Playing A Warg In A Raid
If you look around this site you will find quite a few guides on how to run in packs or how to run as a solo warg. What you won’t find though is much discussion of how to play a warg in a raid. There is short section on it in the main warg guide, but nothing too in-depth. I’m going to correct that here.
These are groups of freeps numbering anywhere up to 24 players. Most of them will be visibles. Yes my warg brothers you are going to be fighting alongside those who remain seen all the time. Odd isn’t it? It does have its advantages though. For one thing there are dedicated healers and rezzers so dying isn’t the pain it is in a warg pack where you have to run back from the graveyard if you die. There is more firepower too so you tend to get more infamy overall because more freeps die.
However, raids are inherently different to warg packs so let’s start by taking a look at some of those differences.
- Pack Mentality- we act as one
- Do What Your Told – independent thought and initiative generally discouraged
- Strength in Numbers – we depend upon our warg brothers for survival
- Scouts – we travel separately from the rest of the raid
- Initiative – expected to act on our own and not necessarily do what the rest of the raid is doing
- Alone – with few, if any, other wargs in the raid and the healers focusing on others, we essentially depend upon ourselves for survival
In a pack we act with one mind. We all attack the same target. We all use the same skills. Not so in a raid. Raids tend not to have many wargs in them, maybe just one or two. We are generally given free reign to act as we please within our roles in a raid. Hence we often don’t have to stick to the RAT or even follow the raid leader closely. Imagine doing that in a warg pack!
It can be quite a startling change of pace if you have only ever played in warg packs. There is no one who will tell you how to scout; which healers to attack; which routes to take, etc. You are expected to decide for yourself. You need to be prepared for that and not afraid to make those decisions.
Our Role In A Raid
We have two main roles in a raid:
This is a fairly straightforward role for us. We roam around the map looking for freeps for the rest of the raid to kill. I have already posted up a guide on how to scout for freeps so I’m not going to go into the details of the process here. You can take a look at the scouting guide for details on that.
What I will say is that whilst this role can be boring because you sometimes miss the action if you are off scouting when a fight breaks out, it is crucial for the raid’s success. You are the raid’s eyes and ears and it is your information that will often decide where your raid goes and how it responds to the freeps. It’s sometimes a thankless task, but it is always a vital one.
Wargs aren’t built to go toe to toe with enemy raids for very long. We’re not tanks; we have no AOE; we are often way down the list of priorities for the raid’s healers and we don’t do enough single target damage to burn down a freep being backed up by the rest of his raid.
With that in mind we are often tasked with harassing the freep raid’s healers i.e. Minstrels and Rune-keepers. Sometimes we will also be asked to harass Hunters or Lore-masters too, but mostly it’s healers.
Now note that I said ‘harass’, I didn’t say ‘kill’. Often we can’t kill the enemy’s healers by ourselves because they will be shield walled by a Guardian or they will be in the middle of the freep raid or we can’t get close enough to them to do any serious damage. Instead we have to try and stop them healing or at least slow them down a bit. Even preventing a Minstrel from healing for a few seconds can help the creep raid.
There are several tools at our disposal for doing this:
Pounce – If you can get close enough to an enemy healer without being popped out of stealth by pools of fire, AOE or whatever else then you can of course pounce them to stun them for a few seconds. If the freeps are smart they will have put anti-stun on their healers, in which case this strategy is pointless. Otherwise it’s definitely worth doing as it takes a freep healer out of action for 5 sec.
Tendon Shred – Essentially the same tactic as Pounce, but the advantage of Tendon Shred is that you don’t need to be in stealth to use it. Given the 5 min cooldown of the skill this might be a once a fight option though.
Throat Rip – Silencing a Minstrel is very effective. Essentially it prevents them from healing, which is exactly what you are aiming for. Try not to waste your Throat Rip on anyone else, save it for the Minstrels. Silencing a Rune-keeper doesn’t have the same effect so don’t waste your time using it on them, just save it for the Minstrels.
Dire Howl – This is our AOE silence skill and we will be able to use it whilst moving when Rise of Isengard launches! All you need to do with this is run through the freep’s healers and fire it off. You silence 4 targets at once and don’t even have to stop.
Eye Rake – This isn’t terribly effective against freep healers, but still worth using. It allows us to interrupt their inductions. Ok so it will only stop them from performing their current induction, but anything is better than nothing.
Rabid Bite – This used to be a great tool for slowing down freep healing because it would drain a healer’s power pool. I say ‘used to’ because this skill is being nerfed. The new version will increase the freep’s power cost for their skills, which is not as good as a straightforward power drain. It might still be worth using it anyway if you have time, but you will probably want to consider other options first.
