A Guide for the Student on the Ways and Means of the Warg and the Stalking of Prey

Archive for May, 2011

How Do Wargs Mate? Why In Mid-Air Of Course!

If you are one of the tiny minority of people who has never seen two wargs humping in mid-air then you can rectify that by watching the video below (and yes the soundtrack is incredibly predictable):

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1vs1 Guide: The Hunter

The second of my more in-depth 1vs1 guides focuses on the Hunter. Again this is a class I am personally familiar with so hopefully that makes the following information more useful to you.

What Is A Hunter?

The short, and flippant, answer is ‘free infamy‘. A more serious answer would be a ranged, single target, dps class that has some melee capabilities. The Hunter is probably the easiest target for the warg as things currently stand although in the hands of a skilled player it can still be a dangerous opponent.

The Opening Move

You are best opening with a pounce from stealth unless the Hunter has either a brand or anti-stun granted by a Lore-master. Your initial pounce from stealth will keep the Hunter locked down for 5 sec during which you can set the scene for the rest of the fight.

As soon as you have made your pounce the first thing to do, as usual, is use Crippling Bite to make sure that the Hunter is slowed to help prevent him kiting you. This is a lot more important than many may realise because the Hunter has some slows and roots of his own and if he manages to gain range from you then he can start to output some rather nasty damage.

The last stage of the opener is to use Throat Rip to silence the Hunter just before he shakes off the initial stun. This is actually a crucial move because Hunters have a fast acting fear skill they can use to lock you down for a while. Silencing the Hunter will prevent them from using that skill.

Problems

There aren’t too many problems for the warg when facing a Hunter, but contrary to what some wargs may think Hunters do have the potential to wreak a little havoc so you should be prepared.

The worst problem you will face with a Hunter is the afore mentioned fear. Hunters have one standard ability to fear wargs called ‘Cry of the Predator’. This skill is available to all Hunters without traiting and it can fear you for up to 10 sec. When feared you will run slower, have all your skills greyed out and you won’t even be able to auto-attack. Of course damage can break this fear, but a smart Hunter can use this time to gain range on you from where he can more effectively crowd control and dps you.

Prevention is better than cure as they say so make sure you use Throat Rip whenever you can to prevent this.

Hunters have a legendary trait called ‘Bard’s Arrow’, which can also fear you. If they have this traited silencing them won’t prevent them from using it, but it is an induction skill so it can be interrupted or you can try and break line of sight/move behind them.

The other problem you may face is kiting. A smart Hunter will attempt to gain range on you and will therefore try and slow you, which can be 40-50% of your run speed. You can use a wound pot to break this slow or use Sprint to make up any distance of course. The important thing is to make sure the Hunter never leaves your melee range.

What Works?

As long as you keep a Hunter in melee range you shouldn’t have too many problems winning the fight. To that end make sure that Crippling Bite is applied at all times to slow the Hunter. This also means you can keep pouncing, not only to interrupt the Hunter’s many inductions, but also to keep them stunned as often as possible.

I would suggest not applying the Savage Fangs bleed too often, but rather leaving the Crippling Bite effect available for more stuns as these will have a bigger effect on the fight for you. Of course sneaking in the odd Savage Fangs bleed here and there won’t do (you) any harm.

Hunters need line of sight to use their skills so don’t be shy about running through them to break their line of sight and of course you should use any nearby scenery to do that as well. In conjunction with this strategy you should use Pounce and Eye Rake liberally as the Hunter is an induction lass for the most part. The more of their skills you can interrupt the less damage they will do to you.

Hunters have some power issues, but not as pronounced as they used to be. To that end Rabid Bite is probably not worth bothering about in a 1vs1 with a Hunter. You should be able to kill them before their power problem even kicks in.

So in short:

  • Keep Crippling Bite applied
  • Pounce as often as possible for interrupts/stuns
  • Break line of sight

The Fight

Here we have a breakdown of an example rotation for a 1vs1 fight between a warg and a Hunter:

  • Activate a brand if you have one (optional with the Hunter, but helps with fears)
  • Pounce from stealth to apply 5 sec stun
  • Crippling Bite to apply slow
  • Throat Rip to apply silence
  • Maul to apply bleed
  • Re-apply Crippling Bite
  • Pounce as soon as anti-stun effect has worn off
  • Re-apply Crippling Bite
  • Apple Savage Fangs for the bleed
  • Re-apply Maul

What To Look Out For

A few of the Hunter’s tricks you should look out for:

Slows – The Hunter has two induction skills each capable of slowing you. These slows can vary in effect from -10% to -50% of your run speed depending upon how the Hunter is traited. You can use a wound pot to get rid of some of these slows or you can always pop Sprint if the Hunter has managed to gain too much range on you. Again liberal use of Pounce/Eye Rake will hopefully interrupt most of their slow attempts.

