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It is a very natural idea to concentrate all DPS on a single target. That way, mobs are killed faster, and the damage the party (or raid) takes is minimized. The technical means to do this is "assisting". One player chooses a target, and all others don't choose their own targets, but instead assist that player. The player whom you assist is called "Main Assist" or MA. This concept has many advantages:
- Mobs go down in a controlled, systematic way
- Aggro management is easier
- Sheep, trap, seduction etc. breakage is avoided
There are also several problems associated with assisting:
- People often use the MT as MA
- People don't know how to assist
- the MA switches targets
First of all, the MT should never be the MA. The MT's job is to keep aggro from all mobs. Thus he has to switch targets on a regular basis - two sunders on the MAs target, then one sunder on every other not CC'd mob, then two on the MAs target. If the damage dealers assist the MT, they will in effect target some random mob. The MA on the contrary will NOT be changing targets in the middle of a fight, but will hold his target on the same adversary until dead or nearly dead and then select the next target for destruction.
The Main Assist must choose the correct target at all times. Looting in combat is a bad idea in general, for a MA it's a capital offense. Sometimes it may become neccessary to switch the target. The MA should have a macro to notify everyone else if they should switch too.
In raids, it is not uncommon to have the Off-Tank as the MA. Since the OTs target should be the most dangerous mob, this is feasible, but not optimal. A dedicated MA can concentrate on that one job exclusively (which mob to kill next), an OT does have other things to worry about.
How to Assist
As with several other MMOs, WoW comes complete with an Assist Function, but it's confusing and error-prone because it requires you to first select your MA and then use the assist function to target his target.
There are two ways that you can get around this. The first is to use a mod that has been designed to simplify the assisting process. LiteAssist is such a mod. Of course this means that you have to trust someone else with the maintenance of it should it be out-dated by a patch. The other option, which leaves control of keeping it up to date in you hands, is to create a macro to handle assisting.
Creating your Assist Macro
Here is a basic step-by-step procedure for creation of an "Assist" macro for anyone who's never worked with the Macro Editor before and the people who love them. It's very simple, even for first timers.
- Copy the text of the Assist Main Tank/Main Assist macro to your clipboard by selecting the text and pressing Ctrl+C (or Apple+C, if you use a Mac).
- Enter World of Warcraft (or switch to it if it's already open).
- Open your macro editor either by typing "/macro" or by opening the Main Menu (Esc) and clicking "Macros."
- Click "New"
- Name it "Assist".
- Select an Icon. Any will do.
- Click "Accept."
- In the macro text, paste-in the text of the Assist Main Tank/Main Assist macro by pressing Ctrl+V (or Apple+V, if you use a Mac).
- Drag the icon from the Macro Editor onto the hotbar.
This is great; the above, is what I do. I have seen so many players that can not cope with macros. So a light weight macro, might get some players started.
Simply edit the PLAYER name in this macro.
When editing the name gets to be a pain, you will want to take the time to use a more complex macro.
Using your Assist Macro
At the beginning of the instance run, when you're told who your MA is, just target the MA and click on the Assist macro button while holding down the Alt key. This will set up the targeted player as your new MA.
Now, say your MA has a Monstrous Plaguebat targeted. When you press Assist, you will now be targeting the same Monstrous Plaguebat as your MA.
This is how you now target. All your targeting should now be filtered through the MA. Using the Assist macro eliminates any question as to whether or not you are on the correct mob.
Now put your MA-macro in your main attack bar. I use #1. And I put attack spells/dots on buttons #2, #3, ... So when in battle I hit 1, look to see if its aggro'ed on the Tank, then hit 2.. 3... and so on.
Practice this. Grab a guildie and work on it if you have to. Groups that successfully Assist perform better than a group 5 levels higher that does not.