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

Archive for June, 2011

Grow A Set!

One thing that sends me straight into a boredom induced coma in the Ettens is people running from a fight, it just isn’t fun. I can already hear the guffaws of laughter from those thinking “Ha! A warg criticising people for running away!” I’m not talking about escaping from a  fight though … I’m talking about not even fighting in the first place!

Escaping from a fight implies that you were actually engaged in the fight at some point. You tried to take your opponent down and for whatever reason you were not successful and thus you can look to escape from the fight. That is the warg way. You may not be successful in escaping and your opponent may get the kill. That is also the warg way.

Running from a fight is entirely different. This is when someone runs at the first sign of danger before even getting into a fight. This is behaviour no self-respecting warg should ever engage in. You’re there to take down freeps, not to run if one of them gives you a dirty look.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with avoiding combat with a clearly superior enemy; I wouldn’t expect a lone warg to charge an entire freep raid, for example. Having said that some of the best and most fun fights you will get are when you have the odds stacked against you.

Remember that one of your goals is to get infamy and you are only going to get that from killing freeps. Now there are many ways to kill freeps, but they all involve, at some stage, getting up close and personal with a freep. This is something you should have no fear of … the worst that can happen is that you die. You loose almost nothing from dying, only some rating, which frankly is irrelevant to your performance on the Moors. Death should hold no fear for the warg when it does come, and make no mistake, it will come. At some stage Disappear will not be avaialble; Sprint will have been burned and your pots will be gone. Death then takes you … so grow a set and embrace it!

Be bold! Be brave! Be IN the fight!


“Pretend Inferiority and Encourage His Arrogance.”

The title is a quote from the Art of War by Sun Tzu and it sums up exactly how a warg should behave. So what do I mean? Well it’s pretty simple really; you should do everything in your power to remain unnoticed by the freeps, whether it is in the game itself or on the forums. Why is this important? Well we are a stealth class aren’t we?

Keeping A Low Profile

Let’s start with considering something trivial … making a snarky comment at someone on the forum. Apart from being ill mannered this sort of behaviour draws attention to yourself. What if that person you made a snarky comment at happens to have a Burger? Maybe his little pack of burgers will come hunt you down? Or perhaps he has a Hunter and decides to spend an evening annoying you with spam tracks?

The forums are a magnet for debate and often argument … try to stay out of it because gaining a reputation for being a twat on the forum won’t do you any favours in game. The point is simple; keep a low profile and other players will have less reason to target you. Less reason to target you means you can go about your business of stalking your prey with less interruption.

Modesty

Similar to the above is what I consider ‘grandstanding’. This is personal preference of course, but I deliberately seek no recognition or public acclaim whatsoever for my warg. Whether it be highest rank threads or whatever else I make a conscious effort to avoid them. Have you ever seen me mention the name of my warg on this blog? No you haven’t. My friends know who I am, but I’m not advertising.

Why the secrecy? Well again it’s very simple, the fewer freeps you attract the attention of the better in my book. Far better to go completely unnoticed and be able to wreak havoc in the freep ranks than be a well known figure and get targeted before you’ve even left Gramsfoot.

Judging A Book By Its Cover

There are things you can do in game to keep a low profile too. One of my favourites, and surprisingly effective, is equipping a low ranked appearance. The idea is to fool the freeps into believing you are a low ranked warg. If they fall for it they tend not to target you repeatedly although this can be a double edged sword as they may consider you an easy kill and target you anyway.

Personally it’s a strategy that has worked reasonably well for me although on my server there are of course people who know me by name and thus aren’t fooled. It can work minor wonders on new players in the Ettens though, especially in 1vs1 when they think they are getting free renown as that ‘rank 0’ warg attacks them before they spot my rank … oh almost gave that away there! That will never do!

I’ll leave you with another quote from Sun Tzu’s Art of War:

A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective.


A Warg’s Life

I thought you might enjoy some warg poetry and this effort by ‘Hunatrdpewpew‘ is pretty top notch.

Wargs are very furry
Yet attack in a mean flurry
So you better not pat them
For they’ll kill you ad rem

They’ll circle you in a prowl
No matter how much you scowl
Waiting until you have to sneeze
So their belly they can appease

Though one puny human is not enough
Killing another is never tough
They always go to sleep with a smile on their face
Leaving of their victims not a single trace

Sometimes they get chased by orcs with a mace
And they consider that somewhat of a race
They usually let them win
Because it’s not a challenge to beat those orcs dim

When captured they have to chase some knights
The shiny ones with the tasty tights
Better yet, they don’t even pose a threat
Because their golden locks is all they fret

A warg’s life must by now seem pretty cozy
But you’d better not become to nozy
A human is what you are, a tasty snack
Not a good trait for one trying to join the pack


How Did He Not Win?!


Disappear … What To Do With It?

