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

Archive for April, 2012

Site Update: Changing To Update 6

Just a short note to say that I am slowly, but surely, going through the site updating it to reflect the changes that were brought in with Update 6. It’s a work in progress so not everything has been changed yet, but I will get around to it it all eventually.


The New Warg – Part III

By popular demand (well just Vyxe really!) here is part three of my new warg’s adventures. Having reached rank 2 things began to move pretty quickly for me. Rank 3 came around faster than I expected, I joined a tribe, I met up with some friends who proved extremely helpful and I began to finally accumulate some commendations.

Rank 3

Getting from rank 2 to rank 3 proved a lot less time consuming, and a lot less frustrating, than getting to rank 3. There are a few different reasons for this and I think it’s worth taking a look at each to see how effective they proved to be:

Grouping with my mates again started to pay off more. We were all becoming a bit more effective as we ranked and acquired some more abilities. This meant that we could realistically start getting some kills without continuously dying. We still died a lot and we still missed out on a lot of kills, but it didn’t feel quite so one sided now (mind you it was still taking 3 of us to take down 1 freep).

I managed to get into the odd group/raid at this point and this proved immensely helpful. A low ranked creep gets a massive boost from having been in even just a single raid. The infamy accrued may not seem much to the higher ranked creeps, but it’s a windfall for a rank 2 creep. The same is true of the NPCs that are killed along the way that drop quest items. Again nothing for a high ranked creep to bother about, but for rank 2 Nabby McNabb here it all helps.

Quests were still proving effective as a source of both infamy and commendations. That’s a bit sad in my opinion because really the focus should be on PvMP not PVE. Yet here I was having gained a full two ranks and still busy beavering away handing in quests because they were proving so useful in gaining my next rank.

Store Whore

Hi, my name is Mr Warg and I am an addict.

Yes folks I went back to the store. Not that I feel I need to explain myself, the joke introduction above notwithstanding, buying skills and traits from the store isn’t something that bothers me. However, I realise that it does bother some people so to tackle the inevitable questions of why head on I might as well explain my reasons.

As I have said before I had not intended to use the store with this new warg, however, that proved to be something of a naive hope rather than a practical reality. The first time I did this buying your skills was pretty simply; you went and captured an outpost, took a keep, etc and you immediately had enough Destiny Points to afford your new skills. Now you gain your new rank and are faced with the prospect of not actually being able to afford any skill until you have acquired another couple of ranks, by which time you should have enough commendations.

To say that it was frustrating for me would be an understatement. Eventually I had had enough and decided to buy some traits and skills and damn the commendations system to hell. If the system was broken and not working as it should then I was simply going to ignore it and get my skills through other means.

One final thing to say here though is that even though I bought some skills from the store I would much rather have gotten them through gameplay. I’m not trying to be a hypocrite, but if the commendations system was tweaked a bit gaining these abilities through normal gameplay would be perfectly possible. As it is that just doesn’t happen in my experience and yes I resorted to the store.

A Tribe

Rank 3 proved to be a bit of a watershed moment for my new warg because I joined a tribe. Vyxe, the leader of The Black Appendage of Sauron, had contacted me through this blog about something unrelated and we got chatting as you do and the next thing I know I was being inducted into the tribe!

Apart from mentioning what a thoroughly nice bunch of people we have in that tribe, along with being extremely generous and helpful, I should make it clear that getting yourself into a good tribe as a new creep is a ridiculously good idea.

If you are starting right at the bottom then a group of helpful, friendly people is no bad thing to have around. It’s not just about looking for material support like raid invites or help with quest items that is useful, it’s being able to get advice on things or just plain having someone to talk to to break up the boredom of killing slugs.


Flayer Stance – Tactics

Flayer stance is at once a remarkably easy stance to use, but at the same time there are quite a few different things to remember that can make all the difference to your performance. The idea behind the stance can arguably be summed up as ‘stand there and take it’ in reference to how tough it makes you.

