Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pulling with Taunt - Stop It

Just when I thought this phenomenon was gone, I up and see not just low level newbie tanks doing it - but a self-proclaimed RL/GM teaching his tanks to do it as well. What I'm referring to here is the ever unpopular, wildly unexplained, Taunt Pull. That's right, pulling a boss/mob by using your Taunt first.


Now don't get me wrong. I can see where this habit starts, and why it probably takes far too long to correct. Unfortunately, it's problematic in later dungeons and raids - and I'll explain why in a moment.

How it all starts

For the Paladin, this starts when Righteous Defense is granted at level 15 or so. This ability acts as a ranged pull, does a significant amount of damage at that level, and is one of the few 'moves' in the leveling Paladin's arsenal. Since they don't get Avenger's Shield for quite some time, it becomes ingrained to pull this way.

For the Warrior, this comes from their gun/bow being a stat stick - and the general lack of ammo in their bags. Because of this, they either taunt pull, or (thanks to talents) charge into the fray - generally leaving the healer behind.

DKs don't get a taunt for many levels, they are usually the lowest offenders of this. The biggest issue I see with DK tanks outside of raids is not using Death and Decay because it "costs too many runes".

Druids get Faiere Fire at a low level, and learn to pull with that - leaving their taunt alone. Some druids still pull with taunt though, however they are on the lower end of the offender chain.

Do you see my problem here? Not only is it people pulling with taunt, but it's primarily Warriors and Paladins doing it! For shame.

The real issue

Pulling with your taunt is, well - I have an analogy Reaganomics used in the past that isn't really appropriate. The clean version is - it's idiotic to pull with your taunt (even on un-targetable bosses). Here's why.

Taunt has ZERO positive effect if the target is already targeting you. Only the Paladin taunt does significant damage I believe (if they aren't targeting them), and what you've now done is trigger your taunt CD and started the taunt immunity timer on the mob/boss. Let's look at two different examples.

Example One: Taunt fires first. So let's say you're using a Warrior to MT Saurfang, and because he knows your DPS is sitting there spamming the /AMGDPS key, he's frantically spamming his taunt - just waiting for Saurfang to go active. Suddenly he's live, and his taunt fires - along with his auto-attacks. Now you've got three seconds where the boss is focused on your Tank, but he's got 1.5 seconds waiting for his GCD to come down. You have time for one, maybe two abilities that aren't on the GCD to fire before the effect wears off.

Now in this instance, JoeJoe the DPS pulls ahead of Tank 1, so Saurfang targets him. Your MT is standing there holding his junk in his hands, because his taunt is on CD, so tank #2 taunts. You now have two taunts in < 8 seconds. A few seconds later, the MT taunts back, because he's supposed to have Saurfang first. Oops. Now the Boss is taunt immune - right around the time that Rune of Blood comes out. Suddenly Saurfang is healing up that damage that your overeager DPS did, and his Blood Power is rocketing up because he still has 10 seconds of Taunt immunity left - and your OT blew their taunt anyway because he didn't realize Saurfang was immune.


Example Two: Tank fires taunt after establishing agro.

Precisely zero happens to his threat, it does NOT force the boss to attack for any length of time, and just starts the taunt diminishing return/immunity timer.


Example Three (Bonus): Tank pulls trash with a taunt.

Overeager DPS guy opens up, trash turns and punches them in the face for TEXA$ worth of damage - because the tank's taunt is on CD.



Raid Leaders and GMs, please stop teaching your tanks bad mechanics. Instead teach your DPS to be patient for two or three seconds. The days of waiting for five sunders is past, but if you don't have a hunter/rogue doing a threat transfer, the tank still needs a few seconds to establish solid agro. Your healers (and DPS) will thank you for it. Trust me.


  1. i m the "self-proclaimed RL/GM teaching his tanks to do it as well"

    read my original post again before u bend it the way u like just to make a fail point.

    "its good ur MT uses taunt to pull together with XXX YYY ability." seems a lot different than your
    "pulling a boss/mob by using your Taunt first."

    u never even had a debate/discussion with me before u made this post just to prove something which never happens. cos lets face it, getting Saurfang immune taunted is something u can only achieve if u REALLY want to make him immune.

    plz l2read b4 u write. i expect this post corrected.

    regards, Crowheart

  2. Crowheart - Read all the examples listed above, they include pulling with a taunt as well as using your taunt during the initial pull. Anytime you use your taunt when you already have agro, or instead of some other ability (i.e. Avenger's Shield), you're risking running the boss immune. Simply holding off your DPS for a few seconds will remedy this issue.

    I expect people to use proper spelling and punctuation. Obviously we're both in a position where we're going to be disappointed.

  3. I am still denying the fact that I said what you wrote at the start and as such I am waiting for the post to be corrected so we can have a nice discussion if you want about immunity-risks and the benefits of using taunts.

