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

Archive for July, 2011

How To Scout For Freeps

This guide is brought to you by a suggestion I received from a good friend of mine as we were prowling around the moors on our wargs last night. In fact quite a bit of this blog and its information has come from him. No don’t ask who he is, but if you play on my server then I guarantee you will know his warg. You can also find this guide in the drop down menu at the top under ‘Warg Guide’.

Scouting is a very important aspect of playing a warg, especially when in a raid. Now some may think that it is simply a case of wandering around the Moors looking for freeps and posting the results in OOC. Well it’s a little more involved than that and you can greatly aid your side by knowing how to scout properly and how to accurately report on the freeps movements and composition.

Preperation

First things first, get your maps. All of them. Yes even the Isendeep maps. These are your bread and butter tool for scouting. They will allow you to instantly travel over large ranges to effectively scout. Without them you are not going to be much use as a scout.

Maps are definitely the most important of your tools, but another often overlooked tool is a run speed buff. This can either be through using a buff acquired through bartering stones in Grams or it can be a destiny point perk. The destiny point perk is the more economical of the two options and persists even if you are killed unlike the barter buff. Increasing your out of combat run speed again helps you cover large distances quickly and also allows you to keep up with mounted freeps that little bit longer.

Make sure you have the rank 9 and rank 10 tracking skills equipped if you have access to them. Obviously if you are not yet rank 9 or rank 10 you can ignore this part, but if possible acquire those skills. Being able to track will allow you to not only detect freeps, but also size up their numbers both quickly and accurately as well as giving you the names of any one prominent who may be leading.

The Game Is Afoot

The reference to Holmes in the title is apt because you are very much on the trail of a mystery … where are the freeps? There are two basic approaches you can take to looking for freeps; checking the various keeps and checking the other points of interest around the Moors. Let’s start with the keeps.

Scouting Keeps

With a full compliment of maps you can very quickly check every keep in the Ettens for signs of freep activity. The following is a list of the best maps to use for checking each keep. The maps listed are the ones that will take you closest to each keep:

  • Tol Ascarnen – Good Map to Tol Ascarnen (Poor Map to Tol Ascarnen is preferred, but this will likely be on CD due to the TR map below)
  • Tirith Rhaw – Poor Map to Tirith Rhaw
  • Lugazag – Good Map To Lugazag
  • Grimwood Lumber Camp – Good Map To Grimwood Lumber Camp
  • Isendeep – Good Map To Isendeep
Make sure that you map in with stealth activated since enterprising freeps might be camping the map points for arriving freeps. Once you have arrived proceed quickly to the relevant keep and take a look at the entrance. Are there dead NPCs at the keep? If so there could be freeps nearby. If not there might still be freeps there who have simply run past the initial NPCs and reset them. If you have a tracking ability use it at this point to detect any nearby freeps.

If you don’t have a tracking ability actually move inside or around the keep a bit and watch your combat log for signs of fighting. If there are none then the keep is safe.

Scouting Points Of Interest

The second approach involves checking various points of interest around the map. I am going to list the major ones here and the relevant map to use to get as near to them as possible. As with keeps above make sure you map whilst stealthed to avoid detection.
  • Elf Camp – Good Map to Tol Ascarnen
  • Orc Camp – Crude Map to Tol Ascarnen
  • The Cow Field – Good Map to Tol Ascarnen/Poor Map to Grimwood/Crude Map to Grimwood
  • South Outpost – Good Map to Grimwood
  • River Outpost – Good Map to Tol Ascarnen/Crude Map to Lugazag/Crude Map to Grimwood
  • Plains Outpost – Good Map to Tol Ascarnen/Crude Map to Lugazag/Poor Map to Grimwood/Crude Map to Grimwood
  • Isendeep Outpost – Good Map to Isendeep
  • Coldfells Outpost – Crude Map to Tirith Rhaw
  • Dar Gazag – Crude Map to Lugazag
  • Ost Ringdyr – Good Map to Tirith Rhaw/
  • Grothum – Crude Map to Isendeep
  • Hoarhallow – Good Map to Tol Ascarnen/Good Map to Grimwood/Poor Map to Grimwood
The crucial point here is that there may not be a specific location for you to focus on e.g. the Cow Field. Other times there will be e.g. an outpost. In either case you will need to move around the area a bit to get a sense of who is, if anyone, is around. Don’t just map in, take a quick look around and declare that the area is empty. You need to look properly and remain int he area for a minute or two to get a sense of whether anyone is coming or going.

