In the post below I will paste in the text of the guide if that makes it easier on the contest judges, but it is lacking a couple of things from the HTML hosted on my site. Is there a way to put internal hyperlinks in a long forum post? That's the main thing this version is missing.
---------- Post added 2010-12-28 at 02:54 PM ----------
Rain's Guide to Grouping in
World of Warcraft
Why this Guide?
Dealing with Threat and Aggro
Target Selection, the Main Assist, and Damage
Healing and Incoming Damage
General Logistics, Encounter Preparation, and Etiquette
Advice for Specific Classes
Why this Guide?
The trend in newer Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying games is to make it possible for a player's character to reach very high levels without ever needing a balanced, well-organized group. As they level, players might grab a healer or some extra damage for a "group" quest, but these haphazard teams are not adequate preparation for the level of strategy necessary for really tough encounters.
Unfortunately, by the time players do start facing challenges that require real teamwork, their playstyle is so entrenched in the mechanics of soloing that they have difficulty adapting to the expectations of high-level group play. This guide is meant to introduce you to the basic concept of how effective MMORPG groups generally function, with special attention to some of the unique aspects of World of Warcraft. Since many players are completely new to the genre, this guide is as specific as possible. This guide is also intended to be a helpful refresher course for those who became a little too reliant on the Area of Effect strategies that worked well in Wrath of the Lich King, but which fail miserably in Cataclysm.
The Basic Premise
The basic premise of grouping in an MMORPG is: maximize the effectiveness of the damage output of the group while minimizing the damage taken by group members; and also to limit the amount of chaos and confusion during the fight so that support characters can fulfill their role with maximum efficiency.
Dealing with Threat and Aggro
The first concept that any group member needs to understand is "threat." Threat is the general term for a mob's level of desire to attack a particular player. (A mob is technically any "mobile" non-player character in a massive multiplayer game, but typically it refers to any creature that might attack a player.)
Many players will use "aggro" as a synonym for threat, although technically "aggro" is the status of being the target of a mob's attacks. In other words, if you raise your threat high enough, you will draw a mob's aggro.
Several actions can raise a mob's threat toward a player and draw its aggro. The most simple is for the player to stay within a certain radius of the mob for a period of time. The greater the difference between a character's level and the mob's, the larger that "aggro radius" is and the shorter the amount of time. In other words, if your level is eight levels below that of the elite fire elemental across the way, merely getting in sight of him may cause him to instantly attack you. If you are eight levels above him, you may have to walk up to him and insult his mother.
In addition to proximity, damaging a mob will increase its threat toward you. The more damage you do to the mob, the more threat the mob will have toward you.
Healing a character that the mob is attacking tends to really irritate the mob. In most games, including World of Warcraft, healing can generate a ton of threat.
Finally, all tanking classes (Protection Paladins, Protection Warriors, Feral (Bear) Druids, Blood Death Knights) have several attacks which do very little damage but which generate considerable threat. Some Hunter pets also have attacks which generate threat, but pets cannot generally tank for very long.
To understand how this works, assume that each mob in a battle has assigned a threat number to each player in your group or your raid. Every time a player causes damage, heals or uses a threat-based attack that number goes up. Each mob will attack the player whose number is the highest for them. Here is an example.
Imagine a two-person group of a rogue and a priest attacking a camp of three murlocs. The priest does not want any aggro at all, so he hangs back outside of the murloc's aggro radius. The rogue walks up and uses her proximity to get the murlocs to attack her (a "body pull"). She then attacks Murloc A, while Murlocs A, B, and C attack her.On the scale of the example above, managing aggro is not terribly difficult. When a full party of five characters are facing combat with four mobs, things become much more complicated.
The rogue's threat number with Murloc A will go up very quickly, because she's beating the snot out of him. Unfortunately, all three murlocs are beating the snot out of her. So, when her health drops fairly low, the priest will heal her.
This will cause the priest's threat number with all three murlocs to go up. In the case of Murloc A, the rogue will be doing so much damage that her threat number will be higher than the priest's. Unfortunately for the priest, nothing the rogue has done has raised her threat number with them, so, after the heal, the priest's threat number with Murloc B and Murloc C will be higher than the rogue's, so B and C will change targets and attack the minstrel.