Being Visible

This is perhaps the hardest aspect of Flayer to get used to, being visible. Not that you have to run around in Flayer all the time, you can use stealth, attack, activate Flayer and use Eye Rake to break the animation. However, unlike Shadow Howler Flayer stance does actually make us tough enough where we can roam around out of stealth.

Personally I don’t use Flayer for generally wandering the map, however, where a fight has broken out you can use it to stay within the vicinity of the fight whilst unstealthed. This is especially good if your group insists upon pulling NPCs, which prevent you from stealthing anyway.

The main point here is to remember that Flayer is going to let you take a few hits so don’t worry about it too much. Obviously focus fire will kill you like anyone else, but being visible in Flayer doesn’t mean automatic death! Try it out, it’s pretty fun!

DoTs

Much of your damage in Flayer stance comes from stacking DoTs on a target. You can stack three DoTs from Raking Claws, another DoT from Agonizing Maul and yet another DoT from the Crippling Bite/Brutal Fangs combo. That’s a total of 5 DoTs that can, and should, be ticking away on a target.

Don’t forget to stack these DoTs. They may not seem much individually, but once stacked they can all add up to some pretty serious damage.

Brute Bonuses

These are easy to overlook, but please don’t because they can be a really nice boost in a fight. For example, the armour reduction from Brutal Fangs is a fairly hefty debuff, which would be great to have against a tough opponent like a Champ or a Guardian. Make sure you use your Brute skill when you can to increase the chance of these Brute bonuses working.

Charge!

Flayer gives you the ability to soak up some impressive damage that wargs in the past simply wouldn’t have been able to deal with. This means that you can afford to take more risks so do it! Charge inside EC to get that freep you are chasing. Charge past the keep entrance to run down that fleeing Rune-keeper. Pull those bears on yourself if you need to. Ignore that second freep hitting you as you pummel his mate into the ground.

Ok so maybe I’m going over the top a bit here, but the point is sound enough. Don’t be afraid of taking on odds that you think are too tough. Sometimes the odds will indeed be against you and you won’t survive or get your kill, but sometimes Flayer will kick in and you will pull it off. I’ve come through some pretty tight spots lately using Flayer and it makes me want to take even bigger risks because the bigger the risk the bigger the prize.


The New Warg – Part II

In the last part we left off just as I had managed to gain my first rank and the disappointment that followed as I realised I couldn’t actually buy any of the new abilities that I had gained.

The Quest For Commendations

With my newly gained rank I had to set about gaining some commendations! I had managed to earn 500 or so infamy through questing and occasionally snatching some scraps from the table during actual fighting. This left me with a few hundred commendations. Nowhere near the 2,000 I needed for a skill or even the 1,000 I needed for a corruption. What to do now?

More quests!

Yes folks, my PvMP experience was still mired in PVE land as I set myself the task of gaining some more commendations. Grouping up with my mates again (one of whom had managed to get his Weaver up a few ranks already) I set about doing some quests as well as trying to take down some freeps. The going was definitely not easy; well that is probably not the right word to use as it wasn’t exactly difficult, more time consuming and dull than difficult. Killing slugs each day or picking up shards of troll stone isn’t exactly heart pounding excitement. Nevertheless it’s what I had to do.

We did manage to get a few kills it has to be said. I would like to say that even though I was playing a rank 1 warg my experience helped a bit, but to be frank success in killing freeps more often than not came through two methods: shamelessly leeching the efforts of those higher ranked than myself and sheer luck. Mixed in with those was a good dose of recklessness; basically just going for anything that looked like it might be killable, which usually meant a freep that looked like he was about to keel over anyway.

I died a lot of course, but that’s par for the course. After much effort, late nights, copious quantities of coffee and several batteries for my mouse, I finally had 1,500 commendations! Now what to spend them on .. ?

