Basic group strategyEdit
There are several basic methods of hunting in a group. The first, and simplest, is simply to pick a leader and have him use his tracking to find appropriate mobs in the area and follow him to the mob and attack it. This is the method most new players tend to use. There are serious drawbacks to this however, with the most serious being that it is very easy to run into aggressive mobs and end up with a fight on your hands that you cannot win. A safer and more productive strategy is called sitting and pulling. When doing this, the group finds a relatively safe area near where the mobs they want to hunt spawn. Then the group puller engages a mob, preferably with a ranged ability, and runs back to the group with the mob in pursuit. Then once it gets there the whole group can gang up on it and take it down. This usually lets you only attack one mob at a time. The third method is similar, and is used when you are hunting a group of mobs that spawn in the same spots and don't wander, such as an orc camp. In this case, the group sets up just outside the camp and the puller pull the mobs to the group. This differs from the sit and pull method only in that the mobs in a camp are sometimes linked and when you usually get more than one to attack at a time.
Class roles in groupEdit
There are three basic categories for how the classes work in a group. These are fairly general, and each class fills the roles a little differently, but they are still good places to start in figuring out how you should work within the group. Unlike some MMORPGs, EQOA is fairly traditional in that most classes fit within a single role, and do not perform other roles effectively. It is important that you know your role and perform it, as the other players will expect certain things our of you due to your class abilities.
Warrior, Paladin and Shadowknight make up the EQOA Tank classes. These classes are most able to take damage and survive. They have the highest armor class and most hit points. As a tank, your job is to be at the front of the battle getting attacked by the mob. You are not necessarily the one who will do the most damage to the mob, but you are definitely the one who will take the most punishment. As long as the mob is hitting you and not anyone else in the party, you are doing a good job. One key ability you have to accomplish this is the Taunt ability. Use it constantly. It may sound dangerous to you that you are the only one taking damage, but in fact it is safer. The group's healer knows you are the one to keep an eye on, so he will watch your hit point bar and cast heals on you to make sure you stay up. Tanks are also usually the one who pulls mobs to the group. This is a skill worth developing. A puller needs to learn when he will get only one mob so that he doesn't train a whole group of mobs onto his group and wipe it out.
Cleric, Druid and Shaman are the EQOA healer classes. In addition, some other classes, notably Bards, if configured properly may also fill the role of healer in certain circumstances. As a healer, you will find yourself very popular, because every group needs a healer to truly be effective. Your job is, quite simply, to keep your party alive. Prior to the battle, you should buff the party members with any appropriate spells to increase their abilities. During the battle, your job is to keep an eye on everyone's hit point bar and heal them before they die. In a group with a tank, you can expect that the most damage will be taken by the tank, so that is the person to watch the most closely.
Every other class fills the role of damage dealer. Some damage dealers are physical melee classes - notably the rogue, bard and monk. These classes are best at dishing out damage and also have some side abilities to other things for the group. In a pinch, these classes can tank for a group, but, as they have lighter armor and fewer hit points, they are not nearly as effective as a true tank class. The ranger is likewise a physical melee class, although also commands many ranged damage dealing abilities via usage of the bow.
Casters are also damage dealers, but primarily attack from range and deal damage via the usage of magic spells as about to physically. Of the caster classes, wizards are pure damage. The wizard typically has the potential to inflict the most damage in the shortest period of time. The key to playing a wizard is to know when to cast your spell. If you cast too soon, the mob will leave the tank and aggro on you and you will probably drop like a stone before the healer can get off a good heal for you. Wait until later in the battle and then finish the mob off with a blast. Magicians play similarly to wizards, except they have a pet and get some buffs such as damage shields and their damage spells are generally weaker. Like magicians, necromancers also command pets which contribute a substanial portion of the necromancer's total damage. But these casters also cause damage through spells that do damage over time. As a necromancer, you want to cast your spells early so that they can have the most effect. However, you still need to make sure that the tank has attached the aggro of the mob to himself before casting. Enchanter are maybe the most complex casters to play. Your job is crowd control. At later levels, many players feel that a group is not really complete without an enchanter. When an extra mob gets added to the group, your job is to keep it charmed and out of the way while the group kills the first mob. Casters are also the last ditch group savior. If it looks like the tank is about to go down and the healer can't heal either because he is out of power or being attacked, a caster, especially a wizard, can unload everything he has on the mob and hope to kill it before it either kills the tank or aggros on the caster.