    Until then you should know that you are lying to your readers and stating facts that never happened EVEN after you were told to correct them.

    I know its the internet and you can flame whoever you want with no consequences, but I m pretty sure if you find your name on something you never said you wont like it either.

  4. Dude, it's his blog, his opinion. You can't "expect him to change the post" just because it's a slap to your epeen.

    I already replied to you in the "proper location," and I don't want to spam ANOTHER blog with comments (sorry, Ad. D:) so I'll leave it at that.

  5. @Crowheart - copied from your comment at http://kurn.apotheosis-now.com/?p=982

    "small add i forgot:

    its good ur MT uses taunt to pull together with XXX YYY ability. melees tend to die if u dont on bosses who are untargettable @ start like saurfang/council/sindra etc. Dont mock him for that, i took me countless yells for my tanks to learn that :D"

    This statement clearly informs me that this is a behavior that you actively seek in your tanks. Even if you're not teaching them (by yelling at them no less) to pull with taunt, your comment indicates that you want them using a taunt WITH their base pull ability (whatever that may be).

    Also, you inferred that you were the particular GM/RL I was speaking about - when I made a specific point to include no names, nor reference, to my source. If you want to be upset over it, you're certainly free to be. Since you threw down however, I'm disinclined to make any changes to my post.

    At the end, the point still stands - pulling with Taunt is bad. Using Taunt while a mob is already agro'd on you is bad. There is zero data to contradict these statements, and plenty of data to support them.

  6. then change this "What I'm referring to here is the ever unpopular, wildly unexplained, Taunt Pull. That's right, pulling a boss/mob by using your Taunt first" maybe?

    I can live with and even support the "Using Taunt while a mob is already agro'd on you is bad" cos thats true, while the other isnt.

    and yes, i post my comments with a name.

  7. Actually, I'm the GM in question. This blog is utter crap and I'm suing you for slander and libel.

  8. Good luck there, w-crusher ;)

    Can't seem to figure out if you're just trolling or whatever, but it's funny as hell anyway. Just for the record, you don't actually have anything to sue, since there are no explicit names mentioned. Nobody outside of the persons directly involved could know who the blog is referring to.

    On topic:
    I agree with not using taunt at the pull. It's bad practice and nothing more. I think this blog and the comments by adgamorix made this clear enough without me basically repeating those words or coming up with a similar analogy. If you fail to understand the reasoning, you just simply fail and that's that.

  9. As a pally Tank when pulling a boss that is targetable I see nothing wrong with using hand of reckoning if your closing the distance on the initial pull. If your out of range for any ability except Hand of Reckoning and AS, why not taunt, then AS and then by the time you've closed the distance you cant start into your 969 rotation. Hand of reckoning does damage and helps you build additional aggro. Does it not?

    You should be trying to push your threat ceiling as high as possible from the moment the fight starts. If you are far enough away from a mob to use both a taunt and AS before a judgement then do it.

    If a dps is pulling off you in the first 10 seconds of a fight that is on them not you. There is absolutely no reason a tank should ever have to use a taunt in the first 10 seconds of a fight. I find that argument flawed.

  10. @Anonymous - RD does 1+(.5AP) in damage to your target (if they are not already targeting you), and forces them to attack you for 3 seconds. Triggers the taunt immune/dr cycle, and is now on CD for 8 seconds.

    So, can you get away with it? Sure. We get away with bad play all the time. When everyone is running around in 245+ badge gear and greatly out gears the content - who cares?

    At level 64 though, when you're first stepping into the Slave Pens or Mana Tombs - this is where the bad habits become party killers (or worse in the lvl 55 instances).

    It also teaches bad mechanics because monkey see, monkey do. What I mean by this is some up and coming player, who loves the game but isn't an end game player or EJ lover, sees a Paladin pulling with RD. He finds out it's their version of a taunt, so when he changes from his DPS Fury build to tanking - he now uses his taunt.

    I agree that the DPS shouldn't be pulling off you in the first 10 seconds, that's the entire point of my argument. If the DPS is taught to wait a few moments, then the tank doesn't have to use a taunt, which prevents the whole cycle.

    Until we teach the DPS to keep their fingers off the buttons though, the least we can do is work the other side of the coin and teach the tanks good mechanics.

  11. Can we please get this straight, RD does no damage.

    Again, RD does no damage.

    Righteous Defence does no damage. It commands 3 targets currently targeting your target to attack you for 3 seconds.

    Now, Hand of Reckoning does the damage you speak of in addition to commanding the target to attack you for 3 seconds.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with pulling a raid boss by using your hand of reckoning.

