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

Archive for August, 2011

Rise of Isengard: Stealth Level Boost

Amongst the various changes coming for wargs with Rise of Isengard are some changes to how our stealth works. Thankfully the change to stealth is a pure unadulterated buff. This is especially reassuring since stealth is at the very core of our class. So what is changing?

Well basically we are getting more of it! At the moment wargs are limited to increasing their stealth level by +5 if they have all the relevant traits slotted. When I say ‘all relevant traits I mean of course Enhanced Skill: Stealth and Foe of the Light. It’s pretty paltry stuff really, especially considering that Burgers can increase their stealth level by much more than this through equipment, traits, etc. Wargs have been calling for an increase to their stealth level for a while now and thankfully the devs have listened.

So what exactly is increasing?

  • Enhanced Skill: Stealth – the current +3 stealth will rise to +4 stealth
  • Foe of the Light – the current +2 stealth will double to +4 stealth
This means that with both traits equipped our stealth level will go from +5 to +8. That’s not a bad increase, but is it enough? Well I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I think +8 is still too little. I would have ideally liked to see another trait added that can be used to increase our stealth level. By adding another such trait we would have the option of increasing your stealth level, but it would be a trade off if we do so meaning that not every warg can run around with a very high stealth level without a consequence.
In short it’s a positive change, but one that simply doesn’t go far enough. Burgers are still going to be the kings of stealth on the Moors for a while yet.

Rise of Isengard: Rabid Bite Nerf

So far we’ve taken a look what’s going to be changing for the warg when Rise of Isengard launches and it’s been, for the most part, buffs. That’s a good thing. However, as is often the case not all the changes are good …

 Rabid Bite

This is one of our most useful skills for hampering freep healers and it’s one of the few skills we have that is truly effective in terms of contributing to a raid situation. It’s even useful in 1vs1 situation against classes like Burgers or Wardens. Unfortunately Rabid Bite looks to have been hit by the nerf bat.

Currently Rabid Bite applies an incurable debuff to a target that drains an amount of power from the target over a period of 30 sec. That effect has been completely removed and replaced with a different effect. The new effect increases a target’s skill power cost by 10%. The rank 14 trait that enhances this skill is also changing as you would expect. It will now increase the magnitudde of Rabid Bite’s debuff from 10% to 20%.

Why Is This A Nerf?

On the face of it it may not seem like much of a nerf. After all the skill is producing the same basic effect i.e. diminishing a freep’s power pool. When we look at the effect a little closer though we see that the new effect is actually a much weaker version of the previous effect.

Increasing skill power cost by 10%, or even 20%, will certainly have an effect, but many freep classes already have various means of reducing their power costs, whether it be through traits or legendary weapon legacies. Those buffs alone will offset some of the effect of the new Rabid Bite.

Another point to consider is that this new effect has no immediate effect. The freep actually has to use skills to make the effect work. Trough careful rotations the freep could look to use his least costly skills until the duration of the debuff has passed. Compare that with a direct power drain that works straight from the point of application and continues to do its job irrespective of what the freep does.

How Will This Affect Us?

It’s hard to tell at this stage because this new effect has only been seen on Bullroarer. Until we can get our hands on it and test it on Live it’s not possible to say how it will play out in a real PvMP scenario. What we can say is that it won’t be as effective as the old effect, but how much less effective remains to be seen.

What is perhaps most disappointing about this change though is that one of the only really unique skills (along with Weavers) that we could bring to a raid is being nerfed. Wargs are already a bit limited in term sof what they can do in a raid situation and this change really does nothing to remedy that.

Search Term Find #4

Ok this one just makes no sense at all:


I know what pwnage means, but what is the ‘bot’ part for? What exactly is a pwnagebot?

Warg Packs: Part II

In my last post I talked about warg packs and what they are. What I didn’t talk about was why warg packs cause such anger and upset amongst freeps. It’s a big topic and a lot more involved than you might think, but it is worth a warg’s time to consider it because I can guarantee you will come across this rage at some point.