My First Skill

Actually the title is a bit misleading because my first purchase wasn’t in fact a skill at all, but rather a trait: Enhanced Skill: Stealth. Sad it may be, but I was actually genuinely excited and relieved to finally be able to afford to buy this trait. The regular reader of this blog will know just how much importance I place on this trait so it was always going to be my first purchase. Skipping with joy to the bard NPC I equipped my new trait and entered stealth …

… I was moving like a normal person again! Not fast, but at least I wasn’t crawling along like an asthmatic sloth. The difference between having and not having this trait is night and day folks. Without it your warg’s speed is measured using geological timescales. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

One other thing was available to me at rank 1, the Battlefield Promotion. The effect was less than stellar. There is a wonderful invention scientists use to peer into the foundations of creation called the electron microscope. This piece of scientific equipment actually allows scientists to see individual atoms, the building blocks of the universe. Using this microscope I’d still be unable to see the difference this Battlefield Promotion made to my warg. In all seriousness it was just the first step and these Promotions actually do add up a fair bit as you acquire more of them. It’s actually a pretty good system. One down, several to go.

How the Mighty Have Fallen

With my new found ability to actually walk I set about trying to acquire some more infamy so I could get my next rank and unlock more skills I couldn’t afford to buy. I was getting sick of quests by this point, in no small part due to the seemingly omnipresent freep patrols that insisted I was not to have that last piece of slug meat I needed, but mainly because I wanted to fight other players.

I grouped up with my mates again and together we strolled around the map getting involved in fights where we could. Kills were forthcoming at least, usually through the efforts of others it has to be said, but still I was getting some infamy. The thing was that I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated. Now if you have played a creep for a while you might be sitting there thinking “Tough luck mate, we all had to go through that so just get on with it!” and you would be right.

The reason I was getting frustrated wasn’t because I was dying or losing or not getting much infamy from kills, rather it was because I had already gone through all this before on my other warg. It was frustrating to be fighting people I knew I could beat if only I had my precious rank 11 warg! There were so many times I found myself reaching for a skill I didn’t have on my new warg or sizing up an opponent and mentally going through my rotation for the attack only to remember that half the things I was planning to do I physically couldn’t.

That meant adaptation. I had to throw out all the stuff I knew and adapt to my new found circumstances. Maybe this is a similie too far, but it’s like going from being wealthy to being poor. You have to learn to deal with your reduced means and make do with what you have. That was easier said than done of course, but gradually I learnt to make best use of what little I had. It’s a great lesson in humility I might add because I had to accept that here I couldn’t solo freeps or pull off risky little tricks. I had to accept that I was supporting others and essentially living off their efforts for the time being.

I Gave In

Initially I wasn’t planning on making use of the LOTRO Store to buy skills or traits for my new warg, but I gave in. I have nothing against people buying skills, traits, etc from the store by the way so don’t think I am judging anyone with that statement. It was simply that I wasn’t going to do it with this new warg, but this is war folks and as we all know, war is the mother of necessity.

I bought Shadow Fang. My damage was really quite paltry so I thought I’d improve the situation a bit by at least giving myself the ability to hit with something other than Common damage. The effect was noticeable, but not overwhelming. My base damage was so low that low base Shadow damage, whilst better than low base Common damage, was still low base damage. Nevertheless it did give me a bit of a boost, which helped with gaining infamy and soon I was rank 2!

Onwards to rank 3 …


The New Warg – Part I

Lately I have undertaken a new project that I thought might be both interesting and fun to share with you all. I’m ranking up a brand new warg! I decided to create a new warg for various reasons I won’t go into here, but rest assured I do still have my existing warg and yes I do still play him. However, I thought I would give another server a chance so along with some mates I settled on taking a trip to the land of the Yankees (EDIT: and yes Aussies too!) and choose Elendilmir.

A Fresh Start

To say that it was a shock to the system to start as a r0 warg is a bit of an understatement. I have a rank 11 warg and to suddenly go from that to a brand new warg with no skills, no traits, no corruptions and the survivability of a wet paper bag was tougher than I first imagined. It’s been a long time since I ranked up a low rank warg and to be honest I wasn’t prepared for just how much of a struggle it proved to be at the lower ranks.