    If the boss is already targeting you, then you aren't pulling you're in combat. So, examples that involve you already being targeted are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Let me give you an example of when/why you should be using your taunt to pull a raid boss. This applies to paladins. Festergut. Everyone is starting at range. You pull boss with taunt and then immediately follow up with AS. You've now hit the boss with two solid threat generating abilities during your run in. While also forcing Festergut to attack you for the entire time you're running in. This allows your ranged to open up earlier, and then you're in melee and can settle into your regular rotation. Should disaster happen and an unfortunate string of misses occur and a ranged DPS pulls threat there is time and distance for you to then use RD (that's the one that DOES NO DAMAGE) and command the raid boss back to you. If you can not establish your aggro solidly during this time then you should not be MTing for you guild.

    End of story.

  12. Anon, while I get what you're saying, couldn't you also just pull with your Shield, Judge on your way in, and slide right into your 969 rotation? Wouldn't it make more sense to have that taunt available in the off-chance something DOES go wrong? Do you find yourself /needing/ the extra threat on the way in from HoR?

    I'm not even trolling you right now, honest questions. Hand to Elune.

  13. @xmolder - You could do that, but you lose the forced focus on the boss that HoR will give you during the run in. In my opinion this is key to prevent issues when a huntard gets a couple of lucky crits on his first shots. As for the just in case button, you still have that with RD given that you pulled with HoR.

    Another point of clarification for anyone reading this scene: You cannot use Righteous Defense on something that has no target. This would mean that you can never pull with RD. FYI.

  14. I'm pretty sure that just about every instance of "RD" or "Righteous Defense" used by Adgamorix here is actually him misspeaking and him meaning Hand of Reckoning.

    Paladins have a get out of jail free card in Righteous Defense. We CAN get away with using HoR to range-pull and then use RD on someone to yank the boss back to us if we have to. But personally? I think it's sloppy play to do so. A taunt should, IMHO, be used to regain aggro once its been lost or if there needs to be a tank swap (Gormok, Saurfang, Festergut, etc).

    My two cents.

  15. As anonymous stated, using Hand of Reckoning followed by Avenger's Shield and the rest of the rotation is perfectly legitimate method of boss pulling. I'm usually the Professor tank during phase 1 & 2, and my tanking rotation while the Abomination tank run into place is Avenging Wrath + Hand of Reckoning + Avenger's Shield all the while backing into initial tanking spot. Never failed.

  16. @anon - You're absolutely right, I made a mistake and crossed RD for Hand of Reckoning. That was a screw-up that probably threw some things off.

    HoR still only forces the target to attack you for three seconds. So during that three seconds you build up agro, and yes - you have RD as a backup if it goes wonky - but it's bad form.

    BigFire - I'm glad it works for you, and it probably works for 95% of the Paladin tanks doing ICC content (or geared up that way). This is a problem that goes all the way down to the lower level dungeons. Someone see's a pro raid tank do it, so they think that's how they should be doing it.

    In the end, it comes down to what someone can get away with. I used to muscle through a lot of things instead of learning proper form - but if you teach them the "best" way to do it, then they won't have as many issues in the future. Once they grow up to be fully matured tanks, they can experiment all they want.

  17. @adgamorix - So then perhaps the issue would be better expressed in saying that we disagree with what the best way to pull is.

    Just as gemming and enchanting theory differs based on the content or level of your tank, so does the best way to pull. I pull with HoR because I don't like for my DPS to wait to start attacking. Only on extremely rare situations have I ever had a problem with losing threat at the start of a fight. In those situations where I lost threat I still had RD there as the emergency button.

  18. Ya'll are missing the point here. This isn't about only Paladins pulling with a taunt - this is about all tanks pulling with a taunt.

    This also isn't just about end game raiding, this is about pulling from the low levels up.

    This is about all tanks.. The problem has become that because of class homogenization, everyone thinks that their hammer is just like the hammer of another class.

    HoRec is also the ONLY ranged pull you have at the lower levels as a Paladin. It's our FFF, Gun, or Death Grip. So for a long time, it's your only ranged ability. You're better off pulling with Exorcism (or face pulling) than you are to blow your taunt. Especially when you don't have something to follow it up with.

    I'm ok with not agreeing on the best method for pulling - especially in all situations. There's more than one way to skin a cat. That said however, don't just focus on this as an end game discussion - look at it across the board of tanking. From 15 to 80.

  19. I admit I've done this bad behavior in heroics, but only with a mostly guild group that's expecting me to keep pulling. Sometimes AS just isn't off cooldown yet so I use HoR to pull the next mob.

    I could see it working in a raid, to bigfire's point, but it's not something I'd encourage to the general populace, to the point where it's a habit. It's a case of needing to know and understand the rules, so you know when it's a good idea to break them.

