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Home Runz's Blog Mages & Magecraft Cata Dungeons: Doing 5-mans With Mages

Cata Dungeons: Doing 5-mans With Mages

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Today's topic isn't so much directed towards Mages, it's directed to everyone else who has, plan to or may possibly at any one time group with a mage in Cataclysm.  Right off the bat I'm going to say I have been very lucky in my random groups so far; they have been a mix of slightly newer players who attentively listen to advice (and I mean advice, not foot stamping QQs - manners cost nothing) or they have been very experienced players who have taught me a thing or two or have been kind enough to overlook the odd cock up (we all make them now and again).

No my friends, this post is aimed towards those players who loudly shout NEWB in party chat, whine and bitch and clearly have no idea what they're on about.  Like I say I've been lucky, but I know others who have not been so lucky and if you looking on the community forums or on MMO-Champion Forums will the see the usual QQ threads that no other class is doing their job right.  From what I see, most of the QQ comes from tanks (although not always) and these are tanks who generally have only played in Wrath.

How can I tell?

Simples; these are the guys who have read that CC'ing is absolutely vital in Cataclysm, especially in the heroics, and loudly proclaim that 'no-one CC'd - I can't tank them all, fucking NEWBZ' - the sad thing is they don't actually know how CC'ing works because they never experienced it in Wrath.  He's a hint - if you rush in and start gathering all the mobs in a pack you are not going to get any CC support from the mage, warlock, rogue, hunter, priest or druid.  Secondly, yes all those classes have crowd control abilities, it's not just mages - some of them are only functional for certain mobs or require shapeshifts to cast etc.

Tank - Child
Don't be a whiney child tank; man up and read up my friend

So here's what I'm going to do, we're going to walk this one right from the start.  I'm not the font of all knowledge, some more experienced players may have tips and hints that are better than what I explain here (if you do please leave them in the comments section) but these are the basics in what you need to know.

(Click the Read More button below to join us after the break)

Tanking & Leading

More often than not it is going to be the tank that determines the pace of the dungeon run and how mobs are dealt with.  If you are not comfortable with leading whilst tanking make sure you pass the Dungeon Guide/Party Leader to someone else - THEN MAKE SURE YOU DAMN WELL LISTEN TO WHOEVER YOU PASS IT TO!

(NB. Just a point to note, you don't actually have to pass the Dungeon Guide over, as of patch 3.3.0 any party member can mark targets - more on that in a sec.  Be clear about who is and isn't calling the shots though because it will make life easier.  Also note that in raids it is only the raid leader and raid assistants that can mark - the last thing you need is for 25 people to start marking.)

Do NOT charge in until the party leader says go and when you do go, follow the party leader's directions.  If you do not have party leader but you're not happy with the way the group is being run, say something.  A good party leader will explain why he his doing what he's doing.  A nice but inexperienced leader will explain he his learning how to group lead and either listen to advise or pass the reins on to someone else.

In my experience it is usually best if the tank leads because like I say, they usually determine the pace of the instance and they're the ones who know what they can and can't handle in terms of maintaining threat and how much of a punishing they can take.

If you are leading, be you tank, healer or DPS, make sure everyone knows what they're doing.  Do not just charge in cos that's a cluster fuck just waiting to happen.  If it is an easy AoE trash pull (like the Dredgers in Throne of Tides) say so - just because you have done it before doesn't mean everyone else has so check that everyone is happy with what's going on.


Facerolling AoE Doesn't Work Anymore (Mostly)

OK so you could probably faceroll Blackrock Caverns (BRC) on normal but you would notice the difference instantly compared to when you did the old Wrath instances.  You could probably even AoE faceroll the Throne of Tides (ToT) with a good tank.  That's because these two starter instances are very forgiving but that doesn't mean they should be done that way.  BRC and ToT are your best bet to really learn how instances will work in Cataclysm without punishing you too hard if you make a mistake.  Go to them at the appropriate level, say 81 or 82, and really learn how to work as group with single target DPS and CC, if you mess up you'll probably know you've messed up but without having to endure the wipe and corpse run.  They're ideal 'training' instances for all roles.

Marking Mobs

OK let's learn how to mark mobs.  The raid icons were introduced in patch 1.11; they were extremely important which is why a universal system was established pretty much when they were patched in.  We're gonna need them again now that we're in Cataclysm.  There's no shame in not knowing what that all the icons are or what they mean, many people only started playing in Wrath where they were mostly used to place nipples on hunters' heads for a laugh or to stick on a new player and watch them run about going 'arrggghhhhh what's that on me?????'.