Look out for dead NPCs, listen for the sound of horses, watch for lag, etc. All these are signs of nearby freeps or at least that freeps have been in the area recently.

So You’ve Found Freeps …

… now what do you do? The first thing you do is nothing. Do not engage them. You are here to spy on them, not to fight them. The longer they remain unaware of your presence the more information you can gather on them.

If you have either the rank 9 or rank 10 tracking abilities get close enough to include all the freeps in a track. This will allow you to determine accurately how many freeps are present. When the tracking window appears it will contain a list of names. The tracking window displays 8 names before the cut-off and you have to scroll down to see who else is present. You can this to quickly count the number of freeps because if you remember who was in the 8th position you can quickly scroll down to the 9th name and see who is in the 16th position before scrolling down again and repeating the process until all names are accounted for. Each time you scroll down will be 8 names so you can simply multiply the number of times you scroll by 8 to get a total.

For those wargs who do not yet have tracking abilities it will be a case of using good old fashioned guess work. You can attempt to individually  count the freeps present, but if there are any more than a handful you will probably end up with an incorrect result. It’s usually better to do a ‘quick count’ where you simply estimate the number of freeps present. This take a little practice to get right, but in time you can become quite good at guessing with reasonable accuracy.

The other thing you are looking out for is who is present. Do you recognise any prominent freeps? If so they might be leading or acting as RAT. Make a note of their names. You will also be searching for targets; freeps with very low morale, for example. Again note their names.

You are also looking at the composition of the freep group. Do they have a lot of a particular class? Do they lack a particular class? Do they have a lot of healing? A lot of heavies? This is pretty important information for the main creep raid so do your best to size them up.

One last thing you need to observe is what the freeps are currently doing. Are they mounted up ready to ride out? Are they moving at the moment? If so in what direction? Are they attempting to take a keep? Are they simply waiting at a keep? It’s all information you should be collecting.

Reporting

Once you have found the freeps and have gathered your information it is time to share that information. There are two key things to remember when reporting on freeps: keep it to the point and keep it accurate. The following is a list of information to include in your report:
  • The freeps current location
  • Where the freeps are currently heading
  • The number of freeps present
  • Who might be leading them
  • Any odd group composition e.g. no minstrels, lots of Lore-masters, etc
  • The status of a keep the freeps are attacking e.g. whether they have pulled the tyrant or not

To give you an idea of how this would look here is an example report:

freeps at tr 24 of them lots of hunters jowbloggs leading tyrant pulled

Note the short nature of the report, yet it is crammed with information. The main creep raid now knows where the freeps are, what they are doing, how many of them there are, who is leading them and the fact that they have a lot of ranged damage and poison removal.

Things To Remember

You are a spy. You do not want to be detected so watch out for Hunters tracking or Burglars or Lore-masters getting too close to your position.Keep a safe distance from the freeps; you are there to observe them, not to fight them.

Make sure you have your escape skills off cooldown so that you can get out of there should the freeps detect you. There’s no point in giving them a free meal when you will likely have no backup and thus no chance of taking any of them down.

Don’t report your opinion. No one is interested in what you think of an outfit one of the freeps is wearing. Stick to facts and keep your reports short. By all means give an assessment if appropriate e.g. the tyrant is down already and you think the main creep raid won’t make it to the keep in time to save it.