    I do think that a lot of lesser geared/experienced tanks pick up bad habits from watching better geared/experienced tanks in action. The leveling instances in particular are chock full of tanks that pull like they're an ICC-geared tank in a heroic. Some of them don't have the heirloom gear to keep themselves alive or they run the healer oom in two pulls. :P

  20. @adgamorix - I suppose my problem with the sentiment is that you seem to be trying to apply a rule to all tanks that doesn't fit. How to pull, or when to use your taunt, is not something that a one rule for them all to follow can be created. Each class is different, and tier of grouping is different from level 15 on up to 80 and endgame raiding.

    I will agree that a majority of players new to tanking have the bad habit of thinking they should do things the same way they see others doing it in situations that are not similar. You're an endgame dpser, you roll a tank, and you try to do things the same way you've seen your MT doing it. That's wrong. You're a fury warrior, you've just started gearing up your prot set to get faster queues in heroics, you try to run heroics the same way you've seen endgame tanks run you through when you were in fury. Thats wrong. You're a level 40 prot paladin reading maintankadin, all excited about become a supertank, and take the advice meant for endgame tanks as if its meant for you right now. That's wrong.

    Moral of the story, people to develop a better understanding for the situations they've seen and how it applies to them.

  21. I don't think there's anything wrong with a paladin tank opening with HoR + AS. That extra couple k of damage probably doesn't do that much, and you have to get the taunt off before your hunter misdirects anyways, but I don't see why it does any harm.

    I don't really understand your Saurfang example. First off, it is silly to use a taunt when you are in melee range. You are better off just hitting HotR first. Either the boss starts hitting somebody else first, or he'll target you and start attacking you before the taunt gets off, meaning that your HoR won't do any damage anyways. That isn't really "pulling with taunt" as much as "using a taunt when something is already attacking you". Second, what is this about "but he's got 1.5 seconds waiting for his GCD to come down"? Taunts are off the GCD, so you can fire off a HoR plus another ability without any delay. Third, the main problem in your Saurfang example is the DPS pulling aggro. Taunt immune or not, the DPS will probably be dead before you can do anything about it.

    In your second example, sure, you shouldn't taunt a target you already have aggro on (unless you are going to bubble first) but that doesn't have anything to do with pulling using a taunt.

    In your third example, paladin tanks have 2 taunts, so it doesn't matter if one of their taunts is on cooldown. They can also bubble the aggro puller if they need to.

    Anyways, I agree that there are ways to misuse taunts, but I don't think that pulling with Hand of Reckoning is one of them.

  22. Inanimate Carbon RodJune 2, 2010 at 11:59 AM

    wow ur like the worst tank ever. have you ever seriosly tanked in this game?

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Most of the time there is nothing wrong with using HoR with AS to pull for the reasons others have already stated. If you are having DPS pull agro early its ether a matter of them getting lucky or you are not putting out enough threat. Even at low levels its acceptable provided its not a large AoE pull with dps that can't wait for the first tick or two of your AoE.
    As for your examples there are a few problems;
    1. If a melee pulls agro at the start of the fight having taunt on CD wont make any differance because he will be dead and thats a threat issue on your or his part.
    2.In the DBS example the problem is not only pulling in melee range with taunt when many other attacks would work better(taunt should only be used on ranged pulls) but that the MT taunted back there would have been no issue had that hyperthetical person put his ego aside and let the other tank have first round.

  25. Thumbs up for this post. This is a practice I've always been annoyed with too. You pull with a taunt and you still have zero initial threat (paladin cheaters excluded unless they're terrible) and if anyone sneezes too loudly, you lose aggro and can't get it back.

    Its not rocket science.

  26. I pulled with Taunt when I first started WoW because it was a habbit from other MMOs in which the ability tends to increase threat rather than force the opponent to focus on your for X secs. A nice solution would be for Blizzard to add threat to Taunt so it has a use even when you're being attacked.

  27. I will pull with HoR, but only on single-target fights with little or no tank swapping. Marrowgar, Festergut, Rotface, and the occasional Garfrost. 2k to 4k holy damage is a nice bump while running in at the start.

    The rest of the time I don't want to worry about immunity, I want a taunt available for emergencies, or the pull is just plain different.

    Understanding the mechanics will help players to know pulling with HoR is often, but not always, a horrible move. I'm all for helping people learn the 'right' ways, but it takes a fairly dense player to decide taunt-pulling with a warrior is anything other than useless.

    But since I've only tanked at 80 and in mostly raid content, I'll probably need to make some adjustments as I level to 85. Second look at Exorcism!

  28. I'm not saying pulling with Hand of Reckoning is a good idea for every level of tanking. I'm just saying that for single target boss tanking at end game when I need maximum amount of threat upfront, and there are lots of positioning involved, I will use it in conjunction with Avenging Wrath and Avenger's Shield.

    In the case of Professor in ICC, I first need to run in while casting, and as soon as that occured, back up to pull spot. Sure I can also ask hunter to assist me in this, but this method works for me.


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