When that happens, if the rogue does not act quickly (probably by using high-damage attacks) to draw the murlocs' aggro back onto herself, the priest may very well be killed, swiftly..
The simplest solution is to designate a "Main Tank." The role of this character - Protection Paladins, Protection Warriors, Feral (Bear) Druids, Blood Death Knights - is to hold the aggro of all of the actively attacking mobs. The Main Tank watches the health of the other party members. When someone's health starts going down, the Main Tank determines which mob is attacking them and uses a threat-based attack to convince the mob to switch their focus to the guardian. This means that in most situations (notably those where the mobs do not use Area Effect attacks) the Healer can focus most of their attention on the Main Tank. This is the most efficient use of the Healer's mana pool.
If you are in a group with a Main Tank, do not start attacking a mob just because they attack you. Your additional attacks will generate more threat, and make it more difficult for the Main Tank to generate enough threat to pull the mob off of you. Also, do not be surprised if your Healer does not heal you immediately. Their heal might further muddy the mob's threat ratings for the group. More importantly, the Healer knows that a good Main Tank will pull the aggro back off of you before you die. There is no reason, therefore, for the Healer to waste mana healing someone who is in no real jeopardy.
Generally speaking, however, it is best not to pull aggro off the Main Tank in the first place. It makes the Tank's life much easier if you will wait to start attacking a mob until after the Main Tank has generated a substantial amount of threat with the mob. If your class relies heavily on critical strikes to do damage, remember that successive crits will almost certainly draw the mob's aggro onto you. Try to space out your high-damage attacks, allowing the Main Tank to regain the balance of the threat.
As a logical corollary for this, let the Main Tank handle all pulls. If you initiate an attack, the Main Tank may not be prepared to quickly pull the aggro off of you (some threat generating attacks have longer cooldowns that need to reset). In addition, the Main Tank may have a plan involving a line-of-sight pull that requires you to wait behind a wall or column. Pay attention to what kind of pull is planned, and let the Main Tank determine when the encounter should begin.
If you find that you are constantly drawing the aggro off the Main Tank, you may want to consider changing your attack rotation. In addition, keep an eye on the tank's Rage Bar (for Warriors and Druids), Mana Bar (for Paladins), or Runic Power Bar (for Death Knights). If this is low, they may not be able to generate the threat-based attacks necessary for keeping the mob from turning his anger toward you.
Threat is not the only factor that determines aggro. There are certain situations where the mob will ignore part or all of their threat table. For instance, if the character with the highest threat is stunned or mezzed in some way, the mob will move on to the character with the next highest threat (often the Healer).
In addition, some classes have the ability to force a mob to ignore their threat table and attack them for a brief period of time. Since these skills are on fairly long timers, this is usually an emergency response, so when a character uses one of these skills it is important for the Main Tank to quickly use their best threat-generating attacks to quickly reacquire aggro once the skill's effect wears off. This is also a great time for the Priest to cast a large group heal, since they do not have to worry about the resulting threat generation.
In large or particularly difficult encounters, an additional character may be assigned to the role of "Off Tank." The Off Tank's job is often to hold the aggro of a second, particularly dangerous mob if the Main Tank would not be able to handle all of the incoming damage. Alternatively, an Off Tank can be used to grab the aggro of any mobs who break off from the Main Tank. This can be particularly handy if the Main Tank needs to recover from a stun or mez.
Target Selection, the Main Assist, and Damage
Related to the concept of aggro management is the principle of coordinated attacks. Generally speaking, everyone in a group should be attacking the same target. There are two reasons for this. The first is that it makes the Main Tank's job much easier, since they only have to worry about constantly escalating the aggro of one mob. In addition, a party that takes down one mob at a time from a group of four mobs will take much less damage than the party that tries to take down all four mobs at once. For an example of how this might work, consider this scenario:
There is a group of four mobs, each with 6,000 health. There are four members in your party, each of whom can do 25 damage per second. If each of you were to focus on a different mob, it would take the four of you 4 minutes to kill the mobs, but all four of you would be getting attacked by four mobs the entire time.
