Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cataclysm Miscues: III: Targeting

This is the third in a series of posts about the little things that cataclysm messed up on this expansion.  These little things are things that mostly go unnoticed or are easily overlooked because they are usually not game breaking but they do leave you having that feeling of something being off.

Past posts:
Cataclysm Miscues: I: Healing & Mana Potions
Cataclysm Miscues: II: Hemet Nesingwary

What are you Targeting?

Tab targeting has never been an exact science in this game but like anything else you would consider something like that a work in progress.  Cataclysm threw in the towel on the problem.  It has totally given up on trying to fix the system, so much so that it has actually made it worse.

How many of us have been out questing or in a dungeon or raid and hit tab and wondered where the hell is the mob that I am targeting?  It is on the floor below you of course, the floor above you of course or behind the wall of course.  Why would the tab target system ever consider picking one of the three mobs that are directly in front of you.  That would be stupid.

It seemed like the tab targeting system took a step backward this expansion and they have made no efforts to fix the error.  Most people just consider it a general annoyance and let it slide, but it wasn't always like this.  This was a change cataclysm brought us.  I am willing to guess it was not intentional, but it is something that should have been addressed at some time during the expansion.

I can't tell you the number of times that I have been in a dungeon where there are three mobs attacking the tank and one mob CCed away from everyone and it always seems that someone breaks him out of CC and says, sorry, tab target fail.

You can't really blame them because it is not their fault.  There are three mobs standing directly in front of them, three mobs in active battle, of course when you go around to tab target through them so you can multi dot them on your lock the tab target system is going to choose to go to the one mob 20 yards away, not in active battle, that just so happens to be in a frost trap not bothering anyone.

It is almost as if the targeting system will always choose the mob that is the absolute furthest away from you, even if that mob is behind a wall or CCed.

That is not the only targeting miscue this expansion when it comes to tab targeting.  There are many, way to many.  Magmaw, can't tab to him.  Al'Akir, can't tab on him. Deathwings limbs, can't tab to them.  There are these mountainous being and we can not hit tab to get to them? 

Speaking of targeting on fights like Magmaw and Al'Akir, what is up with their hit boxes when it comes to targeting?  Magmaw has been fixed but that was not until the content was old and dated.  You would walk into the instance and target him from half a room away down a long staircase.  Something doesn't seem right there. 

The nightmare stories I have read on the forums of all the poor hunters that accidentally pulled Mags or Al because of their insanely huge targeting hit box.  I am proud to say that I have never pulled either but that has nothing to do with not targeting them, I just learned to stand backwards during those fights at all times until the fight began because if you sneeze and accidentally click anywhere on the screen you will ninja pull.

The targeting dead people thing also annoyed me to a great extent, so much so I do not even know if the bug still exists because I created macros for all my most used abilities on my tanks with the [nodead] tag to stop it from happening.  While I had noticed it happening on occasion on other characters it was when tanking I noticed it most.

Having a pack of mobs in your face you would usually just do your AoE tanking rotation and when the main target died you would automatically move to the next target when you hit devastate or mangle or what have you but not any more thanks to cataclysm.  Now you stayed targeted on the dead mob meaning you either had to click on another mob manually or take the risk of hitting tab target and hoping that the system did not give you a mob that was not one of the four mobs beating on you.  As mentioned, that seems to usually happen this expansion.

Another little targeting error that I can not confirm 100% if it was like this or not is tab targeting to a PvP flagged target when you are not flagged for PvP.  I don't recall it ever being like this before but I could be mistaken.  If you are out questing and tab targeting mobs and a PvP flagged player is in the area your tab target can choose them as a target.  For people that want to just quest and avoid PvP this could mean you get flagged unwillingly if you're a key smasher like I am.  Like I said, I don't recall it ever being like this before.

Speaking of targeting failures when it comes to PvP cataclysm reintroduced us to something that we have not seen since BC.  AoE PvP targeting.  If you are not flagged for PvP and do an AoE ability with a PvP flagged person in range it flags you.  I could have sworn that was fixed back in BC.

It lead to a lot of griefing on my server.  One horde guild had a raid of 20+ on the day the thrall quest line came out all flagged and killing any alliance character that was unlucky enough to do anything on the first platform phase that had an AoE ability thanks to this targeting fail.

While cataclysm did a lot of things in an effort to make the game better, little things, one little thing escaped their grasp and moved backwards, targeting.

I could say these things are game changing / breaking miscues but they really are not.  Everything here can be dealt with easily enough.  You can tab spam to get the right target.  You can be careful so you do not hit things with huge hitboxes.  You can click on the mobs that can not be tabbed to.  You can make sure you are on an enemy mob and not an enemy player before doing an ability.  You can make sure not to use AoE abilities when flagged people around.

Nothing here hindered your ability to play the game, but targeting and everything involved with it was a huge miscue in cataclysm, one that set the game back instead of forward like expansions should.  Fixing all these errors would only be a quality of life thing but I would not mind at all and in truth, I am sure there are a great deal of players out there that never even noticed these errors or even if they did noticed, they never thought much about it, they just shrugged and moved on.

So if you are playing cataclysm, like it or not is irrelevant, and you ever felt like some things just did not seem right then perhaps this is one of those things you subconsciously noticed.  While not game breaking the lack of a decent targeting systems is one of the miscues of cataclysm.


  1. Ahhh targeting. I agree with you 100% on this. You previosuly talked about the hunter targeting changes - removing auto target from the class - Damn that really ground my gears taking that away. Sure the people that didnt know what they were doing pulled mobs from halfway across the map with auto they removed it. Sadly, as you've said they just do the same thing with tab tageting.

    Seems like standard fare of course, remove something most people like but a few find tricky and replace it with a system everyone hates, yay!

    1. I immediately made all my own self target macros on my hunters when that happened.

      Something like this.

      #showtooltip Arcane Shot
      /cast [harm, nodead, exists] Arcane Shot

      Something like that worked for me. At least that is how I remember it, not at my computer so can not check. The idea is I still auto target everything like I used to and as an added bonus never had to deal with the targeting dead things issue that came with this expansion.

  2. I just did hour farm for bracelets, and it looked like /startattack code uses same rules as tab-targeting... so damn annoying when you're melee, and there is one last mob remaining nearby after aoe, and it targets something 30 yards away.

    On other hand, sometimes tab-targeting really worked perfectly - as in actually switches you to far away new target that you need to pick up as tank/burn as dps. It looks like there is some kind of "smart system" built in that is geared toward raid encounters (huge hitboxes being separate issue - but being able to tab-target Magmaw from a few rooms away might be part of it) that replaced old behaviour... and being "smart" and not customizable, it is quite unpredictable.