Monday, July 21, 2008

The Kill List

( Thieved from Bremm, who apparently thieved it from Baby. ) (and also, indirectly I suppose, thieved from GoW)

If you don't play a healer, read no further! You cannot know the secret thoughts of the healers or else ...

If you DO play a healer (or you ignore my warnings and read anyway, you DPSing or Tanking warning-ignorer!) then you know what Bremm and myself mean when we say 'a kill list'. Or perhaps the way we should term it... the 'let die' list.

Every healer has their own way of prioritizing this list. Bremm outlines his list and how he creates it. I don't think I can MAKE a list that way, but I do have one. I don't consciously decide who is going to live and who is going to die, but anyone who plays a healer knows... the list is there.

Now, sometimes the list changes depending on what the person has done (ie: If Boon is your healer, never kill a small helpless critter while he is watching. Because you will die. Because he won't heal you. (caveat: he won't cause a wipe with your death, but if it's a matter of you dying and everyone else living... say hello to the floor!) ) (he doesn't do it to people he doesn't know, just to his friends!) (Boon really is a very good healer, honest!)... a real example being something GoW listed (read the post I listed of his and you will see what I mean). You will often let the people who play an important role but aren't doing their jobs very well die before you let a less important member of the raid, who is doing their job, die.

What do I mean? You have three DPS. A warlock, a rogue and a mage. The mage is supposed to keep something sheeped. But does not. In the course of events, everyone is taking damage from a big group of mobs. You're in combat. The rogue cannot sap. The warlock has her imp out. The only possible form of CC is the mage (and fear from the warlock). But the mage isn't sheeping. Despite their DPS (equitable or even possibly higher than the rogue or warlock), I'm more likely to let the mage die before I let the rogue or warlock die.

Other examples! Bremm lists on his list that classes who have an aggro dump (like soul shatter? That's not an aggro dump. It's on a 5 minute cooldown and only drops your aggro by 50%. So not a real aggro dump!) but aren't performing CC are the first ones to die.

Now, keep in mind that ANYONE can go through Bremm's list and disagree with just about every part of it (hopefully not by too much, but in the small details). I'm just picking one point that pertains to warlocks to illustrate my example.

I'm presuming that he's presuming your average group (not a raid, for which his list is likely VERY accurate for trash pulls : CC = Success). In your average group, there's a mixture of CC and DPS that is required for success. How much CC you need depends on the quality of your tank, the quality of your healer and the quality of your DPS. If you have high enough DPS with a good enough tank to hold aggro on multiple mobs, then you need little CC. If you have lower DPS, or a poor tank or a not so good healer, then CC becomes more vital. Or heck, you have good tanks, good DPS and good healers, but you're fighting Baal on Hell mode, you still need CC.

As you can see, there are a lot of variables that go into making your 'let die' list. Do you let the high DPS warlock who may not be crowd controlling at the moment but is doing 40% of the group's DPS die? Or do you let the trapping hunter whose feign death is on cooldown and whose trap was resisted die? If the warlock is burning the mobs down fast enough that the emergence of a loose mob into the otherwise organized orchestra of group play is negligible, I say keep the DPS up. If the warlock isn't making enough headway to necessitate keeping her alive in leiu of the hunter, whose traps are the only thing standing between a wipe and success? ... keep the warlock alive because MY GOD, it's a WARLOCK. Hello, you don't LET us die! Or we'll find where you live...


Obviously, the example above is fiction, since any warlock worth their salt is worth keeping alive over any class except possibly a mage (damn polymorph) despite our lack of mainstream crowd control.

But I've digressed (as I'm liable to do) from my original point.

The let die list. We all have them. How we organize our let die list varies on the group we're in, the instance we're in, the pull we're about to do, and the status of the fight.

If we're on the last mob in the group, then who cares who is a crowd control class over who is not a crowd control class. You want your DPS to live to kill the mob.

I blithely joked in a comment on Bremm's blog that sometimes the kill list is an inverse mirror of the DPS charts. You keep your top DPS alive, regardless of role, and allow the low running DPSers to drop out.

So, what all this boils down to is that we healers all know we have a list. We don't always say it. We may not even THINK we have a list. But we do.

People to keep alive and in the order to keep them alive in...
1: Warlocks
2: Tanks and Healers (equal priority. The tanks won't last long without a healer. The healers won't last long without a tank)
3: Almost everyone else
4: Paladins (Holy/Ret) - they can heal their own armor wearing selves!


  1. I LOVE that you put warlocks first on your heal list:) What about the glorious mage??

  2. Pfeh. Mages are overrated. They run out of mana and then where are they?

    Warlocks are like the energizer bunny... we keep going and going and going and going... :)

  3. Having been in Gruuls and Mags I NEVER run under 75% mana in EITHER fight so who needs a bunny??:)BTW please feel free to post on my blog:)

  4. Bunnies. are. cute.

    Bunnies. need. love.

    Warlocks. are. bunnies.

    Warlocks. are. cute.

    Warlocks. need. love.

    See the line of logic? :)

  5. There very much is a Death List, and you're absolutely right as to how it comes about. :) Nice post!

    (also, finally figured out how to post here, else it would have been much sooner)