On the other hand, if all of you focus your attacks on one target at a time, it would still take you four minutes; but you would only have three mobs attacking you after the first minute, two mobs attacking you after the second, and one mob attacking you after the third. Your outgoing damage would be the same, but your incoming damage would be nearly halved.
With this in mind, you definitely want to focus your fire on one target. The easiest way to do this is to designate one member of the party (usually an experienced DPS character) as the "Main Assist." The Main Assist's target should always be the target for all the members of the group whose role is to do damage. The Main Assist should not be the Main Tank, because the Main Tank frequently has to change targets to reacquire aggro.
Main Tanks or Party Leaders will often use Raid Target Icons to desginate the main target. Look for the skull. Alternatively, click the portrait of the Main Assist then press your "assist" key ("F" by default) to acquire that target. Once the Main Tank has generated enough threat, open fire - being sure to balance your attacks to keep from generating a burst of aggro. Once your target is defeated, repeat the process again. Party leaders can create a simple macro to automatically update the skulled target with the Main Assist's target.
If you are the Main Assist, remember to prioritize your targets. One possible order is:
* Mobs who can heal other mobs
* Mobs who use magic damage
* Mobs who use ranged damage (if they are nearby)
* Mobs who use melee damage
* Mob who use ranged damage (if they are at range)
This order focuses on the mobs that can generally be defeated the most quickly and the ones that are the biggest nuisance first.
A highly effective method of managing aggro is "crowd control" - the process of keeping certain mobs out of the fight. The basic categories of crowd control are: mezzes, stuns, roots, and fears. A "mez" renders a mob unconscious for a set period of time. A "stun" does the same, but for a much shorter period of time. A "root" immobilizes the mob for a set period of time, but - unlike with a mez - the mob can still use ranged/tactical attacks as well as melee attacks against anyone in range. (They cannot, however, chase after you, which makes rooting very handy for retreats.) A "fear" causes the mob to run away, but with the risk that when they return they will have brought friends with them.
Most classes have crowd control abilities that can be used on at least some of the categories of mobs in World of Warcraft. For a master list of those abilities, click here. Of particular note are: the Mage's Polymorph ability, the Shaman's Hex ability, the Hunter's Freezing Trap, and the Retribution Paladin's Repentance ability. In most cases these will be a party's primary methods of crowd control (and it is unlikely that you will have access to all of them in the same five-person party).
These skills make an excellent argument for the value of these classes in a group, but if the group does not understand how crowd control works the significant benefits offered by these skills will be lost. The most important rule regarding crowd control is: "damage breaks mezzes and roots." If you are a damage class, please write this phrase down and stick it on your monitor.
If there is time, it is helpful for the group leader to use the Raid Target Icons to mark targets for roots and mezzes. If this happens, make sure that you do not attack the marked mobs. It is equally important that you do not use any AE attacks on mobs that are near the marked mobs.
If mobs aren't marked, you will simply need to pay attention. When possible, most players will call out the target of their mezzes and roots. This is easy to do with a target macro. Note the mob they call out, and avoid attacking it, damaging it with a a DoT, or attacking anything near it with an AE attack.
Also note that when a ranged or tactical mob joins the fight in the middle of a battle, characters with crowd control abilities will generally use a mez to take it out of the battle. Do not stop attacking the Main Assist's target just because an ogre mage has decided to join the fray. Let the crowd control folks do their job.
A common way for the best-laid crowd control and aggro management plans of a party to go awry is for one of the members of the group to forget about "knockback" attacks. Knockback attacks are typically used by large, elite mobs. A knockback can fling a player's character thirty or forty meters, which can be annoying in and of itself. More significantly, the charcter can be knocked into an entire group of mobs, drawing their aggro onto the entire party. This almost always leads to a wipe. Even when a launched character does not come running back with a party of dragonkin on their heels, there is still the chance thay they will be lobbed off of a cliff, making it difficult to rejoin the fray. All of this is to say: if you are fighting a mob with a knockback attack, stand with your back to a wall or stay behind the mob.