The biggest challenge for these classes is to manage your damage so as to not pull the mob off of the tank and onto themselves. Generally you want to let the tank get in a few licks and taunts before unleashing any heavy damage, such as a backstab. One thing you need to do as a utility melee is make sure you are attacking the right mob in multiple pull situations. You should make it a point to always assist the main tank and attack what he attacks.
To really understand how to work in a group, you need to understand the concept of aggro. Mobs have an aggro table that determines which characters they are most angry with at any given moment. The player highest on its list is the one it will try to attack. As a player you can move up that list by doing certain things to that mob or around it. Attacking a mob moves you up on its aggro list, so does casting offensive spells on the mob, or casting defensive and healing spells on anyone it considers an enemy. Some buff spells will incur aggro on a mob, others will not - generally if a buff if offensive (e.g., increases Dexterity) it will cause aggro; if a spell is defensive (e.g., increases Agility) it will not.
Taunt is a skill given to tanks to deliberately annoy a mob and move yourself up its aggro list, and is thus a very important skill to use in combat. The key to playing in a group is to keep the tank on top of the mob's aggro list and everyone else lower down on that list. If a wizard, for example, starts blasting the mob as hard as it can it is going to notice it and may decide that the wizard is more of a threat to it than the warrior in front of it, causing it to disengage the warrior and run to attack the wizard. Healers must also be aware of the aggro factor of their heals. The mob may notice that the player it is fighting seems to keep getting healed and decide that it is better off killing the healer first and then worrying about the warrior with his sword. This can be even more complex when there are more than one mob. It may be that the one fighting the tank is really mad at him for all the damage he is doing while his friend has noticed the Cleric in the background casting heals and decided to attack him instead of the tank. It is the job of the tank to keep all aggro on himself and keep them off the other players. Barring that, the secondary melee should try to get the aggro onto themselves and off the healers and casters, since the groups survival depends upon the healer keeping everyone alive and the caster is the one who can best pull the group out of a tough situation by nuking the mob as hard as he can to try to kill it fast before it kills everyone else.
Some classes have special abilities which allow them to decrease their aggro with a particular mob.
Mobs come in two categories. There are the ones who wander aimlessly around the area and can easily be pulled to the side and killed one at a time. Then there are the ones that are grouped in a camp. Camped mobs are generally linked together and attacking one causes others in the camp to attack you as well. As a general rule, the best loot in the game is usually found on camped mobs. In order to attack a camp, you need to learn how to break it. Once a camp is broken, it is often easy to pull the mobs one at a time by getting them as soon as they spawn. How you break a camp really depends upon which classes you have with you. Often you can pick off stragglers at the camp perimeter and eventually reduce the camp to a small enough number that you can handle an all out attack, but this is really not the preferred way to do it.
EQOA is set up so that you can solo your character up to level 60, although not particularly efficient relative to grouping up with other players. While you generally get more experience playing with a group, it can sometimes be a pain to hunt down a group, or you may not really have enough time to look for a group and would prefer to spend as much of your limited time playing your character. In those times, you may want to just hunt on your own. How you solo depends upon your class, and you really need to experiment and determine the best methods on your own. However, there are several concepts every class should follow. As a solo player, your worst nightmare is getting an add and having to take on two mobs. To avoid this, don't fight the mob where you find it, but instead pull the mob off to a safe area where you have not seen that many wandering mobs. This way you can finish it off without worrying about it bringing friends. An even better strategy is to pull the mobs nearby, but not next to, a guard and fight it there. That way if you get in trouble, you can run to the guard and let it kill the mob for you before the mob finishes you off. Make sure you con everything before you attack it. Unless you have exceptional equipment for your level, you are best off attacking mobs that are blue to you than ones that are yellow. Also, make sure you are well stocked with food and water. Solo players tend to go through a lot of hit points and power during the course of a battle, and to avoid a lot of boring downtime between battles, you will likely need to eat and drink after every fight.