Glan Vraig Patrol

I’ve put up the second (or more correctly the third) instalment of the patrol series. This time it’s the turn of Glan Vraig! You can check it out by using the menu bar at the top of the page (Ettens Patrols) or by clicking here.


Video: Warg vs LM, The Good & The Bad

The video below is very interesting for any warg looking to take on a Lore-master. Not because it shows off a highly polished fight with the warg doing everything right, quite the opposite in fact. There are several key mistakes made during this fight that you should be able to use to help you improve your own chances against Lore-masters.

What The Warg Got Right

Crucially the Lore-master was foolish enough not to be using anti-stun (it never ceases to amaze me how many Lore-masters forget, or don’t bother, to use anti-stun on themselves). This allowed our warg brother to get in a pounce from the beginning and you can see how effective that first pounce can be when you watch the LM’s morale bar dip down after that pounce.

Another very important thing is positioning and the warg was very good at trying to constantly keep behind the LM for the positional damage bonus wargs receive. This is something many wargs either forget about or don’t bother with (the counterpart to LM’s forgetting anti-stun?), but it can give you a hefty boost to your damage output. This warg deserves kudos for trying to stay behind the LM at all times.

What The Warg Got Wrong

The warg consistently wades through the pool of fire the LM has put down. Looking at the debuffs on his bar he doesn’t need to do this; I saw the Sticky Gourd icon disappear a few times whislt he was attacking. Yet the warg keeps traipsing through the fire. This really isn’t a good idea because it is free damage for the LM. If it comes down to a choice between wading through a pool of LM fire and trying to stay behind a LM then just bite the bullet and go in front of them.

You will notice that the LM tries to use Ents Go To War and our warg brother interrupts him. Great! Not the second time though. And crucially he makes a fatal mistake with the Lightning Storm induction … he hits Disappear. Bad move. The induction was in progress and he wouldn’t have gotten far enough away before … BOOM! One dead warg. What he should have done was to interrupt the induction and keep attacking. The LM was low(ish) and pressing the attack couldn’t have turned out any worse than hitting Disappear could it?

Thoughts

It’s a good effort on the part of the warg. A Lore-master is not an easy class for a warg to fight and he gave it a good try. He might have won the day though if he had just kept out of that fire and fought his instinct to Disappear at the end. Continuing the fight would have at least prevented that Lightning Storm induction and, given the LM’s health, might have seen our warg brother victorious. Ah well, next time …

P.S. A big thank you to the video’s creator for not using an annoying clichéd musical score.


Warg Patrol Guide

As part of a new series I will be discussing various patrols wargs can use around the Moors to search for freeps. The first instalments are already up and include a general overview of the main locations in the Ettens and the first patrol; the Tirith Rhaw Graveyard Patrol.

The overview is aimed at new pups since it is essentially just a list of the major points of interest around the map, which veteran wargs will no doubt already be familiar with. The Tirith Rhaw Graveyard Patrol will also likely be familiar territory to veteran wargs, but I thought it best to start with the easier stuff and work from there.

You can check out the patrol series by using the drop down menu at the top of the page or by clicking here.


Talk Amongst Yourselves: The Value Of Warg Chit Chat

Knowledge is power as the saying goes and wargs are in a unique position on the Moors as the class with the most knowledge of what’s going on. Even Burgers don’t have the same capability because wargs can use their maps to cover the entirety of the map much faster than a Burger can ride his horse around it. This means that wargs can gather a lot of information about the whereabouts of freeps. How can you best use that information to increase your success at hunting though?

Communication

On the server I play on we have a chat channel used solely by wargs. Using this channel we can pass along information on freep movements, raid compositions, etc between ourselves. With all the wargs that wander around the map on a daily basis it can act as real-time stream of what is going on in just about every corner of the Ettenmoors.

This allows each warg with access to the channel to request information and more importantly share information. Perhaps you have spotted a small group of freeps that you can’t handle on your own … just post the information in the warg only channel and request some help. Maybe you are looking for a specific freep … ask in the warg only channel and perhaps one of your wargy brothers has spotted him.

