Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Fine Art of Feign Death

Ah, Feign Death. Every hunter's best friend. (And if it's not your best friend, you should go give it a /hug and make up with it right now.)

When I was a wee baby hunterling and I first got Feign Death, I was super excited. "OMG yay! Now all those times when I'm dying, I can escape!"

Now, is that a use for Feign Death? Yup. But is that the extent of Feign Death's potential? Oh no, it's not even scratching the surface. I have three hunters now that are a high enough level to know Feign Death, and with each one it's a very happy day when I train it, and with each one the first thing I do is try it out.

Now I know a lot of people are hyped up about Wrath of the Lich King, but until then there are still a lot of hunters out there that need Kindergarten (I see 'em all the time), so let's talk about Feign Death.

When You Should Use Feign Death:
1.) In an instance/raid situation to avoid grabbing aggro from the tank (or your pet, when soloing). This is crucial and at endgame, this is probably when you will be using Feign Death the most. It is vital to get a threat meter and watch your threat. It is also vital to get a feel for gauging your threat without the meter because sometimes it lies. (True story: Omen once told me I was at about 60-70% of the tank's threat on Prince, which I thought gave me plenty of buffer room. Prince disagreed. Raid wiped. Lesson learned.)

Now, the point is to Feign BEFORE you nab aggro. If so, you will be successfully cleared from the threat list and you will be able to unleash the Dee Pee Ess.

And if it resists? Then what?

Then you stop DPS.

Yes, hunter, I just told you to stop DPS. Hit the brakes, slow down, COMPLETELY stop shooting if you have to. Your numbers on the damage meter are not worth the repair bills and wasted time of a potential wipe. It shouldn't take too long for the tank to surpass you by a decent margin again, and once he does, Misdirect onto him. Your Feign Death should be up again before you have to stop DPS again.

2.) If you have already grabbed aggro... So Omen decided to be a poopyhead or maybe you just plain weren't paying attention, or maybe the tank got feared or something like that. Now what you should do here largely depends on the situation (is a wipe incoming, is the tank gone, etc.) but in most cases you will want to run to the tank-- so he can easily snatch aggro back up-- and then Feign. Do not Feign right next to the healer/mage/lock. They will give you dirty looks for the rest of the night and possibly hurl soul shards at you, and those things are pointy.

3.) When things go wrong... What if something horrible happened, the tank dies mid-pull in some Heroic and the mob lunges at you? Well here's where you make a choice and decide if you still have a chance or not. If we've got most everything decently CC'd and a good healer, I'll usually sic my pet on the mob, turn on Growl, pop Intimidation and Mend Pet, and yell out "ALL HEALS ON PET" over Vent. This can work quite well (but seriously, if you're in a Heroic, you will need a good healer for it).

What if people are dying left and right and it's down to you and the squishies? Wellll, things often get a little hazy around here, with different people having different opinions, but I'll tell you what I do. I dunno about you guys, but personally, I feel uncomfortable about having to watch a mob eat the priest while I lay cozily nearby all Feign Death'ed and safe. So even if a wipe is incoming I give it my all anyway, in a last ditch effort to pull off some hunter trick or other, and I don't Feign until the last second. Sometimes I get too daring and the mob ends up waltzing over and handing my butt to me before I can Feign, but hey, I kinda like it that way. I don't go down without a fight. And I've seen some epic stuff happen that way:

Your mileage may vary!

4.) To escape mobs: Often, when you are out in the field, you'll get ambushed by a bunch of mobs and you don't feel like fighting them at the moment. Feign Death works wonders. "But Pike, then they all attack my poor pet!" I know. But if you mount up really quickly after you stop Feigning and skedaddle, you and your pet get away scot-free. Pro tip: If you use Arikara the mobs will get bored and run away right before he makes his flashy entrance and you won't have to worry about it. (Off-topic, but WTB Petopia search for my Firefox Search Bar, PST.)

5.) In PvP: Most people don't fall for your Feign in PvP, but some do. Myself, I use it on hunter/warlock/etc. pets. They send your pet at you, you Feign, their pet runs away, and 95% of the time they fail to send it back after you. (I have often said that I hardly ever lose to other hunters in one-on-one PvP unless they are over 5 levels higher than me. This is one of the big reasons why.* Shhh, I'm trusting you with my secret!) Also useful against the NPCs in AV.