Why Are They Upset?

This is a good question and to answer it we have to put ourselves in a freep’s shoes for a moment.

Imagine you have just ridden out from Glan Vraig and are heading off to wherever the action is. You haven’t ridden for more than 30 seconds when suddenly … WHAM! You’re dead.

What happened? The pack got you. You probably didn’t even wake up out of your stun. You probably didn’t get a chance to fight back or use any of your skills. In short the pack beat the living shit out of you before you had a chance to blink.

How can that be fair? You didn’t get a chance to fight back. Even if you had how could you have beat 6 or more wargs at once? Can’t those wargs fight you on even terms? Are they so lame that they need so many to kill you?

You see why a freep would think that what just happened is really unfair on them? Now imagine this happening to the same freep four or five times a night. Imagine that they are trying to get inside a keep being attacked only they can’t because a pack of wargs keeps ganking them. You see how a freep can get upset at those wargs ‘ruining’ his gameplay?

What The Freep Doesn’t See

In the example above all the freep is likely to see is a horde of wargs appearing out of thin air and killing them with no chance to defend themselves. The wargs of course see a lot more than that.

For starters freeps should understand that for every time the pack gets them they have probably escaped the pack, often without even realising it. The pack isn’t all powerful, we don’t catch every single freep we see. In fact it is often the case that our hunts end in failure. Maybe the freep turns away at a critical moment; maybe we lag out; maybe we become bugged, etc. The point is that warg packs do not always get their man. Far from it.

When warg packs are successful it is often because freeps make stupid mistakes such as choosing the same path to travel even though they have just been killed by a warg pack at that location. Another classic is when trying to enter a besieged keep; I’ve lost count of the number of times a freep will attempt to ride in by themselves even though they know there are wargs guarding the gate instead of riding in with other freeps for safety in numbers.

Another thing freeps tend to do is have blinkers on. For example; say a warg pack attacks a small group of freeps and wipes them, but looses a couple of wargs in the process. The freeps who have just been killed will sometimes, consciously or otherwise, ignore the fact that they managed to get some kills of their own and instead focus on the fact that they were ‘ganked’. The feeling of being beaten ‘unfairly’ outweighs any success they managed to achieve in the confrontation.

One last thing; freeps, in my experience, seem to think that the warg pack is operating to some master plan. That is not the case. Wargs are opportunists. We take a meal whenever we can get it. We don’t have some grand strategy to catch and kill freeps. We are often just roaming around in our pack looking for freeps that have strayed off the beaten path. If you happen to be a freep that is there when we are then you are just unlucky. We are not following you around or specifically targeting certain people.

What Do You Do About The Whining?


Seriously. It is that simple. Freeps are going to whine when your pack kills them. You can either be apologetic for playing your class to its strengths and having fun or you can accept that as a warg you are not liked and get on with playing the game.

You aren’t ruining their gameplay. They are. They have come into a PvP zone and are moaning that other players have killed them. You see the oddity in that? If they feel that having their toon die is ruining their PvMP experience then frankly they would be better off not coming into the Ettenmoors at all.

Rather than whine about warg packs I would love to see freeps band together and form a warg hunting group. Get payback on those wargs. See how they like it! But they don’t. I have no idea why. Maybe it is just easier to call wargs lame and whine about how unfair it was to be ‘ganked’ than it is to actually do something about it.

When you are called lame, or an ezmoder or they say you are crap because you need half a dozen other wargs with you to kill a freep just take it on the chin. Accept it as a badge of honour. Embrace all the rage that is directed towards you. What a whiner thinks of you isn’t important because the pack has one final use for you; your packmates will tell you how awesome you really are.

Remember: You are a warg. You are awesome. Your brothers are wargs. They are awesome.

Warg Packs: Part I

There has been some chatter recently on warg packs and by ‘chatter’ I mean whining. It’s nothing new of course, but this latest round of QQ does give me the opportunity to discuss warg packs. I have spoken about people whining about warg packs before, on more than one occasion actually: here, here and here. I have touched on how the pack can often heighten the whining about wargs, but I haven’t looked at how and why the pack creates such animosity amongst freeps in-depth. Before we get to the whining though we need to look at what a warg pack is.

