Guide: Threat Management

This was first published on Sep. 13th, 2014

I was strolling along, minding my own business. Carefully, I approached the keyboard. I couldn’t wait to write my weekly post. Suddenly, wham! Life sent me a vicious backhand that I never saw coming. I found myself lying, broken and beaten, in the corner wishing for some athelas. Or maybe a rez.

Threat generation is a cruel and vicious beast. It has claimed the lives of many adventurers. Of course, this is mostly because there a very few in-game guides explaining it. And if there are, they are very short. And hard to find. Possibly nonexistent actually.

But we don’t judge! Nope, instead, we are just quietly going to add our own guide to threat generation. A long one that is hopefully very easy to find. Threat Generation (commonly known as aggro) is a system that you must understand if you are going to participate properly in a group. Summed up, it is a set of odds that determine how likely a monster is to come over and smack you around a bit. The more you attack a monster, the more it’ll want to tear your face off. Higher threat = more possible that the monster will attack you. It seems so very simple, but it is so very complex. There is really only one thing you should worry about once you understand this concept, and that’s how to manage threat.

Gaining Threat
When in a group, some characters don’t want to be hit. Other characters jobs are to be hit. These last ones are going to be running around generating as much threat as possible. They want to make it so that lots of monsters are hitting them, rather than the other party members. Of course, I’m talking about tanks, and the only reason tanks can, erm, tank is because of threat management. Tanks usually have all sorts of skills that can force an enemy to attack them. Then it is a simple matter of holding their attention. This can be done by hitting them.

Threat generation isn’t something only tanks should worry about! All players should have this on their mind so that they can control how many enemies they face at once. If you don’t want two people attacking you, attack only one person! Whatever you do, don’t start throwing down area affect skills unless you want a crowd of monsters attacking you. This should be kept in mind so that you don’t pull threat from other players. Of course, there are some situations where pulling threat can save someone’s life. For instance, if your healer is attacked, you absolutely want to pull threat off the healer. If someone is low on health, it is very helpful to pull threat off them. This is what makes a group run well. This, and losing threat.

Losing Threat 

Many players of course, don’t want to generate a lot of threat. These players most often have problems losing threat. Losing threat is much harder than gaining threat. A good rule of thumb is to manage how much threat you gain in the first place, but sometimes this just doesn’t work out. There are some skills and items that decrease the amount of threat you generate. If you have problems losing threat, it’s a good idea to look into these items and skills. Remember to use them if you have them. They are there for a reason.

Losing threat is often something that can only be done through teamwork. The first thing you need to do is tell other players that you need someone to pull the monster off you. Once someone has started attacking whatever is bugging you, just stand still until the monster goes away. Other than feigned deaths, this is really the only way to go about it.

Earlier, I mentioned how to pull threat off another person. But how do you avoid doing that? Sometimes you just want to help someone out without having your limbs torn from your body. Is that so much to ask? No, and there is a tried-and-true method of doing this. Once you’ve selected a monster (one attacking a group member) attack the monster for about four seconds. Be careful not to do too much damage during this time. Remember that the more damage you do, the more threat you generate, auto-attacking will generate less threat than spamming your most powerful skills. Next, don’t do anything for four seconds. Repeat. A more complex method is to do this, but with two or more targets. Attack Target A for four seconds. Then attack Target B for four seconds. Repeat. If you have done this correctly, you will have done a fair amount of damage without generating that much threat. Practise this, as it’s a very useful skill to have.

Threat and Healing
Ah, healing. Healing comes with many problems, but threat is the one I will focus on today. There are many theories as to how this works. Some say that no threat is generated while healing, others say that threat is always generated by healing others. Every game is different. In Lotro, threat is only generated by healing if you heal a target that is under attack.

If Monster A is attacking Player A, you must be very careful if you want to heal Player A. You want to heal Player A, but you don’t want to be attacked. That’s understandable, you’re a healer, not a tank. If you use healing skills that aren’t so powerful, it will take longer to heal Player A, but Monster A won’t attack you as not much threat is generated. Sometimes, this is a great thing to do. Throw a heal-over-time at Player A and see how he fares. Other times, Player A is ready to drop and you must heal him now. The only thing to really do is throw a massive heal on Player A and hope that Player A is willing to pull threat off you if necessary. It is important to note that if you heal someone who isn’t being attacked, no threat will be generated. And remember, don’t spam area-of-affect heals when grouping. It seems like a good idea, but most of the time, it will make every monster attack you. If this happens, the other group members may not reach you in time.

Well, that’s about it. Hopefully, you understand this strange system better. Got any funny stories involving threat that you want to share? Any tips for those struggling with threat management? Be sure to put them in the comments and remember to subscribe! Have a great week everybody!

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