For starters you do not have Enhanced Skill: Stealth. I cannot overstate just how necessary this trait is to wargs. Why on Earth this is not a passive I do not know. Seriously devs this trait should be a passive, playing a warg without borders on the unplayable. Moving in stealth without this trait is excruciatingly slow. I’ve seen arthritis riddled octogenarians carrying heavy shopping move faster than a warg without Enhanced Skill: Stealth. Sort it out Turbine!

The next system shock was the incredibly low damage. Now granted that I have a rank 11 warg who is currently hitting freep like a truck careering down a hill and this may have skewed my perception a bit, but even so the damage output on a r0 warg felt more like I was using strong language against my enemies rather than actually hitting them. Part of the reason for this was the lack of Shadow Fang. Like Enhanced Skill: Stealth this ought to be a passive trait at r0. It’s bad enough to be hitting like a little girl, but to be doing common damage into the bargain means your attacks are pretty much bouncing off freeps.

Those were the two biggest obstacles for me when I first rolled my new warg, however, more was to come …

The Road To Rank 1

Rank 1 requires 500 infamy. Not a lot is it? Well yes and no. Five hundred infamy is peanuts when you are rank 11 and can solo just about any freep who steps foot on the Moors. Five hundred infamy might as well be a million infamy when you are rank 0 and the only thing you can solo is the Bird. If solo wasn’t a viable option for me then surely a group would be a better idea?

Initially I grouped up with some mates, but they were fresh out of Grams too so we weren’t terribly effective to be honest. The day was saved though by that old bug bear in the Ettenmoors … PVE! The quests that you can hand in, whilst making bugger all difference to my rank 11 warg were a godsend for my r0 warg. I was soon up and running at rank 1 thanks to some slug meat, a few bits of troll stone, a stiff scotch, an elastic band and some paper clips.

Not that questing was without its perils though. A rank 0 warg with paper mache for armour, crap all morale, just enough damage to knock over a senior citizen and the movement speed of a disabled tortoise makes a very tempting target for freeps. Dying doesn’t particularly bother me, but let’s just say that it entered the realms of farce at times and reinforced in my mind the concept that new creeps are good for one thing and one thing only: target practice for freeps.

Gaining My First Skill

This actually proved to be the single most difficult aspect of my initial gameplay. Gaining the infamy for rank 1 was comparatively easy, but gaining enough commendations to buy my first skill was akin to the Labours of Hercules. Simply put a fresh creep cannot gain the necessary number of commendations to buy new skills and traits fast enough. Upon reaching rank 1 I was then able to purchase a variety of skills and traits, but of course I didn’t have enough commendations.

Questing only partially helped here because you don’t really gain very many commendations from quests. Gaining commendations from kills wasn’t really viable either given how weak I was and thus unable to gain solo kills, and gaining access to groups was still proving a little problematic so again hard to gain commendations via that method.

I’m not going to go into the commendations system too much in this post because I plan to look at it in more detail in a later post. What I will say though is that it sucks. It sucks donkey balls. It sucks big hairy donkey balls. It is by far the single worst aspect of starting a new creep and it needs to change.

Notes To Turbine

A few things came to light during my time spent gaining rank 1 that I think would be useful to share with Turbine in the hope that they might improve things.

Enhanced Skill: Stealth – For the love of God make this a passive. It isn’t possible to function as a warg without this.

Shadow Fang – Same as Enhanced Skill: Stealth. No creeps should start off with common damage.

Survivability – I fully support the idea that creeps should become more capable as they rank. However, new creeps really do need a bit of a leg up here because frankly they are just cannon fodder. At least make them semi-viable.

Commendations – As I said I’ll go into more detail later, but the price of skills, traits, etc needs to come WAY DOWN!


Flayer Stance – Builds

Like Shadow stance there are two basic builds to consider when using Flayer stance to any great extent: a pure survival build and a mixed build. Now before you chaps get onto me for not having included this build or that build I realise there are different options for building your warg for using Flayer stance regularly, but detailing every last possible configuration is beyond the scope of this post so I am simply going to focus on the two most basic ones. By all means feel free to leave your own builds and suggestions in the comments for your warg brothers to take a look at.