What Is A Warg Pack?

The simple answer is a group of wargs. That is a fair enough description of course, but it misses so much of what the pack is. A warg pack isn’t just a group of wargs roaming around together and it isn’t just another fellowship or raid. It is, I would argue, a completely unique grouping that is found nowhere else in the game.

For one thing it is a very select club. You MUST be a warg to get in. Yes I know occasionally we include a visible to act as bait, but that is very much the exception to the rule. No other class in the game so consistently seeks to group with itself in the way wargs do. You might get occasional Burglar packs on some servers, but on almost every server you will find a warg pack operating fairly regularly and on the larger servers there may be more than one.

Wargs are, on their own, relatively weak creeps in the grand scheme of things. Our dps isn’t all that good; our debuffs are a bit lacklustre and our survivability isn’t all that great. I’m not saying we aren’t effective solo, we are, but all in all we aren’t particularly strong as individuals. However, many of our abilities become amplified when we have numbers: our DoTs stack, our heals stack, we can co-ordinate in stealth, and we know what each other is capable of.

The pack exists for one main reason: individually we are weak, together we are strong. Remember the motto: I am a warg. I am awesome. My brothers are wargs. They are awesome.

How Does The Pack Work?

Very simply. Because we are all wargs we each know what the others are capable of. We know their skills. We know their limitations. We know the bugs that affect us as a class. We know what each warg should and shouldn’t be doing in a given situation. At the risk of sounding melodramatic we operate almost like a hive mind.

It’s this high level of coordination that allows us to amplify our offensive capabilities. We know that when we all use Bloody Maul together that freep IS going down. We know that when we designate someone to stay in stealth to track that Burglar IS going to die. We know that when we coordinate our Sprints that fleeing Champion IS going to be caught.

It’s not just our offence that is boosted, we also find safety in numbers. Our Rallying Howl skill stacks and it reinforces our dependence upon one another. One Rallying Howl is going to do bugger all to save us. When our packmates use it with us though we suddenly have a major heal. When we’re fleeing from freeps our packmates will pounce our pursuers to help us get away or use Cripple to slow them down. We don’t save ourselves, our packmates do.

How Does The Pack Differ to Raids?

A general creep raid can be a lot of fun for a warg, but is is different from the pack. For one thing some raid leaders don’t like to have too many wargs in their raid, instead preferring Reavers for melee dps. When wargs are included they are often given a scouting role. When fighting does break out wargs are often expected to harass the freep lines, especially their healers, rather than be a main component of the creep raid’s melee charge.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that per se, but it does mean wargs operate differently in a raid than they do in a pack. With roles such as scouting and harassment wargs are effectively given carte blanche to operate independently from the main creep raid. We don’t even have to follow the raid’s RAT at times. Compare that with the ‘hive mind’ of the warg pack and you can see quite a striking difference.

I should point out that being part of a raid and operating like this can be great fun! Don’t think that the only means of fun group play for the warg is in a pack. Sometimes even visibles can be fun!

Next Time …

Ok so we’ve seen what the warg pack is all about. In Part II I’m going to get onto why it causes such anger amongst freeps.

Search Term Find #3

This one is totally perplexing:

how to steer a warg

Of all the things I have ever been asked about wargs I can honestly say I have never been asked how to steer one!

Rise of Isengard: Warg Skill Changes

I made a post a couple of days ago concerning the upcoming PvMP changes we will see when Rise of Isengard launches. What I didn’t do, however, is go into any great detail about skill and trait changes. That’s what this post is for!

 Shadow Howler

This is a big one so let’s tackle it first. Shadow Howler is a non-stealth stance for wargs. It can only be used whilst you are out of stealth and it will not allow you to use disappear. It’s a toggle skill so it’s easy to turn it off if you do need stealth functionality back.

