Kiting is a term primarily encountered in MMORPGs referring to a popular method of killing mobs (monsters) or other players 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.
The term kiting is generally considered to refer to "flying a kite", which is what the process looks like to 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).
It has been suggested that the term kiting refers to the slang banking term Wikipedia: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 time-consuming nature, 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 ammunition, 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 (from which the term originated) 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, essentially divide and conquer.
In EVE Online, kiting is an important strategy for both player versus player (PVP) and player versus environment (PVE). Player spaceships fit for short range combat often do considerably more damage than those using longer range weapons, but a faster ship fit for longer range can control the distance between themselves and their opponent, defeating the opponent while taking little or no damage themselves. Also, small, fast ships, flown by both player characters (PCs) and non-player characters (NPCs), tend to try orbiting as close as possible to larger opponents to keep up their transversal velocity(orbiting faster than the guns of the larger ship can track them). To counter this, the larger ship will try and kite the smaller, burning away at top speed and forcing the smaller ship to pursue in a straight line, where it becomes a much easier target for the larger ship's guns.
In EVE Online kiting is often used when attacking enemy player-owned structures (POS). Below 50% shields the POS becomes unmanageable by the enemy. This way the POS can not be timed appropriately, so the attacking force can kite a tower into a timezone more appropriate for them.
In the RPG Dragon Age: Origins, kiting can often be employed as an easier way to defeat high level opponents and bosses, particularly if the player is a mage, who is often capable of generating aggro very quickly but has a hard time surviving physical encounters. It should be noted however that some enemies, such as the Revenant, have anti-kiting abilities that pull the character to their feet.
Training is a particular type of kiting in which a "train" of monsters is acquired through minimal aggro and allowed to follow the trainer in such a manner that they will intentionally run into another foe, losing interest in the trainer and attacking the trainer's true target instead. This is commonly used by griefers to bypass PVP flags and slay other players.
Sometimes players will train aggressive, high level mobs into unusual areas to wreak havoc. In World of Warcraft for example, one party of orc hunters trained a high-level boss mob, called Kazzak, into the human capital city Stormwind. This particular monster becomes practically invincible after 3 minutes of combat. Blizzard had to reset the server so that normal gameplay could continue. Those responsible were banned, and Blizzard Entertainment rescripted the encounter so that Kazzak could not be trained 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 MMORPGs, 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 the player. 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 EverQuest and 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 spawned the term "quad kiting" or "quadding". This method involved a spell caster that could deal damage to four targets grouped together (Shamans, druids, necromancers and wizards). Quad kiting was difficult to accomplish, but yielded far greater rewards for the same amount of time expended by the player.
It may be useful to note the difference between kiting and "pulling", another technique in MMO games. Whereas both are techniques requiring ranged attacks, pulling is done usually in a party where a ranged character has no expectation of killing the mob with ranged attacks alone. Pulling is a control technique used to draw a limited number of enemies (one or more) to a clear location to allow a party to kill them without causing the rest of the group (or adjacent groups) to aggro. Kiting is intended as a primary offensive technique, in which separating the party from a larger group is desirable at times, but not required.
Kiting does not require ranged attacks to be considered a form of kiting. (Don't Starve)
- Kaelin, Mark (3 May 2006). Playing a MMORPG is not all fun and games, you better have the right vocabulary. Tech Republic. CBS Interactive, Inc.. Retrieved on 15 December 2009
- Simon Carless (2004). Gaming Hacks. O'Reilly. p. 112. ISBN 0596007140.
- Google Video of Lord Kazzak attacking Stormwind, and as boss mob, killed everyone in that city..