Why A Warg Only Channel?

It’s a valid question. After all why not just post in one of the general chat channels asking for information or help? Well there are a number of reasons that a warg only chat channel is better for wargs:

  • Other wargs can be with you very rapidly without being spotted
  • A private warg only channel can’t be monitored by possible freep spies
  • You limit who will show up for a kill and thus gain maximum infamy
  • Wargs are constantly scouring the map, the information they gain can be lost in the general chat of OOC
  • Why would you want to share your valuable infamy gaining information with the visibles?

Keep It Secret, Keep It Safe

An important aspect to creating and operating this channel is to keep it below the radar. The more people that know about it the more likely that the channel will be compromised and then the channel looses its effectiveness.

The channel we operate on our server isn’t really spoken of publicly, we don’t mention the name of the channel if we can help it. That’s step one. The next measure of protection is to use a password to restrict access in case someone does discover the name of the channel.

So who should gain access? In my opinion only experienced wargs on your server should be given access. I’m not talking about rank here, I mean experience in terms of those wargs who have been around a while. The sort of wargs who know how the Moors works. You don’t want to be handing out access to brand new pups who might disappear after a week. Keep access restricted to the regular warg community on your server, the wargs you play with regularly and trust and who you know will actively contribute to the channel.


Someone Gets It!

In my experience few players truly understand the warg. However, browsing the Turbine forum I came across the following quote. Jerboa, the author, sums up the warg so brilliantly he could have created the class. Drink deeply from this pool of wisdom pups; it’s the best description of the warg you’re going to see.

People aren’t going to like this but it’s hard truth time.

A warg isn’t a viable tank class, especially in a zone totally dominated by tactical classes that don’t even have to aim to hit you with the kind of damage that can kill you in 1 or 2 seconds. It’s obvious from your description that is what is happening to you. You are in the wrong place, my friend.

The warg takes his tactics from the African plains where the predators sulk around the very edges of large herds waiting for some pathetic, sick, weakened loner to stumble out of the masses. You should land your killing blow only seconds before the target would have died on his own. Even then, you should have 5 other wargs with you just to be safe. You are the ultimate coward. You are the ultimate opportunist. You make me sick.

If you look at your skill set you’ll see that you’ve got everything you need to move about the battle field so that you can be where some poor victim is trying to escape the main battle to survive. That is the guy you should hit and then you RUN LIKE YOU ARE ON FIRE – because you probably will be – and then repeat, only attacking when the advantage is all yours. Don’t give the other guys a chance to hit you. If you cannot kill the target in 5 seconds then find a different target.

You’ll know you are playing the class to perfection when people flip over to Creepside to call you filthy names in /OOC. They’ll be angry because you are not being fair, you are a coward, you only appear in a pack, you aren’t man enough to face a real battle, you are the worst warg ever….. yes, when you start hearing that you are finally playing the class right.

This requires patience, timing, and the ability to know where people will head when they are wounded and half dead. You’ll also need to know who is grouped and who isn’t and estimate the time it will take opposition group members to respond. The ability to observe, adjust, and evolve to counter tactics is important. Recognizing bait when you see it – knowing when it’s time to move on to better hunting grounds.

Your hunting ground are away from the zergball.
Hunt those trying to get back to the zergball – this tactic means you’ll be fighting those that have blown CDs while yours have plenty of time to come back up.

Embrace your inner coward.


A Plea To My Fellow Wargs

Please, for the love of sanity and good taste, stop using that incredibly clichéd track ‘Who Let The Dogs Out?’ on your Ettens videos. I understand the ‘joke’ and it may have been funny at some point, but any humour it may have once conjured up has long since been laid waste by its seemingly incessant usage. There is so much good music out there to go along with your excellent videos, you really don’t need to rely on just this one track.

If you are searching for some inspiration let me point you in the direction of this great track.