Several classes and specs have gotten "knockback" abilities as part of patch 3.02 and the game's transition to Wrath of the Lich King, and I've had fun watching these skills be deployed in battlegrounds to extensive and quite possibly evil use. It's pretty funny watching an elemental Shaman defend AB's lumber mill now, and the AV bridge? Even funnier.
And yet...as I laughed, I started to cry inside, because I knew that these skills would also be deployed in 5-man groups and raids to much less amusing effect. And man, it's a real burden being right so often.
Now, 95% of the people I've pugged with since the patch went live have intuitively understood that skills like Typhoon, Blast Wave, and Thunderstorm are really intended for PvP and soloing use, and haven't used them at all. But there is that 5% that hauls them out at every available opportunity (or, if you're a mage in Alex Ziebart's guild, set up a specific Blast Wave rotation guaranteeing that the mobs will never be within 10 yards of the tanks, ever). Which, at least for the purpose of doing actual DPS, mystifies me. None of the skills, far as I can tell, are part of a Shaman, Mage, or Moonkin high-DPS rotation, so I can only assume that the player is simply using them for fun. Fun? Fun? We don't have fun in my groups. Or at least, we sure aren't by the 15th time a pull gets knocked out of position and a stray mob attracts the attention of another mob pack. This is, dare I say it, Not Fun.
It is fairly annoying to see mobs you're trying to build aggro on suddenly not be within range. Or, if you're a tankadin, outside of Consecration. Or, if you'll melee DPS, finding yourself trying to hit something that isn't there anymore. But I think my worst experience so far has been a pugged heroic Magisters' Terrace with a boomkin who was madly fond of Typhoon. As we all know from rather painful experience, the instance requires very careful pulling of caster mobs, line-of-sighting them around corners to force them to move into one position where they can all be tanked, and...huh? What just happened to my elegant little pull? Two melee mobs would come back to me; the three ranged mobs would stay ranged (as ranged mobs tend to do), but not within melee range of the others or themselves.
Ever seen a frantic bear? Not a pretty sight. I ran around like the proverbial chicken, taking additional damage from the melee mobs as my side and rear were exposed, trying to LOS the scattered caster mobs and realizing that I couldn't reposition the pull in such a way to get all of them to move again. "Patrol!" said the moonkin cheerfully.
I have literally never kicked a player from one of my 5-mans, but I came closer to doing it that night than I ever have. We finally succeeded in getting our boomkin to quit using Typhoon, but I'm sure our rogue's nerves were shot for the night, and mine were in the same state. After an ugly series of pulls clearing constantly-moving Sunwell trash, knockbacks have also been officially banned from my guild's raids, and other guilds on my server have enacted the same rule. Sort of. "Actually, I find it rather useful just to have an umbrella policy for these situations," said a guild leader friend of mine. "Annoy me and you're gone."
Save a tank's sanity. Be kind to your melee DPS. PvE knockbacks: JUST SAY NO.
A plea on behalf of frustrated tanks everywhere
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