Lathere and I love our PVE. Always have.
I remember, way back in the day when I would wander Stormwind and get lost, Lath told me a story about going into this cave with some other people in Westfall and killing bad guys. She told me she wasn’t just a Warrior – she was the tank! And then she said to me “all these abilities I had, that I didn’t understand when I got them from the trainer, make so much more sense now!”.
Your character is designed for group play. But there are so many players out there, successfully questing through to 80, who have never set foot in a challenging instance designed for 5 players at their level.
I’ve read so many comments like the one below:
I am absolutely scared to death about my first group run. As of now my other half & I just wait till we’re over leveled and just run through with the two of us. If one of us screws up, oh well. The thought of me DPS-ing in a new group is just terrifying. I don’t want to screw up and do the innumerable fail/death methods, but I know I will. Probably a lot. And reading stories like this, (even though wonderfully entertaining to read!) make this fear just that much worse.
I hate to think of all the players missing out on this game experience. Imagine what WoW would be like if they removed all the quests. That’s what I feel the game would be like if they removed all the Dungeons. Not really a game that I’d bother playing at all. What I’m trying to say is: if you play World of Warcraft without experiencing a 5 man Dungeon you’re not really experiencing World of Wacraft at all.
Most of our readers are raiders. At least, I think they/you are based on the feedback we’ve received. And I know that most of what I’m going to say in this post is going to make you think “comon Cass, who doesn’t already know that?”.
But this post isn’t really for you. It’s for the people in your guild on “Friend” rank. It’s for your aunt, cousin or your little brother who you talked into playing WoW. It’s for all the players who, mistakenly, feel that they just aren’t good enough to hold their own in a pick up group with four strangers.
Most people have some fear of failure. If your fear comes from:
- Not knowing the instance and what to do
- Not understanding what other classes/group members can do
- Being criticised by other players
then by the time you get to the bottom of this post you’ll know more than enough to step into your first Dungeon. You might even know more than some of the other players in your group!
1. Knowing the Instance and What To Do
Try to start with a level appropriate instance for you. Tell the group, or the person that invited you, that you wish to DPS (this is the most similar game play to leveling).
The absolute golden rule of 5 man groups is simple. You will never stuff up if you follow it, I promise. Just follow this one rule:
The Golden Rule: Help your tank kill stuff.
Just click on what he’s killing and start hitting your attack keys. If you’re hitting your tank’s targets with a physical weapon like a sword, dagger, axe or mace make sure you are always attacking the enemy’s back.
And you really don’t need to know the instance itself. Scarlet Monastery, Sunken Temple or the Halls of Stone are really all the same with different scenery. You’ll fight enemies in small packs, then you’ll fight a bigger dude for a few minutes until it’s dead.
2. Understanding What the Other Group Members Can Do
Working in a small group can be very satisfying and every class brings something unique. However, if you’ve never grouped up with 4 other players to work together, or if you have only played a few of the 9 classes, then you might be a little bit confused and overwhelmed by about what’s going on around you.
Below is a list, organised by class, which covers some of the abilities that each class brings to group play. Read your own class section carefully so that you’re aware of your own spells and abilities that you might be asked to use in your group.
The only classes that can tank are: Death Knights, Druids, Paladins and Warriors
(and, at very low levels, Shamans).
The only classes that can heal are: Druids, Paladins, Priests and Shamans
All classes do a good job at killing stuff. Don’t assume that because you have a Shaman or a Priest in your group that they will be healing. Or that the Paladin in your group will be willing to tank.
A Short Note on Crowd Control
Many classes are blessed with abilities that can, for a brief period, stop an enemy from attacking. A Mage, of example, can target an enemy during combat and temporarily turn them into a sheep using Polymorph.
A 5 man group can make use of Crowd Control to, well, control their enemy mobs, stop them from wreaking havoc, and kill them off one at a time.