Healing and Incoming Damage
On the surface, healing in combat seems like a simple matter. When a mob damages a character's health, the Healer restores that health. Holy or Discipline Priests, Restoration Druids, Holy Paladins, and Restoration Shamans are the primary healers in World of Warcraft. Other paladin specialization can occasionally toss a heal or other protective spell on a player, but it is best not to assume they will have the opportunity do so.
Since the healer does not have a limitless well of mana, things are a little more complicated than simply keeping everyone's health at maximum. A Healer's job is not to keep your health at one hundred percent. The Healer's job is to keep you from dying. Consequently, if the healer sees you taking damage, but realizes that the Main Tank is about to take the aggro off of you, they may elect not to heal you since you will not be taking additional damage.
Also, remember that if the Healer is taking damage, it is very difficult for them to implement their healing skills. Depending on the circumstance, it may be necessary for the Off-Tank or another sturdy character to take the aggro off the Healer and try and drag the mob back to the Main Tank. Likewise, a Crowd-Control character may need to quickly mez or root the aggroing mob until the Main Tank can re-acquire the aggro.
In addition, the Healer is not the only person responsible for your health. You are expected to take every possible precaution to minimize how much damage you take - even and especially if you are the Main Tank.
The best way to minimize damage is to avoid it. A character with a shield has three chances to avoid an incoming attack: they can parry it, dodge it, or block it. Characters who anticipate having to tank should raise their percent chance for each applicable ability as high as possible.
If you cannot avoid damage, you can try to mitigate it. Armor is the primary mitigation method in World of Warcraft, but it only mitigates incoming physical damage. This is not as helpful as it may seem, since at the highest levels physical damage often takes a back seat to magical damage. Nevertheless, an excellent armor rating can make the difference in a close fight.
Incoming damage can also be signficantly reduced by stacking the right combination of debuffs on a mob. Many classes have debuffs that can reduce the speed or effectiveness of a mob's attacks, but some of those debuffs are mutually exclusive. Having two characters apply the same (or two mutually exclusive) debuffs is a waste of time and mana, so it is best to coordinate these in advance.
Should you draw the ire of an attacking mob, do not run around haphazardly like a scalded hobbit who grabbed a pie without oven mitts. If you are near the Main Tank, simply stop attacking your mob and wait for the Main Tank to re-acquire aggro. If you have a skill like Cower or Fade which reduces your aggro, use it. Otherwise, try dragging the mob back to the Main Tank. Whatever you do, do not force the Main Tank to have to run around after you trying to grab the mob off of your back. Not only is it cowardly and embarassing, but sometimes the Main Tank will simply decide it is not worth the risk of losing aggro from all the other mobs.
In addition, at higher levels it is not uncommon for bosses to use a variety of sophisticated attacks to kill you and your party in new and interesting ways. Some bosses will create a deadly pool around themselves (tanks need to steer the boss out of it, and melee dps needs to evacuate as quickly as possible). The motto there is "Don't Stand in the Death!" In other cases, bosses will put a deadly debuff on a single player, and if that player doesn't run away from the group everyone will die. Learning these mechanics and how to circumvent them is essential to effective play at higher levels.
In most cases, it is generally desireable for your group to stay clustered together. This minimizes the likelihood of one of you straying into an additional mob's aggro radius. It also makes it easier for support characters to heal your DoT's and for the Main Tank to find you to pull aggro off of you. On the other hand, it also makes you a prime target for AE attacks. If you are fighting a mob who uses AE's that only affect mobs in front of them, then the tank needs to keep the mob pointed away from the rest of the group. If the mob's AE attacks radiate out from them in other directions, then party members need to take up pre-assigned positions that minimize the impact of these attacks.
Finally, remember that you can and should have potions with you to heal and restore your mana in an emergency.