6.) As a party trick: I love going into the middle of some random holiday celebration in Stormwind, having my poor character drink herself into oblivion, then make some sort of statement about not feeling good and... bam! Hit the ground. I dunno, maybe it's just me, but I think it's hilarious.

Well, I hope I have managed to provide a satisfactory run-down of Feign Death and its usefulness. BRK recently wrote up a very good list of tips for WoW bloggers, and one of those tips was "don't worry about your niche". That's nice to know, because it's hard to find a niche as a Beast Master Hunter Blogger with the Jedi Master himself looking over your shoulder, but at the same time, I'd like to think I have managed to make my own niche by providing step-by-step and easy-to-understand guides for newer hunters or newer WoWers. I am always looking for ways to improve though, so as always, leave me your feedback!

* Second biggest reason: they sit there and spend approximately a million and a half years trying to pop off an Aimed Shot while my pet and my instant-cast shots nip hungrily at their cast bar.


Rakhman said...

Amen to 1, the number of hunters I've seen who don't feign until they have pulled aggro is... depressing really.

You could add another one: feign when you've stupidly run into some mobs in a raid and you weren't in combat. Sure, your pet will die but the rest of the raid won't and once they engage the mobs in a controlled manner you can pop up, slink to the back and proceed with the DPS.

MW said...

Re: #6

Sometimes I like to be standing around in Orgrimmar and then be like, "Rogue!" and feign and see how many people starting looking for an Alliance rogue. One day, there really will be a rogue and no one will believe me.

Anonymous said...

Feign Death is quite useful in PvP not only against pets but players. Say you and your kitty are going head to head with a melee type. Feign Death and they will drop you as their target and pick up your pet instead. Place a trap under them and it usually takes a few seconds before they realize they've been beating on your pet and not you. It's a great trick to put some distance between you and them. ^_~

Kantaro said...

I must admit, i have viewed FD as a get out of dying move, but that's all until now type of thing. But I will now correct this mistake immediately, i promise!

thank your for another very helpful post!

LS said...

mw is the winnar.

Visi said...

I miss how feign death used to tell everyone in your group that you were actually dead.

Used to give the healers heart attacks...

Will said...

Here is a FD tip that is awesome. Get mojo, the pet from ZA, and kiss it. Then FD while in frog form. Laugh for hours.

Rilgon Arcsinh said...

@visi: That's why when I played back in Vanilla, I had a FD macro that said in either /p or /r (depending on what I was in) "Dear healers, I am now dead and it is all your fault. :("

They hated it. XD

Anonymous said...

You forgot another use of FD in PvP. If you see a spell that is being targeted at you with a cast time on it and feign death they lose you as a target. Then to hit you again they have to retarget you if you weren't the first to hit them and then begin their spell again. Granted it doesn't waste their mana but it forces them to retarget you and begin casting again.

Nomakk said...

Feign Death side effects: May lead to being - Poked, laughed at and morned for in a public and/or raid setting. A wet shoulder from the tears of passers-by may also occur. People with bad timing should not use feign death as it may complicate your worth in both raids and comedy. Ask your Hunter Dr for more details before trying feign death.

Stupid Mage said...

"visi said...
I miss how feign death used to tell everyone in your group that you were actually dead.

Used to give the healers heart attacks..."

No, seriously guys I'm dead for real this time...

Capn John said...

Oh, the times I've said in Vent or /P
"Um, guys. I'm not Feigning. I'm really dead."

Vamanos said...

One more thing about Feign Death... on low levels, it's the most mana-efficient way of dealing with overaggroing. You can trap a mob, disengage, wing clip, but Feign Death gives the best result for a measly 80 mana

Faleene said...

As a Feral Druid with a Hunter alt, I agree with tip #1 whole heartedly. Too often I have to run after a mob who has gotten aggro onto a Hunter, who then runs AWAY trying to keep from getting thrashed. This means I'm not tanking what I should be, and often means somebody else draws aggro from a second mob I'm trying to hold. By running towards the tank, we're able to get aggro much faster and easier, a well timed attack or taunt right as the Hunter feigns works wonders.

Remember, Melee aggro only requires 10% excess threat, while ranged means 30%. When the mob gets to you, standing by the healers and casters, you've just put every one of them into the melee aggro range, as well as every mob I to drag with me when I try and get that one back.