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Post  Commodore on Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:48 am


Ok, practically everyone, if not everyone (if they think back long enough ago) at some time in their past has probably had this happen to them. The door opens, a dozen kobolds, wolves, shaman, and a mini boss are standing there and take the blast from your first confidently thrown burning hands spell. The next thing you know, a dozen mildly damaged foes stop what they are doing, run past the charging ranger and barbarian so they can pound the living **** out of you. This is aggro (aggression, hate...).

Aggro management is a key skill necessary for any caster to learn. Almost any spell will cause it. Just the sight of a party member can trigger it. The sound of a spell cast can also bring foes down on you. However, it is an AI generated form of behavior, and for this reason it can be exploited by us supposed intelligent beings. Let me divide this up into three sections,

1. Dealing with aggro
2. Aggro avoidance
3. Aggro pulling

Dealing with aggro:
Plan your attack and if necessary escape. Good players know the quests and know the behavior of their foes. They therefore plan their attacks with these thoughts in mind. For example, drop a web before you open the door if you know you will be throwing an acid blast into the room and are unsure whether or not you can deal with all foes. This way, as the aggro comes, the web will be out already and you are free to do something else.

When your party is slowing dying off leaving you as sole survivor, know that eventually you will pull all of the agro as sole party member. Maintain situational awareness and have an out setup. Don't just die heroically with your party in one last charge. Begin to distance yourself from the disaster. Know where to safely flee and live to come back and save the party. Running from the battle to an area or location you know is safe will also string out your pursuers so that they can more easily be dealt with piecemeal. It can be as close as the next room or as far as the last instance.

Don't bite off more than you can chew. This might sound obvious but it is not always. It is usually best when in a new quest or environment to start slow. Use single ray attacks initially until you determine your damage capability vs defense of foes. This way at worst only one creature is mad at you at a time. Attacking multiple foes with ineffective AOE will only result in them coming after you and ignoring the melee in the party. Plus, moving targets are harder for melee to hit. Rather, shoot the individual kobold who has only 30% health left when you know you can do at least 40% typical damage to him. This is an extension of the one shot one kill approach. A dead foe can’t come after you.

Wait until others engage, then let loose. This is certainly a good technique for beginners. Instead of instigating contact, let others do it (preferably some wise melee with intimidation). Hot key foe targeting so you can quickly scan groups. Either cherry pick good single attack targets (like a half dead foe or a caster with your reflex DC spell) or let loose a well planned well targeted AOE spell.

Leave or enter an instance. Sometimes it is possible to leave an instance. You could actually leave the quest but you will lose XP. However, there are many places where two instances meet and you can leave one. For example, in many slayer areas quest or sub quests are available. Just enter one of these. Mobs will almost never ever follow. Sometimes teleporting mobs bug into new areas.

Don't just run in circles doing nothing. You may live longer but you are doing nothing toward solving your problem. Plus, others will have more trouble dealing with the moving foe. Run thru a melee party member and then block on other side of him. Or just block in place if you can afford to while others come help or your persistent spells kill them.

Move to a safe spot. Move to a height unreachable to mobs or across a break in the floor. Only a very few mobs are scripted to negotiate floor breaks. Other safe spots include other instances however, any spells dropped now will disappear.

Aggro avoidance:
The best way to avoid unwanted aggro is to never pull it in the first place. Here are some avoidance tips.

Invisibility is a great way to avoid aggro and not set off dungeon alerts as you move around. If you don’t carry the spell always carry at least a bunch of scrolls. Mass invisibility scrolls are useful for longer duration invisibility. Clickies are also available in various durations.

With invisibility be aware that if you do any aggressive action you will cancel the spell. These include attacking foes or breakables and opening chests or doors. Entering a new instance will cancel invisibility, as will Ddooring since you need to interact with the ddoor.

While invisible keep at least 5 – 10 feet away from a foe. Many will hear your footsteps and move toward the sound. In these cases you need to move to avoid notice. With invisibility on you can zerg instances super fast. In situations with many mobs who can perceive you, staying invisible and leaving area will defeat the alert system though they may follow you and need to be dealt with eventually. Invisibility can also be used to move inside of mobs reaction range to setup a great attack without messing up the grouping.

Hiding and move silent:
If you invest in these feats (move silent is great skill) then you can use them in similar fashion to invisibility. In fact, you can combine with invisibility for improved performance. Stealth is slower than moving with just invisibility on, however, depending on the mobs and your skill, you can have more success.

Distract your foe:
Things wont aggro you if they are attacked by something or someone else. One good tactic is to use charms to pull aggro from you. In fact, cast the charm while you are invisible to insure that you do not pull any aggro. Cherry pick quick kill targets or leave the area to avoid all aggro. Summon a pet to distract a foe.

Use enlarge:
Enlarge used to be a great feat to take. However, now days most mobs have improved ai and are scripted to attack you when attacked even from an enlarged spell a distance (even if they are not affected by it). However, many times this will give you multiple attacks before contact if needed to finish off foe before he can affect you. Enlarge is probably not a great pick for sorcerers due to feat limitations. Even so, an enlarged charm can help you distract foes on the fly safely and easily.

Use Diplomacy:
Diplomacy can be used to distract many foes away from you and onto the nearest target. This is also fun to do to clerics who refuse to heal you. Keep in mind the effects only last a few seconds so the new target needs to pull the aggro or it will may return to you.

Don’t move into reaction range for a foe:
This tip is self explanatory. Let another party member pull the aggro or skirt areas where mobs are if you don’t want or need to fight them.

Aggro Pulling
From time to time you will want to actually pull the aggro of multiple mobs. You may wish to do this and move to safe spot so others can more easily deal with them. You can pull mobs into nice groups so you can efficiently kill them with AOE. Or you can pull aggro off of weak party members with a very high DPS attack.
AOE spells generate a lot of hate, and can be used to pull aggro. Even non damaging spells like solid fog or web will pull aggro. Be careful though, it is very easy as a caster to put out so much damage that other party members will have a very hard time recovering aggro if necessary.

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Post  Paks on Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:22 pm

One thing you forgot to mention: kill order.

AI programed kill order is caster/cleric, ranged THEN melee. The mobs will almost always attack the caster first, regardless of aggro management. Getting good at casting on the move is a good idea. Getting the feat 'combat casting' is a great idea, assuming you can fit it. Concentration is a key skill for any caster; the more concentration, the more likely your spell will go off.

Paks~Pally; Kyro~Ranger(TR); Kiyla~Pally(TR); Shar~Spellsinger/AA(TR); Bel~ArchMage; Kat~Arcane Archer(TR); Lyartia~Cleric; Tyrsis~Mechanic(TR); Shyalla~Arcane Kensai; HaukeMoon~Monk; Kyllarr~Fire Savant; Ayedail~Tempest Ranger; Kaensada~FvS; Taymyrr~Assassin(TR); Androimeda~Artificer; Kamariel~Henshin; Thanatuss~PaleMaster; Riaen~SwashBuckler

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