General Logistics, Encounter Preparation, and Etiquette
In putting together a party for a difficult encounter, make certain that there is a balance of skills in the group. Assign the roles of Main Tank, Main Assist, Healer, Crowd Control, and DPS in advance, and make certain that everyone in the group understands how those roles function. After you have assembled your group and assigned roles, make sure that everyone has potions, food, spell reagents (including portal runes for mages ), and any resistance items that might help in a particular setting. Reminding everyone to empty their bags of any non-necessary items and to repair their equipment is also a good idea.
Before the first mob is killed, the party leader should also make the loot policy clear. Generally speaking, a "Need Before Greed" approach is the most fair. The "need" option should only be used by characters who will actually use the item for which they are rolling. If the item is a crafting resource or recipe, that means the character has the appropriate profession. If the item is a weapon or piece of armor, that means the character will actually equip the item. If no one falls into the need category, then everyone who wants the item for an alt or to sell can roll for it by selecting "greed."
After the loot policy has been determined, have everyone cast their buff spells, then head out to do great deeds!
If you want a checklist, one might look like this:
* Assign roles of: Main Tank, Main Assist, Healer, Crowd Control, and DPS
* Check Potions
* Check Food
* Check Spell Reagents
* Resistance Items
* Empty bags of trash loot and unnecessary items
* Establish Loot Policy
* Cast Beneficial Buffs
Etiquette rules can vary from group to group, but some basic principles are generally universal. Most of those principles center on loot and node harvesting. If there are several people in the group who can harvest a particular node type, they should take turns harvesting those nodes. The same is true for looting ground-spawn quest items. Additionally, no one should begin looting until they are certain that all mobs have been overcome.
Likewise, general courtesy is as useful in virtual worlds as it is in the material one. Be on time, let people know if you need to be away from your keyboard, and and remember not to take the game too seriously. If you are not having fun, then why are you "playing?"
Advice for Individual Classes
Death Knight - Death Knights are a hero class. You earn the privilege of playing one by levelling up another character. Consequently, Death Knight players are expected to understand group and instance mechanics. If you play as a tank, remember that you use spells, speed, evasiveness, and creativity to stay alive. Your plate armor does help, but you do not have a shield. If you play as dps, make sure you understand how to maximize your rotation for optimum damage. Your Death Grip can be invaluable to a group in either case, so always be ready to cast it to rescue a healer or snatch back a panicked mob who wants to run for help.
Druid - Depending on their specialization, a druid can fill all of the roles described above. Regardless of your role, however, remember that - in an emergency - you always retain some of the utility of your other forms. For instance, if you draw aggro that you cannot shake, remember that you can drop to bear and pop frenzied regeneration. In addition, your ability to cast Revive - an in-combat rez - is invaluable, regardless of your role. Always be ready to cast it at the most opportune time. (Note that in 4.01 Blizzard removed the ability of druids to chain-Revive. Only once character in a 5-person group can cast it per encounter. Choose wisely.)
Hunter - Hunters have one role - dealing huge amounts of damage from a safe distance. This can be done with or without the assistance of a pet - depending on your specialization. If you do travel in dungeons in the company of a pet, make sure you keep them on passive and nearby. Many a group has been wiped by an errant pet path. In addition, it is best to establish a combat sequence that provides you with steady damage rather than sudden, early bursts of critical damage. A huge burst of damage can overpower the tank's threat. Also, learn how to effectively throe and use traps - they are an incredibly effective means of crowd control and a significant part of your job in any group.
Mage - Mages are also a pure damage class with crowd control skills. Additionally, they have the ability to produce tremendous AoE damage - a skill that they should use judiciously if they don't want to watch entire groups of mobs forget about the tank and dine at the all-you-can-eat mage buffet. Mages should keep Frost Nova handy for just such a situation, but everyone will be happier if said situation is avoided entirely. In the post-Cataclysm world, mages can anticipate using their Polymorph ability quite a bit. Make sure that you keep it at the ready and understand how your party leader wants it employed.
Paladin - Paladins are extremely flexible, and can make excellent tanks, healers, or damage-dealers - depending on their specification. Like the druid, you should remember that you don't forgo all of your abilities from other specializations. Even if you are dealing damage, be prepared to off-tank for a moment or to. Likewise, many raids have been saved by a well-timed Lay on Hands. As with other melee dps, pay close attention to where you should stand and where you should not, and time your rotations to match the rhythms of the fight.
