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Fun with Line of Sight (LOS)

User blog

AKA - How to know when you're on a good team.

When a melee foe agros you, they run up to ya. They might take a pot-shot or two at you on the way in, but are generally easy to manipulate.

When a ranged foe agros you, they run into range/Line of Sight, and start banging away. They're harder to mess with, but Not Impossible.

When you agro a mob, while you're in LOS, the ranged guys basically sit there and shoot while the melee'ers run up and do their thing. You've probably seen this a thousand times.

When you agro a mob and IMMEDIATELY BREAK LOS (or even manage to break it before you agro), they all come running to basically the same spot, then the melee types close while the ranged types sit there. If that "same spot" is a couple feet away from you, every enemy attacking you will be within a couple yards of each other. I like to call this the Clump of Doom. (their doom, not yours).

Why should you care?

  1. If YOU have no ranged attacks, it means the bad guys won't get in any free shots while you're closing, because they'll do it out of LOS. No LOS-> no attacks. You can probably get into range with a travel power without taking more than a single salvo, so this isn't that big a deal.
  2. AoE powers should hit all of them. No one has to feel left out. >:) All those damage/debuff/mez AoEs (PB or otherwise) tag the lot of them.


I mentioned that it's possible to break LOS before you agro. Yep. A power doesn't cause agro till it goes off. A power only requires LoS to start (except those with an interrupt time).

Isotope Omega (my rad/rad defender) Standard Operating Procedure while soloing goes something like this:

  1. Get in range of a mob while behind a low wall/cargo container/whatever. Select my debuff anchor and hit Radiation Infection ("RI", anchored debuff: -def, -acc). Note that I'm still out of LoS, but the power is queued up.
  2. Hop. The moment I have LoS, the power's casting time starts. It takes a couple seconds, so I'm on the ground and (more importantly) out of LoS before it goes off.
  3. Queue up Enervating Field ("EF", anchored debuff, -dam, -res) while all the baddies come running. They round the corner/hop the wall and start attacking, in their nice little clump. Their first attacks might not be under the influence of EF, but it sure as hell will be under RI. That means everyone is suffering from a -50% chance to hit (I have it 6-slotted for -acc, -def, and -end, usually 2 each). Minions are dropped to the minimum accuracy (5% chance to hit, yeah right). LT's aren't much better, and bosses are at 25%. I rarely get hit at all.
  4. Dish out the pain. With RI, I rarely miss (+40%ish to hit). With EF, I do 30% more damage (and they do 30% less, which doesn't matter nearly as much thanks to RI). And all the baddies are in a nice clump so they're all... my bitches. Lets face it. I usually start with some AoE and then stick to single-target attacks for the remainder of the battle.

The down side of this is that if something drops my toggles, I'm in Deep Trouble. I might normally be able to chew my way through a half dozen minions and an LT or two in one sitting, but if I lose my toggles, I'm suddenly VERY vulnerable. Without RI, that group of minions and LTs will Kick My Ass. RI is my only defensive power (other than Maneuvers, but it's not worth turning on unless I'm teamed up with at least a couple people).

"Okay, great. Some Defenders benefit from this stuff, but I'm a Tanker/Scrapper/Blaster/Controller. What do I care?"

Do you have any AoE powers? Then you care. Tanker/Scrapper power sets have PBAoEs of one sort or another (I want to say they all do, but I'm not 100% on that). Blaster/controller power sets all have a ranged AoE or two, along with a fair chance at a PBAoE in there somewhere.

Do your teammates have any AoE powers? Then you care. If the whole team isn't out of LoS, some enemies will stop moving and start attacking. There goes your nice big clump of AoE fodder.

And that is how you know if you've got good teammates. If YOUR WHOLE TEAM breaks line of sight and lets the "point" do their thing, serving you all up a nice heaping helping of bad guys, then you've got a Good Team. When every single AoE attack can hit every single baddie, those baddies don't last very long. A team of eight heroes can turn a clump of 20 bosses into a pile of 20 bodies in Very Short Order.

The downside to that strategy is that agro control goes out the window. If your team has someone with an AoE -acc debuff (or mez, or...), that counterstrike isn't such a big deal. If not? Whoever did the most damage with their AoE is likely to be the target of that first counterstrike... at which point its a great time to use that "you need LoS to start a power, but not to finish" trick.


NOTE: There's actually a second way to get a ranged attacker to move: Back away. Once their target is out of range, they'll advance until you're in range, in a straight line if at all possible. Given a mixed mob of ranged and melee enemies, it's not possible to use this trick to get them into a lump for convenient disposal. BY YOURSELF. If you're on a team and someone else is holding agro, most of the baddies are in a pile, but might be a straggler or two. You can usually reel them in with this trick:

  1. Get agro. "Hurt them" usually works, but a debuff might do the trick. Mez powers prevent movement, and would defeat the purpose.
  2. Move away such that a line drawn between you both will cross where you want the baddie to be.
  3. Wait for your victim to arrive where you want them and get back in range. If you're Really Good, you can back away so that they'll get into range of you when they get where you want them. That means knowing their range and being able to eyeball it on screen. Snazzy.


Knockback is the bane of the Clump Of Doom. Or is it? While knocking people out of the CoD is clearly A Bad Thing, knocking enemies into it is just as clearly A Good Thing. Knockback is always in a straight line directly away from the attacker. You have (some) control over where they land. If I hit an enemy with a knockback power on the near edge of the Clump of Doom, there's a good chance that they'll still be in the clump when they land, just on the other side. No worries. If you're worried about knocking them back again, run around to the other side so "away from you" is also "toward the center of the Clump", and you're good to go.

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