The Pure Survival Build

Class Traits

Beyond the usual essential traits that we must slot in order to actually play we have a few class trait slots to play around with. With the view to maximising our survivability here is what I would suggest:

Flayer Stance – Obviously!

Armour Boost – A solid boost to our survivability here as it increases our Physical and Tactical mitigations. Coupled with Flayer stance this really does give our toughness a leg up.

Enhanced Skill: Sense Prey/Long Strides – You have a bit of choice here depending upon your playstyle. For solo I would recommend going with Enhanced Skill: Sense Prey to enable you to more effectively track and hunt your solo kills. For group or raid play where tracking stealthed targets is arguably less important then Long Strides is a better survival option. It will help you negate some of the many freep slows and allow you to both catch targets as well as moving out of danger more easily.

Enhanced Skill: Disappear – This is more for reducing the cooldown of Topple than it is Disappear, but of course you can always drop Flayer and use Disappear as a last ditch survival option.

The full list is below:

  • Enhanced Skill: Stealth
  • Shadow Fang
  • Enhanced Skill: Sprint
  • Enhanced Skill: Disappear
  • Flayer Stance
  • Armour Boost
  • Enhanced Skill: Sense Prey/Long Strides

Racial Traits

There aren’t vary many racial traits to choose from so there isn’t much to say here really as the choices are fairly obvious. My suggestions are as follows:

Four Legged Foe – An increase to both run speed and your Evade chance. A good solid survival trait.

Pack Mentality – Another good survival trait in that it boosts both Parry and Evade ratings whilst also increasing Physical and Tactical Resistance ratings.

Pack Elder – An increase to Physical mitigation. Not super, but we are looking to maximise survivability after all.

Pack Hunters – Not a survival trait as such, but it will allow you to use the Pack Flayers root, which is very handy.

Pack Alpha/Foe of the Light – A bit of a toss up between these two. Foe of the Light might be a tad useless to you if Flayer is going to be your stance of choice since the extra stealth level increase won’t do anything whilst in Flayer stance. There is a small increase to Tactical Mitigation too, but it’s so small that you might want to just not bother with it. Pack Alpha isn’t a survival trait at all, it’s very much an offensive trait, but given that we are sacrificing damage in our corruptions with this build you might want to use this trait to offset that loss in damage, even if only slightly.

Corruptions

The setup here can take one of two routes: stack morale or stack mitigations. For morale I suggest the following corruptions:

  • Morale for Power Rank 1
  • Morale for Power Rank 2
  • Morale for Damage Rank 1
  • Morale for Damage Rank 2
  • Tactical/Physical Mitigation
  • Tactical/Physical Mitigation

For a Mitigation build simply swap the four morale corruptions for mitigation corruption and use the Morale for Power and Morale for Damage Rank 2 corruptions.

With either option you will be looking to stack both morale and mitigations to varying degrees. This obviously means that your damage output is going to take a pretty serious hit. Then again we are looking to maximise survivability here. Personally I’m not a fan of this build although it can work well in raid settings where your damage output is being backed up by other creeps and the extra survivability means you can actually get into the middle of the fight more regularly.

The Mixed Build

Class Traits

There aren’t really any changes from the pure survival build here, but there are some more options to consider:

  • Enhanced Skill: Stealth
  • Shadow Fang
  • Enhanced Skill: Sprint
  • Enhanced Skill: Disappear
  • Flayer Stance
  • Armour Boost
  • Free Slot

Note the inclusion of a free class slot. You can basically slot in whatever you wish here although chances are you might want to opt for Enhanced Skill: Sense Prey anyway. Another good candidate would be Enhanced Skill: Eye Rake for a bit of a boost to your damage output as well as a faster interrupt.

Racial Traits

Again not many changes here:

Foe of the Light – With a mixed build you will probably be looking to use stealth and Flayer a bit more than when using a pure survival build to run around in Flayer stance all the time. To that end Foe of the Light will be useful to give your stealth level a boost when not in Flayer stance.