Priest - Odds are, people will want you to heal, but you can also be very effective doing damage in shadowform. If you are a healer, you may want to give serious thought to having Discipline and Holy as your two specializations. Both provide strong healing support in instances, but each has strengths and weaknesses depending on the boss fight and the group make-up. Make sure that your group knows which spec you are using, and how you expect them to make the most use of your talents. (For instance, if you're a Holy priest, make sure they know what a Lightwell is.) At maximum level, your greatest challenge will be mana management. Make sure you have as large of a pool as possible, and know that it still will not be enough. Choose your spells wisely.
Rogue - Like hunters and mages, rogues have only one role: damage. Unlike those two classes, however, you do all of your killing up-close and in easy reach of your opponent. This means that if you do too much damage too quickly, the boss will suddenly turn and liquify you where you stand. You are only wearing leather armor, after all. Many of the tricks you learned to keep yourself alive while soloing (skills like Vanish) will allow you to stay alive long enough for the tank to recover the aggro, so use them. In addition, make sure you know the ideal rotation for your specific specialization and build. Finally, become proficient with sneaking in and sapping at just the right moment. A well-timed (and glyphed) sap can make a tough fight go much more smoothly.
Shaman - The shaman is an incredibly versatile class. They can: heal effectively; provide magical, ranged damage; or deal swift two-handed death in melee combat. In Cataclysm, shamans - like priests - need to pay close attention to their mana pools. If you are playing as a caster, watch your burst damage which can generate enormous amounts of threat. If you are melee, don't forget that the entire party can still benefit from the right selection of totems. Additionally, many party leaders will forget about your Hex spell. It is every bit as useful for crowd control as the Mage's Polymorph. If they are not taking advantage of that option...remind them!
Warlock - Warlocks are the fourth pure damage class in World of Warcraft. They combine the ranged magical devastation of the Mage with many of the pet management traits of a Hunter. Regardless of your specialization, make sure you know which of your pets will be the most helpful in a particular instance. Your party might need a short-term off-tank, a pet who can seduce humanoids, or just extra damage. If the instance contains elementals or demons, be sure to use Banish for crowd control. In an emergency, your Fear (if glyphed) can also provide useful short-term crowd control.
Warrior - The warrior exists to either take enormous amounts of damage or to deal enormous amounts of damage. As with other melee classes, remember to follow the encounter mechanics closely. Although you may be able to handle nearly anything in solo quests, bosses in instances can do overhwhelming damage to you if you stand in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you are tanking, remember that your dps is far secondary to the threat you generate. Always make sure you have enough rage to quickly taunt an errant mob back to you, and pay close attention to peripheral mobs when you are tanking against large groups of attackers.
add - An "additional" mob that arrives and initiates its attack while the party is occupied with another mob or group of mobs.
aggro - The status of being the target of a mob's attacks. Many players also use this as a synonym of "threat" (see below).
aggro radius - The range at which a hostile mob will attack a player's character. This changes depending on the difference between the character's and the mob's.
alt - An "alternate" character, one of the other characters on a player's account.
area effect ("AE" or "AoE") - A spell or attack which affects the nearby targets as well as the original target.
avoidance skills - Skills which allow a character to avoid incoming damage. In World of Warcraft, theses skills are: parry, evade, and block.
body pull - Stepping into a mob's aggro radius to use your proximity to get the mob to attack you. This is most effective with melee mobs.
boss (mob) - A particularly powerful mob with a large health pool and devastating, sometimes even unique, attacks. Boss encounters at higher levels often require strategy and planning.
buff - A beneficial spell or state.
build - A specific set of talents within a specialization. Most fansites have lists of player-tested builds for specific roles and circumstances.
critical strike ("crit") - A high-damage version of an attack. Every attack has a percent chance of being a critical strike, and this chance can be raised with certain attributes and buffs.
crowd control ("CC") - Using one of several class-specific abilities to take a mob or several mobs out of combat. This reduces the amount of damage party members take while they work to focus their attacks on the remaining targets. Crowd control techniques include mezzes, stuns, roots, and fears (defined below).