All Crowd Control spells/abilities can be used during combat, except for a Rogue’s Sap. If a Rogue in your group has been asked to Sap an enemy your group will need to wait for them to do that before charging in to attack. If any other class has been asked to apply Crowd Control they usually will do so immediately after the tank/group attacks. So, upon entering combat, a Mage’s first action will be to select his assigned Crowd Control target and cast Polymorph. He will then follow the golden rule and help kill whatever the tank is killing.
It’s often not necessary to Crowd Control every single creature in a group. Each player can only apply their Crowd Control ability to one enemy mob at a time. 1 Mage cannot Polymorph 2 targets at once. However, removing just 1 enemy from the throng can significantly reduce the amount of damage your tank is receiving thus making the whole group’s success more likely.
Never offer to Crowd Control on your first instance run. Always Crowd Control if (a) you have been specifically asked to and (b) someone has marked a target for you to apply your Crowd Control to.
Death Knights, regardless of what talents they have chosen, can tank very well at a moment’s notice. Death Knights have abilities which can slow down an enemy’s movement but none completely incapacitate an enemy from dealing damage. Therefore they are rarely (if ever) asked to Crowd Control.
If you have a Death Knight in the party you can expect to receive the short duration buff, Horn of Winter, for the entire dungeon run which significantly increases your Agility and Strength.
Druids, depending on which form they take on and which type of gear they wear, can take damage as a tank (in Bear form, with talents in Feral), can deal damage from melee range (in Cat form, with talents in Feral), can deal damage from far away (in Moonkin form, with talents in Balance) or can heal the party (in Tree form, with talents in Restoration).
All Druids have the unique ability to resurrect a player during combat, although only once every 20 minutes. This is referred to as Battle Resurrection or Battle Rez, or Brez even though the spell is called Rebirth. This ability is often used to bring the tank or healer back to life quickly mid-fight so that the entire group does not die. DPS players are rarely brezzed during combat and will usually be ressurected when the group ends combat. Druids can also resurrect as many players as necessary when out of combat.
Druids have three Crowd Control abilities sometimes used 5 man dungeons. They can Cyclone an enemy. They can send a Beast to sleep using Hibernate. They can stop melee enemies coming into range with Entangling Roots.
Druids can increase your resistance to magical attacks and increase all your attributes by casting Gift of the Wild on you at the start of your instance.
Hunters bring two unique contributions to a group aside from dealing a huge amount of hurt:
They can Misdirect (often abbreviated to “MD”) creatures to attack particular party members. This means that they may be asked to apply misdirect to the tank and then shoot at the enemy. Any shots fired by the Hunter during the period that misdirect is applied to the tank will cause the enemy to attack the tank and not the Hunter. Your group’s tank may ask a Hunter to do this as a method to initiate combat or “pull”.
They can control an enemy mob by placing a Freezing Trap in the enemy’s path. Once the enemy stands on the trap they will be frozen in an ice block. A Hunter can lay a second trap before the first ice block wears off thus keeping that mob incapacitated indefinitely (this is sometimes referred to as “chain trapping”).
Both abilities can take some practice to get right, so be patient. A good Hunter will endeavor to master these abilities.
Mages are usually the very first players requested to Crowd Control, if your party deems it necessary to control anything at all. Polymorph is a very reliable method of controlling enemies in 5 man dungeons – it can be applied quickly, can be applied during combat, can be reapplied once it wears off and it can applied to the most common enemy mobs (Humanoids).
They can also conjure, using just their mana, food and drinks for your party when you first arrive. You may be asked to click on a Ritual of Refreshment portal to help the Mage create a table, which you can click on to loot stacks of food.
Mages can cast Arcane Brilliance to increase your Intellect.
A heavily armored Paladin can tank (Protection talent spec, or “Prot”). A Paladin with spell power gear can heal your group (Holy talent spec).
Paladins, especially while leveling, can DPS very well if they have talented into the Retribution talent tree, or “Ret”. They have access to their own form of Crowd Control: a stun that makes a single target go all dizzy looking. It’s called Repentance.