Regular visitors to the creep section of the Turbine forum will no doubt be aware of the debate over what extra effect the Enhanced Disappear trait should receive. Kelsen’s initial proposal was for a cleanse effect to be added to Disappear, which would remove harmful effects from the warg. It’s not a bad suggestion per se, but one that has sparked quite the debate over possible alternatives.

The two main suggestions so far are a Heal over Time (HoT) or an offensive buff.

HoT

This is the option I favour (indeed I was the one to suggest it). The premise is simple enough: activating Disappear (with the new rank 9 Enhanced Disappear trait slotted) would grant a 10 second HoT to the warg.

The reason I favour this over the cleanse is equally simple; the cleanse would be all but useless. Unless the cleanse would remove incurable effects then quite frankly there are too many incurable DoTs etc on the freep side to make it useful. A HoT on the other hand would provide the warg with a means of dealing with such effects, perhaps allowing him to survive long enough for a morale pot to come off cooldown or for a friendly healer to help him out.

A further advantage is that it would avoid the controversy over whether the cleanse should remove incurable effects or not. That’s something that many would consider over powered.

Offensive Buff

The other main suggestion has been for the Enhanced Disappear trait to grant an offensive buff whenever Disappear is activated.

This is a decent enough suggestion and it would help to position Disappear as an offensive skill rather than a defensive one. Using Disappear mid-battle to gain  a guaranteed stun is an obvious example of an offensive use of Disappear currently, but adding an offensive buff would further promote such usage and perhaps enable the warg to turn around a fight he was losing to his favour.

It would also serve to boost the warg’s damage output a bit, a useful thing indeed when facing tough opponents like Guardians.

Other Suggestions

There are other possibilities of course and one of my favourites has been the suggestion that Disappear could enhance the warg’s Maul DoT. This is a really interesting suggestion in my opinion because it delivers extra functionality to one of our core skills and with the warg seemingly not gaining many new abilities extra functionality to an already useful skill would be very welcome.

There has also been talk of Disappear negating slow effects and again this is something that would be highly useful. The Burglar’s HiPS skill already does this so there is precedent for such a move. It would also address one of the long standing complaints about Disappear, which is that unless Sprint is also available then slow effects can pretty much negate Disappear as the warg simply can’t get far enough away before being tracked or popped out of stealth by existing DoTs.


Runners

When someone asks what advantages a warg has in combat you will probably say ‘stealth’ or ‘the element of surprise’ or ‘the pack’ and so on. Those are all valid, but there is a major advantage wargs are given by freeps that is almost always overlooked … running away.

Let me state it simply, running away from a warg is the single worst thing a freep can do.

There are a few reasons behind this so let’s go through them one by one:

Positional Damage – Wargs do more damage when attacking from behind. Simply put you will be hitting that fleeing freep harder as he tries to run away.

Initiative – The ball is in your court. A fleeing freep can’t do as much as one who is stationary and has access to all their skills. Sure some freep classes have skills they can use whilst moving, but nevertheless their effectiveness will be reduced.

Information – A freep who flees at the first sign of danger gives you a signal that he/she isn’t particularly good and is easily panicked. This is valuable information you can use in later confrontations because you know that particular freep will be an easy target.

Now all this may seem obvious and to a certain extent it is. However, many a warg may not realise the advanatge they have just been presented with and decide to not bother pursuing, especially if the fleeing freep is running towards nearby NPCs. However, this is exactly the time to pursue, even if it takes you into those NPCs. The fleeing freep should be severely weakened by the time he gets to those NPCs if you have been pressing the attack so even with friendly NPCs to help him you should still be able to get the kill and Sprint/Disappear out of there.

Remember … a running freep is a dead freep.


1vs1 Guide: The Champion

In the third installment of my 1vs1 series of guides we are going to take a look at the Champion. I have a level capped Champion alt of my own so again I have some personal insight into the class.

What Is A Champion?

Let’s start, as always, with the flippant answer: a mixed bag of tricks. The  class specialises in melee damage, both single target and AOE. It’s a heavy armour class, but nowhere near as resilient as the Guardian. Still, Champions can hold their own and give you a very nasty tap with their sword.

The Opening Move

Your opener versus a Champion will vary because Champions have an ability to protect them from crowd control, including stuns. This ability, called Continous Blood Rage, obviously means that pouncing from stealth is a no go, but we’ll come to that in a moment. If the Champion does not have Continous Blood Rage activated then you can start with your usual pounce from stealth.

If Continous Blood Rage is active then your best bet is to use Bloody Maul from stealth. There is no point in wasting a stun if it will have no effect.

Once you have either pounced or mauled depending on whether Continous Blood Rage is active or not your next move will be the same regardless: Throat Rip then Crippling Bite. The Throat Rip is to silence the Champion so that one of his horn skills can’t be used to stun you. The Crippling Bite is obviously to slow him down. The Champion has a slow of his own, Hamstring, which will slow you so even the playing field by slowing him too.

