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Sunday, May 25, 2014

What is Aggro?

Aggro is the amount of threat that a player is generating towards a mob, that will cause a mob to notice a player and attack them. This guide explains all the concepts behind aggro, and explains a few ways that you can use it to your advantage.

What Causes Aggro?

Every action that a player takes generates a certain amount of threat, and different actions generate different amounts of threat. For instance, Shield of Bark generates more threat than Natures Touch; Cloak of Fire generates more threat than Lure of Fire; etc.  Some skills are designed to have a high threat rating, like taunt and warcry, while others are designed to reduce threat, like calm, distract, and play dead. Auto-attacking, healing a player that is attacking, and buffing a player that is attacking will also generate aggro.

What is Aggro Radius?

When a mob is not in combat, getting too close to that mob will generate aggro, and cause the mob to attack you. Each mob has an "aggro radius" that is based upon your level relative to the mob's level. If you are many levels above the mob in question, the aggro radius will be very small and it will ignore you at close range, but if you are a similar level to the mob, it will run to attack you. There are three ways to reduce the aggro radius

  1. Level up - low level mobs will ignore you. This is why high level players can walk around Lir's Reach without getting attacked.
  2. Skills - Camouflage, Hide, and Conceal are all skills designed to reduce your aggro radius
  3. Items - Certain items are designed to reduce your aggro radius. Camouflage charms, and certain mounts have the ability to reduce the size of your aggro radius.

Certain items are known to grant a direct bonus to skill abilities to either increase or drop aggro. This Ancient Beastbone Circlet is one of those items, that causes Calm to be more effective. There are other items that cause Taunt and Warcry to be more effective as well, so that it generates more threat.

Why does a mob attack one person and not others?

While fighting, each mob maintains an "aggro table". The aggro table is a list of each player that has interacted with the mob, and how much aggro that player has generated toward the mob. The player that has generated the most aggro will be at the top of the aggro table, and the mob will attack that player. This is why you may see a mob switch it's target mid-battle, because another player has moved to the top of the aggro list.

Tanking a mob is the act of holding aggro over all other people. This is done by warriors using taunt and warcry, but can be done by other classes through using skills that generate a high threat level, and by causing high amounts of damage.

There is no aggro reset

While in battle, there is no way to reset aggro. If you die, you move to the bottom of the aggro table, but you are still on that table until the mob dies or is reset. Similarly, moving out of range does not reset your aggro while that mob is in combat. If you come back into range, the mob will attack you again.

The only way to reset aggro is to log out and log back in again.

AOE and Aggo

AOE stands for "Area of Affect", which deals with any skill that deals damage to mobs in a specific area. Some AOE damage skills are
  • Firestorm
  • Sweeping Blow
  • Stinging Swarm
Any mob in the area that this is cast on will be affected by the skill, and cause you to be added to that mob's aggro table. If you are on the aggro table, you now have a chance to be attacked by that mob.

Similarly, AOE buffs will put you on the mob's aggro table if you buff a person that has aggro from that mob. Some AOE buffs are
  • Ward of Fire
  • Defensive Spikes
  • Defensive Form
Buffing a person that has aggro will put you on that mob's aggro table, so you will now have a chance to be attacked by that mob.

Can a mob reduce your aggro?

Yes! Certain mobs can perform skills that will reduce your aggro, causing them to choose a new target, which makes them very difficult to tank. 

Two of the mobs that do this are Swamplord and Wandering Spirits. Before the skill is cast to reduce your aggro, you will see red text in the chat window saying that it is happening. The Swamplord will say "The Swamplord closes his eyes, ignoring those that are taunting it", and the Wandering Spirits will say "Wandering Spirit has chosen a new target."

This skill reduces your aggro, and will make you drop on the mob's aggro table so the mob targets a new player.

Can a mob aggro other mobs?

Yes! Certain mobs can "call" other mobs to come attack you; most of these will be bosses. Some mobs that call other mobs are:
  • All 6* Frozen Armor bosses (All-Seeing One, Chained King, Pyrus the Lavalord, etc..)
  • All 5* or 6* Dragonlord Armor Bosses (High King Krem-Nor-Borok, Firbolg Champion Sreg, etc.)
  • Endgame bosses (Aggragoth, Hrungnir, Mordris, Efnisien the Necromancer)
  • Boggan Lookouts
When the boss summons other mobs, you will see a red emote in the chat window telling you that mobs are being summoned.

You should note that when mobs are summoned, they all go straight for the person tanking the boss. However, calling the mobs generates very little threat. Because of that, any buff or heal cast on the tank will cause the summoned mobs to head straight for the person that cast the buff or heal. This means that the heal-over-time spell Nature's Embrace is especially dangerous. 

Nature's Embrace heals the tank every tick (5 seconds). This means that every 5 seconds, the druid that cast it is generating threat to the mob. The amount of threat is minimal, but in the case of summoned mobs it takes very little threat to have them target you. Druids should be careful when using this spell on bosses that summon mobs.

Grasping Roots and Aggro

If you've ever grouped with a Ranger or Druid, you probably have noticed that Grasping Roots and Longshot can change the target of the mob. This is because when Grasping roots or Longshot are cast on a mob, it pins the mob to the spot and it will then choose who to hit based on
  1. The person that is closest...
  2. ...who is at the top of the aggro table.
This means that classes who are not using ranged attacks (Warriors and Rogues) are susceptible to attack when Grasping Roots of Longshot are used. If you are a Druid or a Ranger, be kind to other classes and watch how you use these skills!

Rangers and Aggro

Kiting (or Walking)

Kiting (walking) is the term used when a Ranger casts bolas on a mob, and the person who has aggro walks away from the mob, staying out of attack range. This causes the mob to slowly follow the person that has aggro, not hitting anyone else. This is preferable to Grasping Roots or Longshot, because the mob will not target the closest attaker. If done successfully, a mob can be killed without doing any damage to anyone whatsoever.

The term Kiting comes from the visual that this effect looks like a person with a kite, holding the string attached to the boss and making him move where you want him to go.

Another option while kiting a boss is for the person who has aggro to make the boss walk to the furthest allowable distance, and then crossing over the line where the boss will not follow. When the person moves out of the boss's range, the boss will go after the next person at the top of the aggro table. When the person who moved out of range comes back in range, the boss will go back after the original person. This causes the boss to bounce back and forth between two people.

Pulling and Cross-Pulling

Pulling is the act of trying to draw a mob out from a group of mobs. This is done primarily by rangers, but can be accomplished by anyone. It is done by staying far away from the group of mobs, and performing a skill that is of little threat to get the mob's attention. That mob will run towards the attacker, while all other mobs stay in place. If an action generates a lot of threat, it is possible that more than one mob gets aggroed.

Cross pulling is the same concept as pulling, but for mobs that are close together. This requires two people to do. Here is how that is accomplished:

  1. Person 1 hits the mob that you want to pull. All the mobs around come and attack the puller. No other people should be attacking at this point.
  2. Person 2 attacks the mob that you want to pull, after Person 1 attacks
  3. Person 1 logs out, resetting aggro on all the mobs except the mob that Person 2 is attacking. Person 2 moves to the top of that mob's aggro table.
  4. The mob that you want to pull starts attacking Person 2, and all other mobs are now reset.
  5. Person 1 can now log back in, and can attack the mob (providing that Person 1 is not in the aggro radius of the other mobs!) 

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