Kiting (MMORPG term)

Kiting (MMORPG term)

Kiting is a term encountered in MMORPGs such as "EverQuest", "The Lord of the Rings Online" or "World of Warcraft" referring to a popular method of killing mobs (monsters) by staying at a distance, using ranged attacks, and running whenever the enemy comes near. Similar tactics may be used in other computer and video games. [citebook|title=Gaming Hacks|author= Simon Carless|year= 2004|publisher=O'Reilly|pages=112|id=ISBN 0596007140]


The term "kiting" is generally considered to refer to "flying a kite" [ Kiting defined] , which is what the process looks like from a third party. The player doing the kiting leads the enemy around (directed by the AI to move towards the player to attack them), which is often moving at a reduced speed caused by the player in some manner (for example, a "slow" spell or injury).

Alternative Etymologies

It has been suggested that the term "kiting" refers to the slang banking term "check kiting", meaning to illegally float money back and forth between accounts. Generally, the banking term refers to money not reaching its destination, which is similar to the goal of kiting a target in a game.

It has also been suggested that "kiting" comes from "Killing In Transit", but this is more commonly regarded as a backronym.


The advantage of the strategy is that a safe distance is kept between the player and the target while the player keeps bombarding the target with ranged attacks (such as spells, arrows, or other projectiles). This ideally results in a dead monster without the player taking a hit. The obvious disadvantages of this tactic are the annoyances of constant running around, its slowness, and the possibility of "adds" (other monsters in the area assisting the primary target). The tactic relies on being able to generate more damage per second than the mob's hit point regeneration without running out of mana or projectiles, and so is limited in this respect. This limitation is less relevant when the kiter's only task is keeping the monster's attention while his or her friends deal damage, since in many games the other players are not "in combat" and can rest or recover easily.

Kiting was an extraordinarily effective tactic in the first several months after "EverQuest" was released, allowing players to kill monsters that "conned" red (on a scale of green-blue-white-yellow-red, signifying the level of the monster relative to the player's level, white being equal, green much lower and red much higher). In the summer of 1999, Verant Interactive implemented several nerfs apparently designed to make kiting a less viable tactic. The most notable change made damage-over-time (DoT) spells only 66% as powerful while the target chased the player. DoT spells, among many others, have since been revised several times (now do full damage to running mobs), and attempts have been made to promote grouping. Kiting continues, however.

"EverQuest II" implemented a locked-encounter system that countered several tactics that had emerged in the original game. When a player enters a locked encounter, they lose any movement speed enhancements they have (except for a special sprint ability). Movement speed enhancements were useful in kiting to maintain a safe distance between the player and the target.

A common strategy in "World of Warcraft" involves a player "pulling" a boss away from a group of enemies, kiting the boss while the rest of the player's party defeats the other mobs. The kiter then usually gets the aggro off them after the other enemies are defeated and then the whole group fights the boss together with no other distractions.

Sometimes players will kite aggressive, high level mobs into unusual areas to wreak havoc. In "World of Warcraft" for example, one party of orc hunters kited a high-level boss mob, called Kazzak, into the human capital city Stormwind. [cite web | title=Google Video of Lord Kazzak attacking Stormwind, and as boxx mob, killed everyone in that city. | url= ] Those responsible were banned, and Blizzard Entertainment reset the game settings so that Kazzak could not be kited that far.


The most basic method of kiting is to attack an enemy from a distance and simply run away, stopping to attack again as often as necessary in order to maintain aggro and to whittle down the enemy's hit points. More advanced techniques require knowledge of a game's specific mechanics. For example, in World of Warcraft, the Mage class has access to "frost" spells which slow down the enemy's movement or even freeze them in place, allowing the mage to keep his distance even if his normal movement speed is less than that of his enemy. Other useful in-game abilities can include movement speed boosts for the player or teleportation powers, depending on the game and character.

To reduce the likelihood of encountering additional opponents while kiting, it is important for a player to be aware of his surroundings. Some players will move in a circle while kiting in order to stay within an area they know to be relatively clear of enemies.

Two players working together may kite an enemy without actually moving, if the game's AI or aggro mechanisms allow. The players position their characters on opposite sides of an AI controlled enemy, some significant distance apart. The players alternate attacking the enemy with ranged attacks. If the two players are causing approximately equal damage to the enemy and have proper timing, the enemy will continuously change which player it is targeting or has the most aggro towards, causing it to run back and forth between the two players, wasting most of its time moving instead of attacking.

Line of Sight kiting exists in several MMORPG's, but is probably most evident in City of Heroes. The idea of line of sight kiting is to kite an enemy who has ranged attacks by hiding behind objects and around corners to break their line of sight to you. Most enemies with ranged attacks can continue attacking the player even while moving, which defeats the purpose of kiting. By breaking the line of sight, the player forces the enemy to stop attacking while they run to a position from which they can see the player. This can allow the player more time to reach the next corner or obstacle, or for abilities with a cooldown to recharge. Line of sight manipulation can also be used to bring an enemy into position for an ambush by the player's teammates or to draw an enemy away from a group of its companions who have not yet noticed the player.

Another common use of the term kite, although in some ways the inverse of the original, is "reverse-kiting" (sometimes called fear-kiting). This is when a player will attack an enemy, and then use an ability to keep the enemy away, without the player actually having to move, usually through the use of an ability than induces fear in the target in World of Warcraft, as this will cause the enemy to run around randomly, rather than attack. Once the targeted enemy is then incapable of attacking, the player can then start to damage the enemy safely. In some other games, knockback or repulsion abilities may be used for the same effect.

Everquest also created the term "Quad Kiting". This method involved a spell caster that can deal damage to four targets grouped together. "Quad Kiting" was difficult to accomplish, but yielded more than double the experience in the same amount of time.


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