The Art of Warg was mentioned on the fabulous ‘A Casual Stroll to Mordor’ podcast! Huzzah! In case you have been living under a rock and don’t know what A Casual Stroll to Mordor is make sure you check it out! It’s
probably the best LOTRO blog out there and for any player, warg or otherwise, it should be a must read! They have a tonne of great articles and the site is updated regularly. The weekly podcast is also well worth a listen!
*Sigh* … ok I am finally going to do it … a post about warg trait setups. I’ve never been keen on dispensing advice on trait setups because it is a personal choice as far as I am concerned and any advice I, or others give, will almost certainly be instantly challenged by someone. Indeed, the irony is that discussing trait setups often leads to more arguments amongst players than issues that you would think are more contentious e.g. what is acceptable Ettens ettiquette? But I have had people ask me for a while now what traits to use as a warg so with all of the above in mind let’s get into it!
I’m going to break this down into multiple parts; in this part I’ll take an overview of all the different traits available to wargs and give a brief description of each. In subsequent parts I’ll give some examples of specific builds you can use and the pros and cons of each.
These are the traits you earn as you advance your warg from rank 0 to rank 5. After rank 5 there are no more class traits to gain, which sucks, but that’s a debate for another time.
This does what it says on the tin, it increases your armour value.
This trait increases your movement speed, both in and out of stealth, by 5%.
Enhanced Skill: Stealth
This trait does two very important things; it raises your stealth level by 2 points and it also increases your movement speed whilst in stealth by 25%. This is a must have trait trait for every warg!
This trait increases the values for your resistance to Song, Cry, Physical and Tactical effects.
Enhanced Skill: Sprint
This trait decreases the cooldown on your Sprint skill from 10 minutes to 5 minutes.
The Element of Surprise
This trait increases the chance that you will score a critical hit with an attack from stealth by 20%. The increased chance does take your critical chance above the standard 15% cap.
This trait sets the damage type for your attacks to shadow rather than the standard common. This is a must have trait for every warg!
Advanced Skill Rallying Howl
This trait grants you access to the skill Rallying Howl.
You gain racial traits from rank 6 until rank 11.
Four Legged Foe
This trait increases your run speed as well as your evade chance.
Advance Skill: Pack Hunters
This skill grants access to the Pack Hunters skill, which increases the amount of damage a target take each time they are hit.
This trait increases your parry and evade ratings whilst also increasing your resistance to physical and tactical effects.
This trait increases your resistance to Ancient Dwarf, Beleriand and Westernesse damage.
Advanced Skill: Howl of the Unnerving
This trait grants access to the Howl of the Unnerving skill, which adds dread to freeps.
Foe of the Light
This trait increases your stealth level whilst also increasing your resistance to light damage.
This trait increases your melee damage as well as increasing your melee critical chance.
That’s Your Lot
So there we have the specific traits available to wargs. You will notice that I haven’t mentioned the corruption traits and with good reason; the corruption traits are open to all creeps, they aren’t warg specific. Nevertheless I will be mentioning them when we look at some specific setups.
Coming in Part II: The Warg DPS Build …
A pretty good video of wargs battling burglars (the wargs kill lots of burglars!).
This video describes wolf pack hunting tactics, but whilst watching it mentally replace the word ‘wolf’ with the word ‘warg’ and you have a very good description of how a warg pack should operate.
The age old question for the warg! It’s not an easy question to answer either because everyone has their own preferred play style of course, but sometimes new wargs want to now which gives more infamy or which will teach them their skills faster, etc. I’m not going to get too deeply into the debate here because that would simply take up too much space, but I will give you an overview of both so that perhaps you can amke up your own mind.
Going It Alone
Soloing as a warg means not being part of a pack, but it doesn’t mean that you stay away from other creeps entirely. You can be solo whilst helping out a group of creeps attacking a group of freeps, for example. On the other hand some wargs prefer the solitude of truly going solo and wandering around the Moors looking for freeps with no other creeps in sight.