Pack Alpha – I’d suggest ditching Pack Elder for this trait. The extra damage output will be more useful than the relatively small increase in Physical Mitigation that Pack Elder gives if you aren’t looking to max out your survivability.

For everything else I’d suggest using the traits listed for the pure survival build above.

Corruptions

What we’re looking for here is a steady mixture of survivability and damage output. For the damage output that’s straightforward, but for the survivability you can either go down the mitigation path or choose more morale. Personally I favour more morale as it also has a psychological effect when a freep sees you with a lot of morale and maybe chooses what he thinks is an easier target, but each to their own.

  • Morale for Power Rank 1
  • Morale for Power Rank 2
  • Morale for Damage Rank 2
  • Damage for Power Rank 2
  • Mastery
  • Mastery

Flayer Stance – Introduction

Now that we’ve looked at Shadow stance it’s time to turn to Flayer stance. You have to be rank 10 in order to acquire this stance (or have previously had Shadow Howler before Update 6). It is currently unavailable to buy in the LOTRO Store.

What Is Flayer Stance?

Flayer stance can be thought of  as a ‘tanking’ stance, but that isn’t really accurate. For starters it isn’t designed to allow us to tank any content, rather it is designed to make us tough. A better description would be that Flayer stance is our survivability stance. It doesn’t provide as much damage output as Shadow stance, but that is made up for by the extra survivability we receive.

The actual numbers are as follows:

  • +2925 Armour
  • +1351 Tactical mitigation
  • +1351 Physical mitigation
  • 300 Morale bubble, refreshes every 7sec
  • 1-5% self-heal every 7sec (tied to the bubble)

The following skills are modified by Flayer stance:

Stealth – You can’t use it. Whilst in Flayer stance all stealth skills are null and void. If you want to enter stealth you will have to first drop Flayer stance and then stealth. The same is true for Disappear (assuming you haven’t just used Topple). The actual skill ‘Stealth’ itself becomes ‘Brute’. This is a self-buff that will increase our chances of activating our Brute bonuses.

Disappear – In Flayer stance Disappear becomes Topple. This is a 10sec knockdown which shares the same cooldown as Disappear i.e. if you use Topple then Disappear will be on cooldown when you leave Flayer stance and vice versa. It is important to note that you will never see the full 10sec duration of the knockdown against a freep. This is because Audacity reduces its duration so the maximum duration you can gain with a freep is 7.5sec if they have Audacity 1. If they have maximum Audacity the duration will be reduced to 5sec.

Claws – Claws becomes Raking Claws. Raking Claws does the same base damage as our Claws skill used out of stealth, but there are two extra effects that Raking Claws provides. The first is a self-stacking DoT that deals shadow damage to the target. The DoT lasts 16sec and can stack with itself up to three times. The second effect is a debuff that is placed upon the target that will automatically interrupt inductions every 4sec for 16sec.

Maul – This is transformed into Agonizing Maul. This is essentially the same skill as our normal non-stealthed Maul, but with a few differences. For starters there is no increased critical magnitude on this skill. There is also a Brute bonus associated with this skill 9see below for the Brute system), which has a 5% chance to apply a -25% incoming healing debuff on the target. Agonizing Maul also applies a 10sec DoT to the target. This Dot can stack with other wargs, or with different DoTs from the same warg, but it is not self-stacking with itself.

Savage Fangs – This transforms into Brutal Fangs. It is pretty much the same as Savage Fangs except for two key differences. The first is that instead of a block debuff it now applies an Evade debuff. Also, it has a Brute bonus associated with it, which will lower the target’s armour value by 1,238 if it procs.

Eye Rake – This becomes Eye Gash. It is exactly the same as the standard Eye Rake skill except that it now has a Brute bonus associated with it. This bonus has a 5% chance to apply a -600 b/p/e debuff to the target.

There is also another skill that is changed whilst in SFlayer stance: Pack Hunters. Pack Hunters needs to be traited before it can be used though.