As hilarious as you might find that, let's instead look at the icons and the practical ways in which they are used.  Remember when you're in a group, if you don't know what an icon means or you've forgotten just ask.






Main Tank


Main Target

This is the target that all the DPS should be focused on and should be the main effort of the tank.


Off Tank
(if applicable)


Secondary Target

This is the target that should be killed as soon as the skull has been dealt with.  Can be handled by the off-tank if you have one.




Usually sheeped mob is the last to kill, as mages can easily resheep and keep the mob controlled indefinitely.




Groups must wait until the rogue has sapped before engaging the group, as sap cannot be reapplied in combat.







Seduce/Banish/Enslave Demon

When using enslave, groups may sometimes wait until the target has died before engaging the rest of the mob pack.



Hibernate/Entangling Roots

If you have a druid tank, he can cast this before he shapeshifts into bear form.



Mind Control/Shackle Undead

Mind Control should be used carefully because when the control breaks, the mob usually goes straight to the priest.

Be aware when you are marking up packs that certain spells or abilities may only work on certain types of mobs.  For example; Sap can only be used out of combat, Hibernate can only used on beasts and dragons, Entangling Roots is useless against ranged mobs and Shackle Undead can only be used against (duh) the undead.  Make sure you know this before you mark up or ask the caster of the ability, they should know their class.

Moon is for sheep......
Remember; Moon is for Sheep...

For any classes/specs that aren't mentioned on the table above, don't worry.  If you have a Ret Pally or a Shaman just tell them what their mark is.  As long as you take the time to explain so that everyone knows what they're doing there should be no problem.

... or Penguin, Monkey, Cat etc.
... or Penguin, Monkey, Cat etc.

The Do's & Don'ts of CC in Dungeons and Basic Etiquette

  • Do mark up trash packs appropriately before the pull

  • Do not shout GOGOGOGO before rushing in then complain that no-one CC'd

  • Do try and make sure that healing or caster mobs, or those mobs that do massive AoE damage, are either CC'd or killed first.

  • Do not tank near CC'd targets - that is a cluster fuck waiting to happen.  Move the Main and secondary targets away as best as you can.

  • Do explain marks before trash pulls to anyone who is unclear

  • Do not say 'can we hurry this up plz taking too long' - instances in Cataclysm are going to take longer because this is single target DPS not AoE facerolling.  In the long run it is quicker to explain than it is to wipe and corpse run.

  • Do keep any pets under control - either stick them on passive and direct them or get rid of them if you can't control them.

  • Do not use any AoE move anywhere near CC'd mobs.  This includes tanking moves like Thunderclap or Cleave.  It definitely includes Blizzard, Chain Lightning, Earthquake, Rain of Fire, Starfall, Arcane Explosion and any other move you can think of.

  • Do remember that some CC'd mobs still wander about such as any polymorphed mob - keep an eye on them.

  • Do remember that Recount has a CC Breaker tab.  Use it to learn where you went wrong and to avoid placing blame on the wrong person.

  • Don't use the Recount to start bullying someone because they made a genuine error; a lot of people will be new to this and they will need your guidance not your scorn.

  • Do remember that if you break the sheep I will assume that you want to tank it... fill your boots my friend cos it will not get re-sheeped.

  • Do not /ragequit or /ragekick - take the time and understanding to explain what's going on and where people are going wrong.


A Final Note For Mages

Guys please keep the good name of mages everywhere clear and respected.  Make sure you set focus on the mob that you need to sheep so you can keep an eye on it and make sure you reapply polymorph before the timer runs out.  Even better, create a macro that automatically sets focus and annouces the which target you're polymorphing as you cast the spell.  Do watch your aggro, it's not all about the numbers you know and if you over aggro the tank is perfectly within their rights to leave you to your fate.  Stick to the marks, don't start AoE'ing or hitting random mobs, if a skull, cross or moon has been applied make sure you keep an eye on them and make sure you do your job.


In the interest of fair research I've been looking around the blogosphere and I am reassured to find that I am not the only one that has faced similar attitudes in Cata.  Below is a list of other blog articles espousing much the same as I.

World of Matticus; It Came From The PuG: Tanks, but no tanks

Mana Obscura: The Veteran Mage Toolbox

Jaded Alt: Your First Cataclysm Heroic

The Bossy Pally: A Crowd Control Compendium

Dedicated Insanity: Cataclysm Heroics


Last Updated on Thursday, 16 December 2010 08:55  

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