Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

I think my infatuation with heroics is coming to a natural end. I’ll never hate them, and we will stay on good terms. We’ve had some good fun together and I have the screenshots to prove it. (This is ironic since there is at least one that I’ve never run on heroic, but I don’t really feel much drive to either.)

But I’m not on fire any more to put groups together and run three or four in an evening. I think that white hot stage of the relationship has faded now. I’m still running them with friends/ guildies but less likely to actively organise.

Blizzard has invented achievements for each boss that encourage you to kill it faster, more smoothly, or with an unusual tweak, to provide an extra challenge. Unfortunately, I’m not really an achievement junkie.

But for me personally, I make the runs more interesting for myself by speeding things up. Again ironically, the one achievement for a speed run in an instance is one we don’t have yet (we’ve gotten to the extra boss in Stratholme a few times but not killed it inside the timer – my gut feel says it’s a dps issue but still, if there’s anything I can do to help I want to try).

You do need to know the instance pretty well to really be able to focus on speed. That means every patrol, every nook and cranny, every pull and what might be in it.

Chain Pulling

This means no downtime between pulls. As the dps are finishing off the last mob of a pull, the next set of mobs arrives. So you pull the next set while there are still things left to kill. There’s no special trick to chain pulling apart from knowing the instance well and keeping tabs on people’s mana bars to get an idea when a break may be needed. Obviously try not to get hit in the back too much when you are maneuvering.

It is generally polite to let people know you plan to chain pull but you can always just pretend it was a mistake. eg.  ‘Oops, didn’t see that patrol there, thought I’d better grab it.’ When the mobs are all dead, people will be OK about it.

The easiest way to start is to practice pulling a patrol while the group is still fighting something else. (Like I say, I sometimes apologise afterwards but I’m not actually sorry, I was just bored. Plus I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t know we could cope. )  To do this you want to:

  1. Have solid aggro on the group that is currently being fought (or at least slap a Shockwave on them while you’re pulling).
  2. Have access to an instant pull. I think all tanks do though.
  3. Be aware if the new group includes casters or any mob that needs to be pulled around a corner.
  4. Be able to count. Oh, I thought it was just a 2-man patrol will not save you when 5 mobs sprint round the corner.
  5. It isn’t necessary but can help to have some raid marks hotkeyed so that you can at least stick a mark on the one that needs to die first.

Even if you are chain pulling, pause before a boss fight (unless the instance is set up to be chain pulled, like Old Stratholme). At least long enough to check that people know the fight.

Sometimes people will respond to chain pulls by banging out some crowd control. Even if it isn’t necessary (and if it was necessary I would have marked for it), I try to respect the CC and not just ignore it. For one thing, it keeps me agile, and for the other … maybe it’s just me but it seems a bit rude to just ignore other classes abilities.

Speed is fun?

I think people do enjoy faster runs and having to think on their toes a bit, once they are familiar with an instance.

It’s just unfortunate that more fun for the tanks and dps generally means mad pulls, lots of mobs, nonstop dps and mayhem all over the place. Which is also more work for the healer. So the trick for keeping the run fun for everyone is staying in control and checking that people are OK with the speed. And pausing for mana breaks if people need them.

But seriously, when the paladin in that Nexus run yesterday spent the whole time talking about how his mana never dropped below 15k, what did he expect? Saying that to me is like a red rag to a bull! :)

Or as an old friend of mine (who was, not coincidentally, the scariest driver I have ever known) used to say, “It’s great, you won’t even notice the speed bumps if you go over them at 70MPH.”