Flea Bitten – With Rise of Isengard this skill places a debuff on 4 targets that increases attack duration and induction time. Unfortunately it’s only 10% for each of those, but it might still be worth using to slow down healing inductions, even if just a little bit.
Howl of the Unnerving – With Rise of Isengard this skill will place a debuff on 4 targets that will lower b/p/e ratings and crucially also has a 25% chance of applying 3-5 sec fear on each target. We can use this skill whilst moving and whilst stealthed! Like Dire Hwl we can run through the freep healers and use this skill to hopefully fear them, which will make them unable to do anything for the duration of the fear.
Damage – The other thing you can do to slow down freep healers is actually attack them of course. If you start taking the healer’s morale down a bit they will be forced to react to save themselves. This will, at least temporarily, interrupt their healing.
What Not To Do
When harassing freeps the goal isn’t to kill them so don’t feel disappointed if you don’t. If you can get a kill then that’s great, but don’t hang around trying to take down a freep that is being well protected, you simply aren’t going to succeed. Remember that you will probably be the only member of your raid on that particular freep, this isn’t a pack where you can count on your brothers, you are alone in the raid.
You are valuable to the raid if you can keep harassing the freeps, forcing them to turn their attention away from what your raid is doing and interrupting their healing. You are not valuable to your raid if you go on a one warg mission to kill freeps that you have no chance of taking down.
What To Expect
There are some important points for wargs to consider when they are in a raid:
AOE – Freeps have a lot of AOE abilities and sometimes the creep raid will choose to fight in places that are less than desireable for a warg e.g. tight spaces like corridors, etc. They don’t appreciate that to be fully effective we need stealth and that is made all but impossible in places where AOE can be concentrated.
Following – Like the RAT you are not expected to observe the rule of following the raid leader unless told to do so. You will probably be off scouting somewhere anyway. Even if you aren’t you can usually move away from the raid to better position yourself for harassing the freeps.
Healing – You are not a high priority for the creep raid to heal.You are seen as expendable. The healers will focus on the raid leader and the Reavers first and foremost. You might get the odd heal here and there, but in short you pretty much have to look after yourself.
NPCs – Visibles don’t appreciate how annoying it is for wargs when NPCs are pulled. Even more annoying, unlike the pack, which will try to kill or run off NPCs, visibles will sometimes just ignore them even tough it prevents you from stealthing.
Omniscience – Visibles sometimes think that because we can roam around the map unseen to scout we have some sort of omniscience and know where the freeps are at all times. Freeps can ride faster than we can normally move and we do loose track of them from time to time. We don’t know where they are at all times, but you may encounter some raid leaders who expect you to do just that. Note: Use your servers warg only channel, if you have one, to help with this. Maybe other wargs, not in the raid, have spotted the freeps.
RAT – You are generally not expected to follow the raid’s RAT unless specifically told to do so. You are expected to pick your own targets to harass.
Stealth – Simply put the visibles have no understanding of stealth whatsoever. You can see that from the NPC and AOE points above. They tend to think we use stealth just to remain unseen without appreciating that it also affects our abilities as well as gives us a better chance of killing and harassing freeps. Trying to make them understand is usually an uphill battle.
The first thing to mention is something I touched upon above; initiative. You have to be prepared to use your own judgement in many cases. No one is going to micro-manage you and tell you exactly what healer to go for or what skills to use. You need to be ready to seize opportunities when they appear and not be afraid of taking chances.
Perhaps more important that initiative though is to say that you should not be afraid to die. In the pack the Paw picks the ideal conditions for wargs to fight, not so in a raid. Couple that with being a low priority for healing and often acting alone and you have a recipe for a lot of deaths.
You are expected to fight alongside the rest of the raid, even if it is in your own way. In a pack escaping the freeps is often seen as an achievement on par with actually getting a kill. It’s not quite the same in a raid; the other creeps who have no means of escape will probably expect you to fight to the end to inflict as much damage on the freeps as possible. If the creep raid is retreating then sure escape, but if they are fighting to the last man then you might be expected to follow suit.
In short you will die in a raid. Just suck it up.
Benefits Of Raids
The single biggest benefit of joining a raid is fun! If you have a good group and plenty of action it is cracking fun. You get to join large scale battles that you probably wouldn’t see in the pack. The battles tend to last longer than those the pack engage sin, which can make for some very exciting gameplay.
There is also the point to be made that raids tend to net you more infamy than other styles of play. The sheer scale of the action and the duration of it means that you can notch up several thousand infamy points per night depending upon how active your server is. This is obviously good for those looking to rank up quickly.
Another benefit that is less tangible though is the play style difference. Simply put it is can be great fun to play your warg a different way. Variety is the spice of life after all. Acting on your own initiative, seeing other classes at work and doing things you wouldn’t normally do solo or in a pack can be pretty exhilarating.