DoTs – Hunters have one incurable DoT they can apply to you. It hits moderately hard, but only lasts for 10 sec so it’s not worth worrying about too much. It is an induction skill so again you will hopefully interrupt most attempts to apply it to you.

Heals – Hunters have no reliable in-combat self-heal other than pots. They do have a legendary legacy that can give one of their melee skills  the ability to self heal when used. This skill, Agile Rejoinder, requires a parry response so it’s not entirely reliable and the heal is not massive in any case.

Crowd Control – The Hunter has a mezz, but again it has an induction, which can be interrupted. Hunter’s typically don’t have the same power behind their mezz as a lore-master does, not only in terms of duration, but also in terms of seeing it resisted so expect this skill to resist a bit more than a Lore-master mezz.

The Hunter has two fears as discussed above.

The Hunter has the ability to root you, either through a trap or through a legendary skill. In either situation pop a root pot to break out and continue the fight. The Hunter will try to use their roots to either escape or gain range.

Desperate Flight – If the Hunter gets out of combat he may use a skill called Desperate Flight, which will instantly transport him to the nearest friendly rez circle. This skill can only be used out of combat so as long as you keep him in combat it is useless.

What Are The Odds?

Your odds of beating a Hunter in a 1vs1 are very high as long as you keep the Hunter in melee range. Even a low ranked warg stands a very good chance of besting a Hunter. With a lack of panic buttons the Hunter simply can’t hang in the fight very long or escape. The advantage is very much with the warg here.


Why A Warg Is Not A Burglar

One thing that I have seen repeated over the years, and again in the past few days, is that wargs are the creep equivalent of the Burglar. This is such a popular misconception that I felt I should explain why it isn’t true.

Similarities

There are some similarities between wargs and Burglars to be fair and this is no doubt where comparisons arise. The most obvious similarity is of course both classes’ ability to stealth. There are others though, such as the ability to open conjunctions on demand as well as the ability to debuff opponents. Both classes also have effective escape skills that can take them out of danger.

Differences

So what are the differences then? Well for starters the role each class serves is different. The warg is a scout, someone who creeps around the map looking for the enemy and reporting their position. The warg is also a scavenger, looking for the weak to prey upon and finish off. The Burglar, on the other hand, is less of a scout and more of an assassin. The Burglar will often stick close to the main freep groups and engage in harassment tactics or go toe to toe with creeps directly. The warg will often be separated from the main creep group and engage in hit and run tactics.

Specifics

There are actually differences inherent to the similarities I mentioned above! Take stealth for example:

Burglars can achieve higher stealth levels than wargs, especially when one considers low ranked wargs. Burglars are able to equip various items that will enhance their stealth ability whilst wargs are entirely dependent upon traits, some of which are not gained until higher ranks.

The escape skills both classes have are also different. Both classes have an instant stealth skill, Disappear for wargs and HiPS for Burglars. However, they each function differently. For instance, Disappear is on a 10 min cooldown whereas HiPS can have its cooldown lowered to as little as 7 min. HiPS also negates any slow effects on the Burglar, setting run speed to 100% whilst Disappear does not. Burglars also have a reset button that will instantly reset their HiPS cooldown, effectively giving them two uses of the skill back to back. Wargs have no such luxury.

The other ‘panic buttons’ each class has are very different. Wargs have Sprint, which will take them out of a fight. Burglars have Touch and Go and Find Footing, which can keep them going in a fight much longer. Wargs are designed to be the embodiment of ‘fight or flight’ whilst Burglars are more a case of ‘keep fighting’.

In terms of debuffs both wargs and Burglars have a 25% slow they can apply albeit the Burglar can turn their’s into an AOE effect. Wargs have a rather meagre range of debuffs when compared to a Burglar, either suffering from long cooldowns, lacklustre effects or gating until higher ranks.

Packs

Something needs to be said about packs, both of the warg and Burglar variety. Both classes do operate in packs although wargs much more so. The warg pack can cover large distances, both through speed enhancements and through use of maps. The warg packs act as scouts, but also as self-contained groups in their own right. My experience of Burglar packs has been one of groups that are more cautious than the warg packs in the sense that they tend to stick beside the freep raid or hang around only select spots instead of moving around much.

Embrace Diversity

The warg is not a Burglar and vice versa. They are two stealth classes. That’s about it. That should be something that is played up rather than the recent trend of seemingly trying to make the warg into a mirror of sorts for the Burglar. People who play a warg do so because they want to play a warg, not a Burglar.