More Infamy – Killing a freep by yourself will give you more infamy than doing so with more than one creep. Typically a completely solo kill will net you somewhere between 100-200 infamy depending upon the freep in question. Even if other creeps do help you kill a freep, as long as you are not grouped, you will still typically gain 30-70 infamy per kill depending upon how much damage you did to the freep in relation to the creeps helping you. Now this might all sound great, but remember a solo kill is usually harder because you have no back-up and no one to heal you so your rate of freep killing may not be very fast resulting in less infamy gained over time even though individual kills give you more.
Peace & Quiet – Sometimes you can’t be bothered listening to people chat away on voice chat or bashing out rubbish in fellowship chat and going solo can be very relaxing. The warg is well suited to this because you can roam at will around the map in complete peace and quiet until you hear the thunder of hooves …
Skill – Killing a free all by yourself is probably your biggest test of skill because not only do you have no one else to rely on, you also have no one else to blame if it doesn’t succeed. This is a good way for you to quickly learn what works and what doesn’t work, but your margin for error will be much less with no back-up.
Bros Before Ho … Er Freeps
Running with the pack can be great fun and it does mean you have some company whilst you play, which many people enjoy. Some warg packs are very small, perhaps just three or four strong, whilst others can be as large as a full raid. Most, however, are between six and twelve strong.
More Kills – This is one of the biggest advantages of running with your warg brothers, your ability to kill freeps at a faster rate. You won’t get as much infamy from each kill, but by killing more freeps in the same amount of time you may find it balances out with solo kills or more likely exceeds what you would have earned if you had gone solo (especially if you are a low ranked warg).
Company – Simply put you may enjoy some company whilst you play and there can be some fun chats during the course of a pack. You also gain the opportunity to make new friends!
Skill – Like the solo warg learning on the job the pack warg also has the opportunity to learn from his experience. Higher ranked wargs in your pack will often be able to give you invaluable tips as well as steering you towards effective stratgeies.
At the end of the day it’s a personal choice and neither is better than the other. Indeed you will probably find yourself alternating between the two styles of play. Sometimes there won’t be a pack up for you to join whilst at other times a heavy freep presence might mean you have to abandon solo play for a while. Whichever you choose remember to have fun (and kill as many freeps as you can!).
In the last part I was looking at things you should avoid doing on the Moors, but here I’ll be looking at what is permitted. Some of the following list will no doubt be contentious with some people saying that it is unfair to do this that or the next thing, but that’s the Ettens for you, you will never find 100% consensus on anything in there.
These are freeps who haev gone afk (away from keyboard) in the middle of the Ettenmoors and personally I view them as viable targets. Now some will say that attacking someone who can’t fight back is unfair and on the face of it that seems true. However, consider the following: the Ettenmoors is a pvp zone where players come to fight and kill each other’s characters and if you don’t want your character to die in the Ettenmoors you should not go afk whilst in there. If you really need to go afk then you can return to one of the safe zones i.e. Glan Vraig for freeps and Gramsfoot for creeps. NO OTHER PLACE IN THE ETTENS IS SAFE!
Imagine a nature documentary where a pack of wolves are hunting a deer. If the deer decides to have a five minute rest in the middle of the wolves chasing it the wolves are not going to turn to one another and say “Hey chaps, he’s having a siesta for a few minutes, we’d better not attack because that’s jolly unfair of us”. No, the wolves would see that as an advantage and press home the attack! The same is true in the Ettenmoors because it is a constant cycle of looking to maximise your advantages whilst minimising your disadvantages. A freep going afk is giving you an advantage and it is in no way unfair to use that advantage.
Simply put, if you go afk in the Ettenmoors and get killed it’s your own fault.
Now this is something wargs are continuously accused of doing, sometimes accurately, but mostly inaccurately. Many wargs operate in packs because of the advantage it gives them in relation to their relatively weak solo abilities. As a result of this strategy many freeps think it terribly unfair when they are running around solo and suddenly half a dozen wargs (or more) jump out and kill them in 5 seconds flat. Again on the face of it this does seem very unfair, after all how is one freep supposed to defend themselves against half a dozen attackers?