If you have a Paladin in your group, or several Paladins in your group they can buff your character using Blessings. This is usually applied by the Paladin to your character as your group prepares for the first attack. If you play a melee DPSer (like a Rogue) you’ll most likely be blessed with Blessing of Might. All other players will most likely be blessed with Blessing of Kings.
Paladins can resurrect dead party members when combat has ended.
A Priest who arrives to the instance in Shadowform is ready to DPS for your group. A Priest who does not arrive in Shadowform has chosen talents to improve their healing.
All Priests have access to a form of Crowd Control called Mind Control. It’s is rarely used in 5 man dungeons because an enemy that has been controlled does not drop any loot. The Priest is unable to heal or DPS while controlling an enemy. You should never ask your Priest healer to Mind Control during combat.
Priests can be called upon to Crowd Control Undead targets using Shackle Undead. Undead targets are quite rare in dungeons, but if you need to control one, your Priest can help you out.
Rogues have only 1 Crowd Control ability, Sap, and it is somewhat time consuming to set up because it must be applied to an enemy before the group enters combat and the Rogue must stealth, unseen, right up to the target to apply it. It will leave the target dazed for some time but it cannot be reapplied.
Shamans can help deal damage (by casting spells from a distance, or by attacking up close) or they might offer to heal.
Their Crowd Control ability is called Hex, and, although it appears to be similar to Polymorph, cannot be reapplied immediately and is therefore an inferior option. It does turn the enemy into a frog, though, which is pretty darn cool anyway.
Nobody knows a Shaman’s totems like a Shaman so it’s probably best if you let the Shaman in your party choose which totems they will place down in order to enhance the stats of the group. Their most popular totems can increase attack speed, increase casting speed or increase mana regeneration. You’ll need to stand within about 30 yards of the Shaman’s totems to benefit from them.
Shamans can also self resurrect after dying once per hour instead of releasing. This ability is called Reincarnation, but many players refer to it as “anking” or might ask the Shaman to “ankh” (named after the reagent). Shamans can resurrect other players out of combat.
A Warrior makes an excellent tank or damage dealer. They have no Crowd Control whatsoever. They can increase your Attack Power by using their Shout abilities during combat.
Warlocks have a large variety of Crowd Control methods available to them. However Fear should never be used to Crowd Control enemies in a dungeons because the results can be unpredictable. In 5 man dungeons Warlocks are occasionally called upon to Banish. When playing alongside their Succubus, they can also cast Seduction to control a Humanoid.
Warlocks have the ability to create their own summoning stone for their party anywhere in the world, including inside a dungeon, as long as they have some help to create it.
Warlocks can also protect 1 chosen party member by creating and applying a Soulstone to that party member. If that player dies they will be prompted with an option to immediately resurrect. This should almost always be given to your group’s healer, who can then resurrect others.
3. Being Critised by Other Players
This is probably the single strongest reason new players are hesitant to jump in and try a 5 man dungeon with other players.
The truth is, most people don’t like being critised. Most people like playing with players who are unlikely to criticize them. Therefore most people want to play with people like you.
I’ve leveled 3 characters to max level. I’ve run dungeons at level 17 – 80. Nobody expects, until you start joining Heroics, that you will play perfectly. Players in level 80 instances do not play perfectly. Everyone is still learning. It’s normal.
It takes practise to get really good at playing your character in a group. No player, no matter how well they play now, played perfectly in their first dungeons. We all have embarrassing stories from our early days when we were still learning the basics.
And if you do make a mistake, and it’s a serious enough mistake to wipe the group (highly unlikely), just confess to it and say you’ll do your best to get it right next try. If you set the tone from the start I think you’ll find more people will be friendly and willing to help than you think.
And remember, in a group you are just one fifth of the success or failure of that group. If the run goes badly don’t assume that it’s all your fault. It probably isn’t.
Good luck. Perhaps I’ll catch you on the Cross-Server Looking For More system.