Warg Convoy


Little Green Dot Warg

A fresh rank 0 warg takes on a Hunter …

WARNING: NSFW language


Disappear … Still Broken

On my travels around the Moors tonight I encountered the age old problem many wargs have faced over the years … the bugged hell that is Disappear. Disappear pops you straight into stealth so that enemies can no longer target you. At least that’s the theory behind it. In reality it’s bugged and always has been.

NPCs can and do still attack you and pets will do likewise. It’snot that Disappear is supposed to make you invulnerable, rather it is supposed to make you invisible. As much as people bang on about wargs and their escape skills the sad fact is that one of our most important survival abilities is broken to the point that sometimes it is just no use at all.

For their part Turbine has promised to fix the skill … indeed they’ve actually stated that it was fixed back when F2P launched. Alas that is not the case and the skill remains broken. Come on Turbine, after 4 years oft his crap can’t we get a fix? Throw a dog bone!


1vs1 Guide: The Lore-Master

In the main guide I touch upon how to deal with specific freep classes, but it was just that ‘touched upon’ rather than a proper examination of each of those classes. To that end I’m going to be looking at each of the freep classes in turn and presenting what I hope will be effective strategies for dealing with them. First up is the freep class I know best … the Lore-master!

What Is A Lore-master?

In a word ‘dangerous’. The Lore-master is potentially one of the worst classes for a warg to face in 1vs1 combat. The Lore-master has a huge array of crowd control options available, extremely potent tactical damage second only to the Rune-keeper, incredibly effective debuffs, frequent self-heals and a large self-heal that can effectively reset the fight for them.

The Opening Move

Normally wargs can pick and choose their fights, but it’s a little different with a Lore-master. Lore-master have a self-buff, which increases their stealth detection so it is possible that they might see you coming. Therefore you have to be quick, get into melee range as fast as you can and attack. If you hang around too long they may spot you and get the jump on you!

Forget using Pounce as your opening move here. A good Lore-master will have anti-stun on himself (if he doesn’t then he deserves to be pounced into oblivion!). You’re best opener in the face of anti-stun is Bloody Maul.

After Bloody Maul the first thing to do is apply Crippling Bite to slow the LM. Lore-masters have slows of their own (better than your’s) so you really need to make sure that the LM is slowed and can’t gain too much distance from you. You need to be in melee range, remember and the Lore-master will want to be at range.

Problems

Once the fight proper has started you will want to silence the Lore-master as soon as possible with Throat Rip. A silenced Lore-master can’t do very much … except cure the silence. Yes I’m afraid Lore-masters, as well as being immune to stuns and knock-downs, can cure their own silence. At best they may panic and forget and at worst you will have only interrupted their rotation for a second, but either way it helps.

Your primary goal here is to maintain as many DoTs as you possibly can and use Pounce and Eye Rake whenever possible. Both of these skills interrupt the Lore-master’s inductions and no Lore-master induction will end well for you! If you see them in the middle of an induction make sure you interrupt it as quickly as possible. This is where we run into problem number two though …

… Lore-masters have a skill that prevents them from being interrupted for 10 seconds. That might not sound like a long time, but in 10 seconds a good Lore-master can kill you. I don’t mean that metaphorically, they can actually kill you in 10 seconds if they get a couple of decent critical hits.

There really isn’t much you can do about this skill, it’s called ‘Call to the Valar’, so you will just have to fight through it.

One strategy against Lore-masters that sometimes does the rounds is to drain their power using Rabid Bite. It’s a good idea on paper, after all the less power a freep has the less they can do right? Yes, but remember that tactical classes in general tend to have oceans of power to fall back on, this isn’t a Champion with 2k power we’re talking about here, most Lore-masters will have somewhere in the region of 4.5-5k power. Quite frankly your Rabid Bite probably won’t even be noticed.

One last problem for the warg is that Lore-masters have a number of skills that can be used in a 360 degree arc around them. In other words running through them or behind them will not make a blind bit of difference, the skill, unless actually interrupted, will still affect you.

What Works?

In the face of these problems what should you do? Well there are three main things for the a warg to do during a fight with a Lore-master:

  • Keep Crippling Bite on the Lore-master at all times
  • Keep pouncing the Lore-master in an effort to interrupt him
  • Keep watching out for anti-stun wearing off

The first point is pretty simple. If the Lore-master is not slowed he will move out of melee range and he will slow you so you can’t catch up to him without popping Sprint. Once a Lore-master gains range on you and can maintain it he has won the fight.

