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3. CONTROL YOUR PET
This is probably the most essential thing in a game environment without /pet hold (Luclin) or /pet focus (OoW iirc). But there are some tricks which will help tremendously, and, anyhow, it’s still useful once you get your pet disciplines :
• Do not use the pet window for attacking and backing off. For attacking, make yourself a macro and hotkey it : line 1 /pet back off, line 2 /pet attack. This will clear your pet's hate list right before sending it on a target, therefore increasing -a lot- your chances it will attack the correct target when facing multiples. For backing off, hotkey the Back Off pet window button as lag and mouse clicking will take more time than pressing a button. The only time I use the pet window attack or back off button is when I am casting, as you cannot use hotkeys while you cast. Once in Luclin era, you’ll get /pet hold (which is now a toggle, back in the days you had to add it to your back off macro). Adon has a third hotkey for /pet queueattack which adds a mob to the pet's hatelist, he uses that when farming (pet will jump to the next target) and, surprisingly, when raiding : on multiple trash –and no crisis/danger situation- Adon cycles through NPCs, presses his queueattack hotkey so the targets are stored and you don’t lose dps as the pet immediately switches to its next target and doesn’t waste time/distance by coming back to you or its park spot. You can do that in groups too. When raiding, it also allows to share aggro between pet and you on separate mobs, less dangerous for the mage with the aggro transfer DBG implemented.
• Under all circumstances, keep your pet under Expedience and later Velocity. These are pet only movement speed buffs. Velocity is slightly better than SoW, Expedience should match JBoots speed. Not only will your pet keep it up on you when traveling, but now these spells can be casted indoors, they are absolutely priceless in helping you to back off an engaged pet or resending an engaged pet on another target. The combination of my suggested attack hotkey and a movement speed buff allows you, in most circumstances, to disengage a pet and/or to send it on another target (fighting multiples, unexpected add, etc.), even long time before /pet hold. Too many mages just burnout (mage haste) and DS their pet and don't cast these speed buffs, this is a crime against the elementals (and yourself as you'll have a MUCH harder time to disengage a pet without). I almost think Velocity is more important than Burnout before Luclin and /pet hold.
• Position your pet. Too many mages let their pet in follow mode everywhere. While this is the obvious choice when moving, in many situations, especially dungeon crawling, you'll prefer to park your pet. If you are solo, you want to force the placement of the mob you fight. A good mage, using his pet, is able, in many situations, to "attract" the mob to its pet's parked position, by alternating with attack macro and back off hotkey. When grouping, it makes more sense to park the pet close to the tank, so it has less distance to reach the mob, and so on. If you are the puller, you don't want the pet to follow you and jump the mob in the middle of that corridor. According to the layout of a room, you can choose a good parking spot for the pet which will make it easier to intercept and position the mob.
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