Pack Hunters – In Shadow stance this becomes Pack Flayers. This is both a simple and a complicated skill to use. It is simple in its effect, but complicate din its execution. Using this skill on a target will root both the target and the warg in place with no possibility for the target to break the root except to kill the warg. The target will not be able to b/p/e whilst he is rooted. The problem though is that the target has to remain still for this skill to take effect so your best bet is to stun the target first before using it. Some freep skills can break the root e.g. Champion’s Sprint, but it is currently unknown whether this is WAI or not.

Morale Bubble & Heal

Flayer stance provides us with a 300 Morale bubble that refreshes once every 7sec. This isn’t a very big bubble of course, but it will take the edge off damage and it helps with DoTs. The fact that it refreshes every 7sec is very important because this means that over the course of a minute it will provide us with the equivalent of 2,400 morale. That’s like being able to pop 2 morale pots per minute.

Tied into the morale bubble is a self-heal. This is a little complicated so I’ll try to be as clear as I can. Every 7sec when the morale bubble refreshes a check is made; if the morale bubble is present then you are healed for 5% of your maximum morale. If the morale bubble is burned down before it has a chance to refresh then you receive a heal for 1% of your maximum morale.

In other words you are probably going to see the 5% heal when out of combat as the bubble is quite small and thus can be burned through very quickly. Even so the 1% heal is still very useful. If the morale bubble can refresh 8 times per minute then that equates to a total of 8% of your maximum morale that you will heal, assuming you only receive the 1% heal each time. In conjunction with the morale bubble itself an 8% heal every minute adds up to a lot of extra morale.

Brute Bonuses

The Brute bonus system only comes into effect when you are using Flayer stance. It is a bit like the Burger’s Gambler system in that your skills have a chance to proc an extra effect. When in Flayer stance some of our skills will display extra effects that have a 5% chance of activating when the skill is used.

We can increase the chance of these extra effects procing by using the Brute skill (Brute is what Stealth transforms into when using Flayer stance). The Brute skill will increase our chance of activating a Brute bonus effect by 20% for 45 sec.

Below I have listed the different Brute bonuses associated with each skill:

Raking Claws – The bonus here is ‘Brute Raking Claws’. This will interrupt inductions once every 4sec for 16sec. This is a bit of an odd Brute bonus in that there is no chance listed for it to activate, it just seems to work most (perhaps even all) of the time.

Agonizing Maul – The Brute bonus here is a chance to reduce a target’s incoming healing by 25% for 10sec.

Brutal Fangs – Chance to reduce target’s armour value by 1,238 for 45sec.

Eye Gash – Chance to reduce target’s b/p/e ratings by 600 for 10sec.

Power Costs

Flayer stance retains the same power costs as we have when using no stance. This means that it is a relatively power efficient stance, especially if you have managed to gain a few ranks of Audacity to lower your power costs.

When Should I Use It?

There are various situations when Flayer stance would be a good choice due to its increased toughness and I have set out some examples below:

Packs

Most members of the pack should probably use Shadow stance for mass damage strikes, but if at least one pack member uses Flayer stance it means that the Pack Flayers root can be used to hold tough targets in place for the pack.

Raids

If you have joined a raid then Flayer might be a good option once the fighting has started. Once you have used your initial Pounce from stealth you might find it difficult to get back into stealth, especially if there is a lot of AOE or NPCs around. If that is the case then you might as well opt for Flayer stance as it will allow you to get into the thick of the fighting without dying too quickly. Again the Pack Flayers root can be useful for the raid when chasing down fleeing freeps.

Heavies

If you are going to try and solo a tough freep e.g. a class that is just plain tough like a Guardian, Warden, etc then Flayer stance might be a good choice. It will make you tougher and able to last the distance with these classes who seek to wear you down. It can also be a great choice to use against very high damage classes like the Rune-keeper as it will blunt their high spike damage and with them being so squishy the damage you deal in Flayer stance should be enough to finish them off.

PVE

Flayer stance is a good choice when taking keep and the like as your chance of getting in and out of stealth repeatedly are low. Using Flayer means you can take a few hits from the NPCs and it affords you some protection should the freeps burst onto the scene