Problems

The Champion may seem like a simple brute at first glance, but they do have some tricks up their sleeves …

First of all we have Continous Blood Rage. If this is active then the Champion will be immune to stuns throughout the fight. If this is the case simply maintain your Savage Fangs bleed on the Champion rather than wasting Pounces vainly trying to stun him. One saving grace with Continous Blood Rage for the warg is that it costs 60 morale per second to maintain so it’s the equivalent of having a continous DoT on the Champion!

The Champion has a self-heal called ‘Dire Need’. It will heal the Champion, but it has a hefty price. Dire Need uses 50% of the Champion’s current power pool and heals him for 200% of the power used. Now whilst this can be a nasty surprise for you as you try to burn him down it does mean that he burns a lot of his power pool. Applying Rabid Bite at the start of the fight should not only help to reduce the amount Dire Need heals him for, but also mean that if used Dire Need might leave him with very little power to do anything else.

The single biggest problem you will face though si the Champion’s damage output. Champions are built to sustain melee dps. This means that they can keep hitting you for lots of damage. One of their single target attacks, Remorseless Strikes, can cri for anywhere between 2,000-5,000 points of damage. The upper end of that scale is rare, but een so it can still be a very nasty hit. There isn’t a whole lot you can do about the Champion’s damage other than to try and kill him before he kills you and use Rabid Bite to try and burn his power pool so that he can’t use his skills.

Another problem tying into the above point about damage is Controlled Burn. This is a skill that will increase the Champion’s damage, reduce his attack speed and buff his in-combat power regen. There really isn’t anything you can do about this other than to try and stun him, if possible, as much as you can.

The Champion has a skill called ‘Sprint’, which increases his movement speed, including in-combat. This can obviously be used to negate Crippling Bite for a short while (up to 45 sec with legacies etc), but in my experience most Champions use this skill to try and escape,

One last thing … stuns. The Champion has two AOE stuns he can use. One stuns you for 5 sec whilst the other can be as much as 10 sec if the Champion has the appropriate legacies.

What Works?

The simple answer here is to kill the Champion before he kills you. That’s easier said than done of course. Basically you need to out dps a certified dps class. There are a few things that you can do to help yourself though.

First of all make sure that you use Rabid Bite as often as possible. Most Champions have relatively small power pools, 2,000 or so and Rabid Bite can deplete that massively.

Make sure you keep the Champion silenced as often as possible too to try and prevent horn use i.e. stuns.

Crippling Bite is a must! The Champion has a slow of his own so keeping him slowed will not so much give you an advantage here as it will help level the playing field. Whilst Champions aren’t really kiters, their AOE skills do extend beyond your own melee range so it is very important that you don’t let them move outside of that range.

Bleeds will be very important in a fight with a Champion. Maintain both your Maul and Savage Dangs DoTs so help keep the damage up. You want the Champion to be watching his morale bar and taking steps to keep himself alive. Why? Because that means he will be burning power and diverting his attention to self-preservation rather than devoting those resources to bringing his considerable damage to bear upon you.

If the Champion is silly enough to be in the Fervour stance you will have an easier time of it because whilst in Fervour the Champion can’t block, parry or evade, meaning that all your attacks will land. Of course Fervour does increase the Champion’s damage output so you might find your own morale dropping faster faster.

So to recap:

  • Keep Crippling Bite up at all times
  • Maintain your Dots
  • Use Rabid Bite
  • Silence as often as possible

The Fight

Here we have an example rotation for a 1vs1 with a Champion:
  • Activate a brand if you have one
  • Pounce from stealth for 5 sec stun/Use Bloody Maul from stealth (depending upon whether Continous Blood Rage is present or not)
  • Apply Throat Rip
  • Apple Crippling Bite
  • Apple Savage Fangs for bleed
  • Apply Rabid Bite
  • Re-apply Maul DoT
  • Re-apply Crippling Bite
  • Pounce for 5 sec stun/re-apply Savage Fangs bleed (depending upon whether Continous Blood Rage is present or not)

What To Look Out For

Slows – The Champion may attempt to use Hamstring to slow you. Not a huge concern as Champions tend not to kite and you can use Crippling Bite to make things even.
Massive Damage – Champions can hit you with large critical hits so make sure you have a morale pot standing by. Also make sure you eat some regen food before you enter combat to help maintain your morale.
Sprint – The Champion may use Sprint to negate your slow if you attempt to apply DoTs and kite him. Most will save this as an escape skill to try and run to friendly NPCs. Maintain your DoTs on the Champion so that even if he does run to friendly NPCs the DoTs may still kill him.

What Are The Odds?

Assuming the skill level of both participants is equal then you probably have a 50/50 chance of beating a Champion. A poorly skilled Champion shouldn’t present you with too many problems, but a skilled player can kill you relatively quickly. The key is to not underestimate Champions, their play style can appear simplistic, but they are very effective at what they do. Fighting a Champion is a dps race, so hit as hard and as often as you can.