As before there is something else to consider here and it is the exact same point I made before: the Ettenmoors is a pvp zone and if you enter it you have to expect to be killed and as a pvp zone not every fight is going to be a noble struggle to the death between two well matched opponents. Consider this; in war where one side has superior resources, firepower, technology, etc, does that superior force stop and help build up the other side so that they can fight as two evenly matched opponents? No, of course they don’t! They press their advantages to defeat their enemy. That’s exactly what a warg pack is doing, creating an advantage for themselves and using that advantage to win.
Rather than bemoaning how unfair it is a better response from a ganked freep would be to gather a group of allies together and try and hunt down that warg pack. That would be evening the odds, but for some reason you rarely see that happen.
These are players who, for whatever reason, are lagging whilst playing in the Ettenmoors. Perhaps they have a poor connection or their computer isn’t very well specced, etc, but whatever the reason the effect is the same. They will often not be able to keep up with the rest of the freeps properly and might not be able to use their skills properly, etc. All in all it means that they are not very effective at attacking creeps or in defending themselves. Like the afkers it seems very unfair to attack someone who can’t properly defend themselves.
Can you guess what I am going to say next? Yes, that’s right the Ettenmoors is a pvp zone and you shouldn’t enter if you don’t want to die and can’t play properly. It’s not the warg’s fault that you have an old computer or that you have a poor connection. It’s not the warg’s fault that you want to pvp, but can’t do so effectively because of hardware/software constraints. As before, the choice of the lagging player to enter a pvp zone whilst not being able to function properly is simply giving the opposing faction an advantage they can use.
I’ll provide a real world example again to help clarify the point. Imagine two opposing armies facing each other across a battlefield. Now imagine that one of those armies had some soldiers that only had one leg. What should the other army do? Hop on one leg if they came face to face with one of those one legged soldiers to even things out? No, of course not. Ok so it’s a rather silly example, but the point is that if you enter combat knowing you are not going to be as effective as other people there you can’t expect the opposing side to make exceptions for you.
One of the biggest pitfalls on the Moors is knowing what is and what isn’t fair play. Yes I did use the term ‘fair play’ and yes I do play a warg and yes I realise some of you may not think those two things go together, but they do!
Now before I get into the who where why and when’s of it all let me start be saying that there is a difference between fair play and gimping yourself with ideas of chivalry that simply don’t have a place in the Ettens. Playing fair is a polite term for not being an arse. No one should be an arse towards other players because i) it isn’t nice and ii) it ruins other people’s enjoyment of the game. Would you want someone deliberately annoying you whilst you are trying to play? No, didn’t think so.
So what is considered bad form? Well lots of things really, but without writing a novel on it I’ll stick to some of the major transgressions that you should avoid. The following are all considered arsey behaviour and should be avoided:
Interrupting Spars – Typically an arsey warg will lurk around in stealth until the freep participant in a spar is low on morale and then run in for an easy kill. It’s easy infamy, but it’s also incredibly bad behaviour. If you didn’t know it was a spar then fair enough, but spars are usually reasonably easy to spot. Interrupting them will only earn you a bad reputation amongst your fellow creeps.
Camping Glan Vraig – This is when you lurk around the freep starting area waiting on freeps to ride out so you can pounce them. It’s considered bad form to do this because if freeps can’t even get out the door to get in and play they will likely just log off in frustration and then everyone looses. In practical terms it’s sort of pointless because the freeps while either just drag you into the one shotter npcs or form a gank squad to hunt you down.
Camping Graveyards – This is when you park yourself close to a rez circle in order to kill freshly spawned freeps returning from a battle. It’s considered bad form for pretty much the same reasons as camping Glan Vraig is and has the same practical limitations too. Now this isn’t to say you can’t position yourself on the route a freep might take riding away from a graveyard (at a suitable distance of course), but lying in wait right beside the rez circle is a poor showing and demonstrates a complete lack of skill on your part.
Those are the big three transgressions most players will agree are to be avoided. They are ‘unwritten rules’ so yes you don’t have to obey them as they are not Turbine’s/Codemaster’s rules, but if you do you will i) earn a bad reputation amongst your fellow players and ii) show that you have little real skill to properly stalk and kill prey the way a warg should.
In the next part I’ll be looking at some misconceptions surrounding what is permitted on the Moors …