Aggro and Pulling Techniques


-- Original by SomeLameDude
-- updates and additions by: The Ineffable Ombudsman (Infinity), Charismatic (Pinnacle)

Some Definitions

Aggro Radius The distance between you and the foe required for it to initially "sense" you. Radius varies by from foe-to-foe and by Line of Sight.
Attack Range The maximum distance at which a foe can attack you.
Broadcast Radius The range one foe can broadcast an alert to another foe.
Line of Sight The forward angle in which a typical foe can "see".
Role-play Link Some foes are linked by the "encounter" they are in, which can affect how they react to players.

How a foe can become aware of your presence

1 You get close enough that it can "see" you if it's facing you, or "sense" you if it's facing away from you. Example: You run up to a foe. You usually have more room to work with, if you run up behind it.
2 You perform an action against the foe. Example: You shoot it or taunt it.
3 A second foe broadcasts an alert to it, because that second foe has been attacked. Example: You shoot the foe closest to you, and it squawks to its buddies that it is "in combat".
4 A second foe broadcasts an alert to it, because that second foe is attacking you. Example: A foe draws its pistol and shoots at you, and warns all his nearby buddies that he is "in combat".
Numbers 3 and 4 seem to have different radius, with 4 being noticeably larger. You can sometimes get away with pulls violating 3, if they don't violate 4.
5 A leader/spotter foe broadcasts an alert to it, because the leader/spotter "senses" or "sees" you. Example: A boss senses you and says something like "Ice that sucker!", and before you are even "in combat", he warns all the minions around him that a hero is nearby.
6 There seems to be "death aggro" where the death of a creature will cause aggro, even if there was no aggro at all before, and it seems to be long-ranged - as long or longer than any other type of aggro. (Level 22 Banished Pantheon seem to have death aggro range of around 150 yards or more).  It also automatically makes all enemies in the group see through all stealth and concealment, even if you are out of line of sight.

How you can use this to your advantage

A Know your enemy. Are the minions smart (Reapers) or dumb (zombies)? Do the leaders broadcast alerts when they "sense" you, or only when "in combat". Are the foes linked for role-play reason?
B Most Lieutenants and Bosses send out alerts even if they are not "in combat". It is very difficult to pull single Lieutenants or Bosses away from their minions for this reason. It is usually easier to pull minions away from other minions (or minions away from leaders, if the leaders aren't looking).
C It is considerably easier to pull a foe away from the herd, if the rest of the herd is facing away from your target. In other words, get the guy at the back of the group. If they're tightly packed and facing in all directions, your chance of success is very slim.
D It is very difficult to pull singles from a tightly packed herd with an "attack". See #3 above. There are however some exceptions. Sniper blasts are good at this. I think Taunt is good at this. Teleport Foe is NOT good at this.
E If you successfully get the attention of a single foe, you must make sure that it can NOT attack you until it is far enough away from its buddies. Otherwise, it will broadcast to them that it is attacking someone. See #4 above. This is a classic way that pulls go bad. You successfully sniper or taunt a foe, it runs 20 feet from its friends, then stops and whips out a gun and blows the pull.

There are a couple ways to deal with this situation: stay out of range, so the foe has to move completely away from his friends before he can use a ranged attack OR duck around an obstacle so that the foe has to come to you to attack.

F Here's a trick which comes in handy... Select your target, then hide behind an object which is just tall enough to block line of sight (like a rock or a human-height crate). While you're hidden, activate your power. You'll get the "target blocked" message, and the power will be put in your queue. Tap the spacebar to jump. As soon as you jump high enough, the power will be activated--but it won't take effect until you've already fallen back down. The enemy won't have line-of-sight, so he'll have to run up to where you are--and he won't wake up other mobs.

This works best with powers that have longer casting times rather than short ones.  The idea is you want to start casting the power while you are in LOS, but the power should not be executed until after you are behind the barrier.

Specific powers in relation to pulling

Sniper "Sniper" is a category of blast powers useable by Blasters and Defenders. It seems to have a significantly reduced chance of alerting nearby foes that their friend is "in combat". When combined with good range, this often allows Blasters and Defenders to pull singles. It is very important to make sure that your target can not return fire while he is still anywhere near his buddies.
Taunt The problem with "taunt" is--if you taunt while you're in range of the opponent, he'll use his ranged attack, waking up nearby mobs. Even if you taunt and duck right away, he'll still be able to attack--if he begins his "attack" animation while you're visible (e.g. he starts drawing his gun), he can attack even if you hide before the animation finishes.
Teleport Foe The AI seems to consider TP Foe an "attack". Your target broadcasts a small-radius alert to all around him that he is under attack and "in combat" whenever you try to use this power. It can still be successful, if the herd is not too tightly packed. But under most circumstances, this will NOT pull singles from a tightly grouped herd.

So why do people consider this a good pulling tool (other than the obvious tactic of TP them to somewhere his friends can't follow)? Because of #4 above. By immediately getting a foe away from his friends, his return fire can not warn his buddies. This means that this power is actually sort of handy if the foes are "near each other" but not "tightly packed", like is often the case in warehouse missions. A short-range alert goes out when you try to use TP Foe, but the alert that goes out when it returns fire seems to be larger and more dangerous. TP Foe can eliminate that second alert by getting the foe far away from others, or around a corner.

Provoke Is an area effect, and thus usually bad for trying to pull singles.
Stealth  (and other stealth-like powers): Allows you to get closer and use terrain better. This basically allows you to pull with a non-ranged attack, IF you can avoid return fire until the foe is away from his buddies. This can often be achieved in missions, where you pop around a corner and smack a foe with a fast attack, then pop back around the corner and get some distance. If the foe can't "return fire" until he's put a wall between him and his friends, you can be successful.
Movement Powers Many movement powers can help you in pulling by preventing return fire. Super Speed is the one I have the most experience with. It has a stealth component, so you can often get close enough to pull with an attack, but then get away fast enough to prevent return fire until the foe is separated from his buddies.
Confusion Confusion powers will remove all aggro, until you generate more. Bosses frequently require two or more confusion successes before they actually become confused. Sleep powers seem to do this as well, to some extent.

A fully stealthed mental controller can stand within aggro range of a group (or even in the middle of the group), and dominate/mesmerize creatures until they go down, and minions will rarely notice (but they do see now and then) what's going on (until death aggro makes you visible, then all the group can see you). Lieutenants will notice sooner, and bosses will catch on to what is going on pretty quick. If there is a mixed group (Lt./boss + minions) dominate/mesmerize the Lt./boss to defeat first, then use AE sleep/dominate to control the minions. Don't use Levitate, or you get instant aggro.

Mass Hypnosis Drop Mass Hypnosis on a group of Mobs. Use your levitate power to single out a foe. If you missed an enemy with Mass Hypnosis choose that one. Mass Hypnosis doesnt aggro so it is a good power to use.

Summary

Pull minions. Pull the minion that no one is looking at. Pull with Taunt or Sniper, (as opposed to an attack, Teleport Foe, or Provoke). Make sure that the minion can't attack you until it's far enough away from his buddies.

If you don't have Sniper or Taunt, you can pull by being "seen or sensed" by one foe, IF you make sure that he can't attack you until he's away from his buddies (e.g., play peek-a-boo around a corner/obstacle).

If you pull with an Attack or TP Foe (instead of Sniper or Taunt), then there needs to be more space between foes, to avoid the short-radius alert. However, this can still be handy, if you can avoid return fire until the foe is away from his buddies or has a wall between him and them.

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