It is classified as a howl skill, which means that it will have no induction and be usable whilst moving. It is also usable in-combat. There is a short animation when the skill activates, approx 1 sec or so.

The stance gives you several benefits to make up for losing your stealth abilities. It increases your armour value, increases your tactical mitigation, increases your damage output and perhaps most interesting of all it grants you a morale ‘bubble’. Since most of those benefits are pretty self explanatory I’ll focus on the morale bubble.

How this works is that when you activate Shadow Howler you are given an extra 1,000 points of morale. This extra morale is depleted first when you take damage rather than your regular morale. Once the 1,000 morale has been depleted by damage you then use your own morale to take damage just like normal. The 1,000 points of extra morale refreshes every 30 sec so you will gain this extra morale every 30 sec.

To be clear this extra morale refreshes continuously whilst Shadow Howler is active. It isn’t the case that when it is used up that’s it gone, it will be granted again after 30 sec have passed.

 Sense Prey

Our tracking ability, gained at rank 9, has had a small change. It’s an important change though. The cooldown has been reduced from the current 2 minute value to just 1 minute. That puts it on par with tracking talismans and is long overdue. The skill itself remains unchanged as far as I could see, but at least now we will be able to use it more often, which should help our scouting abilities.

 Howl of the Unnerving

At the moment this skill is next to useless. All it does is place a rather small dread debuff on freeps, which can easily be negated with hope tokens or destiny hope. With Isengard though this skill becomes much more useful. The dread debuff is going and in its place there will be a debuff that lowers freeps block/parry/evade ratings. This alone qualifies this skill for the description of ‘useful’, but there’s more!

The skill will also have a chance to fear freeps for a few seconds. There will be a 25% chance to apply a fear lasting 3-5 sec according to Kelsen’s warg blog. That may not seem like a very high chance, but it’s better than what we have now and more to the point we have no fear ability whatsoever at the moment!

The skill is an AOE skill and assuming the number of targets doesn’t change from its present value it will affect up to 4 freeps. It is also a ‘howl skill’, which means it is usable whilst moving and has no induction. Oh and it will be usable whilst in stealth!

 Flea Bitten

I haven ever been a big fan of this skill as it currently stands. It lowers a freep’s agility and debuffs their wound resist rating. Whooptydoo! The new version will instead increase a freep’s induction time as well as their attack duration by 10%. These are definitely better debuffs than the existing ones, but 10% seems like quite a low value. We shall see how effective this is after people have had a chance to test it out of course.

 Rend Flesh

Another awesome skill and again it is getting some love. For starters the ridiculous cooldown of 5 minutes is being removed. There will be no cooldown at all.The duration of 1 minute seems to be staying, but with no cooldown this skill can be used again and again … assuming you get crits. Yes, like Frenzy, this skill will work off crit events. It’s a pretty sweet change in my opinion and adds a bit more depth to a standard warg rotation.

Another very welcome change to this skill is the fact that it will actually do damage now in addition to increasing the amount of damage a freep takes.

 Dire Howl

This is a pretty useful skill at the moment, well for those who have access to it given that it is a high ranked skill. For those who don’t know it’s an AOE silence affecting up to 4 targets. The change here is that the frankly ludicrous 15 minute cooldown the skill currently has is being reduced to a much more palatable 5 minutes. That’s still quite long in my opinion, especially as freeps have options to cure silences, but still better than 15 minutes.

Because this is a ‘howl skill’ it will be usable whilst moving and will have no induction. This measn it could be a pretty effective harassment tool to use against freep healers. Just run through the back of a freep raid howling away and watch the healers stop their healing for a while.

 Maul/Bloody Maul

This is one of our bread and butter skills so changing it was always going to be a bit of a risky move. However, the change here is pretty damned sweet. The skill will function the same was it does now, but whenever you score a critical hit with it there will be a debuff applied to the target called Festering Wound. This debuff lowers the target’s incoming healing rating by 25%.

This is a pretty serious debuff that should help wargs get their target down even when the target is being held.