I should know, I get white line fever in spades. It goes like this:
You’re starting the fight, strategy pinging around your skull as the Tanks run in. First phase watch threat, second phase get the adds, etc. Your adrenaline is ramping up, and Omen ticks your name onto the meter. Combat begins. Fun; sweet blood-thirsty fun.
Move, strike, move, strike, strike, kill. Turn, new target, strike, strike….and it all fades to a white line.
Next thing you know a guildmate is screaming over vent, you’re up to your neck in aggro, and you’re standing in a void zone/fire/glyph thing. Damn it!
Whiteline fever strikes again.
It happens to most folks who get distracted for whatever reason, so this post is half confession of what I do wrong, and half call to action. Any screw-up in a run can be bad, and nobody likes to be that person. If you’re a DPS role and find yourself getting white-line fever, please read a few tips below on what works to keep me from getting too absorbed in the thrill.
Q. Why does it happen?
A. Varies, but it usually because we focus on one aspect of the screen or the game and ignore another. For me its which abilities next, and whats in front of me. I zone out to the actions of others and need to remember the other 24 folks in the run.
Q. What can we do to avoid it?
A. Lots of things…
Before the fight:
- Repeat the strategy set by the raid-leader, again and again in your head.
- Read up on and study the danger signs. That might be fire circles, void zones, banish, fire-pot, you name it. Knowing what abilities you have to help survive and avoid them will be a boon to the run.
- When in doubt, speak up.
- Group buffs – what do you need to share with the team, and what do you need from the team to perform well. Get to know them, and especially which guys in the team might bring which buffs. eg. Some Pally buffs are better from some specs than others. The Pallys will already know, but it never hurts to check. I’ve pulled with Crusader Aura and Blood Presence when tanking, and also been dumb enough to keep Frost Aura up well after a shitty set of trash where my dps Death Knight needed to off-tank for a few seconds.
- Personal buffs – food, flask, potion. Bring them to the run, and use them. Food buffs especially are great bonuses that are cheap in the grand scheme of things.
- Who in the run has done this before really well? If it will help watch what they do and stand near them if your roles are similar.
During the fights:
- Again, ask if it does not make sense.
- Communicate anything about an ability that is key to the strategy. eg. If you need Heroism at 40% make sure its off-cooldown, and warn the raid that its coming soon.
- Keep an eye out on the rest of your team. This will help you avoid the White-line, but also may help teach you something about the fight.
- Stay in range of the healers. Watch the Tanks.
- Stay out of the traps and tricks.
- Remember your oh-shit abilities. Death Knights can heal ourselves with the Ghoul, or with a Tap. Use them as things start to go bad, and it might save a healer healing you instead of healing somebody who can’t help themselves.
- Stay alive, and protect the squishies.
After the fight / run:
- If possible record the fight. On some PCs this will kill the framerate and kill your dps, so its not for everyone. I find it bad enough to get a decent framerate so watch wow-vids instead. And watching these vids seriously helps.
- Talk to other players about the strategy, and don’t ignore the guys who do different roles to you. That range dps might see a shopping list of obvious subtle things that the melee never see. Ask them.
- Re-read the strategy.
Q. Will it happen again?
A. Probably, but less and less in each encounter.
Most of these tips are from running as DPS as a non-raid leader, and these are the things that make sense to me when we play. Almost all of it is obvious, but even in the writing of it, its made me think of a few things I should consider more often.
(ps. white line fever is the feel of driving most efficiently and quickly that you ignore everything else. In affect the driver enters a trance state were all they see is the white line on the road. Just in case somebody didn’t know the term.)