Even though Lore-masters can prevent you interrupting them for 10 seconds still keep using pounce. Some Lore-masters forget to use Call to the Valar, for example, and preventing as many of their inductions as possible is crucial to your chances of winning.

Even if a Lore-master starts a fight with anti-stun he may forget to re-apply it once the fight is in progress and he is occupied with other things. Good Lore-masters won’t forget, but it is essential you keep an eye out just in case it does drop. If you see anti-stun gone then make sure you stun the Lore-master as soon as you can! A stunned Lore-master presents you with a golden opportunity to get in some real damage and offers a short respite from the Lore-master’s damage.

Brands – If you have a brand then you would be well advised to use it before starting a fight with a Lore-master. An inexperienced Lore-master may panic when they realise they can’t stun you and even an experienced Lore-master will be denied the use of one part of their arsenal to use against you.

Panic Them – Even if you don’t have a brand use a stun pot to break out of the first stun they put on you. This can sometimes panic an inexperienced Lore-master and may cause them to make a mistake or even run. It’s a long shot, but every little advantage you can give yourself helps.

Line of Sight – If there is any scenery around that can break line of sight between you and the Lore-master then use it to your advantage. With many of their skills being usable in a 360 degree arc interrupting their inductions or breaking line of sight are the only two reliable ways of preventing them getting those inductions off on you. Just remember though that you don’t want to get out of melee range so be careful when using scenery in this way.

The Fight

Here we have a breakdown of an example rotation for a 1vs1 fight between a warg and a Lore-master:

  • Activate a brand if you have one
  • Bloody Maul from stealth and from behind the Lore-master
  • Crippling Bite to apply slow
  • Throat Rip to apply silence (NOTE: you will almost certainly have been stunned by this point in the fight unless you have a brand active)
  • Savage Fangs to apply bleed with Crippling Bite effect
  • Apply Pack Hunters if you have it
  • Apply Rend Flesh if you have it
  • Re-apply Bloody Maul
  • Re-apply Crippling Bite
  • Re-apply Savage Fangs

What To Look Out For

There are a lot of very nasty things a Lore-master can do to you so here is what you should look out for:

Debuffs – The Lore-master can, and probably will, hit you with a range of debuffs that will lower your melee damage by 30%, reduce your evade chance, increase your attack duration and reduce your critical chance. There is absolutely nothing you can do about these, there is no way for you to remove them so you will just have to fight through them.

Slows – The Lore-master has two slows; a 30% 30 sec slow from the Burning Embers skill and a 50% slow from Sticky Tar. If the Lore-master gets tar down try and avoid it. The Burning Embers slow is non-removable so you will be stuck with it.

DoTs – Lore-master DoTs are incurable and they hit hard. Properly traited the Lore-master can put two DoTs on you, both lasting 35 sec and both hitting for around 150-200 damage per tick. Again there is nothing you can do about these other than to use morale pots to try and mitigate them a bit.

Heals – Aside from pots the Lore-master has two practical means for healing during a fight; flank events from his pet and the Wisdom of the Council skill. Flank heals rely on the pet and heal the Lore-master for 650 morale or around 900 on a critical. Wisdom of the Council heals the Lore-master for around 2.5k or so, but can crit for around 4k. Wisdom of the Council also reflects damage back at you and has a small chance to stun anyone hitting the Lore-master.

Crowd Control – The Lore-master has five separate stuns, a mezz, and two roots. Mezzing will probably be used to interrupt/slow you down in the fight rather than keep you in place. It can be very annoying, but don’t waste your stun pots on breaking it. The worst of the stuns are Ents Go To War (6 sec) and Test of Will (5 sec). Using a pot to break either of these is worth it since they have a long duration. Roots may be used to allow the Lore-master to gain some distance on you, make sure you pot out of them if you can to prevent that from happening.

Pets – Ignore them. It’s as simple as that. Yes they will debuff you. Yes they will cause you damage. Yes they allow the Lore-master to heal. However, diverting attention to killing them is suicide. It will give the Lore-master a free reign to pound you into the ground. The pets are annoying, but like so much else with the Lore-master you will just have to fight on through it. One possible advantage you can gain from a pet though is if you are near friendly NPCs and can drag the pet to them making it pull them. Sneaky? Yes, but then you are a warg!

What Are The Odds?

In short your chances of winning against a Lore-master in a 1vs1 fight are not good. Player skill counts for a lot of course and if the Lore-master is new to the Ettens then you stand a much better chance of prevailing. If it’s a seasoned veteran of the Moors though then quite frankly you would probably be better not even attempting it 1vs1.