be giving you your implied target.

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  4. Thanks for the replies. I’m tempted to refer tanks like the one I mentioned to my tanking guides… but that would be a little arrogant as Vatec said. I’m still leaning towards doing my own targeting, but that may change when I group with a good tank (which probably won’t happen til 50+ when most tanks finally get group experience).

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  5. Tactically it often makes sense to focus DPS on a single mob. Mobs are not debilitated by their current health, so the fastest removal of a mob is teh best damage attenuation there is. But it’s not the only concern, nor even the over-riding concern.
    Assist the MT as a default, but don’t feel your DPS maximization is your only contribution, unless you are a ranger. The rogue and bard scout types have a lot of debuffing utility which ALSO helps damage attenuation, and that often involves targetting while using your brain, rather than just assisting the tank by rote.

    Often times what’s “good tanking” for you is “subpar” for someone else not used to a tank’s agro managment style… and there’s plenty of those. If the tank is getting the job done: keeping the mob focus, not positioning for unmanageable adds, then it’s somewhat incumbent on us as scouts to figure out our own role too. As long as he doesn’t get down on you for playing YOUR character as you need to (because you know your job better than he does, just as *hopefully* he knows his better than you do), and you aren’t breaking the tank role (because anyone bar none can GET agro, no matter how good the tank), then I wouldn’t worry overmuch about how you target. Obviously, that’s situational, sometimes how you target IS the overriding requirement. But for most group gameplay, it just doesn’t matter that much.

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