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

Rise of Isengard: Shadow Howler

Shadow Howler is a skill not many wargs will have used before given that it is gated behind rank 10. However, with Rise of Isengard any rank of warg can buy any rank of skill so we may very well see more wargs using this great skill. I say ‘gret’ advisedly because it is undergoing some pretty significant changes and as such I felt that it deserved an in-depth examination of the skill and how it might be used.

What Is Shadow Howler?

It’s a stance. The skill is relatively straightforward on the face of it; it prevents us from using any of our stealth abilities, including Disappear, but by way of compensation it increases your defences and ramps up our damage output. With the recently released creep dev diary we got a few more numbers for this skill so let’s see just how tough it actually makes us.

Shadow Howler grants us various defensive bonuses to toughen us up. For starters it increases our armour value, but unfortunately Kelsen didn’t post the specific increase for a level 75 warg. It will also increase our tactical mitigation by 616 points. Last, but not least, it grants us 1,000 temporary morale every 30 seconds.

We will be able to activate the skill whilst moving, which means we should be able to slip in and out of it pretty quickly. According to various forum posts there is apparently a 1 sec or so animation, which might be a little annoying for fast switching, but even so it sounds as if we can use it on the fly.

Is It Effective?

The short answer is I don’t know. Until it is fully tested out on the live servers in real combat situations it is hard to know just how effective Shadow Howler actually is. What we can do though is indulge in a little speculation …

What we must remember is that whilst using Shadow Howler we cannot use any stealth skills. Thus the benchmark for this skill is going to be whether it is a good alternative to our standard stealth strategy. That’s going to be a matter of debate I imagine, even after testing on the live servers.

The increased toughness this skill offers is certainly significant. An increase to our armour value, our tactical mitigation and a 1k morale bubble every 30 sec all add up to a fairly hefty boost to our survivability. The most obvious benefit of this increased survivability is in a raid situation where we sometimes can’t stealth anyway due to NPCs having been pulled. Even in a 1vs1 situation it will be useful I imagine, especially against classes that have high spike damage such as Rune-keepers or against classes that can wear us down like Wardens.

I’ll be trying the skill out as soon as it hits Live so expect a full report on it then …

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