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Who Should Pull Mobs?

Here's a great question for you guys.

Who should pull mobs for the group if there is no dedicated pulling class - Crowd Control, DPS with aggro drop ability (Smoke bomb, FD etc.), the main tank or another option?

First, I have to stop and appreciate for just a minute how awesome a game is when there are actually pulling classes.

For a pulling class to exist, that means there must first be a mechanic which requires a group to sit back and brings mobs to it rather than faceroll through everything or 'play through' content.

Then you have to actually have a class with uniquely designed abilities that aren't homogenized across all of the other classes and "core" archetypes like healer, tank, and dps. When there's a puller class, there's also typically a CC class and a support class that isn't a healer, and chances are class variety and role filling is quite varied too.

Now to the question.

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If there's one available, I prefer a highly-skilled crowd control class. In EverQuest, that typically meant Enchanter or Bard (the latter could arguably be called a "dedicated pulling class" I suppose). If the mana battery and flutist aren't very skilled, that can often lead to bigger problems and they should just sit back and support the group.

Barring the CC class, I'd opt for a tank to pull. The tank needs the aggro anyway, and a good tank who knows the layout of the area can save a lot of time by just pulling up everything from the start and allowing the CC class to peel them off.

My last option would be the DPS class. I've only met a few who don't become immediate sponges when pulling. As someone who has healed a great deal in the old school MMO days, I weep after meditating my mana bar back up for 5 minutes just to watch it all go to the DPS class in one pull.

As always, thanks go out to the Pantheon Twitter account for asking the right questions.

  • bhagpuss says:

    A more interesting question might be why, when in many current MMORPgs pulling is a possibility, people no longer use the technique. I don’t think many MMOs are designed to make it impossible (GW2 might be one that is since almost no-one understand how agro works and groups of mobs can’t readily be split).

    It’s easy to forget, after all this time, how tedious and repetitive the pulling mechanic became. People did it because they had to, not because they enjoyed it. (I speak as someone who, like you, did enjoy it – I very much remember being in a minority on that by 2004). The main reason I remember that people wanted to see the end of pulling, though, was “realism”.

    It became harder and harder for players to tolerate endless scenarios where any mob worth killing, even the so-called “trash”, was the equal of several players. It didn’t feel very “heroic”, having to gather four or five players to survive the onslaught of a single Drolvarg or a big spider. I very clearly recall how thrilling it was in the early days of EQ2 to fight whole groups of Gnolls or Orcs together. It seemed far more thrilling and made my characters seem more powerful and capable.

    Similarly, people called incessantly back then for MMOs to encourage “dungeon crawling” rather than the static break-and-hold method we were all using. Dungeon “crawling” gradually turned into today’s speed-runs, of course.

    I’d be very happy to return to gameplay that included some degree of pulling but I wouldn’t want to go back to it being the main method. I also see no reason why those who enjoy it can’t use it in most modern MMOs. There just don’t seem to be many who are interested.

    As for which class should do it – whoever is suitable for the occasion. In Velious dungeons everyone wanted a monk. In LDoN bards were #1. Outdoors, most groups preferred a ranger or a druid with Harmony. A good enchanter could pull anywhere but a bad one was a liability. Some of the best pullers I ever saw were Necros.

    I used to main-heal as a cleric and I often pulled in dungeons using Calm. I much preferred doing that to letting the tank pull, which was often a disaster.

    • Keen says:

      Re:Realism
      I think it’s more realistic to find a safe spot, hunker down and defend it, then lure monsters in to the group where the group can attack them. I think the main reason it went from pulling to crawling was because players wanted an “experience” and an “objective” where they could “play through” something in a bite-sized manner rather than an indefinite group.

      Re:Pulling vs. Crawling
      I think both can co-exist. Pulling feels more relaxing to me. I’m not constantly having to chase after the group. People are always in such a rush to “finish” a dungeon. Why? Because they’e In a hurry to move to the next thing. It becomes a matter of time. How many dungeons can they complet in the time they have allotted to play? I lose my feeling of “playing” the game when it becomes about “completing” the game.

      Pulling endlessly to a location felt like I was working on advancing my character’s skills rather than checking a box on which dungeons I completed and how fast I could do them.

  • Misaligned says:

    If the game requires medding than anyone without a mana bar. After that, whoever has an aggro drop. After that, whoever has the best CC tools.

    I spent about a year on Agnarr as a Monk. I would often be called upon to pull, particularly in group content. In raids our pullers were usually Bards and sometimes Monks or a combination of the two working together on the pull team.

    • Keen says:

      EverQuest really is the best example of this because of how many classes have useful or mostly-unique tools at their disposal. As an Enchanter I often asked to pull because I felt like I could control the flow of pulls in LGuk way easier than the bard who wasn’t adept at CC or the Rogue who ended up simply pulling everything.

  • Diltz says:

    the simple reason why pulling went away – games just got too easy, no danger, no need to coordinate CC and pulls, just let the tank run in and blast everything down as quick as possible… it’s been like 3 WoW expansions since i’ve seen any sort of CC used in a dungeon.

    it seems like the hunter in wow was designed to be the puller, they have the proper kit for it, but the game is just too easy, no reason to use half your skills anymore.

    you have to build a game that requires smart pulling, then the classes that can do it best will emerge, could be any class, could be a different class based on the situation. but there’s no use talking about best classes if the game isn’t designed to require any sort of pulling to begin with.

  • Sanz says:

    Love the question. And the entire post. Is pulling even relevant any more? If you can pull 10 and just burn them down with dps it probably isn’t.

  • Asteion says:

    I have an ethics question. Given a party of a tank, DD and healer. Who may control the mobs pulling speed, who’s duty is this?

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