damage over time ("DoT") - An attack that continues to do damage periodically after the initial hit. A mob with a DoT on it will usually break a mez or root even if no other attacks are made against it.
damage per second ("DPS") - The average damage-per-hit of a weapon, multiplied by the ratio of its speed, is the weapon's damage-per-second. Colloquially, "DPS" is also used to refer to characters whose primary function in a party is to provide heavy and consistent damage to the mob.
direct damage ("DD") - An attack that immediately damages a target.
debuff - A detrimental spell or state.
energy - The pool of points used for rogue and druid (cat) abilities. This pool regenerates rapidly up to a maximum of 100.
fear - An attack that causes a mob (or a player) to lose control and run fleeing from the person who cast it. The caster of the fear has no control over where the target flees.
focus - The pool of points used for hunter abilities. This pool regenerates rapidly up to a maximum of 100.
heal over time ("HoT") - A beneficial spell that gradual improves a character's health over a period of time.
Healer - The player whose job it is to keep the members of the party alive.
instance - An encounter that occurs in it's own "instance" specifically for the party that initiated it. Other parties that are participating in the same encounter experience it in their own instances. This allows for scripted behavior and ensures that every party gets to experience the full encounter.
knockback - An attack that launched a player's character into the air and a significant distance away from the mob.
line of sight pull ("LOS") - Drawing the aggro of a ranged or tactical mob and then moving behind a wall or other obstacle to force them to come closer (since their attacks are only effective if you are in their line of sight).
mana - The pool of points used for paladin, mage, warlock, and priest abilities. The size of the pool is determined by the character's intelligence attribute. It can regenerate (slowly) in combat, but it is still in the caster's best interest to have the largest possible mana pool.
mez - An attack that "mesmerizes" a mob, taking them completely out of combat for a period of time.
Main Assist - A character, usually a DPS class but sometimes the Tank, who determines the target for the party's damage.
Main Tank - A character whose function in the party is to hold the aggro of all of the currently attacking mobs.
mitigation - The reduction of incoming damage due to armor or other factors.
mob - Technically any "mobile object" or non-player character, but typically used to refer only to those NPC's that will attack a player character or which a player's character can attack.
Off Tank - The Off Tank is a character whose role is to either hold the aggro of a second, high-damage mob (while the Main Tank holds the primary mob's aggro) or to hold the aggro of any mobs that slip away from the Main Tank. Off Tanks are used primarily in raids or other large encounters.
party - A group of characters who cooperate to accomplish a particular task.
pull - Initiating an encounter by attacking a mob. This is usually done at range.
rage - The pool of points used for warrior and druid (bear) abilities. The rage pool generally starts low, but increases as the player is attacked. A lull in the attacks can cause the available rage pool to drop, and a warrior or a bear who has not been attacked recently may find themselves without access to their special abilities.
raid target icon - One of a selection of small icons that can be placed over a mob's head and on their character portrait. Parties can use these icons to designate main and secondary targets ad well as targets for crowd control. A list of the available icons can be found here.
root - An attack that immobilizes a mob. It is most effective against mobs that use melee attacks, since casters and ranged mobs can still damage you while they are rooted.
rotation - The most efficient order for a particula class/specialization/build to use their skills. Since many skills have a beneficial effect on other skills, there is often an ideal order in which to use them to maximize reciprocal benefits.
runic power - The pool of points used for a death knight's abilities.
specialization (or "spec") - Each class has three specializations available to them, and each specialization generally dramatically changes the classes role.
stun - An attack that immobilizes a mob briefly, taking them completely out of combat for a short period of time.
threat - The level of a mob's desire to attack a particular character.
wipe - An encounter that ends with all members of a party dead. If the people you are grouping with cannot take this all-too-common occurence with a sense of humor, find new group-mates.
Many thanks for suggestions and proofreading to:
* Zhida of Quirks and Flaws (Zul'jin)
* Rillik of Dawnsong Exploers (Zul'jin)
* Haribel of Idiosyncrasy (Zul'jin)