Monday, October 8, 2007

Dungeon Stunlocking: A Tank's Plea

Excuse me, Mr. Rogue. Do you know what my job is? I r ur meetshield, k? I stand in the way of angry monsters and ugly humanoids, trying to MAKE them hate me enough to want to kill me instead of you. Sure, I wear heavy pieces of thick metal and carry a shield. But you couldn't imagine the ringing in my ears after taking a good mace to the face. You know those huge pyroblasts I take for you? Well, try getting used to the smell of your own singed body hair after being trapped inside your breastplate for a few hours. I do all this for you. All so that you can stand safely behind this deadly foe, stabbing ankles and dissapearing at the first sign of trouble. When we are finished, and you are marveling at the shinyness of your new dagger, I'm over here in my little corner, just wondering how I'm going to explain to the mrs. another 20 gold wasted on repairs.

That's all fine. I chose this line of work, I will live with it. I enjoy being your protector. But you're not making it easy. You know how your skills and special moves cost energy? Yeah. You get energy pretty fast right? Course you do, you little bugger. Mine cost rage. Do you know what rage is? I didn't think so. Let's just say that it's the opposite of energy. I NEED to be hit in order to generate rage. I know you're just trying to help, but it's just making my job harder. Stop stunlocking my target! If I don't get hit, I don't get rage. If I don't have rage, I can't use my abilities to control the threat of the bad guys. If I don't control the threat of the bad guys, you die. Got it? Good!

This has been an excercise in role play. Failingly, maybe...but there is a point.

Stunlocking. It is one of the greatest treats of playing a mutilate specced rogue. You get all the combo points you could ever need, and the nice little benefit of increased damage when your target is under the effects of kidney shot. But it's poor practice to stunlock everything when your tank is focused on a single target. Your intentions are good, but they are more of a hinderance than a help. Not allowing your tank to get hit will also keep him from generating the rage necessary to use his abilties (shield bash, sunder, etc.) in a threat generating manner.

Wait. Let's back up.

What is a stunlock? Well, to put it simply, it's when the attacker uses different stunning abilities in succession to keep the attackee in a completely helpless and immobile state. Some rogue builds are better for stunlocking than others (seal fate is almost a necessity to stunlock effectively). It starts by opening from stealth with a cheap shot. This stuns the target for 4 seconds and rewards 2 combo points. For a 41/20-ish specced rogue, mutilate is the next move. Depending on wether or not the mutialte crits, the rogue will then have 4-5 combo points. This means that either a 5 or 6 point second kidney shot will follow. 10 seconds of target-cant-do-shiiiiiiiii...nevermind. [note: in pvp, following the kidney shot with a gouge (assuming 3/3 imp gouge) will allow the rogue to get to a distance that will remove in-combat status and restealth, which then allows the rogue to start the process all over again).

So, running an instance (raids are a completely different post). When is it ok to stunlock? These are the general ideals I try to follow:

1. Watch the tank's rage bar. If it's above 50%, go ahead and use your stunlocks.

2. Multiple targets. In a situation where your tank needs to tank more than 1 mob, by all means stunlock the second target. This is where the 41/20 build will shine. You are controlling the mob while giving a very nice dps party buff (9% increased damage for the duration. 3/3 imp kidney shot). But beware, make SURE to have the party leader mark YOUR mob as the focus fire target. While you are stunlocking, ranged and melee dps should be attacking your target to get it down first. Mobs don't like stunlocks. When it comes back, it will want you dead.

3. Staggered stuns. So this doesn't really count as stunlocking, since you are not using your stuns in succession. Anyway, one of the situations where I use kidney shot the most for 5-mans is as a finisher. Open with a cheap shot, get your slice and dice up, smack some mutilates, and hit that 5 point kidney shot when the mob is at or below 40% health. The 9% damage increase helps burn the mob down, and allows the healer to catch up on tank hp for the next pull/mob.

I hope this helps. I know I didn't even figure it out until I had already been 70 for some time and my tank said to me over vent "I can't hold aggro if I don't have rage."

Always remember, while the primary focus of the rogue class is to deal damage, you have the abilities and skills to be much more valuable to your party than just pwning the meters.